“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” -Psalms 24:1
1. The owner of an object is the one who creates it or the one to whom the previous owner transfers his ownership.
1a. Ownership is a moral right to legitimate control.
1b. It is not equivalent to simple control, else theft would be impossible.
1c. Ownership must be transferable, because in order for a right to control to be absolute, it must extend to a right to cede one’s control under such circumstances as one wishes.
1d. Control can be given by the owner to another without ceding ownership, as in the case of the trust, bank, and the servants described by Jesus in Matthew 25: 13.
2. An object can have only one owner.
2a. Jesus claims that one cannot serve both God and money, by the explanation that “”No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” If this is true, then it must also be the case that money cannot serve both God and man.
2b. Two people cannot simultaneously have the right to control the same object, because where their wills conflict, one must win out over the other, in which case that is the owner.
2c. Even if two wills were exactly the same, if the usage of an object in consistence with the two wills were to derive its morality from one of the wills and not from the other, it would be the property of the one.
2d. Any other system which may be devised to determine the usage of an object in the case of conflict, (including voting or the taking of lots) results in the ownership of the object falling, not to any individual, but to the group. Even so, it is the exclusive property of the group: those outside the group have no right to it.
3. God is the original owner of the universe and man.
3a. God is the creator of the universe, man, his will, his reason, and the concept of right and wrong.
3b. Nothing described in Genesis with the exception of the Sabbath was made for man, but for the glory of God, and man was made as its gardener. It was necessary for God to explicitly give man permission to eat from the garden.
3c. The recombination of owned objects by one’s slaves, using creative faculties, will, and power which one has granted to them, cannot produce anything which one does not own.
4. God has not ceded his ownership to men.
4a. Ownership involves a moral entitlement to use one’s property in accordance with one’s own will.
4b. However, God stakes a total claim on man without reservation: that every aspect of man’s life must be consistent not with his own will but with God’s will.
4c. This cannot be understood as a case of God once and for all correcting the will of the individual, whereafter he may be his own master and have his own property, because the will is not allowed to remain itself, but must be matched to the will of God; therefore the will of man is in and of itself inconsequential, and only the will of God is consequential. Even when man’s will is consistent with the will of God, it is still inconsequential because it resembles the right only by virtue of being consistent with the will of God, and not by being itself; the right is not dependent upon man’s will and man has no power over it.
4d. Such a claim is inconsistent with any moral entitlement for one’s own will to be done concerning property or anything else.
4e. Therefore the property of a slave is the property of his master, and not his own.
5. Man is the steward of everything under his control.
5a. No power is given to man outside of God’s control, for he has absolute control over one’s circumstances and opportunities, and lacks only control over one’s choices.
5b. Therefore God has given some control over the universe over to man, but he has retained his ownership.
5c. A steward has no moral right to use his master’s property in accordance with his own will, but has a moral responsibility to use his master’s property in accordance with his master’s will.
In conclusion: God is the exclusive owner of all things; the only moral consideration concerning property is whether or not some usage thereof is in accordance with the will of God, it is irrelevant whether it is in accordance with the will of any man; among men there is no negative liberty to do as one pleases regarding one’s property; and among men there is no distinction between legitimate and illegitimate control, except for the question of whether or not an object is to be used in accordance with God’s will. “Theft,” in the sense of using an object against the wishes of the state, is not categorically wrong, as the state has no authority to delegate ownership of God’s property and no man can be the owner of God’s property. One has a moral obligation to “steal” (from the perspective of the state), wherever relevant in the course of using everything within one’s control in accordance with the will of God. However, true theft, namely, theft from God, is categorically wrong. One steals from God when one represents some object as his own, rather than God’s, or uses some object in accordance with his own will, and not with the will of God.
Finally, man becomes the property of God by becoming res nullius, but that is another proof entirely.