THE BIBLE MATTERED TO THE FOUNDERS
Suffice it to say that an honest examination of the original writings of the Founding Fathers of these United States of America shows that the overwhelming majority of them were clearly devout Christians and their lives and thoughts centered on its teachings. To them, the moral principles, the personal freedom, the individual responsibility, and the submission to an authority other than man himself are demanded by the Bible. They were convinced this was absolutely crucial to the success of their noble experiment with self government.
They knew that self government depends on self restraint, that freedom without responsibility degenerates into wanton licentiousness and profane self indulgence and that ultimately this would destroy the republic. We are watching these consequences play out before our very eyes.
The Founders held some truths to be “self-evident”. They did not debate these matters. Certain truths were above the discriminatory faculties of men. For the Founders it was self evident that “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the expanse proclaims His handiwork.”[i]
It is these very observations that led the Apostle Paul to declare that “the unseen things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being realized by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse.”[ii] I quote this not to proselytize but to demonstrate what the world has found in Scripture: the authority of truth confirmed in daily life.
A UNIQUE PARADIGM
Regardless of one’s personal spiritual faith or presumed lack thereof, no honest broker of facts and ideas can deny that our country was founded upon Judeo-Christian principles. One does not need to be a physicist to acknowledge gravity. Likewise, one does not need to be Jewish or Christian to observe the obvious truth that the United States of America was built upon biblical foundations.
While this may annoy some (we Christians after all can be a persistent lot), no authentic thinker can deny that the freedom to express one’s conscience in matters of faith is a fundamental aspect of the Judeo-Christian tradition. With all due respect to those who would find this discussion to be a sneak attack by Christians who want to convert the world and install a theocracy, this brief essay simply acknowledges the basic truths that underpinned America’s moral and political paradigm at the time of its founding.
THE NATURE OF MAN AS SOVEREIGN
It is a core belief among mature and knowledgeable scholars that the God of the Bible has always given men the freedom to accept or reject His Lordship. In both the Old and New Testaments, God makes His will known to men but as He has fashioned them “in His image and likeness”[iii] He created man free. This speaks to the concept of man as a sovereign being under God. There is no being that is freer than God and there are no creatures more free than those whom such a God has created and set free.
There is a maxim of law which states that “The power which is derived cannot be greater than that from which it is derived.” Simply put this means that the man cannot be greater than the God who created him. Analogous to that is the logical assertion that the State cannot be greater than the men who created it. The federal government cannot be greater than the States that created it. Who can deny that today this order is reversed? We live in a political delusion where the tail is wagging the dog. The federal government has placed itself at the top of the power pyramid and has essentially placed itself above the States, Man, and God.