Is God a Capitalist or a Socialist?
Allow me to first say, I am not going to tag God with any man-made labels. God supersedes them in every fashion of the word and is not limited by our limitations or understanding. So to attempt to label God in this way is like trying to describe an elephant using only cat-like adjectives…anybody want a frisky elephant?
First let’s look at legitimate, non-biased definitions of each of these labels:
Capitalism: a social system based on the principle of individual rights. In such a system, individuals and firms have the right to own and use wealth to earn income and to sell and purchase labor for wages with little or no government control. The function of regulating the economy is then achieved mainly through the operation of market forces where prices and profit dictate where and how resources are used and allocated.
Socialism: a theory or system of social organization that advocates the diminishment of individual rights, for the rights of the whole or community, and vests the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of business, enterprise, land, etc., to the community, primarily through governmental agencies.
As you can see the primary difference between these two socio-economic systems is how they view the individual. If you believe that an individual has the right to do, believe, and live as they want with little or no government involvement then you lean towards Capitalism. If you believe the rights of an individual should be secondary to the good of the community, then you lean towards Socialism. In Capitalism, if you make poor choices you suffer the consequences, and in reverse, if you make good choices you reap the rewards. In Socialism, if you make poor choices the consequences are spread throughout the community, and in reverse, if you make good choices those rewards are spread throughout the community.
So then, the question we must ask is, “Does God’s Word teach individual accountability, both positive and negative, for your actions, or does God’s Word teach shared or community accountability?” Let’s dive in and find out…
“I the Lord search the heartand examine the mind,to reward each person according to their conduct,according to what their deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10 NIV)
Great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve. (Jeremiah 32:19 NIV)
And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!” (2 Samuel 3:39 NIV)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV)
It’s fairly obvious through just the small snippet of verses I’ve shared, that God is a pretty big proponent of individual accountability, whether it be reward or punishment. Especially within the last verse it is obvious to see that God himself will be the ultimate judge, and we will be judged solely based upon our individual works or deeds, not upon the works or deeds of the community as a whole. To do so would be unjust.
However, there is one HUGE exception to this in God’s plan. According to God, in his eyes, all of our good deeds, excellent effort, and achievement are worthless when compared to the mountain of sin within us…
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6 NIV)
As individuals, we are incapable of balancing the scales of God’s justice. So, God instituted a plan in which all of our sin, both individually and corporately as a human race, would be placed upon one man, and he would bear the brunt of our suffering, he would accept our pain, and he would pay our judgment. Jesus Christ took our place, through his death our guilt has been expunged, and through his resurrection our new life is made possible!
However, this “free gift” has a requirement, you must believe and humble yourself before God. You cannot receive this gift and then continue to live as if you are living only for you. Your life is no longer your own, you now live for Christ.
There are two things I believe we can take away from this:
First, individual accountability, both good and bad, is absolutely Godly and a worthy model to follow within our families, our communities, our nation, and our world. When it is removed our society begins it’s downward spiral into the deepest recesses of our sinfulness. When both reward and punishment are no longer realities, then there is no incentive to do good and no deterrent to avoid evil.
Second, in some cases when an individual has gotten himself to a point where there is no hope of recovery it may be necessary for others to step in and provide assistance. But, as with God, this assistance cannot be without requirement, and must always be followed with a change in life that will lead that person away from the destructive pattern of their past.
I hope that this has helped you think through things as the election of our officials draws near. As you listen to our two candidates, instead of just hearing the “buzz-words” listen to what they are saying. Do they believe in individual accountability? Do they believe a persons choices should have consequence, whether good or bad? Do they believe that the community is responsible or the individual?
Have a great one everybody!