Are There Moral Implications to Cremation vs. Burial?

As Christians, should we be concerned with what happens to our bodies after we die? 


00:00 When somebody dies, can they be cremated, or do they have to be buried?

00:04 I'll give you my thoughts.

00:10 When a person dies, what's the right thing to do with the body?

00:13 Classically, Christians have buried the body and given the body a so-called "Christian

00:19 burial."

00:20 A lot of people are looking towards cremation nowadays as kind of an easier way out, more

00:26 economical, whatever.

00:28 And let me give you my point of view on this since the Bible does not weigh in one way

00:32 or another directly, okay?

00:35 When a body is consumed after it dies, it's a process called oxidation.

00:42 I'm chuckling because in either case you have oxidation.

00:46 You can bury the body, and it's slow oxidation, you can burn the body, and it's fast oxidation.

00:52 But it amounts to the same thing.

00:53 Over time, pretty much everything disappears, okay?

00:57 So, the question is, morally, does it matter?

01:01 And I don't think it really does.

01:03 But I want to toss in another thought.

01:06 There's a reason why traditionally, Christians have given a particular kind of burial.

01:12 And the reason they've been given that kind of burial is because they understand that

01:16 a human being is made of two different things: an immaterial self and a material self.

01:23 A soul and a body.

01:24 And this soul bears the image of God, not the body, and that soul was united with a

01:29 body for the lifetime, the natural lifetime, of that individual.

01:34 And when that person dies, they go away, but the body is still, in a certain sense, ennobled

01:38 by that which inhabited it.

01:42 And so by way of showing respect for the body, which will eventually be reunited in its more

01:47 natural state with the soul at the resurrection, Christians have had a ceremony and a burial

01:54 that they thought brought dignity to the notion that the soul and the body, the tent

02:02 so-to-speak, and the spiritual man would be united for a significant period of time.

02:08 And I think there's something to be said for that.

02:10 Maybe it's just aesthetic and not strictly-speaking moral.

02:14 But I used to think it doesn't matter what you do with the body.

02:18 Burn it or bury it.

02:20 Now, I'm thinking a little differently, and I haven't totally settled my mind up.

02:25 But I think it's clear to say that both options are morally acceptable, but with a so-called

02:30 Christian burial, we make a different kind of statement, and the statement itself may

02:35 be valuable.

02:37 Anyway, that's my point of view on this one for what it's worth.

video |
Greg Koukl