Crime, Mercy & Punishment

One of the key messages of the Bible is that this life on Earth is but temporary.  After death we each go on to await God's judgment.  In the Garden of Eden a single sin doomed the entire human race to the law of sin and of death - in this life.  And much of the Torah (the first five books, by Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) deals with our implementation of God's laws during this life.

The 66 books of the Bible comprise a unique extra-terrestrial message to us from God Himself.  But alas the initial human reaction to getting caught in sin is to hide like Adam and Eve did.  Today we have more sophisticated mental hiding places from our Maker, but with the same effect.  And one hiding place is pretending that the Bible is "full of errors" or that it just cannot be really true.  Then its teachings can be (they think) abandoned.  Nowhere does this hit closer to home than in the area of determining right from wrong.

We, as humans, tend to forget true right and wrong.  To take an extreme example, in Nazi Germany, some people had come to regard the killing of others as a "good" thing to do.  Getting rid of "subhumans" was considered "good."  Looking at it this way it is not a person's motives that would be questioned, but rather whether or not his actions are in line with God's Word.  Was being an efficient concentration camp guard a good or a bad thing to do?  After WWII many left-wing National Socialists (abbreviation: Na-zis) claimed that they were only following orders.  But the Allied Powers held them to a separate standard wherein many were convicted of crimes against humanity, whether done knowingly or not.  So which standard was right: their own culture's which had fallen to a belief that Jews were inferior?  Or to a standard implying that all human life has intrinsic value?

Is chopping down a tall old growth tree evil?  Is building a big nuclear power plant evil?  Is simply speaking, taking God's name in vain evil?  ...Only the third one is specifically stated in the Ten Commandments.  So is a foul mouthed extreme vegan environmentalist, for example, a good or a bad person?

God's Word helps to remind us of what is truly right and wrong.  Down through time there have been many people with "good motives" who have done wrong things.  The Bible gives us the standard that transcends cultures and time.

Google's motto is "Do no evil."  Fine, but what is evil?  Is denying same-sex marriage evil?  Or actually the opposite?  They may have good motives and feel all warm and fuzzy inside if fighting traditional marriage, but do their actions line up with the teachings in God's Word?  If not, no matter how good they feel about their actions, they are doing evil.  Check the Owner's Manual (the Bible) for more information.

The value system is one thing.  The motives are another.  When Al Qaeda terrorists rammed passenger jets into the World Trade Center in New York on 9/11 they were recorded as loudly exclaiming "Allah Akbar!" multiple times in the way in.  (Allahu Akbar - means "Allah is greater!" as they think; it does not mean "God is great."  No, rather it is a claim that the God of the Koran, Allah, is "greater" than any other Gods, including the God of the Bible, they think.)  So were they "doing God's will" when trying to kill thousands of people?  Did such an act bring their God glory?  They had trained for months and years to murder thousands of complete strangers on that day.  They were yelling "Allah Akbar!" as their focus at the end.  (And it needs to be remembered that they had wanted to damage or even destroy Wall Street, which is adjacent, and to kill many more in New York City than just the (about) 3,000 that they did on that day.  They wanted to mass murder tens of thousands of complete strangers, somehow then pleasing their conception of God in that way?)  They may have had "good motives" (according to their value system).  But was their value system in line with the Bible's teachings, i.e. in line with true right vs. wrong?

When someone kills an abortion doctor are his actions in line with the Bible's teachings?  Again, this is not a question of motives.  The person may have thought he had good motives by killing a killer.  But we need to step back and ask, what would Jesus do?  Should we take the law into our own hands?  Everyday is an abortion 9/11 when about 4,000 infants are killed in the U.S. each weekday.

When pro-life groups uphold a standard of no abortions at all, do they have good motives?  And yet since 1973, for almost 40 years now abortions are done each day unabated.  If the anti-abortion groups compromised allowing for full exceptions in the case of the Mother's life, and rape, or for incest, they'd probably then have the legislative votes to stop most abortions in the U.S.  Would saving over 96% of the babies be in line with God's Word, or should they continue losing year after year, but feeling good about it?  Do their actions prevent deaths or rather allow for the continuation of unmitigated abortion year after year?  -Not a question of motives here, once again.  They see themselves as having good motives, whether their actions actually result in less deaths or not.

According to the Bible the punishment for sin is death. Even a "minor" one-time sin like eating fruit from a forbidden tree - has resulted in severe punishment for the entire human race.

Is this unfair?  Well if we disagree with the judgment it is kind of too bad.  We don't make the rules.  We want to think that our human consensus is sufficient for determining right from wrong.  But the Bible makes the audacious claim that the Owner (of this planet and of our very souls!) sets the rules.  We ignore them at our peril.

Since literal Young Earth Creation Theory (6 days, 6,000 years ago) is true, the rest of the Bible is true.Time after time archaeology verifies the Bible's historical accuracy.  God's Commandments should be our guide both individually and corporately in determining what is right and wrong, and in societal matters of crime, mercy and punishment.  It is the responsibility of government to punish the wicked:

Romans 13:1-4 "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."

It is interesting that in the Old Testament there were not extended "prison terms" under Mosaic Law. Most punishment was carried out quickly. In other lands there were prisons (as when Joseph was in prison in Egypt), but not as the Bible's instruction have taught.

Have you ever thought about how profoundly civilized "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" is?  The thief should be compelled to make restitution.  A "stereo for a stereo and a credit card for a credit card."  When someone has "road rage" because of a slow driver in the left lane, for example, does he seek to simply then get around and drive slowly in front of the perpetrator, or to be more harmful to "teach him a lesson"?  Old Testament law teaches that the punishment should fit the crime.  Extreme punishment is as unbiblical as when society does not punish those who are wrong.

We also have many examples of mercy in the Bible. We also have many examples of God's judgment. Sin has consequences.

Moses, the man entrusted by God to write the Torah, was a murderer. God used such a man as that to relate His Laws to the nation of Israel! King David was also a man who sinned many times. And yet, God used him mightily.

"Crime, Mercy & Punishment"

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