“. . . and then from death awaken me,
That these mine eyes with joy may see,
O son of God thy glorious face,
My savior and my fount of grace.”
Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart
…Lutheran Service Book #708
Out of everything that sets Christianity apart from other religions there is one primary difference; we believe there will be a physical resurrection from the dead. This means Jesus will raise our physical bodies. We will not be puffs of mist in heaven, we will be physical. We will not be spirits floating around, we will be physical.
The teaching of a physical resurrection of the dead has always set us apart and it always will. The Apostle Paul wrote most of his letters to people in the ancient Mediterranean world. These people were heavily influenced by Roman religion and Greek philosophy. The Romans and Greeks believed the physical world was inferior and the physical flesh was limiting. They were actually offended by the teachings of the early Christians who believed when Jesus returned there would be a physical resurrection of the dead.
We Christians are still living in a world that fights against Christ’s teaching of a physical resurrection of the dead. Many non-Christians believe a physical resurrection from the dead is either ridiculous or just something they don’t want. For instance, recently the state of Washington passed a law allowing “human composition” as a means for disposing of human remains following death. This method changes a deceased’s remains into a crude form of “soil” that could be placed back into the ground. Behind this method of disposing of human remains is often a religious belief. Many people, after being raised for decades learning about evolution and natural selection, believe we humans are simply accidents;
we are merely the end result of billions of years of biological progression. Because of this, many people are starting to believe that death is the good and natural end to their lives. In death, they return back to the “god” from whom they came; nature.
As Christians, we believe death is not natural; it is a consequence of the Fall into Sin (Genesis 3). As Christians, we believe Christ has destroyed our greatest enemy, death, and will give us a physical resurrection in our bodies (minus the corrupted flesh, and without the sinful nature). In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with a more traditional form of burial in a casket, cremation, or even human composting. What matters is what we believe about death. The key, even in death, is that we are glorifying God. When we die we are committing our bodies to the ground (one way or another), but the ground is merely a temporary custodian of our remains until that day comes when Jesus returns and calls our bodies to take on flesh once more, and rise to eternal life. May God preserve all of us in the faith until that great and glorious day.
- Pastor Grimenstein