Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore has weighed in on the burial vs. cremation debate, explaining that while God can resurrect a cremated body, burial better reflects the Christian concepts of the coming resurrection and a high view of the body.
In a recent video for The Gospel Coalition website, Moore said Christians often become alarmed when he says burial is the Christian way to dispose of the dead because they fear he’s implying that people who are cremated are “somehow now unresurrectable.”
“That’s obviously not the case,” he clarified. “Even in the case of burial, the body decomposes and so at the shout of the archangel and the peal of the trumpet, the coming of the Lord Jesus is able to, by the power of God, reassemble the body at resurrection regardless of what has happened to that person. The sea will give up its dead, the Scripture tells us. People who have been eaten by lions and ripped into pieces will be resurrected at the last day.”
“All sorts of things can happen to the body, and God is still able to resurrect that person,” he continued. “That’s not what the question is about.”
Moore said that the actual question is: “What do we, as the people of God, intend to communicate when we are dealing with our dead?”
He pointed out that cremation comes from eastern religions that would hold that the person’s ultimate destiny is to be disintegrated. In the 19th century, there was a great move from those who would advocate for cremation because burial gave a picture of sleep and of a coming resurrection — an idea that was “religiously offensive” to them.
“They were right to see that because the Scripture says we are but dust and we will return to the ground from which we came,” Moore said. “The Scripture also uses that language of sleep. We are put away in sleep in order to be awakened, in order to see the resurrection of the entire body one day.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett