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3/21/00

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Burial or cremation?

Cain's wife & God's law against incest

Love my enemies? You GOTTA be kidding!

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Burial or cremation

A widow asks - My husband committed suicide and I need to know the Christian way to bury him.

I heard that you need to bury, because of the Second Coming of Jesus. That is, He needs his bones to come to.

I think he would want to be cremated and have his ashes put on favorite places.

What is morally right for the Christian way?

Dear friend,

I am sorry to hear about the sad loss of your husband.

There is no Bible record of any Christian being cremated.

  • The Lord Jesus was buried, not cremated.
  • All of the following persons in the Bible were buried: Abraham, Moses, Gideon, King David, Joseph.

However...

  • The Bible makes no commands concerning burial or cremation.
  • Accordingly, cremation of your loved one would NOT be a sin or contrary to God's commands.
  • If you decide to cremate your husband, God will have no problem whatsoever in resurrecting him from the ashes when Christ returns. God can do anything!

In making your decision on this matter, you should remember that your husband will not attend either his funeral or his burial...

  • Your husband is in Heaven (2 Corinthians 5.8; Philippians 1.23).
  • Therefore, consider the following verse...
(Jesus said...) I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15.7)

Accordingly, you will bring joy to your husband in Heaven by ensuring that the Gospel is preached at his funeral...

  • When people attend a funeral, they always think deeply about their own future appointments with death and eternity.
  • Thus, a Christian funeral offers a wonderful opportunity to present the Gospel to the people who attend.
  • The best and most beautiful funeral is one that proclaims the name of Jesus Christ.
  • A funeral and burial that honors Jesus will bring great honor, joy, and peace to your husband in Heaven.

In the final analysis, you might want to ask God, your Pastor, and yourself, the following question...

"What will be most pleasing and honorable in the eyes of God -- to bury my husband or to cremate him?"

Cain's wife & God's law against incest 3/21/00

Pratt writes - Since Adam and Eve were the first people and Cain was their son, WHERE did Cain get his wife?

The Bible tells us that God drove Cain away after he murdered his brother Abel.

After Cain was driven away, he went elsewhere and got married. The Bible doesn't say how LONG a time had passed between Cain's departure, and the date of his marriage. Moreover...

  • It is evident that Cain and Abel had grown up to be adults by the time the murder of Abel took place.
  • During the years while Cain & Abel were growing up, their parents (Adam & Eve) would have had more children.
  • Some of those children would have been only a few years younger than Cain by the time he murdered Abel.
The Bible tells us that Adam begot (fathered) sons and daughters over his long lifetime of 930 years...
After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he begot sons and daughters. So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died. (Gen 5.4-5)

The Bible further tells us that Eve was the mother of all living people. That is:

  • There were NO people on the earth before Adam and Eve.
  • ALL people are descended from the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve...
And Adam called his wife's name Eve (life-giver), because she was the mother of all living. (Gen 3.20)

We can safely conclude that Adam and Eve's children married each other and had children of their own because...

  • Adam & Eve were the first and only humans that God directly created.
  • You and I are here to read this.

Accordingly, it is clear that Cain married one of his sisters, or he married the daughter of one of his sisters (his cousin).

Nowadays we use the word incest to refer to the marriage of close relatives.

A lengthy passage in
Leviticus chapter 18 forbids incest. We will quote just the introductory verse...
(God commanded...) None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his (or her) nakedness: I am the Lord. (Lev 18.6)

The book of Leviticus deals with events that took place several hundred years AFTER the days of Genesis.

That is, incest was "okay" in the times of Genesis, but forbidden in and after the days of Leviticus.

But WHY?

  • Why was incest okay with God in the days of Genesis, but NOT okay later on?
  • The answer probably lies in the changes that took place on the earth because of the flood of Noah...
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights...

...
And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. (Gen 7.11-12; Gen 7.21)

The flood brought death to all humanity except for 8 people (Noah, his 3 sons, and their wives).

As briefly described by our page on creation, the flood caused cataclysmic changes to the Earth's physical environment...

  • Before the flood of Noah, there was a protective shell of water around the earth.
  • This shell of water prevented harmful celestial rays from reaching the earth.
  • When God brought the flood, He caused the earth's protective water shell ("the windows of heaven") to collapse upon the earth, as described in Genesis chapter 7.
  • Following that event, the celestial rays reached the earth and began to damage human genetic structure.
  • In consequence, human life spans were progressively shortened. (Gen 6.3; Ps 90.10)

The problem with incest ensues from the problem of shared genetic damage. That is...

  • If people who are closely related marry each other, there is a very high probability that husband and wife will have the same genetic damage.
  • This shared genetic damage will be multiplied in their children.
  • Accordingly, the children of incest are much more likely to be deformed, handicapped, or stillborn.
  • Conversely, if people who are NOT closely related marry each other, the probability that they will both have the same genetic damage is much less.

Clearly, God forbade incest primarily to protect us from ourselves.

  • This is equally true of ALL of God's commandments pertaining to human sexuality.
  • For more information about this, see our page at... http://www.biblebell.org/sx.html.

Love your enemies 3/16/00

Anonymous writes - Jesus commanded me to love my enemies. That sounds absurd! How can I be expected to do that?
(Jesus said...) You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.

But I say to you,
love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Mt 5.43-48)
Your natural attitude toward your enemies is likely to be pretty much the same as King David's hard-nosed prayer in Psalm 58...
Break their teeth in their mouth, O God! (Psalm 58.6)

But the Bible teaches you a better way (nay, the ONLY way) for defeating your enemies.

Namely (according to Matthew 5.43-48), the Bible's shocking strategy for dealing with your enemies is this...

Destroy them!!!

Moreover, Matthew 5.43-48 deliberately teaches you the two best ways to destroy your enemy! Namely...

  • Love him to death
  • Turn him into your friend

After all, the alternative to loving an enemy is to hate him. BUT...

  • Hating someone is like burning down your house to get rid of a bug.
  • Others may hate you. But those who hate you don't win unless you hate them back. And then you destroy yourself!

Or, as God says...

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 12.21)
To summarize -- God has commanded you, "Love your enemies."

But CAN you find the spiritual strength to obey?

The Bible says...
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4.13)

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