Crossing the

Delware River…George Washington did, as this painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York recounts.

The Commodore Barry Bridge crosses the Delaware.

30th-Street Station rises above the Schuylkill, just up from the Delaware.

Speaking of the Revolutionary War: the Declaration of Independence declares that we hold to be “self-evident” that “all men are created equal.”

Is this self-evident? What do we mean by ‘equal?’

Certainly we do not mean that all men, women, and children are of equal height, weight, toothsomeness, intelligence, earning-capacity, or dexterity. We do not mean that all communicate with equal effectiveness, contribute with equal generosity, or smile with equal radiance or frequency.

In fact, we would be hard-pressed to name a single observable quality in which all men share equally.

The equality of all men shimmers with self-evidence when we take one crucial thing for granted. Namely, that God loves us all with divine love. This has been demonstrated by the Son of God, when He died.

“All men are created equal”–a self-evident proposition, to a Christian. Nonetheless, whenever anyone asserts the equality of men, we need to bear in mind precisely this supernatural dimension of the equality. We are equal in God’s sight. We are not equal in each other’s sight.

The respect in which we are equal trumps. All our natural rights proceed from our equality in the sight of God. We have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness because we are the darlings of God.

To seek our equality in anything else sets up a fall. To insist that we have rights for any other reason invites calamity. We are altogether unequal, except in the quality which matters most: God made us for no other reason than to love us. That much is true of absolutely every last one of us.