John Steward of Jesus
  The "Good News" (Gospel) > Archives > Postings at theekklesiachurch > Caskets


I submit the questions below as the son of living parents who were born during World War I.

A casket is a box-like structure. Is its primary purpose to keep something in, or to keep something out? In either case, what, and why?


The point of the question is to help me to understand whether there is a reason for using a casket which would persuade me that one should be used, in case my opinion is ever of any significance in determining the matter.

If a casket is simply a container, the question remains whether bodily remains should be "contained" because they are of value.

My father had his appendix removed decades ago, one of his knees removed and replaced with metal or plastic, and a section of his intestines removed (along with quite a bit of scar tissue) some years ago. He has had many pounds of hair, toenails, fingernails, etc. cut off during the years. Now he has little hair. None of this has been put in a container as something of value to be preserved.

My sense is that the use of a casket is a symbolic gesture of the value seen in the memory of the one departed from the body. When the time for a decision comes, I will not think of any casket as containing my father. If burial of his body is desired, a blanket for covering and a stretcher for transportation would seem to me to meet all obvious needs. Anything beyond that is a matter of taste, culture, style, tradition, etc., if my impression is correct. The molecules contained inside a cemetery casket have no more value than the molecules surrounding the casket (or the vault). Are they in a better environment?