What Does The Bible Say About Keeping Ashes

Keeping the ashes of a loved one after they have been cremated is a practice that has been around for centuries, with the Bible providing clues about its origin. The Bible does not specifically address the issue of ashes, however, there are a few passages that may provide some insight into how it is treated today.

In Gen. 25: 8, Abraham was buried according to tradition and Jacob, his son, made a vow to God to reverence his father, burying his ashes to reflect this. This reference indicates that the practice of keeping ashes carries some kind of spiritual significance.

The Bible also hints at the importance of honoring those who have passed on. Jesus, for example, is described in John 11: 35 as weeping over the death of his friend, Lazarus. This verse serves to remind us of the importance of mourning and commemorating the dead.

In 2 Samuel 12:15-17, David breaks down when faced with the death of his newborn son. He chooses to take inventory of possessions from his son’s belongings and save them, showing his commitment to honoring the life of his son in other ways.

One of the main reasons why many people today keep the ashes of their loved ones is because it is seen as a way to remember them. Keeping ashes acknowledges the life of someone and serves as a reminder of the impact they had on the lives of those they left behind. This could explain why, in many cultures, keeping the ashes of the deceased is seen as a way to keep a connection between the living and the dead

Another possible explanation is that it is seen as a sort of physical reminder. Ashes provide a tangible connection to the physical remains of a loved one, something that can be passed down from generation to generation. This could be seen as a way of connecting with the dead and continuing their legacy in some way.

Emotional Impact

Keeping the ashes of a loved one can also have an emotional impact. In a spiritual context, it can be seen as a reminder of the afterlife, a connection with a loved one now gone. In a more practical sense, it can provide an opportunity to reflect on the life of the deceased, to celebrate moments shared and to provide a sense of closure.

Keeping the ashes provides both an individual and communal experience. It can be a way to memorialize a loved one in a space that can be revisited whenever needed. It can also be a way to open up conversations about the life and memory of the deceased, to share stories together and keep their memory alive.

In many cultures, the ashes of a loved one may be kept in a place of worship such as a synagogue or a temple, as a place to remember and honor their life. The practice of keeping ashes in religious places also has a practical purpose, in that it keeps the shrine site clean, as ashes require a minimum of upkeep and care.

There is no one right or wrong way to keep ashes. Different people may choose to practice different rituals and traditions when honoring the dead. Regardless of how it is done, the keeping of ashes is often seen as the last act of showing love and respect for someone who has died.


The laws around the keeping of ashes vary from country to country and even from state to state. It is important to be aware of any local regulations related to the practice of keeping ashes, to ensure there are no legal issues.

For example, some countries may require the ashes to only be kept in a cemetery or churchyard, while others may require written consent from the deceased’s family. In some places, there may also be restrictions on how the ashes are placed and handled.

In the United States, government regulations may also come into play when it comes to keeping ashes. Certain regulations may restrict the disposal of cremated remains, and it is important to be aware of any such requirements before keeping ashes.

It is also important to keep in mind that not all places and religions accept the practice of keeping ashes. Some may even consider it to be inappropriate or sacrilegious. It is important to understand and respect the beliefs of the faith or culture before engaging in the practice of keeping ashes.

Finding a Place to Store Ashes

Once laws and regulations have been taken into consideration, the next step is to find a suitable place to store the ashes. This could be in a specialized urn and box, a memobrial, a special piece of jewelry or a memento box. It could also be kept in a place of worship or a cemetery.

The choice of place and item should be carefully considered ahead of time, as the ashes may need to be stored in one place for many years. Personal preference is often the best guide in this regard – finding something that is meaningful to the deceased and those that are grieving their loss.

Culturally Relevant Practices

The practice of keeping ashes is not limited to a particular religion or culture. It is, however, important to be aware of any culturally relevant practices and traditions surrounding the dead. In some cultures, for example, the ashes may need to be buried in a particular way, facing a certain type of direction or placed in specific areas of the cemetery.

It may also be important to adhere to any rituals that the deceased person was involved in while they were still alive. For example, in some Buddhist traditions, the ashes of the deceased person may be placed in a stupa near a monastery, while in Islamic faith the ashes may need to be buried in a particular direction.

The practice of keeping ashes can also be interpreted differently depending on the faith. Some may consider it to be a way to honor the dead, while others may see it as a way to keep their memory alive or even to ensure a physical connection between the living and the dead. Whatever the interpretation, it is important to remember that the practice of keeping ashes carries great emotional and spiritual significance.

Future of Ashes

The practice of keeping ashes is still evolving, with new ideas, products and services being developed that may offer alternatives or additional ways to honor the dead. Some of these include the option to store ashes in a biodegradable urn and bury them in a natural environment, turn them into a diamond to be worn as a piece of jewelry, or disperse them in a special location.

Despite these emerging trends, the practice of keeping ashes will likely always remain a meaningful way to remember and honor loved ones who have passed away. As we continue to explore new ways to keep the memory of our loved ones alive, the practice of keeping their ashes can bring a sense of comfort and peace.

Memorializing Ashes

To memorialize a loved one’s ashes, it is important to create a space that serves as a reminder of their life. This can be done through special memorials, photo boards, gathering places, and other meaningful locations. These can serve as places to grieve and remember the deceased, to honor their life and to help keep their memory alive.

Memorials and gathering places can also be used to open up conversations about the deceased, to share stories, experiences and memories. This can be a powerful way to acknowledge the life of a loved one, to honor their passage and to express love for them.

Keeping the ashes of a loved one does not have to be a morbid or sad experience. There are many creative and meaningful ways to memorialize the deceased, to show love and respect, and to keep their memory alive.

Religious and Spiritual Views

Religious and spiritual views can also have a bearing on the practice of keeping ashes. In some faiths, the practice is seen as a way to pay honor and respect to the loved one who has passed away, while in others it may be seen as a way to connect to God and keep the deceased’s memory alive.

For those who are choosing to keep the ashes for religious reasons, it is important to understand the spiritual and cultural implications of the practice. It is also important to make sure that any rituals or ceremonies performed in relation to the deceased’s ashes are in keeping with their faith.

The practice of keeping ashes is deeply personal, and there is no one right or wrong way to go about it. It is ultimately up to the individual to decide how best to honor and memorialize their loved ones.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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