Answers

By   •   June 1, 2004   •   Topics:

Q:

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


A:

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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37 Comments

  1. Barbara Glasper says:

    Thank you for this post. I often wondered about this myself but, I definitely do not want to be cremated; although I know that we will have glorified bodies as our LORD, I still want no part of being burned although I won’t feel it.

  2. Nora smith says:

    Thank you I was unsure bout cremation this has helped me understand

  3. Karen Peterson says:

    Thank you so much for this information. I have been praying about whether to be buried or cremated. Honestly, I just want to be a good steward and so now I am leaning on cremation because of the savings for my family.

    A question I would love you to answer next: What about donating your body to science? It’s often free and then the family gets the remains back.

  4. Michael says:

    Thank you very much, just wanted to b make sure my decision is not a sin .

  5. LaJuana Palk says:

    Thank you

  6. Brenda says:

    I’ll be getting cremated because of the high cost of burial. I’m saved because Jesus died for me. He paid the penalty for my sins.I’m not saved depending on how I get buried. Not by works.