According to Pastor John Piper, it is okay for Christians to donate their bodies to science when they die.
Piper, who is the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minnesota and the founder of DesiringGod.org, recently authored a blog post on the website in which he says that there is biblical support for donating one’s body to science, although there is not biblical support for cremation.
"[W]hen one considers that the aim is the discovery or the improvement of some healing procedure for the body or training of doctors in the healing arts for the body, then those very so-called indignities to the body take on a kind of beauty that, in fact, serves the dignity of the body," Piper explained.
Piper went on to say that this does not mean every Christian should feel obligated to donate his or her body to science. Certain things should be taken into consideration when making the decision, such as if the person will be leaving behind a child who may need to have a grave to visit to help in the grieving process.
Piper says that, for Christians who choose to donate their bodies to science, they can view such a sacrifice in light of Christ’s sacrifice:
"Surely the human body that Christ took on was not designed to be tortured and whipped and lacerated and speared and nailed to a cross like a piece of meat," Piper explains. "But all of those indignities were embraced by Christ. He chose them. He submitted himself to them. He gave himself to them not only that our souls might be saved, but precisely so that our bodies would be raised from the dead — and all the indignities of disease and death and torture would be overcome precisely because he gave his body to them."
Piper added that giving one’s body to be burned in cremation is not the same as giving it to science.
In a previous blog post, Piper wrote that "Burial — sowing the seed of the body — is the biblical picture of belief in the resurrection of the body," while “The use of fire to consume the human body on earth was seen as a sign of contempt. It was not a glorious treatment of the body but a contemptuous one.”
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Publication date: June 7, 2016