II.3 Threefold Perfection of the Divinity in the Mind of Man


The Virtue of

Knowledge, power, and goodness inhere in God; though limited, the same attributes also inhere in us. The likeness of our finite intellect, will, and judgment to the infinite knowledge, power, and goodness of God forms the Second Great Triad.

As God rules all things through Mind, so are we called to govern ourselves by mind. The success of self-governance depends on the acquisition of virtue: temperance, courage, justice, and wisdom. We acquire these through obedience to the Laws of Nature’s God. The natural virtues enable us to live well in private life. They also enable a people to live well as a self-governing republic. More than any other form of government, the republic depends on the virtue of its citizens. The republic is the exercise of self-governance.

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The Governance
of the Family

We are social creatures by nature, born of a mother and a father. We need others of our kind to survive and flourish. Parents are the natural governors of their children. Until they can rule themselves by their own reason, the young rely on the guidance of their parents. The citizens of a republic raise children who know how to rule themselves through the exercise of their God-given powers of reason, will, and judgment.

The destruction of the family undermines the good of the republic as a whole. Children who do not learn the art of self-governance do not know how to act freely under the guidance of reason. They pursue aims that are contrary to the common good of the people. Because they do not discipline themselves, they need the external discipline of law.

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Government of
the People

The written laws of the state should preserve the goods that perfect the natural social order. Government originates when a people, in the original state of nature, surrender a measure of their powers of reason, will, and judgment to a ruling authority. This power must become the representative of them all.

The power of reason reappears in the legislative branch; the power of will in the executive branch; and the power of judgment in the judicial branch. These powers have their immediate source in the the people, who deliver them over in an act of trust; however, their ultimate source is God. As we are images of God, and so possess the powers of reason, will, and judgment, so too must the republic display these same three powers in its distinct branches.

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American Deist © 2012‒2013 Edward J. Furton