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Buried or Cremated

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  • Buried or Cremated

    I'm not really sure where to put this so I'm posting this here. I don't know if anyone here has been ever really considered their death and what would happen to your body after you die but I have and I've been talking to my mom about it. We both kind of like the idea of getting cremated and dumped either in the ocean or in a flower field. I'm not actually sure if that is biblically okay, though I know that is some cultures cremation was reserved for criminals. I personally just don't like the idea of spending a lot of money on a dead body and burying it in a nice lacquered box. I just want to be returned to ashes post haste and have a cherry tree planted in my memory and be done with it. Is there a proper Biblical way to deal with the dead or is cremation allowed?

  • #2
    I realize there are a number of factors to consider on this point. However, traditionally, burial has pointed to the bodily resurrection. As such, it has been the norm in church history. For an interesting point/counterpoint, you might enjoy this article from CRI: Is Cremation Christian?
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    • #3
      The Bible does present burial as the normal way of disposing of a dead body but it never commands it. I have arranged to have my body cremated because that is cheaper than having it buried. Burial is supposedly a way of expressing faith in the resurrection but God is able to resurrect a cremated body just as well as a buried one.
      Clyde Herrin's Blog
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      • #4
        The normal practice was not burial in the ground but entombment (that is for those who could afford it). Abraham buys the cave of Machpelah so that he may bury Sarah (Gen. 23). Thus the beginning of a family tomb. There are early Canaanite tombs which date before the time of Abraham.

        The oldest cemetery in Israel is the Silwan necropolis dating between the 8th and 7th centuries B.C

        Holy Land Photos

        However there is an interesting event in I Sam. 31:8–13.

        The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. So they cut off his head and stripped off his armor and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all the valiant men arose and went all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.
        When David found out he sent word to men of Jabesh-gilead (II Sam. 2:4-5).

        David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “May you be blessed by the Lord, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord and buried him.
        There does not appear to be an animosity concerning the method used to bury Saul.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Nahum View Post
          I realize there are a number of factors to consider on this point. However, traditionally, burial has pointed to the bodily resurrection. As such, it has been the norm in church history. For an interesting point/counterpoint, you might enjoy this article from CRI: Is Cremation Christian?
          Thank you for posting the link. The article was a little more clear than what I've pulled up. Nice to know that we aren't required to be buried even though that was tradition. I guess I'm not worried about God resurrection since with a word he created the world, I'm sure pulling some ash bits together would be nothing.
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          • #6
            I've never thought about that, I somehow feel like you're making me predict my death. However, I can tell that I would consider the idea of getting buried, just as usual, I do not really find being cremated as something that God would like, by the way, I do not really know if God agrees with this anywhere in the scripture, but that's just what I think. Everybody has right to choose how they want their last days to be set up and well, this is kind of a sad thing to think about, but we're going to think about it someday.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by LeapOfFaith89 View Post

              Thank you for posting the link. The article was a little more clear than what I've pulled up. Nice to know that we aren't required to be buried even though that was tradition. I guess I'm not worried about God resurrection since with a word he created the world, I'm sure pulling some ash bits together would be nothing.
              I am glad that resource was helpful. I've found it useful in the past. And, agree, our God spoke and this massive, marvelous universe came to be, so he can certainly resurrect us just fine and dandy. Personally, I plan to get buried, but I am an organ donor. My reasoning is that while I want to honor the reality of bodily resurrection, any organs I can leave behind to help someone else is going to be replaced anyway. ;)
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              • #8
                I would much prefer burial. This way you'll still stay on Earth. People could come to my grave knowing that the Julian they know is still there. My body may not be as alive as it once was, but the collection of bones that once made up me will leave a reminder of my existence. Not that I will be forgotten, but to make people realise that their memories of me weren't dreams.

                This probably sounds very weird.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Julian View Post
                  I would much prefer burial. This way you'll still stay on Earth. People could come to my grave knowing that the Julian they know is still there. My body may not be as alive as it once was, but the collection of bones that once made up me will leave a reminder of my existence. Not that I will be forgotten, but to make people realise that their memories of me weren't dreams.

                  This probably sounds very weird.
                  This is a good point I would've liked to point out when I commented. The fact of being buried allows you to somehow, religiously speaking, leave your body on the earth as your soul goes up to the sky, it's such a beautiful and interesting thing because I personally think of it as a chance to leave everything behind and start a new life along with God, unlike when you get cremated, your body goes away as the wind blows and you just disappear, at least that's how I see it, that's my point of view. By the way, thank you for your opinion, it's really good.
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                  • #10
                    The bible doesn't say much about cremation but maybe these verses do prove cremation is wrong? [quote]Amos 2: 1-2: This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Moab, even for four, I will not relent. Because he burned to ashes the bones of Edom’s king . . .[/quote But it does appear that when dead couldn't be buried in the sepulchers because of war the dead were cremated. That said, I think it should be up to your family to decide what they'll do with your body once you pass away.
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                    • #11
                      This is not a topic I had considered to check with biblical resources, so thank you for bringing it up. Apparently there are pods out there that are like giant seed starters you can be buried in. As you decay, you provide nutrients to it and a tree grows where you are buried. I rather like that idea - from dust to dust, and leaving both something those left behind can visit and giving of my body one final time back to the earth.

                      As far as cremation goes, I believe during the rapture "those who have gone on before" will be taken up first, and I doubt that a God that can bring all his people home, or create the universe, will have any problem gathering up the ashes that are scattered about.

                      I know death can be a hard topic for people to think about, but it does not bother me as much as some I suppose. To me it is something that is pretty inevitable for most of us (unless rapture happens first); why fret or fear that which we cannot change?
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by whysewserious View Post
                        This is not a topic I had considered to check with biblical resources, so thank you for bringing it up. Apparently there are pods out there that are like giant seed starters you can be buried in. As you decay, you provide nutrients to it and a tree grows where you are buried. I rather like that idea - from dust to dust, and leaving both something those left behind can visit and giving of my body one final time back to the earth.

                        As far as cremation goes, I believe during the rapture "those who have gone on before" will be taken up first, and I doubt that a God that can bring all his people home, or create the universe, will have any problem gathering up the ashes that are scattered about.

                        I know death can be a hard topic for people to think about, but it does not bother me as much as some I suppose. To me it is something that is pretty inevitable for most of us (unless rapture happens first); why fret or fear that which we cannot change?
                        Oh, I've seen those, I kind of like that idea too. I saw another way were you're ashes are mixed with cement and placed at the bottom of the sea as a starter for a coral reef. I kind of like that idea to, since I love the ocean. But a part of me doesn't want to put more unnatural things in the ocean. Ashes would still be organic enough that something could probably filter it and eat it or I'll just lay on the bottom of the ocean.
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                        • #13
                          If we are Christians and follow what Christ did then we should consider burying the dead. Remember that Jesus was buried and he never opposed it. I think that by burying the dead it talks more about our generation to future generations. Cremation also be another choice of burying the dead. We should also remember that the dead has nothing to do with the living and they can't affect them in any way.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Francis View Post
                            If we are Christians and follow what Christ did then we should consider burying the dead. Remember that Jesus was buried and he never opposed it. I think that by burying the dead it talks more about our generation to future generations. Cremation also be another choice of burying the dead. We should also remember that the dead has nothing to do with the living and they can't affect them in any way.
                            I think you bring up an outstanding point, Francis. One is an example, and if I may add, communication. What does Burial communicate? What does Cremation communicate?

                            To me, Burial communicates honor and great care with handling our remains, and long term remembrance. Cremation is dishonorable, inexpensive, and quick.

                            But to emphasize I do not find anything really to suggest one over the other from Scripture. I am content accepting that this is my own preference. But Francis brings up a point of example. For those of you that contend immersion by baptism most accurately represents Jesus' death and resurrection, I'm just curious about your position on how you perceive Burial vs Cremation for the second resurrection?

                            God bless,
                            William
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by William View Post
                              For those of you that contend immersion by baptism most accurately represents Jesus' death and resurrection, I'm just curious about your position on how you perceive Burial vs Cremation for the second resurrection?
                              I believe that baptism by immersion represents the death and resurrection of Jesus and I also think that burial better represents a belief in the resurrection of the body but I don't think either of these is essential. I have arranged to have my body cremated after I die because this is cheaper than having it buried.
                              Clyde Herrin's Blog
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