The Sanctity of Life and the Resurrection - First in a Series
Is God offended if your body parts are parceled out to others after you die? This was the question I pursued in a previous blog series, Flesh & Bone & The Protestant Conscience, that was later converted to an e-book.
I concluded that he is, with a few exceptions, because of the doctrine of the resurrection. Yet, I wanted to further think about this when time allowed. Perhaps I would decide I was wrong and would change my view, or maybe I would become more convinced that a Christian ought to be buried, not cremated, whole, except for those body parts lost in the catastrophes of life.
Is there any Scriptural warrant for this viewpoint? That is the key question. If there is not, then it is simply an issue that the Lord expects us to proceed with as best we can. For example, in the Live Kidney Donation series just completed, we saw that the Southern Baptist Convention has taken a stand that sharing organs is OK, in part because “Complete resurrection of the body does not depend on bodily wholeness at death.”
Church committees, pastors, theologians, ethicists and laypeople think about these issues. How should a Christian think about his body? As a repository of useful parts that may help other people to live if we will only sign our driver’s license – or become a living donor – or as sacrosanct?
Why be stingy with your parts? After all, can’t the almighty God reconstitute each person’s body no matter where its parts may be? If you can believe in the resurrection, then you can believe God can engineer it without our being buried whole.
In this advanced biomedical age, why should we consider an old fashioned burial essential to Christian thought and practice? Taking into account the expense, is it not unseemly? Wouldn’t a modest Christian desire to be cremated? Wouldn’t a caring Christian desire for his body to be used for as many medical needs as possible as an act of charity?
See how quickly we slide from once-cherished beliefs to condemnation of them and of ourselves? Yes, just as the devil attacked the doctrine of creation in the 20th century, neatly severing the first chapters of Genesis from the Bible, and from men’s acceptance of its necessity to belief, so now in the 21st century he is cleverly dividing the Christian mind from its grasp of the doctrine of the Resurrection.
The more sharing of body parts that goes on, the more cremation that takes place, the more hollowing out of Christian doctrine that occurs, the more Christian churches that close— and before we know it, a great apostasy has slipped in beneath our noses so quietly that we hardly noticed.
In this series we want to consider at least seven reasons from Scripture that belief in the doctrine of the Resurrection means a Christian should not share body parts and should be buried, not cremated. We want to consider that the sanctity of life extends beyond natural death to the resurrection, from a logical perspective. Perhaps most will not agree with this perspective. All comments are welcome.