Read Part 1.
Filmer’s Assertion of Scriptural Divine Right
Robert Filmer (1588-1653) describes and opposes a common seventeenth-century view, that “Mankind is naturally endowed and born with Freedom from all Subjection, and at liberty to choose what Form of Government it please: And that the Power which any one Man hath over others, was at first bestowed according to the discretion of the Multitude.”14 He characterizes the view as popularized by divines to minimize the king’s authority and facilitate the Church’s increasing influence and power.15 By contrast, Filmer suggests, “the Scripture is not favourable to the Liberty of the People,”16 that desire for liberty was the cause of Adam’s fall, and was consequently as dangerous for moderns as it was for Adam.17 Filmer assigns motive to Adam (desire for liberty), employing a theological hermeneutic, going beyond what is written, and effectively supporting the divine right view by that one supposition. Nothing in the Genesis text nor later texts dare assign motive to Adam. Rather the accounts and later commentary (including nine direct NT references to Adam) simply provide the historical facts of what occurred.