It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it.

In today’s world, it is obvious that the competition of ideas is under serious threat and with it, the much-needed discussions on how to deal with certain topics or try to understand the world we live in. That is particularly worrying, especially when one considers that the western world went through the process of Enlightenment roughly 200 years ago. In the words of Immanuel Kant:

“Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man’s inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason, but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapere aude! “Have courage to use your own reason!”- that is the motto of enlightenment.”

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He held that one’s ability to express oneself freely and honestly was essential for enlightenment. When men start expressing their thoughts and opinions freely and without fear of any sort of punishment, reasoning and new ideas surface, which is paramount to enlightenment. And yet, today, we are living again through a period of time, where especially people who claim to “protect us from ourselves” believe that restricting speech and putting boundaries around the exchanges of ideas is for the greater good. Thus, guided, shepherded thought and carefully managed dialogue is becoming the norm, instead of individuals reading, thinking, debating and deciding what they believe by and for themselves.

In this sense, you should not look at this article from a purely religious perspective. Instead, you should also focus on the ideas and lessons that one of the oldest books, and arguably a fundament of western civilization has to offer. I myself am not a religious person, however, I still find these core principles, values and lessons undeniably constructive and relevant to this day, while the central idea and understanding that spirit comes before matter is especially important. Being born and raised in Switzerland and having always been interested in history as such, I am reminded of part of the “Rütli oath” which is fundamental in understanding the Swiss:

“And rather die than live in slavery.
We want to trust in the one highest God
And never be afraid of human power.”

Therefore, I hope that even a hardcore atheist will read this article with an open mind and hopefully see that the biblical findings on what is money and the values linked with it are very interesting indeed.

Gold and Silver in the Bible

There is a solid body of historical research and records that document humanity’s relationship with gold and silver and their use as money for thousands of years. Evidence stretching back to the fourth millennium BC, clearly documents the role that precious metals played as mediums of exchange, as the Egyptians, Mesopotamians and Ancient Greeks heavily relied on gold and silver to facilitate their economic activities and trade. Another important source that describes gold’s relevance and core functions over the course of human history and civilization can be found in the Bible, as the religious texts and scriptures include ample references and solid support for the prominent position that gold and silver historically enjoyed, not just economically and commercially, but also spiritually and symbolically.

To analyze and interpret some of these references and to place them in their proper context, I sought the expertise and insights of Iustin Rosioara, author of God’s Money: An In-Depth Examination of the Bible Verses that Mention Gold and Silver.

His expert input, findings and conclusions, provided not only a number of interesting examples, but also the wider conceptual and historical background and structure necessary for a meaningful analysis of this topic.

An examination of the biblical foundations and origins of “sound money”, clearly reveals that it is difficult to isolate gold from silver. Based on the scriptural references and the relevant context, more often than not, the two metals appear intertwined, with their symbolic values being interlinked and complementary.

In the Bible, gold represents righteousness. It is indestructible, it is pure and in nature it does not combine chemically with other elements. At the same time, silver symbolizes redemption. As many will remember, it was used to pay Judas for betraying Jesus, but it also it has important cleansing and antibacterial properties. Thus, these metals are normally linked, as what they represent, righteousness and redemption, also cannot be separated. Without God’s righteousness, redemption is not possible and righteousness cannot be achieved without redemption. When only one of the metals is used by itself, that particular context will reveal a special applicability for that metal.

Genesis 2:11-12 “Gold is good”

The name of the first [river] is Pison: it is the one which encompasses the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good.

As a general rule, when a concept is mentioned for the first time in the Bible, the context that it is mentioned in will determine the main application of the concept. Therefore, the statement that “gold is good” needs to be looked into from this perspective.

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