Let’s Talk about Cremation–Theologically

"Christians (and others) who think burial is somehow more consistent with resurrection are simply confused—about both buried (or entombed) bodies and about resurrection bodies. With very, very few exceptions, buried bodies eventually decay, rot, even liquify." - Roger Oleson

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Andrew K's picture

Oleson is straw-manning opposition here.

I've never heard anyone making any of these arguments, to my knowledge. Particularly #1 (there go a good number of martyrs, eh?).

What I have heard argued is that cremation is disrespectful to the body, which in traditional Judaic practice was buried (a la ossuary), as opposed to Greek and Roman practice of cremation, looking forward to the future resurrection. See the example of Joseph, Moses, etc. Recall too how early European Christians could often be identified based on the direction of the grave (feet east, to greet the coming of Christ).

One doesn't have to believe any of these, or even that cremation is somehow intrinsically morally wrong, to believe that burial is the better, more symbolically rich practice, communicating faith in the future resurrection (Hebrews 11:22).

 

Bert Perry's picture

I'd always thought that the best argument, per Andrew K's comment, is that burial better symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  For that matter, it's why we put tulips in the hands of the deceased in the casket.

If it were "how would we resurrect when things are damaged?", it's worth noting that in embalming, the blood is removed and replaced with embalming fluid, which is a pretty potent poison.  We're counting on God to do some mighty fine work a la Ezekiel 37.

One other thought; I believe the ossuaries held only the bones of the deceased after the soft tissues had long since rotted away.  Count me glad I'm not one of the guys who had to go into mausoleums, figure out if the tissue was still rotting, and fill the ossuaries.  Peeww!

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim's picture

Burial choices = adiaphora

My own preference is burial.

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  • Churches don't address in doctrinal statements
  • Pastors don't preach on it
  • No one would be disciplined for it
dgszweda's picture

Jim wrote:

Burial choices = adiaphora

My own preference is burial.

-------

  • Churches don't address in doctrinal statements
  • Pastors don't preach on it
  • No one would be disciplined for it

Pastors used to preach on it.  Back in the 60's and 70's it was a much more popular topic amongst "fighting fundamentalists".  Today not much is discussed.  Partly because in some cases it comes down to economics.  Some people can't afford a burial or would need to go into debt, both unbiblical approaches.  We should be careful looking at past precedents as I am sure that Moses's funeral didn't cost $20K to perform.  Maybe the argument could be made that people should plan better, but that isn't always so easy.  Most people today equate dust to dust either way we are buried we will all become dust.  In addition, the idea of cremation vs. burial is not as tied to paganism, but more rooted in a pragmatic approach to dealing with a decayed set of cells that no longer houses a soul.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

I don't personally remember much preaching on it from the 70's, but I agree it must have been one of the more popular topics, as it ended up being discussed in my senior high school Bible class (80-81).  There was some discussion about the idea of being respectful to the body of the departed, but in the end the teacher and class agreed that it came down to just what dgszweda mentioned -- ashes and dust are basically the same, and the soul is no longer in the body.  Of course, I'll bet it was not a common option at the local funeral homes back then, and I'm not sure I remember a single funeral where the person was cremated rather than buried.

I don't know if what our class concluded was radical thinking for the time, but when the cremation question comes up, I still remember that class discussion, and the conclusion we came to then pretty much represents my current thinking.

Dave Barnhart

Jim's picture

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/should-christians-cremate-their-lov...

My proposal in this article is that Christian churches be willing to help families financially with simple, Christ-exalting funerals and burials, so that no Christian is drawn to cremation because it’s cheaper. I’m not thinking mainly of a line-item in the budget, but of a segregated compassion-fund that church members may give to regularly or as the need arises. Grieving families could quietly approach the overseer of that fund and make it known that they have a need, and all could be handled quietly and carefully between the family and the funeral home.

RajeshG's picture

I posted the following elsewhere some time ago:

[My intro:]Tertullian, a Latin Church Father, wrote about how the believers in his day cared for the poor with money that they gave regularly. He specifies that money was used “to support and bury poor people.”

-------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter XXXIX.

I shall at once go on, then, to exhibit the peculiarities of the Christian society, that, as I have refuted the evil charged against it, I may point out its positive good.131 We are a body knit together as such by a common religious profession, by unity of discipline, and by the bond of a common hope. We meet together as an assembly and congregation, that, offering up prayer to God as with united force, we may wrestle with Him in our supplications. This violence God delights in. We pray, too, for the emperors, for their ministers and for all in authority, for the welfare of the world, for the prevalence of peace, for the delay of the final consummation.132 We assemble to read our sacred writings, if any peculiarity of the times makes either forewarning or reminiscence needful.133 However it be in that respect, with the sacred words we nourish our faith, we animate our hope, we make our confidence more stedfast; and no less by inculcations of God’s precepts we confirm good habits. In the same place also exhortations are made, rebukes and sacred censures are administered. For with a great gravity is the work of judging carried on among us, as befits those who feel assured that they are in the sight of God; and you have the most notable example of judgment to come when any one has sinned so grievously as to require his severance from us in prayer, in the congregation and in all sacred intercourse. The tried men of our elders preside over us, obtaining that honour not by purchase, but by established character. There is no buying and selling of any sort in the things of God. Though we have our treasure-chest, it is not made up of purchase-money, as of a religion that has its price. On the monthly day,134 if he likes, each puts in a small donation; but only if it be his pleasure, and only if he be able: for there is no compulsion; all is voluntary. These gifts are, as it were, piety’s deposit fund.  For they are not taken thence and spent on feasts, and drinking-bouts, and eating-houses, but to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents, and of old persons confined now to the house; such, too, as have suffered shipwreck; and if there happen to be any in the mines, or banished to the islands, or shut up in the prisons, for nothing but their fidelity to the cause of God’s Church, they become the nurslings of their confession. But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. See, they say, how they love one135another, for themselves are animated by mutual hatred; how they are ready even to die for one another, for they themselves will sooner put to death.

—ANF03. Latin Christianity: Its Founder,

Tertullian; http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf03.iv.iii.xxxix.html; accessed 3/26/19, 8:05 pm; bold and underlining added to the original

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[My concluding remarks:] As the followers of Jesus Christ in our day, we should display our love for our brethren by setting aside money in our churches specifically to help with burial costs for our needy brethren in our churches so that as many as possible of them may have a proper burial at the end of their earthly lives.

RajeshG's picture

Oleson asserts, "Even Jesus's body began to decay moments after death." Later, he says, "Fourth, as I said above, Jesus's crucified and buried body was already mutilated by torture and decaying when he was buried."

Saying that Jesus's body decayed when he was buried is unbiblical and totally false:

Acts 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

Jesus' body did not see corruption!

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Oleson asserts, "Even Jesus's body began to decay moments after death." Later, he says, "Fourth, as I said above, Jesus's crucified and buried body was already mutilated by torture and decaying when he was buried."

Saying that Jesus's body decayed when he was buried is unbiblical and totally false:

Acts 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

Jesus' body did not see corruption!

Ah, but I think Acts 13 leaves open the possibility that the body of Jesus had started to decay.

Acts 13:34-37 says 34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. 35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

Notice the part that I bolded. Based on the way this is written, His resurrection prevented Him from returning to corruption. Why mention that a "return" was prevented if the process had never even started? I think it's a valid possible interpretation to say that Jesus had started a decay process, but the full effect of that decay was a corruption that was never seen by Jesus. The example is then given of David. David was laid unto his fathers and saw the full effect of decay, but Jesus was raised up and never saw the full effect of decay that David saw.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Oleson asserts, "Even Jesus's body began to decay moments after death." Later, he says, "Fourth, as I said above, Jesus's crucified and buried body was already mutilated by torture and decaying when he was buried."

Saying that Jesus's body decayed when he was buried is unbiblical and totally false:

Acts 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

Jesus' body did not see corruption!

 

Ah, but I think Acts 13 leaves open the possibility that the body of Jesus had started to decay.

 

Acts 13:34-37 says 34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. 35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

Notice the part that I bolded. Based on the way this is written, His resurrection prevented Him from returning to corruption. Why mention that a "return" was prevented if the process had never even started? I think it's a valid possible interpretation to say that Jesus had started a decay process, but the full effect of that decay was a corruption that was never seen by Jesus. The example is then given of David. David was laid unto his fathers and saw the full effect of decay, but Jesus was raised up and never saw the full effect of decay that David saw.

No, you missed what verse 37 says in Acts 13:

Acts 13:34-37 says 34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. 35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

Jesus's body did not see any corruption.

Bert Perry's picture

In the Greek, the word in Acts 2:27 can mean corruption or destruction (Strong's 1312), but it's a quote of Psalm 16:10, and the word in that verse is Strong's 7845, which means "the pit."  The same word in Greek is used in Acts 2:31 and Acts 13:35.

So in my view, the question is open about whether God's Word simply means a bit of decay, complete decay, destruction, or what.  I believe the etamology leaves that question open.  One thing I do know from my hunting experience and the testimony of my pathologist friend (and father in law of my daughter) is that certain portions of the body decay quickly unless hindered, among them the esophagus and kidneys, and at even a cool room temperature, the enzymes in the muscles break the muscles down fairly quickly--that's the mechanism for dry aging beef.

On the flip side, the centurion and other solldiers recognized Him as dead on the cross (which is why His legs were not broken), and that indicates that the signs of death, perhaps including early signs of decay, were there.

So if there was "absolutely no" decay, not one iota, that would be a remarkable miracle.  No doubt it's possible in God's providence.  However, I think the words used in the Greek and Hebrew do not specifically require this.

And relevance to cremation vs. burial?  Well, the rest of us decay pretty quickly, unless we're flash frozen in the Antarctic or something, so I'm not quite sure where Olson is going with that one.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Oleson asserts, "Even Jesus's body began to decay moments after death." Later, he says, "Fourth, as I said above, Jesus's crucified and buried body was already mutilated by torture and decaying when he was buried."

Saying that Jesus's body decayed when he was buried is unbiblical and totally false:

Acts 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

Jesus' body did not see corruption!

 

Ah, but I think Acts 13 leaves open the possibility that the body of Jesus had started to decay.

 

Acts 13:34-37 says 34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. 35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

Notice the part that I bolded. Based on the way this is written, His resurrection prevented Him from returning to corruption. Why mention that a "return" was prevented if the process had never even started? I think it's a valid possible interpretation to say that Jesus had started a decay process, but the full effect of that decay was a corruption that was never seen by Jesus. The example is then given of David. David was laid unto his fathers and saw the full effect of decay, but Jesus was raised up and never saw the full effect of decay that David saw.

 

 

No, you missed what verse 37 says in Acts 13:

Acts 13:34-37 says 34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. 35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

Jesus's body did not see any corruption.

No, I didn't miss it. I'm saying corruption in verse 37 could very well mean "the full effects of decay" rather than "any little tiny bit of decay."

You didn't bother explaining why the verse would say that Jesus didn't return to corruption if he hadn't originally been in the process of corruption. The process was stopped by the resurrection, so Jesus never saw the full effects.

AndyE's picture

I never really thought there was a Biblical issue at stake in this argument. But after reading this article, I began to have second thoughts:

https://warhornmedia.com/2019/08/28/biblicaldoctrinechristianburial/

It does seem that believers in the Scriptures consistently bury their dead and that not burying the dead was seen as a curse.  It seems like something to consider as part of this discussion.

 

Jim's picture

Tips on preparing (most don't do):

  • Start shopping for burial lots. Prices may surprise you! I thought about buying 2 lots at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis. After checking the least expensive available was $ 20,000 for 2. 18 months ago we began the 'property' search. I created a spreadsheet and we looked at a dozen and a half cemeteries. A year ago we bought 2 lots for $ 5,000 (Minnetonka, MN). Location. It's near our church.
  • Shop and buy the marker or monument. A marker is flat on the ground. A monument is upright. We ordered one and it was installed this last Spring. Link

I was tempted to buy lots at a cemetery in Michigan where many of my family members are buried (Bowne Township Michigan). Because of family connections, I could have bought 2 lots for about $ 1,000. But when one thinks of the total cost of a funeral service that would include family members traveling there, et cetera, it did not make good financial sense.

 

Mark_Smith's picture

talking about the real problem. The Bible does not prescribe a way "bury" a person. If burial were simply wrapping a body in linen, placing some ointment and herbs, etc., burial would not be a modern issue. But in modern times burial is BUSINESS, full capitol letters. It is EXPENSIVE. The fact is many people are not able to afford the costs associated with a full funeral, casket, plot, and marker. It can be serious money. If a person dies unexpectedly, or if the deceased did not plan ahead and now the cost is on you, it is serious money.

Since the Bible is not prescriptive, let's not burden people who have to chose options they may not prefer due to finances. In other words, a family that chooses burial with embalming is not "better" than one who chose cremation.

Jim's picture

Options:

Ways to economize if burial preferred:

  • Preplanning enables the best results so no one gets conned by funeral director
  • Less expensive casket (can even be purchased at Costco)
  • Is a burial vault required? (also see Green above)
  • Look for a country cemetery 
  • If military vet - national cemetery
  • Simpler marker (instead of monument)
Bert Perry's picture

....as I read the list of alternatives to traditional burial, Soylent Green comes to mind, as well as Alferd Packer, namesake of the "Alferd Packer Restaurant" at the University Memorial Center (student union) at the University of Colorado.  I believe "Logan's Run" has a lot of the same principle.

Seriously, I think there's a lot of virtue to the notion that we ought to take a serious look at the expense of burial as we witness to our society, especially as the burden of caring for the aged becomes ever greater.  Another point of reference is that nursing care currently is priced out by Medicaid at about $64000 per year.  We will likely have an opportunity as churches to help care for the aged when Medicare and Medicaid reserves run out in about five years.  Caring for the aged and deceased is going to be a bigger and bigger issue going forward.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

AndyE wrote:

I never really thought there was a Biblical issue at stake in this argument. But after reading this article, I began to have second thoughts:

https://warhornmedia.com/2019/08/28/biblicaldoctrinechristianburial/

It does seem that believers in the Scriptures consistently bury their dead and that not burying the dead was seen as a curse.  It seems like something to consider as part of this discussion.

Thanks for posting about this article. I agree wholly with what he says. Cremation is a pagan practice with which no believer should have anything to do.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

AndyE wrote:

 

I never really thought there was a Biblical issue at stake in this argument. But after reading this article, I began to have second thoughts:

https://warhornmedia.com/2019/08/28/biblicaldoctrinechristianburial/

It does seem that believers in the Scriptures consistently bury their dead and that not burying the dead was seen as a curse.  It seems like something to consider as part of this discussion.

 

 

Thanks for posting about this article. I agree wholly with what he says. Cremation is a pagan practice with which no believer should have anything to do.

Just because something was once a pagan practice, that doesn't mean it is still a pagan practice today. Putting up a Christmas tree was once a pagan practice. That doesn't mean Christians should have nothing to do with Christmas trees.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

AndyE wrote:

 

I never really thought there was a Biblical issue at stake in this argument. But after reading this article, I began to have second thoughts:

https://warhornmedia.com/2019/08/28/biblicaldoctrinechristianburial/

It does seem that believers in the Scriptures consistently bury their dead and that not burying the dead was seen as a curse.  It seems like something to consider as part of this discussion.

 

 

Thanks for posting about this article. I agree wholly with what he says. Cremation is a pagan practice with which no believer should have anything to do.

 

Just because something was once a pagan practice, that doesn't mean it is still a pagan practice today. Putting up a Christmas tree was once a pagan practice. That doesn't mean Christians should have nothing to do with Christmas trees.

Apples to oranges comparison. The Bible has a lot to say about the profound importance of a proper burial, and there is zero Bible to support Christians practicing cremation.

Jim's picture

RajeshG wrote:
Cremation is a pagan practice with which no believer should have anything to do.

And if they do? And who's sin is it? Examples

  • Mom dies. Her choice was cremation. Shouldn't her heirs respect her request? If there are 3 children and the one Christian take the position that cremation is pagan. How will that play out?
  • Suppose I choose cremation. Is the sin the choice? 
  • You have a relative who dies with virtually nothing (it happens). Will you pony up the $ 10K for the funeral?
  • The Japanese Christian:  99.9% of all funerals in Japan are cremation. Greece has limited land for burials - Cemeteries in Greek cities are so overcrowded that bodies are often only kept in the ground for three years. 
RajeshG's picture

Jim wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:
Cremation is a pagan practice with which no believer should have anything to do.

 

And if they do? And who's sin is it? Examples

  • Mom dies. Her choice was cremation. Shouldn't her heirs respect her request? If there are 3 children and the one Christian take the position that cremation is pagan. How will that play out?
  • Suppose I choose cremation. Is the sin the choice? 
  • You have a relative who dies with virtually nothing (it happens). Will you pony up the $ 10K for the funeral?
  • The Japanese Christian:  99.9% of all funerals in Japan are cremation. Greece has limited land for burials - Cemeteries in Greek cities are so overcrowded that bodies are often only kept in the ground for three years. 

I encourage and inform believers to reject the pagan practice of cremation. How God chooses to deal with those who practice cremation is not a question that I can answer biblically.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

AndyE wrote:

 

I never really thought there was a Biblical issue at stake in this argument. But after reading this article, I began to have second thoughts:

https://warhornmedia.com/2019/08/28/biblicaldoctrinechristianburial/

It does seem that believers in the Scriptures consistently bury their dead and that not burying the dead was seen as a curse.  It seems like something to consider as part of this discussion.

 

Thanks for posting about this article. I agree wholly with what he says. Cremation is a pagan practice with which no believer should have anything to do.

Just because something was once a pagan practice, that doesn't mean it is still a pagan practice today. Putting up a Christmas tree was once a pagan practice. That doesn't mean Christians should have nothing to do with Christmas trees.

 

Apples to oranges comparison. The Bible has a lot to say about the profound importance of a proper burial, and there is zero Bible to support Christians practicing cremation.

There is also zero Bible to support people putting up Christmas trees. That doesn't mean Christians should refrain from doing it.

Bert Perry's picture

....is for believers to abandon the wretched and generally sinful practice of using guilt by association arguments.  They are sinful because they make false accusations of people who are acting in good faith.  

Besides, you can associate anything with paganism.  Is embalming a sin because it has its origins with the pagan Egyptians?  Is it a sin to use coffins because the ancient Egyptians used them, while most others simply buried their dead in mausoleums, holes in the ground, or caves?  Is it a sin to make bread as the Egyptians did, or to remove facial and/or body hair as they did?

Not a whole lot you can do in life if you remove everything with a link to paganism of one sort or another, really.  Let's proscribe what the Bible actually proscribes, and not "extend" that unless we have a sound, logically valid train of argument.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim's picture

RajeshG wrote:
I encourage and inform believers to reject the pagan practice of cremation. 

Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13), and the ἀρχιτέκτων (wise master builder of the church) (1 Corinthians 3:10) did not address burial customs even though cremation was common! (See https://carlos.emory.edu/htdocs/ODYSSEY/ROME/d&b.html "The Romans practiced two forms of burial: cremation (burning the body) and inhumation (burying the body intact.) In cremation, the ashes of the deceased were placed in urns, like this example from the Carlos Museum.")

He instructs us to "not to go beyond what is written" (1 Corinthians 4:6)

Again I argue = adiaphora!

Mark_Smith's picture

then what is embalming with toxic chemicals to unnaturally preserve a body from decay. Sounds Egyptian to me... Plus, like the moneychangers at the temple, cemetery fees tend to be exorbitant and penalize people for something that must be done.

Jim's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

then what is embalming with toxic chemicals to unnaturally preserve a body from decay.

Why embalming: to temporarily delay decay for viewing

Jim's picture

Minnesota law on embalming:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/burial-cremation-laws-minnesota....

Minnesota requires embalming or refrigeration in more circumstances than most states. A body must be embalmed or packed in dry ice if:

  • it will be shipped by public transportation
  • burial or cremation will not occur within 72 hours after death
  • the body is infected with a communicable disease, or
  • the body will be viewed publicly (by people other than family).

Conclusion: In many cases NOT required

RajeshG's picture

Rob Fall wrote:

What do you say to Believers residing in Japan?

I do not have anything to say to those who are in countries where it is illegal to bury. They are going to have to decide for themselves what they are going to do.

Perhaps how Elisha handled the matter with Naaman might apply to this matter:

2 Kings 5:17 And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD. 18 In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing.

19 And he [Elisha] said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.

It seems that Elisha neither confronted Naaman about what he planned to do in the house of Rimmon (which was clearly something that was not right) nor counseled him that what he planned to do would be acceptable to God.

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