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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78 Comments

  1. Dixfa says:

    Im so glad to hear this. My family thinks it’s a sin to cremate.

  2. Sharon Rice Honea says:

    I think if you’re saved it doesn’t really matter what happens to the body, it’s just a vessel. Your spirit leaves you at death. Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust. We return to the dust.

  3. Loys says:

    This is very helpful thank you. I’ve been going back and forth between burial and cremation such a long time I wanted to do what was scripturally correct.

  4. JOSEPH CARDOZO says:

    NEED FUTHER RESEARCH TO BE TOTALLY CONVINCED.

  5. Rick Conner says:

    Very helpful. Thanks!

  6. Ruth Mata says:

    Thank you for this answer. I just cremated my daughter and never thought about it if it was right or wrong.

  7. Calvin Helgesen says:

    I just wanted to hear from Pasteur Billy Graham it doesn’t matter one way or another. Because my wife wants to be cremated. So would it be ok to receive an answer from him other than what I have read.

  8. Sheila Isbel says:

    Thank-you for this article. I was considering cremation and had someone tell me it says in the Bible you wont go to heaven if you are cremated. I read the scripture she showed me and did not get what she was telling me. It confused me. I am so grateful to see what you say about cremation.

    1. Deanna says:

      Being cremated has nothing to do with accepting Jesus as your personal Savior…

  9. Katharina Stewart says:

    Thank you for clearing up cremation and being buried, whether our bodies will be raised when Christ returns. Thank you

  10. Melba Martin says:

    May God continue to bless you all.Thankyou for you service and teachings.

    1. Melba Martin says:

      There is one GOD,one JESUS, one HOLY SPIRIT,one earth, we all breath oxygen, we all bleed red, we all cry clear tears, so what’s the problem? May GOD have mercy on us all in the name of JESUS! AMEN.