Thomas Jefferson is one of the most important political figures in our nation’s history. While his contributions to our nation are immense, from negotiating the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 to the numerous political offices he held, he is most well known as the author of the Declaration of Independence. You’ve probably memorized portions of this document…
“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.”
One might read Jefferson’s words and think that they came from a man who was a faithful Christian. Though many of America’s founding fathers were Christians, Jefferson was not. He was religious, but not Christian. One of Jefferson’s most infamous writings is what is simply known as the Jefferson Bible, also known as The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth. Since this was before the days of Microsoft Office, Jefferson literally took a razor blade to the Bible, cutting and pasting various texts together to retell the story in his own way. In doing so, he left out most, if not all, of the supernatural content of Jesus’ life – no angels, no miracles, no resurrection. Jefferson ended his bible with Jesus burial. He did not include anything else in the New Testament.
I find it ironic that “In God We Trust” appears so prominently next to the mouth of Jefferson on the nickel. It is evident that Jefferson did not trust the God of the Bible too much or he would have left His Word intact and not felt the need to remove the miraculous from the text. Jefferson was clearly not an inerrantist.
Though we may not be so bold as Jefferson to take a razor to the Scriptures, we may be no less guilty of demonstrating a lack of trust in the God of the Bible. We are all guilty of a subtle tendency to reveal our lack of trust by disregarding the implications of certain passages. Or perhaps we demonstrate a lack of trust in the sufficiency of God’s Word by adding certain things to the Word. Like when we require things from people that are simply not biblical.
In the Garden of Eden, this is exactly what Adam and Eve did. They revealed a lack of trust by manipulating God’s Words, and ultimately by disobeying God’s commands. And even though we are completely aware of our tendency to do so, we still struggle with the sin of our first parents – failing to trust the Words of the Lord. If we really trusted God, as our national motto suggests, then we would see that trust reflected in our obedience to the commands of the Scriptures.