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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77 Comments

  1. Tobe says:

    Our body is the Temple of God that our souls live in this life. Ashes to ashes dust to dust. It says nothing in the bible that cremation is wrong. We turn to ashes when we die anyway. Humans are the ones who made the coffin. God receives us in soul form anyway.

  2. Lucretia thomas says:

    Thank you, this is helpful! To god be the glory.

  3. Sue Kirkman says:

    Dearest Dr. Graham, you have set my mind at ease. I never considered being creamate before on burial. The cost of burial is so expensive I can’t afford it now. I don’t want my children to be burdened with the expense as they are not well and really can’t afford it either.
    Warmest Regards,
    Sue Kirkman

  4. Brenda Copeland says:

    Thank you so much for explaining this to me in such an easy understanding way. My family has always said they just couldn’t do this to me, but I really believe once we take that last breath we are already in heaven. If we are a child of God that is. So why take up more space on this old earth? Just spread my ashes over the hill I grew up on and rejoice in the Lord! What a day that will be!!!!!

  5. Paula Balandron says:

    TY so much 4 explaining this. When I told my niece that I planned to donate my body to a teaching hospital to be used to help train Doctors & they would cremate my body afterwards, she had a FIT & said it was totally against what Gods word says & I’d be sinning….I’ll have to share this with her…TY & God Bless You & Yours XOXO

  6. Roxsanna says:

    Thank you