The notion that government exists at the the behest of the governed was a new one to be sure. Some saw this as at contractual matter that hearkened back to the the English Magna Carta. Others tried their best to make it a biblical idea. The first paragraph of the preamble to the Declatation says it all.
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, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
When Jefferson wrote these words, he was doing his best to influence his Christian friends in the 2nd Continental Congress to sign on to this treason against George III. To do this, he had to make this rebellion against the King something that would seem OK with God in the eyes of the Christian colonist congressmen. Scripture expressly forbids rebellion against the ruling authorities (Romans 13, 1 Peter 2) except under very specific circumstances, so it became necessary to portray the King as being in defiance of God. If the King was in rebellion against God, the Christian colonists would be justified in rebelling against the King.
To do this, Jefferson created a philosophy that all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights given by God. He drew heavily on enlightenment philosopher John Locke and the Bible for his logic. Supposedly, the 10 Commandments of the Hebrew Law given to Moses by God had, implicit in them, these inalienable rights. Jefferson had to turn these 10 regulations on their heads to get human rights out of them, but he did this nonetheless and with great effect.
Jefferson's logic was that "thou shalt not kill" meant a right to life; "thou shalt not steal" meant a right to property and so on.
That this was never the intention of the Almighty, did not phase Jefferson. His purpose was to free the colonies from the tyranny of George III and England.
The 10 Commandments, in their context, were meant to outline responsibilities to God by His covenant people. We do not murder, because God gives life and takes it. We do not steal from our neighbor because God gave these things to our neighbor. We do not covet what our neighbor has because it was God that gave them what they have and so on.
The reality of it is that all of Jefferson's arguments for rebellion and independence were wrong.
We are not all created equal. We are not all endowed with unalienable rights by our Creator and we were not justified in rebellion against the King.
We are all different AND VIVA LA DIFFERENCE! Differently enabled, different levels of intelligence, talent, motivation etc. We are not all equal in any sense. We are not even equal before God.
We only have the rights we take and secure for ourselves and sometimes by force of arms. God does not give rights. He is no respecter of persons. Evidence for this is history itself. If these things were God given, no rebellion would have been necessary.
The hypocrisy laden in the Declaration is deep and thick. Most of those gathered in Philadelphia that day owned other human beings as slaves or indentured servants, not that there is anything wrong with that. What Jefferson really meant in that first paragraph of the preamble is that all white male property owners are created equal. That was not true either, but it got the attention of the colonists. It was enough to get a bunch of Christian men to rebel against their king.
The rest is history as they say. I would not be sitting here now typing this had they not done this deed or maybe I would be sitting here typing with a British accent or in French or Spanish. Who is to say?
I do think that God has blessed our nations efforts in some respects. We do try to right our wrongs after we commit them. Other times we just make a mess. Whatever the case, I am glad to be an American even though it takes second place to my citizenship in the Kingdom of God.
I would close by saying, do not get all caught up in patriotism like it was some sort of divine calling. It's not. Nations come and go. What the future holds for the US is anyone's guess. I'm guessing civil war and the break up of the union. We will see. I will probably be dead when it happens. Just remember:
This world is not our home
We are just a passin thru
Our treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
Jesus beckons us from heavens open door
And we can't feel at home in this world anymore.
See ya in church!