One of the more significant political debates these days is over the size of government.
On the one side we have the traditional argument for small government, meaning that the jurisdictional power of those in command over us is limited in scope in regards to the details of life. On the other hand, we have the political philosophy of big government, meaning that we need more government, not less, and that enlarging the jurisdictional sphere of our centralized government is the only cure for what ails us.
What might the Bible say on the subject? Since God is the ultimate model for good government, what might we learn from his example?
When God made man he clearly modeled limited government. The real focus is on man’s individual freedom. “And God said, ‘You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden . . .’ (and established small government with only ONE regulatory commandment) ‘…except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.*’"
Only ONE commandment. The rest is freedom! That’s small government! Only later, when sin entered the world, did God expand his government to TEN commandments.
From this we learn:
God’s preferred model is large individual freedom and small government.
It is the entrance (or increase) of SIN that requires an increase of government.
The God-model of government might teach us that to enlarge government for any other reason than dealing with sin is going down the wrong path.
What do you think?
Principle Based Evaluation: Self-discipline is the foundation of all freedom and therefore any wise public policy should promote personal choices which reinforce every citizen’s internal self-government. With this in mind it is clear that restrictive government can only be justified in light of people’s failure to govern themselves. With a reintroduction of self-government, smaller civil government should be both desirable and possible.
* Genesis 2:15-17