When More Is Less
I just picked up Cruciform Press’s October publication, Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation, and the End of Poverty, today. It’s a title that makes me nervous. It could be excellent, applying the gospel and gospel priorities to Christian life, or it could go very badly, falling into popular philosophies of so-called “social justice.” The introduction and table of contents suggests the former, so I am optimistic.
In the few pages I read this morning, the author, Aaron Armstrong, describing the state of creation and life in Eden, wrote, “It was a world in which poverty could not exist” [p. 15]. Poverty could not exist because poverty, like all miseries now in this fallen world, is a result of sin. In a sinless world, there is no poverty.
Reading that, I was struck with an idea not (yet, anyway) stated explicitly: It is perhaps the first irony of all time that poverty began when the richest people who would ever live wanted more. Adam and Eve had everything they could ever need. They were given dominion over all of creation, and free use of all of it, save one thing: they could not eat the fruit of one tree. Of the abundance of the garden, only one tree was off-limits. And it took only a few words from the serpent to make them think “It’s not enough; I want more.” Because Adam and Eve wanted more than God had given, we all have less.