The Declaration and the 10 Commandments
Published on July 03, 2024
The Declaration and the 10 Commandments- foundation

July 4, 2024, marks the 248 th birthday of our beloved nation.  I wanted to celebrate this special day, and I LOVE writing about the Declaration of Independence, but I find it very interesting that this year there is also much discussion about the Ten Commandments.  Much of this increased attention is because the State of Louisiana just passed a law requiring the Ten Commandments to be displayed in their public school classrooms. I thought it would be interesting to look at a significant intersection of the Ten Commandments and the Declaration of Independence today.  I hope you will find this information helpful to show how both are foundational to our form of government. 

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” 

Matthew 7:24-27

What is our Foundation? 

As the above passage from the Book of Matthew reminds us, if we don’t have a foundation of hearing and doing the Word of God, then our house will not be able to stand up to the wind, rain, and floods that will certainly come.  This begs an interesting question…  what is the foundation of our country?  Unquestionably, we have weathered some severe storms in our history…  What foundation carried us through those trials?  There are many who allege the foundation of our country and the secret to our greatness is that we are completely separate from all things of God.  *The “Separation of Church and State”, in its modern (incorrect) interpretation embodies this idea.  This modern doctrine of separation of church and state is nowhere to be found in our national founding documents.  I call that theory incorrect, but if our foundation isn’t that, then what is it? 

Our Foundation

It makes sense to me that if we want to know our true foundation, then we would read the document published on the day of our nation’s birth, where we announced our independence to the world, and our reasons and justification for our separation from Great Britain and formation of a new nation.  The document is dated July 4, 1776, and is called the Declaration of Independence.  I like to note that the Subtitle at the top of the page says it is the “Unanimous Declaration…” of the States.  The things we find there are unanimously agreed upon by all the states – the first thirteen whose representatives signed the original document, and by the subsequent states as they joined the nation.  It has never been repealed or amended, so it is still our unanimous declaration.  The text of the document – the first thing we ever declared as an independent nation – begins as follows: 

“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 entitles them…”

Declaration of Independence, 1776

Wait…  What did that say?!?  It just said we were “Entitled” to separate from Great Britain, and to form a new nation…  What was it that gave us that entitlement?  It is the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”.  If that is where we found the “authorization”, if you will, to separate from Great Britain, and to form a new nation, then I strongly believe all Americans need to know what that term means!  There are clearly two parts to this: 1) the Laws of Nature, and 2) The Laws of Nature’s God.  Let’s look at both.  When we consider them together, they provide an excellent framework in which to see whether something is right or wrong. 

Laws of Nature

The laws of nature are built into each of us.  If you are travelling through a national park, and you see a cute little grizzly bear cub beside the road, do you stop and play with it?  No!  Of course not!  Why not?  We all know there is a mama bear – although we may not see her, we all know she is near – who would not like the idea of us messing with her cub.  The fact that we instinctively know we are not to mess with the cub shows that we are wired with an understanding.  If someone ignored this instinct and picked up the cub, and was attacked by the mama bear.  Would anyone try to claim the mama bear was wrong to attack in order to protect her cub?  No – we would all understand.  We would say the guy was wrong to pick up the cub.  You see, there is a law of nature designed into each of us that says God wired His creation to protect their young.  We know that to be true.  We see it play out in nature.  We all understand.  That is a law of nature.   

Laws of Nature’s God

So, does that mean that whatever we see play out in nature, is part of the Laws of Nature, and therefore right?  Well sometimes…  but we also see other things in nature…  For example, do we ever see theft in nature?  If an animal kills its prey, would it ever be potentially taken by another animal before it can be eaten?  Of course!  Even a farmer regularly sees his own animals eat the food intended for another.  So, in this case, we know stealing to be part of nature, but the law we see play out in nature is trumped by a Law of God that says, “Thou Shalt not Steal”.  So, even though we understand theft, we see it in nature, etc. – that does not mean it is right.  There is a Law of God that forbids theft.  Therefore, we follow God’s Law to determine that this is wrong and not simply the law of nature.  Similarly, even though we see all kinds of violence in nature, the fact that God’s Law says “Thou Shalt not Kill” shows us we are not allowed to murder.  So we see that God’s Law protects life and property, even though we see those principles violated in nature. 

foundation The Declaration and the 10 Commandments

So, when we consider the “Laws of nature, and nature’s God” together, we can see a thorough framework that defines right and wrong – a standard, if you will, upon which we can all agree.  It is important for us to agree on what is right and wrong in order for us to make good laws.  There are many things God built into His creation in the Laws of nature that we all know, understand and respect.  But, because we are made in God’s image and we have been given His Law, we are expected to follow it over the laws of nature.  This is the foundation that defines right and wrong in our country.  The Ten Commandments are at least half of that formula. 

If you read the rest of the Declaration of Independence, you will see how the founders go on to show that based upon this framework of clearly defined right and wrong, King George had committed multiple wrongs against us and was therefore unfit to be the ruler of a free people.  At the end of the document, they appeal to God for the rectitude of their intentions.  It is a beautiful demonstration of the foundation that was firmly under us, and how we depended upon that foundation as we moved forward.   

Conclusion

As we celebrate our 248 th birthday this year, let’s also think about the Laws of God – represented by those familiar stone tablets.  We need to think more about the definition of right and wrong in this nation as we see things spiraling into destruction.  We have removed the firm foundation of God’s Word from under this nation, and now the wind, rain, and floods are bearing down upon us.  We must turn from our wicked ways, return to God and the firm foundation that has been removed.  Happy 4th of July and Happy Birthday to our beloved nation!  May she have many more. 

*If you are wondering where the phrase “Church and State” comes from, please go read Letters Between the Danbury Baptist and President Thomas Jefferson.

 

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Comments

4 Comments

  1. Cathy Spencer

    I am rejoicing that Louisiana has made this outstanding decision. That state will be blessed.

    It’s so exciting to see how the Lord is working.

    Thanks for sharing another great article of truth. I like the sound setting the mood for this handy work of the Lord – our Constitution.

    Reply
    • Jason Southerland

      Yes Maam! I know, there are many things that get discouraging, but we are seeing some amazing victories as well that only come about because of God’s blessing. Yes, it is exciting to see God work! Thank you for your comment!

      Reply
  2. Jeffrey Segal

    I’m glad that Louisiana passed this law. And I feel that every state should pass it as well. but They should make so that the 10 Commandments are put in not only all schools but also in all state government builds as well. To remind everyone about them. Because I feel that most people have forgotten about them. And they need a reminder ot them from time to time.

    Reply
    • Jason Southerland

      Amen, yes sir! May we all be reminded of how this nation was founded based on God’s moral law – His definition of right and wrong. Yes, our whole country needs a refresher course on that right now! Thank you for your comment.

      Reply

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