The Fourth of July is no doubt known for the fireworks, BBQs and fun. But how often have you considered the holiday as an opportunity to praise God for the freedom He has granted to us or as chance to learn more about how God played a role in our nation's origin, including in the Declaration of Independence?
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As we explore God in the Declaration of Independence and the nation's origins, there is much to consider that can help make Fourth of July a more reflective holiday, with gratitude for our freedoms standing at the center of it all.
God in the Declaration of Independence
On July 4, 1776, God was present in the nation's roots. There are many questions about the role of the Almighty in America's founding. Among them: Does the Declaration of Independence mention God?
Those familiar with the text know that God is referenced four times in the Declaration of Independence. So, let's look a bit deeper at what the Declaration of Independence says and why it's important to our nation's founding.
Is God Mentioned in the Declaration of Independence?
Not only is God in the Declaration of Independence, but He was clearly important enough to Thomas Jefferson and others for the Judge of the World to be included early on. In fact...
1. God is mentioned in the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence:
“...to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
The Declaration of Independence immediately refers to "Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God." So, for anyone wondering, "Does the Declaration of Independence mention God?" the clear answer is, "Yes," and the context is centered on the idea that the Lord is the Creator of nature.
It's a fascinating acknowledgment of God's hand as the maker.
But it doesn't end there...
2. Then, the Declaration goes on to say:
“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.”
In the second paragraph, the Founding Fathers refer to God as “Creator” and describe the “rights” that God endowed to all women and men: “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” These Declaration of Independence God mentions are powerful in that they tell us that the Lord gives gifts to every human that should not be stripped away.
As mentioned above, the Founding Fathers made it a priority to include sentiments that demonstrate the fact that the Lord wants us to be happy here on Earth.
3. The Declaration of Independence reminds us that all aspects of our lives, spiritual and political, are in God’s hands.
The last paragraph says:
“...with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence”
The “divine Providence” the Founding Fathers referred to was God and the belief in His protection. The document seems to embrace the idea that our freedom was sealed in His protection and His love. "Providence" speaks exactly to that point: God's protection and humans' wish (and intrinsic need) to rely upon it.
4. The final mention of the divine in the Declaration of Independence is:
“...we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
As you can see, the Founding Fathers culminated the Declaration of Independence with the reminder that our freedom and citizenship is a sacred honor granted to us by God.
As we conclude our exploration of God in the Declaration of Independence, consider that there are some other fascinating biblical roots tied to America's founding.
Among them: Leviticus 25:10 is inscribed on the Liberty Bell — another fun fact for those interested in details surrounding God in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution (among other historical symbols).
What does Leviticus 25:10 say? The scripture reads:
“Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan.”
Still in the mood to learn even more about America this Independence Day? Delve into our country’s fascinating history through shows and films like "The American Heritage Series" and "Drive Thru History: America." Pure Flix also has thousands of faith and family-friendly movies, TV shows and original series. Sign up today!