Capital Punishment and the Bible Essay

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Capital Punishment and the Bible

Capital punishment has always been an arguable issue and for good reason.

The Old Testament clearly calls for the death penalty on many occasions,

whereas; many of the teachings of Jesus and others in the New testament readily

denounce it. Therefore, both advocates ands opponents of capital punishment

have Biblical references to support their beliefs.

Opponents use the creation story to show that all are created in God's

image. Genesis 1:27a states that “God created man in his image.”1 God, thus,

has the power to give and take away life as he chooses. All men are to preserve

life to the best of their ability. M. Margaret Falls says that we cannot treat
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As stated before, capital punishment was commanded by God of the people

in the Old Testament. Exodus 21:14 states that “if a man schemes and kills

another man deliberately, take him away from my altar and put him to death.”

Levitical 24:17 and 24b essentially say the same thing to the effect that “

whoever kills a man must be put to death.” And lastly, Exodus 21:23 commands

that “if there is a serious injury, you are to take life for life.”

Genesis 9:5b-6 is the simplest statement mandating society to punish

their fellow beings for murder3: “And from each man, too, I will demand an

accounting for the life of his fellow man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by

man shall his blood be shed for in the image of God has God made man.”

Advocates stress that these verses are not a suggestion, but instead a command

that is not to be questioned - God demands, therfore, one should obey. The

murderer must suffer for his actions because murder is denying the image of God

in the harmed individual. To murder a man is equivalent to murdering God since

man is created by him and in his image. The murderer, thus, did violence to God

himself.

Jesus, in a sense, rewrites the Old

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