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Summary: Several questions that people often ask about death and eternity.

Of Heavenly Things: Biblical Answers to Questions About Heaven Series

Questions and Answers About Heaven

Nov. 7, 2010

I Is cremation O.K. for a Christian?

A Cremation has become more popular, either at the request of the deceased or from the family (with the average funeral running over $6,000, for some families it’s not their choice, but their only option).

1 Cremation is when heat reduces the bodily remains of an individual to gases & bone fragments (in the urn is not ashes, but actual bone fragments/bone dust).

a Scripture is clear how the patriarchs, the Hebrew people, & New Testament believers buried their loved ones.

aa Then his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, facing Mamre...Gen 25:9 (NASB)

...in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site. Gen 49:30 (NASB)

...for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field for a burial site from Ephron the Hittite. Gen 50:13 (NASB) Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, & Leah were all buried in the same cave.

bb So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt. Gen 50:26 (NASB) Joseph was embalmed & laid in a golden coffin in Egypt. Later, at the Exodus, Moses took Joseph’s bones & buried them in the Promised Land. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, "God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones from here with you." Ex 13:19 (NASB)

b The Bible’s dominant mode of burial is in the ground.

aa Those who are completely opposed to cremation point to Joshua 7, with Achan’s sin (took gold from Jericho): he was stoned & his body burned, leaving a pile of stones as a reminder of God’s anger being turned from Israel. Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen , his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor .25 Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day." And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of Achor to this day. Josh 7:24-26 (NASB)

bb Jericho was burned, probably to control disease. They burned the city with fire, and all that was in it. Only the silver and gold, and articles of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. Josh 6:24 (NASB)

cc There is no clear Scripture promoting or discouraging cremation.

c Some people believe “no remains, no resurrection”-not true.

2 Spiritual/moral issue with some, but probably falls under Phil 2:12. So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling...Phil 2:12 (NASB)

B There have been Christians whose bodies were consumed by fire (planes, cars, buildings, war), & their departure will not impact their future with Christ, because their souls/spirits are already with the Lord.

1 Cremation doesn’t affect the soul/spirit; donating your organs will not have any influence upon a person’s future resurrection.

2 For now we see in a mirror dimly , but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 1 Cor 13:12 (NASB) The human soul/spirit has the exact same appearance as the human body; therefore the features of a person would be recognized in Paradise, just as they would be recognized by those living on Earth.

a The spirit is the mirror image of the person (Moses, Elijah, Solomon, Abraham, Lazarus, rich man).

b God doesn’t need your DNA to make a resurrected body for you!

C Preach, are you going to be cremated?

1 No

a Powerful image of 1 Thess. 4:16- For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout , with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 1 Thess 4:16 (NASB)

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