Garbology and God

Garbology and God

Sunday, December 3, 2023
| Isaiah 64:1-9

In God’s eyes we are never garbage, no matter how much of a mess we’ve made. We can always be cleansed, always be redeemed.

Theology is the study of God. Geology is the study of the earth. Zoology is the study of animals. Can you guess the term that is attached to the study of trash?


Professors such as Stephanie Hughes of Santa Clara University take students on tours of paper recycling plants, sewage treatment plants and household hazardous waste facilities. You need a very strong stomach to handle her garbology class.

Hughes tells NPR that humans are different from other species because we produce “things that cannot be used again in nature.” In every other species, waste from one animal will naturally become nutrients for another. But we humans end up with stuff we cannot use, and we call it “garbage.”

Humans are the only species that needs a trash can.

One solution is to get better at recycling, which we don’t do well today. Hughes has seen diapers, greasy pizza boxes and unrinsed yogurt cups in recycling bins. Most plastics, like the containers that...

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