The Maiden Voyage of the State

Many ascribe to government the unique and exalted right to overrule and therefore to undermine the independent authority of all individuals and of all secondary institutions; of creating and enforcing new law; even of decreeing life and death at the whim of the current leader.

In summary, they teach a divine approval for actions of violence or actions backed by the threat of violence, which would otherwise be unthinkable for ordinary, moral human beings subject to the laws of God. In effect, government is given a “007” moral license to kill; a “24/7” license to steal; and a “666” licence to number, monitor, register and regulate every aspect of life. Swords Into Plowshares... Paul, Ron Best Price: $4.00 Buy New $15.99 (as of 11:36 UTC - Details)

Surely, such an enormous and momentous creation – one that would have a prevailing effect in so many areas of daily life – must have some point of inauguration? Particularly among those claiming to believe the Bible, it can hardly be satisfactory to just assume this belief in a “divine right of governments” because they exist as a fact of life in a fallen world…

A simple search should quickly uncover that great day celebrating Heaven’s launch of a new and enormous ship, “The State” into the ocean of mankind. Books of theology and inspiration should be written about the event, analysing each aspect of a wonderful new and all powerful creation of God.

But where is that moment to be found?

And why are there innumerable books and theories based upon the assumption of that event having occurred, but none about the actual event?

In fact, despite the theological gymnastics that many with letters after their name are well capable of; and despite the fact that they all insist that Romans 13, particularly the first verse, refers to a moment when government was created or “ordained” by God – there seems to have been little or no desire to ask when or where any such event took place.

So then, we will work our own way forward – by asking that big question at key checkpoints in the Biblical history of mankind…

Did God create government? And if so, then exactly where and when was the state as an institution “ordained” by God?

To find the answer to that question, we must start at the very beginning…

The Creation

Perhaps, in theory, God could have created a group hierarchy, with wise master humans and humble servant humans. Together, as a group, they could have constituted a general resemblance or image of God.

Outside of the group, a free human without the covering authority of a wiser master would have been “alienated” and unable to succeed without damaging themselves and the whole. The free person would have been rebellious, out of place and selfish – something “the whole” could not tolerate.

Yet, if government was instituted in the beginning, there is certainly no mention of it in the relevant early chapters of Genesis. Indeed, a centralised group hierarchy is not a concept conveyed by the Genesis record at all, but rather by communism – and in fact, all forms of collectivism or statism.

It is, nevertheless, an idea that came to prominence in recent times under a cloak of Christianity:

The history of “Messianic Communism” is covered in some detail by the late, great economist Murray Rothbard in his two volume work, “An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought”. In it, Rothbard quotes a pamphlet issued by the Anabaptists of Munster, northern Germany in 1534:

“For not only have we put all our belongings into a common pool under the care of deacons, and live from it according to our need; we praise God through Christ with one heart and mind and are eager to help one another with every kind of service.

And accordingly, everything which has served the purposes of selfseeking and private property, such as buying and selling, working for money, taking interest and practising usury … or eating and drinking the sweat of the poor … and indeed everything which offends against love – all such things are abolished amongst us by the power of love and community.”

Rothbard goes on to detail the reign of terror that was to follow under their leader, Jan Bockelson:

Bockelson assured his subjects that he and his court were only the advance guard of the new order; soon, they too would be living in the same millennial luxury. Under their new order, the people of Münster would forge outward, armed with God’s will, and conquer the entire world, exterminating the unrighteous, after which Jesus would return and they would all live in luxury and perfection. Equal communism with great luxury for all would then be achieved.

Greater dissent meant, of course, greater terror, and King Bockelson’s reign of “love” intensified its intimidation and slaughter. As soon as he proclaimed the monarchy, the prophet Dusentschur announced a new divine revelation: all who persisted in disagreeing with or disobeying King Bockelson would be put to death, and their very memory blotted out.”

The even more hard core, secular version of communism, which would later lead to the death of millions, was soon to follow in the footsteps of Messianic communism – by going just a little further down the same dark path.

But in reality, collectivism plays no part in the creation record – and instead of creating a commune, God began with an individual. In creating this person, He began by establishing the most primary principle of human existence:

“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”

The implications of that creative command should not be glossed over. It is not prideful to accept the love, value and honour that God has bestowed as a gift.  According to that creative Word, each person is like a mirror image of God, albeit a limited one – a conscious eternal being of similar form and attributes, able to create, to envision, to think ahead, to hope, to believe, and most of all – because “God is love” – to love others as we do ourselves.

Along with that likeness to God, came the capacity to make independent free will decisions, an unfathomable attribute which goes far beyond mere animal instinct. In the earthly realm at least, this amazing characteristic is unique to human beings, and it is directly related to another attribute bestowed at creation, one which is often translated “dominion” – and means to “rule absolutely or rigorously, to have controlling power over”.

And so, of human beings, Genesis 1 bears witness that God also commanded:

“…Let them have dominion …over all the earth”

Accordingly, each human person has been given charge over all other things on earth – self government – with the notable implicit exception of each other. Another word for this dominion would be “sovereignty”. We are created from the beginning to be absolute “sovereign individuals” over our own affairs, on our own domain or portion of this earth, as an irrevocable and unconditional bestowal by the ultimate Sovereign, God.


Consider this:

  • Any analysis of human behaviour, theology, economics, civil order or any other sphere of life will be fundamentally flawed… if it does not start from the premise that human beings have been individually bestowed with this dominion on earth by God.
  • Any understanding of the nature of God – in dealing with human beings and our affairs on this earth – will be flawed, if it does not start from the premise that God will always and fully uphold this principle of our dominion – along with all other principles established in the beginning, including inheritance.

Through exercising this personal dominion, each person can freely choose to interact and submit to agreements with others – or with God. This therefore introduces the basic but secondary rights and jurisdictions inherent in marriage, family household, property, business and church.

Outside of these principles, no party can rightfully exercise dominion over another, without violation of the original created order. On a small scale, we call those who do so anyway, “busybodies”. When the same behaviour grows in scale and in numbers, the word becomes “government”.

Being a busybody, or “meddler in other people’s affairs” as one translation puts it, is ranked in the Bible alongside the offences of murder and theft, because such violations go hand in hand. It may not often be heard from church pulpits, but it is clearly written in 1 Peter 4:15:

“…let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters