Two Christians over the past month have told me that communism is a doctrine that would work only in heaven. Their idea is that markets are needed because of sin, and when we’re sinless complete equality will reign.
It’s easy to respond by pointing out the difference between capital-C Communist hope and reality. In the past century, inequality has grown wherever Communists have ruled, since those in charge now combine economic with political power and have no check on their lust for more. To paraphrase George Orwell in Animal Farm: All men are equal, but some are more equal than others.
But we shouldn’t stop there, because small-c communism also has no heavenly flavor. We won’t be all the same in heaven, because there we are without sin but not without personality. Heaven is a sweet land of liberty, but one way it differs from this world is that in it we will have neither right nor desire to do wrong.
It’s hard, of course, to know what heaven will be like. Our desires will be perfectly aligned with God’s—but what does that look like? There we will have no material needs, nor will we face our most pressing lack in this world, a shortage of time, but we’ll still have our personalities, which means (as Randy Alcorn and others exposit Scripture) we will still be choosing our activities and not all doing the same thing.
We should pray, as Christ taught us, that God’s kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven, but that doesn’t mean communism, which denies liberty and thus personality. Triumph over sin (limited in this life, complete in heaven) means using liberty wisely and expressing ourselves in a way that glorifies God.