August 31, Friday

Fourth-century Christian burial depicted in relief at the Shrine of San Vittore in ciel d’oro, Basilica of Sant’AmbrogioMilan.

The hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come forth – those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation.

John 5:28.29.

Cremation is becoming more and more common. Lack of valuable land space and the ever-increasing population are given as reasons for this practice. In ancient times, during the bronze and iron ages, cremation was also commonplace. The form of the urns containing the ashes and the inclusion of jewellry and other commodities show that people believed that the deceased lived on after death. Through the influence of Christianity burial became the regular practice of disposing of the dead, until the nineteenth century saw the re-introduction of the old practice of cremation. Literature of the time makes it clear that this re-introduction also had a marked anti-ecclesiastical basis.

Thinking themselves to be “enlightened”, many today have given up believing in life after death; so they lead their lives accordingly without any consideration for God. Do some of them state their wish to be cremated in order, as they think, to avoid any unpleasant surprises later? One thing is certain: all the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and be raised, whether their remains are in a coffin, an urn, or even on the sea bed. Resurrection unto judgment awaits some; whereas those who are God’s children already look forward to the resurrection unto life. From 1 Corinthians 15, that great chapter of the resurrection, they know that their body will be laid in the earth as seed to be raised in power as a spiritual body (vv. 42-44). For this reason they still consider burial to be the correct procedure.

Image: By G.dallorto – Self-published work by G.dallorto, Attribution,