Recycling is Biblical (part 2)

This is a follow up to my intro in part 1 (which according to my friend Josh, sounded grouchy).

If someone is hoping I’m going to pull out the verse in Habbakuk 13:8 that says, “Any container that can be reused or returned to it’s natural form should. The punishment for not doing so is death,” I’m sorry to disappoint you but that’s not the verse I’m preaching on today.

I’d rather pull a few phrases of Paul, “Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial,” and “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God,” and finally, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

First of all I want to point out that my desire to argue that Recycling is Biblical does not come from a point of condemning those who do not currently recycle. We are not bound by the law anymore and therefore my goal is not to place this as the 11th commandment, but rather to simply argue that it is worth considering recycling as opposed to not recycling as the more “Christ-like” thing to do. When Paul says “Everything is permissible for me,” he is exclaiming the fact that we don’t live under the law, but then he points out it is not all beneficial. In light of that I’ll ask, what is better for you and your great grand children, recycling or not?

Whatever you do, you are to do it for the glory of God. Now, you well know that that does not mean that we are to lie and cheat to the glory of God. There are some things that given the option (between lying and telling the truth) one is clearly not as glorifying, or not glorifying at all. Currently, as it relates to recyclable products in your home, there are two options. You have the opportunity to recycle those items, contributing to a more sustainable world, and not recycling. You’ve got taking care of God’s green earth (recycling, composting, using less trash and less gas, gardening, etc) and then you take not doing those things (draining resources, creating tons of trash, etc). I’m not sure it’s too difficult to argue that one is more God glorifying then the other.

And, last but not least, you have your weaker brother here. There is no law binding you to recycling. There was no law keeping Paul from eating meat. But Paul was willing to sacrifice the exercise of his freedom, so that he did not become a stumbling block for his weaker brother who felt recycling was so important it was almost a sin not to do it. One might choose to recycle, not because they are selfish, nor because they have been compelled by the evidence of the benefits of recycling, nor because of the Scriptures, but simply because they see the trauma it causes their brother in Christ when they don’t recycle.

-your weaker brother

8 thoughts on “Recycling is Biblical (part 2)”

  1. Well, I probably wouldn’t have used the second passage, but the first one works and the last one works (and I’m actually impressed at you working that in there). Personally, I would look towards the biblical values of love and stewarship and go from there.

    We have the opportunity to easily (in most cities) do something which blesses our neighbors and our future neighbors by giving them a healthier environment. We also have the opportunity to use our collective resources in a way that maximises their use and impact, and avoids us being wasteful or gluttonous. It is biblical to take those opportunities.

  2. Hmmmm…

    This is very interesting article, my friend. I very well understand your heart in this matter and I agree that recycling is a fine example of stewardship and conservation. I don’t know that the passages you cite are the best in this argument. I mean you cite verses in a passage that states, “For why is my freedom judged by another person’s conscience?” Paul is referring to the Luke passage about not judging and condemning based upon your own convictions. I believe the possible worry of those who got bent out of shape on this one was not about not wanting to recycle. However, I think when we take any social issue and slap a Christian verse to it and call it “a Christian thing to do”, then we do come across as saying to not participate is “un-Christian”. I know you are not judging, but again when taking an issue and referring to it as “Biblical”, the nature of the statement is to say the other side of the issue (or those that do not partake in the issue) as against the Bible. This is not the case. I think I would have argued more like what Ben suggested about the “heart of it”. I would have stuck with the heart of not recycling as selfish and not loving one’s neighbor by not conserving the goods and their grandchildren’s future home.

    Thanks for this conversation starter. I love your passion in these matters.

  3. there is not Habbakuk 13:8, and I’m pretty sure that the verse that you claimed was in Habbakuk 13:8 dosen’t even exist in the Bible, that kinda discredits this whole thing if you ask me

  4. @what: Glad you noticed the inaccurate verse reference. It was intended to be sarcastic, clearly not a bible verse, and encourage people to open their Bibles up to prove me wrong.
    I think most of my reader’s where aware Habbakuk does not exist in the current Bible.

  5. I would have to say that some of those verses are really taken out of context. Creation (mandate), Gen 1.26-29etc… Fall, Rom 8.19-22… Redemption, Rev 21…

    We’re to care for this earth because we are not going to “fly away” to heaven. God is restoring the earth, heaven, Jerusalem, and everything… We have been called to care for this world from Gen, to suffer in you care, and to see the rebirth of God’s beauty…

    Other than the verses that you picked I really liked your article. It is good that someone is actually acting upon his “Christian Worldview.”

  6. Travis: Thanks for chiming in. I definitely admit these aren’t the typical verses used to talk about recycling, but I don’t think I was necessarily taking them out of context.
    The verses you point to are accurate in that they commonly are referenced as it relates to environmental concerns. I just tried to give a new perspective to the argument.

    Anyways, Thanks for stopping by. I hope you can find other ways I might be encouraging or you might challenge me in my worldview.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *