I got another one, another letter from the Cremation Society of Minnesota! Uffda! They want me to be cremated when I die. As you probably know, cremation is the alternative to burial. It involves the burning of the corpse of a dead person until nothing is left but 3 to 10 pounds of ashes (depending on the size of the person). Statistics indicate that cremations are on the rise. According to the Cremation Association of North America, “The cremation rate in the United States has been increasing steadily with the national average rate rising from 3.56% in 1960 to 48.6% in 2015 and projections are a rate of 54.3% in 2020.” By 2020 more people will be choosing to be cremated than buried. Why? Here are the reasons given for cremation:
- Cost. There is a significant difference between the cost of cremation and burial. Cremation is cheaper than burial. The average cost of a funeral today is about $6,500, including the typical $2,000-or-more cost of a casket. Add a burial vault, and the average jumps to around $7,700. A cremation, by contrast, typically costs a third of those amounts, or less.
- Footprint. Cremation casts a smaller footprint on the environment and thus is more environmentally friendly than burial. The bottom line is urns take up less room than caskets.
- Judgment. For some cremation is the final “thumbing of their nose” at God. Their ashes will be scattered and they will finally escape the judgment of the God they’ve loathed.
- Family tradition. “Others who have died were cremated and it’s the way our family deals with the dead. We cremate.”
That explains why so many are turning to cremation for the final disposition of their dead. Then why burial? Here are some reasons for burial:
- Biblical. There are no examples of the people of God, whether the nation of Israel or Christians, being cremated . . . ever! All were buried. Abraham and the patriarchs were buried in the cave of Machpelah purchased by Abraham. Most telling of all is the body of the Lord Jesus Christ was wrapped in spices and buried in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb.
- Paganism. Cremation through funeral pyres in which the dead were placed atop a pyre of wood which was then ignited was the common funeral method of the Vikings and Romans in ancient times and even today among Hindus and Sikhs in India.
Bottom line. Yes, it costs more to be buried and it isn’t as environmentally friendly as cremation. No, cremation won’t permit anyone to escape God. He has the “blueprint” for us and all, cremated or buried, will stand before the Great White Throne of Judgment. Finally, family tradition or not, rising popularity or not, cremation does not have a Biblical leg to stand on. Jesus was buried. So shall I be. He is my Lord and example in life and death.
Living He loved me. Dying He saved me. Buried He carried my sins far away,