If someone is willing to purchase a product of the earth, then the market price is a measure of usefulness in obedience to God’s command to subdue the earth. But, gentle reader, how do we know how well we are obeying this fundamental imperative from Genesis 1:28?
Remember from Part 1 that the command to subdue the earth does not mean to despoil or exploit the earth. Thus it follows that using as little of the creation as possible is fundamentally good, because “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof” (1 Corinthians 10:26, quoting Psalm 24:1). Therefore, even though a tree could be chopped down to make a single useful toothpick, this is not in accord with God’s intent for subduing the world.
An accountant would measure the amount of creation (material and labor) used to fashion a product as the “cost” of that item. Whatever person or firm is able to create a useful good while utilizing the smallest possible amount of creation will have the lowest accounted cost.
My wife Ana (who is a CPA) will tell you that the difference between the price of a product (how useful it is to the buyer) and the cost of a product (the amount of creation used in production) is called the “profit.” For this reason, an honest profit is a valid measurement of our obedience to the command to subdue the earth from Genesis 1:28.
It is important to note the adjective “honest” used to define profit. Simply accumulating money through deception in the marketplace or theft is not the point. Creating something useful for another person at the lowest possible cost is the essence of earning an honest profit. This not only shapes the creation, but builds relationships between people according to God’s plan.
Gentle reader, have you ever heard that earning an honest profit is a measure of obedience to God’s command? What difference does this make to you as you go to work tomorrow morning?