". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13

Commentary

The Biblical Roots of American Law and Why It’s Necessary to Return to Them

July 7, 2024

America is at a crisis point. While it’s easy to dismiss presidential candidates brashly proclaiming November to be the most important election in the nation’s history as mere votemongering, their words may have a kernel of truth at their center. At present, America is facing something of an identity crisis: the principles and truths upon which the nation was founded have been largely shouldered out of the public square, leaving a sort of vacuum which demands to be filled.

The question before the nation now is whether to restore those principles and truths to their rightful place or attempt to retroactively replace the country’s foundation, which will likely result in chaos and will certainly result in the creation and proliferation of an entity radically different to the United States which has stood for nearly 250 years.

American Founding Father and the nation’s first vice president John Adams famously declared, “Our [C]onstitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” This truth seems to have been largely forgotten and even inverted today. To read frequent disappointing judicial opinions and listen to the lectures and arguments of legislators, one might think that the Constitution was rather made to tame or shape an otherwise moral and religious people.

Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin expressed this point of view when he chided a fellow state legislator for supporting the biblical definition of marriage. Raskin quipped, “Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.”

Yet America’s founding principles are rooted in that Bible and in centuries of Christian theology, philosophy, and morality. It is not so much, as Raskin implied, that the Bible and the Constitution are mutually exclusive doctrines, but rather that the Bible itself upholds the Constitution. An attempt to use the Constitution to suppress the Bible is the proverbial attempt to saw off a tree branch that the man with the saw is sitting upon at that very moment.

Who devised the idea of community and society if not God — the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost — who is Society itself? The very first thing in the created world that God named “not good” was solitude, an absence of community and society (Genesis 2:18). Who devised the idea of law, of right and wrong, if not God, who gave to Moses the Ten Commandments and who, through the prophets and finally in the Person of Christ, declared unequivocally what was right and what was wrong? Who devised the idea of government if not God, the King of Kings and Prince of Peace? And who determined that man was fit to rule if not God, who made man in His image and likeness, who gave to him free will, who granted him dominion over all other creatures?

The very tenets which the American Constitution is founded upon were established by God Himself and are in fact rooted in the teachings and truths enumerated in the Bible. Without those teachings and truths, chaos alone would reign. How could society possibly be defined — much less defended and bettered — by its own self? On what authority could a society or a portion of a society claim to enact and enforce law, to govern, or to give or deny others a say in law and government?

Without God and the truths He established in the Bible, there would be no authority. What man may claim to rule or argue that his notion of right and wrong is more right than another man’s if the highest authority he might cite is just his own self? All arguments would become circular then, resolved only by violence, by brute force. The only truth which could be relied upon, as C.S. Lewis so brilliantly explained in “The Abolition of Man,” would be fickle feelings and irrational appetites.

But those very tenets which the American Constitution was founded upon have been crowded out, silenced, and labeled second-rate. The Jamie Raskins of the world insist that a man’s sacred duty is not to uphold a sacred and divinely-ordained moral code, but a legal document written by demonstrably flawed and imperfect men nearly three centuries ago. Turning again to the wisdom of Lewis, we can see, “Where men are forbidden to honor a king they honor millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.” Today, men are forbidden to honor the sacred scriptures, and so they honor instead an ever-expanding legal document which, cut off from the Word of God, is rapidly becoming poisonous.

This is not to disparage the Constitution, of course. The men who wrote it were learned and sincere, and many of them were wise. They were largely brought up on the classics, studying both the good ideas and the bad of the past several thousand years, but careful not to confuse the former for the latter or vice versa. Most prudently of all, they based their notions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on the truth and morality which Christianity has lovingly preserved for some 2,000 years. The document they wrote, the Constitution, was a good one, but not a divinely-inspired one.

In fact, without the Bible and the truths it safeguards and passes down from generation to generation, the Constitution could not have been written and the American experiment never tried. It was the Christian understanding of the imago Dei which emboldened the Framers to declare that man might participate in government. It was the Christian notion of human dignity which enabled the Framers to rule that your vote counts the same as mine. And it was the example of Christ crucified which encouraged these men to not merely write down their ideas but to fight and, in many cases, die for them. A man would not go to war for the sake of a poem he has written, nor would he die for an ingenious work of fiction. It is the biblical truths upon which the Constitution is based which inspired the Founding Fathers to fight and die, in the hopes of preserving and safeguarding these truths for future generations of Americans.

But now the saw is nearly through the branch, and America is hanging precariously by a thread. The demonic anti-sacrament of abortion, the worship of the chief of the seven deadly sins in Pride Month, the diabolical practices of transgenderism are all clear and sure signs that a ghastly new religion has arisen from Hell to challenge Christianity and supplant it as the basis of Western civilization. If the American Constitution remains rooted — or is rather re-rooted — in Christianity, America will survive, prosper, and thrive. If not — if the cult of leftism has its way — if sin and degeneracy, butchery and debauchery are worshipped and idolized — if the word of man is placed on a par with or higher than the Word of God — then America, and indeed the whole of Western civilization with it, will be plunged into the abyss.

In its place will be erected a soulless facsimile, devoid of life, devoid of virtue, devoid even of the knowledge of virtue or the acknowledgement of the difference between virtue and vice. It will bear the same name, it will have many of the same buildings, the same domed Capitol, the same White House, the same Statue of Liberty, but it will be a radically different entity. The America of the past 250 years will have died, and something else entirely will have taken its dead skin and put it on like a suit, like a costume.

A return to the nation’s roots, to the Word of God, to an understanding of goodness and virtue as defined by God — not by man! — is an urgent necessity if the nation is to live.

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.