Monday, 1 September 2014

Capitalism reverses the God-given order of Labour

After sin entered the world, God said to Adam: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:19). Mankind was to labour in sweat to survive, and then die. God ordained work to be done because of the Fall, not in spite of the fall. It is not that work is done in spite of the fall, but still given to humankind to do. It was God ordination that humans shall work for their own physical needs, not because of any 'right to work' but an obligation to work. 

God allows humans to choose their own way, and allows them to suffer the consequences. God gives people free will and observes how they act, and then gives the Commands. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12). This means that when Adam sinned, all sinned in him. It does not mean that  all would copy Adam that they sinned. It is because Adam's seed was in sin, and that spread to all of humanity, so all who are in the flesh are in sin because sin is of the flesh. The flesh cannot do anything but sin because that is its nature: 

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so (Romans 8:5-7).

So, the flesh seeks to do its own will though Adam because of his rebellion which is of his flesh. As as result of Adam's sin, "all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). Work, which God commanded Adam to do is therefore a command of the order God set for humanity after the Fall. It is an obligation, not a right or privilege despite God giving people freewill to choose otherwise. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says: For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. A person who does not work or labour is not entitled to eat. This is not a command or a justification to starve the person to death, but rather a statement that a person is obligated to labour. For to not labour is against God's will for humanity. To not labour is hostility against God. 

Hebrews 6:12 commands that: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. The word 'slothful' is derived from 'nóthros' in Greek which means sluggish, remiss or slack. Slothfulness is the opposite of diligence. He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich (Proverbs 10:14). 'Diligence' derived from the Greek word 'spoudé' which means speed, haste, earnestness or enthusiasm.

Capitalism, despite it being a system that forces people out of slothfulness to labour for their physical needs reverses this God-given order of labour. In fact, it is because it forces people to work that it is against the God-given order of labour. Work as ordained by God is to serve others by giving one's labour as a service. Romans 12:11 tells us to be "Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord". What is meant by 'business' is not a capitalistic enterprise but rather what one does. This is because capitalism of the spirit of serving one self, and no one can serve God and themselves, which would be to serve mammon. What is meant by 'business' is the portion of labour that God has given to the person.

Within the capitalistic framework, giving is done to reward others for how others has served oneself. The one who receives is better off than the one who gives. Giving done conditionally, not freely. People are rewarded according to their perceived labour, skills and effort manifested in the material realm. This is against the command in Matthew 10:8 to "freely give". Acts 20:35 also tells us that : "I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive".

In the capitalistic philosophy, giving regardless of whether it is done freely or with the intention to expect or seek something is deemed to be morally commendable because it is the giving of material itself that is good. It is the transfer of material possession with others itself, which to the natural person seems good because he only sees the material realm. To him, that one can give up some of what one has is good because it is against his flesh which he knows so well to be selfish. Therefore, miserly behaviour is legitimate in capitalism.  This is in contrast to Proverbs 23:6-8 which rebukes such behavior: Do not eat the bread of a miser, Nor desire his delicacies; For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. "Eat and drink!" he says to you, But his heart is not with you. The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, And waste your pleasant words. In the Christian framework, miserly behaviour is wicked and the gifts of the miser is literally worthless because of his ungenerous heart.

Capitalism treats the gift of labour as an ends in itself that the individual can enjoy for himself, but the labour itself as a curse that is to be minimised, or abolished altogether. Such is a materialistic attitude that is a slave to mammon because work that is not done for God is hostility against God. One serves either God or mammon. 

Labour is a curse, while the gift of labour is to be gratified in capitalism because it treats giving as one that is to be done to gratify oneself for what one has done in one's own goodness, rather than to serve others for their own good.