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#27820 Fri Sep 09, 2005 9:30 AM
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Is cremation Biblical?


Willemina
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willemina #27821 Fri Sep 09, 2005 2:08 PM
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willemina said:

Is cremation Biblical?

The Bible gives us the consistent example of believers in both Old and New Testaments as a convincing testimony about the value of burial.

Here are some examples found in the Bible:

Abraham was buried (Genesis 25:8-10)
Sarah was buried (Genesis 23:1-4)
Rachel was buried (Genesis 35:19-20)
Isaac was buried (Genesis 35:29)
Jacob was buried (Genesis 49:33; 50:1-13)
Joseph was buried (Genesis 50:26)
Joshua was buried (Joshua 24:29-30)
Eleazar was buried (Joshua 24:33)
Samuel was buried (1 Samuel 25:1)
David was buried (1 Kings 2:10)
John the Baptist was buried (Matthew 14:10-12)
Ananias and Sapphira were buried (Acts 5:5-10)
Stephen was buried (Acts 8:2)

I think you'll find the following links helpful as they discuss this topic further.


Cremation by Nelson Kloosterman

CREMATION: What Does God Think? by David W. Cloud.

What About Cremation by Rev. David G. Barker


Wes


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
Wes #27822 Fri Sep 09, 2005 2:24 PM
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Good post, Wes! Though I never dreamed I'd see you citing David Cloud...

I believe burial is the Biblical way as well, and that is the way I want it. It would, however, make a neat explosion at the Second Coming should my ashes be placed inside a vase <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/giggle.gif" alt="" />

(On the other hand, my body might just pass through the vase, since Christ passed through locked doors.)


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
willemina #27823 Fri Sep 09, 2005 4:16 PM
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Willemina,

There is much to commend burial of the dead in Scripture. HOWEVER, there is no direct statement which says cremation is sin. We need to be very careful with those doctrines which have been "deduced" from Scripture on matters which are not clearly stated. The reason I bring this up is that there are places on this earth where it is virtually impossible to bury the dead or impractical to do so, e.g., there is no land, lack of proper preparation of the body which would pose a serious health issue, etc.. Let us not forget that those who have been burned at the stake, perished in a fire, etc., will not suffer any loss at the return of Christ. The souls of believers are immediately present with the Lord at the time of death. And they shall receive a new incorruptible body that is fit for life on the new earth at the consummation and their glorification no less than those whose bodies have been buried.

In His grace,


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Pilgrim #27824 Fri Sep 09, 2005 6:09 PM
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Thank you Pilgrim, you gave me to see things I did not see.


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Wes #27825 Fri Sep 09, 2005 7:26 PM
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Thank you Wes, for the links


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Pilgrim #27826 Sat Sep 10, 2005 8:12 AM
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Pilgrim said:
There is much to commend burial of the dead in Scripture. HOWEVER, there is no direct statement which says cremation is sin. We need to be very careful with those doctrines which have been "deduced" from Scripture on matters which are not clearly stated.

Like the regulatory principle of worship?

There are many examples of God directing the burial of His saints and refusing burial to condemned sinners. Is there any example in scripture of God ordering the cremation of His saints?

#27827 Sat Sep 10, 2005 1:45 PM
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speratus said:
Like the regulatory principle of worship?

There are many examples of God directing the burial of His saints and refusing burial to condemned sinners. Is there any example in scripture of God ordering the cremation of His saints?
This issue has nothing to do with the Regulatory Principle of Worship, which is based on explicit commandments and/or principles. There is no universal commandment to bury the dead nor prohibiting cremation or any other form of disposing of a body. There are many examples in Scripture where the dead are buried. And, there are specific commands from God for specific individuals to be buried, but again, there is no universal commandment to bury the dead which is binding upon all men everywhere nor upon the saints in particular. Burial is most desirable for many of the reasons given in the articles linked to etc..... But as I have previously written, there are circumstances which would prohibit burial. Regardless of how a body of a believer is disposed of none have any affect upon that person's glorification and the receiving of a new spiritual body.

We are enjoined to dress modestly as befits we being saints and ambassadors of God. But there is are no specific regulations which would prohibit someone from wearing a plaid shirt, a brown pair of shoes, a red tie or demanding that a man always wear a suit or a woman a full-length dress in public. . . . Adiaphora is the key word to be considered. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

If there is such a universal commandment to bury the dead in Scripture, I would appreciate it if you could point me to it. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,


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Pilgrim #27828 Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:44 AM
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<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/my2cents.gif" alt="" /> Does Amos 2:1 teach us anything about cremation? Also, when possible, shouldn't we lovingly bury our loved ones rather than burn them which is a ritual closely identified with paganism and false religions?

One more thing, using martyrs and those who die in burning buildings and cars, plane crashes, etc. probably isn't the best argument to use in favor of cremation because those folks and their loved ones didn't plan for that "funeral".

D.J. #27829 Mon Sep 12, 2005 9:33 AM
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David W. said:

<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/my2cents.gif" alt="" /> Does Amos 2:1 teach us anything about cremation? Also, when possible, shouldn't we lovingly bury our loved ones rather than burn them which is a ritual closely identified with paganism and false religions?

Dave,

That's an interesting verse. The book of Amos speaks about the judgment of God on all the nations (Amos 1:3-2:3), Judah (ch. 2:4,5), and Israel (ch. 2:6-16). Chapter 2:1 is specifically addressing the transgressions of Moab. According to Hebrew tradition, these are the bones of the Moabite king Mesha. Such burning indicated special contempt, and was thought to deprive the dead of peace in the afterlife.

We also find this carried out for similar reasons in 2 Kings 23:15,16 where Josiah burned the bones of false priests on the altar at Bethel.

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Dave W. writes:

One more thing, using martyrs and those who die in burning buildings and cars, plane crashes, etc. probably isn't the best argument to use in favor of cremation because those folks and their loved ones didn't plan for that "funeral".

This raises the question of whether the body suffers any eternal consequences for being burned or cremated. It appears it doesn't so maybe the examples in Amos and 2 Kings have to do with judgment, purification, and the Hebrew tradition. However, we must remember that the examples you've sighted above weren't by choice of the individual or their families.


Wes

D.J. #27830 Mon Sep 12, 2005 11:23 AM
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David W. said:
<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/my2cents.gif" alt="" /> Does Amos 2:1 teach us anything about cremation? Also, when possible, shouldn't we lovingly bury our loved ones rather than burn them which is a ritual closely identified with paganism and false religions?
I see nothing in Amos 2:1 that relates to cremation of the dead. What is being condemned is not the act of the burning of the bones of the dead but the hatred and insult associated with it by the king of Moab and/or those involved with it. It was the hatred of Moab toward Edom, who were previously on good terms before the war, during which Edom sided with Israel and fought against Moab. There is actually no biblical record of this event other than this one place although there are lot's of people who have speculated on it. This act of hatred and contempt has little to do with believer's cremating their dead, IMHO. I have already written that I believe that burial is the ideal and should be done whenever possible. However, there are times when burial isn't possible. How else would YOU dispose of the dead in such situations if cremation is not an option?

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You then remarked:
One more thing, using martyrs and those who die in burning buildings and cars, plane crashes, etc. probably isn't the best argument to use in favor of cremation because those folks and their loved ones didn't plan for that "funeral".
I am NOT arguing in favor of cremation. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> I hold that cremation isn't a sin and thus it is an option for disposing of the bodies of the dead, although burial is to be much preferred. The point of mentioning the martyrs, etc., wasn't to justify cremation, but rather to show that the burning of the body is no hindrance to a believer's participation in the second resurrection and final glorification. Men may destroy the body, even burn it into ashes, but God is able to recreate that which man destroys by whatever means he uses.


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Pilgrim #27831 Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:39 AM
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HOLD IT!!! I'VE FOUND IT!!!

Exodus twenty, verce um-teen: I read! "...Thou shall NOT...", and I repeat, "...thou shall NOT cremate the dead!" <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

There are many examples in Bible where God's will commanded to bury (specific) dead. But we cannot take individual instences and make doctrine out of them. It was God's specific will that the church of Acts spoke in different toungs... does it mean therefore, that God's will commands that we all should speak in toungs? We can implicitly derive doctrine from another explicit doctrine (such as The Trinity being derived from another doctrines which teach that there is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) but we cannot derive doctrine from that which is not doctrine.

Personaly, I would rather have my body cremated and scattered to the winds... Where I come from there is this sick tradition to visit the graves of the "love ones" (as if these love ones really care at the moment that you are standing there and talking to "them"). I dont want people to occupy their brains with even a slight corrolation that "I'm" burried someplace. WHEN I DIE THAT CARCASE IS NOT ME ANYMORE! AT THAT TIME I'M PARTYING UP IN HEAVEN! SO STOP INSULTING ME BY TALKING TO THAT CARCASE AS IF THAT WAS ME! ...sorry had to take that off my soul... hope i make my point.

jadeitedrake0 #27832 Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:45 AM
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jadeitedrake0,

As you stated, there is no explicit universal command re burial/cremation; it is not a doctrinal issue; there are no eternal consequences inherent in the act itself, for the dead person or those still living; therefore as Pilgrim pointed out it is properly considered adiaphora.

You also bring up a good point about a common misuse of burial, in cultures which pretend that the dead are not actually irretrievably separated from the living, but are actually still alive, just resting in their coffins. Like the Egyptian practice, this can become a real form of idolatry--"Daddy's still here with us"--which denies the horrible consequences of sin and death.

I do, however, apart from any reference to cremation or burial, want to challenge your statement:

Quote
WHEN I DIE THAT CARCASE IS NOT ME ANYMORE
That kind of thinking contains more Eastern/Gnostic theology than biblical. Our dead bodies, biblically, are in fact very much part of us, since God created us with both material and immaterial natures. The atheist says that death destroys the immaterial, leaving the material to rot. The Gnostic/Buddhist (and many evangelicals) says that death destroys the material, leaving the immaterial free to "party in heaven". The Christian says rather that death is the separation of the material from immaterial: the immaterial (soul of the believer) returning to the Lord, the material subjected to corruption, until the resurrection. Neither one is destroyed. To lose this doctrine really denies the goodness of God in creating the material world, and it denies the resurrection, since it implies that we really don't need our bodies.

Here are a couple biblical tests of your statement. In John 11, did Lazarus' body stop being Lazarus the moment he died, only to turn back into Lazarus the moment Jesus called him?

More critically, would we be correct to say that the body lying in Joseph of Arimathea's tomb, and resurrected on the 3rd day, was NOT JESUS ANYMORE?

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... in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus ... (John 19:41-42)

Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side." (John 20:27)


In Christ,
Paul S
jadeitedrake0 #27833 Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:04 PM
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Actually, it isn't true that when you die that carcass is not you anymore. Read Paul's words:

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1 Corinthians 15
35 But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?"
36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies;
37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.
38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.
39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.
40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;
43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
45 So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL " The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.
47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.
48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.
55 "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?"


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
Paul_S #27834 Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:10 PM
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Here are a couple biblical tests of your statement. In John 11, did Lazarus' body stop being Lazarus the moment he died, only to turn back into Lazarus the moment Jesus called him?

I agree with your overall argument, but can we use this text this way? Lazarus was not given a glorified body, as he still died.


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
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