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Ask A Pastor: Donating My Body To Science

Question:

What is the biblical viewpoint of a person donating their body to science? Not as an organ donor, but for medical research or experiments.


Answer:

I’ve written elsewhere that cremation is, in principle, unbiblical (though not necessarily a sin), and that burial displays the hope of the gospel the clearest and best. And one of the reasons for this is because when fire and the human body are referred to together in Scripture, the overall message is one of God’s judgement upon sin.


In the case of donating our body to science though, the same concern does not apply, (I would ask, if the body may still be buried in the end though). In fact, donating one’s body to science—if motivated by the desire to help and advance medical care given to people—seems to me to be loving our neighbor and so therefore, morally okay.


Any concern I would have with it is related to the family. Something like this could cause increased grief and anxiety to a spouse or to children, and so this is a choice that should only be made in consultation with close loved ones. John Piper writes this, “There are many family issues that need to be taken into account among others. For example, are there young children involved who just lost a mommy or a daddy who need to process the death of a parent differently than thinking they are being carved up at the university? A grave to visit may be very, very important.”


In the end, the Bible teaches this: That God has the power to raise us from the dead, and He will on the last day, when Christ returns. And for all who fall asleep in Christ (who die believing in Jesus), He will give to them new bodies. It is of most importance therefore, to entrust our body and soul to Christ now, while we still live, and then He will take care of our body and everything else, in the resurrection and for eternity.


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