Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Declaration of Independence - Whose God?

In the US Declaration of Independence there is a reference that our rights come from our Creator:

"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."

The problem is who do they actually mean by "Creator". The three major religions of the world (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) all assert to the Old Testament God as Creator narrative in Genesis. The term is too ambiguous to determine which.

This is the problem when you try to defend the Declaration of Independence as receiving our rights from our Creator, because the term itself is not defined in the midst of a pluralistic religious environment, which at the time was the 13 colonies.

So if the nation was essentially "Christian" why did, "Jesus Christ" not appear in the declaration to remove the ambiguity? Well, you have to look at Thomas Jefferson's view on Christianity.

Jefferson was a deist who: "Though he had a lifelong esteem for Jesus' moral teachings, Jefferson did not believe in miracles, nor in the divinity of Jesus."  The last part is the key; since he did not believe in the divinity of Christ, it would not make any sense for him to assert the term "Creator" with the person of Christ.

So when we attempt to use the Declaration of Independence as a proof text for our rights coming from God, although true within the biblical Christian worldview, just remember it's Jefferson's concept of "Creator" that is referenced that is anything but biblical.

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