Article / Produced by TOW Project

God enabled humans to represent material value in media that are durable, storable and transportable. In his original creation design God made some physical elements, such as gold, to be attractive, small, and relatively scarce. He also created in humans an ability to understand and impute value to such articles. Later, God allowed humans to establish governments which would use non-scarce resources, such as paper, to represent scarce resources, such as gold, which in turn could be exchanged for a wide variety of resources.[1] We have money which is in modern times very easy to transport (and is almost costless to transport electronically) and which provides access to real resources such as food, housing, education and capital goods. Being able to easily allocate resources via currencies is an important part of fulfilling the creation stewardship mandate.

The Bible contains much teaching about money. Several famous teachings are that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10) and, “You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). These teachings are not about money as a medium of exchange, but rather about human attitudes towards money and the power it represents to us.  However, money as a medium of exchange is not the root of evil. Money as a medium of exchange is a blessing enabled by God.[2]

Some have argued that paper money which is not backed by gold is morally wrong. Exploring those arguments is beyond the scope of this article and would not inform the main points of this article.

Jacques Ellul, Money and Power (Inter-varsity Press, Downers Grove, 1984), argues that society’s way of thinking about money, wealth and resources is contrary to Biblical teaching. Although Ellul highlights the evil arising out of money, he is writing about wealth and material possessions, and not about currency as a medium of exchange.