Updated: May 12
Comment: I wrote the contents for this article over 20 years ago. In the earlier works, my goal was to retrace the forefathers thinking when forming the United States based on Biblical origins. While the Bible's primary message is about the revelation of Jesus Christ, I felt the other messages relating to the government were more relevant in political discussions. I will take a dispensationalist approach drawing from the Age of Mosaic Law, the Age of Government, and much more. Entire books have been written on this topic such as Politics According to the Bible by Wayne Grudem. So I'll summarize as best possible. I will reference the source in the Bible. This is not an attempt at Apostlization, Proselytizing, or Evangelizing. This is simply an intellectual discussion. However, if you should be moved then, by all means, pursue your inner calling.
Humans live on an insignificant planet, in an insignificant solar system, on the edge of an insignificant galaxy amongst billions of galaxies in the vastness of space. The only self-aware and sentient life, known to exist, is located in this insignificant place called Earth. Earthlings or humans are given a variety of revelations from gods who make claims that are self-truths and that counter each other. These Earthlings must somehow vet these revelations and determine which ones possess self-evident truths. The logic is that all gods are sovereign over the natural, and nature must produce evidence consistent with the claims of the god. Judeo-Christian theology rises above other cosmologies, philosophies, and theologies drawing the attention of the American forefathers. The forefathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...
Background about the Bible
The Judeo/Christian Bible is a revelation revealed to man which is one of the most discussed but not so accurately studied or understood by most Earthlings in the social climate post-1900 when Earthlings shifted to theory-based thinking placing a high degree of confidence in unsupported personal belief. They hold an opinion and there is no natural Right to an Opinion. But who can understand the Bible rightly and who decides what is the right interpretation? Among honest and responsible Biblical scholars there is consistent widespread agreement throughout history up to today on all major messages and themes compared to disagreements on minor issues that do not impact the major messages and themes. Of course, there are life application differences among Christians on a variety of topics such as a Just war, death penalty, poverty, wealth, social programs, abortion, etc... However, through civil discourse and formal argumentation, most of these differences can be resolved.
The Bible is an integrated message system, an anthology of 66 books written by more than 40 authors over thousands of years. Over 100s of 1000s of documents come together to form the Biblical text. All these documents come together in three general collections or sources. The last source is the Dead Sea Scrolls penned by the Qumranites (believed to be the Jewish Sect of the Essenes) who personally witnessed Christ. The Thanksgiving scroll is the Book of Isaiah, which details the entire Bible in one book, and is a third confirmation of what we know from the other sources.
The Bible is not a science book, history book, or literary prose but uses these subject matters and others to convey and confirm its messages. The Bible is the only book that uses all 226 rhetorical instruments. The Jesuits mapped out all theologies and religions, demonstrating that the Bible is the only one that begins before time and completes after time. All other theologies, cosmologies, and religions have touch points on the Biblical map, usually denying or counter-messaging some aspect or message of the Bible.
The Bible maintains a consistent message having internal consistency meaning that everything relates to each other and nothing is left dangling or unconnected. In other words, the Bible makes use of a system of systems approach. Systemic Theology is the means to study the Bible in this manner. Whenever a conflict is thought to be found, it is a hint of something deeper, something hidden that requires more thorough study. In rabbinical terms, this is a golden nugget of knowledge called a remez.
Over time, humanity split and reorganized geographically, achieving major advances such as civilization, sciences, mathematics, complex economies, and various forms of governance. Humanity also grew to understand, in time, the deeper meaning within the Bible. The Bible's messages were revealed as humans matured through a natural course of discovery using technology, archeology, and general investigation.
The American Forefathers investigated every moral and ethical system determining that Christianity was the kindest to human government and the freest expansion of the mind. However, this also required people to be principled, educated, and moral (ethical).
"The Christian Religion, when divested of the rags in which they [the clergy] have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of its benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind," Thomas Jefferson March 23, 1801.
The Bible establishes the Republic (Representative Democracy) as the supported form of government. The Republic is underpinned by Free Market Capitalism which in turn is driven by energy gifted from God.
The Biblical Framework for Government
All governments are of God but not all governments are considered God's ideal. The Bible details the framework for a Republic also known as representative democracy. I am listing the relevant topics to America's founding.
Separation Of Powers: “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, and the Lord is our king; he will save us” - Isaiah 33:22 NIV. The separation of powers is a principle to balancing powers in Government the forefathers felt. They viewed men in power as ones to be distrusted and feared that the judicial branch would become too powerful. Because of this fear, Thomas Jefferson remarked that he thought the judicial branch was a mistake. They also knew that Government has to be powerful enough to control rebellious humans. As a result, they instituted a trilogy of powers that acted as checks and balances. This is a critical point as other forms of democracy do not have this system of checks and balances.
Pursuit Of Happiness: John Locke was the main proponent of this notion using the phrase as the underpinnings of his political ethics. He felt that the rights of liberty and property were tightly entangled with this notion as well. The other forefathers agreed. They also believed that the character of happiness included good health, reputation, and knowledge. In this context, the forefathers never intended this to mean the pursuit of hedonistic pleasures or selfish objectives. Thomas Jefferson explained that this notion of happiness was aimed at the nation as a whole and not so much at the individual. This sense of happiness was derived from Chapter 11 pages 110-124 of The Law of Nations by Emmerich De Vattel. Vattel got the idea from the Bible.
Pursuit of Liberty: The forefathers knew the Judeo/Christian Bible promoted freedom for humans in many ways and viewed slavery as counter to the notion of liberty they were promoting. "Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death", Exo 21:16 NIV. Another perspective on freedom is that Jesus Christ died on the cross and fulfilled the law for each human's rebellion. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery" Galatians 5:1 NIV. Thus, freeing each man from the yoke of the law and to conduct himself in accordance with the Ten Commandments. "Now the Lord is the spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom", 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV. This is presenting the notion once again that each human should conduct themself in accordance with the Ten Commandments.
“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of Government, but upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the 10 commandments” - James Madison
Liberty or Freedom is coupled with living by principles rather than by laws as laws cannot cover every circumstance. Society arrives at a point when there are so many laws that society becomes lawless as people can no longer keep the law. People unknowingly break laws. Principles are much broader in scope having duties and responsibilities to values, towards intrinsic good. These become Rights.
God Given Rights: Human rights have been founded in the Judeo-Christian Bible and come from God. Humans are created in the image of God, Gen 1:26-27 and 9:6. Being created in such an image comes with duties and responsibilities to protect the dignity of the image in each human. Biblically, man has a right to life and property. These come from the Ten Commandments. Humans also have the right to freedom, Exo 21:16 and Deut 24:7. There are other rights as well. When the Commandments are viewed in terms of a modern language equivalent and written in a positive context as completed by theological scholars during the early 1900s, the Ten Commandments become the World’s first Bill of Rights.
God’s right to exclusive alliance. You shall have no other gods before me, Exodus 20:3 This is a self-truth made by God.
God’s right to self-definition. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4-6
God’s right to proper representation by his people. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Exodus 20:7 (This is not referring to vulgar language. Instead, ‘taking the Lord’s name in vain’ biblically means not doing what you are commanded or supposed to do.)
God’s right to his people’s time. For in six days, the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it. Exodus 20:11 A households right to human treatment Deut 5:8-10
My parent's right to respect. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you. Exodus 20:12
The right to life. Thou shall not kill Exodus 20:13
The right to secure marriage. You shall not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14
The right to property. Thou Shall Not Steal. Exodus 20:15
The right to an honest hearing. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Exodus 20:16
The right to secure existence. You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's. Exodus 20:17
Providence: The Declaration of Independence closes using the phrase, '... with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence ...' Providence is a scriptural notion of God's benevolent and sage superintendence of his creation including the affairs of humans. "The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, he directs it like a watercourse where ever he pleases" Prov 21:1 NIV. "He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them." Job 12:23 NIV. Our forefathers believed that God had his hand in Government since morality was so important to him that he retained control as in 1Samuel when Israel prayed for a secular leader. They also believed that the Judeo-Christian God does not force himself upon humans then who are humans to try themselves. Thus they believed that the state should not impose a religion upon the governed. However, this did not preclude religion from infusing into government the moral values of the society. They saw God’s image in humans who participate in government by holding a seat. There is no separation between public life and private life. Thus, by holding a seat in government a person's values infuse into government.
Law of the Land: The purpose of the law is to provide for the righteous rule of life. Biblical Law is based on the works of Moses or Mosaic Law. The Dispensation of the Law begins in Exodus 19:3 and runs the period to Acts 2. Although, the Mosaic law ended at the cross for Christians. Law of the Land is a mix of Biblical Law and secular law. Those under the law continuously fail. Christians live by principles and not so much by the law. Those who are not Christian live by the law of the land which can be divergent from God's framework when non-Christians hold seats in government. Violators of the law come under judgment. The selection of Judges who enforce law and politicians who write the law of the land should be based on close alignment with the Judeo-Christian worldview to avoid conflicting laws.
The Biblical Framework for the Economy
The Bible promotes Free-Market Capitalism as the ideal economy which centers on the Lesson of Talents; Matt 25:14-30. People are given resources and gifted with skills to make something greater than what they are given, to create wealth. In a free market, wealth is created mainly by private property ownership. The Bible reinforces a system in which property belongs to individuals, not to the government or society as a whole; Exo 20:15, Exo 20:17. The Bible sets boundaries for land to individuals, Duet 19:14, and is gifted by God, Lev 25:23. To move a boundary is to steal. Humans are stewards of the land, Ps 24:1. With private ownership, people work the land by extracting resources or planting crops in exchange for just rewards. People also improve the land building structures for commerce. People are hired, interest-bearing loans are made, and equity is created.
Fundamental to the Judeo-Christian doctrine is the Judeo-Christian God is the creator (Gen 1:3) whose image is in humans (Gen 1:26-27) which sets humans apart from other creatures. God endowed each individual with intellectual abilities such as reason, imagination, and creativity so that new things may be revealed and created. Free market Capitalism is creativity in service to humanity. Humans are architected with a mind to imagine things, hands to create things imagined, and feet to transport things created to the market where just rewards are earned as the fruits of one's labor.
At the free market's core are human relationships and the art of negotiation. The only form of 'greed' that works for all parties is to negotiate in self-interest. In doing so, everyone achieves an equitable just reward. The buyer acquires goods or services at a fair price and the seller receives just rewards for the fruits of his labor.
The concept of work began when humans were created during the Age of Innocence to commune directly with God in the Garden of Eden. God himself walked in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:8) cultivating his creation or performing work and sharing duties with Adam and Eve. Thus, man is architected to perform work as originally in the Garden of Eden in likenesses to God’s own work (Gen 2:15).
The Biblical Framework for Energy
Many people may be surprised to learn that the Bible discusses energy. The energy needs of Israel are met for seven years following the Magog Invasion of Israel; Ezk 39:9-10. Weapons-grade energy is converted into fuel but requires experts; Ezk 39:11-16.
Energy is critical to driving the free market. Human imagination has amplified the manual ability to produce more, transport more, and achieve higher quality, tolerances, precision, and accuracy. This takes energy to operate trucks, trains, power equipment, and even power finished goods. Fossil fuels are the only resource that can meet this demand.
The Judeo-Christian position on the origin and presence of fossil fuels is a gift from God. Christians argue that the great flood, Gen 6, caused biomatter to accumulate at the bottom of the waters. The water was cold enough to preserve the biomatter long enough such that the water pressure formed a 16-foot coal seam that encompasses the entire planet. Prior to and after the seam, there are very few fossils. In this seam, are where diamonds, oil, methanes, and coal are found. Christian scholars point to the eruption of Mount Saint Helen as modern-day evidence of the process which caused lakes and the riparian system to jam up with biomatter that settled at the bottom of lakes a consistent scientific process.
Furthermore, God provided a complete carbon cycle to delicately balance the ecology when using fossil fuels that produce carbon dioxide and methane. Photosynthesis processes carbon dioxide into oxygen humans breathe and run the carbon via the root system into the ground. More than 90% of the atmosphere is processed by evergreens located mostly in Canada, Siberia, and Northern Europe. Methanes break down in sunlight into puddles of water and soak the carbon back into the ground.
The Biblical scriptures revealed the Republic and the free market to the American Forefathers during the Age of Reason, The Enlightenment. They wrote their revelation into the founding documents creating a nation where individuals could flourish and they did. Over the course of time, the creativity of invention and innovation caused necessity that serviced humanity. For example, the invention of the light bulb spawned numerous markets that through creative destruction now include smart LED bulbs over a smart grid.
Preservation of what the American Forefathers achieved requires working knowledge or life application of the Biblical narrative. For those who cry out for the separation of church and state, the Forefathers never intended for the Church to be apart from the state. The forefathers only intended that the state not promote any specific religious sect. Historian David Barton debunks the Supreme Court rulings as baseless in his Book Original Intent.
The American Forefathers having researched and exhausted all moral and ethical systems available to them determined that Christianity was the kindest toward mankind.
“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissolvable bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity,” John Quincy Adams
References: Bible Dictionary, Holman Reference, 2003, ISBN: 0-8054-2836-4
King James Bible Commentary, Nelson Publishers, 1999, ISBN: 0-7852-4602-9 The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, 1995, Library Of Congress: 95-060484
Barton, D (1999) Original Intent, Wallbuilder Press Colson, C. (1997) Burden Of Truth, Tyndale, ISBN: 0-8423-0190-9
Eidsmoe, J (1996) Christianity And The Constitution, Baker Books, ISBN: 0-8010-5231-9
Federer, W.J. (1996) America's God and Country, Fame Publishing, ISBN: 1-880563-05-3
Levy, L.W. (1999) Origin of The Bill Of Rights, Yale Nota Bene Books, ISBN: 0-300-08901-5
Mayer, D.N. (1999) Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson, University Press Of Virginia; ISBN; 0-8139-1485-X
Ogwyn, J.H. (2008). The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy. (1.2 ed). USA. Living Church of God.