The Humility of the Hereditary Principle

The Humility of the Hereditary Principle

I’m currently reading Andrew Marr’s The Diamond Queen, one of the many biographies of Her Majesty published in this, her Jubilee year.

I know, we tend to quote more from scripture and theologians on this blog than popular writers and broadcasters, but for a modern-day prophetic voice, you could do worse than Andrew Marr. He certainly has an experienced eye when it comes to reading the cultural mood and motivations.

Plus, his book gives a broadly positive view of the Queen and the institution of monarchy, which I instinctively appreciate!

Evaluating the ongoing popularity of this particular monarch, in an age where privilege and authority are generally viewed with scepticism if not downright hostility, Marr writes:

One man who has worked closely with her says that the Queen and the Duke [of Edinburgh] have ‘the humility of the hereditary principle; because they know they have done nothing to deserve getting to their position, it poses a huge obligation of duty on them, to fulfil this extraordinary thing that has happened to them.’

It strikes me that the same ought to be said of Christians. We have been granted the inheritance rights of the firstborn of all creation and thus have power, authority and riches beyond the wildest dreams of any earthly monarch, yet we know we have done nothing to deserve getting to this position.

The joyful truth is that unlike the Queen, we emphaticallydon’t serve God out of an ‘obligation of duty’ – not to earn our place, or to try to prove we are worthy of it, or in an attempt to repay a debt – but rather ‘to fulfil this extraordinary thing that has happened’ to us.

What a great, and freeing, perspective.


This post first appeared on ThinkTheology.

Picture Credit: State Opening 2010: Royal Gallery by UK Parliament (Creative Commons)

1 Comment On This Topic
  1. Alisa Russell
    on Oct 25th at 1:34 pm

    This is excellent! I think it applies well to your example of Christians too. I certainly wish politicians in the United States would have the same attitude as the Queen and the Duke.


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