We have to start at the beginning, and in the context of Genesis the fundamental affirmation which any Christian must make is that the world in which we live is God’s world. He created it and he created us. We bear an integral relationship to the material world and it is because of this that the business of creating and using wealth is a natural activity for mankind. Life itself demands that we be continually involved in the process of wealth creation. The basic necessities for living are not provided like manna; the land has to be cultivated, the sea has to be harvested, minerals have to be extracted, the city has to be supplied with services. God created us with the capacity and the desire to do all these things. Life itself, therefore, demands that we use what God has given us to provide the necessities.

But God intended far more than that. We were not created to live our lives in hunger or on the breadline, in a state of poverty using only the barest minimum. God intended us to enjoy his world. The land which he promised Israel was to be flowing with milk and honey. No Christian should feel a sense of guilt from living in a decent house, driving a solid car, wearing a proper suit of clothes or eating a good meal. If we take seriously the fact that this world is God’s world, then the business of creating wealth has a Christian foundation.

But to allow wealth creation legitimacy is not to endow it with autonomy. To allow economic life independence and place no bounds on wealth creation would be to justify a philosophy of materialism. For the world which God created is a spiritual world as well as a material world. God is a spirit, and being created in his image we are possessed of spirit as well. Being made, therefore, from ...

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