is leaflet that was produced by an American funeral company that my
be of interest...
Consumer Guide to Funerals
- viewed in PDF
Since arranging a
funeral is done so seldom in one's lifetime, most people are unaware
of the purpose of many of the elements of the funeral ceremony. It
is for this reason that Batesville Casket Company enlisted noted
grief counsellor, Dr. Alan Wolfelt, to help create this brochure.
Burial Vs Cremation – The
excerpt in the Maranatha Messenger by Norman Geisler.
of cremation in disposing of a person's remains after death has been
sharply on the increase in our society. There is an increased
discussion about the propriety of this practice, as it gains
acceptance as a viable option. In light of these things, this seems
to be the right time to examine what the Bible has to say on this
The various possibilities for disposing of the body would normally
1) Burial or Interment in a sepulchre, which is like a crypt or
2) Burial in an earthen grave. This equates with our normal idea of
a grave site.
3) Cremation: this may or may not include placing the remains in a
grave or mausoleum.
4) Other forms of burial, such as burial at sea (which is getting
popular in Singapore and some Asian countries).
Sometimes, either because the body was somehow destroyed at death,
or was not recoverable after death (e.g. lost at sea) and hence,
burial is not possible....
Important Is the Burial versus Cremation debate? Norman Geisler said
that it depends on what importance one places on a proper practice
of what one believes, especially appropriate symbols. In fact, only
if one rejects important Christian truths does cremation make sense.
This is precisely the position of liberal Christians, and it is a
reason why cremation finds wider acceptance in their congregations.
Yet Christianity is not left intact after such doctrines as the
bodily resurrection are discarded or ignored (Romans 10:9; 1
Corinthians 15:16,17). To reject symbolism is to say the thing it
symbolizes is not important. A change on the use of symbol of burial
and the anticipated resurrection of the body reflects a different
understanding on some of the important Christian doctrines. It is
analogous to burning a country's flag, which is a symbol of a
country. To burn the flag is to undermine the country it symbolizes.
Likewise, to bum the body can be construed as to undermine the
dignity of the dead person and the God who created man in His image
(Genesis 1:27; 2:7). Furthermore, it indirectly denies the
resurrection in a symbolic way by making death seems final with
cremation (though it may be argued that it is not meant to be).
Admittedly, there are circumstances where burial is not possible
(i.e. Aids, Sars or bird flu victims, etc.). In those cases, we must
do the next best thing we can do to preserve the original intent. In
the Old Testament when a Jew could not keep the Feast of Passover on
the first month because he was contaminated, he was commanded to
keep it on the second month (Numbers 9:6-13). He was not to neglect
doing it altogether. Likewise, even when cremation is required due
to exceptional reasons (bacterial or viral contamination), it should
be done with propriety and decorum with prayer committing the
redeemed dead to God in a vigil service.
Christian perspective, burial is the pattern of the disposal of the
redeemed dead established in Scripture and has been historically
followed by the church. It should be pointed out that cremation if
practiced is no hindrance to the act, or event, of the resurrection
of the redeemed dead. God, in His omnipotence, is certainly able to
reconstruct our same bodies in a glorified state. However, it does
not follow from this, however, that cremation is an acceptable
general Christian practice. While burial is an important established
practice and symbol in Scripture, cremation is a poor symbol of
scriptural truth. While cremation is not an intrinsic evil, it
nonetheless symbolically vitiates some important biblical truths. In
this sense, cremation is a hindrance to the promotion of
resurrection truth and should not be a regular practice of
Christians but only under exceptional circumstances. We thus
conclude that all Christians should practice Christian burial unless
extraordinary circumstances do not permit it.
See full article here in PDF
Edited by Jack Sin.
Bibliography: See Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General
Introduction to the Bible, rev. & exp. ed. (Chicago: Moody Press.
1986, and John Davis, What about Cremation? A Christian Perspective
(Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1989)).