What Does The Bible Say Common Questions About Being Cremated
Is being cremated a sin?
There is no place in Scripture, which signifies that cremation is inappropriate.
If God did consider it to be a sin, he would have denounced it as He did with other imprudent religious customs.
Does cremation interfere with the resurrection?
There is a great deal of situations where the human body is destroyed every day.
Examples include firefighters, soldiers whose bodies are destroyed in the line of duty, people who are lost at sea, or bodies that are burned due to contagious diseases.
A compelling response to that question is: even when the body is buried whole, it still decays eventually.
Christians believe that all things are possible with God. Therefore, the fact that a body has been cremated would not prevent Him from resurrecting us.
Christians that died hundreds of years ago are certainly turned into dust by now. Would that preclude them from resurrection?
Ecclesiastes 12:7 , the dust returns to the ground it came from and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Will you go to heaven if cremated?
Some people are concerned that if there is not a whole body, then the resurrection will not be possible.
That would be improbable, no matter what method you choose for death.
Wouldnt your belief in God and the way you live your life determine if you go the heaven?
Where in the Bible is cremation mentioned?
The Bible does not make reference directly to cremation.
You can find others under the Cremation Bible verses: King James Version section.
Why Has Cremation Become So Popular
As more and more people seek to reduce expenses and costs from their lives, experiences and quality time have become more important. Life is expensive as it is and rising inflation, housing, and other life costs causes us all to take a closer look at our personal finances.
The cost of a cremation is a fraction of the cost of a traditional funeral and burial. In fact, the average cost of direct cremation costs between $1,000 and $2,500. A traditional funeral and burial cost $10,000 to $35,000 or more!
If you are looking for ways to make your familys dollar stretch farther, a direct cremation will be the best option.
Also, I dont believe it is just the costs that are driving people to move away from traditional funerals and burials. Funerals are typically so sad. When we have a loved one pass away, it should be a time of rejoicing and memory of the good times with the family. Alternatives to the traditional funeral are taking roots in our society.
Also, with cremation, the loved ones can choose to create their loved ones ashes into cremation jewelry and cremation diamonds. This can be a great way to commemorate a loved one.
Comfort And Support From The Community
The community rallied to support the family that was left behind to grieve. The burial process reminded everyone of their own family members who had died in the past. The times of reflection made death a significant and valued time in the life of the community. The home of the deceased was considered unclean during the time of mourning, so no food could be prepared in the home. Neighbors would provide food to be eaten outside the house or would invite the family to their own homes to eat. Neighbors and family could share memories of the deceased together, providing comfort and strength to the family.
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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.
Heathen Practices Or Christian Tradition
However, there are Christian traditions and heathen practices, and some in the church have adopted heathen practices in a variety of areas, including cremation, due to a lack of information. The Bible plainly shows that the Israelites, Gods chosen people, had a custom of always burying their dead and never burning them, as the heathens around them did. The Old Testament and the New Testament both reveal this. Jesus was laid to rest in a tomb. In both the Old and New Testaments, there are texts that describe how people were buried.
And after that, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre, just as Hebron in Canaan did. Genesis: 23:19
There was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife, on the field which Abraham purchased from the sons of Heth.
They buried Abraham and Sarah his wife there, Isaac and Rebekah his wife there, and I buried Leah there. 1 Chronicle 49:31
I beseech thee, turn back thy servant, so I may die in my home city, and be buried by the graves of my father and mother. But look at thy servant Chimham send him over to my lord the king, and treat with him as you see fit.
Men and comrades, let me freely tell you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is still with us today.
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Is Cremation Considered A Sin
The whole burial process can be long, full of the declarations of love and admiration for those that have passed. Although painful, it has a sense of dignity attached to the dead, while on the other hand, some Christians believe that cremation doesnt speak well of the dead in Christianity. They think it speaks ill of the circumstance of their death. It doesnt give an avenue for the loved ones to correctly say their goodbyes, and the burning might prove a terrible sight for them.
Cremation might give off the feeling that no one wants to associate with the dead, or even perform the burial rites on them, as it was reserved for those who died under unpleasant circumstances. The early Christians practiced this as witches, people with unclean spirits, or those who had committed abominations were burnt at the pyre. This notion is still widely held amongst some circles in Christianity.
We might as well say it gives a visual representation of hell in their eyes, and hell is a place reserved for sinners, and it might represent that such a person is taking rewards of their evil deed on earth before journeying to the life beyond. It is widely believed that once the body is burned, it wont rise on the day of resurrection this is supposed to be a fate for sinners. Also, in Ecclesiastes 6:3, the bible says that it is better for a man not to be born than to have no burial.
How Do I Continue Trusting God Amidst Tragedy
With so much tragedy in the world and in my familys life, Im starting to question Gods promise to be our Shepherd. How do I stop this apostasy in my heart?
God bless you, and Im sorry to hear about the pain and tragedy that you are experiencing in your own life, in the lives of those whom you know and love, and which you see in the world today. But let me just tell you that God never promised to insulate us from all the tragedy and sorrow in this world. Thats never in the promises of God for us. Christians, those who really love God, can and do suffer greatly at times. This is just the truth of what life is like in a fallen world.
Sometimes, that suffering is directly tied to our testimony for Jesus Christ: for example, if someone is persecuted or has all their goods taken or is fired from their job because they are a believer. There are other times when its not so easy to draw a line: someone might develop a terrible illness and suffer greatly from that, or suffer a great accident, or has something terrible happen in the life of one of their children.
Jesus did not come as our Shepherd to protect us or insulate us from all suffering and pain, but so that the suffering and pain we endure has meaning and is ultimately redeemed by the work of Jesus Christ. You know that great verse from Romans 8:28: For we know that God works all things together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
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Additional Biblical Burial Sites
Later, the Old Testament refers often to an Israelite’s desire to be buried in the family’s burial site. This was often done in the higher areas, hewn in stones or caves. The cave of Machpelah at Hebron provides one such example.
- Abraham purchased this site from Ephron the Hittite at the time of his wife Sarah’s death .
- When Abraham died, his children Isaac and Ishmael laid his body to rest in the same tomb .
- In turn, Jacob buried his parents Isaac and Rebekah and his own wife Leah .
- Jacob’s body was buried with his father’s, following Jacob’s own request .
- Jacob’s son Joseph made his family promise that his remains would be preserved so they could be carried back to his homeland and properly buried with the family when the Israelites finally returned from slavery in Egypt .
Early Biblical Burial Sites
Early in the Bible, interment would occur at the location of death. A site secured near a tree provided the ideal location. Rebekah’s nurse, Deborah, was buried near Bethel beneath the shade of an oak tree . The tree signified divine presence. Burial by a tree expressed the desire for life to continue, and the tree honored the memory of the individual. Since the time of the Garden of Eden and “the tree of life” , the tree was associated with life beyond the grave.
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What About People Who Die In Fires Or Their Bodies Are Destroyed
One thing the Bible is very clear about is the fact that once a mans body dies the body itself will eventually return to dust regardless of how they die. However, their spirits will go to either heaven or hell awaiting a day when they receive their resurrected bodies.
Ecclesiastes 3:20 All go unto one place all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
The Bible does not have any commands or laws against cremation. There are, however, biblical examples of how Christians were buried recorded in the Bible. Many of the heathen nations around the Israelites traditionally cremated their dead. The Israelites always buried their dead or put them in a tomb. The Jews in Jesus day continued with the same tradition and so did the New Testament Christians.
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All Bodily Remains Return To Dust
Eventually, we will all return to dust whether we are buried or cremated. However, we should pray about how our lives can bring glory to God at the finish of our lives, as well as during our time on this earth. We can plan and save for a Christian burial and leave a last will and testament outlining our beliefs so that when we have each finished our race here on this earth, we can still have a witness at the end of our lives. This will allow others to celebrate our life in Christ through a Christian service and burial instead of accepting the ways of heathen religions that do not understand that, as Christians, we get a new body at the resurrection, as our old one is put to rest in the ground.
This article is not written to bring condemnation to any who have had loved ones cremated, as we understand the lack of knowledge on this subject and the stress of the moment and the lack of means for a burial could have led you and the family to that decision. It is rather written so that in the future those who have had questions about this topic of cremation may want to seek the Lord and pray how He would lead you to bury your dead or leave instructions as to how you want to be buried.
Additional articles can be found on our Bible Answers page at
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Christianity The Bible And Cremation
Ultimately, the decision of whether to have a ground burial or be cremated is deeply personal. The Bible does not address which method is mandated for Christians, and the decision is left to the individual and their loved ones. Many feel better after discussing the process with their religious leader, be it the family Priest, Reverend, Rabbi, Chaplain, or Minister.
What Happens To The Body At Death
In Genesis, we know that man was formed from the dust of the ground. After Adam and Eve sinned, death entered the world. Because of their sin, we now face suffering and death. Here is what happens to our bodies after death:
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken for dust you are and to dust you will return .
The natural evolution of the body after death is that it will eventually return to dust. The length of this process can vary depending on how the body is treated after death, but regardless it is going to happen. You might even consider cremation as the express version of what is going to happen naturally.
In biblical times within the nation of Israel, cremation was not practiced burial was the tradition. We see this in both the Old and New testaments. Here are two examples:
1 Kings 2:10 Then David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David.
Acts 8:2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.
These are just two examples but there were plenty others including Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Hezekiah, Lazarus, even Jesus himself. Burial was an important part of the process of mourning and respecting those who had died. In spite of this, the Bible doesnt make any mandate that the body at death has to be treated in this fashion. This could be seen very much as a cultural decision and not necessarily a spiritual one.
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What About Those Who Perish In Fires Or Have Their Bodies Obliterated
One thing the Bible makes plain is that regardless of how a man dies, his body will inevitably return to dust. Their spirits, on the other hand, will journey to either paradise or hell, where they will wait for their resurrected bodies.
Everything comes together in one spot everything is made of dust, and everything returns to dust. 3:20 Ecclesiastes
And many of those who slumber in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and others to disgrace and everlasting contempt, says the Bible. 12:2 Daniel
There are no instructions or rules in the Bible that prohibit cremation. However, the Bible does contain biblical accounts of how Christians were buried. Traditionally, many of the heathen nations surrounding the Israelites burned their dead. The Israelites always buried or enshrined their dead. The Jews of Jesus day followed the same tradition as the Christians of the New Testament.
What Do Catholics Have To Say About Cremation
According to The Code of Canon Law, 1985, the Roman Catholic church does not prohibit cremation unless it is for reasons that go against Christian teaching.
However, the Code strongly recommends burial as was done for Jesus Christ.
The Code further insists that the cremated remains be treated with the same respect as corporal remains. This means that the final disposition of the cremated remains should include interment or entombment in a columbarium or a burial plot in a cemetery or mausoleum.
As such, scattering the ashes in the air, floating them on the sea, or keeping the ashes at home is taken to be disrespectful and should not be done by Catholics.
The Code further states that it would be preferred if funeral rites are performed in the presence of the body of the deceased before it is cremated.
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What Does It All Mean
As I said from the beginning, you can view cremation as the express method of what is going to happen to your physical body after you die. When you look at all the factors and add in what the Bible says about cremation, you can put your mind at ease knowing that you can decide what you want to be done with your body once you die. If you are in Christ you are safe and will be with him forever.
Besides, lets not spend so much time thinking about this corruptible body and what we do with it at death. You should be rejoicing because there is a new incorruptible body that is waiting for you. At the end of it all, that is the body that truly matters most.
Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purposewhich will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new bookThe Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life.Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but cant seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.