The Economics Concept in Scripture
On Sunday, May 7th, I began a Sunday School Series on Biblical Economics. This subject matter may seem odd to some who hold to a specific theological view that the Bible is only concerned with matters of salvation and redemption for sinners. Though I would agree that salvation and redemption is one of the central focuses of the Bible, I would assert that those subjects are by no means the “single” focus of the scriptures.
My belief is that the scriptures speak to every aspect of God’s creation simply because it is a revelation of God’s person and His eternal decree in history (Deuteronomy 29:29, Isaiah 46:8-10). This is my primary presupposition when addressing the subject of economics. From this presupposition flows several other preliminary assumptions. Those assumptions include, but are not limited to: (1) whatever God says in His word (the Bible) is absolutely authoritative (II Timothy 3:16); (2) God deals with mankind by way of covenants in the holy scriptures (Genesis chapters 1, 2, 9, 15, 17, Exodus 34, II Samuel 7, Jeremiah 31, I Corinthians 11, Hebrews 8 and 10); (3) as His creatures, man is to live in obedience to His creator.
Assuming God’s holy word speaks to every aspect of reality, and assuming his word is authoritative regarding everything its speaks, and assuming God deals with mankind by way of covenants, and assuming His creatures (mankind) are obliged to be obedient to His revelation, then whatever God reveals about economics is authoritative and obligatory for all mankind. Yes, I do mean God’s holy word speaks about economics and what it says about economics is obligatory for every man, woman and child on His earth.
In fact, the very essence of the previous statement is an “economic” statement. The last two words from the previous statement, “His earth”, assumes He created all that exists and thus is the owner of all creation. This necessarily rejects any concepts evolutionary processes bringing about the existence of the universe; it also rejects any form of deism where God created the cosmos and impersonally hung it in space allowing it to unwind its way into oblivion. No, God created and is sustaining His creation as its owner and cultivator.
What might be helpful at this point is to define the word “economics”. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines “economic” in this way:
1a: a social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services b: economic theory, principles, or practices sound economics
The very assertion that someone, in this case God Almighty, owns the whole of creation is an economic concept. When the trinitarian God spoke into existence all that exists, (Genesis 1, John 1), He established ownership of the cosmos. If the cosmos then produces anything subsequent to its creation, then whatever it produces belongs to its creator.
Herein lies the very essence of Biblical Economics. God owns everything. He created it according to the scriptures (Colossians 1:16, Revelation 4:11, 10:6) and consequently owns it. What then flows from His ownership? Is God a curmudgeon and holds onto His creation in a miserly way? Or, does God graciously and benevolently share His ownership with His creatures? These questions will be answered in upcoming posts.