To 124 comments………. Personally, I’ve been considering asking that my remains be put in the compost pile. “Believe in it? If you are R.C., you can’t make this claim, as any authority you have is trumped by Paul VI. earth, drank the wine of the earth, breathed the air of the earth, and walked But both of the camps you describe still make the same mistake… believing in a static notion of Christianity, and not a dynamic and living Christ. What Does the Bible Say About Attending Church? Nah, I wouldn’t call you a drone. But a read- I am out of my depth when arguing the differences between absolute and objective truth. It requires more commitment and sacrifice. Therefore, the body of a deceased person is to be treated with respect, the Christian even moreso, as his/her body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Some Christians are firmly opposed to cremation, while others much prefer it to burial. Do you believe in universal salvation then? What do you say to the billions of Christians worldwide that don’t accept the Catholic church as the universal authority on matters spiritual? In fact I think the Gospels prove my belief in a need to have our understanding and “traditions” upended every now and again. The innumerable caravan which moves My Church admits the possibility of universal salvation, but also proclaims any insistence on it to be heretical. It seems to me that Christ obliterated the notion that God favors one ethnicity over another. Buried bodies decompose, of course. “So what if you get cremated? Why? Right now, in the spirit of the season, I wish to bring some peace and mercy. its materiality and physicalityâ198 provides a very different story that could What Does the Bible Tell Us About Ghosts? One argument against cremation, besides its thoroughly pagan patrimony, is the fact that it is a method of body disposal. the roads of the earth.To be sure, Christâs work of redemption centered on So much so, the way of the urn is becoming the endgame of choice for the boomer generation. We bury seeds, not burn them. I have my own opinion on cremation that is much less important than seeing Grove City, PA in the tagline at FPR,…….nice! If anything here is “gnostic” it’s the uncharitable attitude of this piece that (somehow) right knowledge without charity is enough. Naturally, as is our wont here on the Front Porch, I applied the tried and true formula suitable for any ethical dilemma: WWWD or What Would Wendell Do? As someone who has buried one grandmother and two parents over the past decade I can tell you, it wasn’t cheap. You donât get to choose to cremate. A Christian who defends cremation more than likely appeals to utility or to what the poet Scott Cairns calls âgnostic bullshit.â As if upon death we are done with our bodies.Â Christianity has a long tradition regarding the dead, and cremation has no part in it.Â Cremation is a sign of our time, and it is ultimately a sign of our culture of deathâthe post-Christian regress of western civilization. A back-and-forth ensued about dust versus ashes, Godâs omnipotence, the nature of the resurrection and of the incarnation, scripture v. tradition, soul and body, secularization, materialism, sacramentalism. We did our protesting and now we don’t know how to submit to, or even recognize, authority. Just as long as we don’t miss any big shifts. Historian Diarmid MacCullough, in the last chapter of his recent and monumental history of Christianity, establishes, in the words of Russell Moore, “that the unanimous voice of the church, in every sector, was for burial over against cremation, and concludes the traditionalist case (that cremation is a pagan practice inconsistent with historic Christianity) is ‘unanswerable. ), Never said you did discard it. Most of us would, I suspect, be uncomfortable with that. And yes, to my Protestant brothers who will be tempted to once again “protest”, I am a solid Baptist in good standing, but I’m not so blind as to not see the planks in our own eyes. It has no future in their eyes. Interestingly, there is no specific teaching in the Bible about cremation. That every last Russia or Frenchman or American will be saved? Burial, therefore, is the final way in which we can live into our baptism. I had many Christian friends of various denominations; the consensus among all was that “Christians don’t cremate, they bury.” The move towards cremation was, like so many other negative things in the wider church, due to the infection of mainstream Christianity by progressivism/liberalism in the 60s. Islamic teachings on the dead require that the deceased be cleaned, shrouded, prayed for, buried in the earth and visited with reverence. So what if you deny Christ’s divinity? And the Church is avowedly and profoundly multicultural, multilingual and multinational. I think being drained and embalmed and placed in a satin lined box is hideous!! And yet you are the one looking for a non-religious, intelligence-lacking, pro-cremation lovers of place community, because you don’t want to have anything to do with religious, intellectual, anti-cremation lovers of place? the future one with our present body connects the new unsullied world of Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is the finest analysis of the problem we face (and where it stems from). Bury me in a burlap bag in my backyard, so my body can nourish the earth that once nourished me. I decided then that if that was burial, I would rather choose to be returned to ashes immediately and buried in the ground in a simple manner without the gaudy mockery of the life that had obviously left the body. I keep being surprised by Catholics on FPR who are so quick to champion localism and limits and liberty, but have no problem adhering to the edicts of the world’s largest, greatest, most placeless man-made hierarchy. Certainly, none of you are going to be burnt at the stake by any Inquisition on the True Doctrine of Burial. Why? Well, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that God punishes anyone because of their ethnicity, but rather because a particular ethnicity has become sinful or wayward to the point where God can no longer ignore a group’s conduct. It seems to me that you are simply skeptical about the whole idea of God: sure, this article would be sufficient if it poised the argument around the idea that burial gives us a common meeting place to honor the dead — and it does say this — however, it is just as important to draw the lines to their transcendent origins (and yes, these can be articulated in Church tradition). We are desperately in need of a Magisterium. It was imposed upon the race of mankind as a result of sin. Cremation Is More Economical. However, Iâll stack these arguments against any arguments supporting cremation that a Christian might give. If the cremated remains are to be inurned, it is important to consider where and by whom they will be kept, as well as what will happen to them in the future. Who knows, some future theologian might come up with a better way of expressing the varied and uncontainable nature of God, and the idea of the Trinity will go the way of polygamy or burial. I didn’t mean “ignorant” in a pejorative sense, but in a literal one. Upended twenty centuries of traditions. Cremation is not wrong, but burial is a better picture of the Christian hope of resurrection. Pastors should lead the way in cultivating a church ethos where expensive funerals (and weddings!) If you don’t accept this witness, it must be either because you are unfamiliar with it (ignorance) or familiar with it and still choose to disregard it (heterodoxy). If you choose to affirm #3 then is it the case that God saves or damns based on membership in a group, or because individuals (in whom alone consciousness and volition inhere) have joined themselves to the community of the saved (the Church), or chosen to stand outside it? I didn’t quite read all of the comments, so someone may have already covered this, but I wanted to post two things that don’t seem to have been mentioned in our discussion, but I think are important aspects. Even if you look at the Old Testament Hebrews, some were saved and some damned by their own actions, not because they were members of the Chosen People, or the Chosen People Fallen. On that note, I find it hard to believe this question has not come up more frequently. imply escape from creation.199 instead, God will bring forth the renewed not Ok, what exactly ARE your reasons for supporting cremation? But even when he withdraws his Grace from our corporate structures, God’s grace continues to be extended to individuals and through the Sacraments. But only by bringing the Gospel to men and women as individuals is any salvation to be had, and grace increased in the world of time and space. The martyrs had burning pressed upon them and most would have chosen (if given a choice) long lives with Christian burials at the end of them. By the way, no one seems to be arguing that cremation precludes one’s resurrection. He said it was cheaper and less gruesome. If you’re not a Christian this is irrelevant (although if you are a lover of place you should have other reasons to want to be buried in the ground which nourished you). The dexterity with which Pickstock in one fell sentence accounts for several different cultural phenomenaâthe preference of more Americans to die, or have their family members die, in hospitals rather than at home, the rise and popularity of nursing âhomes,â the default expectation of embalming in the funeral âhomeâ industry, as well as the design, marketing, placement, and procedures of abortion clinics. I hope they are not excluded from the resurrection for their lack of foresight on the matter. Can we please get back to basics? Cremation; There are no health advantages of cremation over burial but some communities may prefer it for religious or cultural reasons. No, they may also just be ignorant of the history and theology of the thing, and how it is a thoroughly pagan practice. gian N. T. Wright has put it, the new creation is âborn from the womb of the What of the Christian matyrs who were burned at the stake? As an aside, it does rather change St. Paul’s teaching that the body is in some sense the “seed” of the Resurrection. It’s hard to relate to an urn of carbon, but with a body, it’s much easier to have actual closure. I would get into my whole theory that Christians have a flawed understanding of truth that you can largely blame on Aristotle and Aquinas, but then we would be here all day. They can burn it without a qualm because they think it is garbage — like a banana peel. 2. From pages 36 and 37 of this pdf of Together with all Creatures: http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/CTCR/TWAC-Expanded%20Version.pdf. If anyone knows where I can find it, please let me know. It has nothing to do with “Christianity.”. violent storm on the waters. And I think we are living in the midst of one. Cremation, though, seems a little bit strange; like it’s more a matter of convenience than anything else. Please forgive my Protestant brothers for their misunderstandings. Deep down most of these people would have been fine with a ghost of Jesus on the first Easter Sunday. God knows how to raise the body, either in the resurrection of life or the resurrection of condemnation â¦ It also fits with Einstein’s theory of General Relativity… truth being relative in space and in time. A desecration. Beyond that, I don’t know what where God is leading me. His human creatures in order to undo the curse and to restore them to the I also think organ donation is a good thing. You do not claim scripture mandates bodily burial. Dan, if what you demand is a common place for different perspectives on questions of “place, limits, liberty”, then you are naturally going to come across, from time to time — some times more than others — perspectives with which you disagree. When Adam and Eve â¦ Cremation may be a reaction to the de-Christianiziation of America as the author seems to claim but just a importantly it could also be a reaction against the excessive cost of funeral services these days. Yes, the Trinity is another tradition. âBut cremation is not Christian.â It should be stated that this conversation had as its prevailing tone casual disinterestâabout an eventuality in the distant future. 3. I believe we should and that a fresh revelation of Jesus is on the way. I suppose one could argue that the coming of Jesus and the Kingdom transfers this idea of “grace” from the nation state of Israel to any individual that believes, but I don’t think most Christians would subscribe to this viewpoint. 1. Yes, too true. Most importantly I did not mean a new denomination or sect. The possibility of a home burial is now all but out of the question, but we can still keep some remnants of it by having funerals with an actual body to view. But we must wait for the Rock to come and show us how. In considering how God views “nations” (and particularly whether the “judges” them, as such) I think we need to be careful not to let our thinking be too influenced by our contemporary worldview. The main arguments against cremation are religious and aesthetic ones. Factors against it are the amount of fuel required by a single cremation â¦ And if the argument is that he judges and punishes us collectively (regardless of our individual righteousness) not based upon ethnicity, but rather upon how we are politically defined ourselves, I would question not only the theology, but also whether there is any Scriptural foundation for it–superceded by Christ or not. I find y’all’s discussion of this fascinating, and I hope y’all won’t mind if I chime in with an observation. One process takes a few decades; the other takes a few minutes. ", Cremation vs. Burial: A Personal Decision. The arguments here are a prime example of this understanding of “truth” I am on about. It’s hard to find a post anymore that isn’t saturated in heavy-handed Christian self-righteousness or smug literary elitism. In obedience on my church’s teaching I will not be cremated, but I do not have a problem with it in general. It seems options for modern burial are not so front-porchy after all, and certainly not agrarian. Research has been done to try and understand the most common reasons people choose cremationâ¦ Certain ideas, as they raise questions and incite disagreement and debate, will for a time shape the course of discussion, and will themselves wane as discussion moves onward. You may be right about the two camps. In fact, for Buddhists, especially of the Tibetan variety, cremation is far from “cold and godless.” It is a rich cultural practice from a spiritual tradition that, historically, significantly predates the advent of Christianity. “Following rules can be done while asleep at the wheel.”. And since St. Paul calls the body itself the âtemple of the Holy Ghostâ I also used the word âdesecrationâ to describe cremation. We have a pretty good Trinitarian tradition going too. To date I have found no modern Church I can worship in without a great compromise of conscience. The reasons are varied, but usually private and very meaningful. But where does the anomic power of your reasoning draw a line? Today, traditional Jews are prohibited under the law from practicing cremation. Although many Christian and Jewish groups DO â¦ Cremation can be not only (as I asserted) a desecration, a heresy, and an act of apostasy, but it might also be a lawful requirement, a financial necessity, and not even a sin. You have created a false dichotomy, unfairly, dishonestly, and uncharitably misrepresenting those who disagree with you. We donated my husband’s body to the tissue bank and he saved and helped a lot of people through his bones and veins and eyes. And yes, I do believe the ancient tradition that the Church supplants Israel as the Chosen People in this regard– though that is no comment on God’s relationship with today’s Jews. The buried body is seen as “resting” while awaiting the Resurrection, hence the phrase “requiescat in pace.” St. Paul views the body as in some sense a “seed” of the Resurrection. Things have gotten out of hand. Christ died in the body for all men, rose in the body for all men, therefore all men will rise bodily. I asked one colleagueâ a Texan who grew up summering with grandma in Ohio, educated in Virginia and North Carolina, and now living and working in Pennsylvaniaâand he instantly responded, âOh, my spouse and I are going to be cremated.â (Nota bene, he thought this was an adequate answer to my question.). We can’t vote on truth. When the English word “nation” or “nations” appears in Scripture, it is typically not referring to some man-made political subdivision of humanity, but rather to what we would now call “ethnicity.” The Hebrew word most commonly translated as “nations” in the OT is a variant of “goyim.” It might just as well (particularly in light of the modern use of the word “nation”) be translated “Gentiles.” In the New Testament the Greek word that is translated into English as “nations” is generally “ethne” (from which comes, of course, our word “ethnicity.”). Rev 20:11; Rev 21:1). I think that it is very relevant. My driver’s license states that I am an organ donor. Cremation is better for the environment. And if I don’t die in an atom bomb or some other conflagration, please bury me. Speaking of presumptuousness (in reference to Mr. Schultz) – which Christian teachings/practices are the universal ones? that it might come forth transformed in the wake of our resurrection. Cremation may be bad by increasing emissions and refusing to return our bodies to the earth, but embalming is infinitely worse. If you are thinking cremation â¦ Are you really trying to claim that God saves people or leaves them to damnation on account of group membership? May I just say- skubalicious, man. Why can we not understand truth as being relative in time… or more precisely that our understanding of “truth” is relative to the living Truth, Christ Jesus? But isn’t there an inconsistency here? You can’t argue against a continuity by appealing to a discontinuity. Following “rules” need not be a thoughtless act, though, nor can it always be conflated with rote legalism. Now maybe there are folks who are completely comfortable with the notion that God would collectively judge and punish entire ethnicities, based upon the conduct of some people of that ethnicty. the world of nature, we might say that the renewed creation emerges like I don’t see how you can get any more basic. (I can’t believe I am arguing like this.) And to go straight to the extreme example here, the Nazis did great evil for which God has no doubt held those who died unrepetent to severe judgment; however would God judge those Righteous Gentiles (those who withstood the Nazis’ evils) among the Germans to the same judgment because of their ethnic connections? We’re talking something that’s been there since day one, and has its roots in the thought and practice of our Jewish forbears. Either way this reminded me of the poem Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant: Earth, that nourish’d thee, shall claim Maybe he’ll be better off than me post-resurrection. Having said that, my wife wants her cremated body to be deposited into the Gulf of Mexico. Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy hills; not here in the darkness, in this twittering world.ï»¿”. Of course, it happens all the time. Does the Mayo Clinic work as an authority? The first is burial as a community activity. You may disagree, but I find your disgust at the practice to be puerile at best. At the same time, David Hart’s insistence in ‘Beauty of the Infinite’ that we should not regret that the Christian story rests in the particular, the recalcitrant peculiarities, and in that sense, a post-modern recognition of the apparent subjectivity, or placedness, of its truths, is not a retreat. Â Not only are more and more deceased being cremated, more and more professing Christians are reducing themselves to cinders. The repeated attempt here by proponents of cremation to link the two in such a way is wrongheaded. Who said I had discarded twenty centuries of unified Christian practice? I grew up in the 60s first as an American “Northern” Baptist, then later as a Pentecostal. For most of us, whatever flavor of Christianity we prefer, cremation is largely of function of negligence, ignorance, or forgetfulness. Still, the argument from “usefulness” is trumped by the universality of the Christian witness. Heck, I seen it done!” Can you have a Christian Cremation? Could James Matthew Wilson clear this up for me? the restoration of creation. A VERY narrow opinion, not especially thought through. We need to remember that the resurrected body of Christ was not a new If your pitiful bones have been scattered far and wide how’s that whole resurrection thing supposed to pan out for you? Christians do not âdisposeâ of their bodies. I have become curious as to why certain Christian denominations claim cremation to be against the Bible. Piper also says that cremation can be viewed as anti-biblical due to the Bibleâs many references to hell and evil being associated with fire. Sure, any place like this will go through phases. That said, my eyes are rolling out of my head right now. Any argument based on a final, corporeal resurrection must recognize that after a couple generations go by, the dead in Christ must be raised in a truly fantastic and miraculous way. Sorry, your premise just doesn’t fly me. They are heated to temperatures between 870-980 Â°C or 1600-2000 Â°F until the remains are reduced to bone fragments and ashes. Tradition has little or nothing to say on this matter, because it’s an issue and possibility previous generations of Christians did not deal with. Cremation is a method of final disposition of a dead body through burning ().. Cremation may serve as a funeral or post-funeral rite and as an alternative to the burial or interment of an intact dead body. The divine, of course, is not democratic. There are far more pressing issues for Christians to tackle than cremation. This whole line reminds me of the joke when the preacher asked the good ‘ol boy if he believed in infant baptism. But the bravura, the cocksure assertion in such black and white terms that something not even mentioned in the New Testament could be dismissed outright as not Christian stunned our would-be cremationist. Tumid apathy with no concentration. body, a body inextricably linked to the wider creation, Jesus accomplished Cremation, furthermore, is cold, godless, and the preference for the secular-minded of whatever professing faith or denomination. The bone fragments are then processed in a machine until they resemble coarse sand, light gray in color. This teaching assumes that if a body has been destroyed by fire, it is impossible for it to be resurrected later and reunited with the soul and spirit: Just because a body has been destroyed by fire, doesn't mean God can't one day resurrect it in newness of life, to reunite it with the soul and spirit of the believer. It’s built into the very fabric of the universe. At the very least, there is nothing helpful with thinking in such terms. Only a flicker over the strained time-ridden faces, distracted from distraction by distraction, filled with fancies and empty of meaning. Our bodies He will breathe the life back into when it suits His purpose. The Old Testament records several instances of Jewish bodies being cremated, but always under unusual circumstances. You have successfully joined our subscriber list. His bones were presumably picked clean on the mountaintop and yet he seems to have escaped the divine wrath and reappeared in the Transfiguration. After all, cremation could be done in a way that was respectful. creation. I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently, and I think this is tied up in a broader cultural shift. And it is certainly no way to grow a wheat crop. The difference, I suppose, is that from where I presently stand (disclaimer: I’m a young, ignorant, wayfaring fool), I find myself reaching more into the past for the good examples than holding with too much faith in the present state of skepticism toward everything told, and ennui with everything ‘old’, nor likewise do I have much faith that we are going to suddenly formulate any brand new solutions. out of nothing (ex nihilo) but from the old creation (ex vetere), or as theolo- Is it? And, as someone pointed out above, Hundreds of martyrs have been burned and/or left unburied. The limits that you place on God’s ability to resurrect are fairly extreme. Often family members have strong feelings about the way they want to be laid to rest. Burial was the acceptable method for disposing of corpses among the Israelites. To accept cremation, even for supposed “good” reasons, is to turn the imagery of death and resurrection in both the Bible and the Tradition on its head. The greatest thing thâ¦ Cremation is considered âharam,â that is forbidden in Islam. Second- If we’re going to get biblical about this, why don’t we talk about not-so-biblical modern embalming, sprawling cemeteries, impenetrable caskets, laws against burial on private property, and the commercialization of funeral industry? So much for finding common ground! Why is this so hard to understand? (But I think that is what you were meaning to say.). Afterlife of joy as he promised gray ” areas, however, maybe open-casket viewings before burial are not from. Beyond that, reasons against cremation wife wants her cremated body to be puerile at best a Container are your for! Be done while asleep at the wheel. ” when arguing the differences between and! 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