Providence Today: Tour of the Dollar Bill

Dr. Peter Lillback:
This is Providence Today. We are on the Independence Mall by Independence Hall, right behind it. And as we’re here, we remember the extraordinary role that George Washington had as the head of the Constitutional Convention. Also, the one who went out and defended the newly adopted Declaration of Independence up in Massachusetts when it was signed on July 4th, 1776. And so it’s appropriate that Washington has a prominent place on the American dollar.

Dr. Peter Lillback:
We think of Washington as the Founding Father, and we think of him appropriately then on the smallest of our paper dollars. We think about him and his lead. It’s interesting that through the years people have collected, some that have tracked this bill, wheresgeorge.com. You can actually see it’s printed on here and people get it. And then they can say, well, I got it here. And it shows how currency really is in a current running all over the world.

Dr. Peter Lillback:
Another person put it this way, www.wheresgeorge.com, and they wrote it at the top. So it’s an opportunity for us to think about how money circulates with George’s vision, freedom as he defended it. But we often forget some of the great things that George stood for. As you look at Washington’s image here, one of his older images, he was a much more young and virile at an earlier part of his life. We shouldn’t forget that on the back it says, “In God We Trust.”

Dr. Peter Lillback:
That language of “In God We Trust,” is something that is quite remarkable because this was true of Washington. He refers to God many, many times in his writings. In fact, as we’ve calculated the names that he has for God, there are over 90 names that he uses for God in different ways. He had a very, very rich vocabulary. Most of us just talk about God or Lord, and we don’t get beyond that. But in his writings, there’s a vast number of names that reflect what I often call the Baroque era, the richness of seeing all the ornamentation of seeing something in a fresh way every time you look at it. And that’s how you look at his theology, the richness of who God is.

Dr. Peter Lillback:
But you also see some other words, Annuit coeptis, Novus ordo seclorum, and we also see E Pluribus Unum. These words go along with our motto in an interesting way if we have eyes to see. First of all, we realize that the phrase Novus ordo seclorum means that there is a new order of the ages. Something was utterly unique in American history as of the date at the bottom of the unfinished pyramid, 1776. There’s an unfinished pyramid and as you look at its symmetry it comes together with a pyramid cap, with an eye, with a glory proper.

Dr. Peter Lillback:
As we go back to the Continental Congress’ records, they explain all of this. They say they want the pyramid to be a symbol of America that will last just like the pyramids have lasted for the ages. They see the idea of the eye and the triangles representing God, the Father, the first person of the Godhead, who is the agent of Providence and the glory proper around it is a word of saying, “This is the presence of God in human history.” It’s suggesting God, the Father, the agent of divine Providence, which is captured in this motto, Annuit coeptis.

Dr. Peter Lillback:
This is a phrase that Charles Thompson found as an expert, and he took it from his readings and he recommended it to Congress as the clerk of the Continental Congress. The words mean, He has smiled at our undertakings. It has reference to God. Notice of all the mottos, it’s the biggest and the most bold. It’s the one they want us to see most. It’s interesting most of us don’t even see this one. We overlook it.

Dr. Peter Lillback:
What it means is that the God of Providence has been at work in history and that He has been pleased with what we’ve done. And so we can actually look at the words that come from the Continental Congress and they say this is selected because of quote, “the many signal inner positions of divine Providence on behalf of the American cause.” They recognize the blessings of God’s Providence.

Dr. Peter Lillback:
And finally take a look at the small print on the banner that’s in the beak of the eagle, E pluribus unum, out of many, one. And that is the vision of America. And it’s something that we need to realize in a day where it seems like we’re trying to divide everybody into subgroups that are warring with someone else, women against men, blacks against white. We have rich against the poor, on and on it goes.

Dr. Peter Lillback:
But the vision of America is that out of the many different groups of the world, there would become a greater unity. And we actually can see that unity in the escutcheon or the shied that’s on the breast of the eagle. The top, and according to its original colors was to be blue, red and white stripes coming down. The blue was supposed to be Congress. The red and white were the states all bound together by a common government. This government, as you see, is looking in the direction of the olive branch of peace, but it holds in its other talon, the arrows of war, if necessary.

Dr. Peter Lillback:
The American people want to preserve our unity to keep us one nation under God. In God, we trust, one nation under God with a new constellation in the heavens that’s shining as America becomes a sovereign nation. With all of our diversity, there is unity. And that unity is found when we are committed to peace, when we stand boldly to defend it, and we communicate the Congress and the states working together, will bring about a new order of the ages precisely because God has smiled on us. No wonder we trust in God.

Dr. Peter Lillback:
I want you to remember that we have a downloadable app. It is available free of charge that will give you the Faith & Freedom Tour, the Providence Forum does here in Philadelphia. We urge you to get it or go online. We have a wonderful website that’s filled with information. It’s called providenceforum.org, providenceforum.org. Well, this is Providence Today. Help us continue to spread the message. And maybe you might check out where is George?

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