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One of the most divisive issues in our country is this: Should the government execute a person for certain serious crimes? Legal experts argue passionately on both sides of the issue. Many who favor capital punishment rely on what God said to Noah when he left the ark. We read God’s words in Genesis 9:5: “I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands.” That this provision was not a license for people to take matters into their own hands is clear from other texts. Later, in Numbers Chapter 35, we find where God provided cities of refuge where suspected killers could flee. They would be safe until authorities tried them and determine if they were worthy of death. One of the arguments against capital punishment is that people with few resources for defense get death sentences, while those with plenty of money do not. Far be it for me to resolve this age-old issue. At the same time, we cannot ignore the value God places on human life. God created us in His own image and therefore every life is sacred and valuable. Any society that tolerates taking the lives of innocent people cannot long endure.

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