The Scriptures and Karma
What do you think? Is it not more cruel and vengeful to put a man in prison for life than to put him to death?
Reader Comment: If you look at it from the spiritual point of view, it is less cruel and vengeful to allow the person to live and learn, If you look at it from the material view, just execute him and be done with it.
JJ: What spiritual view is that? The spiritual view is that which is best for the progress of the individual.
Chances are a life in prison will take him away from his soul and harden him in the direction of a life of crime. There are anecdotal exceptions as noted, but we have to look at the good of the whole when making or supporting various laws.
If giving him the death penalty leads to a faster reincarnation where he is free from a life of negative influence, free from prison, but in a situation of his soul’s choosing where he can progress faster is that not a more spiritual solution?
Comment: I don’t know which is worse, being stuck in prison for life, or being stuck on an endless treadmill, going nowhere. Kind of like this discussion.
JJ: I think most are enjoying the stimulation of this discussion and it is going somewhere. Watch and see. We can’t keep every single person interested in every topic, but we can keep the majority enjoying the conversation most of the time. I believe we are doing this.
Perhaps it may be helpful to see what the scriptures say about the death penalty. It is interesting that most of the scriptures of the world support it without hesitation and the Bible is no exception.
Most us are aware that it was implemented in the time of Moses. Because they were in such a mobile condition prisons were very impractical so the criminal was usually punished with either a fine or death. Quite a simple justice system. Some think that outside of the decrees of Moses for that special situation that the Bible does not support the death penalty.
Let us go back before Moses to the God’s own voice to Noah.
“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” Gen 9:6
Here the scriptures seem to be citing a principle of how karma is to be played out upon those who shed innocent blood. If this is a principle it means that the murderer will eventually get the death penalty even if he should suffer life imprisonment. Obviously he would have to come back and have his life taken.
This agrees with the words of Jesus
“All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Matt 26:52
This is a statement giving us the exactness of the measure of karma – that we shall perish with the measure that we have caused others to perish.
In speaking of punishments Jesus also said: “Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” Matt 5:26
Karma, as it plays out in this world, indeed demands the “uttermost farthing” to be paid before the debt is released.
Some who are against the death penalty will quote the following story as evidence that murderers should not be put to death:
“And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.
“But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
“And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
“And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 8:3-11
There are several reasons that this scripture has nothing to do with the death penalty as it is applied today. The first was that he woman was not a murderer, but accused of adultery. In today’s world the civilized countries apply no criminal punishment to those who commit this act. Karma also does not demand such a draconian measure as death for adultery. Instead, such a person would in some future time suffer a betrayal so he or she would learn the pain of the victim of adultery.
Jesus was ahead of his time in attempting to discourage an overkill in punishment. He was in an awkward situation though because if he showed himself to be in defiance of the Law of Moses he could have been toast before the crucifixion. In addition to allay fears among the Jews he told them:
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Matt 5:17
Therefore, if he had told the group he was against punishing the lady for adultery he would have been accused of being a false teacher. He got out of an awkward situation by displaying a wisdom greater than Solomon by saying:
“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
He directed the severity of the punishment back at them and they each realized that the punishment of death did not fit the crime.
On the other hand, because Jesus did not condemn the woman some feel that this his way of saying we should forgive the murderer and not put him to death.
But, as I said earlier, forgiveness and justice are two different things. Would it be justice to not charge any debt to the murderer and just let him go? Even those who are adamantly against the death penalty usually want murderers placed in prison, often for life which is worse than death – so where is the forgiveness there? Those who apply this story in an effort to forgive the death penalty must also forgive all other penalties including prison. Forgiveness of debt is forgiveness is it not? If we did this we would have the Jeffery Dahmers and William Gacies running around killing more innocent people and even eating them. This makes no sense. The innocent deserve the protection of the state.
The scripture indeed says that there is no way around the death penalty for the murderer:
“He that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” Rev 13:10
Why must the saints who suffered persecution and death have patience? Because in past lives they were the ones who persecuted and killed the innocent. It was no accident that many paid with their lives by being thrown to the lions, beheaded, crucified etc. This was their death sentence being carried out because of crimes in past lives.
Now consider this. If they could have paid for their crime in the life in which it was committed then they could have avoided the death penalty as an early Christian and perhaps have spent an entire life in real service during that important time period.
As far as the death penalty itself Jesus said nothing specific about it except that he did not intend to “destroy the law” of the Jews which included the death penalty. The interesting thing though is we have an example of Peter, the Apostle, actually putting two people to death.
“Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. Acts 4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” Acts 4:34-37
“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
“But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
“And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
“And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for Acts so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
“Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
“Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.” Acts 5:1-11
This indeed seems pretty harsh, but if the account is accurate then it seems that the heavenly powers that be supported Peter. Peter accused these two of something worse than murder which was that they lied “to the Holy Ghost.” Concerning the sin against the Holy Ghost Jesus said:
“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Matt 12:31-32
Apparently the Holy Spirit testified to Ananias and his wife that they were supposed to give the whole gift and they willingly went against this.
Fortunately DK elaborates on this sin and tells us that the point which is beyond forgiveness is not achieved in one incident but through a denial of the soul and hardening of the spirit over several lifetimes.
The point is that this is a New Testament example of the application of the death penalty and the interesting thing it was carried out by the power of God itself.
“Behind every successful man, there’s a woman rolling her eyes.” Jim Carrey – From Bruce Almighty
Feb 6, 2004
Copyright by J J Dewey
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