The Trinity and The Great Seal: Evidence America Began as a Nation Under God

If you are looking for more evidence that America Began as a Nation Under God, look no further than one of our National Symbols. The Great Seal of the United States (U.S.) is clear evidence that America was founded under the Christian God.

The responsibility for designing the Great Seal was first given to Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams in 1776 (you might know them from the Declaration of Independence). [1] The Great Seal was first used publicly in 1782 to represent the nation and to demonstrate to other nations of the world the ideas and values of its Founders and people. [2] The Great Seal is also seen on the $1 bill, which serves as an easy reference to our country’s fundamental principles and foundational ideas.

Obverse or Front Side

image via https://thefounding.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/GreatSeal.pdf

The obverse or the front side of the seal is used as the national coat of arms of the United States. It is officially used on such documents as passports, diplomas, and presidential inauguration certificates. As a coat of arms, the design has official colors; the physical Great Seal itself, as affixed to an official document, has no color. [3]

Let’s examine the obverse side:

  • E Pluribus Unum: ‘Out of Many, One’: the union of the thirteen original states.
  • Eagle: Symbol of strength and power and always turned to the olive branch as preferring peace; clutching our national symbol — ‘E Pluribus Unum’.
  • Olive Branch: Represents peace; Thirteen leaves and Thirteen olives.
  • Blue: Signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.
  • White: Signifies purity and Innocence.
  • Red: Signifies hardiness and valor.
  • Constellation: Denotes a new State taking its place and rank among the sovereign powers (with thirteen states).
  • Chief: the upper part of the shield represents Congress unifying the original thirteen states.
  • Pieces: In alternating colors representing the original thirteen states all joining in one solid compact supporting the Chief.
  • Thirteen Arrows: Power of war prepared to defend Liberty which power is vested in Congress
  • Escutcheon: the shield is protecting the American Eagle without any other support to hold the shield; America ought to rely on its own virtue for the preservation of the union through Congress.

Reverse or Back Side

image via https://thefounding.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/GreatSeal.pdf

The reverse or back side depicts an unfinished pyramid with the Eye of Providence watching over it. The Eye of Providence, or the All-Seeing Eye of God, is a symbol enclosed in a triangle surrounded by rays of light or glory to represent divine providence (where the eye of God watches over us). The triangle surrounding the Eye represents the Christian Trinity, which defines God as being one God existing in three divine persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.

In 1782 the Eye of Providence was adopted as part of the symbolism featured on the reverse side of the Great Seal. It was first proposed as an element of the Great Seal by the first of three design committees in 1776 and was a conventional symbol of God’s benevolent oversight. [4] Such symbolism is explained through the motto that appears above the Eye, Annuit Cœptis, meaning “He approves [our] undertakings” (or “has approved”).

Let’s examine the reverse side:

  • The Eye of Providence: Alludes to the many signal interpositions of God in favor of the American cause.
  • Annuit Coeptis: He (God) has favored our undertakings.
  • Thirteen layers of the unfinished pyramid represent the thirteen original colonies building a new nation based on new ideas and concepts of self-government never before attempted.
  • Glory: The light of God, the Providence shining on a new nation based on God-given unalienable rights.
  • Pyramid: Symbol of strength and duration.
  • MDCCLXXVI: 1776 — the year of America’s birth.
  • Novus Ordo Seclorum: ‘New order of the Ages’ — a symbol of a new nation built on the concept of permanent, unalienable (God-given) rights for all versus vested, man-made, and non-permanent rights. Note that the word seclorum does not mean “secular”, it is the possessive form of the word saeculum, which contextually means generation or age. The word “secular” is derived from the word secularis. Secularis means “worldly”, while saeculum means “of the ages.”

The Great Seal of the U.S. is replete with Christian symbolism. The most obvious example is the Eye of Providence, which is a symbol of God’s benevolent oversight. This is coupled with the motto “Annuit Coeptis,” which means “He approves our undertakings.” Taken together, these elements demonstrate that America was founded as a nation under God.

This is further reinforced by the symbolism of the unfinished pyramid, which represents the thirteen original colonies building a new nation based on new ideas and concepts of self-government never before attempted. Finally, the Latin phrase “Novus Ordo Seclorum” translates to “New Order of the Ages,” signifying that America is a new nation built on the concept of permanent, unalienable rights for all. Consequently, the Great Seal is a clear indication that America was founded as a nation under God.

[1] The Great Seal of the United States (U.S.) is a seal or emblem used to authenticate certain documents issued by the U.S. federal government (“The Great Seal of the United States,” n.d.).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

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Dr. Jamie Schwandt

Dr. Jamie Schwandt

Dr. Schwandt (Ed.D.) is an American author, L6S master black belt, and red teamer.