(Science/Technology & Business)
God’s purpose for the sphere of economics is to release provision and model stewardship. The sphere of economics is launched with the creative inventions of science and technology. It is then propelled forward by the distributive capacity of the business enterprise, which produces, markets and sells those inventions. Both the research and the productive aspects of this sphere are evident in God’s vocational assignments to Adam in the Garden of Eden prior to the fall. God tasked Adam with two jobs. One was a scientific endeavor, giving the appropriate nomenclature to every living creature (Gen 2:19-20). The other involved an agricultural task, stewarding the fruitful productivity of the garden (Gen 2:15).
Key Biblical passages:
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it... Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. (Gen 2:15, 19-20)
Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. (Prv 10:4)
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Mt 6:31-33)
For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” (1 Tm 5:18)
Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives. (Ti 3:14)
Science is the generative motor of this sphere, for it produces the research and development that allows for the creation of wealth by unlocking new products and services. This is achieved as individuals add God-given creativity to God-given resources to release God-given provision. From a Biblical perspective, wealth is not a finite commodity; nor is the economic arena a closed circle. It represents an expanding universe of possibilities that is unlocked by innovation. Far from a zero sum game, the economic sphere becomes an arena in which creativity releases more and more of earth’s potential.
Once science and technology have created the possibility of new wealth, then the business enterprise takes that potential and distributes the wealth through production, marketing and sales. This process of creating and distributing wealth is designed to provide that which is needful and good for life on this planet. When stewarded well, this sphere glorifies the Creator who works with humans as co-creators in this process of life-enhancing innovation.
But all is not well on planet earth. Though God’s intent was that the sphere of economics would be a means of godly provision for people as they exercised righteous stewardship over creation, the business world has been corrupted with greed and injustice. We are being called to see a rebirth of kingdom entrepreneurship that will release new creativity in order to provide with integrity new goods and services that enhance people’s lives and relationships.
Michael Schluter, founder of the Jubilee Centre in Cambridge (see www.jubilee-centre.org) highlights the fact that the bottom line of the economic sphere must be the enhancing of relationships (check out his book, The R Factor). He writes in the Cambridge Papers, Vol 18, Num 3, 2009, “The starting point for evaluation of economic and social ‘institutions’ is the fact that God is a relational being, and that his priority is not economic growth, but right relationships both between humanity and himself, and between human beings. This relational focus is the theme of both Old and New Testaments. When Jesus lays down the overarching moral principles of ‘love God and love your neighbor’ (Mt 22:34-40) he is pointing to the priority of relational over financial wealth, for love is a quality of relationships.” So, let us seek God as to how we may bring Biblical transformation into our society in and through the economic sphere.
from the 777 Document, July 2012