Economics Has Been Tainted by Sin, But Hope Lies in the Great Provider
This month on the “Outstanding” podcast, Dr. Dave Brat, former Virginia congressman and now dean of the business school at Liberty University, joined host Joseph Backholm for a weighty conversation on economics through the lens of a biblical worldview.
“Jesus preached more on economics than any other topic,” Dr. Brat noted, describing how Christ emphasized “the great commission on the faith side, but then also, ‘Go take care of the widows and orphans, the poor, those in prison,’ etc. That’s all economic.”
Economic policy encompasses much more than just money. As Backholm implied, the discussion of economics seems inherently unengaging, but it, like all earthly things, has been tainted by sin. Backholm said, “From a biblical worldview, everything is corruptible and can be corrupted. And it’s one of the reasons why our system of government … is so brilliant. … We wanted to prevent anyone from getting too much power politically in the same way we know that our economic systems are corruptible.” He continued, “The Left seems to favor government control over things and perhaps misses the fact that politicians don’t always act in the best interests of others.”
The conversation turned to the topic of integrity and how this is something depraved humans lack. In light of this, a lack of integrity plagues our systems and leads to both political and economic problems. But as it pertains to economics, Dr. Brat stated that “wealth is the new power. … Money in so many ways controls the politics, that the money is actually in charge, and the politics is just a tool of the money.”
Backholm posed the question: “What is the answer to our economic challenges that we’re facing?” The two agreed that there is no direct answer. They discussed concerns with both the “capitalist” and “socialist” economic ideologies that our society tends to gravitate toward. As Backholm put it, “If you don’t have the fear of the Lord … that capitalist thing that you’re doing can be just as destructive as the socialist thing that other people are doing.” He continued, “Wealth has actually become the new power, and the wealthy are the powerful. And they got it through capitalism.”
Dr. Brat directly responds to this challenge with a call to action for Christians to get back into the word of God, study it, and know what it means for our lives. He added, “You ought to be choosing a profession that is building the kingdom of God.” Dr. Brat elaborated that more people have to design their entire lives around magnifying the Lord and advancing His purposes.
It sometimes feels like this topic is hopeless, with all of the ways that our economy has been tainted by sin. But Backholm brought it back to our confidence in Christ in his closing remarks. “[O]ur hope is in the restored heaven and earth that comes after Jesus returns and fixes all that’s broken [and] destroys sin.” Our hope is not found in our economic policies, or created systems, it is found in a much Greater Provider, the King of Kings.