Political philosopher John Locke was largely responsible for establishing the importance of both individual and economic freedom.
Locke had a lifelong interest in the Bible and read it thoroughly, making extensive notes in the margins of his copies. He wrote a number of texts about politics and philosophy. Perhaps the most influential were his Two Treatises of Government.
The first of these sets out an argument - from the Bible - that the idea of the divine right of kings is mistaken. He concluded, for example, from the book of Genesis 1.28 that God originally gave all humans both natural freedom and equality (Book 1, 6.67).
Some have argued Locke was more influenced by non-religious philosophy than the Bible. But his other writings show that it really did mould his thinking. For example, in a letter to the Bishop of Worcester, he wrote:
‘The Holy Scripture is to me, and always will be, the constant guide of my assent; and I will always hearken to it, as containing the infallible truth relating to things of highest concernment (Volume 3, Letter 1).’