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Recessions, Depressions, and the Biblical Jubilee
Part One: Scarcity
-- Jeff, Friday 10-24-2008, 5:30 pm CDT


By now, it's no secret that the American and world economies have, all of a sudden, begun to experience widespread turmoil. Talk of a global recession, and even the possibility of a depression -- as bad or worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s -- is being heard from the highest governmental authorities in the country.

God declares in II Peter 1:3 that He, "...hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue." And in Psalm 119:130 that, "The entrance of thy [God's] words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple."

Clearly, God and His Son Jesus Christ do not want us left in the dark -- without an understanding of the situations that we face in this life. It is the Word of God alone -- on this subject as all others -- which stands as a beacon of light that can pierce through the darkness of this world, and deliver us from all our fears.

So does the Bible actually have something to say about recessions and depressions? Although I have studied economics only on the undergraduate level, I have been interested in the subject since before I attended college. And since those days, I have continued to be a student of the field.

Being primarily interested in Biblical research, however, my focus has been on learning how the truths of the Word of God relate to the principles that economists -- through the different eras of the modern age -- have struggled to identify.

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Chart of Supply and Demand Curves The basic premise of every economic theory is called "scarcity." The economic concept of scarcity is based on the observation that economic resources are always "scarce" relative to human beings' needs and wants. It is upon this concept that the well-known free-market principles of Supply and Demand and Equilibrium Price are based.

The origin of scarcity in this world can be traced all the way back to the book of Genesis, when God informed Adam of the consequences of his sin:

Genesis 3:17-19
And unto Adam he [God] said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow [work, labor, toil] shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

What Genesis 3 shows, is that the problem which economists refer to as "scarcity" -- along with "recessions" and "depressions" and every other ill that humankind faces, including death itself -- has its roots in sin. Before Adam sinned, he and Eve lived in Paradise. In Paradise there was no curse on the ground, no thorns or thistles, no sickness, no death.

Since the fall of Adam, it has been sin that alienates the natural man from the life that God originally intended, as pointed out in Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:18
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
Therefore, scarcity -- as the basic premise of economics -- merely reflects the dismal fact that, as human beings, we no longer live in Paradise. Instead, we are alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in us. (Which, by the way, is a redeemable situation for anyone willing to hear and believe God's Word.)

Ever since Adam sinned, when it comes to making a living on this planet, human beings have had to work for a living, labor, toil. Perhaps that is why the field of economics has often been dubbed the dismal science, I'm not sure.

But one thing I am sure of, based on the Word of God, and that is that -- scarcity or no scarcity, recession or no recession, depression or no depression, and in fact, sickness or no sickness, death or no death -- there is nothing that this world can throw at God's children, from which God through Christ Jesus is not willing and able to deliver them.

Psalm 34:4-6
I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

Other Posts in this Series

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