A government is a political organization within a nation that excercises the control of military and judicial powers over its population. There are many different types of governments including communist, socialist, democracy, republic, etc.
Though an argument can be made that some governments are religious in nature and that governments overall are instituted by God, CARM will classify governments as secular entities and will analyze them and compare them to Scripture.
Biblically, governments are instituted by God. Romans 13:1-4, "Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil."
Governments should ultimately aid in the establishment of safety for the populace. 1 Tim. 2:1-2 says, "First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity."
Governments should protect the unfortunate and defend the rights of the afflicted, Prov. 31:4-5, 8-9, "It is not for kings, O Lemuel. It is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink, 5 Lest they drink and forget what is decreed, and pervert the rights of all the afflicted...8 Open your mouth for the dumb, for the rights of all the unfortunate. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy."
George Washington, the first President of the United States, in his Farewell Address stated, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness - these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. … And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion."1
- 1. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp