Pastor Paul M. Sadler
“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” — Psalm 90:10
With the rising cost of funerals these days many families are faced with the decision as to whether or not cremation should be considered as a viable option to burial. Many have concluded that this is an acceptable alternative since the matter is not addressed in Paul’s epistles, and we are living under grace. While there does seem to be liberty here, perhaps it is the better part of wisdom to consult the whole counsel of God.
In Biblical times cremation of the body was primarily identified with the pagan nations of the world. According to the Old Testament there were a few isolated occurrences of this practice, although they always seem to be associated with judgment or cases of emergency rather than merely disposing of the body (Josh. 7:25,26; I Sam. 31:6-13).
Consequently, cremation was more the exception than the rule.
Throughout the Scriptures it is said that they buried their dead.
“Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah…” “Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.” “And the young men arose, wound him [Ananias] up, and carried him out, and buried him.”
In keeping with the Word of God, we believe it is preferable to bury our loved ones even though we may have liberty to do otherwise. Of course, the additional financial burden can be eased by planning ahead for our inevitable departure. The services that normally accompany a funeral bring the unsaved face to face with their own mortality.
Thus, the occasion, heartbreaking as it may be, has often been used of the Lord to bring many sons to glory. Whatever your conviction may be on the matter, it is important to heed the words of the Apostle Paul:
“Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5).