Last time we looked at who God is and how that knowledge relates to our purpose. We can derive two principles just from that idea. As God is creator of everything that has ever been created;
Society recognizes who God is, His sovereignty and authority.
This principle goes beyond religion. It also goes beyond the individuals within a society. Instead, the people itself must embrace the principle and society incorporate this rule into its purpose.
God created two human beings, with the second coming from the first. All humanity since has derived from this pair. We share a common source and kinship. Therefore,
All human beings share a common kinship and nature.
Adam and Eve. Male and female; God created them. Funny, but it seems only some human beings do not recognize this point. The rest of creation knows it and follows it. Only man, who alone in all creation has reason, sometimes advocates another notion. Maybe because the people supporting this view are turned from God? Who’s left when someone turns from Him?
A Foundational Principle
God has many characteristics. One is love. Out of that love we’ve received gifts given to us simply because of who man is—in a word, grace. One such gift is freedom; free will to make our own decisions. With that gift comes the obligation of making good choices. We are all stewards, and therefore responsible for what God has entrusted to us.
Why should we make good choices? Because God is Good. By choosing good we both learn more about God and become more like Him. Such choices are based upon His just or moral principles. Choosing good forms the basis for all rights. A right is a specific capability claimed on the basis of just or moral grounds. It emanates from righteousness and is therefore grounded in virtue. All virtues are righteous. Examples include justice, patience, fortitude, joy, endurance, hospitality, liberality, and piety.
Natural rights are those grounded in God’s unchangeable goodness, as His goodness is the source of all righteousness.
Natural rights form society’s foundation.
This principle provides a flexible framework that does not tell us specifically what those things are, but at the same time one’s freedom to act cannot infringe upon another’s freedom. Each citizen has equal liberty, necessary to prevent any individual or group, whether minority or majority, from becoming repressive. It takes the club of government out of the hands of those who wish to rule rather than serve.
Some Natural Right Properties
All rights are either divine, natural, or human. All rights coming from God are higher than those created by man. God alone is infinite and has the power to create by His own volition. He also has the power to change or end anything at any time. His claim is therefore superior to man’s, as man was created by God—man is finite. He can only transform what God has already created. Divine and natural rights have their basis in God, human their basis in man. The current emphasis on human rights should tell us all we need to know about today’s deceptions. Deception we’ve recently heard in the testimonies of Merrick Garland and Biden’s transgender health nominee about “genital mutilation”.
There is another important distinction between natural and human rights. Natural rights are almost exclusively negative. What do I mean by that? Negative in this sense does not mean bad, but rather represents force, power, or action. They tell us what we are to refrain from doing. Human rights, on the other hand, are almost exclusively positive. They tell us the things we are to do, or describe some benefit we are due.
We often talk about natural rights today in positive terms. This is a sad statement that we no longer understand their basis, why they matter. One example. We hear all the time we have a right to life, but that is not quite correct. All life is God’s gift. It comes from Him. Therefore, no one has the right to take that gift away. (Gen. 9:5) Such a taking comes at a cost to the one who takes. What we really have is the right not to have our life taken away. See the difference?
What Are These Rights?
I can give you a list of at least some of them. At a high level, I would classify them as relating to the areas of being, actions, and dominion. Being because of who we are. Actions because of what we are to do. And dominion because of man’s role as God’s steward over creation. The first six apply to us as individuals; the last four to we as a people.
Our natural rights include;
- Not to have our life taken away
- Not denied the ability to love God – fulfill His law
- Not deprived of knowing God – can we love God without knowing Him?
- Not forbade doing good – can we know God without experiencing good?
- Not prevented fulfilling our purpose – finding the happiness God wants for us
- Not denied the ability to procreate
- Not prevented from assembling as a people
- Not forbid communicating with others
- Not deprived of the fruits of our labor
- Not denied justice – equality under the law
I’m not sure if there is a single one of these rights that isn’t under attack today. The deception runs deep. Consider the ‘covid relief’ bill recently passed. It contains $1.9 trillion in spending, but less than $200 billion actually goes to covid relief. The rest goes to payoffs and corruption. Bailing out states that enforced shut-downs. Propping up pension funds impacted by the shut-downs. Paying federal employees $1,400/week for 15 weeks to cover the hardship associated with their children having on-line schooling. And you? You get a $1,400 check that only cost you $41,000 per household. Do you still believe covid was only about a virus? One that no one has yet been able to find?
I’ll end here. Natural rights and human rights bring order to society in incompatible ways. We’ll begin exploring that topic next time.
 Wolf, Dan, pp. 2-3, A Handbook of Natural Rights, Living Rightly Publications, 2018.