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Capitalism and the Bible

Why Christians Should Support A Free-Market

Lately I have had the opportunity to do a lot of study on the subject of communism and capitalism as it relates to the Bible. I haven’t finished the book “Marx and Satan” yet, which claims to show a distinct connection between Satanism and Communism based on the personal lives of communist leaders; but purely based on the merits of the ideas expressed by both the free market and the complete obliteration of private property, I have come to the conclusion that even if Satan didn’t inspire Marx, he sure loves the ideas Marx advocated. Here’s the deal- Capitalism is a purely Christian phenomenon in accordance with man’s nature and the only economic system biblically defensible. That may sound strong to some, but I believe it can be amply justified by Scripture. Let’s start with Genesis.

    And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. – Genesis 1:28

Although this particular verse may not jump out and say “Free market!” it does command the foundation for a free economy. The Dominion Mandate was not given to a government institution but rather to mankind. We see specifically that the family unit is called to “have dominion,” since the command is coupled with “be fruitful and multiply” and since Adam and Eve are the only ones present. Is it really any wonder that Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto advocated the abolition of the family with the same vigor in which he supported the inhalation of private property?

Roman and Greek poets and philosophers harbored various ideas similar to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution which presupposed a process of a gradual development of the free-market system for the sole purpose of survival by hoarding limited resources. It was thought in the Roman world that there was once a golden age in which creatures lived in harmony without private property. Marx and Engels ironically thought the same thing. Neither the Greek poets, nor the modern communists understood the Genesis account which made it clear that from the beginning private property was instituted with the family being the envisioned caretaker. We see in the Old Testament that this interpretation of the Dominion Mandate was the rule. Job, a godly and materially wealthy man by any standards of any society ever, had his wealth restored to Him by God after having been tested through Satan’s destructive force. We see in the Mosaic law that two of the ten commandments specifically have to do with private property. “Thou shalt not covet” and “Thou shalt not steal” are further written on the hearts (Rom. 2:15) of mankind so that such laws are consistent with the nature of man. No system of redistribution was in effect in ancient Israel save perhaps the religious sacrificial system which supplied the priestly class with their daily bread. In fact, Christ himself presupposed a free-market system in His parables (i.e. Talents, Workers in the Vinyerd, Shrewd Manager). It was commanded that Israelites leave the corners of their fields unharvested and therefore available to the less fortunate who were willing to work to obtain their own bread. However, no consequence existed to prosecute an individual for failing to abide by these guidelines. Such a law would make charity a compulsorily service and God “loves a cheerful giver.” The very example of Christ is one of self-sacrifice for the “joy set before Him.” Therefore giving was and is to be from the heart. This is a far cry from socialism which preaches force on anyone unwilling to sacrifice what God has given them for someone else.  2 Thess. 3:10 states “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” This is why charities before progressive social welfare programs required that individuals work whether it was chopping wood for the men or sewing for the women in order to obtain resources. The safety net of ancient Israel was slavery- and no not the “white man beating black man with whip” slavery we are trained to immediately think about whenever the word is mentioned. It was a system in which freedom was possible, guild-lines existed to protect the slave’s rights, and ethnicity played no part. It actually treated man as having more dignity than the current welfare system does.

Most socialists who try to use a Christian defense go immediately to the example of the early church in Acts in which Christians had “all things in common” after the rich sold their property to give to the needy. Most of the time such advocates never mention the context in which this took place however. Firstly, it was under the church, not a system of government. Overcome with the impulse of love for one another the early church worked on its own behalf to meet the needs of others. They didn’t go to the unemployment office, they didn’t apply for food-stamps, they simply met the needs themselves from their own private property and the motivation was love, not compulsion. Secondly, in Acts 5 Peter while reprimanding Ananias for lying about the percentage of money he received for a piece of land questioned “while it remained unsold did it not remain your own?” Obviously, Peter understood the concept of ownership, and even in the midst of Christians having “all things in common” didn’t sway from a voluntary free-market mentality. 

It is within the nature of man to be prone to evil. This is an exclusively Christian doctrine entitled “Total Depravity.” The only system in which selfish ends can be harnessed to meet the needs of individuals is capitalism. The only system in which the unselfish can give out of the goodness of their hearts as God commands is capitalism. It is no wonder God has instituted such a system, and it is little wonder why men who hate Him want to pull it down. Capitalists detractors are either ignorant or want to prove God wrong by showing that man’s nature is not consistent with His reckoning.

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