‘Tis odd but true; New York, thanks to actions by the state’s legislature and NY’s Governor, Kathy Hochul – most likely as a sop to the climatards and/or due to getting kickbacks from Recompose – has legalized the composting of human remains, euphemized as natural organic reduction, terramation, and/or recomposition. This makes New York the 6th Democrat-controlled state, following Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, and California, to allow the controversial practice.
To my mind and irrespective of the reasons Democrats had for putting for and then passing this into law, in so long as it is a truly voluntary choice – i.e., the Dems don’t “regulate” and tax burials and cremations to the point that they’re no longer valid choices for most people – I not only don’t mind this, I like it. I have a normal American man’s love of family and have always been an avid gardener. Having my composted remains added to my family’s gardens suits me quite, quite well. Christian groups, especially Catholics hold a quite different opinion though, one which makes no historical or Biblical sense to me at all.
This Is About As Biblical As One Can Get
Despite what certain Catholic across the country have proclaimed, composting the remains of a dead person is about as biblical as it gets.
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.— Genesis 3:19 (KJV)
That makes it pretty clear to me, and that is in English. If we move to a closer source, Classical Hebrew, “dust” in Genesis is aphar adamah (dust of the soil), which would be the soil and the soil alone, whereas the beasts were created from the ha’eres (the land as a whole). So, Man was created from the fertile soil and shall eventually, after a life of labor wresting sustenance from that soil, return to it. Amen.
Snarky Sidenote: Yes, to my fellow linguistic enthusiasts! Adam’s name was “Dirt.” 😆
This is the basis for why Talmudic law forbids both cremation and embalming the dead. We are soil and we must be returned to it and become it again.
As for the Catholics odd-seeming over-veneration of corpses? It creeps me out a bit – relics! 😮 – but it’s their thing andt they’re welcome to it. It is, however, a false argument in this cases. Buried in the ground, buried at sea, cremated, or composted – he 1st three all being allowed by Church doctrine – intrinsically carry with them any veneration or sanctification of a person’s mortal remains. But, nor do they carry and intrinsic profanation of those remains.
Frankly speaking, I find it closer to spirit of Catholic teachings to have a tree growing from one’s composted remains or to have the value left in one’s flesh feeding the garden that helps sustain one’s family than to have one’s meat chemically treated so that it both can’t rot for ages and would poison the ground (adamah) it was “returned” to if the vault it was placed in failed; or one’s ashes consigned to a columbarium and swiftly forgotten; or buried at sea and just as swiftly forgotten and more unreachable.
And hey! Those Catholic clergy and their Church have a lot of properties with a lot of green space. There’s nothing to say that their faithful couldn’t bequeath their no longer needed, composted dead flesh to bring life to them. 😉
“You don’t have a soul, Doctor. You are a soul. You have a body, temporarily.”
A Canticle For Leibowitz
Walter M. Miller (1959)