True Wealth

Adam Smith was a true son of Adam when he wrote these famous words in Chapter 2 of The Wealth of Nations (1776).

But man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour, and show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.

The motivation here is clear: “More for me in history.” 

Charles Darwin took this view of man, which was based on competitive self-interest, and applied it to all of nature: the survival of the fittest. Darwin’s view of the biological world was consistent. Out of individual competition for scarce resources, Darwin argued, comes the order of nature. There is no creator God. There is no providential decree. There is no grand design. There is only individual competition for resources. The supreme motivation of every competitor, from the amoeba to mankind, is this: “More for me in history.”

Christianity denies Darwin’s premise, beginning with Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” It continues this denial until Revelation 22:21. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

The goal of statist Darwinism is autonomous power. The goal of Christianity is covenantal dominion. The goal of free market Darwinism is autonomous economic growth. The goal of Christianity is to inherit the earth.

What is the difference? Grace. Autonomous man seeks the whole earth and loses his soul in the attempt. Covenant-keeping man seeks obedient subordination to God through His grace and thereby inherits his share of the whole earth as God’s confirmation of His covenant.

“But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:18).

- Gary North, The Five Pillars of Biblical Success. Available from

Share Button

Comments are closed.