The Value of Human Life
God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
Recently it was reported that the state of Virginia became the 23rd state in the United States to ban the use of the death penalty for murder or other violent crimes. Undoubtedly this is because in recent years and with the advancement of science, there have been many released from death row whose convictions were overturned due to new DNA evidence. The argument also goes that putting someone to death for the murder of someone else will not bring the victim back to life. Would it not be better to try and reform the criminal in the hopes of making him or her a more productive member of society? While the criminal justice system is not without its problems and it is certainly noble to want to reform criminals, the problem is that putting someone to death for murder is a matter of obedience to God and justice. In Genesis 9:5-6 God commands, “And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” God commands capital punishment for murder because all people are made in the image of God. Thus, to take the life of another human being who is the image bearer of the Creator is tantamount to cosmic treason. For this reason, the only appropriate justice for the taking of a human life is the life of the murderer. This command for the use of capital punishment is restated in Romans 13:4. The sword was used in Roman times for beheading. OK, but why talk about this in a Daily Thought? Because being made in the image of God has broader implications than just capital punishment. James says we need to be careful about how we speak to people and speak about people because “with it [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God” (3:9). Because all people are made in the image of God, all people deserved to be treated with respect and humanely.
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