The practice of cremation is rarely discussed publicly within the church, although this alternative to burial has become a modern-day phenomenon. More and more people have chosen to have their remains cremated; therefore, the issue must be dealt with regardless of its sensitive nature.
In this short examination we will consider the differences between burial and cremation using the Bible as our only reliable source.
First, I must point out that the method in which a person chooses to dispose of his or her body at death has no direct relationship to salvation. Neither do we question God's ability to raise the dead from dust or from ashes.
We are, however, obligated to publish this article to challenge believers to check Holy Scripture for themselves regarding the biblical ordination for properly disposing of a person's body.
On several occasions we read in scripture that fire came down from heaven as a form of judgment to destroy the opposition (Genesis 19:24, Exodus 9:23, Leviticus 10:2, Numbers 11:1; 16:35).
God threatened the godless people with fiery judgment (Hosea 8:14, Jeremiah 17:27, Amos 7:4).
The Lord's displeasure with cremation is clearly expressed in Amos 2:1: “Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime.”
When Israel fell into idolatry, they used fire to sacrifice their sons and daughters to the demon god Molech (Deuteronomy 12:31, Ezekiel 20:31, 2 Kings 16:3, 17:17, 21:6, 23:10).
These examples should be sufficient to show that Scripture does not endorse cremation of the body.
We can begin with Abraham, the father of all believers, and follow the accounts of each person mentioned in Scripture thereafter, and will not find one who was deliberately burned after he or she had died.
King David, a man according to the heart of God, died and was buried: “So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David” (1 Kings 2:10).
In the New Testament, we read about the way in which John the Baptist’s body was handled: “And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus” (Matthew 14:12).
Jesus prophesied about His burial after an unnamed woman poured precious ointment upon His head, “She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying” (Mark 14:8).
Jesus was not cremated when He died, “And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed” (Matthew 27:59-60).
About the first Christian martyr, we read: “And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him” (Acts 8:2).
The Apostle Paul asked: “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are brought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). When we understand that our bodies are not our own, we immediately realize the significance of burying the body. Seed is not to be burned but buried: “And that which thou soweth, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain” (1 Corinthians 15:37). We may not be able to scientifically or intellectually identify what this seed consists of, but it is clear that this body/seed must be put into the ground in order for it to bring forth the spiritual body: “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:44). Would anybody think to burn a seed than plant it in the ground and then expect a harvest?
Burial is the method God has instructed His people to use when disposing of a body.
It should come as no surprise that cremation was practiced only by members of pagan religions. Hinduism and Buddhism are just two of many other Far Eastern religions that are spreading like wildfire throughout the Western world. Yoga is now an accepted form of “exercise” among Bible believing evangelicals! During a recent visit to a mall, I was surprised to find an entire section of Hindu and Buddhist paraphernalia for sale. Pagan religions are alive and well, even in the middle of what has popularly been labeled as the Bible Belt.
This is part of the progress of Bible prophecy fulfillment. Revelation 13:8 says, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, (the image of the beast),” Therefore, it stands to reason that all religions must eventually unite in order to fulfill this scripture. Thus, the difference between Christian and pagan burials will cease to exist.
Naturally, there is nothing we can do about those who have already been cremated, but the point of this writing is to dissuade any believer who has intentions to be cremated by documenting that cremation is not a biblical option.
Furthermore, the manner in which a body is disposed of must be important because the Bible records the conversation that took place between Michael the archangel and Satan about the body of Moses (Jude 9).
A number of arguments, including the cost of the procedure, may seem to support cremation, but Bible believing Christians should reject this practice outrightly and consider it an abomination to God and a rebellion against His designed plan for mankind.
There is no need to consider those who were burned at the stake for their faith, or others who were forcefully robbed of their bodies, because Jesus said: “God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham” (Matthew 3:9).
Dr. Wim Malgo, founder of Midnight Call Ministries, concluded his tract, “The Fatal Path of Cremation” with the following words.
Did God not miraculously save His three faithful servants from Nebuchadnezzar’s burning furnace (Daniel 3:19-27; Isaiah 43:2)? The same applies to people who are killed in fires and explosions, and to those who accidentally were consumed by corrosive acids. It also applies to those who were burned in ovens during the Nazi time or were destroyed by fire during Communist actions. God can restore the resurrection body to all these people. But to be voluntarily cremated is comparable to committing suicide. Anyone who gives his body for cremation is not a martyr. He is committing an outrage and is desecrating the body entrusted to him by God. Take warning regarding cremation, which is of the devil!
I refuse to accept the argument that there is no longer space enough to bury the dead. The Lord said, “Replenish the earth”(Genesis 1 :28). The earth is far from being filled with living people – is there then not enough space for the bodies of the saints who have died?
The Above Article Was Written by Arno Froese with Midnight Call Magazine, August 2007 p.29-30.
Just because a body has been destroyed by fire, doesn't mean God can't one day resurrect it in newness of life, to reunite it with the soul and spirit of the believer. If God could not do this, then all believers who have died in a fire are without hope of receiving their heavenly bodies.
All flesh and blood bodies eventually decay and become like dust in the earth. Cremation simply speeds the process along. God is certainly able to provide a resurrected body for those who have been cremated. The heavenly body is a new, spiritual body, and not the old body of flesh and blood.
Regardless of if one believes in cremation or burial, God created Adam out of dust and if He wants to He can recreate or resurrect us out of dust, ashes or thin air. Nothing is impossible with God.
Alternative View on cremation came from