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The economy and the Bible's promise

A Christian Science perspective: An emerging middle class, in countries where previously there essentially was none, has meant progress. What can bring lasting progress?

By Ned Odegaard / May 23, 2011



What a difference a couple of decades make. In the early 1990s, many investors felt that investing in so-called “emerging markets,” such as Brazil, India, China, and Indonesia, was too risky. Today, the category is one of the leading investment themes globally. The single most visible reason for this change is the emergence of a middle class where essentially none previously existed.

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A move to the middle class is a move from a life of barely earning enough money for food and housing, to a new level of having discretionary income beyond these basic necessities. Those who constitute the emerging middle class become consumers and hence an engine for economic growth. Literacy grows and educational levels expand. They begin to have a vested interest in economic stability and political freedom. Needless to say, these shifts represent huge improvements to the human condition.

But what really causes lasting economic, political, and social progress? One place to look for an answer is the Bible. It records several thousand years of history and provides a unique perspective on the relationship between humanity’s growing understanding of God and the resulting beneficial impact on the human condition.

The Bible opens with the following thesis: God exists; God is good and only good; and the universe, including each man and woman, is His image and likeness. One might say that what follows in the Bible charts humanity’s gradual understanding of this thesis, this law of God. It also shows how an improved understanding of God can improve human circumstances – dominion over the material condition.

For example, Moses’ spiritual alertness allowed him to hear and obey God’s direction and lead the children of Israel out of bondage. The book of I Kings records an instance when the prophet Elijah relieved a widow’s destitution through his understanding of God’s love and tender, tangible care. The book of Ruth describes how its main character overcame homelessness and poverty through her trust in God and selfless love for her mother-in-law. Then the New Testament records Jesus’ repeated proofs that dominion over the material condition also includes dominion over sickness, sin, and even death.

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor and Christian Science, is the author of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” As indicated by the book’s title, Mrs. Eddy gleaned from the Bible these spiritual laws and presented them as a Science that can be systematically brought to bear on all human needs – by anyone. She wrote, “Acquaintance with the original texts, and willingness to give up human beliefs (established by hierarchies, and instigated sometimes by the worst passions of men), open the way for Christian Science to be understood, and make the Bible the chart of life, where the buoys and healing currents of Truth are pointed out” (p. 24).

The emerging middle class in many countries represents a forward step in the global standard of living, and we can share their gratitude for this progress. The “healing currents of Truth [God]” are available for every one of us to gain dominion over all limitations of the human condition.

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