Dictionary.com defines ‘economics’ as
1.(used with a singular verb) the science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services, or the material welfare of humankind.
2.(used with a plural verb) Financial considerations; economically significant aspects: What are the economics of such a project?
Very simply, economics is the ‘science’ of money i.e.finances! In other words, how money is created and used.
The great economist Thomas Sowell writes in his massive work ‘Basic Economics’, “The Garden of Eden was a system for the production 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. A distinguished British economist named Lionel Robbins gave a classic definition of economics: “Economics is the study of the use of scarce resources which have alternative uses. What does scarce mean? It means what everybody wants adds up to more than there is.””
Immediately, this very simple definition rejects the anti-prosperity preachers’ hook-line-and-sinker!! Why? Drs Sowell & Robbins cite two important points:
Regarding abundance, Dr. Sowell uses the example of the Garden of Eden. As Christians, from the Garden of Eden we understand not only the reality of its existence but its God-created purpose: to provide for all mankind--not just for Adam and Eve. Secondly, Dr. Sowell uses the phrase: “unlimited abundance” to describe its provision. Incredibly, this is an ‘absolute truth’ regardless of how Dr. Sowell intended for its use in his statement. In other words, Dr. Sowell’s statement was not simply an incidental, trivial remark, but the ‘WILL’ of God for mankind’s provision!!! I repeat, the Garden of Eden expresses God’s will for mankind’s provision as being “unlimited abundance”!
The point offered by Mr. Robbins’ is: Scarcity; which perhaps ‘might’ be more appropriately used to describe the condition of mankind after the fall. For example, after Adam’s sin, God said in Genesis 3:
17.…cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18.Thorns also and thistles shall it (earth) bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread… (KJV)
The clear, unmistakable teaching of these 3 verses is that for fallen man, hard work and sweat are now the reality to access God’s provision of abundance for mankind. In other words, God’s good will of ‘unlimited abundance’ remained in the earth despite man’s fallen nature. However, the curse placed on the earth now makes it necessary for man to ‘sweat and toil’ to access God’s unlimited abundance provided for mankind beginning at the creation.
Allow me to further elaborate. In other words, when God brought righteous judgment upon Eve, Adam, and the earth for their sin, His wrath made it more difficult for humanity to possess His original abundance: “sweat of thy face”(Gen3:19). Yet, God’s judgment neither restricted nor hindered the potential for abundance He created in the earth from the beginning*. Therefore, there is now an ‘appearance of scarcity’ which economists recognize as the earth’s present reality!!!
Yet, the ‘appearance of scarcity’ did not immediately ‘appear’ when God spoke the curse, but in His abundant mercy(Ps136), He allowed the Garden of Eden to remain until Noah’s flood destroyed it some 1500-2000 years later. I repeat, the scarcity to which economists now refer, hides God’s original abundance* requiring mankind to use hard work and sweat to retrieve it---which is why I call it an ‘appearance of scarcity’. Remember, God created the earth with abundance* and then gifted** it to mankind and, He does not take back His gifts***!
Therefore, the ‘unlimited abundance’ of the Garden of Eden teaches us something very significant about God’s nature. First, Romans 1:20 declares: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse”.
The above passage teaches God’s marvelous creation reveals/unveils His nature--because God can only create from His nature! So, what is that aspect of God’s nature that allowed Him to create ‘unlimited abundance’? From Romans 1:20 and the Garden of Eden we learn that God created from his Infinite nature—which means without boundary. Furthermore, because God’s nature also includes Fatherhood, and fathers provide; therefore when God provides, He must do so according to His infinite nature—which means His provision for mankind must be ‘unlimited’---hence, the ‘unlimited abundance’ of Eden!****
Therefore, from the Creation---to this day---and throughout all of eternity—because God's His nature is:
Constant: He cannot change (Mal3:6)
Good: He can only give good in: spirit, soul, and body (Ps119:68;
Infinite: He can only give ‘unlimited abundance’ i.e.more than
enough (Phil4:19; Lu9:14,17)
…God’s provision must align with His infinite nature!!!
In conclusion, because God is good and does good(Ps119:68); and because He provides not only for our survival, but also for our thriving, i.e.our unique purpose, therefore, Psalms 145:16 declares, “Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.” And, Philippines 4:19 says, God provides for us from His riches in Glory. Therefore, considering that God not only provides for ‘every living thing’, but also as much as those living things desire, can either His “riches” or “riches in glory” …be limited? Impossible! Why? And I repeat, because God is infinite:
1.His provision must be abundant for every living thing
2.He provision can never run out
Hence, God’s infinite nature, which directs His provision, can only result in ‘unlimited abundance’ for every living thing…especially man’s provision!!
*The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof… -Ps 24:1
**… but the earth has He given to the children of men -Ps115:16
*** For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. -Rom11:29
****Eden was part of the unlimited abundance of the earth—Ps24:1
“The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.”
- Albert Einstein