Eric Metaxas on Why Cremation is Pagan, But Burial is Christian


As Chuck Colson said, our worldview determines how we live. And even how we treat our dead.

Nearly nine years ago, Chuck Colson told BreakPoint listeners about a company in Virginia that “for as little as $4500,” would place your loved one’s ashes in a “bio-degradable urn” and bury these ashes alongside a tree.

What made the company’s offering more than just another expensive burial plot was what happened afterwards. The ad said, “As the urn decomposes, you ‘will become one’ with your ‘personal’ tree.”

As Chuck noted at the time, “since up to 15 family members can be ‘become one’ with a particular tree, the concept of a ‘family tree’ will take on a whole new meaning.”

While the idea appealed to a certain post-Christian, Gaia-worshipping sensibility, $4,500 was a lot of money. So a company trying to raise money on Kickstarter is now offering to do it for less than $500.

The way it works is that you first select what kind of tree you want your loved one or pet to be in the afterlife: beech, ash, ginkgo, or pine. You then place their cremated ashes in their biodegradable “bio-urn,” and, in turn, place the bio-urn in their new “Incube,” a high-tech planter’s pot.

The pot uses sensors to ensure that the tree inside the bio-urn gets enough sun, water, and everything else it needs. There’s even an app to help you monitor your loved one’s progress in making successful transition to what the company calls “life after life.”

This is the kind of thing that doesn’t so much beg to be parodied as it is a self-parody. But the silliness of “be the tree” and smartphone-controlled “life after life” should not blind us to the worldview issues raised by these products and services.

As Chuck said back in 2007, “this idea could be possible only in a post-Christian culture.” As he pointed out, “Christianity has traditionally regarded cremation with — at best — some suspicion.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Eric Metaxas