Sobering Truths about the Opponents of Lex Talionis


          Religious officials (like the Pope and others) who oppose capital punishment—the just practice of taking the life of one who has shed the innocent blood of a human made in the image of God—appear to have overlooked several sobering truths about the lex talionis.

          First, it is clearly taught in the Law God gave to Moses. Three times in the Torah the principle of mirror punishment—“life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot”—is specifically stated (Exodus 21:23-25; Leviticus 24:19-21; Deuteronomy 19:21). Therefore, it is impossible to misunderstand this without being dishonest with God’s Word.

          Second, since it is in the Law God gave Moses, and since that Law is pronounced “good” (1 Timothy 1:8) and “holy” (Romans 7:12) by the inspired apostle Paul, then anyone opposing these moral and judicial provisions in the Law is not good and is not holy.

          Third, since it is in the Law God gave Moses, and since every transgression and disobedience of that Law received a just reward (Hebrews 2:2), then anyone opposing this just punishment proscribed by God is not just.

          According to the Scriptures and the rules of elementary logic, opponents of capital punishment are, Biblically-speaking: not honest, not good, not holy, and not just.

          The sobering truths about religious officials who oppose the just punishment of criminals and/or capital punishment is:

          They are dishonest.

          They are evil.

          They are unholy.

          They are unrighteous.

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Author: jchowning

2 thoughts on “Sobering Truths about the Opponents of Lex Talionis

  1. John:
    I am in complete agreement with your comments on capital punishment, and I have preached and written the same. Several years ago I was talking with a man about capital punishment. I quoted to him Genesis 9:6. He responded by saying something like, Well, Cain murdered his brother Abel, but God did not put Cain to death. How would you have answered that? Of course that was before Genesis 9:6 and before the law of Moses had been given, but the moral principle of capital punishment surely must go back to Cain. We know that God who makes the law can also make exceptions to the law. I would just like your feedback on this in case the remark is ever made to me again then I will have a better answer. Appreciate your work.

    1. Ben,

      I think your answer is a good one.

      In addition, it is good to note that there are a number of moral principles which have been true since the beginning of human history–working six days a week and resting one; divorce permitted only in cases of fornication; et. al. This does not mean that God is obligated to introduce them as divine expectations in Genesis 3. Just as He did not introduce the observance of the Sabbath until Exodus 20 and permission for divorce only in cases of fornication until the New Testament so He did not introduce the practice of capital punishment until Genesis 9.

      He was not obligated to introduce capital punishment with Cain. The text of Genesis 4:12-15 clearly teaches that God was greatly displeased and Cain’s lifelong punishment was unpleasant. As the moral Governor of our world, He has the freedom to choose how to punish wicked Cain and He most certainly did. Since He had not legislated the practice of capital punishment in the days of Cain, He was not obligated by His word to punish Him in that way.

      We live in God’s world and He is its perfect Governor. Presuming to tell Him when He can and should have introduced His moral and civil legislation is most unwise. If the point of this quibble is to believe it somehow disproves the explicit words of God in authorizing capital punishment and its practice since the days of Noah, it fails completely.

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