Paul tells us, “For freedom Christ has set you free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1, Revised Standard Version [RSV]). Through his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ set us free from all the powers of evil. Among these powers we may include the six deadly-dull gods of Olympianity, including Pluto, the false god of money.
Pluto is a power
Jesus tells us, “‘No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon’” (Matthew 6:4, RSV). Mammon is the Aramaic term used by Jesus to refer to Pluto. In speaking of Pluto in this way, Jesus names for us a power which is phantom, spiritual, personal, active, and evil.
In other words, we can talk about money in terms of the economy: free trade, capitalism, credit, stock markets, currency, etc. Or we can talk about money in terms of personal morality: being honest, working hard, tithing. For Jesus, however, understanding money as a power is of primary importance.
Pluto is a phantom power
First, Pluto lacks substance. We cannot see him with our eyes. We cannot discern his presence in our lives with any electronic device. He does not exist as the source and goal of our existence like God does. He is not composed of atoms and molecules like we and the rest of creation are. But like Satan, as well as the other five Olympian gods, Pluto really exists, even if only in his own, peculiar, immaterial way.
Pluto is a spiritual power
Pluto is a spiritual power because he claims and gets spiritual significance. He claims autonomy from God and, coveting our devotion to God, wants to replace God in our hearts. We know he gets that spiritual significance from us because we talk or remain silent about him in a delirious way; that is, with emotional intensity and stubborn irrationality. This delirium indicates his sacred nature to us.
Pluto is a personal power
Peter says that Satan (1 Peter 5:8) stalks us like a lion looking for someone to eat (1 Peter 5:8). In so saying, Peter reveals to us the aggressively active power of Satan, Pluto, and other powers of evil. In relation to us, they do not sit idly by and wait for us to present them with opportunities to act. They seize the initiative and go on the attack.
Pluto is an evil power
Pluto is an evil power, one of the powers of evil. He hates God but cannot hurt God. To get at God, he goes after us: vulnerable creatures whom God loves so much. Pluto seeks to dominate us and, in so doing, to get us to devote ourselves to him rather than God, to hurt others, to exploit creation to make money, and to strengthen our Olympian personality and corrupt our tufluvian one.
Pluto is a parasitic power
Like other powers of evil, Pluto is a parasitic power. He has no vital energy of his own. To get it, he must suck it out of compliant human beings. When we glorify God, nurture and protect one another, care for God’s good creation, and act wholesomely, we starve the powers of the energy they need to cause trouble.
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