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Is cremation a sin?

Submitted: 1/31/2009
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Question: Is cremation a sin?

Answer: There is nothing we know of in the Bible that forbids the burning of a corpse. So it would not be a sin for the one doing the cremating and it would certainly not be a sin for the deceased person (since dead people cannot sin). Having said that, we would point out that burial was the normative practice in the Bible. The reason for this is that believers are laid to rest in anticipation of the forthcoming resurrection. On the other hand, Hindus practice cremation because they do not believe in a resurrection but rather reincarnation. We do not believe there is any moral value in burial over cremation. But we do believe there is a symbolic value, in that burial seems to express the belief that the body will one day be reconstituted and raised from the dead, whereas cremation seems to portend a coming destruction in the furnace of fire (see Matthew 13:42-50). We prefer the hope of the former over the latter.