Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 23, 1964
NUMBER 37, PAGE 1,12a


Robert H. Farish

The sixth commandment of the Decalogue is translated, "Thou shalt not kill." (Exo. 20:1) After Noah came out of the ark, God said to him, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." (Gen. 9:6) Cain's failure to "rule over" his desire resulted in his committing the sin of murder. The voice of Abel's blood crying from the ground unto God was answered by God's curse upon Cain for his sin which no longer "couched at the door" but had entered into Cain's life — "and now cursed art thou from the ground...." (Gen. 4:11) These along with many other passages show clearly God's attitude, toward murder, in former ages. In the gospel age, God's curse upon murderers continues with all the force it ever had, and in addition the fact that improper motives make one guilty of sin is set forth more clearly than before. Jesus said, "Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of judgment: but I say unto you, that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment...." (Matt. 5:21, 22) The extreme jeopardy in which anger puts the soul points up the fearful character of unrestrained anger — anger entertained rather than "ruled over."

"Thou Shalt Not Kill" — "Thou Shalt Surely Kill Him"

There is no contradiction between the command, "Thou shalt not kill" in Exo. 20:13 and the command, "Thou shalt surely kill him " (Deut. 13:9) The Hebrew words are different. The word translated "kill" in Exodus 20:13 means "murder," while the word translated "kill" in Deut. 13:9 means simply "to slay."

The reason for refraining from murder as given in the Bible is the fact that man is in the image of God. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." (Gen. 9:6)

Causes Of Murder

Murder is on the increase. The shocking, sinful and criminal actions which resulted in the death of the president of the United States, a brave policeman of the city of Dallas, Texas, and the near death of the governor of Texas, have received world notice. Then in the wake of this, the murder of the suspected assassin adds further crime.

No proper basis for justification of the killing of the one who was suspected of murdering the president and the policeman exists. When God said, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed," he did not license just anyone, from just any motive, to take matters in his own hands, and as a self-appointed executioner go out and kill everyone who has killed another. Under the laws of God those designated by God were to take the life of the murderer. The duly ordained agents "beareth not the sword in vain for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil." (Rom. 13:4)

News commentators, preachers, teachers in public schools, politicians, the man in the office and the man on the street have commented freely on their ideas as to the causes of these widely publicized murders. The use of these tragedies to advance partisan interest is base and dishonorable. No person with the honor that should properly attend positions of influence will stoop to identifying these murders with certain causes and then either by implication or otherwise, charge these causes to those who oppose them. simply for propaganda purposes. The causes of murder need to be searched out by sober people of honor and then established as causes by logical processes. Mere authoritarian assertions designed to inflame the passions of emotionally unstable people for selfish ends have no proper place in such a serious situation. The strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not use the infirmities of the weak to further personal interests.

Evolution And Murder The sober reasonable voice, calling attention to the logical effect of any system which devaluates human life and reduces it to the level of brute creatures, is as a voice in the wilderness, except that not "all" turn out to hear. The widespread acceptance of the evolutionary theory which regards matter as eternal and rejects God as creator is the basic cause of murder. Anger entertained until it develops into hatred is admittedly a cause of the many murders committed the day before the president and the policeman and others were killed, and the day following, and each day of that fateful week, as well as every other week in the year. This, however, is not the blanket explanation that accounts for the innumerable murders committed every day. Greed, for gain of money, power, prestige, etc., leads to murder. When one at whose door these sins lurk has no more regard for his fellowman than for a high grade animal, he will murder to obtain his desire.

If man is not distinguished from lower animals, by having been created in the image of God, then why should his life be regarded as of any more value than a rat, dog, horse or cow? If man is simply highly refined matter, why should not one man turn off the mechanism that animates another and allow him to assume another form of matter which will not interfere with the murderer's ambitions or ideas?

Devaluation can be accomplished by exalting things of lesser value to the level of things regarded as valuable or by degrading the valuable to the level of the less valuable. Evolutionary philosophy tends to downgrade man's value and upgrade animal's. A man once told this writer that he would just as soon kill a man as a dog. This man thought of himself as such a humane person that he valued a dog as much as a man. Another person writing about hunting — identified the motive of hunters as sadism.

These extreme "humane" positions ignore God's law in this matter as much as others ignore God's law requiring consideration for brute beasts. The same God who required the creature, made in his image, to be considerate and make proper provision for the creatures not in God's image, also authorized man to kill animals for food. To Noah, he said, "Every moving thing that liveth shall be food for you...." (Gen. 9:3) To Peter, he said, "Rise, Peter; kill and cat." (Acts 11:7) Paul by the Spirit foresaw that people would "give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by them that believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good...." (1 Tim. 4:16-3a)

"For in the image of God made he man" (Gen. 9:6) is the reason for the high value God places upon human life. Man's regard for God will determine his regard for human life.

The Destiny Of Murderers

"But for the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part shall be in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death." (Rev. 21:8)

— 417 E. Groesbeck, Lufkin, Texas