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The Question of Ownership

The upheaval in our society, the blatant calls for socialism, the destruction of the nuclear family, and the call to abolish the Judeo-Christian foundation of our constitution require The Center for Garden State Families to continue our series “Worldview Matters.

Private property is both a gift and a certain type of power God has entrusted to humanity as stewards. It was God’s intention that mortals should be equipped with this gift and power and that under God, they should exercise dominion over the earth.

Private property is both a gift and a certain type of power God has entrusted to humanity as stewards. It was God’s intention that mortals should be equipped with this gift and power and that under God, they should exercise dominion over the earth.
Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.
Old Testament scholar

The Center for Garden State Families would now like to continue our series as it pertains to worldview. We will be asking and answering the question is God a Socialist. We will also be exploring the worldview of Karl Marx. However, before we can delve into the topics above, we must first answer the question of ownership. The foundation of ownership is what determines the ability to acquire private property. However, where did the construct of acquiring private property emerge from?

If we turn to scripture, we find the following verses; Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains the world, and those who dwell in it.” 1 Corinthians 10:26 “For the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains.” Haggai 2:8 ” ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts.” Psalm 50:10 “For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.” Many Christians acknowledge the Biblical Worldview that God Owns It All. However, few may understand the implications of this ownership. At the foundation of all economic theory should be the simple verse, “And then God created the Heaven’s and the Earth.” 

Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., a distinguished  Old Testament scholar, develops this theme in his paper Ownership and Property In the Old Testament Economy.

Kaiser writes,

“It was at creation that God the Creator committed the world and its resources to humanity (Gen. 1:28–29). It was because the man and the woman were made in the image of God that they were commanded to subdue the created order and to exercise dominion over the whole of it. As a result, God granted dominion to this first human pair under his law, but he did not grant his sovereignty to them, for God alone is Lord and the only sovereign over all.” Therefore, we can conclude that God is the grantor. We are the beneficiaries of what He grants us with the expectation that we will manage and steward these resources based on His Laws, His Principles, and His Statutes. 

God retains sovereign ownership because, as the Creator of the heavens and the earth, it is His private property, as shown in the verses we referenced at the beginning of this article.  To further solidify this granted dominion to man, a system of tithes and offerings was established. Since God designed the earth to yield to man by his productivity, the first fruits of that production would be given back to God as a way of calibrating man’s mind and spirit to the proper functioning of God’s economy. By acknowledging God in the action of tithes and offerings, the system becomes an ever-expanding virtuous cycle. 

As part of this cycle, God extends to us virtues such as industriousness, wisdom, and insight as a way to acquire private property. All aspects of our work are also gifts from God. We are conduits for God’s resources to benefit the world. Each image-maker of God extends their creativity upon the earth because we have been granted dominion to do so. This becomes the bedrock of a well functioning capitalistic system. John Calvin viewed private property as being essential to the social order.

A well-functioning market economy requires property rights to ensure that all goods and resources are used efficiently. Self-interested individuals will use property at their disposal in such a way as to maximize their profits (firms) or utility (households). The ability to receive a return on your property provides additional incentives. This can only be productive when man recognizes his stewardship responsibilities to God, the Creator. 

This capitalistic system becomes corrupted when man, because of his alienated nature from God, determines that sovereign ownership is now his removed from the laws, principles, and statutes of God. In this place, we find tyrants creating other men and women in their image without freewill and removed from their innate ability to acquire private property. 

This is a catastrophic inversion of the social-order built from the foundation of dominion granted from God to man. This leads to authoritarian tyranny, whether by individuals or groups who seek to usurp all production for themselves. These, in turn, extract the first fruits of its production by corruption, fraud, taxation, regulation, theft, and even violence disrupting the cycle because God is now removed and replaced by man. Man, through the mechanism of government and man-made laws, creates a vicious cycle of reduced productivity built on the premise of scarcity.

It is from this scarcity that the redistribution of seized property occurs, further reducing production. The objective is to cut man off from the Creator and all the God-given virtues within the human soul. Where there is resilience, there is now despair. Where there is diligence, there is now sloth. Where there is wisdom, there is now madness. 

Where there is insight, there is now resignation and conformity to the new gods of state tyranny; a tyranny that was established through envy, rebellion, and theft.  Since the ancient of days, a battle has been raging to usurp the sovereignty over the ownership of private property.    

We read in Isaiah 14:12-14 the following “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”

It is self-evident that the destructive battle raging on has been that of Lucifer, who wanted to have sovereignty over the heavens and the earth. Because of his envious pride, he desired to steal God’s Sovereign private property for himself. All tyranny throughout history has come down to ownership. Yet the scriptures make it clear God Owns It All and anything to the contrary is a distortion of the virtuous cycle of the gift of dominion to humanity.

In our next article, we will determine if by God granting dominion of the earth to man does this mean He is a socialist who wants redistribution of wealth.   

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