coffin02I received the following comment:

I was reading some Sellers yesterday and something he said gave me a thought.  He was talking about the symmetry of man starting as dirt, receiving the breath of life, then when dying giving up the breath of life and returning to dirt.  I thought about how men have tried to fight this reality.  They don’t want to return to dirt.  So our dead bodies become placed in coffins, which we are told keeps us hermetically sealed from the soil around us.  Intrinsically we know that our bodies will be dirt, for that is why we bury at all. Understandably the modern reason we use sealed coffins is that we don’t want Aunt Louise to enter our drinking water.  But it does seem like we could use a bit of composting.  I guess that would be one way to facilitate new life 🙂

When it rains I am mud.

You are right in that we do tend to seal bodies up to not allow them to return to the dirt. I do not think that the Bible indicates that this is a requirement. Burial customs are mentioned in the Bible. I do not know that they are ever condemned by it. Some have pointed out that people are always buried/entombed in Scripture, never cremated or some such thing. Yet cremation is never condemned (or even mentioned that I recall,) nor is burial commanded. These were just customs of the day. Mummification is mentioned, and not condemned.

It seems that God has no commandment on how dead bodies are to be treated. Perhaps this is to emphasize to us the fact that they are dead, and what happens to dead bodies is not all that important. Yet there was some importance placed by the patriarchs on their bodies being returned to the land God promised to them for burial. Yet this was to express faith in God’s promises, not because they really needed to be there.

Ultimately, I do not think that burial customs are a big deal Biblically either way.