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God’s Absolute Ownership

By Justin Borger
with assistance from Generous Giving staff

As the creator of the entire universe, God is the absolute owner of everything. Because of this, it is impossible to exaggerate the claim that God has on “our” possessions and lives. Indeed, nothing we have belongs to us, not even ourselves. Creation in its totality belongs to God because there was nothing until he brought the world into being by the word of his power.

God’s absolute ownership is not hard to understand: God made it, so it belongs to him. What can be hard to understand, however, is what he chose to do with his creation after he made it: From the very beginning God himself busily gave away the things he made. In fact, there is a sense in which the act of creation itself must be understood in terms of generosity and self-giving. After all, it was not necessary for God to create the world; he does not depend upon his creation for his happiness or fulfillment.

God created out of his kindness and expressed his character in all that he made (Psalm 19). Indeed, one of the most powerful ways in which God’s self-giving has been expressed is through the Imago Dei (the image of God): In Genesis 1:27, God gave himself to humanity by impressing his own image upon the created character of mankind. Again, in Genesis 1:29-30 after blessing Adam and Eve, God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit.” Even after man’s fall, God continued to provide for human needs; for instance, when the man and the woman felt the shame of their nakedness, “The Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them” (Gensis 3:21).

The Creator’s self-giving ought to transform the way those who have been recreated in Jesus approach wealth and possessions. Especially in light of the fact that we cannot claim anything like absolute ownership over the things that we have, we must be free and unassuming with the things in our trust. Notice, however, that giving as God gives calls for more than just generosity with things and stuff. We must give of ourselves, something that is very hard to do. Moreover, the responsibility to engage in self-giving is not a call to sentimentality but to personal sacrifice. Only after apprehending the fact that we are not our own but were created and “bought with a price” will we truly be able to give our stuff and ourselves away, following the pattern set by the Creator and Recreator: Jesus Christ.

Related Passages: Leviticus 25:23; Deuteronomy 10:14; Job 41:11; Psalm 24:1-2; Haggai 2:8; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 11:3

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