Stealing from God

S. M. Hutchens on the Eighth Commandment

The Eighth Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” met for many months a block in my own mind, for I had surprising difficulty determining to my own satisfaction what stealing was. Theft, it would appear, is unlawful deprivation of ownership, but ownership is a problematic concept whose connections with the mind and will of God are easily obscured by thinking in terms of political and legal philosophy. Whether we lean toward the communalist or individualist pole, we tend to think of property held privately or in common as a natural right recognized and protected by the state. . . .

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S. M. Hutchens is a senior editor.

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more on the ten commandments from the online archives

31.5—September/October 2018

Taking Liberties

The Secular State Without the Decalogue by James M. Kushiner

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