By   •   July 6, 2005   •   Topics:


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?


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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  1. Sue Jones says:

    I always enjoy reading anything Dr. Graham writes. I have had so many questions answered from Dr. Graham through other people. Thanks!!!!

  2. ms baskett says:

    Thank you for this message.


    I have a friend that says cremation is the work of satan. Thanks for clarifying this for me.

  4. Susan says:

    My mom was cremated and I believe she went to heaven

  5. Joyce Nelson says:

    I believe that the Bible is the authority of GOD written word. Whenever we are making any decisions, we should search the scriptures along with much prayer. We know and believe the GOD OF HEAVEN knows all things. The Bible is to be used to search our hearts. If you desire to be creamated and believe God will resurrect you then you should Ask the LORD to grant you wisdom to have peace in your decision. Read Jeremiah 33:1-3.

    1. Kathleen Burge says:

      Thank you for referring me to Jeremiah 33:3. This is a wonderful verse to copy and keep close by.

  6. Susan Chapman says:

    Thank you. This has been my own question. At first I believed we would not go to heaven if were cremated. But I know as soon as we die our souls go to heaven and that our old bodies are brought up so I decided that it was alright to be cremated. After reading your response and after the death if my dig, I have changed my mind. I do want to respect the body God gave me and when trying to decide whether to creamate my dog I decided not. I wanted to bring her body home and bury her so I could still visit her.

  7. David says:

    My wife and I discussed this at length before deciding on cremation and our decision was based on Mark 13:27. We reasoned that God did not tell us directly in scripture that cremation is an improper form of burial. What about those who died in the twin towers? Many arguments on both sides, but it’s not what we do after death that grants eternal life. It’s what He has done for us while we lived, and that we gave our lives to Him.

  8. sandra says:

    I thought that we come from the dust of the earth, so why cant we go back that way?