Should Christian Families Bury or Cremate?

Published Feb 12, 2018
Should Christian Families Bury or Cremate?
Professor Mark Coppenger acknowledges that there may be no biblical injunction against cremation, but there are several reasons he finds to favor traditional burial for the Christian.

The following is a transcribed Video Q&A, so the text may not read like an edited article would. Scroll to the bottom to view this video in its entirety. 

"You know, we had a big argument with my mother not long before she died and she wanted to be cremated, didn't want to take up space, didn't want to make a problem. We just said, "Yeah, mom. Yeah, mom." Then we buried her in a casket. I mean, this was a family argument we had. There is a lot of cremation done in the Christian church. I am not keen on it. I am not saying there is a firm biblical teaching against it, but I did a piece for Baptist Press a number of years ago where I listed 10 reasons why I favored the other.

You know, burial, that's a picture of baptism. We buried with Christ in baptism, raised in his like. There're associations with Pagan burnings of the body, burning Pyres in India, and so forth. I think the biblical example is a kind of special regard for the preciousness of the bones. They bring the bones back and bury the body from Egypt and the like.

I think also there's just great reverence for the body. I mean, my mom's body was one that birthed me and that nursed me. As I look at that mom in the hospital bed with the little IVs and so forth, that body is precious. There's a certain piece of reverence. I talk about just the treasure of graveyards, of cemeteries how Cave Hill in Louisville has the bones of the founders of the seminary and you can walk. They're reverential moments.

Our hymnody is full of it... "up from the grave he arose." It's not like in the ashes co-alest from the winds. You know. There's just so many reasons that seems to suggest that physical burial of a body is optimum."



Originally published Tuesday, 10 March 2020.