It is not easy to comment on the recent atrocities in London and Manchester, yet one cannot be silent. Things like the death penalty used to be a deterrent to the taking of a human life. Some say that we should restore the death penalty for murder. I would be in favour of its restoration, not because I believe it would deter these atrocities, but because the bible calls for it. It is not a duty of the individual, but a duty of the state.
Immediately after the flood, God made a covenant with Noah, which has never been rescinded. In Genesis 9: 6, we read “Whoso sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man”. Every human being is precious because, among other things, he or she bears the image of God. Although the bible teaches us to be kind to animals, especially those who help us in our daily work, there is no prohibition on taking the life of an animal, because they are not made in the image of God, and are not morally responsible. For them death is the end, and there is no after-life. On the other hand,, man is made in the image of God, and is held morally responsible by God for all his actions. Every human being must give an account of themselves on the Day of Judgement: “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).
Sadly the death penalty would not help to deter the present terrorist groups, because their religion makes certain promises to them if they die in Jihad. Jihad basically means Struggle, or Holy Struggle, or Holy War, or War Against the Infidel. The latter meaning is applied by Islamic Terrorist groups to War against Western Society. However the Day of Perfect Justice is coming and they will not escape, but for them, as for us “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God”. There will be no escape
However, we can pray. We must pray for those who have suffered injury, and for the bereaved. Their pain and heartache is incalculable. We must also seek to obey the command to “Pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44), however difficult we find it.
As I write this, polling is under way in the United Kingdom. One of the big issues facing any new government will be its obligation to defend our citizens. It is very important to be clear that the State is, under God, given responsibilities much wider that the individual. This is clear from Romans 13: 1-5 which describe to us our responsibility to submit to the power of the State and the responsibility of the State to fight against evil. Verse 4 describes to us the responsibility of the ruler to take up the sword against evil: “For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him who does evil”.
There is no doubt that the intelligence services and the police have done a good job. The speed of the police response in the latest London atrocity was amazing. However, the Police must be strengthened and given more powers.
Also questions must be asked of Islam itself. Is there something fundamental to Islam which leaves the way open to the kind of brutality and murder which has been perpetrated in different parts of the world in the name of Islam?
There are also questions that we must ask regarding our own nation. For example, are we under the judgement of God because of our moral decadence? I have no doubt that the answer to that question is, Yes. We, as christians, must seriously seek the face of God, pleading with Him to bring us to national repentance, and return us to righteousness.