What Does The Bible Have To Do With Natural Law And The Founding Of The United States?

NOTE: When I first started this blog, I had no idea how well it was named. I named it, ‘The Road To Concord,’ because I intended to write about the historic path which lead to the foundation of this nation. At the time, I figured that path would deal mostly with philosophical ideas. I had no idea how much of a role faith would come to play in it. However, the more I research the founding of this nation, and more than that, the more I researched the men and women who founded it, the more I realized that Faith was the central point of this nation. Had it not been for the Reformation and Great Awakening, this nation most likely would not have been. It certainly would not have been as it was. What’s more, this is not my opinion: it is what the Founders boldly and clearly asserted. So, with all of that said, I present the words of the men who built this nation as they explain the role of the Judaeo-Christian Faith played in the founding of the United States.

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The first thing we need to understand is that the Founders were consciously aware that the Judaeo-Christian Faith was the driving force behind the Foundation of the United States:

The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations … This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.

–John Adams

The change in religious sentiments that Adams is referring to here came out of The Great Awakening, which came out of the Reformation. It was a renewal and return to the original Faith, and it was the basic principles of that Faith around which the Founders rallied and agreed. It was agreement upon these principles, and not any other, that our Founders were able to unite so as to be able to create this nation. Again, not my opinion, but the words of John Adams:

The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.

In the minds of the Founders, our Declaration of Independence declared the connection of the Judaeo-Christian Faith to the proper application of civil government:

The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.

Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?

–John Quincy Adams

While drafting the Constitution, the Founders were aware of their need for YHWH’s Providence or they would fail:

I’ve lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing Proofs I see of this Truth — That God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that except the Lord build the House they labor in vain who build it. I firmly believe this, — and I also believe that without his concurring Aid, we shall succeed in this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our Projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a Reproach and Bye word down to future Ages.

–Benjamin Franklin (in a Speech to the Constitutional Convention (28 June 1787); note: Franklin is quoting Scripture here)

Let us enter on this important business under the idea that we are Christians on whom the eyes of the world are now turned… [L]et us earnestly call and beseech Him, for Christ’s sake, to preside in our councils. . . . We can only depend on the all powerful influence of the Spirit of God, Whose Divine aid and assistance it becomes us as a Christian people most devoutly to implore. Therefore I move that some minister of the Gospel be requested to attend this Congress every morning . . . in order to open the meeting with prayer.

— Elias Boudinot, (Served as President of Congress, signed the Peace Treaty of Paris to end the War for Independence, framer of the Bill of Rights, and respondent to Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason with The Age of Revelation)

It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it [the Constitution] a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.

–James Madison, (Federalist No. 37, January 11, 1788)

When we view the blessings with which our country has been favored, those which we now enjoy, and the means which we possess of handing them down unimpaired to our latest posterity, our attention is irresistibly drawn to the source from whence they flow. Let us then, unite in offering our most grateful acknowledgments for these blessings to the Divine Author of All Good.

–James Monroe, 5th President of the United States

So, Franklin and Boudinot (among others) recognized the need for YHWH’s blessing upon their efforts for success. Maddison even said that he could see YHWH’s Hand in the creation of the document he, Madison, wrote! And President Madison also recognized the Hand of YHWH in the creation of our nation and its government.

So, did the Founders look to the Bible as the foundation for our laws? Well, yes! Because morality is necessary to the maintenance of a free and self-governing people, and the Bible teaches the highest morality known to Man:

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

–John Adams, Address to the Military, October 11, 1798

The precepts of philosophy, and of the Hebrew code, laid hold of actions only. {Jesus} pushed his scrutinizes into the heart of man, erecting his tribunal in the region of his thoughts, and purified the waters at the fountain head.

–Thomas Jefferson

Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure, which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.

— Charles Carroll, (signer of the Declaration and member of Continental Congress)

Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is impossible that a nation of infidels or idolaters [Atheists and pagans] should be a nation of freemen. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.“”

…Virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone that renders us invincible. These are the tactics we should study. If we lose these, we are conquered, fallen indeed…so long as our manners and principles remain sound, there is no danger.

–Patrick Henry

Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure, which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.

— Charles Carroll, (signer of the Declaration and member of Continental Congress)

Our ancestors established their system of government on morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits, they believed, cannot safely be trusted on any other foundation than religious principle, not any government secure which is not supported by moral habits…. Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.

“If we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity.

~Daniel Webster, (Early American Jurist and Senator)

In fact, morality is so important to Liberty, and because the Judaeo-Christian faith teaches the highest moral code Man knows, the Bible should be taught in our schools:

Religion is the solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man toward God

.–Gouverneur Morris, (delegate to the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention, head of the committee which created the final wording of the Constitution and the most active speaker, US Senator, Minister to France appointed by Washington)

[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be aid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind.

We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible. For this Divine Book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism.

Surely future generations wouldn’t try to take the Bible out of schools. In contemplating the political institutions of the United States, if we were to remove the Bible from schools, I lament that we could be wasting so much time and money in punishing crime and would be taking so little pains to prevent them.

–Benjamin Rush, (Signer of the Declaration of Independence, ratifier of the U.S. Constitution, Father of American medicine, founder of 5 universities and – at the time – one of the three men the Colonists considered most influential and important to the Revolution)

In fact, the Judaeo-Christian Faith was thought to be so important, the Founders even told us we have a duty to elect only good, Faithful believers to hold office:

When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, ‘just men who will rule in the fear of God.’ The preservation of [our] government depends on the faithful discharge of this Duty; if the citizens neglect their Duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the Laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded. If [our] government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine Commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the Laws.

–Noah Webster, (father of American education)

So, what, then, of the need to write Scripture into our Constitution?

Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God…. What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.

–John Adams, (This was, in fact, the basis for the system of government in America, as Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson on June 28, 1813)

The American population is entirely Christian, and with us Christianity and religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it.

–John Marshal, (4th Chief Justice of the United States and argue by some to be our greatest Chief Justice of the Supreme Court)

I could go on, and I could cite man other Founders who said the same, or similar things. Many of them would have names you would not recognize, but still, they drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution; or they debated the Bill of Rights and the ratification of the Constitution. They were Founders, all! And to a man, they all declared the necessity of the Judaeo-Christian Faith to the preservation of Liberty. What’s more, with the possible exception of Thomas Paine (and the Founders shunned Paine for what he wrote), I have yet to find any quote(s) by Founders contradicting anything I just cited, or the narrative I created with their words. The notion that our Founders were deists or sought to create a secular government is a lie that exists only in the imaginations of those who seek to erase our history and destroy our Founding Ideals. So, yes, the Bible has a central role in our founding, and it is no better illustrated than in two historic events.

First is the failure of the Articles of Confederation.

This was a Libertarian document. It was secular and, thus, Godless. Do not let our Libertarian friends fool you: their way has been tried — and it failed! It failed because it embraced the natural law theory that viewed Man as his own god. This brings us to the second historic illustration.

The American vs French Revolution

The French embraced Thomas Hobbs and his notion of natural law — which was Godless. The French saw Man as his own god, and their efforts failed as a result. But the American Founders embraced John Locke’s view of Natural Law, which Locke, himself, said he derived from the Book of Romans. Hence, Locke and our Founders acknowledged YHWH and yielded to His authority, seeking His aid and favor in their efforts. This is why the American Revolution succeeded, spot-lighting and defining the True Natural Law in the process.

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