Grendel’s Laundry List: Theology of Money

in god we

Prior to the modern world, the economic sphere was bounded by the limits of the production of value by human labor, on the one hand, and the finite amount of money in circulation, on the other. In the modern world, however, the limits of production have been partially overcome by harnessing the energy stored in fossil fuels and the elements. At the same time, the finitude of currency has been overcome by treating signs of monetary value as themselves valuable, ensuring the value of newly created money by issuing it in the form of loans, attached to debts. Rates of production and rates of interest escape finitude by compound growth. Production for the sake of profit replaces production for the sake of use.

It is easy to observe how this shift naturally leads to secularization and a direct opposition between God and money. Where God promises eternity, money promises the world. Where God offers a delayed reward, money offers a reward in advance. Where God offers himself as grace, money offers itself as a loan. Where God offers spiritual benefits, money offers tangible benefits. Where God accepts all repentant sinners who truly believe, money may be accepted by all who are willing to trust in its value. Where God requires conversion of the soul, money empowers the existing desires and plans of the soul. Money has the advantages of immediacy, universality, tangibility, and utility. Money promises freedom and gives a down payment on the promise of prosperity.

Money exercises a spectral power that exceeds all merely human powers. Adapting itself to any desire, it also shapes desire. First, the value of money is transcendent. It is a promise, taken on faith, and only realized to the extent that this faith is acted out in exchange. One cannot hold the value of money in one’s hand, even if one can use that value to pay for things. “The eye has never seen, nor the hand touched a dollar. All that we can touch or see is a promise to pay or satisfy a debt for an amount called a dollar.”

Phillip Goodchild, Theology of Money

Grendel’s Laundry List is an irregular but continuing series of readings in texts helpful to an understanding of the Atheology and Theodicy of the Seventh Day Atheist Aztec Baptist Church. See also this previous Laundry List:

Money, a Kind of Poetry

Advertisements

2 responses to “Grendel’s Laundry List: Theology of Money

  1. Dana:

    Money has morphed from beads, shells, and metals not just into pieces of paper currency (not even backed by a gold standard), paper stock certificates, and other paper stuff, but now into images on a computer screen. All so surreal. The invisible hand of Adam Smith is becoming even more invisible.

    Bob

    Robert E. Purcell, Esq.

    The Law Office of Robert E. Purcell, PLLC

    211 West Jefferson Street, Suite 24

    Syracuse, New York 13202

    Direct: (315) 671-0710

    Fax: (315) 671-0711

    E-mail: rpurcell@repurcelllaw.com

    This electronic mail transmission is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential information belonging to the sender which is protected by the attorney-client privilege. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution, or the taking of any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. If you have received this transmission in error, please notify the sender immediately by e-mail and delete the original message. – The Law Office of Robert E. Purcell, PLLC –

  2. Doth the good Dr. then worship Mammon ?
    I think i know better; and yet i cannot recall
    that we ever discussed money.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s