God and Mammon

Chapter 5: The Spirit of the World – To Dominate and Possess

Chapter 5: The Spirit of the World – To Dominate and Possess

May 28, 2020

Humanity’s fall in the Garden of Eden provided an opening through which dark spiritual powers became firmly entrenched in the earth. Embracing the serpent’s lies and delusion, men and women created identifiable patterns of political, cultural and economic thought and action that strive for independence from God. The Apostle Paul referred to this “world system” as the pattern of this world (Rom. 12:2).

Into the world system, Satan poured his power, his throne and great authority (Rev. 13:2) in order to establish spiritual strongholds to advance every destructive argument and vain pretension (2 Cor. 10:3-5). In the process, Satan normalized the idea that people could create their own realities, thereby preparing the battlefield for the final imposition of his ultimate anti-reality: the absorption of all things into himself.1

When evaluating current economic systems, we do so with the understanding that Satan’s power and authority have infected the world with his spirit to dominate and possess. As a result, the most fundamental human actions, from the momentous to the mundane, are instilled with the insatiable desire to accumulate and possess under one’s control all manner of people, places and things.

The spirit of the world system sees to it that no one under its influence is ever satisfied. There is never enough power, or control, or influence, or land, or wealth, or objects to collect, or things to own. Whether one more nation to conquer, or person to dominate, or treasure to hoard, or art to collect, or closet to fill, or Black Friday special to snag – there is never enough, there is only more.

In a moment of clarity, one might admit that they already have more than can be governed, or spent, or used, so why waste precious time pursuing more. But the spirit of darkness obscures this reasoning. Obsessive accumulation is a defining pattern of this world. And the concentration of all things by humans into ever smaller concentric circles of power and influence prepares the world for the dark spirit’s anti-reality. The process is no more complicated than Tom Sawyer convincing others to whitewash his fence:2

A Parable: What the Devil Learned from Tom Sawyer

The Devil was whitewashing the world. Passers-by asked him why.
“I’m creating my own reality.”
They were intrigued. “You can do that?”
He casually responded, “Sure, anyone can remake the world more to their own liking. Just decide what you want your world to be.”
“Can you show us how?”
The Devil smiled approvingly. “Pick up a brush. There are many ways to do it. They all work. Just remember that the more people, places and things you can accumulate and control by means of your whitewash, the more you can remake the world in your own image.”
The passers-by excitedly grabbed brushes and started to work. They didn’t notice the Devil standing back, watching with a sly grin. They never thought to consider that the whitewash was the Devil’s and they were doing his bidding. Blinded by the deceptive promises of personal satisfaction, they failed to see that their efforts would only lead to the Devil’s ultimate reality.

Key Points:
• The dark spirit of the world system sees to it that no one under its influence is ever satisfied. There is never enough, there is only more.

• The human obsession with concentrating all things into ever smaller concentric circles of power and control ultimately advances the Devil’s agenda.

Practical Application:
• Jesus said in the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” The world system, by pursuing its own ways, proposes to secure the future by building “bigger barns” to store any surplus. Yet God does not chastise the barn’s builder for greed, after all, it was his grain. Instead God calls him, “You fool!” for not recognizing the true reality of life and the world.3

Coming: #6 – The Tower of Babel: Unity as the Concentration of Power

_________________________________________________

1 See post #3 – Consuming All: Satan’s Anti-reality
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. A young boy is given the chore of whitewashing the family’s fence. He convinces the other children that he is having so much fun that they plead to be allowed to join him in the task. He graciously agrees to share his fun, and with a wide grin he sits back and watches them eagerly do his work.
3 Luke 12:13-21
2020-07-29T15:32:46+00:00

About the Author:

David Kullberg
David Kullberg (DavidKullberg.com), with his wife, Kelly, co-founded Christians for a Sustainable Economy (CASE4America.org) and Finding God In (FindingGodIn.com). David is the author of the novel, Breaking Babel, and the nonfiction book, Winning the World: An Invitation to the Church Courageous.