Does the Bible Condemn Cremation?

3 Mins read

As cremation becomes a more popular option for people who are choosing what to do with their remains, many people wonder what the Bible says about the topic. Death is a consistent theme in the Bible, and with it comes the concept of what is to be done with a deceased body. But what does the Bible say about cremation?

Why The Sudden Surge of Popularity?

Cremation has recently become a much more popular choice for people, primarily because it is more affordable than a traditional funeral and burial. It has been reported that a traditional funeral that ends with a deceased person being buried in a casket costs anywhere between $8,000 and $10,000.

While many people have life insurance that provides for a large portion of this cost, it is still an expensive proposition. Conversely, cremation typically costs between $1,500 and $2,500. Many people choose to be cremated because they believe it is a way of doing something for their family even after they have passed away.

Is The Trend Winding Down?

Not only has cremation become a more popular choice in recent years, it is expected to become even more popular. In fact, industry experts expected that 78.8% of people will opt to have their remains cremated by the year 2035. While it is not a conversation that many people want to have, it does appear that cremation will become even more prevalent over the next two decades.

What About the Way We’ve Always Done It?

Many people point to the fact that traditional funerals are just that: traditional. However, the version of funerals and burials that we have today aren’t all that traditional. For Christians, our faith goes back to the Old Testament and the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In those days, a body was buried on the same day that the person died.

Someone would cut a piece of cloth approximately one foot wide and 60 feet long to wrap the body in from head to toe, essentially mummifying the remains. This cloth would then be anointed with spices and oils that were intended to cut down on the stench that comes with a decaying body. The body would then be placed into a cave or stone sepulcher before the official period of mourning began.

The concept of having wake services and a funeral that culminates in a graveside service where the body is placed in the ground is a relatively new idea that has gained popularity over the last couple centuries. In John 11 when Jesus arrived at the tomb of Lazarus four days after he had died, Lazarus had already been in the ground for four days.

The Argument Against Cremation

Many people point to the Rapture of the church when they make their case against cremation. The explain that the promise of a bodily resurrection described in 1st Thessalonians 4 dictate that there be a body to resurrect. Even though they mean well, there are holes with this theory.

First of all, if we believe that God has the power to raise the dead and catch them up with Him in the air, we should believe that He does not require that our bodies still be in tact at the time of this calling away.

Secondly, since the process of embalming only serves to delay the decaying process, Christians who have been dead for centuries have already returned to dust like the Bible says they will. Logically speaking, Christians who died during the New Testament do not have bodies that are in tact in their graves. They have already gone through the process of “dust to dust” like Job discussed in Job 34:14-15.

The Bible and Cremation

Ultimately, there is no Bible verse that explicitly condemns cremation. What a person chooses to have done with their remains is a personal decision that is unique for each individual. It is important that every decision we make is made through prayer and supplication.

However, it is equally important that we do not force our beliefs on others, especially when there are no scriptures that plainly teach against topics like cremation.

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