In the end, I suppose, it doesn't much matter. The deceased is just as dead, whatever term we use.
The Old Testment prophet Isaiah, who lived seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, said:
All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. (see Isaiah 40:6-8)He goes on to say:
The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.God's Word to the human race has ultimately and definitively been spoken in Jesus Christ. That Word is an affirmation of God's love for us, in spite of our sin, and a promise that all who renounce their sin and believe in Jesus Christ will live with God forever. When that happens, the powerful, affirming Word of God works life in us--a life that lasts forever:
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Corinthians 5:7)Years before his presidency, Abraham Lincoln wrote:
The death of a president may not be without its use in reminding us that we too must die. Death is the same with the high as with the low. But we are not so much roused by the fall of the many and distinguished as we are by that of well known name. By the latter, we are forced to muse and ponder.Lincoln is right, I think. To this day, the casket of a President, whether its remains are referred to as lying in state or in repose, can remind us of our own mortality and of our need for the God we meet in Jesus Christ, the One Who imbues this life with meaning and promises the free gift of infinite tomorrows with Him, that's a good thing.
Death without Christ is futile. Death for those who believe in Christ erases futility in this life and in the one to come.