Tuesday, April 06, 2010

We Bury Our Dead

It seems that I've talked with a few people about cremation vs. burial recently, so in light of those conversations, I thought it might be helpful to link to this piece by Russell Moore. Once again, the growing acceptance of cremation confirms the fundamentally pagan way of thinking that undergirds our society.

Note well Moore's conclusion, "Sometimes the 'culture wars' that really matter aren’t the ones you’re screaming about with unbelievers in the public square; they’re the ones in which you’ve already surrendered, and never even noticed."


Melanie said...

Pastor, could you cover this in seminar sometime? I've never heard this discussed before. I read all the links you had on the blog and I don't think the authors backed up their points of view with Scripture very well.

Jason Parker said...

Yes, Melanie, this would be good to discuss in more depth. What to do with our dead presents an excellent opportunity for practicing Christian ethical reflection.

As you probably noticed in Russell Moore's articles, he immediately notes that this is not the kind of thing that the Scripture directly addresses. In other words, there are no proof texts on this issue. Nevertheless, there is an entire way of thinking directed by the Scripture which is consistent with burial and inconsistent with cremation. Specifically, what the Bible teaches about mankind (including the body, which is part of the person, not just a disposable rag-bag), about the resurrection and eternal state, and about the meaningfulness of our actions (we are not gnostics) all contribute to a strong case for burial.

The case is strengthened even further, in my opinion, if we try to justify cremation on biblical grounds. What biblical doctrines, principles, patterns, etc. would lead us to think that cremation is a good practice and pleasing to the Lord? That's a pretty tough case to make using biblical ways of thinking, once again showing the contrast between pagan assumptions and biblical ones.

Hopefully we can talk about this more later, but perhaps this at least provides some food for thought.