Religion & Liberty Online

Are there economic implications in the Creation story?

genesis-bible“In our search for economic principles in the Bible, we need to begin with the story of Creation found in the first two chapters of Genesis,” says Hugh Whelchel. “Here we see God’s normative intentions for life. We see life as ‘the way it ought to be.’ Man is free from sin, living out his high calling as God’s vice regent in a creation that is ‘very good.’”

Whelchel lists three major economic principles laid out in Creation, the first being creativity and freedom:

Genesis 1:26 tells us humanity is made in God’s image. God’s creativity is one of his central attributes revealed in the Creation story. God created everything we see around us out of nothing. As Pastor Tim Keller writes, “God was an entrepreneur. He brought something out of nothing. He brought order out of chaos. Why did he do it? He did it not because he had to; he did it because he wanted to. He did it for the joy of doing it.”

While we can’t create something out of nothing, being created in God’s image still means that men and women are free to imaginatively use their unique talents and abilities and the raw materials of creation to make things that glorify God, serve our needs and provide for the needs of our neighbors.

This is why J.R.R. Tolkien called man a subcreator. Tolkien would also rightly state that one of the ways man glorifies God is through the subcreation of works that echo the true creations of God.

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Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).