One of my favorite seasons/holidays is upon us. Of course, I like the weather and the pontoon rides and the fireworks after dark, but more so, the founding of our nation has always interested me.
When you really look into it, the brilliance of the Founding Fathers and the way they were able to work together despite varied backgrounds is nothing short of miraculous. In fact, all throughout the war for independence and the founding of our nation, God's Providence is evident.
But perhaps in no place more evident as in the United States Constitution. The founders’ brilliance in this writing, for years, left me astounded and confused by this nearly perfectly penned document. I would go as far as to say that nearly every problem we face today as a nation is a direct result of drifting away from Constitutional principles.
So how could this group of men draw up a document so near perfect? Was it divinely inspired like the Bible? My struggle was that this sounds borderline blasphemous to say.
In recent years, it finally dawned on me, that the Founding Fathers cracked a code while writing the Constitution. They realized a "cause and effect" situation, or more accurately, "God's Natural Law.”
Natural law varies slightly from the Mosaic Law of Leviticus. God's Natural Law comes ingrained in our hearts (Romans 1:20) and will usually come with natural consequences for drifting from it (Romans 2:14-15). I like to use the illustration of gravity as an example of God's Natural Law: What goes up must come down.
The Founding Fathers designed our nation to flow in accordance with God's Natural Law in all regards. With this in mind, they wrote a government roadmap to potentially bypass problems down the road.
Like with all Biblical principles, the weakness lies in the hearts of humans. Unlike the animal kingdom (which has flowed with God's Natural Law since creation), we are moral beings. That means we are led more by our hearts than a natural instinct. Thus, we become the weakness in an otherwise perfect system.
A Democratic Republic as the founders constructed offered a liberty the likes of which the world had never seen. They had put the responsibility of morality into the hands of the people rather than the government.
If you read the writings of the Founding Fathers, they were well aware of the risks and the consequences presented by this new form of government. The constitution boiled down to its simplest form, simply states: Don't do harm to others, or their property. This means that any laws above and beyond this simple premise would be “unconstitutional.”
That is a frightening thought for today! The Libertarian, or Constitutionalist, platforms that seem so extreme in today's political climate are usually fairly similar to the founders’ original ideas for governmental structure.
To me, this is an indicator of how far we have drifted as a nation from our moral anchoring. We usually feel that we personally have a trustworthy, moral direction, but it is our neighbors we are worried about. Due to this mistrust, we begin imposing laws above and beyond constitutional reach to keep them in check.
Coupled with a culture that prides itself on being so more intelligent than any culture in history (Proverbs 3:7, 1 Corinthians 1:20-21), God's Natural Law has come under attack. This becomes so blatantly apparent when you look at the Bill of Rights. Each one of these is under attack. The government or certain groups find the freedoms they provide to the people as dangerous or inconvenient.
Even outside of the constitution we see God's Natural Law being challenged. Ideas that were, just years ago, held us undebatable fact are now being challenged.
So this holiday season, as we come together with family and uphold Minnesota summer traditions, listen as God lays out his Natural Law on our hearts and in the world around us.
Blair Ecker is pastor at Pine Mountain Gospel Church in Backus.