The Powerful Principle of Ownership

In Genesis 1:1, we find in the word of god that, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Later, in verse 27, we discover that the Lord created humanity in his image. God, by his will, by his power, for his glory, made all that is out of nothing. God borrowed nobody’s material. God used nobody’s ingenuity, insight, or power.

One of the principles that we ought to take from this truth is the fact that all creation belongs to the Lord. If you make it, it is yours. You may use it as you wish. No one has the right to take it from you. No one has the right to do with it something beyond your design.

This concept has powerful implications for our understanding of our own lives. God made us. We are his. All that we possess is actually not ours. All that is ours is a loan from God. We are, at best, stewards of the Lord’s property. This is true with our money. This is true with our time. It is true with our thoughts, and it is true with our bodies.

Greg Koukl wrote about this principle in chapter 6 of his book, The Story of Reality, and I found his words helpful:

The basic principle is a commonsense one: If you make it, it’s yours. When someone invests labor and personal creativity to fashion something of value, then that valuable thing belongs to them and should not be taken from them. The way the Story puts it is this: It’s wrong to steal. It’s wrong to take something that is not yours. The concept of private property, then, is an important one in the Story; otherwise the command not to steal would make no sense.
Since God made everything out of nothing, it all belongs to him. He has proper authority to rule over all because none of it would exist without him. That includes you and me, by the way. We don’t own ourselves—God does. Let that sink in too. When we claim absolute ownership over anything without the understanding that God holds the ultimate title, it’s very much like stealing.

Here is why this last point is so important. Nowadays, when certain ethical issues come up, it’s common to hear someone say, “I have a right to do whatever I want with my own body.” It’s a popular point, but it isn’t quite accurate, is it? First, no one can do whatever he wants with his own body, not in a civilized society anyway. Second, if God made us, then our bodies are not our own, strictly speaking. We inhabit them, of course, and have an important connection with them. But if God is God, then we are not completely free to do as we wish with our bodies. In the end, the Potter has the right over his own clay.*

Christians, may we remember the truth of God’s ultimate and total ownership of all that exists. We do not have the right to do whatever we want with our bodies. We do not have the right to think however we want. We are the creation of the Lord. For us to take ourselves to a place outside of his design is for us to attempt to steal from the almighty God who made us.

* Koukl, Gregory, The Story of Reality (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2017), Chapter 6.