Christian Economics: Teacher’s Edition
And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out (Deuteronomy 28:1 – 6). The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you (Deuteronomy 28:9 – 11).
AnalysisThis passage and its parallel in Leviticus 26 present the case for obeying biblical law. The bulk of each chapter lists negative sanctions for disobeying. The chapters deal with sanctions. Sanctions reinforce God’s law.
The nation of Israel was set apart by its legal order. ‘The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways’ (v. 9). Biblical holiness means being set apart ethically. It has to do with sanctification. Israel’s holiness was comprehensive. It involved every aspect of Israelite culture. Biblical holiness is corporate, not just individual. Deuteronomy 28 had to do with Israel as a nation. It had to do with Israel as the manifestation of the kingdom of God. That is, it had to do with the civilization of God. This is the meaning of a kingdom. It is a separate culture. This separation is above all ethical: issues of moral right and wrong. This is why any discussion of either economic theory or practice apart from a discussion of ethics is a monumental conceptual error. There is no such thing as a value-free social order. This includes economics. There is therefore no such thing as value-free social analysis. This includes economics. The economist should be familiar with biblical causation. It is ethical. But modern economists pride themselves on an illusion: value-free economic theory.
This post was published at Gary North on June 23, 2017.