When something is finite, transactions are always zero sum. That is, there’s only so much of the thing, so for someone to see a gain, someone else sees a loss. Nothing grows, it only changes hands.
It’s an economic theory, or game theory. Like cutting a cake – if somebody gets a bigger slice, somebody else gets a smaller slice. It’s a perspective that sees life as a ledger sheet, and in order for my ledger column to grow, someone else’s must shrink.
Living life with a “zero sum” outlook is why we have wars. It’s why most violent crime occurs. If there’s a devil, he works hard to help us see all of life as a zero-sum enterprise.
“Taking” results from the zero sum outlook.
Is Creation a zero-sum game in the eyes of G-d? Put aside your view of G-d for a moment – or whether or not G-d even exists – and think of the universe as it might appear through the eyes of something big enough to see it all.
The universe (or multiverse or Creation or whatever it is you choose to call the Big Picture) came into being. Most cultures and religions have fascinating Creation Myths. Scientists today see the universe as having exploded into existence with a Big Bang about 13 million years ago.
Either way, something came about that wasn’t taken from something else, right? I don’t know any science or Creation Myth that talks about our universe or world being created by taking a world from someone else.
It was Created, or it rose into existence in some way.
Giving is like that too. We’re prisoners inside the walls of our existence, and the key that releases us from that prison is the gift we receive when we give.
It’s not zero-sum. In giving, what we receive is far greater than what we give.
If there’s a G-d, He works hard to help us see all of life as a giving enterprise.