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God And The Free Market



INTRODUCTION

One core belief that libertarians have is a belief that the free market or private sector can solve any issue. Not only can it solve any issue but given enough time with creative destruction, profits, and competition, they can push the boundaries of what could be conceived as possible within a very short time frame.

Libertarians are able to come to this conclusion because we see how well we (in the private sector) are outperforming the public sector (See my book “Are You Free?” by Tim Bankes II to see case studies of the private market outperforming the public). People can see the clear difference between what they deliver and realize that a market that is accountable to its customers uses quality of product persuasively and will respond to its customers in a timely manner. This is better than a public sector option that has no profits, no need for competition because it can coerce, supposedly free people to use their product or service.

God and the free market

The argument made above is very common and essential to the libertarian view of economics, but there is a whole other set of arguments that has nothing to do with mankind but has to do with the secret hand of God planning out the lives of all individuals for His purposes. With God working in the background on our behalf, we, as creative people, who are trying to make the world better through innovation, can trust that God is guiding us all the way. To get a better explanation of this, look at the scriptures below.


  1. Proverbs 16:9

“The mind of a man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps.” (NASB 95)
  1. James 4:13-16

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow, we will go to such and such a city and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know why your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance, all such boasting is evil.” (NASB 95)

Theology of Free Will

Before I can properly address these texts and how they apply to free markets, I must dive into the theological conversations around the relationship between our will (mankind) and God’s will. There are three views of this idea: libertarian free will, compatibilist free will, and determinism free will. Below are the definitions:


Libertarian Free Will


Our choices are free from the determination or constraints of human nature and free from any predetermination by God. (Theopedia.com)

Compatibility Free Will


Man freely chooses what God has determined that he will choose. In this way, the idea that God is in charge, and the idea that man can be held responsible for his actions are compatible ideas. (Theopedia.com)


Deterministic Free Will


It claims that free will does not exist, and God has absolute control over a person's actions. (Wikipedia.com)

My Stance on the Issue

I used to believe in the libertarian view when I first became of Christian (I became a Christian at 16) since that was taught to me in church. In the later part of high school, I started interacting with literature from reformed/Calvinist thinkers. I became a Calvinist in my first summer out of high school. While in Bible college and still in my “cage stage,” I was deterministic in my free will view. Sometime since then, I have become compatibilist in my view of the divine and human wills. Ironically, my theological and political views of the world are middlemen views. Compatibility thinks the free will of man and the free will of God are compatible.

Political Libertarianism and the Compatibilism View of Free Will

The political libertarianism that I believe in thinks that people can be both free to do what they want, and others can leave them to that. (With the exception being that people can seek to “persuade'' one another, which allows for freedom, but they cannot coerce each other by force through any means, especially government) We believe that freedom of ideas/toleration can be compatible with freedom of exchange/commerce. Another way of putting it is viewing things from the vantage point of the individual. Humans are free to associate with any person or idea without needing to conflict or oppress other humans' ideas or choices. The libertarian is optimistic that people would not act out in aggression towards one another but instead seek to persuade one another if they bought into libertarianism. It is a cooperation of wills instead of a domineering of one will/multiple wills over one will. (Much of what the government does) This same optimism is shared with those who believe in compatibilist free will. I had to do this back story because in order for you to be informed on this issue, you must know the multiple options so that you can use your freedom and responsibility as a human to think through these things yourself. This is a very important tenant of Labor for Truth; we want to present the ideas to you, and you go labor to find truth. Truth is not always easily found, nor is it always the first view on something that is right. Many of my views were second-hand views that I found while being exposed to the other viewpoints that I did not run into in my local church or city.

Compatibilist Free Will and Political Libertarian View of Economics

We have seen that our individual lives as humans are affected by two major influences: God and the world of ideas. The world of ideas can affect us in ways that we do not fully grasp, but they are there. This explains why people who grow up in other continents like the Middle East or Asia think differently about the world than people in America. It also explains why countries that follow the things of America look more like us than their neighboring countries that do not. God’s influence (I am not talking about His influence through His word or through fellow Christians, but His secret will behind the happenings of reality. See the Old Testament for many references of God intervening in the world) is the true secret hand of history and the coming future. As we saw in Proverbs and James, man thinks he will do one thing, but the Lord controls how that exactly happens and if it even comes about at all. Some people see this as scary, but I see it as encouraging and breeding confidence. God determines what happens on a microeconomics level and a macroeconomics level.

Practical Understanding of Compatibilism and Free market

I want to bring this idea to a practical level so that you can contextualize it and apply this to your own life. I know that if I am not meant to write Christian books for kids, theological books for adults, or write books and articles about reformed libertarianism, then God will stop me. I can trust that God will accomplish His plan. Even if I do not believe or acknowledge Him, that does not thwart Him. If this idea is new to you, then meditate on this article and reread those scriptures in Proverbs and James. Email me at aboutgodforkids@gmail.com if you would like to chat about this. Those Bible verses again are Proverbs 16:9 and James 4:13-16.

Tim Bankes II

Tim is a Christian author. His worldview that informs his writing is Calvinist, Baptist, and Libertarian. His main series is his Christian picture book series, "About God for Kids", where he discusses the attributes of God in a way kids can digest. He also wrote a Christian Romance novel, libertarian book for beginners, and Christian coloring books. He graduated with a Bachelor's in Biblical Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He has written a book on freedom called “Are You Free” (If you are into listening to books I have it in audio also, Are You Free Audiobook )and he has written multiple children’s books about God. Be Sure to check out the podcast version of the blog, Labor for Truth Podcast. And check out “The Truth About” Youtube Channel. You can find his works at his amazon author page, https://amazon.com/author/timbankes. He even has a free digital ebook on how God is the creator. Get your free copy today at, Greater Creator .Also If you are into Christian Fiction, he has made his first book in his Futuristic Christian Fiction series free, Her Dying Wish

Some of my other favorite books on these subjects that are great for beginners are:


  1. Free to Choose by Milton Friedman (Major Economist)

  2. Basics of Economics by Thomas Sowell (Major Economist)

  3. Called to Freedom by Elise Daniels (Christian Perspective)

  4. Faith Seeking Freedom by Norman Horn, Doug Stuart , Kerry Baldwin, Dick Clark (Christian Perspective)

  5. The Libertarian Theology of Freedom by Edmund Opitz (Christian Perspective)


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