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  • Chad Werkhoven

Genesis 9:1-6 - Capital Value

Society will not be truly civil until it realizes what God told Noah.

Read / Listen

Read Genesis 9:1-6

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 105

Q. What is God’s will for you

in the sixth commandment?

A. I am not to belittle, insult,

hate, or kill my neighbor—

not by

my thoughts,

my words,

my look or gesture,

and certainly not

by actual deeds—

and I am not to be party to this

in others;

rather, I am to put away

all desire for revenge.

I am not to harm or recklessly endanger myself either.

Prevention of murder is also why government is armed with the sword.



In many ways our passage today parallels the opening chapters of the Bible. God gave Adam dominion over the earth and commanded him to be fruitful and multiply. In the same way, God announces to Noah that from that day forward the animals would fear man, and he's given the same command to increase greatly upon the earth that Adam had been given.

But the situational difference between God's initial mandate and His command to Noah is stark: even though God had cleansed the world of sin's worst effects through the great flood, sin is still present in human nature. Death, the ultimate consequence of sin, would remain a reality.

But death does not operate with impunity. God "will surely demand an accounting" each time man's blood is spilled, even from animals, and especially from other men. It would be hundreds of years yet before God gave His full law through Moses, but the one stipulation He wants to make immediately clear is that murderers must face the ultimate consequence.

God told Noah, and also now tells us, that when a human is killed, it's not just an ordinary creature that has its life snuffed out. Understand that your life has value not just because you're a awesome person, but because you are made in the image of God Himself. Therefore the civil consequence of murder must be swift and severe: God Himself demands capital punishment, a regulation given for all people living in all times.

Dig Deeper

A society that practices capital punishment might meet the letter of the law God set forth upon renewing life on earth through Noah's family, but simply executing convicted murderers is a long way from the ideal that God set forth. Plenty of corrupt governments have been very good at avenging killers, but yet placed little value on human life. A government willing to kill its own citizens, even if they are guilty, but which does not recognize God's image as the basis for human value is a massively dangerous entity, as history has shown repeatedly.

We live in a society that has devalued human life because it no longer recognizes God, so how could society possible recognize the intrinsic value that God's image gives to mankind? Abortion, euthanasia and licentious living that ignores the life shortening effects of unhealthy food, drink and bad habits are all symptoms of our disassociation of mankind as the image bearer of a holy, righteous creator God. Man has become nothing more than an expendable animal that can be eradicated when it's considered inconvenient; ironically even the animals are often given more value than mankind!

Simply executing more convicted murders will not solve this most serious of problems.

Society must regain a fear of God, and a realization that His image in each and every person has all surpassing value. Restoring this reality is not a task you can delegate to the government or other civil leaders. Rather you must communicate what God has shown you to be true to your friends and family who have forgotten.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father who has put His image upon each one of us;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will see God's image in every person you see, and that you will effectively communicate this truth to those you influence;



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 1 John 5


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