God in National Constitutions

A Liberating Reference?

  • Robert Mager

Abstract

Political constitutions often entail references to God, even in modern secularized countries. Those references testify to very salient political issues, and they are normally analyzed as such, either from a historical, political or legal perspective. This article adopts a theological point of view to explore the different ways in which God is referred to in national constitutions and the significance of such mentions. Four representations are identified: God as Liberator, Ruler, Judge or Creator. Those various ways of referring to God testify to the traditional theologico-political problem: how can a contingent political sphere be related to an absolute foundation? Constitutional references to God represent an attempt to achieve such a connection, but many are questionable from a theological point of view. The main issue for political discourse might be to find other ways to hint at transcendence.

Published
2021-04-07