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Capital Punishment

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Capital Punishment

Post by JoelKizz on Sat May 05, 2012 1:04 pm

I'm putting this in theology as opposed to politics because I'm looking for scriptural perspectives specifically as opposed to general policy observations. Based on the BIBLE, as the Christian's resource for all things necessary for godliness, what should the Christian's attitude be towards the death penalty?

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Re: Capital Punishment

Post by XianSmitherman on Sat May 05, 2012 6:37 pm

Allowed in cases of homicide. Genesis 9:5-6 I'll put what the ESV Study Bible says because I think it puts it in the most eloquent way:

"Following his comments about the killing of animals, God addresses the issue of homicide. Violence by 'all flesh' (v. 11), i.e., by man and animals, prompted God to send the flood. If human nature has not improved after the flood, how is violence to be prevented in the future? This legal enactment is the answer: 'From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. This means that any animal or person that takes a human life will be held accountable by God, working through human representatives. 'Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.' Here is the principle of talion, a life for a life, is applied. This measured response is preferable to Lamech's seventy-sevenfold vengeance. Human life is to be valued so highly that it is protected by this system of punishment because 'God made man in his own image', and so to murder another human being is to murder what is most like God, and is thus implicitly an attack on God himself. Many would see this statement as establishing the moral principle permitting this death penalty in cases of murder--with the understanding that the person charged would have been justly tried and his guilt established beyond any reasonable doubt (cf. the OT requirement of two or three witnesses, Deut. 19:15; repeated in the NT, e.g., Matt. 18:16; Heb. 10:28). A further requirement is that such a death-penalty verdict must always be carried out under the jurisdiction of the established authorities (cf. Deut. 19:15-21; Rom. 13:1-5). The difficulty of establishing guilt beyond any reasonable doubt and the difficulty of ensuring justice in a modern complex urban society (as compared to an ancient village-based society) underscore the great care and caution that must be taken in applying this principle today."

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Re: Capital Punishment

Post by JoelKizz on Sun May 06, 2012 12:21 am

XianSmitherman wrote:Allowed in cases of homicide.
Would you say then that all of the other criminal activities under Levitical law (i.e. adultery) are now excluded from the same punishment?

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Re: Capital Punishment

Post by XianSmitherman on Sun May 06, 2012 3:45 pm

I would because I think those would fall underneath civil law instead of moral or ceremonial law.

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Re: Capital Punishment

Post by JoelKizz on Wed May 09, 2012 6:45 pm

OK so for what reason to the civil laws that are broken that used to require the death penalty not now require the same punishment? What changed?

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Re: Capital Punishment

Post by XianSmitherman on Wed May 09, 2012 10:27 pm

Different culture for the most part, since we are a bit more tolerant of things (this could be a good or a bad thing), but also that Jesus' crucifixion was the penalty that covered much.

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Re: Capital Punishment

Post by JoelKizz on Thu May 10, 2012 10:28 pm

XianSmitherman wrote:but also that Jesus' crucifixion was the penalty that covered much.

Indeed, I guess that is what I'm wondering... how do we determine which crimes fall into the "much" and those that do not.

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Re: Capital Punishment

Post by drainey on Mon May 14, 2012 11:35 am

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Last edited by drainey on Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:31 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Capital Punishment

Post by JoelKizz on Tue May 15, 2012 12:00 am

drainey wrote:
JoelKizz wrote:OK so for what reason to the civil laws that are broken that used to require the death penalty not now require the same punishment? What changed?

I wanted to back up to this question, because we must first decide if the civil laws that required death were legitimate. Many civil laws that used to require the death penalty were changed because their origin was shady. Hanging people for stealing horses is rather extreme. Hanging people for stealing a horse was a law more because the people who owned horses wanted it rather than a well thought out study of an appropriate penalty.

True, but Im speaking specifically to the civil laws that when broken required the death penalty in the Bible (specifically the O.T.). Assuming that even if it is beyond our understanding, God's justice was correct. Therefore, why have we disregarded certain crimes that used to require death but on some we still point to O.T. mandates?

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