September 17th, 1787.
This, many argue, is the day that the United States of America began in earnest. This painting, created a century-and-a-half after the year in question, portrays this day in dramatic fashion. The original text of the Constitution was signed and ratified after months of debate, compromise, and problem-solving. However, the text as it was had a caveat, a deal-breaker that had to have been included — or else it never would have come to pass. The Bill of Rights was an essential element to the Constitution. It clearly delineates essential examples of the rights the Constitution seeks to preserve.
But, the Bill of Rights does not invent these rights, nor does it give them to anyone. The Declaration of Independence asserts something every Founder believed:
“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…”
The Bill only presents what should be obvious to every human being. We did not come up with the right to worship (even when corrupted by human idolatry). We did not birth the right to speak freely, out of our own brilliance. We are not assigned the power to defend ourselves from harm, even with violence (as a last resort) by our philosophy.
We have these rights because Someone made us to have them. The moment a human being is conceived, they are stamped with unalienable, irrevocable rights from their Father. These rights include, as the Founders repeat, “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” But, once more — this was never our idea! No government that has ever existed, no document constructed by any human, has ever given anyone these rights. They have been ours, by birthright, since the beginning.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
That word, “fruitful”, is pārâ. It means “to bear fruit”, and it refers to the life-making gift from God. Plants are fruitful, people are fruitful — Israel calls Joseph a “fruitful bough” that overtakes a wall. Bearing fruit is our right to Life itself.
The second word, multiply, comes from rāḇâ. This covers a wide range of meaning, always having to do with “many.” Another phrase is “to increase exceedingly.” In other words, this is God’s delight in more. More babies, more food, more gifts, more wealth, more blessing. It is the right to Liberty: freedom for more for everyone.
This third word, “replenish”, is rooted in mālā’. Now, this one is my favorite, because I’m convinced it’s God’s favorite. This word is “full.” “To be filled”, “content”, “satisfied”, “be ended.” It is complete, lavish, too much, not another bite. The Lord said “Make and keep on making — there’s room!” This isn’t the only time God is directly involved in this assertion of more.
“ All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:4)
“ Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.” (Acts 6:3)
“Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him…” (Acts 13:9)
By the way, these are three entirely different words for full! These words are associated with being filled up, to being hollowed out to fit, being drenched, abounding, lacking nothing. On and on. The Spirit is the full (can’t even use another word!) expression of God’s commandment. Being full isn’t a suggestion! It’s a Right because it must be exercised. This is the right to the pursuit of Happiness. This is the “keep on filling” life, one that pursues godly, healthy, fulfilling things, as long as one is alive.
“There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24
Why say all this?
There is a fundamental misunderstanding of these rights. They are not given by the Constitution, they are only described by it. Not given by any human document, not the Cyrus Cylinder, the Magna Carta, or any country’s constitution. Even the Ten Commandments, written by the hand of God, are simply communicated versions of innate, created truths gifted by our Father.
So, when the Supreme Court asserted that slaves were free — that freedom wasn’t invented right then. It was a human institution repenting of the evil of suppressing this fact: “All men are created equal.”
When the Supreme Court shuts down an old, foolish law keeping lawful citizens from carrying protective firearms, they are merely reminding us that God values human life and demands it be defended.
And soon, when the Supreme Court demolishes an invented, false “right” that violates all others in the most violent, perverted, glorified fashion? That will be a human expression of profound sorrow and change. Sure, it won’t end this violation forever — but it is the first of many nails in a tiny, cramped, flaming, coffin, shoved back into the dark to suffer forever.
My rights trample your power, convenience, and sin. God says so, not some musty document.
So do the rights of those who cannot say so for themselves.
“I choose the appointed time;
it is I who judge with equity.
When the earth and all its people quake,
it is I who hold its pillars firm.
To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns.
Do not lift your horns against heaven;
do not speak so defiantly.’” (Psalm 75:2–5)