Friday, August 10, 2012

The Christian and Cremation

Just a quick thought…

I was asked yesterday what I thought about cremation. I don’t get asked this question very much as of late. I took a few minutes to jot down my thoughts and sent them off in an email (humbled by the opportunity to weigh in on a very sensitive subject.) Without extensive study I offer my thoughts on this subject. I hope they might be of interest and/or help to someone who might have or is currently thinking about this particular issue.

First, I don’t have a problem with cremation. I have yet to see any specific prohibitions in Scripture concerning this subject. I haven’t seen any veiled or implicit principles that might govern it. I think this issues falls under the “conscience” of a Spirit-filled and led believer.

Second, I am well aware that many “believers” in the past have associated the practice of cremation with demonic, tribal, heathen, or ritualistic practices that would be considered “ungodly.” Certainly unbelieving people and people groups have utilized cremation in relationship to one of these areas. This certainly is neither the motive nor reason for God-fearing born-again believers who have chosen this method of “handling the remains of a loved one.”

Thirdly, I truly think that cremation serves as a means of the decomposition process. After all, if left alone, our bodies return to “ashes” and all but “disappear.” When one is cremated the body is rendered to “ashes.”

Fourth, I do not think that our sovereign Lord in all of his majestic power and glory will have any problem “reassembling” those who have been cremated. After all, I don’t think God will have any more trouble resurrecting someone who has been cremated than someone who has been dismembered, run through a wood chipper, has been burned to a crisp, decomposed in the oceans or deserts. When it comes time for the immortal soul to be united with an eternal resurrected body, God will be able to handle it.

Fifth, I believe that the conscience and motives must be the guide. If the motives are clear and they do not violate biblical principles and one’s conscience is clear, and the act is done in faith, then I don’t have any biblical evidence that the Lord is more or less pleased with the practice. Remember you must be convinced in your own mind and be operating in faith or any act can be “sinful.” 

"...for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." (Romans 14:23, NRSV)

Take this issue before the Lord in fervent, honest, and intimate prayer. If God does not cause you to have unrest or a lack of peace then be settled in your conscience as you seek to honor God in all things including the question of cremation.

So, what do you think?


Arlee Bird said...

I think cremation is a far better option than traditional burial. It's a much more fiscally responsible means in my opinion. I see these vast memorial parks with expensive headstones and all the trimmings to go with it. Burial is thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars spent on a dead body as opposed to less than a thousand for cremation if done directly through the cremation service. The money would be better spent on the living.

One can argue that the money spent goes into the economy to the funeral home, casket company, cemetery, etc. but the money might be spent for greater needs for the living.

Personally, I'd prefer to donate my body to science or have it recycled in some useful way. My next choice would be cremation. I do not want to waste land and money to memorialize me. Let my kids and any others remember me in other ways.

Tossing It Out

Kansas Bob said...

I agree with your take Gregg. I posted about it on my blog in June.

Diane said...

It's way cheaper. Glad you couldn't find a problem with it because that's what I requested for me. Good post Gregg.

Larri SeamsInspired said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on cremation. My paternal grandmother was one of the first in her diocese to be cremated, and I remember it caused quite an upraor.

I have no problems with it; however, my husband does. Not from a spiritual standpoint, I think it's just the idea of it that bothers him. Anyway, if I 'go first', he's allowed to choose burial over cremation. I won't care, cause I won't be there. On the other hand, he wants to be buried, and I will honor his wishes if he goes before me. :)