Sweet Land of Liberty

A favorite patriotic song of yesteryear, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," is not sung much anymore, especially in our public schools. I assume this is because the last verse is a prayer, directed to "Our fathers' God . . . Author of liberty . . . Great God our King." As we all know, our Supreme Court decided several years ago that it is unconstitutional to pray in school.

In fact, it is now considered unconstitutional to acknowledge God in any way at all in school, especially as our "Author" and "King"—that is, as our Creator and Lord. Yet, when our nation was first established on that memorable fourth day of July in 1776, the signing of the Declaration was preceded by prayer, at the urging of old Ben Franklin, to the Author of liberty. It was no accident that the Declaration of Independence acknowledged God as Creator (that is, as "Nature's God") in its very first sentence. Then, in its second sentence, the Declaration affirmed that "all men are created equal, . . . endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." In its last sentence, it expressed "firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence." Our nation's first and founding document thus expressed faith in God as both Creator and Sustainer of men, and there is bound to be a correlation between our nation's strong foundation and God's blessing on it for these 220 years since that first fourth of July.

Franklin may not have been an orthodox Bible-believing Christian, but he did believe in God and creation. He wrote, for example, as follows:

Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That he governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshiped.[1]

The same could be said of Thomas Jefferson, reputedly a deist, but nevertheless a believer in God and special creation. Some of his testimonies are actually inscribed on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial, in Washington, D.C. For example:

Almighty God hath created the mind free. All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens . . . are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion . . . .

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?

A modern evolutionary historian has noted Jefferson's keen insight in reference to the growing pre-Darwinian propaganda for uniformitarianism and evolution, as follows:

When Jefferson, in his old age, was confronted with the newly developing science of geology, he rejected the evolutionary concept of the creation of the earth on the grounds that no all-wise and all-powerful Creator would have gone about the job in such a slow and inefficient way.[2]

It was Jefferson, of course, who had the major responsibility for the wording in the Declaration of Independence.

James Madison, known as the father of the Constitution and its Bill of Rights was a solid Bible-believing Christian and creationist. His manuscripts include elaborate notes on the four Gospels and Acts in particular, specifically acknowledging the deity and bodily resurrection of Christ, and praising the example of the Berean Christians in studying the Scriptures.[3]

Similar testimonies could be cited from President John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry, and practically all the founding fathers of our country. George Washington himself was a man of deep Christian conviction. In one of his writings, for example, he said:

It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe, without the agency of a Supreme Being.... It is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to reason without arriving at a Supreme Being.[4]

Summarizing the Biblical Christian, creationist faith of our nation's founders, Ostrander has said:

The American nation had been founded by intellectuals who had accepted a world view that was based upon Biblical authority as well as Newtonian science. They had assumed that God created the earth and all life upon it at the time of creation and had continued without change thereafter. Adam and Eve were God's final creations, and all of mankind had descended from them.[5]

An interesting admission from Fred Edwords, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association and a strong opponent of modern creationism, has noted that the nation's founders

. . . all mentioned God—and not merely the clockwork God of deism, but a God actively involved in history. Their 'public religion' . . . harked back to the Old Testament with its view of America as 'the promised land.' This was prevalent in many writings of the time. [6]

In many ways the history of the founding and further history of our country in modern times does seem to parallel that of God's chosen nation of Israel in ancient times. One fascinating example of this is found in a very early Independence Day address by Dr. Elias Boudinot, President of the Continental Congress in 1783.

No sooner had the great Creator of the heavens and the earth finished His almighty work, and pronounced all very good, but He set apart . . . one day in seven for the commemoration of His inimitable power in producing all things out of nothing . . . . The deliverance of the children of Israel from a state of bondage to an unreasonable tyrant was perpetuated by the Paschal lamb, and enjoining it on their posterity as an annual festival forever. . . . The resurrection of the Savior of mankind is commemorated by keeping the first day of the week . . . . Let us then, my friends and fellow citizens, unite all our endeavors this day to remember, with reverential gratitude to our Supreme Benefactor, all the wonderful things He has done for us, in our miraculous deliverance from a second Egypt—another house of bondage.[7]

Sad to say, ancient Israel gradually forgot their Sabbaths and their Passovers, and even forgot God and served the gods of nature, so that God finally judged them and sent them into captivity.

Similarly our own nation was greatly blessed of God in its miraculous formation and early history. On that first great Liberty Day, when the Liberty Bell first rang out, the founders sent forth a testimony to all colonies taken from God's Word: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof' (Leviticus 25:10). Yet now, we also are rapidly forgetting the true God, His Creation, His Word, and His great salvation. Will the time come when America, like Israel, will fall under the chastening hand of our offended Creator and be enslaved by the coming humanistic pagan world government?

Actually multitudes of our people have already abandoned their God-given Christian American heritage of liberty through our Creator and Savior, and have thereby become slaves themselves—some to drugs, some to alcohol, some to crime, immorality, greed, pleasure, or various other exacting slavemasters. In a word, they have become slaves to sin, even in this once-sweet land of liberty. As Jesus said, "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin" (John 8:34).

The agents of the Enemy entrap many into such slavery by their deceptive promises of freedom from God and His Word, but "while they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage" (II Peter 2:19).

True liberty, for both time and eternity is secured only by faith in the saving work of Christ, and "if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36). America in general—and individual American men and women individually—need urgently to come back to the true God and Savior before it is too late.

RECOMMENDED READING

John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution (Baker Book House, 1987) 415 pp.
Tim LaHaye, Faith of our Founding Fathers (Wolgemuth and Hyatt, 1987) 268 pp.
Benjamin Hart, Faith and Freedom (Lewis and Stanley, 1988) 384 pp.

REFERENCES

[1] The Writings of Ben Franklin (New York: Macmillan Co., vol. 10, 1905-1907) p. 84.
[2] Gilman M. Ostrander. The Evolutionary Outlook, 1875-1900 (Clio, Michigan: Marston Press, 1971) p. 1.
[3] See Volume I in Biography of James Madison. pp. 3,34, as cited in A Cloud of Witnesses, by Stephen A. Northrop (Portland, Oregon: American Heritage Ministries, 1987) p. 307.
[4] Quoted in Maxims of Washington, Edited by John R Schroeder (Mt. Vernon, VA: Mt. Vernon Ladies Association, 1942) p. 275.
[5] Ostrander, op cit., p. 1.
[6] Frederick Edwords, "The Religious Character of American Patriotism"The Humanist (vol. 47. Nov/Dec 1987) p. 20.
[7] Address in New Jersey on July 4, 1783, cited in Foundation for Christian Self-Government. July 1982. p. 3.

* Dr. Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.

Cite this article: Henry Morris, Ph.D. 1996. Sweet Land of Liberty. Acts & Facts. 25 (7).


© 2014 Institute for Creation Research. All Rights Reserved.

Proclaiming Scientific Truth in Creation | www.icr.org