Declaration of Independence: Our Rights Come From God

There is a Creator God and He determines right and wrong, good and evil… not man. This is the most important foundational principle of law and justice. If this principle is not understood as absolute, undeniable truth, one could conclude that every principle in our founding charter, The Declaration of Independence is a lie.  If there is any shadow of a doubt about the fact that the God of the Bible is our Creator and He alone, totally independent of the will of man, determines right and wrong, good and evil; then I would ask that you review the first two lectures. Until you thoroughly understand this concept and are in full agreement with this fact; then and only then, will the rest of this lecture series make any sense.

While every word in our Founding Charter is important perhaps the second most important principle of freedom to understand is that Our Rights come from God – Not Government, therefore they are not subject to the Repeal or Restrictions of Human Laws. The Declaration of Independence states, “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 pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” If the proper role of government is to secure our unalienable rights, it is essential that we have an accurate understanding of that term at the time it was written.

Alienable according to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary means, “That may be… transferred to another…”[1] Therefore if the American Founders wanted to indicate that their rights could have been transferred to their elected representatives to be regulated and controlled, they would have used that term. However, they chose to describe our rights as unalienable, that which cannot be transferred to another. John Adams, a member of the committee that drafted the Declaration, made this understanding indisputable when he explained, “I say RIGHTS, for such they have, undoubtedly, antecedent to all earthly government, — Rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws — Rights, derived from the great Legislator of the universe.”[2] Note that Adams said, “…rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws…”

The Virginia Constitution, a document with which Thomas Jefferson the chief author of the Declaration had intimate knowledge, reinforces this understanding when it states in ARTICLE 1 and Section 1, “A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS made by the good people of Virginia in the exercise of their sovereign powers,[3] which rights do pertain to them and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of government. That all men are by nature equally free and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”[4] That is “all men… have… rights… they cannot, by any [agreement be] deprived [of]…” Again notice the phrase that our rights, “cannot, by any compact, [be] deprive[d] or divest[ed]…”

The Virginia Constitution removes all doubt that the rights we have in a state of nature are what the Declaration of Independence calls unalienable rights and further clarifies them by stating that these rights belong to everyone and their descendants. That is to say that everyone on the earth has what our Declaration of Independence calls unalienable rights, whether one is an American or not, because our rights come from our Creator, not government. All people all over the world are born with unalienable rights and no one has a right to take them away or regulate or control them. However this does not mean that all governments equally protect these God-given rights or even recognize them.


Will we work to restore our Republic to secure our unalienable rights or will we allow ourselves to degenerate into a democracy where the ever-changing will of the majority rules; where the majority constantly votes for the politician that will give them the most out of the public treasury; where the needs of the many are funded by the ability and hard work of the few. God has always called this theft. It becomes a never-ending cycle of tax and spend until all is owned and controlled by those in government, leading to totalitarianism. Government regulation is the statist pathway to totalitarian control. It destroys freedom and brings about economic chaos, oppression, and it destroys prosperity.

Let us not acquiesce to necessity being the plea for every infringement of human liberty – that appears to be the slogan of most politicians today. Many are sick and tired of hearing from the modern political pundits that the idea of “Unalienable Rights” is impractical in our modern society. This was the creed of the statist old world that our Forefathers rejected so many years ago. The free enterprise system based on the principle of unalienable rights works. As James Madison proclaimed, “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort… This being the end of government, that alone is not a just government… nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty is violated by arbitrary seizure of one class of citizens for the service of the rest.”[5]  If those who work are allowed to keep the fruit of their labor and dispense the surplus as they see fit, then they will work harder and longer. They will invest, they will invent, and they will produce more than you have ever dreamed possible. And there will be more for everyone including those that must live off the generosity of others.

The choice before us is clear. We, as individuals and churches, will either defend the American principle of Our Rights come from God – Not Government, Therefore they are not subject to the Repeal or Restrictions of Human Laws, or our current government-regulated and controlled economic system will finally destroy the economy of the most prosperous nation the world has ever known.

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[1] Noah Webster, American Dictionary Of The English Language; Noah Webster 1828, (Facsimile Edition) (California, Foundation For American Christian Education, 2002)

[2] Arthur Palumbo, The Authentic Constitution An Originalist View of America’s Legacy, (New York, Algora Publishing, 2009) p. 15.

[3] Underlining the authors.

[4] Virginia’s Legislative Information System, Constitution of Virginia,

[5] James Madison, The Founders’ Constitution, Edited by Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner. (Indianapolis ID, Liberty Fund, 2000), Vol. 1 p. 598.