What does the bible say about cremation? What is your opinion on it?

The Bible does not give any position at all on this subject, and I personally have no problem with cremation. In many cultures, corpses are routinely burned. In most, they are buried. In Zoroastrianism, they are intentionally exposed to the elements, allowing the birds to peck away the flesh until only a skeleton remains. Some people request that their ashes be scattered--over rivers, mountains, or other special places. In other words, there is no consensus on how most respectfully to dispose of the bodies of the departed.

We understand that virtually every atom in the human body is replaced about every ten years. This means that God could resurrect the average person about 7 times, using their own atoms, without using the same atom twice. So, If my last body gets cremated, God would still have six more to choose from!

Many believers, however, are uncomfortable with cremation because they believe such a practice might interfere with our resurrection at the last day. The Bible does, after all, mention a bodily resurrection: even though our new bodies are "spiritual" according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, they are bodies nonetheless. You can see why many believers are uncomfortable with cremation. Orthodox Christians oppose cremation (as do Muslims and Orthodox Jews).

My view is that, if God is able to reconstitute the bodies of the dead -- in whatever form they may be found in their new and altered state -- surely he can accomplish this whether the body is drowned (Exodus 15:4), buried in the sand (Exodus 2:12), dismembered (Judges 20:6), eaten by animals (2 Kings 9:36-37), humans (Lamentations 4:10), or consumed by fire (Joshua 7:25, 1 Samuel 31:12, 1 Kings 16:18, 2 Kings 23:20, Amos 2:1, Amos 6:10, 2 Peter 3:10-13). For nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37). Can you imagine how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego might have fought against the guards at the furnace if they thought cremation would nullify their resurrection (Dan 3)? Obviously, they had no problem with it. Moreover, it is not intuitively obvious that we are honoring God more with our bodies in a moldering, decomposing state than in an incinerated one. This is also the position of the early church. (See my CD set, What Happens After We Die?)

In the final analysis, given the silence of the Bible, the cremation issue will need to remain an "opinion matter."

[See also Edward Fudge's response at Q&A1303.]

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