Why do governments exist? If you have difficulty answering that question, consider what would happen if we had no local, state, or federal governments.
Throughout the world, people have joined together who speak the same language. Geographical boundaries for various countries seem fixed except when one nation wants to expand its territorial control over other nations. Even within established countries, civil wars occur that keep the country in a constant state of instability.
One group headed by a powerful leader goes to war with another leader because people are dissatisfied with the policies of the country’s administration. In their lust for power, they kill, maim and destroy people, homes, and economic support systems. In 3,400 years of recorded history, only 268 years have existed when there have been no wars in the world.
Before Christ, early cultures like the Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, or Romans dominated much of the world of their day to gain wealth and ease, which came from forced taxation and slavery. The most notable early governmental system, the Roman Empire, endured for over 500 years.
The U.S. is a rather new government on the world stage with only 242 years of history behind us, and, of course, we are not in control of the world. We have engaged in war, not to dominant but to stop the domination of mad men like Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and terrorist leaders like Osama Bin Laden.
What did it take for us to become an independent nation? It took the Revolutionary War from 1776 to 1781. Then, we fought a Civil War from 1861 to 1865, killing 620, 000 Americans. More deaths of American men and women took place in the Civil War than in WWI and WWII combined. War seems to always had economic and political motivation.
When one nation expands its borders by taking control of another nation, not only do they gain political power but also economic control of resources. In our day, the whole world is a battleground against terrorist attack s. The terrorists’ main objective is to bring the world under the rule of sharia law found in the commandments and teachings of the Koran.
When we consider both foreign and domestic enemies we’ve had, we come to realize the purpose of government is to protect and to defend our way of life. After Sept. 11, 2001, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act that established a new cabinet position, the Dept. of Homeland Security.
Its purpose is to secure our nation’s people from enemy threats. Homeland Security, CIA, FBI, the military and other agencies clearly serve to fulfill the primary objective of our federal government as stated in the preamble to our Constitution.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States.”
Why all these people at work to insure our safety? Why can’t the world live in peaceful coexistence? Why is there such evil in men that they would want to kill, destroy, and conquer others The Bible tells us why humankind must be regulated. We live in a day when the famine the Old Testament prophet Amos spoke of is in our land, “The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord. (Amos 8:11).
James says, “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it” (James 4:1-2).
James is saying, “Can’t you see that nation rises against nation, people fight each other within a nation, families fight families, and family members fight each other because of their selfishness. Always desiring more — money, more power, more control, more recognition, more importance — keeps people from humbling themselves. A proud, obstinate self-righteous person sees love and forgiveness as a weakness. Yet, to forgive is a sign of strength for a man or woman transformed by the love of Jesus Christ.
Doug Stull is the pastor of the Shepherd of the Valley United Brethren in Christ Church located at 297 Riff Ave.