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QUESTION: Does the Bible say anything about cremation?
 
 
ANSWER: The Word of God does not directly address cremation.  However, as a Bible believer I go back to God’s Word and heed the examples we find there.  The question I ask is, Did God’s people ever practice it?  Even in our own vernacular we speak of a “Christian burial.”  Why is that?
 
Space does not allow me to list every reference but if you look these people up (get a good exhaustive concordance) you will find the Bible specifically says they were buried: Abraham, Sarah, Rachel, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Joshua, Eleazar, Samuel, David, John the Baptist, Ananias, Sapphira, and Stephen. Even in difficult circumstances God's people in olden days seem to have practiced burial. For example, how much simpler would it have been for the Israelites to have cremated Joseph and carried his ashes with them in a tiny container as opposed to his entire sarcophagus?
 
As for me burial looks forward to a bodily resurrection more than does cremation. It is our certain hope to be raised in the same body, only changed.  The physical body is called the seed for the resurrection body. When planted a seed brings forth out of itself new life. The Bible uses this to illustrate the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:35-44.  Even Job had a thorough knowledge of the bodily resurrection (Job 19:26) and his book is probably the oldest book in the Bible.
 
It appears throughout the Bible that when God destroyed a human body or an object by fire it was due to divine wrath. The following were destroyed by “fire from God:” Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Peter 2:6); Nadab and Abihu (Lev 10:1-2); some of the men who rebelled with Korah (Numbers 16:35); idols (Micah 1:7); and even books on magic (Acts 19:18-19).  There is also the example of the unsaved being cast into the lake of fire for eternal punishment.
 
It also appears that just “not being buried” was considered a dishonor. Jezebel (1 Kings 21:23-24) and the Midianites "which perished at Endor” (Psalm 83:9-10) are two examples.
 
God calls the burning of bones a transgression and punished for it: 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."
 
God's people have always buried their dead with this magnificent hope burning in their hearts: “We will see that brother or sister again in that same body, only changed, glorified!" Hallelujah! Only through the death and shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can we have this certain hope. He took upon Himself the punishment for our sins and rose again in eternal triumph three days later. When an individual thoroughly acknowledges his sinfulness before God, repents (changes his mind about and desires to turn from his sinful, self-willful life) and receives Jesus Christ as her or his Lord and Savior, the sin debt is paid, and eternal life and glory is promised from God the Father. Part of this heritage in Christ is the glorified resurrection body.
 
Now, are we bound to follow these examples? After all, they are not direct commands. Consider the following in Romans 15:4. "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning ..." And again in 1 Corinthians 10:11 we read, "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition." In these passages, God is telling us that we are to follow the Bible's examples as well as its direct instructions.
 
Cremation can result by accident, be necessary in time of war, required due to a contagious disease or even the laws of a country.  When this occurs it certainly has no effect on our future resurrection bodies nor does it ever determine where we will spend eternity.  You have nothing to worry about if a loved one has been cremated.  As for me it is a preference to be buried instead of cremated based on the above arguments from Scripture.
 
 
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