I’ve heard a preacher stridently claim that capitalism is from God. Let’s unpack this a little. When we say something is from God, what can we mean? In a sense, everything created is from God since God is creation’s Creator. But if this is the sense in which the preacher claims capitalism is from God, then it is a redundant and trivial statement. So, it must be in another sense in which that statement was made.
In this second sense, to say that capitalism is from God is to say that God specifically gave humanity the political economy of capitalism as a sort of divinely sanctioned mode of operating the world. Corollary to that idea would be a rejection of other ideologies as being not from God. This is corroborated by the same preacher’s insistence that communism is not from God but from the devil. Both the context and content of the preacher’s statement strongly suggest that he was speaking in the second sense.
Now, we know capitalism is driven by greed and covetousness. In its current globalised neoliberal predatory form, capitalism runs on greed, encourages greed, promotes greed, and colonises the collective psyche of humanity in ways far more pervasive than any other ideology. Even ostensibly socialist and non-western Islamic nations adopt a capitalist mindset and modus operandi in their economic life. If capitalism lives, breathes, moves, and has its being in greed, then it must imply by iron-clad logic that it derives from a god of greed. For only a greedy god creates and bestows a system driven by greed.
In this case, such a god of greed cannot be the God of the Bible. For the true God is one of love and justice, holy and merciful. Thus, if we claim that capitalism is specially given by “God,” then what does this say about the “God” of capitalism? Since capitalism is drenched in greed rather than love, justice, holiness, and mercy, can capitalism be given by a God of love, justice, holiness, and mercy? No. In that case, what kind of god gives capitalism?
The god of this world—satan himself. In truth, satan is not a god at all but a fallen angel. That aside, we can give satan this epithet for now as a matter of discourse. That said, if capitalism is indeed given by a god, it must not be the God of the Bible but the god of this world who thrives on greed. The god of this world, satan, covets God’s throne and is greedy for power and control in his insatiable pride. Such a being is consistent with the voracious, exploitative, and dehumanising character of predatory capitalism that commodifies everything in life to create a market society, not mere market economy. Everything in life is measured in monetary terms. Hence, I submit to you that the god who bestows capitalism is the devil himself.
However the preacher might gloss the god of capitalism with ‘Christian’ lingo and ‘gospel truths’, the fact remains that this god is not my God. My God is Christ in whom the fullness of the triune God dwells. Capitalism’s and the preacher’s god is the god of this world named satan. I want to have nothing to do with him and his god. And you might have guessed it by now, I am no supporter of capitalism.