Should Christians Be Cremated
The Bible doesnt give any specific instructions about cremation. Although there are instances in the Old Testament where people are burned to death and bones are burned , these are not examples of cremation.
Interestingly, 2 Kings 23:16-20 states that burning human bones on an altar was a desecration of the altar. However, it is not in the Old Testament that a cremated body of a human being should be burned or cursed.
Although cremation was common in biblical times, it was not practiced widely by New Testament believers or the Israelites. According to the Bible, burial was common in Bible cultures. It could be done in a cave, a grave, or in the ground. Although burial was a common practice, it is not the norm.
The Bible does not recommend burial as the only acceptable method of disposing of a body.
Can a Christian consider cremation? There is no specific commandment against cremation. Some Christians object to cremation because it doesnt recognize that God will one day resurrect our bodies and reunite them with our soul and spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:3558 But, just because a body is cremated doesnt make it more difficult for God to resurrect that corpse.
Christians who died over a thousand years ago are now completely dust. God will still be able to raise their bodies. God created them He will not have any difficulty in resurrecting them.
Cremation is nothing more than expedites the process of turning a persons body into dust. God can also raise a person.
Cremation In The Christian World
Acceptance of the practice has grown over the past century, especially in West Europe, North America and Australia, but not so much in conservative Christian majority places like East and Central Europe, Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa, The Caribbean, The Philippines and in the biggest part of Latin America. In other large areas such as South Asia, it is strongly opposed due to its religious meaning in Hinduism, for instance, plus the precedence of Jesus’ burial and the rest of the biblical record.
Will Cremation Impact Your Soul
Cremation has no impact on your soul. The most important thing that will impact your soul is your relationship with Jesus Christ. If he is your Lord and Savior, then your soul is fine. Jesus said in John 11:25 I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die. You can rest confidently knowing that you are safe in Christ and cremation wont change that.
Remember Romans 8:38-39 that gives you assurance that there is nothing that can separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. So, cremation will not separate you from Gods love and will not affect your eternal destiny.
Even though cremation does not impact your soul, you might be wondering if it will affect your resurrected body. Not to sound coy but some may think if I am cremated how can God resurrect my ashes? This thought may be even more prevalent in cases where people choose to spread their ashes.
It is important to remember that your resurrected body will not be anything like your natural body, it will be far superior. In 1 John 3:2 it says Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
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Billy Grahams Perspective On Cremation
The well-known religious leader Billy Graham agrees that there is no mention in the Bible that prohibits cremation. However, the Bible does teach that God has the ability to bring together whatever has been scattered according to scripture,
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.
This is another excellent argument against the assumption that a cremated body cannot be resurrected.
Does It Say In The Bible Not To Be Cremated
In the online article, “Cremation Continues to Expand“, the Cremation Association of North America noted there were two North American population groups who were less inclined to choose cremation, one of which includes members of the Baptist faith. Other Christians also see cremation in a negative light. Ms. Kim tells readers followers of the Eastern Orthodox Church find cremation unappealing because it is “a departure from the belief in resurrection”. She also informs readers that Mormons , “strongly support burial over cremation, although the church allows cremation in cultures where it’s customary.”
How is this widespread belief in resurrection related to Biblical scripture? In the online article “What Does the Bible Say about Cremation?”, Mary Fairchild tells readers, “there is no specific teaching in the Bible about cremation”, however the sacred text does include passages which promote the common belief that “one day the bodies of those who have died in Christ, will be resurrected and reunited with their souls and spirits”. This belief reinforces the need for traditional casketed burial across the spectrum of Christian denominations however according to Ms. Kim, Protestants have historically been more open to the idea of cremation and even advocated for burial reforms at the turn of the century.
Cremation: a Deeply Personal Decision
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What Does The Bible Say About Scattering Ashes
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For many people, personal belief and faith play an important role in deciding how you carry out certain end-of-life practices. If youre preparing for a Christian funeral, attending someones scattering ceremony, or want more information in order to plan your own end-of-life arrangements, you may want the answer to the question, What does the Bible say about scattering ashes?
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Some religions outright ban cremation while others encourage it. Where does Christianity fall in the cremation vs burial question and can you distinguish clear guidelines to help with decision making? This guide will provide helpful pointers and tips so you can make an informed decision one way or the other.
Common Misconceptions About Cremation
Misconception: Cremation dishonors the body.
Fact: The Bible says that those who die return to the dust, which is what naturally happens to a corpse when it decomposes. Cremation speeds up the process by reducing the body to ashes, or dust.
Misconception: In Bible times, only people in Gods disfavor were burned after death.
Fact: The dead bodies of some unfaithful people, such as Achan and his family, were burned. However, this was an exception rather than the rule. As noted earlier, the bodies of even some faithful people, such as King Sauls son Jonathan, were burned after death.
Misconception: Cremation prevents God from resurrecting a person.
Fact: Regarding resurrection of the dead, it does not matter to God whether a persons body was buried, cremated, lost at sea, or eaten by wild animals. The Almighty can easily re-create a new body for the person.1 Corinthians 15:35, 38.
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Biblical Examples Of Burials
The Bible does not command burial or have laws against cremation. The Old Testament and the New Testament demonstrate how Gods chosen people always buried their dead. Jesus Himself was buried in a tomb.
The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife .
There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife and there I buried Leah .
But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain .
Cremation And The Catholic Church
What does the Catholic Church say about cremation?
For much of its history, the Catholic Church banned cremation for Catholics. Catholics were to believe that man, created in the likeness of God, could not experience resurrection at the end of time unless their bodies were intact. Cremation was also banned to counter Roman pagan beliefs, which involved burning deceased bodies.
But, along with other major changes in the Catholic Church, cremation was approved for use in 1963, and in 1997, allowed for cremated remains to be a part of the funeral mass, if these remains are treated with the same reverence as a body.
In todays Catholic practice, the body is a holy temple, and a persons soul will rise at the end of time if the body becomes cremains.
The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed nevertheless, the Church does not prohibit cremation unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine.
Code of Canon Law Book IV Function of the Church Liber IV. De Ecclesiae munere sanctificandi https://www.vatican.va/archive/cod-iuris-canonici/eng/documents/cic_lib4-cann1166-1190_en.html
The acceptance of cremation within the Catholic Church has given Catholics the option of a more affordable, yet still dignified and holy, alternative to burial.
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Cremation: A Personal Choice
Cremation is a personal choice, and families should honor that request. It is best for people to put it in writing to avoid confusion after a family member dies. This will make funeral preparations less stressful for everyone involved.
If a person decides to be cremated, it does not cancel out having a funeral or memorial service. Either one of them or neither one of them is also a personal choice.
Is It Ok For Christians To Be Cremated
Does cremation interfere with the resurrection?
Is it wrong to cremate a persons body according to the Bible? Historically, cremation has not been part of the Christian tradition. Early Christians agreed with their Jewish ancestors that cremation was not an option they would consider, even though the Bible includes no specific mandate prohibiting it. However, this view has transformed over the years. Today, many of us have friends or family members who were cremated and cremation is sounding more and more like something we might consider for ourselves. But is cremation an acceptable option for Christians?
Many factors influence a persons choice on what to do with the body after death. Some of these factors include wealth of the family, the status of the individual, the climate of the country, health, sanitation and religious beliefs, among other things. Among these variables comes the debate of burial vs. cremation. The previously named factors contribute to the choices that each individual and family will make with respect to the question. When it comes to whether its ok for a Christian to be cremated, the best place to turn is the Bible.
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The Dignity Of The Human Body
Two focuses of Scripture lead away from burning toward burying. One is the focus on the meaning and importance of the human body, now and in the life to come. The other is the meaning of fire as it relates to the human body, now and in the life to come.
First, biblical faith, unlike Greek religion, does not view the body as the prison of the soul. So the afterlife has never been viewed as the immortality of the soul finally liberated from its physical prison. Rather, Christianity has always viewed the body as essential to full humanity so that the life to come has primarily been seen as the resurrection of the body in glorious eternal life. Paul did not consider the intermediate bodiless state, between death and resurrection, as ideal .
The greatest thing that can be said about the human body is that the eternal Son of God was incarnate in a human body and will have one forever. He became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father . Today in heaven, Jesus has the body he had on earth, glorified. When he comes he will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself . This was an immeasurable elevation in history of the dignity and glory of the human body.
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The first five years of columns, published in the Grand Rapids Press and MLive, are archived at . More recent columns can be found on TheRapidian.org by searching for the tag ethics and religion talk.
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Does Cremation Prevent Resurrection
According to Christianity, cremation does not prevent Resurrection. Christians believe that God is all powerful and that all things are possible with God. Millions of people have perished in horrible ways that have destroyed their bodies, but that does not exclude them from Resurrection. Cremation is no different than if a body was destroyed in a fire. Look to the Bibles own understanding of a return to dust:
Ecclesiastes 12:7 – Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Genesis 3:19 : In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Cremations On The Rise
There was once a time when cremation was taboo. Today, it is on the rise. The first known cremation in American took place in 1876. By 1918, fewer than one percent of those who died in the United States were cremated. By 1965, that number was up to 4 percent. In 2018, nearly half of all people in America are cremated.
It has been estimated that the number of cremations might catch up to the number of burials and might even surpass them.
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Is Cremation Okay According To The Bible
The Bible does not take a stance on cremation, nor does cremation in any way hamper Gods plan to one day resurrect all of humanity.
Although burning the remains of the dead is mentioned a few times in the Bible, the modern practice of cremation is not specifically addressed. One account describes a man being stoned and then burned due to his reprehensible behavior . Another refers to valiant men who rescued and burned the remains of King Saul and his sons to prevent further dishonorable treatment of their bodies .
Scattering Is A Personal Choice
According to the Bible, cremating and scattering the ashes of a loved one is neither right nor wrong. Choosing to cremate and scatter ultimately comes down to the wishes of the deceased or the personal preference of those burying a relative. Whether you choose to cremate or not, do your best to uphold your loved ones wishes or make decisions that uphold his or her preferences while living.
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