In my last post on this topic I continued with the thoughts of Gary Amos on the history of the idea of "laws of nature and nature's God" as used by Thomas Jefferson and company in the creation of the Declaration of Independence. Amos uses this discussion to support his overall case that the Declaration of Independence was a document heavily influenced by historically Christian thought. Especially in the arena of Interposition or what some call the disposing of tyrants. A legal case that found a home in Christian thought for more than a thousand years before Jefferson and company used it. All this is part of my larger argument that those that want to "get back" to the Constitution have to first understand the Declaration of Independence. Here is more from Amos on "laws of nature and nature's God":
Five reasons are usually given to prove that the phrase "laws of nature and nature's God" is against the Bible and Christian teaching. First, some say that Jefferson invented the phrase "law of nature and nature's God" as a way to reject Christian law heritage in the colonies. This means that the Declaration represented not only a break with England but a break with America's Christian past. By using the phrase, the founders in 1776 intended to give birth to America as a secular, non-Christian nation.
Second, some say that the phrase is the product of deism and eighteenth-century Enlightenment rationalism, intellectual movements in Europe and America that rejected the Bible and Christianity.
Third, many writers charge that Jefferson took his ideas about the "laws of nature" from John Locke and that Locke was a deist. By copying Locke, Jefferson for the Declaration around deistic beliefs.
Fourth, some claim that the "law's of nature" idea, though not with Jefferson, was still a reaction against Calvinism and the Puritan colonial legal tradition.
Fifth, some admit that Christians used the idea of the "laws of nature" long before Jefferson wrote, but insist that Christians borrowed it from the Greeks and Stoics. Even if the founders thought they were using Christian ideas, they were not. Today's Christians, then, must reject and use of the "laws of nature" either by Christianity or by Jefferson because we know better.
The common core of all these arguments is that Jefferson and the founders rejected a Christian view of law and intentionally embraced a pagan view of law. This chapter will show that all five reasons are flawed. The founders did not "invent" the idea of "laws of nature and of nature's God." The did not borrow it from deists or Enlightenment rationalists as a way to make America a secular, non-Christian nation. Instead, they relied on a Christian theory of law that had been part of common law centuries before the enlightenment and deism arose. It is true that Jefferson and the colonists were influenced by the writings of John Locke, but Locke was not a deist in his view of God nor in his views of politics and law. To say that Jefferson argued from the "laws of nature" as a way to reject a Calvinist view of law is indefensible since the term was always central to Calvinist legal theory. Finally, the intellectual heritage of the Declaration of Independence cannot be traced to a pagan source, because it is impossible to equate the use of "nature" in the Declaration with the way "nature" was used by the Greeks or Romans.
As a whole, this chapter will demonstrate that much of conventional wisdom is wrong about the legal theory of the Declaration of Independence. It is a mistake to trace that legal theory to deism, the rationalistic Enlightenment, the Renaissance, and ancient Rome and Greece while excluding the direct influence of the Bible and Judeo-Christian intellectual tradition. The legal theory of the Declaration of Independence stands clearly inside the mainstream of Christian tradition of legal theory.
The above excerpt is from the book Defending the Declaration.