2015-04-1207 - The Sixth Commandment
Aren't There Times When We Should Kill?
Now - it seems it is important to understand the “why” of this commandment. This is important, in that the “why” is necessary to be able to apply it properly. Remember, we said the bottom line is 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 rationale behind the commandment.
Many believers, for example, support capital punishment as a deterrent to murder. Others see it as societies' revenge upon the criminals. 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, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27 esv).
We are not to murder - because man is created in God’s image. Granted, the image has become corrupted because of the fall. 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 that animal life should be seen as having the same value 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 Creator’s image. 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 won’t have a happy or productive life, so let’s terminate it.” But the fetus, actually the pre-born human, is created in God’s image, and therefore has value in that it is human, not because it serves some utilitarian purpose.
Keep in mind that this issue isn’t limited to the pre-born baby. It also touches on those who are defined as disabled. It affects the elderly who can “no longer contribute to society.” The social engineer has decided to value us based on how we “contribute” to society, using their view of contribution of course, instead of valuing us because we are human. We are created in God’s image, and therefore have imputed value from Him in that image.
I doubt we are likely to find ourselves in the position where it is appropriate for us to kill. And certainly, if one understands this commandment as not murdering, we will never find this an issue. This commandment, in and of itself, does not prevent self-defense even if it ends with the death of another.
Equally, the commandment has nothing to do with the government’s right to require its citizens to be in the military, or to serve on the jury of a capital case. While we as Christians may have a personal problem with any of these practices, we can not 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 one’s views.
Study to be continued.
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