This shouldn’t be too hard to understand if your mind knows your heart: Divine justice was never punitive in nature. It was always redemptive. Sure, you could cross some threshold and be taken from this world. The manner of execution would always fit the broader redemptive needs of the community involved, so you shouldn’t imagine that it always has to be quick and merciful for the perpetrator. Still, it was never aimed at dehumanizing the bad guy or gal. They could always confess their sin and may well be received into Heaven afterward. You may struggle with that if you still have a wealth of Western notions of “justice,” but if our Creator approves of something you don’t like, then the problem is with you.
I’ve worked closely enough to the American penal system to know it intimately. It’s wrong all the way through. It’s foundation is built at the Gates of Hell. It arises from the world of Beowulf and the cold, spiteful world that spawned such literature. It presumes a world where the deity is lazy and not really interested in people; that deity was intensely selfish. That’s not Jehovah, and the American penal system devours both the guards and prisoners and the society that spawns such a system. It turns everyone into a Grendel.
You can read the rest of this message here at Kiln of the Soul blog.