Nature’s God: The god of The Founding Fathers
The Declaration of Independence presents ideals that Americans hold sacred, it is a foundation stone in the cathedral of American Civil Religion. It represents the definitive moment where we gained our freedoms and the rights and privileges we cherish and defend. There is a problem though. As a Christian, it is impossible for me to accept that the founding fathers were warranted by God in signing this document.
The Declaration opens:
“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.”
Now, compare with the following:
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” Romans 13:1-2
As Paul writes these words, he exhorts Christians (suffering under the godless state of Rome) to obey and trust God. Paul’s commanded response to Roman rule is humble submission; however the founding fathers weren’t playing by Paul’s rules.
The signers of the Declaration of Independence were not condoned by Scripture in rebelling against England. Instead, they invoked “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” The key word in these opening sentences of our Declaration of Independence is the word entitle. Nature’s god has entitled them to independence.
This god of whom Thomas Jefferson writes does share some basic qualities with the God of the Bible: a type of omnipotence, a benevolence towards mankind, and an interest in human affairs. However, Jefferson’s god is a foreign god to me. He is the god of American Civil Religion, the god of the Declaration of Independence, but he is not the God revealed in the Bible. We’ll call him the “American god.” Washington referred to him by such titles as, “All-Wise Disposer of Events, Grand Architect of the Universe, or Beneficient Being.”
As my series of posts unfolds, we will see that this American god is almost universally the deity whom the founding fathers invoked, and perhaps worshipped. We will also see that the American god is fundamentally at odds with the God of the Bible.
The Declaration of Independence baptizes our nation into the name of a foreign god,and the founding fathers consciously dismiss the God revealed in the Bible. In the act of American independence, they defy a clear exhortation of the apostle Paul. Paul’s God does not impel revolutions. Paul’s God does not encourage His people to willfully rebel against appointed governors; even if those governors do not fear God. The god of Nature, however, does impel such actions. The fathers are entitled by Nature’s god to throw off English authority. How can we conclude that the founding fathers were following the same God as Paul?
 p. 75, Revolutionary Spirits, The Enlightened Faith of America’s Founding Fathers. Kowalski, Gary.