Capital punishment and the image of God

In 1978, porn publisher Larry Flynt was shot by the serial killer Joseph Franklin. Flynt survived, but was paralysed from the waist down. Decades later, Franklin was executed for his serial killings, but not before Flynt said:

I do not want to… see him die…

As I see it, the sole motivating factor behind the death penalty is vengeance, not justice, and I firmly believe that a government that forbids killing among its citizens should not be in the business of killing people itself.

But that’s a warped and humanistic view of justice.

Here’s a better and transcendent view of justice:

The first line of defense for human life is religious. Different religions have differing ideas about human life, from a contempt for it to a misplaced aversion for it. The Biblical perspective is that man’s life has value, not because of man nor what he is, but because man’s image reflects God, and God protects His image bearer. We can take a life on God’s terms, not our own…

To prize life over justice is a view that in time can forfeit life together with justice.

Quote sources

  1. Flynt, L. cited in Anon. (2013). Larry Flynt: Don’t execute man who shot me. BBC News. Available http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-24579849. Last accessed 13th Sep 2015.
  2. Rushdoony, R.J. (1999). The Institutes of Biblical Law, Volume Three: The Intent of the Law. Ross House Books, Vallecito, pp. 70-71
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