While I was not particularly interested in learning all the details of how a firing squad works, I most certainly did appreciate the young man’s letter in last week’s paper supporting the death penalty for willful murder and other base crimes.
Various religious leaders may pontificate that “all life is sacred.” And sociologists, psychologists, and the supposed wise men of the world think that their studies, investigations, and theories of human behavior can negate the need or justification for the death penalty. But these are all conclusions derived merely by human reasoning which, apart from the guidance of God’s written Word, is inevitably perverted by our corrupted and sinful natures to excuse sin and tolerate injustice. It is simply not right to bury the dead, but allow his or her killer to live.
The notion that all life is sacred may sound very pious and holy, but it is an idea that is simply not found in the Scriptures. All innocent life is sacred, yes! But criminal, degenerate life is not. When someone has so little respect for the life of his fellow human beings that he kills them, he has forfeited any right he had to his own life and society has every right and duty to take it from him.
The Bible says plainly: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, his blood will be shed by man, for God made man in the image of God”. (Gen. 9:6) In applying this verse, one Bible commentator has written: “How carefully God protects the rights of men! He has attached a penalty to willful murder. If one murderer were permitted to go unpunished, he would by his evil influence and cruel violence subvert others. God must punish murderers. He gives life, and He will take life if that life becomes a terror and a menace.” (SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 7-A, p. 1091) And the principle that human governments have the right to use capital punishment to maintain order in society and to execute justice on behalf of the victim is substantiated by countless examples in sacred history. Ceasar (human government) does not bear the sword in vain. (See Romans 13:4)
In all the moral issues of life, the word of our infinite Creator God must stand sovereign and supreme. Our only duty as His sinful, erring, and fallible creatures is to submit unquestioning to His infallible judgments, decisions, and requirements.