When I was in high school, one of my favorite bands was All Star United. I appreciated their unique sound and clever lyrics. After their first two albums, I anxiously awaited their third release. But I was disappointed when they published a “Greatest Hits” CD, containing only two previously-unreleased songs.
I felt somewhat gypped in purchasing the CD just for those two songs. (Nowadays, we can just get the tracks individually on iTunes.) But I felt like a band should put out at least three (and preferably four or five) full-length albums of new material before they earned the right to produce a “Greatest Hits” album. (I found out later that ASU slapped together that compilation to meet their contract obligation and escape from their label.)
I’ve been blogging at thinkhardthinkwell for over six years. That was three graduate degrees ago. This blog is older than my children. I had thought of celebrating back in late July when the actual anniversary of my first post rolled around, but I was a little busy with a transatlantic move and all. But now that I have some time, I’ll be republishing some of my favorite posts–maybe a “Top 5” for each calendar year. It’s both encouraging and humbling to see what was rattling in my head and happened to pop out. I certainly don’t like or agree with everything I wrote–and that’s probably good.
For now, I’m reposting the very first entry, entitled, “Biblical Economics,” published on July 30, 2008. Economics has been an interest of mine since Mrs. Fagerlund’s class in high school, and it has been a recurring theme in my writing. Enjoy!
As we seek a biblical model of economics, we must first examine what is perhaps the most basic idea in economics: the tension between scarcity and insatiability. Scarcity is simply the truth that all physical resources are finite. Insatiability is the idea that human beings are always in want, trying to get something more. In other words, “we can’t always git what we want.”
It should not be surprising that these observations about the world and human nature are taught as truths in Scripture. First, there are many verses that talk about the desire to accumulate possessions, some with a positive spin and some with a negative. Much of the Old Testament narratives are concerned with the acquisition of the Promised Land and the blessings that accompany the Davidic kingdom. Secondly, however, many teachings of Scripture take for granted the human desire for self-interest. Paul, for example, appeals to the Christians’ desire to receive the blessings given to Christ and the rewards of His kingdom as he urges them to press on in their faith. Pursuit of true self-interest is not condemned by Scripture but accepted as a part of being human, with the understanding that what is truly in one’s best interest is to obey God.
When God begins His creative program, He begins with a “wild and waste” earth. By the process of creation, He “tames” the earth, first by creating light, then by putting the chaotic waters in order, and then further pulling back the waters to reveal land. God’s creation is His cultivation of order. He then gives Adam, as His representative, the mandate to continue and finish the project. God placed Adam in a paradise, but it was a work in-progress-Adam was to name the animals and cultivate the plants. It should not be thought that insatiability-Man’s quest to fulfill his desires-is a product of the Fall, but rather the original state of Man’s creation. Had Adam sat and twiddled his thumbs, he would presumably have starved! Through obedience to God, Adam’s needs and wants would have been met. Only the Creator can truly sate the hunger of the Creation.
In the post-Fall world, scarcity is more acute. The ground will only produce by Man’s sweat and toil. Given Man’s desire to live and prosper, he must find new ways of getting what he needs to stay alive.