Wealth Creation: Biblical Views and Perspectives

This paper explores biblical perspectives on the theme of ‘wealth creation for holistic transformation’: its biblical meaning, basis, purpose, and implications. It first looks at the very meaning of these terms—what is meant by ‘wealth’ and by ‘holistic transformation’. It then moves on to examine the biblical foundations for wealth creation, observing that wealth creation is rooted in God the Creator (Genesis 1 and Psalm 104) who purposed us to express his creative nature through work and carrying for the garden (Genesis 2).

There is, however, good work and bad work, good business and bad business. Thus this paper next explores biblical principles for ‘good’ business. In doing so, it focuses on the concepts ‘shalom’, the ‘common good’ and a business’ ‘proper purpose’—a purpose which is far broader than simply maximizing return on investment.

The subject of wealth and economics is full of thorny issues. These cannot and should not be avoided. Thus, the paper goes on to tackle three contentious issues: partnership with non-Christians in business, simplicity as command or calling, and shared-rewards in the capitalist economic system.

Regarding partnership with non-Christians, the two sides—warnings and encouragements, be in the world but not of it—are both presented. Regarding the question of whether simplicity is a command for all or rather a calling for some, this paper argues strenuously for the latter. And finally, regarding the subject of shared-rewards, the writer here looks at the business implications of 1 Corinthians 9:9-10, ‘For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”’ The apostle Paul was clear that this biblical injunction was never meant merely for animals. It can and should be applied to business, this paper suggests. Doing so, might well alleviate many of the tensions currently tearing apart our societies worldwide.

[Quotes in italics are excerpts from the report, unless otherwise stated.]

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