What is the connection between Silas's obsession with money and his loss of faith?

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Silas' faith is destroyed when the members of his church turn on him, believing his friend Dane's story that he has stolen money. He leaves town and begins to hoard money, becoming a miser. His money has replaced his god. Money is his idol. When he loses his faith, there is a huge empty hole in his soul that he tries unsuccessfully to fill with money. In this novel, however, there is a moral order to the universe. Silas' beloved gold is stolen from him but this act endears him to the community because they feel sorry for him. He is accepted and becomes part of the community, so a little of his loss is replaced with human kindness. Then, Eppie comes into his life and suddenly Silas intuitively realizes what is going on. God is working in his life.

This novel illustrates many Biblical themes, one of which is Matthew 6:19:

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

And 1Timothy 6:10:

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they
have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows ...

Silas learns that the real "gold" of life lies in love, in relationships. When he stops putting his faith in gold, he finds happiness.

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