What Does The Bible Say About Cremation?

Cremate means: “to reduce (a dead body) to ashes by fire, especially as a funeral rite.” The Bible does not bind any particular rule or principle as to what to do with a dead body (Matthew 16:19). Is it to be buried six feet deep? Is it to be burned and then the ashes placed in an urn? There is nothing within New Testament authority that indicates what to do (John 12:48; Colossians 3:17).

There are several references in the Bible to burning bodies. For instance, God commanded Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering to Him (which obviously was a test of his faith that did not ultimately have to be carried out (Genesis 22:2-13). There are other examples that abound in the Old Testament (Joshua 7:24-25; 11:11; 1 Samuel 31:11-13; 2 Kings 23:19-20). Finally, Paul said that if a Christian were to give their body to be burned (and surely some of the first century Christians did for the cause of Christ), but did not have love as their motive, it profited them nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3). Whether the physical body is burned for evil or for good, we know that God has the power to bring back the physical body to life. He is able to reanimate the body no matter what has happened to it (Matthew 22:29; Revelation 20:11-14). Therefore, there is freedom in this particular area and whatever is expedient and for a person's conscience - that is what needs to be done. 

 



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