Friday, October 29, 2010

On the Gravity of Taking Human Life

Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. (Genesis 9:6)

The reason that murder is such a heinous crime is that God made us in His image. Although the murderer strikes out at a creature, he also strikes out at the very image of God. In so doing, he makes his own life forfeit.

Capital punishment is not murder because God sanctions it. The death penalty properly applied does not strike out at God's image, but rather reflects another aspect of His image: justice.

Taking life in self defense is likewise sanctioned by God (Exodus 22:2). The fact that God allows legitimate taking of human life does not in any way diminish the gravity of such an act.

Sometimes, those involved in self defense or various aspects of warrior culture speak lightly of killing. This should not be so among Christian Martialists.

My barber recently sent me a link to a forum discussion on the subject. The first letter is by a woman who had taken a handgun self defense course.

Two things stood out to me:
  1. Her realization of the deep responsibility for taking the life of another, even in self defense -- to the point of nausea;
  2. Her resolute conviction that it remained the right thing to do.
Much discussion follows, and it is worthwhile to meditate on it in the light of God's teachings on the subject.

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