1 Corinthians

Gary North

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church deals with the necessity of rendering judgment. This epistle establishes the principle of ethical judgment as the foundation of social order.

This epistle rests on the doctrine of God’s final judgment (Ch. 15). Because God will judge all people retroactively, everyone must make judgments in history. They ought to assess their plans and the results of their actions in terms of God’s laws.

This epistle is all about government, which begins with self-government under God.

In chapter 6, Paul calls the church to avoid going into a Roman civil court. Instead, he insists, the local church should settle disputes among members. Christians should not trust pagan courts.

Paul’s hostility to Roman civil courts is obvious. Here is his message. The church is a separate jurisdiction. It should have primary authority over its members. Members should not sue other members in a Roman civil court, which is not under a covenant with God.

The doctrine of individual judgment is the foundation of the economic theory of value. Specifically, an individual imputes value to scarce resources. This is the economic application of judicial imputation, which imputes moral value to people’s specific actions.

Through competitive bidding in terms of each person’s subjective imputation of economic value, bidders establish objective prices.

Prices are objective. Economic value is subjective. Yet because God’s imputation of economic value (Genesis 1) is both subjective and objective, men’s imputations of value are both subjective and objective. Without objective value — a corporate scale of values that can be assessed by decision-makers — it would be impossible to assess the social value of any proposed corporate policy. No one could estimate whether a policy will benefit or harm groups or society as a whole.

This commentary discusses the theory of economic value.

I Corinthians


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