[CF Devotionals] 2010-07-18 - A Time to Kill?

The Ten Commandments ~ Part 35
Sixth Commandment, Part 3

Aren’t There Times We Should Kill?

Now it seems it is important to understand the “why” of this commandment. This is important, only in that the “why” is necessary, in order to be able to apply it properly. Remember, we said the bottom line is that we obey because God commands, not because it is in our benefit. Here, though, some of the confusion on application seems to relate to confusion on the rational behind the commandment.

Many believers, for example, support capital punishment as a deterrent against murder. Others see it as society's revenge upon the criminal. Some pragmatists even see it as a way of saving the cost keeping an individual for life in an institution. Now I don’t want to get into a debate on the issue of capital punishment here and now, but the Old Testament support for it is not founded on these reasons. Scripture gives the authority for capital punishment for the same reason as the giving of the commandment. Scripture teaches the sanctity of human life, all human life. The only fitting judgment for taking a life is the loss of a life. In Genesis 1:26, 27, we read:

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the Earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

We are not to murder, because man is created in the image of God. Granted the image has become twisted because of the fall, but nevertheless, we are still created in His image. Therefore, all human life must be protected. This also invalidates the view that all life is equal, that is animal life should be seen as being on the same level as human life.

It is important to understand this means that all people are intrinsically valuable, not for who they are or what they can do, but because they are in the image of the Creator. This undercuts the whole concept of looking at people and saying they have no utilitarian value, so they don’t deserve to live. “This fetus has a defect. It wouldn’t live an happy, productive life, so let’s terminate it.” But the fetus, actually the pre-born human, is created in the image of God, and therefore has value in that it is human, not because it serves some utilitarian value.

Keep in mind this issue doesn’t just affect the pre-born baby. It also touches those who someone decides is handicapped. It affects the elderly who can “no longer contribute to society.” The social engineer has decided to value us based on how we can contribute to society, using their view of contribution, of course, instead of valuing us simply because we are human. We are created in the image of God, and therefore have value because we are human.

As individual believers, then, I don’t think we will find ourselves in the position where it is appropriate for us to kill. And certainly, if one understands this commandment as not murdering, then we will never find this an issue. This commandment in an of itself does not prevent self-defense that leads to taking a life. The commandment has nothing to do with the issue of the right of a government to require its citizens to be in the military, or to carry out capital punishment. While we, as Christians, may have a perssonal problem with any of these practices, we cannot stand against them by using this commandment as the basis for our arguments. These are matters between the individual and the Lord, using other portions of Scripture for supporting either side of the issue.

To be continued.

Comments or Questions?

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com

Additional studies by Geoff
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