Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 01 October 2015


By Jim Jordal

 “Don't love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love isn't in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn't the Father's, but is the world's. The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God's will remains forever.”                                                                                I John 2:15-17 WEB

From the beginning of time archaeologists have found various items of wealth in the tombs of prominent persons. These valuables supposedly indicate belief in an after- life, since often the entombed items were goods or even people and animals that the keepers felt the personage would need in the next life. They also give evidence of the tendency for people of prominence to accumulate for themselves wealth in the form of money or extravagant items for personal use.

The nature of capitalistic economic systems is to seek increasing efficiency, output, and profits at as small a cost as possible. Ours is no exception. The measures we use to assess the health of our economy center around productivity, employment, and profits. Predatory capitalism goes so far as to even deny the need for moral values in its operations, since they belong to a different world and may limit their profit-making ability. Thus they leave moral matters to theologians and philosophers. But the eventual cost of such a system is overwhelming, both practically and philosophically, since it in essence is anti-human.

That this amoral system is unsustainable seems never to enter the minds of its practitioners. They focus on charts, graphs, and figures rather than on human welfare. Their “tower of Babel” is unsustainable and doomed to failure because God isn’t interested in charts and graphs, but in the welfare of his people.

The biblical prohibition on loving the world does not, however, include the wonders of nature and the beauty of God’s creation. They exist for our pleasure and to illustrate for us the awesome majesty of God. It’s not the physical world God is warning against; it’s the systems created by tycoons greedy for power and money.

Why does this passage indicate that love for the world is antithetical to the Father’s love? Why does the presence of one exclude the other? It’s because lust for pleasure and power does not belong in Christ’s kingdom. It belongs to the value system of the secular world, not the everlasting values of the Kingdom of God.

This world of greed, power, lust, and money is now passing away. An evidence of this change is the overwhelming adoration given to Pope Francis on his recent visit to the United States. Somehow, his humanity and humility eclipsed the trappings of religious ritual and power surrounding him. Even his enemies had to recognize the moral force of what he said about our endless, greedy search for the things that do not satisfy.

Further evidence is the increasing amounts of media attention given to perpetrators of greed and power. God said “there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known” in Matt. 10:26. Almost daily some new abuse of power is exposed to public view.

When Scripture speaks of not loving the world, it doesn’t mean the physical world because God commands us to enjoy and nurture it as his creation given for our use and betterment. God is not angry at what he created, but at what we have done to it. His anger is directed in scores of biblical passages against the systems and structures we have created to abuse the physical earth and to enslave most of its people. The end product is the transfer of the products of their labor to wealthy and powerful manipulators of the system.

This sad scenario has always been, but is now nearing its end. As Scripture says in Rev. 11:15, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”