Capital Punishment Discussion

Using 150 words for each response, constructively critique each response utilizing one scholarly source and one biblical source to help back your answer. Also use “Criminal Law” by Gardner & Anderson 1. 1. What is the origin and biblical basis for the death penalty? The origin of the death penalty can be traced to the Noahic Covenant. In Genesis 9, after the Great Flood, God establishes a covenant with Noah. Within this agreement, God declares the punishment for murder. “And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. 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 own image.” (Gen. 9:5-6, English Standard Version) The Mosaic Covenant ultimately outlines multiple violations that require death as a penalty, but it began here with Noah. The original sin that constituted death as a penalty was when the violator took a life himself. This principle established by God reveals that there is proportionately in terms of punishment. If someone intentionally sheds the blood of another in the way of murder, then it is only right that their life be taken. 2. Is there a difference between the Old and New Testament approaches to the death penalty? The coming of Christ clearly established a new way. Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial and judicial requirements of the law by being the ultimate sacrifice that had no blemish. Christ fulfilled the moral aspect of the law by living perfectly; consequently, we are called to live according to those moral principles. The principle of proportional justice still stands in moral principle. for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Rom. 13:4) Paul’s epistle to the church of Rome explains that God has ordained government to carry out his wrath, and the sword may be used to exact this wrath. The penalty of death may still apply within the covering of the New Covenant; however, there is clearly a difference a far as what carries the death penalty. In John’s Gospel, a woman is brought before Jesus that is accused of adultery. The scribes and Pharisees advise Jesus that the Law demands she be put to death. Jesus responds, “‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her’” (Jhn. 8:7). Ultimately, no one in the crowd chooses to stone the woman. Based upon the saving work of Christ, there is clearly a difference of what should be penalized by putting the violator to death versus the Old Testament law. 3. Explain the U.S. Supreme Court’s treatment of juveniles and the mentally ill in death penalty cases. The Liberty University (n.d.) presentation cites the United States (US) Supreme Court case Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005) in slide five. This case set precedent that established the death penalty as cruel and unusual punishment for an offender under the age of 18. The court cited evolving standards of decency, which notates that things that were not considered cruel and unusual in the past, may be considered cruel and unusual now; this precedent was set in a case involving a death penalty sentence for someone that was deemed mentally ill (Liberty University, n.d., slide 5). Gardner & Anderson (2018) cite multiple US Supreme Court cases that limit the use of the death penalty as well as establish clear guidelines as to its use. Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399 (1986) set precedent that ruled “… the Eight Amendment prohibits the execution of a prisoner who is insane at the time of the execution”(Gardner & Anderson, 2018, Ch. 8-4a). Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002) set precedent that declared the death penalty for defendants with mental retardation was cruel and unusual punishment (Gardner & Anderson, 2018, Ch. 8-4a).

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