We Are Risk Takers

Article / Produced by TOW Project

God created us to be able to take risk and provides biblical support for taking risks (Genesis 1:28-30; 2:15; Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27; John 12:24). We are created in the image of a risk-taking God, who took “risks by making a distinct creation and a free humanity to rule it.”[1] God created us so we feel risk, but we know God will provide.[2] However we also have much biblical teaching to be prudent in our risk taking.[3] Gregersen defines risk as the sum of natural events, social events and the meaning these hold for a person.[4] Gregersen quotes Luhmann who argues that trust is a risk-willing position, creating a virtuous cycle between trust and risk. Gregersen argues that the Bible teaches “the world is created by a benevolent God in such a manner that invites a risk-taking attitude and rewards it in the long term.”[5]

Human attitudes toward risks are crucial in finance. People are willing to take some risk but not too much, and the amount varies by individual and circumstance. This ability to take risk along with an aversion to taking risk unnecessarily is part of God’s creation design. God in his wisdom created us with an innate ability to balance the risks and rewards, and we see this reflected in financial prices. With this awareness we can recognize that a risk understood and managed is consistent with God’s creation design.

Samuel Gregg and Gordon Preece, “Christianity and Entrepreneurship: Protestant and Catholic Thoughts”, The Centre for Independent Studies, 1999, 10.

See Philippians 4:11-13 and Howard Vanderwell, “Contentment in Uncertainty”, Calvin Theological Seminary Forum, (Fall 2009), 12-13.

See for example Proverbs 11:15; 22:26, 27; John M. Boersema, “Examining a Christian Perspective on Finance”, Chapter 8 in Edward J. Trunfio Ed., Christianity and Business: A Collection of Essays on Pedagogy and Practice (Christian Business Faculty Association, Wenham, MA, 1991); Robert Brooks, “Financial Risk: an Alternative Biblical Perspective”, The Journal of Biblical Integration in Business (Fall 1996), 16-24; Ernest P. Liang, “The Global Financial Crisis: Biblical Perspectives on Corporate Finance”, The Journal of Biblical Integration in Business, Volume 12, (2010), 48-61; and  John P. Tiemstra, “Financial Crisis and the Culture of Risk”, Perspectives, Volume 24, Number 5 (May 2009), 6-10.

Niels Henrik Gregersen, “Risk and Religion: Toward a Theology of Risk Taking”, Zygon, Volume 38, Number 2 (June 2003), 355-376.

Gregersen, 368.