Is Capital Punishment Biblical?

Is Capital Punishment Biblical?

Several years ago, I heard a prominent pastor say this, “In light of the 6th commandment that ‘thou shalt not kill,’ I have strong reservations about capital punishment.” This is certainly one of the hot button topics of our day. In short, the question is this: Is it ever right and moral to execute a human being for a crime? I’ve read arguments on all sides of this issue, but I am driven back to the Scriptures for my answer.

In Genesis 9:6, before the Mosaic Law was even instituted, God says this: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image.” (ESV) This means that God instituted capital punishment for theological reasons. So, to be clear, the reason it is morally permissible to execute someone guilty of murder is because they are guilty of taking a human life – made in the image of God.

So, the bottom line is that capital punishment actually upholds the value of human life! The Bible teaches that human life is so precious and valuable, that if you take a life, you must give yours in payment. Contrast this to the killing of a bald eagle (a stiff fine, etc.). Is capital punishment a deterrent? Perhaps. However, more important than merely being a deterrent, capital punishment is a matter of justice. This is a primary issue. Human life is that valuable!

by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor
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