The practice of cremation has sparked diverse opinions among Christians, stirring a debate that interweaves biblical interpretation, tradition, and modern practicality.
Today we posted this video on our social media accounts and here are some of the responses we got:
One person wrote,
”I went to a funeral of a family member a few weeks ago and my wife and I talked about this. I don’t want my body to be pumped full of chemicals just to get thrown in the ground to take up space for the next several hundred years. After I die, I have no problem getting cremated and my ashes spread wherever my loved ones choose. This is just my earthly body. My soul and spirit are in heaven, and that’s what matters.”
“I would like to be laid to rest in the ground on my own property.
Yes, cremation does come from pagan practices.
Cremation has faulty practices as well.
Simple Pine box please. Our bodies naturally begin to decompose on their own. That is what Candida overgrowth is for. My body will naturally do its thing just as God intended it to“
This article aims to present both sides of the controversy surrounding cremation and suggests a path forward for those grappling with this decision.
Arguments Against Cremation from a Biblical Viewpoint
- Body as a Temple: Citing 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, some Christians believe the body, as a temple of the Holy Spirit, should be preserved out of respect. They argue that cremation, by destroying the physical body, may dishonor this sacred temple.
- Lack of Biblical Precedent: While the Bible mentions burial and cremation, the latter is rare. The customary burial of biblical figures is viewed by some as a precedent for modern believers.
- Resurrection Body: In 1 Corinthians 15:35-55, the concept of a resurrection body is central. Critics of cremation argue that destroying the physical body complicates the notion of bodily resurrection.
- Dishonoring the Dead: Traditional burial is seen by some as more respectful to the deceased, providing a specific place for remembrance and grieving.
- Potential Confusion with Pagan Practices: Some Christians express concern that cremation might align with non-Christian beliefs, preferring burial to avoid any association with pagan practices.
For more in-depth explorations of these views, readers can refer to various articles like “Is Cremation a Sin for Christians?” by GotQuestions.org (here), “Against Cremation” by Front Porch Republic (here), and more.
Arguments for the Acceptability of Cremation for Christians
- Silence of Scripture: The Bible’s lack of explicit prohibition against cremation is interpreted by some as allowing freedom of choice in funeral practices.
- Focus on the Soul: Emphasizing the eternal soul over the temporary physical body, proponents of cremation argue that the method of body disposition post-death is secondary.
- Resurrection of the Soul: Central to Christian belief is the resurrection of the soul. Supporters of cremation argue that the state of the physical remains is inconsequential to God’s power to resurrect.
- Practical Considerations: Cremation is often more practical and affordable, particularly in urban settings with limited burial space. This pragmatic aspect leads some to consider cremation a viable option.
- Evolving Traditions: Christian burial customs have evolved over time. Proponents of cremation view it as a modern adaptation of these practices.
Articles providing further insights include “The FAQs: What Christians Should Know About Cremation” by The Gospel Coalition (here), “Christian Perspective on Cremation” by National Cremation (here), among others.
A Suggested Path Forward
Given the complexity of this theological debate, it’s crucial for individuals to approach this decision thoughtfully. With prayerful consideration and seeking counsel from a trusted spiritual advisor. We should all respect that there are different perspectives within the Christian community regarding this issue and because there isn’t a clear biblical prohibition we should be tolerant of those who see things differently.
Ultimately, whether to choose cremation or burial is a deeply personal decision that each individual must make based on their understanding, beliefs, and circumstances. We hope this article was helpful and have left links to other resources to aid you in exploring the topic.