Is the Declaration of Independence Biblical?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by npetreley, Nov 21, 2002.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    One of the most common free-will arguments pivots on the assumption that God must offer salvation to all men in order to be fair. I can't help but wonder if this thinking is encouraged by a basic premise within the foundation of the USA, as shown in the Declaration of Independence.

    But where in the Bible does it ever say that God created all men equal? Surely the Declaration of Independence is not canon, is it? So do we have the right to assume it is true that all men are created equal?

    Now, before anyone has a bovine offspring, let me emphasize that I am asking this purely from the philosophical perspective of whether or not it is valid to base a theological position on the assumption that all men are created equal. I am NOT asking if the conclusion that all men are not created equal should lead us to behave one way or another. The Bible is quite clear on this matter:

    Leviticus 19:18
    Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

    Philippians 2:3
    Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

    Romans 13:9
    The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

    So to say that we are not necessarily created equal is no excuse to do anything but love one another. And when the Bible talks about anything that can be interpreted as inequality, it says to consider others better than yourselves! So let's not let this degenerate into an argument about bigotry, ok? ;)
     
  2. Eric B

    Eric B
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    Everyone is created in the image of God, but fallen in sin. That is enough. To start speculating now on not everyone being "created" equal, maening "elect" or "non-elect", that smacks of speculating on who the elect are (which everyone denies; what difference would it make who is "different" if we are called to share the gspel with all, regardless?), and suggests that people are "created" better than others (which people constantly hurl at the Arminians, but being created by God "better" than others is certainly more unbiblical than someone making a better choice "from within their selves" as is charged), and questions whether they were ever really a lost sinner.
    The idea of any individual or group being better than others is hostile to the Gospel revelation, and it's amazing how this was missed in our history by the very ones saying "all men were created equal"). And no, since free-will teaching was around a lot longer than the Constitution, I don't see how Calvinists can keep trying to trace it to that, or the "American spirit of independance".
     
  3. Rev. G

    Rev. G
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    Bovine offspring... LOL.

    I do believe that the American notion of "democracy" has played a huge role in our theological landscape. An excellent work on the topic is 'The Democratization of Christianity' by Nathan O. Hatch. There are also several other works that touch upon this theme, but I believe Hatch's work is the most comprehensive.

    Question: Is it "fair" that we have the freedoms in the USA that we do? We didn't earn them, spill our blood for them, etc. We don't seem to complain when the "gettings good." We sure don't like original sin for the most part. "That's not fair." Or election. "That's not fair." Which, for the umpteenth time, is why St. Paul answers the objections he does in Romans 9 (including the accusation(s), "Then that would make God unfair / unjust").

    Is it fair that Christians don't get punished for their sins?
     
  4. Johnv

    Johnv
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    But where in the Bible does it ever say that God created all men equal?

    You may be confusing the idea of all people being egual, and all people being the same.

    Also, the phrase "all men are created equal" in the Declaration of Indepencence may be taken out of context here. The entire phrase is: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men 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. This is saying that all people are equally endowed by God rights that cannot be taken from them; that these rights, which include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are not given by God to one person and withheld from the other.
     
  5. npetreley

    npetreley
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    I included that context, and the question would remain in either case -- is it Biblical?
     
  6. Johnv

    Johnv
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    I would say this is a biblical concept, yet. Being equal, yes. Being identical, no.

    [ November 21, 2002, 05:54 PM: Message edited by: Johnv ]
     
  7. Tentmaker

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    It appears the "founding fathers" didn't believe, blacks were included in "all men". Otherwise slavery would have been a non-issue.

    The only thing equal about us is that we are all sinners. This equality is seperated by faith in Christ.
     
  8. Johnv

    Johnv
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    Slavery was an issue, even then, and they knew it would eventually become a greater issue (Ben Franlkin's writings in his later years were abolitionist in nature). But they knew that they could only fight one battle at a time, and decided that the primary goal was to break from England.
     

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