I was asked by a friend on Facebook – “What are your thoughts about cremation?” Here is the thread!
Ron Baker First, my own personal experience includes cremation. When Jill donated her body to the University for anatomy students to study, the remains were cremated. Her remains are currently in a columbarium here in Kindersley. I will be buried there with her (which means I will be cremated).
Ron Baker Second, I do not find in Scripture a convincing argument for what we call a traditional burial – but there are strong indicators that this was a prevalent form of burial. There are bones that are transported at a later date/time. Funeral fires are mentioned (this may or may not be cremation). There is certainly a tradition of burial in a tomb or a special place (which would indicate a traditional burial). We also hear of the stench of the grave (again, traditional burial). Meanwhile, people are burned in buildings – what happens to their remains?
Ron Baker Third, the culture can and should influence our methods of burial. My pastoral friends who do not condone cremation have a good point. In our culture (Western) we consider bodies to be throw aways! We lack a sense of the sanctity of life. In the final burial of the body they are both honoring the body in death as in life and they will make sure that someone is with the body or has care for the body right to the final accompaniment of that body to the final resting place (and remaining until the burial has been completed). This can signal strongly the sanctity of life in death.
Ron Baker Fourth, I do not think that God condemns us for either choosing a traditional burial or cremation. I do think that we can make a statement about life with our burial. Feel free to be a rebel and choose a cause to represent in your burial. If you don’t the people around you will. In my daily readings I just finished the burial of Jehoram – a not great king! Here is the reading I was looking at (NLT): "Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. No one was sorry when he died. They buried him in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery."
Ron Baker Oh, and I have a book I’m currently working on about a funeral director called THE DIE RECTOR. I’ll touch on some of these thoughts in the book – more from a story line than a systematic theology approach.