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Thread: Understanding Providence Through Economics

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    Understanding Providence Through Economics

    Economics provides a deeper understanding of the Holy Scriptures. Not only does it justify tangible commandments like working in the sweat of your brow and giving two tithes, but it also explains why the last will be first, and the first will be last. In economics, the joy over the repentant sinner is really greater than the joy over the ninety-nine righteous. Economic equilibrium can distinguish genuine righteousness from the Pharisees' demonstrative righteousness. It also separates the kingly matter of concern from the divine one. At equilibrium, ‘the other cheek’ really doesn’t challenge ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ and confirms the continuity between the Old and New Testaments. Economics can uncover the origins of the Sermon on the Mount in Solomon's Judgement. The book will put readers in touch with the best economic guesses of the past, when Luca Pacioli considered the golden ratio to be the divine proportion and Adam Smith brought up the divine origin of the invisible hand of the market.

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    Interesting for the natural man perhaps to ponder. I don't know if justifying is really necessary for a follower of Christ, and "best economic guesses of the past" seems rather odd... I'll stay with faith

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),
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    Dear Tailor,
    Newton stayed all his life with faith but he searched all his life confirmations of the Providence. That was his matter. To search neither proofs nor justifications, that is impossible, but to look for confirmations. This is the difference.

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    oksanine, im far from an expert on either church history, science history, or theology, but id nevertheless look at it more like this---many of the early scientists were Christians who studied the natural world in an effort to understand God and his creation. its easy to use and understand the word "providence" in that context.

    I don't know however if the same can be said vis-à-vis economics though?

    financial structures and systems are creations of man in an effort to govern business transactions. there are certainly biblical precepts and wisdom that can help shape those systems, but I see that as distinct from "god's providence."

    I can see the word "justify" being used in a different place in the argument. that is, this economic system is justified because it adheres to biblical principles, not that the bible is confirmed because such and such a system seemingly works. although now that im saying that, I half wondering if im just talking about two sides to the same coin!

    maybe a working definition of the phrase "god's providence" would be helpful?
    Last edited by bounty; 04-01-2023 at 11:44 AM.

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    Dear Bounty, I'm not speaking about modern economy. Newton told once that God created everything by number, weight and measure. But he simply repeated that Thomas Aquinas had told. Numero pondere et mensura Deus omnia condidit. However, St. Thomas simply had repeated Solomon's wisdom.
    I believe in Solomon's numbers. And the preindustrial economy confirms my beliefs. Mathematics of two tithes and five time payback for the stolen ox means something.

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    I don't see the connection you are wanting to make between newton, Aquinas and Solomon, or newton and economics.

    what you appear to be attributing to Solomon comes from Leviticus (6:4), well before Solomon's time.

    the verse mentions not a "five time payback" but rather a paying back with an additional 1/5th, and theres no mention of "double tithes."

    if im not in the right ballpark scripture wise, could you point me in the right book, chapter and verse? maybe there is something in the book of proverbs you are thinking of?

    either way though, I only see "tithes and restitution" as guidance for moral living as concerns the church and our fellow man. what more could it "mean?"

    also either way---how is that connected to the providence of God?
    Last edited by bounty; 04-01-2023 at 03:50 PM.

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    OK. Step by step.
    „God created everything by number, weight and measure.“ — Isaac Newton As quoted in Symmetry in Plants (1998) by Roger V. Jean and Denis Barabé, p. xxxvii, a translation of a Latin phrase he wrote in a student's notebook, elsewhere given as Numero pondere et mensura Deus omnia condidit. This is similar to Latin statements by Thomas Aquinas, and even more ancient statements of the Greek philosopher Pythagoras. See also Wisdom of Solomon 11:20
    When a farmer’s diligence is equal to the golden ratio conjugate, the optimal giving is equal to twenty percent of the harvest.
    The commandments, transferred to Hebrews by Moses, prescribed donations of two tithes from the total harvest to be spent on religious holidays and allocated among Levites, aliens, widows, and fatherless (Numbers 18:21-26; Deuteronomy 12:17-19;14:22-29).
    Later, the Torah presented those commandments in the following way: “Torah states [Deuteronomy 18:4]: "The first of your grain, your wine, and your oil." Afterwards, he separates one tenth from the remainder. This is called the first tithe and must be given to the Levite…”(Mishneh Torah, 6:2).
    In fact, one tenth from the reminder means 19 per cents of giving in total. The first tithe was given to Levites, and the second tithe from the reminder was used for religious holidays, which was substituted every third year by the tithe for strangers, widows, and fatherless.
    However, the Masoretic text says nothing about the reminder. The verse discussed is presented in the King James Version as follows:
    “At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year…” (Deuteronomy 14:28).
    The New Revised Standard Version gives the following translation: “Every third year you shall bring out the full tithe of your produce for that year”, where the bold font represents the translation from the Masoretic כָּל־ מַעְשַׂר֙ תְּבוּאָ֣תְךָ֔ .
    According to The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon the word כּוֺל is the “noun masculine the whole; with following genitive (as usually) the whole of, to be rendered, however, often in our idiom, to avoid stiffness, all or every.” (https://bible-teka.com/strong-hebrew/3606/).
    The genitive case is a noun case which is used mainly to show possession. It means that the Masoretic text talks about the whole tithe of the total output but not of the reminder.
    We can also find this understanding in one of the earliest Bible versions:
    “The third year thou shalt separate another tithe of all things that grow to thee at that time, and shalt lay it up within thy gates” (Douay-Reims Bible).
    In fact, two tithes or one fifth on charity stayed in the Talmud as a breakeven point: “Apropos the ordinances instituted by the Sages in Usha, the Gemara cites another one. Rabbi Ile’a said: In Usha the Sages instituted that one who dispenses his money to charity should not dispense more than one-fifth. That opinion is also taught in a baraita: One who scatters should not scatter more than one-fifth, lest he render himself destitute and need the help of other people…” (Ketubot 50a:2-3)
    “When someone steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, the thief shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep”. (Exodus 22:1).
    Theologians, historians, and economists unanimously agree that four-sheep payback with respect to five-oxen payback is explained by the different importance of sheep and oxen in the household, but in the same unanimous manner, scientists cannot explain five-times payback. It looks like a historical paradox, but the most consistent explanation was given by Philo of Alexandria two thousand years ago. He wrote:
    “For he commands that the thief shall restore four sheep and five oxen in the place of the one which he has stolen; since a sheep gives four kinds of tribute, milk and cheese, and its fleece, and a lamb, every year: but an ox furnishes five; three of which are the same as those of the sheep – the milk, the cheese, and the offspring; but two are peculiar to itself, the ploughing on the earth, and the threshing of the corn; the first of which actions is the first step toward the sowing of the crops, and the other is the end, being for the purification of the crop after it is gathered in, in order to the more easy use of it for food.” (III [11] About the theft of a sheep or an ox. Philo, 2017).

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    oksanine, that may be a way of explaining "double tithes" and a clarification of the paying back the ox five times (which was interesting), but it doesn't answer the question of:

    what more could it "mean?"

    or

    how is that (or economics) connected to the "providence of God?" the definition of which is still yet to appear...

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    It is better to read the book.

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    there is very little chance of that happening though oksanine but it kinda misses the point.

    my favorite proverb goes "as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

    its less about the content of the book per se, and more about our conversation about it.

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    27:17. Good proverb

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    I think so yes. so its more or less an invitation to dialog, and maybe even some other folks would join in.

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    Glad to meet you.

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    have you read the book you posted about?

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