Cremation or Burial?

The following is a transcript of the audio.

Does it matter whether we are cremated or buried? Not ultimately, but I don’t ever counsel people towards cremation. An old couple had me over a few weeks ago. He is pushing 90 and she is close behind and the son was there. And the son said: The reason I wanted you to come is to tell my dad what you think about creation and cremation and burial. So a real situation here, because they are, you know, years away from this, months maybe, you know, who knows.

And because he had heard me talk about it and he wants to bury his dad. And the dad is thinking quick, efficient, get it done. He wanted to do it cheaper. Well, it may not be cheaper.

But anyway here is the essence of what I said. The biblical pattern is that burning your children is pagan and burying your loved ones is a sign that you believe in the resurrection. I think I am going to encourage people towards burial because of what it says about the body. The body is precious and it is going to be raised from the dead.

So I know it decomposes. I know it is no more there in 100 years than if you burned I know that. This is... we are talking symbolic significance of a body stretched out there in a coffin looked at and lovingly kissed and buried rather than to me the horrible prospect of my wife or my child or my dad being burned, incinerated. I just... I mean I would have to do a major mental escape in order to keep from feeling like that is so out of sync with what the body means to God. He created it. He is going to resurrect it. There is going to be continuity between what you were and what you are so you can recognize each other. And you don’t want to symbolically destroy it. You want to symbolically put it to rest, because that is the language of the Bible. You are sleeping, right? He will waken those who sleep. Whether we sleep or wake we belong to the Lord.

So the picture in the New Testament is the dead are asleep. They are going to be raised from the dead and they are alive to God. So I have probably overstated my case now and made all the people who ever cremated feel terribly guilty and I will go back again. It is not ultimately an issue of mattering. It doesn’t matter ultimately. It is just not a custom I think the New Testament would...cremation is not a custom the New Testament would naturally lead us to.

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