By   •   June 1, 2004   •   Topics:


When a Christian dies is it all right to cremate the body?


The Bible does not give specific directions for the disposal of the body following death. Bible-era practices are described in Unger’s Bible Dictionary as follows: “Interment in Bible times followed soon after death, as is evident in the narratives of the burial of Sarah (Genesis 23:1-20), Rachel (Genesis 35:19-20), and Rebekah’s nurse (Genesis 35:8). The Hebrews did not normally cremate, except in most unusual cases of emergency, as in the case of Saul and his sons (1 Samuel 31:11-13).

Later Babylonians burned their dead and deposited their ashes in ornate funerary urns, as did Greeks and Romans. Hebrews in later time, indicated by the numerous ossuaries found in New Testament Palestine, also practiced cremation.”

Christians will want to show respect for the body. Even though the essential person or spirit has moved on to an eternal destiny, the body is the tangible reminder of all that person meant to us. In addition, the body is destined for resurrection, transformation, and reunion with the spirit at Christ’s return.

Whether burial or cremation best expresses that appropriate respect is a very personal decision. The wishes of other close family members and friends should also be considered in any decision, because they are the ones who will live with the decision and with the memories.

At the resurrection it will not make any difference whether a person’s body has been buried or cremated. God knows how to raise the body, either in the resurrection of life or the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29). The new body of a Christian will be a radically changed and glorified body like the body of the exalted Christ. It will be an eternal, spiritual body never again to experience weakness, disease, suffering, or death (1 Corinthians 15:35-54 and Philippians 3:20-21).

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  1. Marjorie Lambert says:

    Thank you for sharing this word….

  2. Linda Tackett says:

    Read a few articles on cremation. This was my thought on it. If God created us, He can raise us, regardless of where our ashes are. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Didn’t think it mattered whether we rotted in a grave or burned. God is able to do anything. It’s our heart when we die that determines our eternity. Thank you BGEA.

  3. Betty Bland says:

    When a Christian dies is it ok to donate your body to science ?

  4. dana murphy says:

    Thank God for wisdom and truth and thank you.

  5. Avon Brown says:


  6. Antoinette Lewis says:

    Dear Mr Graham, I have always wondered about this because during times of the loss of a loved one there is already so much sadness. Not because I will not know who they will be with but because I will miss them. When there is no way to financially give your love one a beautiful farewell because some just can’t, then cremation is the only other alternative. I however will honor my love ones wishes. Thank you Mr Graham for being one of our country’s greatest inspirations. You are loved by many. May God continue to bless and use you to encourage so many.