And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.Genesis 9:5b-6
After the flood, God is reinstating this prohibition against taking human life, but He controls it by another tactic. He says He will extract a price for any blood that is shed. That is more than the process of justice. Human justice does not always do the job; it sometimes fails. But notice what God says:
And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. God does not look at humanity as we do. We look around and see so many isolated individuals. We think of ourselves as separate from one another. But God never does. He looks at us and sees the ties that bind us together, the ties that unite us to the past and to the past beyond that. In God's sight, the human race is one vast body of humanity, a brotherhood of one flesh
in Adam. God says that He will require of this entire race a price for the shed blood of a single individual. Murder will be avenged against the race, not merely against the guilty individual.
We are touching now upon a principle that has been active in history and that is extremely important to understand. It is that violence begets violence. God has ordained it so. The price of bloodshed is more bloodshed—and still more—until the fact of humanity's evil looms so large that people cease their delusive, naive ideas and recognize the stark, naked fact of human evil and turn to the God who alone can deal with the problem. Since the human race is a brotherhood, it means that the innocent can suffer as well as the guilty. The innocent individual will be struck down as well as the guilty, because we are all tied together.
When people resort to violence to gain their ends in one area, they may justify it as being peculiarly needed to accomplish their specific goal, but what they don't see is that, though God apparently does nothing to correct it in that one area, soon a war breaks out or the accident rate increases or a senseless murder occurs or violence sweeps a city or a public figure is assassinated. People are then forced to learn that God does not take lightly the distorting and despoiling of His image in them. That is why violence inevitably breeds more violence, until people, at last, in horror at what they have loosed in society, face up to the fundamental act that they are infiltrated with evil. Only God can cure it. Only the cross of Jesus Christ can smash this evil in any one of us. That is what God wants us to learn.
Lord, I pray for peace in a world filled with violence and bloodshed. Let that peace be in my own heart as I seek to honor Your image in each person.
In God's collective created humanity, we soon learn that violence by individuals begets more violence in society. What do all need to recognize & learn from this?