I read Tri Robinson's post on "recycling examples from the Bible" over on SustainLane.
In our family Bible reading yesterday we encountered an example of
recycling…but not a good one. While Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving
the covenant and commandments from God, the people of Israel were at
the foot of the mountain recycling their gold jewelry into an idol
shaped like a golden calf. Then Moses, in anger, recycled the golden
calf, melting it down, grinding it into powder, mixing it with water,
and making the Israelites drink it.
I don't know whether there's any great environmental lesson
there, but I'm reminded of the way G.K. Chesterton described the
material world. in his great little biography of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The material world is good–God made it good.
Chesterton: "That 'God looked on all things and saw that they
were good' contains a subtlety which the popular pessimist cannot
follow, or is too hasty to notice. It is the thesis that there are no
bad things, but only bad uses of things. If you will, there are no bad
things but only bad thoughts; and especially bad intentions. Only
Calvinists can really believe that hell is paved with good intentions.
That is exactly the one thing it cannot be paved with. But it is
possible to have bad intentions about good things; and good things,
like the world and the flesh have been twisted by a bad intention
called the devil. But he cannot make things bad; they remain as on the
first day of creation. The work of heaven alone was material; the
making of a material world. The work of hell is entirely spiritual."
From "Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox" by G.K. Chesterton
We can be efficient in our use of materials. But it's what we DO with
the material world that brings honor or horror to God.