We need to begin our studies with a quick note about my theological approach to these topics. This is certainly in order and beneficial.
After that, I will offer a few comments below about modern economic science as well. Then it will be time for us to begin our studies with the first chapter of Organic Economics™.
Economics and finances are addressed within the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In fact, I am not aware of any single book of the Bible where these issues are not elaborated upon to some degree. Moreover, certain books—e.g. the Pentateuch (Torah), Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Gospels—have extensive content regarding these important issues.
For example, wise King Solomon observed, “…money answers everything” (Ecclesiastes 10:19, NKJV). Nonetheless, Jesus later pointed out the temporal limitations of that fact when He stated clearly, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15, NKJV).
So financial matters are important and address every area of our earthly existence, but are not the most important things for us to pursue. Thus, Peter tells us where we can find the appropriate balance of doctrine concerning both the temporal economic issues that we deal with daily, as well as the more important eternal matters that concern our souls. That source is God’s eternal Word:
For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).
By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature.
(2 Peter 1:3-4, The Amplified Bible, emphasis added)
For Christians, there can surely be no more trusted and pure source of truth regarding our lives here on earth AND in the eternity to come, than the Bible itself. Of course, since God is the Creator of all men, this fact applies to non-Christians as well—though it is up to us believers to explain and convey that fact to them for their own eternal profit.
Within all genuine Christian and Jewish theologies, the Bible is known to be the infallible and eternal Word of Almighty God Himself (though we Christians have more of it to read than many of our Jewish friends recognize, despite the fact that the New Testament was written mostly by Jewish people and is also available to them also). Consequently, the Bible has served as the “textbook” for economic studies for nearly two millennia among Christians, and about three and a half millennia among Jewish people.
Famous Christian ministers such as Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, and John Calvin, all addressed financial matters during their days. Several of the economists who founded modern economics as a scientific discipline happened to also be devout Christians. Notable among them was Adam Smith, who considered many of the market forces that we will examine within Organic Economics™ to be no less than the “invisible hand” of God working within human markets and societies.
Inspired in-part by Smith’s influence, the most notable Jewish economists then took the modern science of economics much further. Notable among them is Carl Menger, who is credited with founding the branch of modern economics known generally as “Subjectivist Economics,” the most well-known subdivision of which is called “Austrian Economics.”
So obviously, the history of theological influence upon financial matters and economic science is extensive (though some might want to argue details). So how am I approaching this topic differently than the many others before me?
First, I am using an epoch-based approach that mirrors how the Bible reveals God to humanity within its pages. Within Organic Economics™, we will be viewing God as the Creator of mankind and the universe—and thereby discuss the Organic Laws™ which He also created. These laws govern the function and behaviors of everything within His creation. Through our use of the Book of Genesis, along with supporting Scripture from other books of the Bible, and insightful reference to key archeological and historical information, we will discuss:
- The gracious and complete provision given to mankind within the original creation.
- Humanity’s fall from that grace through sin, and the resulting scarcity that required people to adapt to their new environment for both survival and prosperity.
- The earliest development of labor specialization, trade, and money.
- Subsequent economic and cultural advances within the civilizations that emerged after Noah’s Flood (including the archeological discoveries that confirm these facts).
- The highly sophisticated trade, accounting, banking, and legal systems, that developed in the Third Millennium B.C. around the area of Abraham’s ancient hometown of Ur, within Mesopotamia—which were not “discovered” by modern Western civilizations until nearly 4,000 years later.
- And even more…
The Economic Theology™ Series
However, Organic Economics™ is only the first installment of my developing Economic Theology™ series. Once we lay a foundation of economics and finances with regard to God’s created order, the next installment of this series will focus on God as the Great Lawgiver as we examine the Levitical Economic™ system He gave to the nation of Israel (and by extension, to all of mankind). Therein, He elaborated upon many of His creative principles, while also directly addressing the sin issue which caused disruption in both humanity’s relationship with Him as God, and with each other as coexisting human beings.
Further into this series, we will examine the New Testament to understand the Lord God within His role as Redeemer of mankind. Therein, we will examine the Messianic Economic™ truths that were revealed to us by God’s promised Messiah, Jesus Christ (in Hebrew, “Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, Ben David”), and subsequently by His apostles within their writings. These Messianic Economic™ principles not only confirmed many of the Organic Economic™ and Levitical Economic™ truths revealed earlier within Scripture, they expanded them even further into a spiritual dimension. Jesus and the apostles emphasized that eternal things must be our first priority, while they still advocated many of the other economic truths from God’s Word. (And a sampling of these Messianic Economic™ truths are embedded within Organic Economics™ in order to confirm that certain key points are still applicable to Christians today.)
In our last installment of this series, we will then take an eschatological track and view the economic policy of the most nefarious character of the Last Days within Antichrist Economics™. Therein, we will not only see how his totalitarian fiscal policies are in direct opposition to those truths revealed within the first three studies of the Economic Theology™ series, but also the fact that MANY of those very same policies are in use today in nearly every nation of the world. (And for everybody’s comfort, and to advance my reader’s knowledge on the subject, that section will also examine some “good news” about the Antichrist, i.e. God’s limitations which He imposes upon both the scope of the Antichrist’s jurisdiction and the duration of his reign.)
This epoch-based approach to Economic Theology™ mirrors perfectly God’s biblical revelation of Himself to mankind: As Creator, Lawgiver, Redeemer, and Soon-Coming King.
According to my research to date, it seems that nobody has thought to develop such a comprehensive systematic theology on the subject of economics and finances within Christendom before. Even among the writings of the famed Spanish Scholastics of the School of Salamanca during the Sixteenth Century A.D., I have not yet found an equivalent. I consider this somewhat remarkable, given both the obvious need for such teaching among God-fearing people and the epoch-based manner in which God has revealed Himself to mankind through the Bible.
Nonetheless, it seems as if our efforts are establishing a new theological standard for how to approach financial subjects in the light of God’s Word. It is my hope that my own meager efforts in this project will inspire other Christian ministers and theologians to join with me in developing this approach to its utmost capacity, for the benefit of all Christendom—and humanity in general.
Brief Comments About Monetary Science
There are many confusing voices out there within the financial media crying out about various types of economic policy—many of which conflict with each other terribly. Worse yet, the ones ruining the financial systems of the world all tend to be of similar mindsets, and claim they are the great “saviors” of the global economies, though it is obvious that their policies are actually destroying the financial systems that they profess to “manage.”
In brief, from our theological viewpoint, we can categorize the most popular “schools” of economic thought within the world today inside of two groupings:
- Unethical, Confiscatory, and Deceptive: This would include Keynesian, Neo (or “New”) Keynesian, Socialism, Communism, and most forms of Monetarism (as this last school’s theories tend to be used by the others to support their own problematic methods). All of these seek to plunder the wealth of others in one form or fashion, and thus, are quite wicked and harmful to society.
- Generally Ethical, Rights-Honoring, and Honest: This would include all those “schools” which fall under the Subjectivist Economics umbrella, including Austrian School, New Austrian School (which is explained more fully here), and many of the adherents of Ayn Rand’s philosophical approach to economics. These schools tend to emphasize property rights and personal liberty, and the free-will exchange of goods and services.
And to identify these within the theological context that I previously outlined further above:
- Those within the first group agree—in varying ways and to varying degrees—with Antichrist Economic™ policies as revealed within the Book of Revelation and elsewhere in the Bible.
- On the other hand, those within the second group tend to agree—in varying ways and to varying degrees—with the Organic Economic™ principles that we are about to study here on TheWisdomOfGold.com.
Because many (but certainly not the majority) of the people within the latter grouping also happen to be Christians and Jewish people, they are sometimes in agreement with Levitical Economic™ and Messianic Economic™ policies on some points as well. Obviously, the writings of this latter group are those which I have spent most of my time researching regarding economic science (i.e. outside of the Scriptures themselves). So I recommend my readers pay more attention to the people within this second group during your own continuing studies.
Unfortunately, today’s global banking and political systems are controlled primarily by the demented people that are classified within the first group. That is why the world is now in such a mess, and why I now offer Organic Economics™ to my readers a biblical guideline for them to use to discern between “good and evil” in today’s governmental and financial systems.
By the way, the first group has those who claim to be Christians or Jewish among their ranks also. However, those “schools” are in direct opposition to clear biblical principles (e.g. “thou shalt not steal,” “thou shalt not bear false witness,” etc.). So that fact renders their advocacy of such theories both ungodly and absurd. It also gives us significant reason to question the sincerity of their religious professions.
A Note About “Natural Law”
Many readers may note a similarity between what is known as “natural law” and my frequent reference to “organic law” or “organic principles” here and throughout the Organic Economics™ study. Well, there really are numerous parallels. Consequently, anyone with a propensity towards “natural law” ethics will find our study somewhat compatible with many of their own beliefs about individual liberty, government, and the free market.
However, let me note also that despite the many similarities, there are also significant differences. As was also noted by Dr. Alister E. McGrath within his excellent book, The Science Of God: An Introduction To Scientific Theology, “natural law” as a philosophy spread very far beyond its original Christian theology moorings.
Deists—most particularly Freemasons—have distorted “natural law” concepts significantly with their schizophrenic ideas of a deity they call “the great architect of the universe.” (Which is a belief system quite incompatible with Biblical Theism, by the way—though some of them claim to be Christians despite this obvious fact.)
Intellectual philosophers, on the other hand, have departed from any reference to a deity and instead have often discussed a priori theories of “self-evident truth.” (However, their good concepts are actually far more a posteriori than most of them would care to admit; and the bad ones are sufficient evidence that their approach is seriously lacking.)
So obviously, neither of these two groups above hold the Bible as the sole revelation from our Creator about Himself. Consequently, when one uses the phrase “natural law” there could be a myriad of different interpretations among those reading or hearing it, depending on what ideas they have about the subject.
In contrast, my approach concerning “natural law” is more similar to that of Dr. McGrath’s “Scientific theology” as he expressed it within the book mentioned above. It also bears much resemblance to the approach of John Calvin as he expressed it within the first book of his Institutes of the Christian Religion. (Though I may not completely agree with either of them on other theological points.)
In short, I believe the Bible to be God’s sole pure revelation about Himself. Thus, it alone is the appropriate filter by which we can accurately understand God through His creation, and understand His mind about the “natural laws” expressed throughout the natural world around us—to include His laws of economics and finances. In fact, by looking primarily to God’s Word, we can even bypass much of the “learning curve” that others struggle with in search for truth, and jump right ahead of them to the key issues that we need to know.
Therefore, rather than having to spend much time redefining what I mean by such terms as “natural law” (as Dr. McGrath had to do within his text) I have chosen to differentiate our approach by calling it Organic Law™ instead. Within the pages of Organic Economics™ we are looking for the most pure “organic” laws of economics and finances—i.e. the ones closest to God’s design. Thus, the Bible is emphatically our primary tool for this purpose, though we make much use of archeological, scientific, and historical, resources as well.
About The “Prosperity Message”
In my final note before we jump into the actual teaching of Organic Economics™, let me take a moment to quickly address where I stand on the subject of the controversial “prosperity message” that has propagated around the world for several decades now.
Theologically, my earliest Christian influences included not only Methodist and Baptist ministers, but also many Charismatic/Pentecostal teachers as well. Among these where some of the contemporary “big names” among “prosperity preachers.” However, I grew weary of their increasingly erroneous teaching over time. I eventually turned a “deaf ear” to many of them as I pressed forward into more biblically sound studies of economics and finances (as well as many other topics).
One can only hear so much “money cometh” tripe before having to conclude that these preachers are either totally ignorant, total frauds, or both. (And I personally discovered Kenneth Copeland to be both.)
Even the man considered by most to be the “founder” of this money-centered message, Kenneth E. Hagin, found himself getting more and more uncomfortable with the extreme error that some of his protégés were propagating. But when he tried to correct several of them, he was largely unsuccessful in his attempt.
Regardless, let me clearly state my position on these matters to be as follows:
- SOME of what is called the “prosperity message“ is biblical, and helpful, but overall it is very shallow teaching. It is generally taught in such a way that it over-emphasizes “giving” as a means to supernatural wealth procurement, while simultaneously understating the many other biblical principles necessary for people to improve their finances. (And to be frank, most ministers who teach this message are simply ignorant of business and finance; so they are ill-equipped to properly instruct on financial topics from the Bible anyway.) The main concerns that I have about this teaching are: (1) As it is typically taught by most ministers, it promotes greed and covetousness, and (2) It is based upon an incomplete view of these topics from the Bible, so it just does not produce results in the way they claim that it does—though it may pay the preacher’s bills when people follow his instructions to give him donations.
- ALL of what is called the “prosperity gospel” is heretical and dangerous. The moment ANY minister elevates their “prosperity” doctrine to “gospel” status, they have stepped over into pure heresy. The Spirit of God warned us within Galatians chapter one of the Bible that if anything was offered as a “gospel” that differed with that given by the apostles, it was really “not a gospel” and the one propagating it would be damned:
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the Gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
(Galatians 1:6-10, NKJV, emphasis added)
Any honest review of the Book of Acts within the New Testament will provide several examples of sermons preached by the apostles after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. NOT ONE of these includes anything about God enriching a person financially or materially—or even anything about God paying their bills. All the apostles confronted sin within their Gospel presentations, and then warned of a coming judgment. They then admonished their listeners to repent of all sin and idolatry, to put their faith in Jesus Christ as their sole source of salvation, and then to live according to biblical standards thereafter. Paul put it this way, within his testimony before King Agrippa:
First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.
(Acts 26:20, NIV 2010, emphasis added)
So please let me be clear: The financial content within Organic Economics™ specifically—and the developing Economic Theology™ series in general—is not a presentation of the so-called “prosperity gospel” at all. Furthermore, the teaching within these series is far more biblically comprehensive than the rather weak “prosperity message” as it has been for several decades (though, again, there are some elements of that teaching that have merit).
Now with all of the above in mind, I trust most of my readers now have a fairly good understanding of my approach to these topics. So let us now proceed into the first chapter for some Godly Wisdom About Gold and begin our studies.
For more information about Rev. Rich Vermillion, please view the brief bio at the bottom of TheWisdomOfGold.com’s Website Introduction page, or visit his public LinkedIn profile page at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/richvermillion
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