Is Capital Punishment Biblical?
Capital punishment has always been an arguable issue and for good reason. The Old Testament clearly calls for the death penalty on many occasions, whereas; many of the teachings of Jesus and others in the New testament readily denounce it. Therefore, both advocates ands opponents of capital punishment have Biblical references to support their beliefs.
Opponents use the creation story to show that all are created in God's image. Genesis 1:27a states that "God created man in his image."1 God, thus, has the power to give and take away life as he chooses. All men are to preserve life to the best of their ability. M. Margaret Falls says that we cannot treat people as mere instruments to personal survival, success or fulfillment.2
Advocates will also utilize Genesis 1:27 to prove that because man is created in God's image, man must preserve as many lives as possible, Therefore, the death of one, who has murdered many, will spare the useless and countless deaths of others.
God's command to preserve life seems much more important here than the preservation of criminals.
Capital punishment is never used legitimately in the New Testament. Jesus' constant preaching of love and forgiveness shows his contempt for the harming of others. One example of love is found in John 15:17 "This is my command: Love each other." An example of forgiveness is Matthew 6:14 "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."
Jesus practiced what he preached by not condemning guilty persons. In John 8:1-11, Jesus did not let the people stone a woman that is caught in adultery. Jesus is known for giving people second chances. Opponents of the death penalty think that everyone should learn from Jesus and give others a...