The penalty must fit the crime
For thousands of years mankind has realized that the most effective deterrent to criminal behaviour is to make the 'pain greater than the gain.' When this principle is combined with the second principle that criminals must make restitution to their victims, the pain others have suffered is alleviated and the potential pain of future victims is made less inevitable. Because of these two principles, we see that the judgment in favor of a victim of crime should always exceed the loss by a small margin if possible. (Small, or some might bait criminal assault for the profit!) In Old Testament times a thief who stole because he was hungry still had to restore fourfold when he was caught.
There are some shallow thinkers who would argue that when a murder is committed the true victim is unavailable to receive restitution. I argue otherwise. When a life is taken there are many victims: First there is frequently the marriage partner left behind. ("The two," sayeth He, "shall be one flesh.") There are almost always other 'survivors', both friends and relatives that experience a great emotional loss. There is also the loss of any outstanding contribution that victim may have made to society in the future of which countless generations will be deprived. Above and beyond all those, there is the Creator in Whose image the victim is created.
The Creator says that the shedding of innocent blood pollutes the soil of a nation, and the pollution can only be removed by the shedding of the blood of the murderer (i.e. the one who has shed that innocent blood.) The reason that that innocent blood polluted the soil is because it belonged to a being created in the image of God. Even the lives of animals that shed human blood were forfeit. (Genesis 9:5,6; Numbers 35:30-34 -- Read it for yourself!)
A capital crime can be defined as including a premeditated act that effects the loss of innocent life, whether of one or of many. (More about this later, when I have time!)
(home page) (previous page) (next page)