This is a discussion of human governments as a part of the moral government of God.

In this chapter we will be discussing certain facts as they relate to human government.  We will:

  1. Ask what the ultimate end of God was in creation of the universe.
  2. Show that providential and moral government are indispensable as a means of securing the end that God had in view.
  3. Show that civil and family governments are equally indispensable to the securing of the end that God had in view.
  4. Discuss the foundation of the right of human governments.
  5. Point out the limits or boundaries of the right of human government.
  6. Make remarks respecting the forms of government, the right and duty of revolution and other related matters.
  7. Apply all the foregoing principles to the rights of governments and their subjects as it relates to the execution of necessary penalties, suppression of mobs, insurrections, and rebellion; and we will discuss all this in relation to war, slavery, dishonoring the Sabbath and other related matters.

The ultimate end of God in creation of the universe.

We have discussed much in former chapters regarding God as a moral agent.  God is self-existent and supreme so that as ruler of all he is subject to and observant of the moral law in all of His conduct.  It is the nature of God that within himself any course that he takes must be suitable and right within him so that unless he can confirm in his own spirit that the course is right he will not take that course or he is not good.  God wills the best end of himself and of all that live in his universe.  This is moral law, something that is founded in the self-existent natured of God, and it is benevolence or good-willing.  The moral law affirms God’s obligation to choose the highest possible good for its own intrinsic value as the great end of his being so that if God is good then the highest good of himself and of the universe must have been the end that God had in view in the creation of the universe.  What we are saying is that if God is good as we know that he is, then the ultimate good willing and choosing the highest possible good for its own intrinsic value was the reason that God created the universe as he did and put man on the earth.  God only had the best end in mind.  God is love and his disinterested benevolence is to all creatures of his creation; it is part of his very nature.

As we come to discuss human government we realize that there is much talk about the separation of church and state but this book has nothing to do with that kind of dialogue since moral law is part of all societies and is an a priori truth as we have discussed in the beginning chapters of this book.  What some fail to realize is that the best end is what God is all about and to try to take God out of the courts or from the public places of our society is to take all that is good from the courts and public places of society.  Public justice must scream of anarchy when the very word “God” which is synonymous with good or best end or intrinsic value or happiness is treated as if it really meant something else more sinister and damaging to society.  I plead with anyone that reads this work and has any influence in government to read it carefully and realize that without the foundation of moral law there would be no government as we know it and without God as an integral part of moral law there would be no moral law to use as a basis for human government.  The belief in God is not the establishment of a religion, it is a foundation of the most basic root of our society, moral law, without which we would not have the society that we have.  We could well be a society of head hunters and cannibals were there no reference to moral law which includes a reference to God as presented to this point in this book.  To remove the very key that makes us civilized in the first place is to send our society back to the Dark Ages that existed before the age of enlightenment.  Oh, don’t forget that it was with the invention of the Printing Press that the dark ages ended and do you remember what the first book was that was printed on the Gutenberg Press?  It was the Bible!  All the principles of moral law as contained in the Bible are what brought us to the present blessed society that we now enjoy.  Don’t make the fatal mistake of forcing our society back to the dark ages where no one had any right to talk about God without suffering torture from the Grand Inquisitor himself.  And don’t confuse the corrupt religious system that helped create the dark ages with the God that helped bring society out of that same darkness.  It should be obvious that God was not pleased with the mentality that fueled the Crusades and all other militant types of religion such as Islam.  Our founding fathers came here to escape the Grand Inquisitor, not the Book of Books which helped to make this nation great, the Bible.  Don’t allow the court system to once again become the Grand Inquisitor and then take the mention of God and use of the Bible away or you bring back what our founding fathers fled from and you force it once again upon society under the guise of Separation of Church and State.  The court system of this country or of any other should be only an administrator of moral law and they should never deny the existence of the very key that makes moral law what it is, the belief in the existence of God.  Without that, we have no morals and we have no society.  A word to the wise should be sufficient.

  1. Providential and moral government are indispensable as a means of securing the end that God had in view, the highest good of the universe.  Our highest good as moral agents is based upon holiness which, in turn, is conditioned upon conformity to moral law, the law of love.  Moral law implies moral government which is a government of moral law and of motives for obeying moral law.  Motives can be presented by providential government so that it is a means toward securing the highest good in the society and thus in the universe.
  2. Civil and family governments are equally indispensable to the securing of the end that God had in view which makes them really a part of the providential and moral government of God.  We can legislate God out of society if we wish but we can’t separate God from government because government is only a part of God’s moral government and moral law. You can’t separate the law giver from his law.  There are reasons that civil and family governments are really a part of providential and moral government.  Look at the following:

1.  Human governments are necessary simply because of human nature.

  • There is such a thing as real estate as there are physical wants and needs in all of society.  All building, manufacturing, farming, importing and exporting, banking and other parts of society exist and that is a fact.
  • There are such things as ownership and title.  There must also be regulations for care and disposition along with taxes or other details.  There must be a responsible person for every ownership and endeavor.
  • All parts of business, real estate, importing and exporting, banking, farming, transportation, mining, exploration and a myriad of other parts of infrastructure require forms of government to settle, manage, regulate, and generally control the affairs of men in an orderly and legal fashion.
  • Though society is composed of moral beings, they will not always agree in their opinions on every subject without similar degrees of knowledge or without the same outlook at the same level of knowledge.
  • Because of this there is no human community that has ever existed or that ever will exist that finds all the members in complete harmony of agreement on all subjects.
  • This creates the need for human legislation and adjudication so that the great principles of moral law may be applied to all human affairs.
  • Human society is far to complex to assume that all human wants and necessities can properly be met with no need for human government.

2.  The need for human governments will continue as long as there are human beings that exist in the world as we know it.

  • We know this just as surely as we know that the human body needs food and clothing or that the human mind needs instruction and that this instruction does not come by accident but with expense and labor.
  • We also know it as surely as we know that men of all ages and circumstances will never possess the same degree of talent and knowledge on all subjects.  Even if all men were holy and were prone to do right all the time it would still be necessary to have human government because it is lack of knowledge that produces the need, also called ignorance, and it is ignorance that that is aggravated by wickedness in men.
  • Human government is needed because the decisions of legislators and judges must have the authority to settle questions of disagreement which will immediately bind and protect all parties.
  • The Bible says that human government exists, derives its authority and right to punish evil-doers, and is responsible for protecting the righteous, an obligation that has been given them from almighty God.

3.  The Bible plainly recognizes the fact that human governments are part of the moral government of God.

Let the Bible speak to this issue:

“And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:”  (Daniel 2:21)

“This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.”  (Daniel 4:17) “That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” (Daniel 4:25)

“And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.”  (Daniel 5:21)

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”  (Romans 13:1-7)

“Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,” (Titus 3:1)

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”  (1 Peter 2:13-14)

As can be seen by these passages, God establishes human governments, so to require that the name “God” is left out of the arena of government is quite inconsistent with the very purpose and origin of that government.

  • Often, whether we realize it or not, God exerts moral influence through the instrumentality of human government.
  • As a matter of fact, God often executes law, punishes vice, rewards virtue, and controls society through human governments.
  • Even under the Jewish Theocracy where God was king, it was found that even though the laws were promulgated by divine authority, yet they were enforced by the executive department of human government.

4.  For the reasons stated it is the duty of all men to aid in the establishment and support of human government wherever you live in society.

  • Human government is plainly necessary for all of us.
  • Since we as human beings are largely dependent upon human government then it is the duty of every one of us to aid in the establishment and support of such government.
  • Since the law of benevolence, universal good-willing, requires the existence of human government, we are all under the constant perpetual moral obligation to establish and support them in any way that we can.
  • Where there is a government that allows a popular vote, elective government, every man has a right to vote and with that right the voters have moral influence which they are bound to use for the promotion of virtue and happiness in the society. Human governments are indispensable to the highest good of man and for that reason all are responsible that they influenced legislation that will conform to the moral law of God.
  • Human beings are just as obligated to support human governments while they act upon the principles of moral law as they are to obey moral law itself.

5.  It would be absurd to even consider a world without human government.

  • Human nature would never allow it, we all know that human government is necessary.
  • Human relations and circumstances would never work without human government.
  • Human government is not only for the purpose of dealing with human depravity but it is also to deal with human ignorance.  That means that a great part of what human government does is to define, to teach, which is what creates the term precept.  A precept of human government has authority and as such it has sanctions of varying degrees where required.
  • To assume that a world could exist without government is to assume that men will always agree in judgment and that their hearts are always right, no matter what degree of information they have.  Since this is never true, we see the absolute necessity of human government.
  • To think that man could exist without government would be to deny the Bible and what God says.  So, if any make the point that they wish to eliminate God from the legal system they might as well abolish the legal system altogether since it is God that made human government as part and parcel of the moral law.

6.  Answers to objections regarding human government as it relates to moral law.

  • Some try to object to human government since, they say, the kingdom of God subverts all other kingdoms.  This is a position held by the most militant Islamic, Zionist, and even some Catholic religions. The answer is that at some time in the future God will be regarded as the supreme and universal sovereign over the universe.  At that time his law will be obligatory for all kings, legislators, and judges who will act as his servants, declaring, applying, and administering his great principles of law in all human affairs.
  • Some say that God only providentially sets up human governments but he does not approve of the politics, wicked administration, and that his only use of them is to use them as he would Satan to promote his own designs.
  1. The answer is that there is no command in the scripture to obey Satan and yet God does command all men to obey the powers of government that are placed over them.  They are to obey magistrates and rulers of all kinds. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”  (Romans 13:1) “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”  (1 Peter 2:13-14)
  2. God nowhere recognizes Satan as a servant that has the responsibility of executing wrath upon the wicked; God does expect human governments to have this responsibility, however which means that there is no correlation between what Satan is and does and human government. “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.”  (Romans 13:2-6)
  3. God certainly does not approve of anything ungodly or selfish that occurs in human government.  Similarly God did not approve of what the scribes and Pharisees did and yet he said, “Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”  (Matthew 23:2-3) Here we see a simple but common sense principle.  We should obey when what is required is not inconsistent with the Moral Law and to do so heartily as unto the Lord and not unto men.  We do obey them for the honor and glory of the Lord and as doing service to Him.
  • Some say that Christians should leave human governments and the managing of them to non-Christians so that they can keep up the spiritual work of saving souls. They say that Christians should not intermeddle with human governments.  The answer is that upholding and assisting good government does not divert a Christian from the work of saving souls, rather it enhances it by allowing them to have a say in the laws which will make their efforts work toward the promotion of public and private happiness which is always a part of saving souls anyway.  It would be nonsense to admit that a Christian is under obligation to obey a human government and then to have nothing to do with the choice of those who govern.
  • Some religious groups take the stance that we are not to avenge ourselves because the Bible says, “…Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.”  The thought is that if we cannot take care of wrongs personally that it would be wrong for a Christian to do so through the action of human government. The answer is that just because a person decides to personally take care of wrongs by summary and personal infliction of punishment on a transgressor that a human government may not do so.  In our world we would be hard pressed to find the legal system in our favor since it is illegal to use vigilante justice so therefore any who take this view would fall in line with such thinking which is not something that works to the best end of society and the universe, a requirement of moral law.  This type of mindset is almost a bold declaration of selfishness as if the offended wishes to get revenge, a truly selfish attribute and motive.  The other thing is that the verse referred to is quite the opposite of this position anyway.  God is telling us not to take personal vengeance and in that vein human government would be His way of repaying as the scripture says.
  • Some try to say that where there is love reigning in the heart it will be so strong that we can do away with law because we can live by love.  The problem with this position is that even though there were love in everyone, there would still be a need for duty to direct the love to the right end with legal sanctions that make up an indispensable part of the circle of motives which are suited to the nature, relations, and government of moral beings.  Moral law requires love so that there is no law, human or divine that is inconsistent with benevolence; and benevolence needs direction from superior wisdom.  Thus there is a need for human government.
  • Some take the position that Christians have far better pursuits than to involve themselves in the world of politics.  The truth is that no man can be either benevolent or religious without concerning himself with the affairs of human government where he can fulfill his obligations to the fullest.  True, Christians should have nothing to do with selfish politics that have ungodly principles but if they really want to seek the universal good of all men then they should realize that a proper administration of human government that handles human interests will materially affect all of their higher interests in the kingdom of God.
  • Some take the position that human governments are not authorized in the Bible but this is a mistake as we can see from the verses quoted above.  Even if God did not authorize them, it would be the duty of mankind to institute human government because of the plain demands of human nature.  As a first truth we can say that whatever helps promote the highest good of moral beings in any world is right to pursue; in fact, we are required to pursue such pursuits.  This would automatically include human government.  We have shown that moral law is a unit of the nature, relations, and circumstances of moral beings so that whatever these require is obligatory.  We are obligated to institute human government.  So, even if the scriptures were silent in this area, we would be duty bound to pursue establishing a human government as an act of wisdom in promoting the best end of our society.
  • Some object to human governments in that they are founded in and sustained by force which would be inconsistent with the spirit of the gospel.  That cannot be since there were governments that God approved in the Old Testament and there is no difference between the spirit of the moral law in the Old and New Testament. God has not changed and Christ has not made void the law through faith.  “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:31)  We are only contending for human governments that are just and good for the most part and such governments do not exercise force unless it is demanded to promote the highest public good which is always right within the scope of moral law and never can be wrong.  In fact, it is the duty of government to inflict penalties when it will serve the public interest.
  • Some object to human government because they object to laws with penalties or sanctions.  This would not be law as we have already defined in our definition of moral law, it would only be advise and as such it would be worthless.
  • Some object to human government because they say that church governments can sufficiently meet the necessities of the world without secular or state governments. This is why our founding fathers founded a nation with a constitution that had a clause in it separating church and state.  It is because human government is needed to regulate commerce, make international arrangements, manage business affairs and many other things.  To have the church involved in such activities would be preposterous and impossible.  It would in essence create a theocracy which our founding fathers never intended.  As you can see, this is a far cry from merely using the name of God in the public arena which is perfectly acceptable because the same amendment of the U.S. Constitution also says that no law should prohibit the free exercise of religion.  There is nothing wrong with having churches and religious beliefs freely proclaimed in the public arena and there is also nothing wrong with having human government handle all civil, state, and national business, commerce, and other such legal issues.  It is what God has intended in verses we have examined.
  • Some object to human government because, as they say, that if the entire world were holy then legal penalties would not be needed.  That is really a position that is taken with little understanding of law.  In order to be a law and not just advice, the establishment of sanctions is the right and duty of all who make laws.  To have the thinking that if the entire world were holy we would not need legal penalties pure idealism but not reality.
  • Some hold that family government is the only government that God has approved. This is a ridiculous assertion for the following reasons:
  1. God has commanded obedience to both magistrates and to parents.
  2. God states that it is the duty of magistrates and of parents to punish both crime and disobedience respectively.
  3. Though God has authorized family government this authorization is not an arbitrary choice of the will but is founded in the highest good of human beings. Had God not commanded it, family government would still be both necessary and obligatory.
  4. We can say also that the right of human government is not founded in the arbitrary will of God but because it is a human necessity.  The larger the community, the more necessary it is to have government.  As in families where rules of the family are necessary to properly function as a family, so in larger communities, cities, counties, states, and nations, it is demanded that there be a government just by the nature, relations, and circumstances of every day life of human beings.  We have previously stated that nothing is obligatory on moral beings that is inconsistent with their nature, relations, and circumstances.  In a similar way, human beings are bound to establish whatever government is necessary for instruction, government, virtue, and happiness of the community and of the world in general.
  5. The very reasons that a family government is needed hold equally true of state and national governments, having the best ends in mind for all.
  6. To have a government over a state or nation is a vastly weightier responsibility than that over only a family or small community.
  7. God has declared in this, as well as on other subjects, the commonly recognized principle that it is both the right and duty of states and nations to install human government just as much as it is the right of families to do so at home.
  8. Christians would be better off to reform and uphold human government than to confound matters by claiming what is only an abuse of the right of government by the ungodly.
  9. For Christians to desire to destroy human government because there are some abuses in government is no different than for non-Christians to desire to destroy anything related to religion or belief in God such as removing the ten commandments from a court house or taking the word God out of the pledge of allegiance.  Both should realize that they have a purpose when held in proper balance and both are aimed at promoting the general good of all.
  10. Though some Christians feel that selfish men need to be restrained by law yet they feel that they should not be a part of that law.  Yet the fact is that if wicked men decide that there is to be no law the Christians would have a problem and should feel that they are duty bound to allow such laws as a means of restraint and for their own wholesome existence.  Thus wholesome government is a must.
  11. For Christians to take the position that people outside the realm of Christianity need to be restrained by law but they do not is stating that they have no interest in the highest good of the universe which is what human government is all about.  Universal benevolence demands that there be human government and it is wrong for Christians to take a position of having nothing to do with government.  It is their government as much as they are citizens of their city, state, or nation.  This is not the mixing of church and state but having all work for the best end and for the good of all.

What is the foundation of the right of human government?

  1. Men as moral agents are the subjects of moral obligation and of moral government.
  2. All men should aim at the same thing that God aims at, namely, the highest good of universal being.
  3. Since human governments are mandatory for the promotion of the highest good of human beings, then these same human beings not only have a right but they have a duty to establish and maintain human governments.  This right is founded in the intrinsic value of the good that the human government will sustain.  As such, human governments and God have the same end in view which, even though human governments may not see it as such, gives glory to God because it satisfies his own intrinsic value for the good that the government will produce as a means to this same end, namely, the happiness and best ends for all.

Let’s point out the limits or boundaries of the right of human government.

  1. Since the end of government is the highest good of all human beings within the scope of that government which is also a part of the universal good, then it stands to reason that human legislation must have this end in view.  Human governments have no authority under moral law to legislate what is not in the best interests of all.
  2. No being can arbitrarily create law because laws of governments of moral agents must be moral law which is always based upon the natures and relations of all.  The only law which is really obligatory on human beings is the law of nature, the common law of all moral agents, even God, and the only law by which a moral being ought to be governed.  Nothing else is truly law.  Even God does not put forth arbitrary enactments; rather God declares laws which are common laws of the universe and were he to do otherwise even His laws would not be obligatory.  Arbitrary legislation is never really obligatory. This is also why judges should merely interpret law and not make an attempt to legislate from the bench.  Arbitrary creation of “rights” without due process is wrong and any attempts at such activities should be heartily opposed by all moral beings.  It has nothing to do with law but rather with selfishness which is making government immoral at the core.
  3. Human governments may declare and apply the great principles of moral law to human government and then legislate in harmony with divine government as far as it serves the purpose of best end of all but they have no right to overstep their bounds in the spiritual arena.  They should do what is necessary and no further.
  4. The right of human government is founded in the intrinsic value of the good of being and the conditions are the necessity of human government as a means to this end.  Human government should extend legislation and control only to this end and no further.
  5. Human beings have no right to establish a government upon any other basis than the moral law.  The founders of the United States of America certainly had this thought in mind when they formed the Constitution of the United States.  They knew that no human constitution or law can be obligatory upon human beings any further than that which is declared by moral law.  They also knew that moral law assumes that God is the supreme magistrate and governor of all moral agents.  When we try to have constitutions and legislation that is not founded upon this sound basis where moral law is not recognized as the only law of the universe, the legislation becomes null and void because it attempts to force moral beings by way of odious tyranny and usurpation.  Human beings may form constitutions, establish governments, and enact statutes for the purpose of promoting the highest virtue and happiness in the world.  They may do so for the declaration and enforcement of moral law.  They are essential to this end and no further.
  6. Let it be widely known and publicized that no government is lawful or innocent that does not recognize the moral law as the only universal law and also God as the Supreme Lawgiver and Judge to which all nations and individuals are responsible.  The moral law of God is the only law of individuals and nations.  Nothing can be rightful government unless it has been established and administered with this view in mind.  To take any other position is to put the nation in severe jeopardy so that they actually become a nation of tyranny and their laws become worthless.  To remove God from the legal system or from the government is to destroy the very legitimacy of that government since it was God that declared in behalf of human government in the first place.  To make the declaration that there should be no “God” in the legal system is to declare that there should be no law since God is, as we have been saying, concerned with the best ends of all.  Removing God is declaring that government has suddenly become immoral and no longer desires the best ends for all but rather is promoting the intrinsic value of the selfish and the evil.  When we promote the intrinsic value of the criminal above the citizen we have lost our moral compass.  When we promote the intrinsic value of the special interests above what is best for all we have lost our moral compass.  When special interest groups can redefine words such as “marriage” and “rights” we have lost our moral compass.  Should government decay to the point that it is no longer moral, then we must declare that it is no longer legitimate and it has no more authority.  If this ever happens then moral citizens need to rise up and change the government before it becomes just another Grand Inquisitor bent on nothing else but creating immorality and destroying the moral law and all that is associated with it.  A word to the wise should be sufficient.

Remarks regarding forms of government and the right and duty of revolution, and more.  We will discuss the following:

  1. Reasons why God has not made any particular form of government universally obligatory.
  2. The form of civil government depends upon the intelligence and virtue of the people of that society.
  3. Whatever form of government is best suited to the needs of the people so that they reach their best end is what is obligatory for them.
  4. Revolution becomes necessary and obligatory when they are demanded by either the virtue and intelligence of a people, or the vice and ignorance that a society has where the government needs to be replaced.
  5. The cases where human legislation is valid and those in which it is null and void.
  6. Cases where we are bound to disobey human government.
  7. Reasons why God has not made any particular form of government universally obligatory.

1.  God has not given specific directions regarding a certain form of secular government in the Bible, only the Jewish Theocracy.

2.  Existing forms of government in the Bible were not considered in any instructions that God gave in the Bible.

3.  The reasons that he did not give these instructions are:

  • Such instructions would have produced revolutions and would have caused a back lash against Christianity; governmental opposition to Christianity.  World governments have always had much variety and to insist on any particular form
  • No particular form of government now or ever has been suited perfectly to all types of societies.
  • Forms of government need to be changed when it is required by society for the general good of all.

The form of civil government depends upon the intelligence and virtue of the people of that society.

  1. A republic  is self-government but it is not safe or useful unless there is sufficient intelligence and virtue in the community to impose, by mutual consent, salutary self-restraints, and to enforce the practice of virtues which are indispensable to the highest good of any community by the power of public sentiment and fear and love of God.  When a society takes God out of the picture then all the other checks and balances that make a republic work are missing and it will not work properly.  This is the form of government our founding fathers established.  A republic has checks and balances that a democracy does not have.  The rule of the majority could be dangerous if the masses choose to follow a despotic ruler and vote him into power.
  2. A democracy is another form of self-government and the requirements would be the same for a democracy as those for a republic when it comes to moral government and moral law.
  3. When there are not enough intelligent and virtuous people in a culture to help them legislate for the highest good of the state or nation then both a republic and a democracy are improper and impracticable as forms of government.  This is why it is most urgent to keep God in the picture.  When our society becomes a godless society then the republic or the weaker democracy will be unable to function properly because they are useless where the people have no proper intelligence or virtue.
  4. In the past, when the masses lacked intelligence and virtue so that they could never legislate on correct principles because they were illiterate or steeped in ancient superstition, then a monarchy was a better way to restrain vice and promote virtue, as long as the monarchy was a godly one.  This was used in the Bible in the Old Testament.  Even though they were the nation that God ordained to be the carriers of the seed of the Messiah and the writers of the Oracles of God, they still had problems because many of the kings chose to follow the heathen ways of people around them.  A monarchy is also what England had when our forefathers came to settle here to get away from oppression.  This type of government may have worked in the past or in the Bible, but history shows that this tends to be an oppressive form of government that lifts up the royal class above what God intended and treats the main populace like a mass of various classes with no individuality or freedom.
  5. When a society degrades to its lowest level so that no other form of government will accomplish the purpose of government, then a military form of government may be the only way and though this is not a good form of government it is likely the lesser of other evils that could exist if they were allowed to fester and take control.  We have seen this in the Iraq war where the U.S. Military took the country and deposed the existing tyrants but then allowed the people to form a representative style of government.  If a military form of government comes to take over a country it should always be temporary only until the people of that country are taught how to have the right kind of representative government because even a military general can become a dictator, the absolute worst form of government in the world.
  6. When virtue and intelligence are nearly universal in a society then a representative form of government like a republic will promote the public good better than any other form of government.
  7. When society is intelligent and virtuous then democracy is best for the general diffusion of knowledge on the subject of government.  While it may be inconvenient at times, yet with a suitable society a democracy is the most desirable form of government for the following reasons:
    • It is conducive to general intelligence.
    • People are more generally acquainted with the laws.
    • People are more interested in legal matters and laws.
    • It creates more of a general feeling of responsibility.
    • Governmental questions are generally discussed and understood before they are adopted in this form.
    • Because knowledge is widespread as far as individual and public virtue, a democracy will produce virtue and happiness for the society.
  8. God has always given the proper form of government to suit the degree of virtue and intelligence that a people possess.
  9. If people are ignorant and vicious, God restrains them with the iron rod of militarism.
  10. If they are more intelligent and virtuous, God gives them a mild form of monarchy.
  11. If the people are more intelligent and virtuous then God gives them more liberty and has providentially established republics for their government.
  12. When the general state of intelligence permits it, God puts a nation to the test of self-government and self-restraint in establishing a republic.
  13. If the world ever becomes more virtuous than it is now, governments will be further modified in a way to utilize the great principles of moral law.
  14. Since God is infinitely benevolent, he often gives people just as much liberty as they can bear.  Let us not lose our great opportunity to keep the greatest form of government in the world. Let’s not let principles that would lower us to a lesser form be adopted by society. To do that, let’s keep as close to the moral law as possible.

Whatever form of government is best suited to the needs of the people so that they reach their best end is what is obligatory for them.

  • This is a self-evident truth when you consider that necessity is what creates the condition of the right of human government.  In fact, that is the object of government, to be created by the demands of the circumstances, intelligence and morals of the people.
  • Because it is best to have a government that is suited to the needs of the people, it would be a Christian’s duty to pray for and sustain even a military dictatorship or in a slightly better situation to pray for and sustain a monarchy.  In far better circumstances a Christian has a duty to pray for and sustain a Republic and in the best of circumstances a Christian should pray for and sustain a Democracy.  It is not proper to claim a divine right for any form of government because the form that is demanded by a certain society, whatever that form may be based upon their virtue and intelligence, has the divine right and sanction merely because the nature and state of things dictates that as the form that will give the best opportunity to reach the best end for that particular people.

Revolutions become necessary and obligatory when the virtue and intelligence, or the vice and ignorance of the people, demand that they take place.

  • This is a course of action that should always be a consideration.  When the form of government that presently exists in any society fails to meet the needs of that society then the people have a moral obligation to start a revolution, if necessary, to change that form of government to one that is better suited to the present existing needs.
  • When the conditions for revolution come about, it is vain for anyone to resist because the benevolence of God will help to bring it about.  When one considers the American Revolution they can see that the end result proves that the revolution was justified.  The intelligence and virtue of the puritan fore-fathers created a situation where the Monarchy was more of a burden than a necessity.  That is why a republican form of government was both appropriate and necessary.  God always allows his children just the amount of liberty that they are mature enough to enjoy.
  • The stability of our republic and its institutions depends upon the progress of general intelligence and of virtue.  When a nation begins to fall in general intelligence and in public and private virtue to the point that self-control is almost impossible then we are admitting that we need a monarchy or even a military dictatorship to match the standard of intelligence and virtue. Perhaps this is what happens whenever a cruel dictator takes over.  It was prepared by the lack of character and virtue of the people that allowed him to come to power.  We should beware because there is a God that governs the affairs of men and if we are unwilling to face the state of our own degradation then God will arrange for some form of revolution to produce the effect that he knows is needed to stem the tide of wickedness and vice.  Wouldn’t it be a sad day if, after all the good that our nation has known and done, we are allowed by God to become a radical Islamic society simply because we desired to eliminate God from our governmental institutions. Readers beware, it could happen and unless our nation repents of our hatred for God it will happen.
  • In conclusion we can see that when Christians participate in that which will uproot the human government where they enjoy the most freedom that any form of government affords, it is a gross folly; it is abominable wickedness for Christians not to be engaged in sustaining their present government with the great principles of moral law.

The cases where human legislation is valid and those in which it is null and void.

  • Human legislation is valid when the nature and relations along with the circumstances call for it as a necessity.
  • Only the kind and degree of legislation which is demanded by necessity is obligatory of human governments under moral law.  When legislation becomes “pork” and is unnecessary a moral people should reject it wholeheartedly.
  • Any legislation that is not demanded by the circumstances if null and void.  There exists no nature, relations, or necessity for such legislation.  Too many times legislation is enacted only for a political agenda when there are already laws on the books that meet the need of the circumstances.  When that happens and the legislation is in opposition to moral law it is not valid; it is null and void.  Human beings cannot legislate in opposition to moral law.  It is not consistent with supreme love to God or love to our neighbor and consequently it cannot be obligatory upon moral agents.

Cases where we are bound to disobey human government.

  • We can yield obedience when the law does not require violating our moral obligations.
  • We are required to yield obedience when the legislation is in accordance with the law of nature.
  • We are bound to obey legislation when it does not conflict with moral character in and of itself.  In such circumstances obedience is a great deal more virtuous than resistance and revolution.
  • However, we are bound to disobey in every case in which human legislation contravenes moral law or invades the rights of the conscience of the spirit.

Now we will apply the above principles to the rights and duties of governments and individuals as it relates to the necessary penal sanctions of law: namely, suppression of mobs, insurrections, and rebellion.  We will also discuss the relation of war, slavery, and Sabbath desecration with other various thoughts.

Some points have already been settled. We showed the following:

  1. All government is a means to an end, the highest good of both the ruler and the ruled. That is righteous government.
  2. Law is either moral or physical as previously discussed.
  3. All law for governing free moral agents is and must be moral law.
  4. Moral law is the rule of willing and acting that is suited to the nature and relations with the circumstances of moral agents.
  5. The right to govern is founded in the value of the end to be secured by the government with certain conditions:
  • That the government is necessary as a means to this end.
  • That the moral attributes of the ruler indicate his ability and willingness to administer the government in order to secure the proper end of government.
  1. The right to govern implies what was seen in Chapter III.
  2. The only boundary of the right to govern is the necessity of the government so that only the kind and degree of government that is necessary is lawful and nothing more or less.  This government will promote the highest good both of the ruler and of his subjects or there is no valid law.  There can be no arbitrary enactments of law.  This is why despotic regimes like that of Saddam Hussein are invalid and need to be replaced.
  3. Nothing that is unequal or inequitable can be a valid law; it must follow the rule, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
  4. Human rulers have no right to legislate in any other way but in support of Divine Government; if they legislate against it then the law is invalid because it contravenes the moral law of God.

Now we will apply these immutable and well-established principles.

A.  The rights and duties of governments as it relates to mobs, riots, capital punishment and the execution of police sanctions against criminals in society.  We have those in society that try to take the position that rulers have the right to govern and yet they don’t have a right to use the means necessary to do so.  These detractors make a big deal out of human life and go so far as to say that governments should exist without taking any human life whatsoever.  We have people in prison that are enduring life sentences; we have police that are put on administrative leave for shooting a criminal; we have war protestors that object to the killing of enemy combatants; and we have those that object to the interrogation of prisoners in a prison camp because they claim it does not show enough of the law of benevolence.  The truth is that if a ruler has the right to govern, the subject should obey.  Then if the subject ceases to obey the ruler or his administrator of law, if there were no right to enforce the law, then the right to govern has ceased to exist.  This is because the right to govern implies to right to enforce whatever is necessary to promote the great end for which all moral agents ought to live, the best end.  Those with this philosophy deny governments the right to use force and they do it on the basis that benevolence forbids the use of force.   You might as well say that you love someone too much to use what is necessary to secure their ultimate good, or that you love someone too much to execute the law upon those who are destroying all good.  Shame on this philosophy, it is immoral and has nothing to do with moral obligation.  It is as if an enlightened benevolence could forbid the use of due, wholesome, and necessary execution of law.  These false philosophers claim that they ascribe to the law that says, “Thou shalt not kill” to mean that one should not kill “human life.”  Why would they take that position?  Would it not be just as plausible to include animals and plants in this vein of thought?  Perhaps that is why we have PETA and other wacko organizations campaigning against the destroying of the natural forests and objecting to eating meat as food all while they have no objection to the national crime of killing babies in the womb of a mother.  We have to ask the question, what kind of killing does such a commandment prohibit?  Certainly not the killing of human beings, especially in the execution of the laws of the land.  What, you may ask, is wrong with killing babies in order to protect the mother?  My answer is this.  Abortion is the taking of lives of innocent unborn children in order to allow women the right to practice self-gratification in the form of sexual promiscuity.  This is immoral, it is not a part of the moral law, and the very act of killing innocent life for the “right” to practice sexual sin is one thing that makes that judicial ruling invalid.  It has no basis in law since it has no basis in moral law and that because it contradicts the standard of seeing the intrinsic value in the life of the child and wishing to do that which results in the best end of both the mother and the child.  Can anyone with any conscience at all state that killing an innocent life is the best end for both mother and child?  Can anyone say that the life of a mother with the conscience of a murdered baby weighing on her mind the rest of her life is the best end for her?  Can we say that killing a baby that would have grown up to be a productive member of society is the best end for that baby?  OF COURSE NOT!  It is immorality at all levels of society and of government.  Those who promote such immorality have no right to govern and whatever law they claim give them the right to take innocent life is not a law at all and good moral citizens should rise up in revolution if necessary to eliminate this curse from our society.  When God gave the Ten Commandments he also gave the penal sanctions that were to be used for disobedience of his precepts.  Some of the sanctions included death as a penalty under the law.  This means that punishing criminals, police action, war and any other execution of law that results in taking of another life is lawful and right and even benevolent since it works to the best end of all and protects them from that which would ruin their society.  With that said, it must be the position of all moral beings that abortion is a crime and all who participate are guilty before God of murder and they have no right to expect that they should not receive penal sanctions for all the millions of murders that have taken place.  If our society does not take this matter seriously, then God could allow another society to take over and ours cease to exist as a punishment for our complete disdain of moral law.  All those who use the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” should realize that it does not mean the execution of penal sanctions at all but the taking of innocent life which would include abortion or any other murder.  We have reversed the whole moral law based upon the intrinsic value of self-gratification.  We protect murders and kill innocent babies.  Oh, how this nation needs a great general repentance before God removes our place from the world community.  What are the facts as far as God’s law in the Bible is concerned?

  • God did give the Jews in the Old Testament the express warrant and injunction to take life for certain crimes; and-
  • Even if God had not given this injunction then it would have been the duty of moral agents to do so whenever the public good required it.  Remember, the moral law is the law of nature so that everything is lawful and right that plainly promotes the highest good of being.  We make a reference here to the statement “inalienable rights” as found in the constitution.  Some assume that all men have a title or a right to life such that they cannot forfeit it by committing crimes.  The truth is that when you break the law you have no rights in this sense.  Whenever a person commits a crime which causes government to take the position that the only way to achieve the public interest is by forfeiting this persons own life, then it is the duty of government to take that life.  That is why capital punishment is not only right but it is the duty of a moral government.

B.  The same general principles apply to insurrections and to rebellion.  It is the right and the duty of government to do that which is necessary for the suppression of insurrections and rebellions for the good of all subjects and for the execution of law.

C.  We may say much the same things regarding war.  While war is one of the most heinous crimes in humanity, yet war is a virtue if it is believed by those who engage in it that it is demanded by the law of benevolence and they do it with a single eye to the glory of God and for the highest good of being.  None can doubt that war has been demanded by the spirit of moral law and even God has commanded it, which he could not have done were it not with the goal of the highest good of the universe.  When such is the case, God commanding to engage in war, the benevolent intentions of moral agents in prosecuting the war as God commanded it do not constitute sin, only obedience to the law of love.  Rulers are God’s administrators to execute his wrath upon the guilty. When God finds it in his best interests or for the good of the universe to rebuke a nation or to destroy it for his own glory and the highest good of being, he may without question command that they be chastised by the hand of man.  In any other case, this is a heinous crime and unless God has plainly shown it to be his will and executed according to that will.  When war is engaged in for selfish reasons such as the Islamic Jihad for the purposes of killing innocent Christians and Jews, then it becomes wholesale murder.  For persons to enlist in such a war or for a nation to declare a war for such selfish reasons makes the person who enlisted and those involved guilty of murder.  To engage in war because of the right of a country or a religion to take the position that their country is right and all others are wrong is nothing more than a fiendish maxim. It is never right for the citizens of a country to participate in a war that the government has unjustly engaged in.  We had a similar problem in the past in this country in regard to slavery.  Some said that they could not abolish it for fear of destroying the nation as a whole.  They were wrong and it was sin.  It was finally changed but unfortunately at the cost of some of the best lives in our nation’s history.  The only way for countries that wrongly engage in war or in slavery to be forgiven before God is to repent of their sin and subscribe to the whole of the moral law, the law of love.

D.  Regarding the keeping of the Sabbath in this country.  There used to be a principle that certain things were not done on Sunday which is the Christian substitution of the Sabbath unless it were for the express purpose of the general good.  Now we have degraded our society to the point that we have sporting events, football as an example, where the game is played on Sunday and they even go so far as to have a time of worship for Christians before the game.  Then, one of the great promoters of sporting events are companies the make alcoholic beverages such as beer.  Christians need to see that a trend is being set which breaks God’s laws and allows society to silently sit by while evils are being promoted in the form of alcoholic beverages and other types of vices or self gratification.  Television is one of the greatest invaders of the virtuous home that has ever existed in history.  Perhaps we need to take a look at a former day in this nation such as that which existed in the original printing of this work where Sunday was truly a day of rest and families spent quality time together without the aid of electronic media or entertainment.

D.  The same principles that we have discussed apply to slavery which was an issue when this book was first published and is no longer an issue.  We would do well, however, to learn the lessons of history that no matter what excuses we make for glaring inconsistencies in our moral lives we will pay in the end.  As the Civil War proves, all the excuses which good men used to make the point that slavery was right and one could be benevolent while holding slaves proved to be the cancer of a society that ultimately caused a war resulting in the deaths of thousands of good citizens of this country. Could it be that in the area of abortion or some other evil that we glibly take for granted, while we use the reasoning of the mind to argue with our conscience of the spirit and convince ourselves that we are right, will one day come back to haunt us and destroy our society as we know it?  Take a look at population statistics and ask a mathematician what would be the results on a society in 20 or 50 or even 100 years after millions of babies had been killed.  Would it not show that perhaps well over a billion souls that could exist with our own social principles are now strangely vacant from the world landscape?  What culture is there in another part of the world that has been madly populating their nation and other parts of the world while we have been killing off our own society?  Can anyone make the case that eventually the society that did not abort their young will not overtake the one that did?  In the act of aborting our own unborn children, have we really for all intents and purposes aborted our own nation and culture from the world as we know it?  Could this be the key that will unlock the door to making the whole world an Islamic extremist culture?  God help us if we don’t see that we have tread very heavily on the principles of moral law that require sanctions or God has ceased to be God and moral law no longer exists in the whole universe.  As a nation we need to repent before it is too late.

Let me make a plea that every Senator and Congressmen both in the National and State legislatures, along with all judges, lawyers and legal institutions make this book a part of their library and make moral law a part of our legal system once again.  It could be that if we repent as a nation and once again put moral law where it should be that God will hear our prayers, forgive our sins and heal our nation.