Why poverty still exists
God is good. We know this because there are so many passages of the Bible about justice and care for people in poverty. The poverty, conflict and oppression that is so prevalent across the world demonstrates that something has gone badly wrong. The relationship between God and humanity is broken.
The first two chapters in Genesis show what life should be like, with God, humanity and creation in perfect harmony. But that all changes with the fall in Genesis chapter three. The result is broken relationships not just between us and God but with each other and the whole of the natural world:
- Broken relationship with God: we are following our own way, not God’s way
- Broken relationship with self: we feel shame and don’t have our identities in God
- Broken relationships with others: we are in conflict with each other
- Broken relationship with creation: we are damaging God’s creation
All over the world we see poverty springing from these four types of relationships being broken and dysfunctional. Take, for example, our relationship with God’s creation: it’s easy to see the cost of our treatment of the natural world – overconsumption, famine, flooding and extreme temperatures that destroy crops for the poorest.
Or consider our relationship with ourselves: we believe everyone has been made in God’s likeness with infinite dignity and worth. When men and women don’t recognise this, they can often feel powerless to rise out of the terrible poverty they face.
Broken relationships with others means that we don’t care for our neighbours, we don’t love one another as we love ourselves. This results in conflict between families, among communities and across nations. The ultimate expression is in armed conflict where people destroy homes, lay waste to families and innocent people are killed or displaced.
The good news is that, through Jesus Christ, God is now at work to restore all of these severed relationships – not just our personal relationships with God, but with ourselves, each other and our natural environment.
Watch this video to learn more: