A Study of God's Prescription for Preserving Life

"Whoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God He made man." Genesis 9:6

God's Penalty for Murder

Noah's Flood changed a great many things. At the start of the Flood, God collapsed the Water Vapor Canopy that had surrounded the earth from the second day of Creation. That completely altered the biosphere. He had caused the Fountains of the Great Deep to burst open, covering every bit of land and mountains on the pre-Flood Earth. When the waters dissipated over the space of several months, it was a new and deformed world. Everywhere there were signs of the rapid run-off of the Flood waters. No longer was the earth like a gigantic terrarium. Now the earth would not be covered everywhere with lush vegetation. Now deserts would emerge, where water and food was minimal or non-existent.

For the first time, God allowed both man and animals to eat meat. There simply was not enough vegetation on the whole earth for everyone. That permission posed a threat to man. How would man protect himself from meat-eating predators? God solved that problem by instilling within animals a fear of man they never before had. And God made a law that any animal that killed a man must himself be killed.

Since man could now eat meat, what was to prevent him from killing and eating fellow humans? God had an answer for that. A man who killed another man was himself to be put to death by society. That would go a long ways toward halting murder.

Why did God place such a high premium on protecting mankind from murder? The answer is simple, yet profound. God had created man in His own likeness and His own image. To kill a man was to deface and snuff out the image of God. So God ordained the ultimate price to protect the sacredness of life. Whoever killed a man must himself be put to death by other men in a judicial process.

So there were two kinds of taking the life of a human. One we call murder. The other we call capital punishment by the decree of God.

Here is the Scripture, Genesis 9:1-5:

1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.

2 The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given.

3 Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.

4 Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

5 Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.

The society that implements swift justice and the execution of a murderer prevents the wanton killing of human life. But the society that allows slow prosecution and rarely executes a murder actually incentivizes and increases murder. The latter is what is happening in America.

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(Scripture quotation taken from the NASB.)

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Posted September 9, 2020