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II.2 Threefold Perfection of the Governor of the Universe

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Three Central
Attributes of God

The description of God in the Declaration of Independence as the Author of Nature’s Law, the Divine Providence, and the Supreme Judge of the World forms the First Great Triad. The citizens of the republic see God as Supreme Intelligence, Supreme Power, and Supreme Goodness.

We know that there can be but one such God, for if there were two, each would lack the supreme perfections that belonged to the other. Neither, therefore, would be God. Given these facts, all who refer to God as possessed of these three supreme perfections refer to the One True God, regardless whatever supernatural doctrines they may happen to add to these truths in private. A people of diverse faiths can can find unity under the God who endows us with our rights.

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The Idea of God
as Creator

“Creator” signifies God’s relation to the world. Creation is not the rearrangement of what already exists, but is bringing into being out of nothingness. The Creator, therefore, cannot be a part of what is created. If He were, He would not be Creator, but created. But what is created cannot be the cause of its own existence. What has no cause of its own existence, but is the source of all existence, must always exist.

All material things have finite limits, but what is infinite is not bound by any limit. The Creator, being supreme, is unlimited; He cannot be a material thing. All material things are finite; they also suffer defect and decay. The Creator therefore cannot be finite, must exist apart from matter, and suffers no decay. He is infinite, spiritual, and incorruptible.

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The Need for
Unity under God

The people of the world are not united under a single faith.This is a threat to the peace of the political order. In the absence of unity under one faith, we can only achieve unity under religious truths that are agreeable to reason. The Declaration of Independence gives expression to the key ideas of that religious unity.

The Declaration refers to the Creator as Author of Nature’s Law, Divine Providence, and Supreme Judge of the World. These attributes can be known through reasoned reflection on nature, in particular, on its magnificent design, powerful forces, and evident goodness. We too are a part of nature, and so find these same attributes in us, not only reflected in our bodies, but also and more importantly, as reflected in our minds.

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American Deist © 2012 2013 Edward J. Furton
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