God's Basic Law On Shedding Of Blood

God destroyed the ancient world with a flood.  At one time every child in America knew about Noah and the flood. Much of our current crop of children are woefully ignorant of this as well as much of the rest of the Book of Books.  At that time in the history of man, "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5).  Unfortunately, judging by T.V. and the media, this also seems to be an accurate evaluation of America's popular culture today.

 After the flood, God made a new covenant with man (Genesis 9:1ff).  In man's relationship with animals, he is still in charge.  God stated, "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.  Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things" (verses 2-3).  The Lord then makes a strange (to modern ears) exception to our dietary needs.  He commands, "flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat" (verse 4).  This prohibition is echoed in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 3:17) as well as in the Gospel (Acts 15:29). 

 Included in this post-flood covenant was this, "And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's  brother will I require the life of man.  Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man" (9:5-6).  Murder then requires the execution of the murderer.  If an animal kills a human, it too must be put to death (vs 5).  Why?  "For in the image of God made he man" (vs 6).  It is this fact - man is made in the image of God - that makes man truly unique. 

 This basic law of blood for blood is further explained when God gave the Law of Moses.  God distinguishes homicide from manslaughter in Numbers 35.  The Lord points out that murder pollutes and defiles the land (verse 33-34).  Furthermore, the only way the land can be cleansed is for the murderer to be executed - i.e. "the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it."  When the murderer is delivered to the executioner, God warns Israel, "Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee" (Deuteronomy 19:13).

Capital punishment for murder, although considered barbaric by many today, is a basic law of God and a life for a life is a reflection of perfect justice.  God has spoken - but will we hear?

 Dale I. Royal, Elk City, OK