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II.4 Threefold Reflection of the Divinity in Government

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Separation of
Political Powers

The threefold division of political power into legislative, executive, and judicial branches is the Third Great Triad. This division is essential to the republic form and stands at the center of the U.S. Constitution, which is devoted almost entirely to a description of how these three branches function in relation to each other.

Article I describes the legislative power; Article II the executive power; and Article III the judicial power. Under the first power, reason makes the law; under the second power, the will carries out the law; under the third power, judgment interprets the law. This threefold division flows from the Declaration of Independence. The description of the Creator given there finds itself presented again in the constitutional structure of the United States of America.

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Theology of the
Declaration

The description of the Creator in the Declaration of Independence as the Author of Nature’s Law, Divine Providence, and Supreme Judge of the World, is a religious and philosophical insight that the American people have contributed to the historical development of the modern republic.

The republic rests on a theological insight that is made known to the people in nature, independently of every faith or supernatural creed. We know that only when political power is divided can it be safely exercised on behalf of the people. The necessity of that division is made known to us through reflection on our own created likeness to the Divine Nature. The people transmit political power on condition that the representation of reason, will, and judgment will be separated into branches.

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The Intermediary
of the People

We can summarize results in a table that shows the interrelation among the Three Great Triads [link]: 1) the attributes of God referenced in the Declaration of Independence; 2) the powers of reason, will, and judgment among the people; and 3) the division of governing authority into three distinct branches. The people are the “middle term” in this great metaphysical syllogism.

Specifically, the people are the intermediaries between the power that God has granted to them in nature and the exercise of that power by their representatives in government. The people are the sole interpreters of the Laws of Nature (morality) and the Laws of Nature’s God (theology) because they always remain in the original state of nature. They alone are God’s representatives on earth.

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American Deist © 2012 Edward J. Furton
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