“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, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”The Declaration of Independence, 1776
That great statement is the opening paragraph of The Declaration of Independence. It is literally the first thing our Congress ever wrote as a free and independent nation. It is noteworthy that the top of the page of the Declaration reads, “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America”. The document has never been amended, and has never been repealed. So, I still consider it the “Unanimous Declaration”. In the years since 1776, 37 additional states have joined our union, and signed on to our founding documents, so now it is the unanimous declaration of 50 States. Other than that increase, there is no change to these remarkable words.
WHy did they believe they had the right to separate?
Take a look at that middle section which reads, “…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…” So our founders believed, and all the states unanimously declared, that they were entitled to separate from Great Britain and to assume a position as a new, separate but equal nation, and the thing that entitled them to this was the “laws of nature and of Nature’s God”. Wow! If that is what entitled our founders to form a new nation, we need to understand what that line means!
In the Patriot Academy classes we host, David Barton mentions this phrase and tells us it was taken from William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England. (I haven’t read this 4 volume work yet, but I have read about it and I think the Common Law foundations Blackstone discusses are critical to restoring the foundations of our country.) Mr. Barton says the phrase, Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, tells us God reveals Himself to us in a couple different ways:
- In Nature – from the God who created nature
- In His Laws – the Laws of the God who created nature
Where did it come from?
Both of these are from God – the God of the Bible – and both communicate right vs wrong. So, by considering this methodology of determining right vs. wrong, our founders were able to determine that it was right for us to separate from Great Britain and form a new nation. I think our country could use a little guidance on how to determine right and wrong… Let’s see how these play out…
Laws of nature
We can consider the way God has naturally wired things to work by looking at the laws of nature. For example, under laws of nature, God’s creatures all have an inherent right to defend their home. We all understand that. If we’re in the woods, and we see something that looks like a mountain lion den – are we going to go mess with it? No! Nobody has a desire to go tangle with the mountain lion that lives there! We see from nature that defending our homes is something God wired all of us to do. It is not there for government to pass rules about one way or the other, but only to recognize how God set things up to work.
right to defend young
Another great example is that all God’s creatures have an inherent right to defend their young. If you see a cute little bear cub at Yellowstone National Park, are you going to pick it up? No! If you mess with that cub, we all know you may get the chance to meet the mama – and she won’t be happy to see you! This is the natural truth we considered in our article, Tourist Phobic Bears, where we saw the bears continuing to protect their young, no matter how many new rules were made.
Laws of nature are wired into the world by God Himself and are consistent with His design. We know they are right because God designed them and put them into the world He created. Therefore, we do not require any human legislation to tell us we have a right to do them. God designed His creatures with the right to defend their homes and their young, and government has no jurisdiction to attempt to change God’s design. We can like these laws of nature or dislike them, but we ignore them at our own peril.
Laws of Nature’s God
There are also things found in God’s law, the Scripture, that are not consistent with natural tendencies we see in nature – because many of our natural tendencies are influenced by the sinful, fallen world.
For example, Do we see theft occur in nature? Yes! Does that mean it is right? No! This is where God reveals His law in the Scripture, for example, “Thou shalt not steal”. So, even though we see animals steal from each other in nature, that does not mean it is right, because God gives us different guidance in His law.
So, we can notice how God naturally wired things to work (laws of nature), but if this is addressed and changed in His Law (laws of nature’s God), then we recognize His guidance. As we consider this, we begin to understand we can get a pretty thorough picture of right and wrong by looking at these two areas. If this definition of right and wrong is where we found the entitlement for us to separate from Great Britain and form a new nation, then do we now have the right to change it? No!! We cannot go back to these things and presume to change them as if they somehow no longer apply. We have no jurisdiction to do such a thing.
Let’s look at a few other examples that David Barton shares in Constitution Alive…
- Mr. Barton tells us about 70% of our founders were anti-slavery. In their discussions about slavery being wrong, they said it violated the laws of nature – you don’t find animals enslaving each other or anything that would cause you to believe slavery is a normal or natural relationship.
- No species in nature kills its young in the womb – abortion violates laws of nature
- Homosexuality violates laws of nature. Early American law books didn’t use Bible verses to say it was wrong – they called it a “crime against nature”
Put into god’s creation
Understand, these are things God put into His creation. We weren’t given a vote! We can like them or dislike them – but we can’t do anything about them. For example, can you imagine our Congress passing a law to suspend the law of gravity? That doesn’t work! That is part of the natural design of God! Well, so are these other things. God designed them, and He created us, so we don’t get to tell Him how things should be different. There are so many areas in society today where we are attempting to change God’s design of right and wrong for how He would have us to live. It is time we returned to our foundation of looking to God for the truths He built into His creation.
“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?”Romans 9:20