Comparison of Calvinism and Tanakh on Poverty

The central idea in the Poverty In The Theology Of Calvin is on how the poor should be treated in the society and in the church. According to Calvinism, poverty is viewed as divine. Both spiritual and physical poverty are meant to bring humanity closer to God and His Son. Calvin argued that poverty is an agent, revelation, and tool that God uses to express the spirituality, godliness, and purity of His divinity. On the other hand, Tanakh expresses a different view on the same issue. According to Tanakh, poverty is never cherished and unjustifiable in the Jewish society. Tanakh books informs the faithful to work and depend on themselves instead. Poverty is unnecessary suffering that must not be adored by people, and there is no divine relationship with poverty, according to Tanakh.

According to Calvin, charity is paramount and it is a show of faithfulness to God and the Son of God. People are supposed to help each other, especially the poor as a sign of submission to God, because the poor are supposed to be catered for by the fortunate in the society. Further, God is spiritual and presents himself as a lowly and poor. Tanakh, on the contrary, encourages people to live upon themselves and not wait on others for food and accommodation. Tanakh propagated for a viably dependent social construct, where people were encouraged to avoid depending on others. However, during parties and celebrations, charity toward the poor and strangers was observed. This aspect of charity almost bare similarities, because even prophets like Isaiah valued charity to strangers and the poor in the society.

According to Tanakh, poverty was avoided by seeking gainful activities to supplement their livelihood. God was only blessing those who work hard in life, and sometimes, through divine, such as the case with Solomon. The Jews, through their books believed that poverty should be avoided at all costs and it needed the intervention or blessing of God to be able to succeed in obligation to avoid poverty. In this case, poor people were despised and seen as lazy or cursed through God and His divine powers. Calvin’s belief valued both physical and spiritual poverty, as it was a sign of god’s divinity and spirituality. God expresses himself through the lowly in the society, people who are least expected to be his priority, according to Calvinism.

Several differences occur in the reading that various prophetic books or the Pentateuch justify key aspects of work, that agrees or conflict with Calvinism. Most prophetic materials argue that faith and work are correlated and that one has to be faithful to do a good work of God. Pentateuch teaches of the need to understand that good work is a product of faith. The Calvinism, however, disputes the argument, who believes that work and faith is not one thing. For example, according to Calvin, charitable works towards the poor are the most evident signs of belief in God and that failure to help the poor is unfaithfulness to the wishes of the Son of God. Calvinism believes in the justification of a good work by faith, which sharply contradicts the Pentateuch teaching of faith, Rom.9:30-32. In the Pentateuch, the needy and the poor should be invited during celebrations and festivals because even the Israelites passed through these predicaments in Egypt. Furthermore, Pentateuch teaches on nobility of work “because that for this thing the Lord thy God will bless thee in all thy work…." (Deut. 15:7–10). In the above case, both Calvinism and Pentateuch believe in the charitable work towards the poor. Prophet Isaiah said that the way of the Lord is actually not in fasting, but in sharing the bread with the hungry and the needy. Christ’s concept applies to both prophetic and Tanakh books, which also endorses charity to the poor.

According to Calvin, the church must embrace the divinity of poverty in order to succeed in faith and good work. Poor people must be loved, through charity so that the church moves closer to God and the Son. For people to move closer to spirituality and divinity nature of God, they have to accept that the poor people are agents and tools of god, according to Calvin. The modern church cannot therefore ignore the poor people during worship because poverty is the link between the church and god.

Modern day example of begging in society involves people who seek financial help from church members and Christians to help with matters such as health, education, and other commitment. Calvin suggests that these beggars should be attended to, as a social society. Calvin proposes the sharing of responsibility through empathy and morality, to help the needy amongst the believers. Beggars, according to Calvin, are God’s special agents, who could be god himself in divine nature.

Deuteronomy 15 teaches on God’s law on the poor people and how they should be treated in the society. Those who have lots of wealth must share with the poor, and when the poor man borrows from the rich, and then they should not be put under custody. In today’s credit driven economy, Deuteronomy 15 is applicable because it touched on borrowing, lending, and the best ways of recovering the money back.