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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59 Comments

  1. Brenda Stringfellow says:

    My father in law had questions concerning cremation and I was not sure how to answer him. Thank you so much.

  2. Roland Garza says:

    I am at a place in my life that I need to place my affairs in order. Though the world may offer no hope, I know that through Jesus, I am in a Win/Win Situation. I just needed clarity as to how God and the generations that preceded me felt about the topic. Now I can rest easy in knowing that by God’s grace, I have made the right decision for His glory and the needs of my family. Thank you and God’s blessings be with you always. I look forward to seeing you on the other side.

  3. Darleen Stewart Darwin says:

    Thank you for your answer. I have been worried about this for some time. I am 76 years old and believe very much in Jesus. I can not afford a funeral, I only have life insurance for 5000.00 I know that is not enough for a funeral. I dont want to leave bills for my family to pay. Thank you for your help.

  4. Sir Neville Peterson says:

    I shall go through with the cremation process .Thank you

  5. Denai Jackson says:

    This was helpful. I am considering cremation.

  6. Vickie Ivie says:

    Thank you so much, it’s been a question in our family for awhile. 🙏👆🙏