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Unread 07-20-2017, 11:57 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Leboman View Post
I don't believe there is adequate evidence to definitively say one way or the other.

Perhaps "forbidden" is the wrong word.

I don't see adequate evidence to definitively say it is not ideal or that it's not preferred.
So you feel like it is okay for you to be able to have "opinions (albeit not strong ones)" [ie a preference] about this issue, but I can't have my own preferences? That is completely ridiculous and hypocritical, Leboman.


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One reason I may come across defensive is that I have had fellow believers pretty much accuse me of paganism (or outright Satanism) because I have chosen cremation over burial. I don't feel that I have devalued the human body or denied that we're created in God's image because I think cremation is an valid option. BTW, I'm not sure that whole Imago Dei thing is about our physical bodies in the first place.
Okay, so you have personal issues with this subject based off how others (not I) have treated you.


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To me, it seems just as pagan to "enshrine" the bodies of those we love and set up monuments in their honor. In some cases in borders on idolatry.
Red Herring.

I have shared my reasons for my preference, upon request. No point in arguing over something I am not even arguing. Peace.

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Last edited by Daniel21TX; 07-20-2017 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Changed a typo. can to can't.
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Unread 07-20-2017, 12:03 PM   #17
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So you feel like it is okay for you to be able to have "opinions (albeit not strong ones)" about this issue, but I can have my own preferences? That is completely ridiculous and hypocritical, Leboman.




Okay, so you have personal issues with this subject based off how others (not I) have treated you.




Red Herring.

I have shared my reasons for my preference, upon request. I don't like the way this thread has taken a turn. No point in arguing over something I am not even arguing. Peace.

I didn't say you couldn't have your own preference. I actually say that we all are giving our personal preferences and that's all we can really do in light of Scripture. Not once have I suggested that burial is not a valid option.

I admit that use of the word "forbidden" was not a good choice. Also, I never claimed that anyone here accused me of anything. I was simply giving background as to why I might seem (as you accused me) of being defensive. I haven't suggested that anyone is being "ridiculous" or "hypocritical" for their responses here.

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Unread 07-20-2017, 12:17 PM   #18
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Let's all take a deep breath.



I think we have obviously had a minor misunderstanding. I think we are all in agreement here that it is okay to have differing views and to respect those who have them.

Back to it.
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Unread 07-20-2017, 12:54 PM   #19
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I'm not inclined to think that it makes any difference to God. However, it kind of creeps me out to think that there are thousands of bodies in the cemetery down the street from me that are very slowly decaying. My father died 50+ years ago - and I have thought about what he might look like today. My mother was cremated, and that's what I prefer. I think it is a more respectful way to care for the dead.
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Unread 07-20-2017, 03:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Leboman View Post
Let's all take a deep breath.



I think we have obviously had a minor misunderstanding. I think we are all in agreement here that it is okay to have differing views and to respect those who have them.

Back to it.
Glad to see this. Thanks for slowing it down, Lee.
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Unread 07-20-2017, 03:07 PM   #21
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It's worth pointing out, in answer to Lee's implication that the veneration of relics borders on idolatry - that in the worldview of those classical Christians who engage in such veneration there is a strong distinction between veneration and worship. This is a distinction that is denied by many outside of the historic ancient Christian churches, and was particularly militated against by Calvin and those who took their cues from him (the English Reformation, mostly, who destroyed relics and sacred art with reckless abandon). Obviously, I think he was wrong

Lee is right that you won't find a Bible verse that says 'thou shalt not cremate'. You can, however, build a case from Biblical principles about Man being the image of God, of his body being sacred, and of cremation never being utilized as a burial technique by the people of God but being extensively used by pagans - to arrive at a conclusion that cremation may not be the best option.

That, combined with the documented early Christian practice of celebrating Divine Liturgy or the Mass (in the Roman church) over the relics of our departed martyrs - something which, if Revelation is interpreted as a liturgical text, as many of the Church Fathers did - finds its precedence in Revelation 6:9-11 - indicates that from the earliest days, it never entered the minds of any Christian to cremate their dead.
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Unread 07-20-2017, 03:16 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by IsaactheSyrian View Post
It's worth pointing out, in answer to Lee's implication that the veneration of relics borders on idolatry - that in the worldview of those classical Christians who engage in such veneration there is a strong distinction between veneration and worship. This is a distinction that is denied by many outside of the historic ancient Christian churches, and was particularly militated against by Calvin and those who took their cues from him (the English Reformation, mostly, who destroyed relics and sacred art with reckless abandon). Obviously, I think he was wrong
I misunderstood Lee the first time I read him, I think, because I thought he meant that many people seek to be buried and venerated because of their idols, not that those who mourn idolize. Re-reading it, I think you've got what Lee said more accurately.
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Unread 07-20-2017, 04:15 PM   #23
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It's worth pointing out, in answer to Lee's implication that the veneration of relics borders on idolatry - that in the worldview of those classical Christians who engage in such veneration there is a strong distinction between veneration and worship. This is a distinction that is denied by many outside of the historic ancient Christian churches, and was particularly militated against by Calvin and those who took their cues from him (the English Reformation, mostly, who destroyed relics and sacred art with reckless abandon). Obviously, I think he was wrong

Lee is right that you won't find a Bible verse that says 'thou shalt not cremate'. You can, however, build a case from Biblical principles about Man being the image of God, of his body being sacred, and of cremation never being utilized as a burial technique by the people of God but being extensively used by pagans - to arrive at a conclusion that cremation may not be the best option.

That, combined with the documented early Christian practice of celebrating Divine Liturgy or the Mass (in the Roman church) over the relics of our departed martyrs - something which, if Revelation is interpreted as a liturgical text, as many of the Church Fathers did - finds its precedence in Revelation 6:9-11 - indicates that from the earliest days, it never entered the minds of any Christian to cremate their dead.
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I misunderstood Lee the first time I read him, I think, because I thought he meant that many people seek to be buried and venerated because of their idols, not that those who mourn idolize. Re-reading it, I think you've got what Lee said more accurately.
Honestly, veneration of saints wasn't even what I had in mind. I am at work so I will elaborate when I get home.
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Unread 07-20-2017, 05:31 PM   #24
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Sure, but they're related, at least in the worldview of ancient Christianity. We didn't burn our dead and part of the reason for that is because we venerated their bodies and personal effects, especially in the case of martyrs.
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Unread 07-20-2017, 06:30 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by IsaactheSyrian View Post
It's worth pointing out, in answer to Lee's implication that the veneration of relics borders on idolatry - that in the worldview of those classical Christians who engage in such veneration there is a strong distinction between veneration and worship. This is a distinction that is denied by many outside of the historic ancient Christian churches, and was particularly militated against by Calvin and those who took their cues from him (the English Reformation, mostly, who destroyed relics and sacred art with reckless abandon). Obviously, I think he was wrong

Lee is right that you won't find a Bible verse that says 'thou shalt not cremate'. You can, however, build a case from Biblical principles about Man being the image of God, of his body being sacred, and of cremation never being utilized as a burial technique by the people of God but being extensively used by pagans - to arrive at a conclusion that cremation may not be the best option.

That, combined with the documented early Christian practice of celebrating Divine Liturgy or the Mass (in the Roman church) over the relics of our departed martyrs - something which, if Revelation is interpreted as a liturgical text, as many of the Church Fathers did - finds its precedence in Revelation 6:9-11 - indicates that from the earliest days, it never entered the minds of any Christian to cremate their dead.
I'm curious how Imago Dei would play into this doctrinally. A few (honest) questions this would raise in my mind:

1. Is Imago Dei physical or metaphysical (does the body have anything to do with being made in the image of God or is it completely spiritual in nature?) Or is it both?

2. When we die, would Imago Dei still apply to our physical aspect (the body)?

It's difficult for me to see something temporal being made in the image of the eternal.
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Unread 07-20-2017, 07:08 PM   #26
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i think we're all in agreement that no one has been able to point out in scripture where it says we must only bury or must not cremate, or anything else along those lines. (and if someone can point it out, by all means please chime in. =))

i'm inclined to think this is an area of charity...or, since this is the theology forum, it's adiaphora.

let's not forget that the bible is not a how-to guide for every possible event and/or circumstance. let's remember that some things are descriptive and some things are prescriptive. it doesn't mean that they are mutually exclusive, but let's also not forget about historical, social, geographical, political, cultural, etc contexts. we need to be very cautious about the way we interpret scripture--neither taking things as instructive/prescriptive which are not meant to be, nor rejecting things which are instructive because they don't match up with popular practice. i'm inclined to rely on illumination here, and follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. if there is no such prompting one way or the other, i'm inclined to think that we're permitted to do as we see fit.

transparently, i've left instructions for whatever is the least burden on my family. if it's burial, fine. if it's cremation, fine. (actually, i did tell my brother to have me cremated and turned into a diamond. ) i'm also an organ donor. i have no theological issues with organ donation, and in fact, i think it's something that demonstrates love for our brothers and sisters.


ben - you raise some good questions. i want to think about my answers a little bit, because i have some initial responses but i want to let them marinate a bit.
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Unread 07-21-2017, 07:23 AM   #27
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I really don't have to time sit down and flesh this out but I want to get it up here before I forget. Perhaps some of you will respond before I get the chance and that is fine. It very well may necessitate a separate thread but we'll see.

I alluded to Imago Dei and so have others.

In Genesis we are told that man is created in God's image. Am I correct in saying God is spirit and doesn't have a physical body? Now, I'm not saying that there isn't something about our physical makeup that mirrors God but I think it goes beyond our bodies.

Thoughts?
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Last edited by Leboman; 07-21-2017 at 07:35 AM.
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Unread 07-21-2017, 07:57 AM   #28
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i think we're all in agreement that no one has been able to point out in scripture where it says we must only bury or must not cremate, or anything else along those lines. (and if someone can point it out, by all means please chime in. =))

i'm inclined to think this is an area of charity...or, since this is the theology forum, it's adiaphora.

let's not forget that the bible is not a how-to guide for every possible event and/or circumstance. let's remember that some things are descriptive and some things are prescriptive. it doesn't mean that they are mutually exclusive, but let's also not forget about historical, social, geographical, political, cultural, etc contexts. we need to be very cautious about the way we interpret scripture--neither taking things as instructive/prescriptive which are not meant to be, nor rejecting things which are instructive because they don't match up with popular practice. i'm inclined to rely on illumination here, and follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. if there is no such prompting one way or the other, i'm inclined to think that we're permitted to do as we see fit.

transparently, i've left instructions for whatever is the least burden on my family. if it's burial, fine. if it's cremation, fine. (actually, i did tell my brother to have me cremated and turned into a diamond. ) i'm also an organ donor. i have no theological issues with organ donation, and in fact, i think it's something that demonstrates love for our brothers and sisters.

ben - you raise some good questions. i want to think about my answers a little bit, because i have some initial responses but i want to let them marinate a bit.
I think you brought up some really good points.

And, while (if I read you well) you were pointing to the variety of different cultural realities we have in the Bible, I think it is also important to remember that the place of the Bible is also diverse among Christians.

So, IsaactheSyrian, being Orthodox, has a value for tradition that isn't shared by many Protestants (an unfortunate thing! Though, I would think many Protestants would honour that tradition if they knew anything about it, haha), and thus it isn't just what the Bible may say, but also what the the tradition (in its unity and multiplicity) has done.

I just wanted to point this out because some of us here want to point to scripture, which is great, but it can make it easy to forget to attend to the importance of tradition, something which is valued and understood different depending on where one site within the broad umbrella of Christianity.
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Unread 07-21-2017, 04:27 PM   #29
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I think you've hit the nail on the head with what I sometimes find frustrating about dialoging with certain kinds of Protestants - i.e. ones who don't appreciate or emphasize tradition outside the Scriptures. That's not intended as a blame, just a statement of it is what it is - y'all have inherited (ironically) a tradition that devalues tradition, and it's hard not to operate within the confines of said tradition if it's your bread and butter.

On the other hand, I consider the Holy Scriptures an integral part of the Tradition (Gk. 'paradosis' - that which is passed down) - with a big T - that has been passed down in the Church, like the heartwood of a great tree. So while they're incredibly important, they're not the be-all and end-all of theology.

It occasionally makes for some non-starters in conversations about certain things
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Unread 07-21-2017, 04:59 PM   #30
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I think you've hit the nail on the head with what I sometimes find frustrating about dialoging with certain kinds of Protestants - i.e. ones who don't appreciate or emphasize tradition outside the Scriptures. That's not intended as a blame, just a statement of it is what it is - y'all have inherited (ironically) a tradition that devalues tradition, and it's hard not to operate within the confines of said tradition if it's your bread and butter.

On the other hand, I consider the Holy Scriptures an integral part of the Tradition (Gk. 'paradosis' - that which is passed down) - with a big T - that has been passed down in the Church, like the heartwood of a great tree. So while they're incredibly important, they're not the be-all and end-all of theology.

It occasionally makes for some non-starters in conversations about certain things
It's something I've tried to pay attention to. And, it is a part of my theological training, which is funny since Baptists are usually seen as the pinnacle of eschewing tradition (except for tradition that has been propagated since the 60s, when there was a big boom in numbers; of course, they won't call it "tradition". It's just "how we've always done it!"). I still remember someone on here knowing about my university and saying that it was "crypto-Catholic", which seems to mean nothing substantial, except that we weren't Protestant enough. Idk.

Personally, I think this is why I am interested in what you've been saying about veneration here, especially since I've always had an uneasy feeling about cremation, because I (despite being in the category of Protestant by not being Catholic or Orthodox!) appreciate and recognise the importance of the tradition.
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