Is Taking Human Life Ever Justified?
I recently published a Blog post entitled, “Is Capital Punishment Wrong?“ A Christian Brother on LinkedIn named Brian read the post and left the comment below:
“Interesting article. I have a question – your article focuses on an example at a micro level regarding taking human life; what about a macro level? How would you use scripture to justify the innocent lives taken in WWII (using your initial example from the article) at Hiroshima and Nagasaki?”
Here’s my response to his comment below:
I suspect your definition of innocent and God’s definition is somewhat different, Brian.
I have two counter-questions for you:
When God wiped out the entire population of planet earth (beside Noah and his family) how many “Innocent” children did He kill?
When God killed the first born of EVERY Egyptian household how many of them were “Innocent?”
Here’s another question for you: Can one person be held accountable for the actions of another?
When Israel was entering the Promise Land under Joshua’s leadership a man named Achan disobeyed God and stole something which resulted in God’s anger.
Here’s what happened when he was found out, “Then everyone took Achan and the things he had stolen to Trouble Valley. They also took along his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys, and sheep, his tent, and everything else that belonged to him.
The people of Israel then stoned to death Achan and his family. They made a fire and burned the bodies, together with what Achan had stolen, and all his possessions.
They covered the remains with a big pile of rocks, which is still there. Then the Lord stopped being angry with Israel.” Joshua 7:24-26 (CEV)
Did you notice that the Lord was angry with the entire nation because of the actions of one man?
In other words… They were guilty by association!
In 1st Chronicles chapter 21 King David sinned against God resulting in 70,000 “Innocent” Israelites dead.
Can the citizens of a nation pay the price for the actions of their leader? God says yes!
Brian, every human being has an area of jurisdiction allowed by God… Divine authority over people and geographic areas for which you are accountable.
If you’re single it’s just you and your possessions.
If you are married it’s you, your family and possessions.
Your actions and decisions as the head of your household directly affect everyone under your jurisdiction.
Achan’s kids found this out the hard way!
When you’re the leader of a nation the entire nation is under your jurisdiction and your actions affect every citizen.
Both Pharaoh and David found this also to be true.
Japan’s leaders attacked the United States thereby declaring war. When this happened they are the ones who put their citizens at risk.
The American President’s forceful response in no way indicates guilt on his part nor on the part of the American people… The death of every Japanese citizen by those bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima lays squarely on the heads of Japan’s leaders.
In 1st Chronicles 21 God allowed David to choose the punishment for his disobedience and one of his options was Israel’s citizens being destroyed for 3 months by their enemies.
God said, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed:” Gen 9:6
Just as God uses men to chastise men so He uses nations to chastise nations.
My advice is for you to re-think your concept of innocence, Brother. When Japan declared war on America it wasn’t just it’s leaders or it’s military… it was JAPAN declaring war!
When Achan sinned, God was angry with the ENTIRE nation of Israel.
When David sinned it’s the “innocent” citizens who paid the price for his disobedience.
When Pharaoh wouldn’t let God’s people go it was the Egyptian people who became guilty before God and paid with the life of THEIR first born sons.
When those bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima there were no innocent people on the ground… Not according to the principles of the word of God.
The horrors of war are real and I feel deeply for every person affected by the dropping of those bombs but that does not alter the fundamental principles of the kingdom of God.