Is Cremation OK?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by RandMan, Dec 29, 2001.

  1. RandMan

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    Is it OK to be cremated? It is the time in my life to prepare a will and I need to decide how I wish to be buried. I don’t want to be embalmed and buried in a concrete vault that just seems to be unnatural. What are some of your opinions on burial keeping in mind what the word tells us to do?
     
  2. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by RandMan:
    Is it OK to be cremated? It is the time in my life to prepare a will and I need to decide how I wish to be buried. I don’t want to be embalmed and buried in a concrete vault that just seems to be unnatural. What are some of your opinions on burial keeping in mind what the word tells us to do?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I see no biblical prohibition against cremation.

    The RCC prohibited it at one point (I don't know if they still do) under the mistaken belief that it would somehow inhibit the Resurrection if a body was disintegrated. Of course, the Creator can recreated from disassembled particles of dust the bodies he first created, and make them superior as well. Surely all those the sea gives up at His Coming are not now sitting intact at the bottom of the ocean!

    Although I see nothing wrong with cremation, I see nothing wrong or unnatural with burial, either. After all, they did it to the Lord, did they not?
     
  3. Karen

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  4. Helen

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    Karen has some good advice there. What I have done is tell those close to me that whatever they feel comfortable with makes me happy. I won't be here...

    As far as cremation itself goes, it sure happened to a lot of martyrs!

    From a scientific point of view, you are disposing of and replacing cells in your body at a tremendous rate. At least every seven years, if not more often, every cell in your body (with the exception of a lot of the nerve and brain cells, which hang around for quite awhile) is changed. So which set of cells are you going to choose to be buried? Depends on when you die, I guess. But the physical body as we know it now is going to be recycled one way or another if the Lord does not come before it rots.

    It is for this reason that I have told my relatives that please do whatever they want to have done. If there is a fight (about my dead remains????), then the executor of the estate -- my oldest son -- gets to make the final decision.

    One thought here, too: grieving, for the Christian, is for oneself not being in contact with the loved one for awhile. It is turning a corner into a new lifestyle if it was a close family member that died. That can be hard. But unless the deceased is so clearly and obviously NOT a Christian that there is no doubt, why grieve for him or her? Does not the Lord of the whole earth do right? Christians are with the Lord when they are absent from the body. Don't grieve for THEM! It's us who have to slog through this world a bit longer! I think we grieve for us, if we are really honest about it.
     
  5. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Helen:
    As far as cremation itself goes, it sure happened to a lot of martyrs!
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Helen, that's a keeper! :D
     
  6. Aaron

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    Cremation is only customary in cultures that do not believe in the resurrection of the body. All those who buried did believe.

    So, if you believe in the resurrection of the body, you should testify to that by burial, especially since there is no compelling reason to do otherwise.

    The reason Christian burial is with the head to the east and the feet to the west is as, Karen said, because of the testimony of the Word of God. Jesus said as the lightning shines from the east to the west so shall the coming of the Son of Man be. It is not because we're supestitious; that pattern of burial merely testifies that not only do we believe in the resurrection, but also in the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    Three thoughts:

    (1) Actually the body has his feet to the east and head to the west - when he stands he will face east. Just did a funeral last week and the understaker corrected where I was standing (preacher stands at the head of the coffin) and shared that.'

    How I went through 30+ years in the ministry without anyone telling me is amazing. Burial is customary in Western Civilization. It was reserved only for the wealthiest in other civilizations.

    (2) For cremation - We do NOT get our moral compass from what societies do or do not believe. We get it from the Bible. And while some of the figures in the Bible were buried, they were buried above ground in caves.

    Do we follow that? Of course not. So if a sailor dies at sea, he is dumped into the ocean for the sharks. If one desires cremation, that is NO prohibition. None.

    (3) Against Cremation - Having working with funeral homes and crematoria, the remains after cremation are fed through a grinder. It is NOT ash; it is gravel-like chunks of unburned bones for the most part. If a family sees what the body will go through in cremation, most opt for burial.

    Of course the body goes through the same, only much more slowly, and OUT OF SIGHT!!
     
  8. Aki

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    personally, i would like my body to be donated to medical schools when i die. when a loved one dies i like them to be cremated - immediately. as a point, it is just fine to follow cultures that dictates any form of handling the dead. but as a biblical standard, anything will do - no issue at all!
     
  9. JAMES2

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    I have struggled with the issue. It a way, a seems a shame to spend 5,000 dollars to be buried in a fancy "air-tight" casket, that is going to turn to dust anyway. Why not just be turned into dust to start with, for 1/10 of the price?

    The Catholic Church used to forbid cremation because at the beginning it was usually done by pagans who denied that the body was important and to deny the bodily resurrection. Talking to some practicing Catholic friends of mine, they say the church has changed a little on that. It is ok to be cremated as long as you are not making a statement denying the faith. But they do not approve of spreading the ashes in the wind. The "remains" still must be buried. At least, that's what I have been told.

    For me, I think a inexpensive cremation, the ashes spread in the Rocky Mountains, and a nice service to celebrate my going into eternity to be with the saviour, is the way to do it. That's the latest instructions to my daughter. But, who knows. I really don't think it matters one way or the other.
    Actually, tho, Aaron made some really valid points also.
    James2
     
  10. doodle

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    If we were to get technical, we are not being buried as they were during the time of Christ. Actually, at that time, burial was something that everyone saved and scrimped for, not to spare any expense. It was the "thing" at that time. Remember the alabaster box broken on Jesus' feet? She had been saving that for her own burial. Jesus wasn't embalmed as we are today (not that that matters, in Resurrection we don't need blood).

    My Mother and Father we cremated. I had no say in this, it was their decision and final wishes. God is not limited. Believe me all dead will rise one way or the other no matter how they were buried.
     
  11. Aaron

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dr. Bob Griffin:
    Actually the body has his feet to the east and head to the west - when he stands he will face east. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes, that's what I meant. [​IMG]
     
  12. RandMan

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    Thank you for all this input. It has given me something to think about. I still haven't made up my mind, but this helps. One time in a study group someone told me that they though of the resurrection as a spiritual.
    I don't mind being buried but wish that it was that simple. What I mean is that the body is embalmed and then placed in a heavy-duty box and then some cemeteries insist that the casket is then placed in a cement box. How is the body going to return to dust that way? Well thank you again and I will put some more thought into the matter.
     
  13. Aaron

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    The purpose of burial is not to let the body turn back to dust, as we said. It is to testify of our belief in the resurrection. The body returning to dust is a judgement on sin, and really should not be the focus of Christians. We hope for the resurrection and the life everlasting, not the degradation of bodies into dust.

    My advice would be, just get buried unless you have some compelling reason to get cremated. I hear cremation's cheaper anyway.

    [ January 01, 2002: Message edited by: Aaron ]
     
  14. Jonathan

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by RandMan:
    [QB]Thank you for all this input. It has given me something to think about. I still haven't made up my mind, but this helps. One time in a study group someone told me that they though of the resurrection as a spiritual.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>[/b]

    You will want to do your own study on this one. When you do, you will find that we will be experiencing a resurrection/glorification of the body. We, as believers in the West have stretched the "absent from the body, present with the Lord" to cover far more than it does.

    God is able to reconstruct (in less than an instant) a body that has been cremated, eaten by sharks, burned at the stake, exploded in a space shuttle, crushed by a falling tower, etc...

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> I don't mind being buried but wish that it was that simple. What I mean is that the body is embalmed and then placed in a heavy-duty box and then some cemeteries insist that the casket is then placed in a cement box. How is the body going to return to dust that way?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This is not for you to worry about. God can handle it. Note that the "dust to dust" passage is not a command to us on how we are to handle the dead. Rather it is a simple statement of fact of what God is going to oversee.
     
  15. rlvaughn

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    I have found very little written on this subject, but did find a few years ago a little booklet called Cremation - Not For Christians by Alfred J. Levell, 1990, Gospel Standard Trust Publications, Hertfordshire, England. His basic arguments were that burning in general "carries a mark of opprobrium or contempt" and often judgment, and that burial has been been the chosen method of "preserving" the body among those who expect a resurrection, and is supported by scriptural example. Levell does make it clear though that his arguments against cremation are "not in any way centred on the scope of God's ability to raise the dead." I recommend this interesting little booklet (21 pages) to those curious about the subject.
     

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