Is the Death Penalty Christian?


The attorney general, Eric Holder, just called for an end to executions in America, or at the very least, a lengthy moratorium. This naturally raises the question about what the Christian view of capital punishment is. It’s a question worth answering.

Capital punishment was instituted by God following the flood of Noah. According to Genesis 9:5-6, God says, “From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his image.”

Here God is clearly delegating his authority to man – “by man shall his blood be shed” – to carry out the death penalty for the wanton taking of innocent human life. God himself is the one who is requiring this “reckoning for the life of man,” because the murderer has destroyed someone created “in his image.” Murder defaces and destroys the image of God, and for that God demands an accounting.


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