Article / Produced by TOW Project
Money 235586 620

God created the foundations of finance which have led to the development of the financial institutions of currency, intermediaries, instruments, and prices. Ideally, these institutions would make finance work as one of God’s means—among many others—for stewardship, justice, and love. Borrowers and lenders would exchange or share resources over time in ways that grow the resources and help everyone to thrive. However, the Fall has marred finance extensively, as it has every other sphere of God’s creation. In particular, the sins of greed and lying are pervasive in finance and severely cripple our ability to obey God’s plans. Nonetheless, finance still has a positive role to play in God’s redemptive work in the world. Several examples show how finance can be redeemed by God’s grace and can be used for stewardship, justice, and love. Finance professionals, borrowers, and savers/lenders all have the opportunity to participate in finance as a redemptive activity. As followers of Christ, we are called to be redeemed ourselves as we work out the applications of renewed foundations of finance to our own decisions and actions.

Further work needs to be done to enable us to better understand and honor God’s intentions for finance. First, tighter connections between specific elements of our framework and specific practices need to be developed. Finance professionals, for example, could apply the biblical framework to specific practices in mortgage lending or investment management. Second, we need to better bridge the gap between the redeemed view of finance and the actual fallenness of finance. Although some examples have been given, the thinking, practices, and institutions need to be developed to enable professionals in finance to better honor God’s intended role of finance in society. Third, although the theological framework developed in this article could be adapted to derivatives and insurance, this article does not address those topics. Fourth, we have seen that financial markets do not always enable humans to serve each other, especially the poor, and a full development of the role of finance relative to governments and charitable organizations has not been made. Finally, we have limited ourselves to finance in the sense of exchange between borrowers and lenders (and their equity equivalents) over time. In common usage, finance may also refer to allocation of resources within households or organizations, where no exchange is involved, for example in budgeting, accounting, product design, project planning, and internal financial analysis. Another article on these topics may be warranted.