“Cremation” is an article from Dr. Gordon H. Clark’s papers. Both the original scan and a transcribed document are here made available.
**Items from the unpublished papers of Dr. Gordon H. Clark should not be considered his definitive statement on the particular topic addressed. These papers are being provided for educational value. For Dr. Clark’s official positions consult his published writings.**
Unpublished 58. Cremation (original)
Unpublished 58. Cremation (typed)
Notes: An article of Dr. Gordon H. Clark from The Home Evangel.
A small group of college professors was discussing cremation. One of them had a deep seated aversion to cremation. No known agent of destruction, he argued, is more powerful than fire. Man, he continued, has something like a soul, and since this soul is intimately connected with the body, it would be reckless to expose the soul to cremation. Embalming is safer. Of course, no one knows, so he argued, what fire can or cannot do to the soul, but it is reckless to run unnecessary risks.
Another professor pointed out that not only have many people been cremated after death, but that many have been accidentally burned to death and ashes. Think of those who have been cruelly burned to death in the war. If the Ruler of the Universe has provided for a future life – so argued this second professor – would it be reasonable that these who were accidentally cremated should lose their opportunity of Heaven?
The first gentleman replied that we do not know the laws that govern preservation for a future life. There are tragedies in this life, and it may be, for all we know, that destruction by cremation is just another unfortunate tragedy. And for safety’s sake this professor hoped that he would never be cremated.
College professors or unskilled laborers – it makes no difference: if one’s hope of a future life is based on such slim grounds, and if one’s fears of destruction cannot better be put at rest, how miserable we all must be! How hopeless to grope in the darkness of such vague speculations! How unsatisfactory to guess at what the Ruler of the Universe may or may not have decided!
But the Christian who has heard God speak is neither miserable nor hopeless, for he is not condemned to groping guesses. God has spoken, and he has said:
“Our Saviour Jesus Christ hath abolished death and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11;25, 26). “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12). “Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept … O death, where is they sting? O grave, where is they victory?” (1 Cor. 15:20, 55)