Moral Controversies That Have No Right to Exist
Failure to Execute Violent Criminals (Apply Capital Punishment)
Here is another striking example of the principle where lost, fallen man “gets it wrong”: failure to execute violent criminals (apply capital punishment) for capital crimes. Consider the following:
A quick google search on the annual cost of housing criminals reveal numbers up to ~$75k/inmate/year. At 2,000,000+ prisoners currently held in US prisons, the total cost per year to US taxpayers is a staggering $150 billion! Of those, approximately 2500 were found guilty of capital crimes and await execution (at an estimated cost of ~$180 million per year). Those awaiting execution often remain on death row for 20+ years; in this case, the total could reach ~$3.6 billion for capital felons while we await their executions!?!?
[There are many such google hits on the topic of the cost of operating prisons; note that you will find a great deal of differences in the published costs.
For the purpose of this article, the actual cost is essentially irrelevant (though considerable). Rather, it is the fact that failure to put violent criminals to death comes at a high monetary price to the society “protecting” them from the penalty that is due them.]
The point of the above is not to bemoan the extraordinary costs of housing convicted criminals; I view this situation as what I like to term an “elegant” divine judgment against a nationally disobedient people. It is an extraordinary demonstration of the foolishness of a government/society to fail to apply execution as the LORD demanded in Genesis chapter 9.
You may be sure that the LORD is not pleased that man thinks he has found a “better, gentler, more humane” way of dealing with serious crime and criminals.
The requirement of punishing criminals in an appropriate way is apparent here:
If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death. The one who takes the life of an animal shall make it good, life for life. If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him.
As you see in this verse, there is no question of what the LORD prescribes: violent criminals were to be executed without mercy. The purpose of the execution was not primarily to be a deterrent (though it is that); the primary purpose is that the life of the criminal is over, he has been moved to Hades where he will await the Great White Throne Judgment and eternity in the Lake of Fire! That is the appropriate punishment for his crime!
It should be obvious that if our justice system will not execute the murderer, then the LORD will return the foolishness of our nation upon ourselves by forcing us to incur extraordinary costs to keep those criminals alive. This does not include the cost of human life and property due to repeat offenders!
[At the time of this article, it is becoming more frequent that violent criminals are
• charged, imprisoned, then released because of overcrowding (or COVID!) or;
• charged then released or;
• not charged.
They are free to commit more crimes, and very frequently do.
You may be sure that the legislators who drafted and enacted laws which allow this travesty to happen, and the judges who (sometimes on their own initiative) allow criminals to go free, will themselves be found culpable on the Day.]
Another reason proffered to protect this abomination of justice is the desire to not execute a criminal who “might be innocent”. While this sounds like a compassionate strategy, remember that it is the LORD who required the execution of the murderer. Many maintain that because we can never be sure in many cases of the guilt of the criminal, we should wait as long as it takes (or until appeals run out) before applying execution.
My response to this morally defective reasoning is very simple: if the nation applied capital punishment in a biblical, consistent and timely manner, the LORD would ensure that no innocent persons would be executed – since He abhors the death of the innocent and He would therefore ensure that an innocent person is NEVER put to death for the crime of another.
[It is despicable that the US Supreme Court gave the green light to abortion – which leads to the deaths of nearly a million innocent infants (persons!) per year while our “justice system” works to keep violent criminals alive!
A google search found that nearly ~900,000 surgical/medical abortions, and a calculated 14 million chemical abortions, take place in the US yearly! It is estimated that since Row v. Wade that ~61 million abortions have been performed in the US since 1973.
To borrow a phrase from Gen 4: you may be sure that their “blood cries to the LORD” from their graves. Woe to that nation against whom those cries are raised!]
Here are three texts to keep in mind:
Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.
So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it.
The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
These texts show the foolishness of the often-heard philosophy that “capital punishment is not a deterrent”; the Bible teaches the opposite. Failure to execute violent criminals leads to more crime as Solomon observed nearly two millennia ago in Ecc 8 (above).
Our “lawmakers” haven’t figured out yet that the LORD knows better than they do.
[As this article is being written, the Defund Police movement has infected – and afflicted! – much of the country. The truth of Ecc 8.11 has been abundantly demonstrated by a marked increase in violent crime, not a decrease. So, not only does not putting violent criminals to death result in the direct monetary costs of feeding, clothing, and housing them indefinitely, the same philosophy contributes dramatically and materially to the wanton destruction of cities and personal and private property. What spectacular foolishness!]
We’ve already seen in a previous reference the foolishness of “compassionate approach” to the punishment of the violent criminal. Consider these:
You shall not pity him, but you shall purge the blood of the innocent from Israel, that it may go well with you.
This is exactly what the LORD Himself, the Holy One, did (and does). Here was His warning to the disobedient Southern Kingdom of Israel during the time of Ezekiel: prior to the fall of Jerusalem in ~58c B.C.:
Now I will shortly pour out My wrath on you and spend My anger against you; judge you according to your ways and bring on you all your abominations. My eye will show no pity nor will I spare. I will repay you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst; then you will know that I, the Lord, do the smiting.
Anytime that lost, sinful, temporal man sets upon “improving” the LORD’s law and ways, he becomes hopelessly entangled in abundant contradictions, lawlessness, foolishness and complete self-destruction.
So, what is the resolution to the controversy of capital punishment? It is the timely execution of the guilty murderer as the LORD taught us through Solomon centuries ago in Ecc 8.11 and in many other OT passages (some cited here).
Anything less is futility with catastrophic results – exactly what we are witnessing now!