Jefferson and the American Founding
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A SHINING CITY ON A HILL is a vision of God's will for Good, Just, and Righteous government done in Wisdom, and it is not a Liberal or utopian ideal for government attempting to a leftist Social Justice, but rather it is a practical, moral vision based on common sense and “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” of Thomas Jefferson and the American founders and as seen in the Judeo-Christian worldview. A SHINING CITY ON A HILL is best summed up as “One nation, under God, indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all.”

Part of the UNDERSTANDING Series:

UNDERSTANDING Thomas Jefferson and the American Founding

There is probably no figure in American’s founding vision more important than Thomas Jefferson, and there is probably no figure in American’s founding more misunderstood today than Thomas Jefferson. The truth is understanding correctly what Thomas Jefferson actually did in America’s founding is probably the key to solving almost all of the social and political problems of our time.

 The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God

The key to understanding America’s founding and Thomas Jefferson is the phrase in the Declaration of Independence that speaks of “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”  These Laws are not the scientific Laws of Nature but the moral Laws of Nature dealing with Justice and Righteousness. These laws are called the Natural Moral Law, and though few Christians know this, the Natural Moral Law has almost nothing whatsoever to do with Christian salvation besides revealing by our natural conscience an absolutely perfect moral standard of God that we fall short of.    

America in the Declaration of Independence and the Just state generally are founded on the moral “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” and Wisely doing Justice or, that is, the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” for the good of the whole nation is called statesmanship. This concept of statesmanship comes out of ancient Greek philosophy, and it is a central part of Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero. And it is implicit in the Proverbs of the Bible, the Old Testament Prophets, and the Psalmists.

Again, statesmanship has nothing to do with Christian salvation, as such. Statesmanship is a Greek philosophical concept which the Christian has a moral duty to do as a good legislator or executive. Statesmanship is God’s will for government, and it involves doing what is good for the whole nation as opposed to good for special interest groups. True theists, Christian and otherwise, have a moral duty before God to do statesmanship or, that is, what is good for the whole country.

 Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson as well as Benjamin Franklin both appear to be non-Trinitarian Christians. This is a particular and somewhat rare form of “Deism” that most people are not familiar with. However, standard Deism as we usually think of it or as it is usually encountered in the literature is essentially an atheism with a Creator God who creates a clockwork universe and walks away never to be seen or heard from again. This standard Deism that most people are familiar with does not believe in the Higher Moral Law of the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” in the first place in order to found a life or country on it in the second place, and apart from the issue of Biblical inerrancy standard Deism does not believe in a general inspiration of Scripture nor in a life after death nor in the righteous intervention of God in history, all of which Jefferson and Franklin believed in, and Franklin even believed in the power of prayer  and famously no less, and all of which today’s Liberal and atheist do not believe in, as the very point of their Liberalism and atheism.

It is only the traditional theist (Christian and otherwise) that believes in the Higher Moral Law to be Wisely done for the good of the whole country by the good legislator in order to be a true statesman. Jefferson actually held the moral teachings of Jesus were unsurpassed, and he cut the miracles and various religious passages out of the Bible in order to create a Natural Moral Law handbook for right living and good legislation by the true statesman. Further, in founding the University of Virginia Jefferson maintains this correct two track approach to education, namely, the school was not to resolve theological issues concerning salvation (that is the role of the churches) but rather the school was to teach the moral Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God along with the physical sciences.  Again, by contrast, today’s Liberals and atheists and many educators do not believe in the moral Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, but they do believe in the physical sciences. And again, this has nothing to do with Christian salvation, which is a separate issue for the churches.

This means all of America’s political and education problems will be solved by returning to Jefferson’s view of the moral Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God as central not only to good government but to good education as well. The practical reality of this is only people of the Christian and Jewish faiths are receptive to this idea, while all Liberals and atheists categorically oppose the moral Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God of Jefferson and the founders as a central point of their Liberalism and atheism, just as traditional or standard Deists of America’s founding did. This means as a practical matter in order to have people receptive to Jefferson’s view of government, statesmanship, and the moral Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, we probably have to get vast numbers of people saved because atheists and Liberals will never accept Jefferson’s view of government, statesmanship, and the moral Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, and this is the indirect relevance of Thomas Jefferson to Christianity more generally as well as the direct relevance of Jefferson to today’s atheism and Liberalism of the Democrat Party.

It would seem at this hour that only a Great Awakening to the truth and reality of the Gospel will take us out of the errors of today’s atheism and Liberalism and back to the moral Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God of Jefferson and the American founders.