Cremation? Yes!


James D. Bales

"And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7). "And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27). Man is dust (the physical body) and a living being and spirit (as a spiritual being he is made in God's image). The body, our earthly tabernacle, shall be dissolved (2 Cor. 5:1-4). "And the dust returneth to the earth as it was, and the spirit returneth unto God who gave it" (Ecc. 12:7).

Our resurrection body will not be this flesh and blood body which returned to the earth at our death. Even those who are alive at the second coming will be changed and mortality will put on immortality (1 Cor. 15:50-55).

"It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, the first man Adam became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. Howbeit that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; then that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is of heaven... And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (1 Cor. 15:44-49).

If we died at sea and our physical body was consumed by fish, or if we were eaten by a lion, this in no way will hinder our having the resurrection body. If we were atomized in an atomic explosion or embalmed these add nothing to or take nothing from the resurrection body. When a body is embalmed parts of it, such as the viscera, are removed and, I assume, cremated. Cremation returns the body to dust almost immediately while the embalmed body takes longer to return to dust.

If one cannot stand the thought of the body of their loved one being burned to dust (ashes), how can they stand the thought of it more slowly turning to dust? Or, being a mummy which takes longer to lose its shape?

When I die, it is irrelevant to me what is done with my body. When death takes place, I am through with this earthly tabernacle. I want it to be cremated. Dust me quickly! Whether one is embalmed or cremated one will not be there. As was said on the tomb of Mr. Peas. Here lies Peas under the sod. Peas not here, only the pod. Peas shelled out, gone home to God.

It costs very little, comparatively speaking, to have the body cremated. One does not have to pay the cost of embalming or of a casket. Once, after I had attended a funeral, I told my wife that if I died and she had me placed in a coffin, when we had been sleeping on a bed with terrible springs, I would come back and haunt her.

As far as I am concerned, I do not feel it is right for me to have a lot of money spent to preserve, for a time, my body in a casket which cost quite a bit of money. I had rather the money go to world evangelism, to giving away some of the books which I have written, etc. How many millions of dollars do Christians spend on embalming and caskets? Could not this money go to better causes?

We need to show respect for the departed. But why is cremation less respectful than what is done to the dead body in embalming it? Let us now show respect for those who are alive. An embalmed body and a casket do not have to be at a service in order for us to pay tribute to the departed and to show our concern for those left behind.

The money we save can help reach others with the gospel that they may have part in the resurrection of the righteous.

I cannot tell you what to do, but I can ask you to give it some thought. Of course, if parts of my body can help others, they are welcome to them.