You read that correctly, the question is not ‘who is right’ rather it’s ‘who has rights’. There has been a shift in this country toward the idea that it is GOV that confers (grants or bestows) rights to its citizens. In a recent article, James G. Dwyer said, “…that’s the state that empowers parents to do anything with children, to take them home, to have custody and to make any kind of decisions about that.”1 What he is saying, as well as so many others, is that GOV is the one that gives people rights.
Before we go forward, let me say that this article is intended to help the Christian understand the truth regarding the world around him. We live in a world run by man and overrun with sin. We must live in this world without letting its errors separate us from the truth. [1Corinthians 5:7-10]
As Christians, if we’re not careful, these erroneous ideas will creep in and lead us astray. Therefore, we ask the question…
WHO CONFERS RIGHTS?
Is it true that government (GOV) bestows upon its citizens certain rights? When you examine history, the answer appears to be yes. All over the world, it has been the kings (GOV) that determines what a person may or may not do within its borders. It is this idea that has lead so many into revolution in attempts to regain rights.
Then along came certain men, on this continent, who thought a different thought. They wrote, “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.”2 Did they come up with this on their own or was this just a new way of thinking about government?
We’re spelling it wrong.
The idea that mankind has rights, from their Creator, did not come from the mind of man, it came from GOD. Our founding fathers had the idea that people have GOD given rights and the role of GOV is to protect them. How did they come to this conclusion?
From GOD’s holy and divine word. If we examine scripture, we will find Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…
- LIFE – Genesis 1:26-27 teaches us that it is GOD who gives Life. The Psalmist wrote, “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments” [Psalm 119:73]. And again, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” [139:14]. GOV has no power to give life, only to take it away. Even then we see it’s limit for Jesus has said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” [Matthew 10:28].
- LIBERTY – This is the idea of free will. We all have the freedom to choose. We know this because GOD gave us a command. By giving a command, it’s automatically known that man has free will. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” [Genesis 2:16-17]. Liberty is the freedom to choose. This doesn’t mean that there are no consequences for our choices, but it does mean that GOD gave us freedom. GOV can try its best to control people, but they cannot control one’s mind.
- HAPPINESS – or rather, the pursuit of it. GOV can never provide happiness, only destroy it. GOD gave us this pursuit, “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. And GOD said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so” [Genesis 1:28-30]. GOD gave us all things to enjoy. Paul said to those in Lystra, “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” [Acts 14:17]. Happiness comes from GOD, never is it found in gov.
This article can only be complete when we note what GOD says about the ‘RIGHT’ of gov. “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” [Romans 13:3-4]. Look closely, it is GOD that gives man his rights and it is GOD who gives gov theirs. The ruling powers are SERVANTS of the most high GOD!!!
‘In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’
“Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.”
2 – Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776