Thomas Jefferson and Declaration of Independence, a speculation
by Barry R. Bainton (second edition)
The Continental Congress was meeting to consider declaring the independence of 13 of England’s colonies in North America. Charged with drafting a formal statement and justification for breaking with England and the King, Thomas Jefferson searched his soul for a justification.
“Where does this Right to secede come from?” He asked himself.
He reflected on the belief system of the early Colonists and their reasons for coming to the new world some 150 years earlier. At the heart of their motivations had been Religious Freedom. That is to practice the right to Liberty, or the Freedom, as defined in the Basic Creation Myth of Mankind i.e. the foundation set forth in the Judeo-Christian Bible.
“How did GOD learn and pass on this basic knowledge to MANKIND?” He wondered.
The first basic right, the Right to Life, was how GOD created all of his living creations. The other RIGHTS were: LIBERTY, which IT (God) used to proscribe the behavior for each of IT’s Creation; and, third, the Right the Pursuit of GOD's’s Happiness through IT's creations.
“How did God learn and pass on this basic knowledge to Mankind?” Jefferson wondered.
That night, Jefferson fell asleep at his desk. The beginning outline of the Declaration lay in front of him. A Bible opened to Genesis Chapter Two was off to the side. As he lay there, bent over the desk, he began to dream.
At first he pictured the KING. KING George! And Jefferson could heard him claim as his GOD given Right to rule his people as sovereign. “How did it happen? And what did it mean?” Then as he dreamed, the King in the dream transformed into GOD. As he told later, this is the dream he experienced.
Out of IT’s own curiosity, GOD created MAN in the form modeled after IT’s own existence. IT gave MAN eternal life and named it, Adam. Adam was sexless and God looked at his new creation and felt it was good.
God built a park with all that Man could want. IT gave Adam freedom t explore and use all of the resources in the park but one. Adam could use fruit trees for food, animals for companionship, water to drink, and day and night so Man could enjoy the park in the day time and to sleep and rest in the night. IT watched as Adam explored the garden, ate the fruit, drink the waters. Adam played with the animals and swam in the pools.
The one forbidden resource was the tree of good and evil and its fruit.
At first, Adam found that God was kind and generous. God found that IT enjoyed ITs companionship with Adam.
But as days passed into night and night into day Adam found less and less pleasure doing the same thing every day. Like all the other animals, he was only following God’s plan. He was missing something. But what was it?
Meanwhile, God began to notice the change in Adam’s actions. Yes, he did the same thing as God planned but Adam who seemed to enjoy the Life he had been given, was now simply going through the motions. He seemed to have lost the excitement and wonder in the Life that God had given him. For days God watched Adam as he repeated the same movements and followed the same routine that God had laid out for him.
Finally, God went to Adam and asked, “What is troubling you? I have been watching you and you seem to have lost the joy of life that I gave you?” Adam was surprised that God had been watching him.
Initially, he and God seemed to be very close companions. But God had many things IT wanted to do and so God had created in Adam a curiosity, as an experiment, to see what Adam would do with the park that God had built.
At first Adam was programmed to only do what God had decided him to do. God had chosen to set aside this corner of his universe as a special place where IT could test IT's ideas and to experience what it was to have companionship. As IT thought about it, IT looked deep in IT’s soul and found that IT was experiencing a sensation IT did not know IT had. How would IT define it? Could be that IT had a feeling of isolation IT had created Adam, not to experience what is was like to have a companion, but because GOD was alone?
GOD had the ability to “learn” from IT’s experiences. Experience, IT understood, was the random encounters between IT’s creations and with the environment IT had created. This was God’s own way of experiencing how his creation was working. This was his proudest creation – Nature. Nature was the marvel of IT’s creation since it operated on two levels, purpose embedded in the object and the “interactions” between objects and purposes.
But Adam was not GOD. Maybe if GOD created a Human companion, Adam would come to understand “companionship” and through him what GOD should know about Companionship. One night while Adam was asleep, GOD took a rib from Adam and fashioned a companion in the female form since companions should not compete with one another but be a complement. GOD would observe Adam interact with the companion, he called EVE, and learn what it is to be companion.
GOD learned that IT could create LIFE but IT could not expect to repeat the produce every time that a new companion was needed. How to solve the problem? GOD could not allow Adam to compete with him by giving him the power to GOD though about it and decided that what he had experimented with in other animals, sexual reproduction, would also serve Adam and Eve. So, he assigned them different roles in the creation of life.
Adam would provide the sperm to fertilize an egg . But he assigned the process of nurturing the fertilized egg to EVE. And thus, IT gave the power to make new life to EVE. GOD gave the Right to LIFE to Humans as a shared process – one male and one female as companions. But the responsibility was not shared equally. Woman was given the larger and longer responsibility for creating, nurturing and civilizing the neonate.
Eve explored the garden and came across one tree that stood out from the others. It carried a beautiful fruit. She asked Adam about the tree. Adam explained that that was the Companion’s Tree and he was forbidden from eating its fruit. He had promised GOD that he would not touch the tree. Adam said he felt that prohibition would apply to both of us. Eve thought about it. Then she realized this was an agreement between GOD and Adam, the companion, not between GOD and her. In fact, she was not an equal partner to be a companion to GOD but to Adam. She did not see herself subject to the same agreement that Adam had with GOD.
One day she was walking through the garden and felt hungry. She was standing near the “forbidden tree” and saw a ripe apple and thought how juicy it might be. She picked the apple and bit into it. It was sweet and juicy as she had thought. She told Adam of her discovery.
Adam was filled with conflicting emotions. On one side, he was frightened that GOD would punish him for EVE’s transgression. And on the other, he realized that GOD had not mentioned that Eve would be held to the same standard as Adam. When GOD learned of the transgression, IT was mad. And in ITS wrath, he condemned EVE to suffer the pain of child birth.
Eve was angry with GOD because he had not told her about the prohibition extending to her. She had made a CHOICE because she was hot and hungry. Was she not entitled to a CHOICE, she asked? GOD had given Adam Liberty, and created Eve from Adam. Wasn't she also the beneficiary of GOD's gift to Adam?
GOD had not thought about that dimension of companionship. Yes, IT and Adam were companions, but IT had not made such deal with Eve. IT had chosen to create EVE but failed to tell her of the prohibition. And Eve had chosen to relieve her hunger by eating the apple. GOD thought about it. If IT was to be just and fair, IT would have to excuse EVE for her CHOICE. But GOD also felt IT needed to maintain ITS agreement with Adam. How to do this and to be fair and justice to both? GOD pondered on this new experience.
IT asked ITSELF “How can I be fair and yet maintain control over humanity?”
"I have given humanity the RIGHT to LIFE. Because of EVE, I have given the individual the RIGHT to to Liberty, or the RIGHT to CHOSE. But what happens if individuals Choose conflicting answers? As GOD pondered the question IT realized that IT had to create a third Right for humanity. But what happened when humanity made different choices to the same situation? Thus, God granted humanity a THIRD RIGHT. “The Right to Pursue Happiness but with no guarantee of success”.
GOD guaranteed the liberty to chose, but to grant that right to every individual, IT had to limit one's purpose for choosing to a Pursuit of Happiness but no guarantee of it. This was the Responsibility mankind would have to work out in order to have Liberty.
Centuries later the Heirs of Jefferson’s dream, the American Declaration of Independence, have attempted rediscover these three basic RIGHTS that GOD created in the Garden of Eden.
1. The Right to Life
2. The Right to Liberty that is the freedom to make one’s own Choices or Freewill.
3. The Right to Pursue One’s Happiness (with no guarantee of success)
The Right to Happiness alone belongs to GOD, and once IT gave Mankind the RIGHT of Liberty, IT gave up the RIGHT to guarantee Happiness to Mankind. Instead Mankind became responsible for his own happiness. And thus was born the Freedoms that form the basic structure and assignment of responsibility that would become the BASIC RIGHTS, guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.