By Michael V. Wilson
It's come to my attention that my previous article, Resisting God, may not have been clear on the authority possessed by We the People under Romans 13 in our Constitutional Republic, so I'm writing this second part in an effort to clear up any misunderstandings.
First, the applicable verse(s), Romans 13:1-2 says;
1Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
2Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
In any discussion of the theory of American government, both theological and otherwise, it's important to keep two things in mind.
First: historical research has shown considerable differences between governments in Paul's day versus government in our constitutional republic. The governing authority in Roman was essentially one man – Caesar. The governing authority today is elected, or appointed in the case of judges and others, and deliberately divided among three branches of government to avoid the dictatorial impulse common to all men from manifesting itself to the detriment of the country.
The unique tri-fold division in our system of government can be found in Isaiah 33:22;
For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us.
This demonstrates the Biblical nature of our Constitutional system of government, and the Source for the Founder's design of it. Nonetheless, despite the divisions of government, the “governing authority” as a whole is unitary in nature; that is, it is a singular entity composed of many parts, just as the Body of Christ is a singular being composed of many parts (see Paul's discussion of the Body of Christ in 1st Corinthians 12). Therefore the differences in governing authorities then and now aren't as great as we normally assume; the governing authority is still the governing authority.
Second: continuing with Paul's analogy of the body, the head of the governing authority is We the People. The Declaration of Independence states as a mater of fact that we have Rights given to us by God:
These things are stated as being self-evident from the Laws of Nature and Nature's God, and therefore puts We the People in a position superior to the government.
The Preamble to the Constitution says “We the People . . . do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” [emphasis added]
It is an observable fact of nature that the inferior does not ordain or establish it's superior; power flows from the top down, not the inverse. This means We the People could not possibly ordain and establish a government that is superior to us.
To put it in Old Testament terms; a strong man does not ordain and establish a weak man as king over the strong man.
Benjamin Franklin, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, said this,
I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?
God was part and parcel of the rise of America, and since power, like water, flows downhill, it follows that God ordained and established We the People to ordain and establish a Constitution for America.
This brings us back to issue of the authority of We the People in light of Romans 13. When the American government resists We the People it is resisting the ordinance of God as laid out in Romans 13. I believe the foregoing has demonstrated this quite plainly.
IMPORTANT NOTE: the proviso to keep in mind in all this is that the government in question must be the American government. Our unique Constitution creates a unique condition in regards to Romans 13. This condition does not extend or apply to the majority of nations in the world. America, like Israel, is an anomaly on the world stage.