What does the Bible say about cremation?
As a Christian you might be wondering, what does the bible say about cremation? Or more than that, how God feels about it?
The Bible does not specifically say whether cremation is approved or not. But it does give instances where the prophets in the Old Testament were buried versus burning their bodies after death (see Genesis 23:9, Deuteronomy 34:5-6, and Mark 6:29). As cremation or burial by fire was not called out in the Bible, each individual will need to make the decision for themselves based on their own faith, traditions, needs, and wishes.
The Jews always buried bodies in graves in the ground, or entombed their dead in a cave or in an sepulcher, similar to our modern day mausoleums. It was basically a stone room with a stone coffin where a body lies. The word comes from the Latin sepulcrum, which means “burial place”.
The Bible also mentions faithful individuals burning the remains of the dead. For example, when King Saul of Israel and three of his sons were killed in battle, their corpses initially remained in enemy territory and were treated dishonorably. Hearing of the situation, faithful Israelite warriors retrieved the bodies of Saul and his sons, burned them, and buried the remains. (1 Samuel 31:8-13) The Bible indicates that this was an acceptable way to treat the remains of those men.—2 Samuel 2:4-6.
You can find others under the “Cremation Bible verses: King James Version (KJV)” section.
All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. (1 Samuel 31:12)
If you’re looking for guidance, we will examine some of the most important scriptures & verses.
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.
The fact that a body is cremated does not make it impossible or difficult for God to resurrect that body. He can resurrect a body eaten by a shark or a baby torn limb from limb and aborted by its mother. God is equally able to raise a person’s remains that have been cremated as he is the remains of a person who was not cremated. The question of burial or cremation is within the realm of Christian freedom.
I personally think there's just great reverence for the body. I mean, my mom's body was the one that birthed me, and that nursed me, and as I look at that mom in the hospital bed with the little IVs and so forth, that body is precious. And there's a certain piece of reverence.
The human body was made with wonderful creation (see Psalm 139:14). We are all lucky to have such a body to use and take care of in this life. We simply get one body in this life. If we mistreat it or harm it, that will carry with us for our entire mortal existence. It is our duty to make the most of our time on earth.
More Bible verses about cremation every Christian Should Know:
1 Samuel 31:11-13
"When the people of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all their valiant men marched through the night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh, where they burned them. Then they took their bones and buried them under a tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted seven days."
"Afterward Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan."
1 Thessalonians 4:16
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."
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