“Nature’s God”

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by Dahni
© 2017, all rights reserved

A friend of mine recently said, “I can’t seem to find any reference to Nature’s God prior to the time of Thomas Jefferson. I’m trying to figure out exactly what he meant by that term and where he picked up the concept.”

The words, “the Laws of Nature” and “Nature’s God,” appear in our founding document, The Declaration of Independence, in 1776.

“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.”

Opening of: The Declaration of Independence, 1776, 1st paragraph

The idea that the United States of America is a, “Christian Nation,” has been argued since likely, our beginning in the years which led up to 1776 and ever since. You might be surprised as to its true origins?

We know from basic U.S. history that Thomas Jefferson (one of the youngest, if not the youngest earliest representatives to the 1776 body, The Continental Congress and other patriots), was tasked with the writing of, The Declaration of Independence. It was so because of his skill with language. But even so, it may be understood that there was one writer, but many authors. This is clearly seen in the opening of the second paragraph of ‘The Declaration,’ We hold these truths…”

Let us examine the writer, Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson was basically a deist, although the term in his day had negative connotations such as being heretical or being an atheist. As revolutionary as it was to revolt against their mother country, their king ordained by supposed divine right, the greatest standing military and naval force of the times, words such as “the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle them,” were just as revolutionary!

Thomas Jefferson lived during the ‘Age of Enlightenment’ 1715-1789. In France, the central doctrines of the French worded, les Lumières (the lights), were individual liberty and religious tolerance in opposition to an absolute monarchy and the fixed dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church or of any one church, for that matter. The Age of Enlightenment was marked by an emphasis on the scientific method and reductionism along with increased questioning of religious orthodoxy—an attitude captured by the Latin words, Sapere aude, “Dare to know.”

Reductionism is the theory of reducing complex data down to its basic elements to understand and apply that knowledge. An example of reductionism may be better understood from the Bible?

“Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:”

I Corinthians 10:32 KJV

Whereas we may view the complexities of humanity with its many races and variations, according to what we just read, the God of the Bible reduces this complex data down to there being just 3— Jew, Gentile or the Church of God (which is made up of both Jew and Gentile).

Jefferson also lived during the ‘Age of Reason.’ It follows in the tradition of eighteenth-century British deism, and challenges institutionalized religion and the legitimacy of the Bible. It was published in three parts in 1794, 1795, and 1807. Jefferson died in 1826, but these two ages” shaped his thinking and that of our other founders and their manner of life. When Jefferson wrote our founding document, The Declaration of Independence, agreed to by all the signers of all 13 colonies, he and our founders, believed in a creator whom created all equal and endowed them with certain unalienable rights. Some of the signers were Christian and some held other beliefs. Jefferson’s belief in God the creator was not revelatory. He did not believe in miracles. He believed in the value of the moral code of Jesus, but not necessarily that he was God’s Messiah. God, Jefferson believed, was known or could be known by design in the laws of life, hence, “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.” He believed in ethics and morals and science and reason and he believed this is how the creator was made known. This was believed possible by exercising the Latin term, Sapere aude, “Dare to know.”

“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.”

Thomas Jefferson

It was believed that this was not only the right of all to know, but the responsibility of all, in order to realize and live them – “We hold these truths.” But where did such ideas come from?

“The ideas that inspired them [our original founders] were neither British nor Christian, but largely ancient, pagan, and continental:”

excerpt from a description of: ‘Nature’s God,’ The Heretical Origins of the American Republic, by Matthew Stuart © 2014

Now this is interesting and it may or may not have been the origin of Jefferson’s belief and even it were the belief of every other signer of ‘The Declaration,’ it is, Christian, in that it is written in the Bible and specifically, in the New Testament and even more specific, in the first doctrinal (how to believe rightly) epistle, to the Church, the Book of Romans.

Please note: All scripture references from the Bible herein are from, The King James Version, KJV.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
“Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Romans 1:18-20 KJV

Without controversy, those three verses basically describe, “The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.” Now lets look at more of this chapter to see in contrast to “The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” what the God of the Bible (His revelation of Himself) has to say.

1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel
[good news] of God,
2 (Which he [God] had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:
7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith [Greek pistis believing] is spoken of throughout the whole world.
13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. [Greek pistis believing, a verb which connotes action or if you will, the exercise of the right to, the Latin term, Sapere aude, “Dare to know.”].”
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [shown] it unto them.”
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature [created thing] more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Romans 1:1-8, 13-25 KJV

Whether you or I believe as did Jefferson or in any of the beliefs of our original founders is not what is most important. For one thing, they believed that equality was created in all and rights were given to all by the creator, the “Laws of Nature” and “Nature’s God.” There is no contradiction if you believe God is made known by nature or revealed by His Word, the Bible, Himself the Word or His namesake and only begotten son, Jesus Christ the Word. These all agree. They conciliate in The Declaration of Independence. It is concluded in, The Declaration of Independence. There is no contradiction that our Republic is indeed, based on Judeo-Christian principles. Even if one is an atheist, and believes in the theory of evolution (the big bang theory), there is no contradiction because, equality and rights are a gift of this life force, “The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, a “creator,” a design and etc. otherwise, there is no equality and no rights, only inequality and privileges. Look at the final sentence in The Declaration.

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Except from: The Declaration of Independence, 1776, last sentence

This ‘Declaration’ of equality and rights from “The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” which relies on “Divine Providence,” the creator, is equal to and…

…as The Declaration is Declaratory of “Nature’s God,” so are the heavens

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth [shows] his handywork.”

Psalm 19:1 KJV

Thomas Jefferson, our founders and our founding documents were not anti-God or atheists. All were anti-divine right and anti-religion. From since the fall of Adam and Eve in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, our species have tried to dominate by force of arms or religious dogma. They have tried to un-separate or conciliate (bring together), Church and State. Kings, Queens, emperors and etc. from ancient times, were thought of as gods or as God’s representatives on earth. This is called, “divine right” and may be thought of by expressing— rule from the throne. The church and specifically, the Roman Catholic Church, uses a Latin phrase, ex cathedra “from the seat of authority” or simply, “from the chair.” I like to think of that as, from the toilet because, it is just crap. 🙂

There is one problem with this concept, Biblically.

”When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [Greek petros, a small grain-like stone that can be blown about, with every wind of doctrine], and upon this rock [Greek petra, a large unmovable rock or stone] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Matthew 16:13-20 KJV

In English, what this verse seems to say is that Jesus Christ would build his church upon Peter. This is the verse used to promote and substantiate the concept of apostolic succession. Please note that this verse says absolutely nothing about apostolic succession. But if you look in the Greek translation from which the King James Version came, just knowing and understanding the definition of two Greek words, this verse says something entirely different. The name Peter (petros in Greek), is very similar to his personality. One moment he was ready to die with Jesus and the next you can’t find Peter (a little grain of sand), anywhere. Jesus Christ used the word “rock” which again, is the Greek word petra, an unmovable stone. Jesus Christ simply said [my paraphrasing], Hey, look Peter, you are like a tiny grain of sand. You blow hot and cold and blow about at the whim of the wind. But on this rock (Jesus pointed to himself), I (Jesus Christ), will build my church!

So much for certain ones dominating over the church or of apostolic succession. 🙂

Throne or chair, take your pick or as it was or is, as to whomever in actuality, is in control of the rest of the population. These beliefs were rejected by Thomas Jefferson and our original founders and in our original documents.

From the throne of a king, queen, prince, princess and etc. or from the chair of a Pope or head of some other religious order, both have one thing in common, genealogy or privilege. Whether by birth or royal blood line, this “divine right” is equal to the pedigree or some spiritual association like apostolic succession. This belief was that from the line of the Apostle Peter of the Bible, all true authority of God on earth, being infallible, is thought to be the legitimate authority over all others. Thomas Jefferson, our original founders and our original documents rejected these ideas!

In their day and time, Thomas Jefferson, our original founders and our original documents were revolutionary because, they rejected the “divine right” of the king, the rule from the throne and the rule of the church (any church), “from the chair,” or the toilet. This established the concept of separation of Church and State, but certainly not, the separation of God and State. This is clearly seen in the words, “The Laws of Nature” and “Nature’s God.” As The Declaration Declares, “All men [a plural noun inclusive of all men, women and children], “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.”

Any religion that is contrary to these universal truths would be unequal and would be based on privileges, not rights, and the divine right of royalty or spiritual authority, based on some pedigree of even ANY moral and ethical church, from dominating the affairs of our republic. However, this would not prevent any of the “Free and Independent States,” by “consent of the governed,” of that state, from having a state religion. But among the other states, their state religion would not/could not prevent the rights of any other state or any other individual. But the United States, interdependent, would not/could not have either a dominating governing force (see checks and balances in the Constitution of the United States), or religious force.

“The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” clearly declares that we are all created equal and are all endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. And though it does not declare whom this God is, whether by what is known from the study of these universal laws (Sapere aude “dare to know”), or what is revealed, it does not prevent God, a creator from revealing its self (male or female) in its manner and provides for, the Freedom of religion which includes, the truth! In other words, religious freedom or religious liberty, allows anyone to worship or not, as they deem appropriate, as long as, their liberty and their rights, do not prevent those of any others.

In 2015, Chris Cuomo, a lawyer, son of Mario Cuomo (former NY governor a Democrat candidate for president), brother to Andrew Cuomo, the current governor of the state of New York, is a paid contributor and host at CNN. He interviewed the then Alabama Chief Supreme Court judge, his honor, Roy Moore. The following picture is a quote from that interview.

Our rights do not come from God?

Cuomo is lecturing a Supreme Court judge, the Chief Justice at the time, of the State of Alabama and addresses him with an air of respect in calling him, “your honor.” But the insulted Chief Justice, respectfully, did not agree with Cuomo. In contrast and in direct contradiction to Cuomo, this is what the writer of The Declaration, Thomas Jefferson said,

Our Equality and Our Rights come from God!

Does it matter if Jefferson was a deist, a Jew or a Christian? No it does not. Does it matter if any of our founders were deist, Jewish or Christian? No it does not. Does it matter if any were Jew, Gentile or Church of God? No it does not. Does it matter if our original founding documents were based on ancient, pagan, continental, desist, Jewish or Christian principles? No it does not. “Nature’s God,” in concept or in reality is not contradictory, but is conciliatory. Our equality and our rights do not come from man, mankind, humanity, collective agreement or compromise, but from, “The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” from the creator, however you freely choose to believe in one. What really matters is not what we may or may not believe, but that “Nature’s God” gifted us with equality and rights!

“Nature’s God” allows for the free choice, or religious freedom or religious liberty, to believe as one sees fit, provided that it is ethical, moral, is equal to all and does not prevent the rights of all, of every individual!

There are two compound words that are now, much easier to understand, inspiration and enthusiasm. Inspiration is made up of in + spirit or in spirit action. Enthusiasm is made of the Greek preposition en meaning, totally within as opposed to, from without and the Greek word theo, which is, God. Combined, its meaning is, in totality or wholly within God, the origin or power of God. “The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” are equal to a “creator,” all people being “created equal,” and the “endowment” “of certain unalienable rights.” Things equal to the same thing, are equal to each other!

In conclusion, “Nature’s God” are words written in our original declaratory founding document, The Declaration of Independence. Though equality and individual rights are inclusive or universal, they are written and authored by Free and Independent States that have the right to govern their own affairs, as does any other Free and Independent State or country. We have the right to allow in or remove anyone or anything which is contrary to universal rights and the privileges of citizenship we hold together, as Free and Independent States! And we also, have the responsibility of both now and in the future, to prevent anyone or anything from dominating our republic and any church from dominating our United States, religious liberty.

If these things were not so, there would be only inequality and privileges; no equality and no rights! “Nature’s God” is, the origin of equality and of our rights. And this equality and these rights did not come by humanity, but by the creator and these rights can therefore, not be bought, sold, bartered, traded, surrendered or taken by force from anyone, by anyone or anything, under any circumstances! The Constitution of the United States is the second, but equal part to our republic. Whereas The Declaration declares the origin of our equality and our rights, the Constitution is, for the defense and protection of this equality and these universal rights and our “collective agreement and compromise,” as to our privileges as citizens and how this republic is to be served— of the people, by the people,  for the people and to the people! And this is the responsibility of every one of us, to protect and defend against all enemies, foreign or domestic!

For more information about the beliefs and times of Thomas Jefferson see:

http://www.constitutionaleducation.org/index.php?page=Jefferson&loc=fathers

 

1 of WE,

 

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