Often, when I bring up economics, people automatically jump to its most common use, which is monetary (money)/Fiscal (financial) economics. The definition is much broader. In another article, I will make a more detailed explanation of the vast types of economics. A few different kinds of economics are spatial economics, time economics, word/language economics, and human energy economics.
Why God created the world
In this article, I want to address a thing I named God Economics. Let's start at the most fundamental question of the material world. Why did God create in the first place? And most universally, why has He acted in any goodwill towards His creation at all? Our options are:
The angels were a failure, so He wanted to start over fresh with another moral creature.
God needs the attention, approval, love, and worship of His creation.
For His own glory.
It was not good that God was alone, so He created the world and mankind to be His friend.
The answer is the third one. For His own glory. As we see in Isaiah 48, God does all things for His own glory, or as the text says,
“For His name Sake.”
So we have established why God created the material world in the first place, so let's take a break from that and talk about the broad definition of economics.
What is Economics?
In His book, The Basics of Economics, famous conservative economist Thomas Sowell defines economics as
“the study of scarce resources, with potential alternative uses.”
In the book, he makes a case that the Garden of Eden cannot be studied through the lens of economics because it does not have scarcity. What he means is that the Garden of Eden is infinite in its potential. The trees will not die, they will have the fruit eaten off them and just reproduce it; thus, there is no scarcity of food. I bring this up because it is fundamental for the argument that I am about to make.
Now back to the task at hand. Let me ask a more fundamental question, does economics apply to God? When it comes to this question, we need some clarity and nuance because our knee-jerk reaction should be, “If the Garden of Eden ca not be studied under the science of economics, surely God would be in the same camp.” We must consider what is economical about God. Does God in His nature have any sort of scarcity? No? Before God created anything, there was nothing outside of Himself (Himself being the Trinitarian Godhead). So, is God limited to only three Gods by quantity? Yes, there are only three persons in one Godhead. In that way, God is scarce, but is God scarce in what He can do? No, God is not scarce in what He can do. He can do all things with limitless power and with perfect wisdom. If you study many of the pagan gods, you see that those gods are managing specific jobs, and there is a hierarchy of gods. This is because there is not a single god that can do all the work that is needed to be god. The God of the Bible is all those gods’ duties and potentials wrapped up into one entity and then to infinite capacity. So there is no lack in God; thus, there is no need for another God. So it is a categorical fallacy to say that God is scarce just because there is only one of Him. If He was limited in knowledge or power and needed help or assistance, then, yes, economics would apply to Him because there is something lacking outside of Him. Just to be clear, the longhand of what I just said is, God is not scarce in any of the normal categories of scarcity: time, space, power (ability), knowledge, creativity, energy, comprehension, competency, goodness, wisdom, communication, etc. If you are a technical jargon person,
God’s aseity is self-generating/sustaining, completely independent of all need or help from any outside source.
God is also Immutable, meaning He does not change because to change would mean He is lacking in some way and thus needs to improve.
There was nothing about creation that drew God towards it because His own was weak (as previously mentioned in option 4). God was so independent of us that He could have never created anything material at all (not even time nor space) and still be in a perfect community, love, and joy within Himself. In a similar way that a game designer does world building, a painter paints a painting, a storyteller writes a novel, and a singer writes a song; so God out of His abundance created an overflowing of benevolence and awesomeness. He created a diversity of animals, plants, landforms, water forms, and stars/planets, all just to revel in His own magnificent capacity. Did God have a limitation on raw materials to make this universe? No, He created the universe out of nothing from Himself, even though He is immaterial; thus, He could have made an infinitely expanding material world. In theory, He could be continuing to create now logically, but the Bible says that on the 7th day, He rested from His work and saw that it was good, so the assumption is that He finished making the material world way back then, and now He just manipulates it and provides for His creation in whatever way suits His fancy.
Does God have alternative uses?
The next question is, does God have alternative uses? I think this is the meat of the argument today. This part is the fascinating part. Like I said earlier, economics is the study of scarce resources with potential alternative uses. As we said earlier, God Himself is not finite in His capacity, but His abilities have alternative uses. What do I mean by this? Instead of God creating any living things, He could have just created all the rest of the planets and never made Earth. Or God could have never made humans and just made the other animals and creatures. So why did He create humans to take dominion of the Earth, some animals to eat meat and prey on other animals, and create smaller, weaker animals that just ate vegetation? From a material creator standpoint, God is using variety to show off His brilliance. As stated earlier, when a game developer develops a game, he/she could go in a number of directions with the kinds of beings that inhabit the world, the different sizes and capacities. All of them are meant to create a varied existence that is more beneficial for you, the person playing the game. God could have just made trees and vegetation and had water be dropped into the water. There was no particular compulsion in Him to do anymore, just like there is no compulsion in a game maker to make anything more; the game came from nothing, and no one knew of it or expected it until it existed. The game creator could have never created the game, and no one would be none the wiser. I am not over here wishing Bill Gates would create the next epic game. He is already one of the richest men in history, and nothing can compel him to do anything else among men (other than force, obviously).
Now that I have clarified what I mean by alternative uses in an infinite way, where God could have done anything as the creator He wanted to, I wanted to talk about what is a deciding factor when it comes to how God does certain things. Some things in creation have a main purpose of bringing God’s glory in a particular way, like, for example, mountains mainly bring God glory in His grand ability to create such massive bodies of rock in a similar way that oceans glorify God for His vast ability to create huge holes and fill them with billions of gallons of liquid, all without weakening His strength or creativity one bit. When it comes to humans, God’s alternative uses get interesting. God actually breaks down what I would like to call Divine Attributive Economics. What I mean is that each act God does towards His moral creatures through His provision is an act of His attributes, and these attributes can be used to glorify God in different ways.
We actually see this theory fleshed out in Romans 9. (For those of you who are not Calvinist and thus do not agree with my interpretation of Romans 9, bear with me in at least agreeing that Romans 9 is still an example of Divine Attribute Economics.)
9 For this is the word of promise: “At this time, I will come, and Sarah will have a son.” 10 And not only that, but there was also Rebekah, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” 14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? Far from it! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I have mercy, and I will show compassion to whomever I show compassion.” 16 So then, it does not depend on the person who wants it nor the one who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very reason, I raised you up, in order to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the earth.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, you foolish person, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21 Or does the potter not have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one object for honorable use, and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with great patience objects of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon objects of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.” (Rom. 9: 9-23)
Based on the wording in this text Paul, inspired by God, is making the point that just like a pot maker decides the kind of pot He will make before he makes it, so God decides what kind of being someone will turn out to be before they are born. He chooses this unconditionally on man’s part. Since as the Bible says, in Matt. 7:13-14, the way to spiritual life (or vessels of mercy as Romans 9 calls them) is difficult and narrow and few will find it. We can assume that most people are designed to glorify God in His patience, justice, and wrath in making them vessels of dishonorable use. God’s abilities or attributes of mercy and justice have alternative uses. All mankind wishes they could be the clays or vessels of mercy if they logically thought about it (Obviously, being blessed forever with eternal life is much better than eternity of punishment under God’s wrath, John 3:36). In theory, God could have had mercy on everyone if He wanted to be glorified in the attribute of mercy completely, but He wanted to have the alternative attribute of justice and patience in creating vessels of “common use” fit for destruction.
I do not want to do a full Bible study on this text. I just wanted to bring it up to say that God’s attributes have alternative uses, which He alone can choose how they are used. By God’s grace, He chose myself to be a vessel of honorable use in order to show His attribute of mercy and grace. The final question becomes, are God attributes scarce? I would say no, God has unlimited potential to dispose His attributes on potentially unlimited creatures. The scarcity in this situation is not God but the objects God is acting upon, namely us humans. At this point in history, we are the least scarce in this category because we are more populated than ever. The fewer number of people in the first few hundred years glorified God less than He is able to be glorified now.
The Lord tarries in return because He seeks to be glorified more and more in His acting upon us as His molds, making some for honorable use and some for dishonorable use. I for one find this to be fascinating. The inner working of how God works and thinks. This is truly Theology Proper, aka the study of God Himself. I for one am thankful that God desires to be glorified in all His attributes because if He did not care to show off His mercy (or even worse, He lacked the attribute), we would all be vessels of wrath for our sins. Praise be to God, He has disposed mercy on some of us wretched creatures. Worship God for His kingly and creatively providence in allowing some to glorify Him in His gracious mercy.
I will end with this Bible verse:
“Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Col. 3:1-4)
Tim Bankes II
Tim is a Christian author. His worldview that informs his writing is Calvinist, Baptist, and Libertarian. His main series is his Christian picture book series, "About God for Kids", where he discusses the attributes of God in a way kids can digest. He also wrote a Christian Romance novel, libertarian book for beginners, and Christian coloring books. He graduated with a Bachelor's in Biblical Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He has written a book on freedom called “Are You Free” (If you are into listening to books I have it in audio also, Are You Free Audiobook )and he has written multiple children’s books about God. Be Sure to check out the podcast version of the blog, Labor for Truth Podcast. And check out “The Truth About” Youtube Channel. You can find his works at his amazon author page, https://amazon.com/author/timbankes. He even has a free digital ebook on how God is the creator. Get your free copy today at, Greater Creator .Also If you are into Christian Fiction, he has made his first book in his Futuristic Christian Fiction series free, Her Dying Wish
Some of my other favorite books on these subjects that are great for beginners to the liberty movement are: