God's sixth commandment states, "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13). It forbids all unjust killing, wounding, and harming of others or myself. When condemning violence against others, this commandment also prohibits all causes of it - hatred, anger, and seeking of revenge. It requires the opposite - love, patience, and care for others. It implies that we are to value human life and to show concern for the health of others and ourselves.
It is possible to murder ourselves or others physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. All are forbidden by God. Physical killing includes murder, suicide, and all forms of carelessness or recklessness in health and safety matters. God is the Giver of human life and He has made man in His image. Though we have lost the image of God in its narrower sense through our sinful fall in Adam, Its wider image-bearing characteristics remain (refer to Chapter Seven for an explanation of God's image in man). These characteristics include our possession of both a body and a soul and our being destined for eternal existence. In a special manner, we receive our souls directly from God. Human life, therefore, transcends plant or animal life in value. No person may ever intentionally take the life of another unless God has granted His permission.
Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
- I John 3:15
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say. Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
- Matthew 5:21-22
Transcends - Goes above or beyond; exceeds; is superior to