Adam, God, and Kings

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In LDS doctrine, Adam stands as the father of all mankind, second only to Christ in superiority by the patriarchal order of things. In other words, the only father Adam has is God, and that makes him a very special person indeed.

The LDS view Adam as a model for human behavior. Indeed, the story of Adam is the story of the critical other component of the great redeeming sacrifice of the Savior—the subject for whom the sacrifice was made. We do not despise Adam, and we do not even despise his sin. What he did wrong was made right by Christ, in fact, even better than right. The position we are left in after being raised from Adam’s fall is superior to the position in which we were created.

As I ponder on government, I wonder what it would be like to be Adam. Having been created by the hand of God, living a perfect life within a garden created by the hand of God, being commanded by God to be lord over the whole earth. Is there any king or emperor who could ever hope to rise to such an exalted position as Adam had before the fall?

Even after the fall, Adam was the father of mankind. He had no mortal man he could call father, no progenitor, no king or lord or ruler. Adam lived his life purely according to the dictates of his conscience. His children were no moral guide for Adam. In fact, he set the moral tone for the entire history of the world with his words and actions. Could any emperor or king hope to have such a position?

We are all Adam of a sort. Being born into this world, we are quickly emancipated by our own adulthood. We are left to our own devices, to be led by our own conscience, to choose between good and evil for ourselves. That is the natural state of mankind. That is our starting point for all debates about government authority or power. That is why consent is such a powerful doctrine in our political history.

The word “sovereign” used to be associated with the king, because only a king, a king who had won through warfare the uncontested right to be king, could consider himself truly emancipated from all other interests in the world. I think that should be the goal of every American, to be emancipated, to be entangled with no vow or promise to any other man, to render to other people only what we feel is their due, to live our lives free from unfulfilled obligations.

That is why I heavily disfavor the entitlement programs, no matter what government imposes them. Impose is the right word here. If it were voluntary, then government administration would be wholly unnecessary. These programs require my obedience, not my consent. Where can I opt out of Social Security or Medicare? Where can I pay taxes only for those services which benefit the public as a whole, and not small groups of people such as the poor or sick, or those who seek military victory despite the national interest?

If we view ourselves as sons and daughters of Adam, and if we see ourselves as lords of the whole earth, as Adam was, and if we see only one creature above us, the Almighty God, then perhaps we will have a more just government, a government based purely on consent and the protection of our natural, God-given rights.

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