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Fundamentals of Economics

Individual

“For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” I Cor 4:17

Every human on the planet is different than every other human.  We have more not in common than we do in common with people.  The deduction taken from I Corinthians 4:17 is clear; God has made us different, and difference means there is a gap between us.

“Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground”, why?  Why did Abel keep sheep and Cain till the ground (farm)?  Because they were different, as all humans are.  It may have been that Abel’s temperament allowed him to work well with animals.  Cain’s interest in agriculture may have been because he was intellectually curious about plants.  We do not, nor can we, know why one was a farmer and the other a sheep herder. But we do know they are different, and their difference was manifested in their occupation.

As different individuals, there are naturally occurring differences in aptitude, observational skills and a myriad of other factors that differentiate us.  Our intellect and labor will be applied to different areas of life.  Abel, as a keeper of sheep had different concerns and priorities, in some aspects of his life, than did Cain.  Both had similar concerns:  food, clothing, shelter, but approached the solution differently.  Abel raised sheep; Cain was a farmer.

Keeping sheep provided for Abel’s needs and farming provided for Cain’s.  The gap, or the difference in production, between them existed because they were fundamentally different people, pursuing different means of satisfaction of needs is the proof.  Cain didn’t raise sheep, Abel did not farm. 

The gap exists between all humans at the individual level.

It is this diversity that gives birth to new ideas and innovation.  Consider Able, what does it take to be a “keeper of sheep’?   Able is a second generation human, there is no previous knowledge of “keeping sheep” that he can look back at and learn from.  Hence, he had to develop a means to “keep sheep”.  Before he could keep sheep, he had to identify them as being worth the time, intellect and energy necessary to raise them.  He also had to figure out the basic logistics of food and water, protection from predators and general maintenance of the flock.  He had to develop the process of being “a keeper of sheep”.

Likewise, Cain had to develop the process of farming.  What seeds to plant, when to plant them and how to care for them?  Like Abel, Cain had no previous store of knowledge which he could use to help him.  The generational knowledge gap between Adam and Eve, and their two sons, was significant.  Using their intellect, labor and resources both Abel and Cain were able to produce, just as God had created and commanded them. The difference, or the gap, between them was their individuality. 

The intra-generational gap between Abel and Cain would be extended to an inter-generational gap.  Abel pursued righteousness and Cain pursued the world, but both produced goods.  Six generations later, Cain’s descendants had expanded the breadth of production (Genesis 4:20-22).  Tubalcain was “an instructor of every aftificer in brass and iron”.  Jabal “was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle”.  Jubal “was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ”.

We can observe from Genesis 4:20-22 that the resources available to humanity that had been previously unused, were now being used in production. This is the first mention of “brass” or “iron”.   More importantly, Tubalcain was an aritificer; a skilled craftsman or inventor; this is something new  The breadth of production now included and individual who made things with brass and iron that others could use.  Tubalcain’s brother, Jabal, is identified as “the father of such that dwell in tents and of such as have cattle”.  Why is this important?

Go back to Abel, he was a keeper of sheep, but how much could he possibly know about keeping sheep?  Without any knowledge available to him from a previous generation sheep herder, Abel was pretty much on his own.  He had to develop the techniques necessary to be successful.  Six generations later, Jabal is identified as the father of tent dwellers and cattlemen.  With six generations of prior knowledge and new technology, Jabal was known for raising cattle.  Besides the obvious, (Jabal raised cattle, not sheep) what else had changed?

With each gap, or difference in individuals, there is a natural gap in the production of goods (“keeper of sheep” and “tiller of soil”). Following the command to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28) humanity instinctively looks for a way to better to do things. 

What could Tubalcain possibly artifact that would be important to us today?  Protection from the elements would be important for individuals who spent a great deal of time outside. Tents provided more security than sleeping under the stars.  Is it possible that Jabal’s tents were held together with brass or iron fasteners that were not available to Abel?  A tent made of some sort of cloth with brass fasteners would prove to be more beneficial to herdsman than either sleeping under the stars or under some sort of fabric thrown over some support when the weather turned bad.

Abel did not have someone in his generation that was an aritificer of brass and iron, Jabal does.  Jabal’s cattle can now be easily identified.  Tubalcain could make him a symbol out of brass or iron, that could be heated very hot and then applied to the cattle, thus leaving a mark, or a brand, on the cattle identifying them as Jabal’s.  Now his livestock can roam further for grazing because he can identify his cattle from others and his help now has more secure dwelling than before.  Ultimately, Tubalcain filled a gap between primitive animal husbandry that Abel used and the possibility of a more advanced method by manufacturing materials that made the herdsman work more efficient.

Jubal, Jabal’s brother, “was the father of all such that handle the harp  and organ”.  As production broadens in obedience to Genesis 1:28, new areas appear where there had not been production before.  Why?

Made in God’s image, man has an intellect.  The intellect can embrace and pursue any and many different ways of expression.  Observing nature around himself, man can see and hear things that excite and please him. Following these observations leads to the duplication of nature in a media.  Jubal used his intellect, the resources available to him and his efforts to develop music. 

While distinctively different (agriculture and the arts) the gap between them was bridged by Tubalcain.  His artifacts were useable in both husbandry and music.  As an individual, Tubalcain’s interest (intellect) led him to experiment (labor) with various mineral resources (property) until he was proficient with making various items.  These items found a practical use in science (agriculture) and the arts (music).

The intragenerational gap between individuals, Abel and Cain, was passed on to the next generation.  Subsequent generations followed along with new ideas which could be incorporated into the existing production methods and result in a paradigm shift.  Jabal raised his livestock differently than Abel because Tubalcain was an artificer. 

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