Kearns and Sons RS Aesthetics

More on Biblical law


In a previous letter I established the bible as the only reliable source of law. Now I am taking up the topic of the basis of punishment for the guilty party.

Currently the basis for punishment is that crime is committed against the state, not the individual, therefore it is the state to whom amends must be made for the crime committed. In this system the injured party is largely forgotten and therefore must spend additional time and money in the civil court system to hopefully be made whole, taking second place to the state. To make matters worse for the victim he is then taxed to support the criminal while in jail adding to the harm caused by the criminal. The criminal meanwhile is supported in what some might call a life of luxury while “paying for his crime in the criminal justice system.” This system in effect rewards the criminal and punishes the victim, leading to lawless society.

A better basis for punishment (in my opinion the best) is the biblical one, simply stated in Exodus 21: 23b-25 “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, stripe for stripe“ (KJV). This means that if I cause the death of someone either intentionally or unintentionally I must restore to wholeness all victims of his death, supporting the victim’s dependents to the level that the victim would have. If I destroy my neighbor’s land I must restore his land to its previous state, regardless of the costs to me. If I cause injury to someone I must make him whole, cover all expenses incurred while convalescing and pay him his lost earnings, even for the rest of his life if permanently disabled. These restitutions can go to the extent of the sale of all my possessions, the sale of my property and business, and the sale of my labor (indentured servitude). The point here is the basis of punishment for causing injury is restoring of the injured party to wholeness, not the punishment of the guilty. This principle makes crime unprofitable, thereby reducing crime and makes everyone personally liable for their actions.

For a more detailed discussion of this topic I recommend the book by Rousas John Rushdoony, “The Institutes of Biblical Law,” 1973, (The Craig Press), pages 269-277.

William Menager


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