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Cremation vs burial

Submitted: 6/4/2005
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Question: There has been much discussion lately as to whether or not it is biblically correct to be cremated upon death. Can you give any scriptural insight to this? Thank you!

Answer: We are not aware of any verses of Scripture that explicitly address this question. What happens to a person's body after death does not have any effect on that person's eternal destiny. The matter is already settled. This is why we should all be far more concerned about what we are doing with our bodies today than what happens to them after death (see Romans 12:1-2).

Having said that, it is true that the Jewish custom was always burial, which was intended to reflect an anticipation of the resurrection. This is why thousands of Jews are buried on the western slope of the Mount of Olives. We also know that Jesus was buried, and history indicates that the early Christians buried their dead. It is also true that cremation is standard practice in many pagan areas, particularly among the Hindus of India. For these reasons most Christians prefer burial, but it is not mandated in the Scriptures and is not worth arguing about if someone has his heart set on being cremated.