Answers

By   •   July 6, 2005   •   Topics:

Q:

Does the Bible forbid cremation? This has been a controversial topic in our family recently, because an aunt of mine died not long ago and directed that her body be cremated. One of our cousins, however, claims the Bible says you can't go to heaven if you're cremated. Is he right?


A:

No, this isn’t what the Bible says, and I find nothing in the Bible that forbids cremation as a means of disposing of a person’s body.

It’s true that burial was the common practice in the Bible, and cremation was rare. When cremation was practiced, it showed contempt for the person (e.g., Achan, who disobeyed God and brought defeat to the Israelites—see Joshua 7:25). Cremation is often practiced today in cultures that have no respect for the human body or see it as evil; Christians in those societies reject cremation. We believe God gave us our bodies, and they should be treated with respect. After creating the human race, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

One reason burial has been preferred by Christians is because the Bible teaches that one day those who die in Christ will be raised from the dead and given new bodies. But God is able to bring together whatever has been scattered: “And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens” (Mark 13:27).

I hope your family won’t be divided over this issue. Pray for peace in your family—and may each of you face the reality of death, and rejoice in the hope we have of eternal life because of Christ’s death and resurrection for us.

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8 Comments

  1. Linda Gerard says:

    Was not sure about being cremated, if it was a sin or not? Would like more info on this verses being buried, please.

  2. Irma Gause says:

    My biggest hope is to meet Dr. Billy Graham in person before I die. I have always respected him as a Holy man and an inspiration in my life. God Bless him always.

  3. Terri says:

    We lost our youngest son over 4 years ago – I still feel pain everyday and still cry for him before I go to bed – we never dreamed we would bury a child – what I find is that no one wants to talk about him or think about him – and it hurts – I do my best everyday to keep his memory alive. I pray he is in heaven – he died from a drug overdose but he was a very good and kind hearted person. We miss him so much and he will be forever 28 years old – can’t wait to reunite with him one day!

    1. Barb says:

      I know the feelings you talk about. We lost our son 11 years ago at age 20. Don’t give people the option. Talk about him when you need and want to. The more you talk the easier it will get. Tell people you want them to talk about him too. Tell them to share stories and memories. You are still in the early stages of grief. Time will provide a new normal. Hang in there!! Let God show you his love!!

  4. Joe Brannon says:

    Thank you for your reflection on cremation. Jesus truly is the answer to everything!

  5. Rick Davidson says:

    Thank you. Tbis is what I thought and Rev Graham’s opinion carries strong weight in our family

  6. Deborah Robbins says:

    I plan to be cremated but did not want to go against the Bible I feel funerals are for the living my soul has already gone I wanted a memorial of my lfe with family and friends rejoice ive gone to be with the lord not to be sad with my body lying in thenmiddle of the room for them to look at and say she looks good

  7. Pat Fasterling says:

    Thank you for the insight into this matter. It is a matter of expense. We do not carry much life insurance and the expense would leave the one(s) left behind with a horrendous bill. The cost of the funeral is not so high, but the burial site, etc., are exceedingly high and sometimes not even available. Cremation and services would be a dignified way to show last respects to the deceased who will be in heaven with God.