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On Penalty of Death

Written by Ed Stetzer Feed on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

Dr. Toby Jennings shares thoughts about death and who decides when we die.

Dreaming of Death

“For a dream comes with much business.” Ecclesiastes 5.3

Wise King Solomon surely was involved in “much business.” Not only was he king of Israel, but he also had seven hundred wives and three hundred consorts. That the king had much on his plate to provoke dreams would be an understatement.

Sometimes our own dreams result from encounters, however momentary, with daily “business.” These dreams then themselves provoke conscious contemplation.

Recently, I had an interestingly odd dream, likely provoked by some combination of conscious encounters and then intricately crafted by my unconscious mind into this fictional narrative. The dream opened upon a kind of perennial competition involving a group of people mandatorily selected by an invisible tribunal. The contestants would compete for their lives. The clearly serious competition entailed a host of academic and judicial questions, physical challenges, and matches of human prowess. The competition was judged entirely by one man, who, in the end, himself would compete to the death with the single survivor. Without exception, everyone but the last man would die.

Although this account is merely the fictional abstraction of a busied mind, it nonetheless poses some very real queries. The reality is everyone will die. The reality is death is the ultimate penalty. The reality is judgment is the necessary prerequisite to the penalty of death. The question is, "Who gets to determine who will die and when?"

Death Games

Twenty-first century culture is certainly not the first to contemplate the question of who determines death for another. Consider for example the Roman Colosseum games of two millennia ago. ...

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