Genesis declares God as the source of the earth and all creation. The fact the He placed the reproductive capability in everything created is a testimony of His divine plan for the production, distribution, and consumption of resources. As Sennholz put it, “The market order finds its answers in the Judeo Christian code of morality.” In addition to Sennholz’s three economic commandments (Sennholz, 1990), I add the first commandment, “Have no other God before me (Yahweh)” as the primary economic commandment. To have no other God but Yahweh means to depend on Him for our source of guidance, judgment, and especially provision.
Secular economics by definition and practice ignore the source of the world’s economic matter. An often-accepted definition of economics is that of British economist, Lionel Robbins;
“Economics is the study of the use of scarce resources which have alternative uses.”
Sowell goes on to say,
“The Garden of Eden was a system for the production of and distribution of goods and services, but it was not an economy because everything was available in unlimited abundance. Without scarcity there is no need to economize and therefore no economics.”(Sowell, 2000)
This doctrine misses the patent demonstration of the inextricable link between God’s way and the distribution of provision for life. While living in a place named, “Pleasure”, the only scarcity in the Garden was the forbidden fruit. It was limited to zero access. When Adam chose scarcity over God’s abundance, it cost him. It cost all of humanity. The first family’s cost of food escalated by the additional toil to cultivate the now cursed ground. They were summarily evicted from Eden to a less pleasurable habitat. Their economics were very much affected by their choice to disobey God’s guidance.
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. it will produce thorns and thistles for you and you will eat the plants of the field. by the sweat of your brow
You will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken…So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken” Genesis 3:17-19,23
God set in motion the dominion of humankind and the ecological food chain. There is nothing in the earth that did not originate from what He created. He later declares in Deuteronomy 8:18, “I give the power to obtain wealth, in order to establish my covenant.” God’s sovereignty must not be taken for granted in the study of economic matter. Jesus reinforces this principle when He declares, “you cannot serve God and Mammon.” (Luke 19:13) The divine order established in the genesis must also be the goal of economic order. Adam was placed there to cultivate and replenish. Most importantly, he was with God. Hence, the purpose of the economic order is to provide a standard of living that not only meets people's basic physical needs (such as food, clothing, shelter) but also facilitates their pursuit of higher values, including the highest value of all, the union with God. (Stebbins, 1977)
Put your trust in the Source!
Sennholz, H. (1990). Three Economic Commandments: Libertarian Press.
Sowell, T. (2000). What is Economics. In Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy (pp. 1). New York: Basic Books.
Stebbins, J. M. (1977). Business, Faith and the Common Good. Review of Business(Fall).