Capital Punishment in the Bible

I’ve been following the debate over capital punishment, and Christian perspectives therein, for a while, but I have never heard anyone cite the scripture that the evangelical outpost uses: God’s covenant with Noah from Genesis 9:

5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.

6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.

[emphasis mine – j]

I can’t believe I’ve never heard a death penalty advocate make reference to these verses before. That’s a pretty solid quote, and goes right along with Paul’s statement in Romans 13 (also noted by an evangelical outpost commenter):

3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

I tentatively support the death penalty, by which I mean I’m in favor of it, but I’m willing to listen to reasonable arguments against it. But I don’t think that anyone can make the argument that the scriptures demand that Christians must oppose capital punishment. There are just too many examples like those above.

And by the way, speaking of death penalty decisions, be sure to read this excerpt from the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Kentucky death penalty case, wherein Justice Scalia delivers a rhetorical pimp slap to Justice Stevens. Luv that Scalia.