Ashes in Space: ‘Unredeemed’ Foolishness

Posted on June 25, 2019


By David Ettinger

Too Sad to Laugh
The recent launching of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy features a variety of payloads from science experiments and satellites, which makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that the SpaceX Falcon is also carrying the remains of 152 individuals.[1]   

The price tag for this service: a nifty $4,995 per individual’s ashes.

There was some scoffing among the commentaries I read on this story, the main criticism being the waste of money for the transport of, essentially, jars on dust into space. The ridicule was done mostly in jest, but from a Christian perspective, I was not laughing. I found nothing humorous about this foolish endeavor of the unredeemed. In fact, I find the affair tragic.

Real Foolishness
In the Bible, the word “foolish” or “foolishness” does not always refer to ignorant acts, rather, has a spiritual connotation. For instance, when King David writes, “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1), he is not referring to someone of low intelligence, but to one who is blind to the reality of God.

The apostle Paul uses the word “fool” in the same way: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21). Paul is not speaking of low intelligence, but of spiritual blindness. In fact some of the world’s most brilliant minds are spiritually foolish, as Paul again tells us: “Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20).

God is no respecter of human intelligence devoid of spiritual discernment. Those who don’t believe are “foolish” in the worst way possible – the way which puts their souls in peril.

Unredeemed Foolishness
Because the “foolish” – the world’s unredeemed – have no spiritual discernment, they do spiritually foolish things. In their wills they designate $5,000 to have their ashes flown into space. Others have their ashes spread over their favorite earthly locations.

What’s at the heart of such actions? Could this be an attempt by the unredeemed to achieve immortality, that if they can have their ashes distributed in a certain place – whether on Earth or in space – they can live forever? It seems this way to me.

These are the lengths of foolishness to which the unredeemed go, and there is nothing funny about it.

The Truth
The truth is that “people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). In other words, once the body dies, the soul – the souls of believers and unbelievers alike – move on to judgment before the Almighty God.

Those who have given their lives to Jesus Christ in this earthly life (the spiritually wise) will go to eternal life (John 5:24). Those who go to their graves without having given their lives to Christ (the spiritually foolish) will go to eternal damnation (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 21:8).

For this second group, launching their ashes into the heavenlies is a supreme act of unredeemed foolishness. Their souls have already been accounted for, and this final exploit is a tragic waste of resources and hope.

Oh what a foolish world we live in! May we who know the Lord Jesus Christ be faithful in communicating the saving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to a foolish, dying, and perishing world.