"The Law of Nature and of Nature's God"
There is in the Declaration [of Independence] the grandest indication of the importance of the separation of powers. God is mentioned four times. He appears first in the expression “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” He appears next as “Creator.” He appears the third time as “the Supreme Judge of the world.” And finally, the authors of the Declaration express a “firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.”
God appears, therefore, as each branch of government—legislator, executor, and judge—and as something like a Founder. And the attitude toward God in the Declaration is as the source of perfection, or rather perfection itself. In the great controversy with the mother country, God can be trusted to judge the “rectitude of our intentions.” No man can be so trusted. Facing war and death, we can trust “divine Providence” to protect us. Our own powers are apparently insufficient. And the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” apply always and must always be obeyed. These are the only laws so applying and so commanding. . . .
We may conclude then that the Declaration of Independence does not treat government as an alien force. It says the contrary both positively and negatively. It insists that government be provided to a people, that it be based upon their consent, and that it be arranged so that it can be relied upon to respond to their will and protect their rights. Government being necessary, it matters very much how it is arranged. The Declaration lays the general rules for that arrangement. Those rules, says the Declaration, are to be found in the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”
The Founders’ Key (35-36, 37)
Nashville: Nelson, 2012