5 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.
6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.
Notice that, as God indicates the reckoning that will come for those who shed the blood of mankind, God gives a very clear and very simple reason. Why is murder so wrong? Why is murder punishable by death? God tells us that this is because mankind is created in his image. To murder a man is to attack the very image, the very representation of the person, authority, and glory of God.
This verse has big implications for worldview as much as for criminal law. In one sense, this verse helps to show us how morality is established. Morality is not a truth or set of standards that exist outside of the person of God. God does not conform to morality as if morality is a separate thing. No, what makes right to be right is the fact that it is like God. Murder is so sinful because it is an attack on God even more than it is an attack on another individual. Murder is wrong because God says so. Murder is wrong because God values his image greatly and will not tolerate it being defamed by sinful men. But make no mistake, murder is wrong primarily because God declares it to be wrong.
Also consider what this does for us as we consider the people of the world. If God declares that an attack on another person is an attack on his image, then we must grant that every person in the world has value. We are not valuable because of what we accomplish or how we live. We are not valuable because of how far along we are in our physical development or how great a quality of life we have. We are valuable because we have been granted value by God. That value is upon all people. It cannot be taken away. It cannot be added to. A living human being is a person made in the image of God, no matter who that human being is.