Dear Elder Chet,
Please give me your thoughts on cremation for the Christian.
Yours in Hope,
May 25, 2010
A very good question and one that has dear brethren on both sides. To many, the idea of burning this body with fire represents judgment and therefore they abhor the idea of cremation. To this point there is no debate. The scripture gives the concept of fire in the representation of the judgment of God. The sacrifice was consumed upon the altar by a burnt offering for sin. Others object to cremation because of the ‘lake of fire’ wherein is death and hell, Satan and all his league.
My comment to the first answer presented is that it stands as an earthly type in the burnt offering, the judgment of God against the proper sacrifice. Since Christ, the Lamb of God has endured the judgment of God, He Himself becoming the sin of His people, there can be no further condemnation and therefore no more judgment, thus the type is fulfilled and the shadow of heavenly things is established. The Father saw the travail of His soul and was well pleased. Shall He now demand more than what His Holy Law demanded and what His anointed paid? So, to me, these types have no bearing on the subject. Especially when this earthen vessel shall return to the dust from whence it came (Gen. 3:19). All too many, well meaning people, place far to much emphasis, yea almost worship, upon this carcass of flesh and blood. The nurture and care given to these empty vessels at the time of internment has the stench of idolatry as if the better care we give them now will help God when He calls for it. The scriptures record the truth that we all shall be changed. This mortality and corruption must be swallowed up in immortality and incorruption, because that which is born of the flesh shall never inherit eternal life (I Cor. 15:50). Job said that even though this hide be torn away from him (the worms destroy the skin of this flesh), yet in his flesh (19:26) he saw God in the first resurrection. Not in the flesh and blood of Adam for that is the image of the natural body that he had when he lived in this existence, but rather, in the flesh and bone (Luke 24:39) of the risen Lord, the image of the heavenly, the spiritual body (I Cor. 15:49) which each child of grace is a partaker of and which shall be revealed to every man in his own order (15:23). This is the garment of righteousness of fine linen pure and white which each child is clothed upon with as he is seated together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6) waiting for the manifestation of the adoption.
Also notice that Paul, writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (I Cor. 13:3). Now if cremation is such an abomination, why would Paul say that if he gave his body to be burned, having charity, it would be profitable to him? For every child of grace, we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (II Cor. 5:1). Personally I am not opposed to the cremation process for nothing can separate a child, born from above and redeemed by His precious blood, from the love of Christ (Roms. 8:35) or diminish the mansions (dwelling places) in His Father’s house (Jn. 14:2) which He has prepared for those who the Father gave Him and who He raised up in the last days.
As to the second answer, I believe this ‘lake of fire’ is reserved for vessels of wrath who have been outfitted for destruction in the house of weeping and gnashing of teeth. It is the place for Satan, the beast, the false prophets, the image of the beast and those angels that kept not their first estate but left their own habitation, the judgment of that great day (Jude 6), where they shall be tormented day and night for ever (Rev. 20:10). This fire shall never be quenched and the subjects shall never be consumed. It has no bearing on the subject of what to do with this mortal coil when the time of our habitation is ended.
I hope some light was given in this response and that the Spirit shall reveal all truth as He sees fit.
Your servant in Christ,
May 25, 2010