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What Does The Bible Say About Cremation?

When it comes to the decision of what should happen to the body of a deceased person, many cultures choose from two options: burial and cremation.

And though burial has been the standard in many cultures, cremation is gaining more attention than before in the modern world.

Many people, including Christians, are turning to cremation, but some hold strong beliefs against cremation and frown at it and those who choose it as a means of disposing of corpses. 

However, what does the Bible say about cremation? Does it approve it or condemn it?

Should Christians consider it rather than burial?

Does it interfere with the resurrection on the last day?

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dustdoes the bible say a cremated body can't rise

Christians are familiar with this saying spoken during funeral services.

It is a reality we are reminded of in Scripture that the body, which was made from dust, will return to the dust it came from (Genesis 3:19, Job 34:15, Psalms 103:14).

Many have taken this to support their choice of cremating the bodies of their loved ones, and even considering it for themselves when they pass on. However, do these Bible passages actually endorse cremation?

Cremation speeds up the process of what eventually happens to a body cremation a sin

It involves burning up the flesh and grinding to fine powder the bones of the deceased.

What’s left (i.e., the cremains) are either placed in a ceramic vessel called an urn and kept by the deceased family at home or in a special sacred place, or the ashes are scattered or buried in a place that holds significance to the deceased or their loved ones. 

With burial, it is a much slower process of decomposition that begins with the skin and then, over time, goes to the bones, broken down by natural factors. Be it burial or cremation, the body will eventually return to dust.

What Does The Bible Say About Cremation?cremation in the bible

There are mentions of burning with fire in Scripture, which cannot be termed cremation as it involves burning people alive.

The pagan nations surrounding Israel had a type of worship of a pagan god, Molech, that involved burning children alive (Leviticus 18:21).

Other mentions of burning people alive can be seen in some other passages like Joshua 7:25 and Leviticus 20:14, where it was carried out as a capital punishment against specific offenses.

Burning a person with fire was perceived to be a disgraceful judgment of finality that only deserved to be done in extremely grave circumstances that called for it.

Cremation was mentioned only once in the Bible in 1 Samuel 31:11-13.

“And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul; all the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.”is cremation against the bible

When the Philistines found the dead bodies of Saul and his sons, they mutilated their bodies and treated them shamefully.

They cut their heads and pinned their bodies to walls as some form of trophy.

Their bodies could not have been given a proper burial, so the men of Jabeshgilead instead burned up the bodies and buried the bones. 

The cremation done to the bodies of Saul and his sons was basically due to the circumstances, and it did not appear to be something that was the norm.

In the Old Testament, especially among the Israelites, the dead were buried in tombs or caves as a normal practice. Men and women such as Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, David, and many others were all buried thus. 

According to the Bible, this also seemed to be the normal practice in the New Testament times, as Jesus was buried in a tomb (Matthew 27:59-60) and Lazarus in a cave (John 11:38).

Bible scholars also mention burying in the ground was also a practice of burying their dead outside of tombs and caves.

The only mention of cremation in the Bible is purely circumstantial and does not in any way allude to cremation being endorsed by God.

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Is Cremation A Sin?Is Cremation A Sin

As we have seen, there is no explicit mention in the Bible that endorses or condemns cremation.

Many people are fast accepting cremation, while many others are against it for several reasons.

Most of these reasons are based on cultural and personal beliefs about how the body of a deceased person should be treated.

To some, cremation is an irreversible destruction of the body and may affect the resurrection on the Last Day at Jesus’ Second Coming.

They believe that the body should be buried to make it easier on the resurrection day for the saints who died in Christ. Cremation, to them, makes it more complex, especially if the ashes are poured out and scattered, becoming untraceable.

To others, cremation won’t allow proper honoring of the deceased instead of burial.

The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) and should be treated with honor upon death.

They believe the body should run its normal course of decay in one place rather than being reduced to dust like a disposable inanimate object and prone to being scattered. is it a sin for a christian to be cremated

Cremation is the basic funeral practice of several cultures, which may or may not have originated from pagan worship and beliefs; however, this may make some Christians troubled as to whether or not they would be following pagan religion by cremating their dead and, therefore, sinning.

The fact remains that there is no direct statement in Scripture either endorsing or condemning cremation as a practice.

We do not have a clear indication that cremation is a sin. The reservations Christians have about cremation are based on personal beliefs and preferences about the subject. 

In Genesis 2:7, God formed the first man from the very dust of the earth.

There is much worry over how possible it would be for the resurrection to occur for those who had been cremated. However, God, who could form man out of some dust, can resurrect His saints. 

In 1 Corinthians 15:49-53, the Bible tells us that the dead will be raised with an incorruptible body, and those alive will be changed and put on a body that will not perish.

It will not matter if the body was cremated or buried. God can resurrect the spirit and give it a body.

Let us leave it to Him how He would get it done. This body we know perishes, decays, and decomposes into dust.

The body saints in Christ will have on the Resurrection Day will be an imperishable body.

We should not fret over how the Almighty God, who calls things that do not exist into existence, will do it and trust Him to handle it.

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“Whatsoever is Not of Faith…”does the bible say anything about cremation

The Bible passage in Romans 14:23 warns us: “…whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”

The very fabric of Christianity is faith.

Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), and if whatever we choose to do is not carried on by faith, it can be considered a sin. 

Whether it is a conventional burial or cremation, your choice must be based on faith conviction.

Paul says all things are lawful, but not all things are expedient or edify (1 Corinthians 6:12, 1 Corinthians 10:23).

It will be a sin if you are not convinced in your spirit about what funeral practice to go for.

If you still struggle with accepting cremation due to doubts within you, do not do it because it is becoming a norm or because you are being called into it.

Talk to God about it and wait for peace with the Holy Spirit’s leading before making a choice.

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Takeawayis it a sin to be cremated

The Bible is silent on whether or not cremation should be an acceptable option for handling dead bodies.

There may be several reasons why people may choose to cremate their dead loved ones, which may be due to financial or space constraints, depending on the family or locality of the deceased.

We do not bury our loved ones in tombs and caves, as was the common practice of biblical times. However, burying in the ground seems to give that sense of enclosure that burying in tombs/caves gives, allowing for normal degradation.

This, however, does not directly condemn cremation either.

Cremation reduces the process to a brief period and saves from the expenses a conventional burial will accumulate.

Whichever your choice may be, either to cremate or bury, ensure that your heart is in the right place, which is in God.

It is the dead in Christ that has a chance to be resurrected to be with God forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

For those who die without being in Christ, they will be raised to everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

What happens to the body after death is not as important as what was done in the body before death, as this determines the eternity of the person. Let us all submit to God, resist the devil, and trust God with what becomes of our bodies on the Last Day.