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What did the Founders mean by “the Laws of…Nature’s God”? Simply put, they were pointing to the Bible. They were referencing a statement written by Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780), a British legal expert, when he said, “Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these.”

Reading the above quote, you might wonder what “the law of revelation” is. Blackstone uses this phrase interchangeably with the phrase “divine law” and defines revealed or divine law this way: “The doctrines thus delivered we call revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures.” We clearly see that the Bible is what is being cited as the Laws of Nature’s God.

Blackstone’s influence on the thinking of the Founding Fathers— and, therefore, on America’s founding documents—was profound. In particular, Blackstone, through his writings, was able to educate both members of the legal profession as well as the average citizen about the substance, importance and significance of the common law. The term “common law” refers to a “non-codified form of law based on long-accepted customs and traditions.” The Ten Commandments, which have been foundational for civil and moral laws in societies for centuries, cannot be separated from the common law, nor from “the Laws of…Nature’s God.” All are intertwined.

Thus, it is by no means a stretch to say that America’s ethics were founded upon remembering God—specifically, His laws—and that the Founders believed forgetting Him would lead to the nation’s destruction. Again, it is impossible to be subject to God’s laws if we do not remember who He is. Here’s how the nation’s demise occurs.

1. Forget God
2. Forget or neglect His law and its corresponding set of ethics
3. Adopt an ethical standard that is arbitrary and fluid rather than fixed
4. Lose liberties, as force will become necessary to preserve order
5. Embrace totalitarianism to survive as a nation. Because the nation no longer rests on ethical bedrock, the internal stability that bedrock supplied no longer exists. External force now is required to maintain order.

The words of Jesus ring true: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Blackstone believed that obedience to God was necessary because man is dependent: “Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator, for he is entirely a dependent being.” When we forget God we are asserting our own independence, so forgetting Him has to mean forgetting we dependent beings need divine direction and guidance to form a society that is both productive and free.

Author: Sam Jones

Pastor Sam completed an intense pastoral internship at Hagerman Baptist Church and served as a chaplain at Heritage Care Center in Iowa Falls, Iowa before accepting the call to pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Hudson, Iowa. He loves people and his goal is to make disciples of Christ by personally, prayerfully, and persistently investing the Word of God into others.