If God so cherishes life, why does he require capital punishment (Gen 9:5-6)?

An answer is given right in the text: “For in the image of God he made man.” Severe punishment for murder is meted out because man bears the image of God. Still, we can ask: do not murderers also bear the image of God? Why are they killed, then? The answer, clearly, must be that time and again in the Bible, lawbreakers lose their rights. Murderers lose their right to live. Adam lost the right to live in the Garden, and to immortality. Cain lost the right to be in the presence of God and live among God’s people. The evil of nearly all of humanity caused them to lose the right to live. And that is just the first six chapters of the Bible; the theme goes on to the end. Moreover, the famous articulation of lex talionis, “eye for eye” (Ex 21:24), occurs in a distinguished place, i.e., just one chapter after the Ten Commandments. God is very far from being a gentle, tolerant liberal. God cherishes life, it is fair to say, indeed; so, naturally, he hates that which is so hostile to life. But more precisely, it is ultimately not lives per se but lives that serves righteous life that God loves.