Friday, November 21, 2008

Capital Punishment 2

Genesis 4:8-15

Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"
"I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"

The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."

Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me."

But the LORD said to him, "Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over." Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the LORD's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.


Peter Gathje:

"The death penalty violates [the] justice of God, because it asserts that some human beings are not redeemable; that some human beings should not be saved from death. The death penalty not only seeks to cut a human being off from physical life; it seeks to impose a spiritual death on the person executed by denying the person the time to change, to convert.

The death penalty would impose a human timetable upon God, by saying if God really wants to save this person, God could. Indeed, God could, but who are we to tell God when and where this is to take place? The death penalty makes the state into God, deciding who is redeemable and who is not. The death penalty violates God's justice in deciding that some people should not be allowed the chance at salvation, at conversion, at change. The death penalty even goes so far as to say, "We want this person to rot in hell" - as if we are to determine who is to be saved and who is not.

The death penalty, then, is not only not God's justice, it is idolatry. And as idolatry, it is the worst form of injustice-it does not give to God what is due to God as God - namely, power over life and death. It is idolatry in that it makes the state into God. It is idolatry in its preaching of a false god - a god of death rather than the God of life. God is a God of life, not a God of death. My God, what is so wrong with us that we so pervert God's Word to make God into a God of death?"


Steven D. Stewart (Prosecuting Attorney for Clark County, Indiana)

"Along with two-thirds of the American public, I believe in capital punishment. I believe that there are some defendants who have earned the ultimate punishment our society has to offer by committing murder with aggravating circumstances present. I believe life is sacred. It cheapens the life of an innocent murder victim to say that society has no right to keep the murderer from ever killing again. In my view, society has not only the right, but the duty to act in self defense to protect the innocent."


Matthew 5:38-47

"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


"One of the great counterarguments death penalty opponents face is the challenge, 'If it were your spouse/child/sibling who was murdered, you'd feel differently.' Never did I feel that that boy's shocked parents, who were losing their son as surely as my parents lost theirs, and who have the added pain of shame, needed to suffer more. An 18-year-old's execution would not give back the dead. Nor would it have given me 'closure', which I regard as a myth - a politician's fiction. Spare me, please, your feel-good vengeance." -- Paul Bosco, whose brother was murdered (son of Antoinette Bosco).


Exodus 20:13

God: Thou shalt not kill.

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