Where In The Bible Does It Talk About Cremation

Questions about funerals and burial customs can be complex, and many are answered in the bible. One of the more difficult topics to answer is where in the bible does it talk about cremation? What can be safely said is that there is no direct reference to cremation in the bible and that the practice is neither directly forbidden nor prescribed by God. However, the bible does have passages that speak to the matter, and when taken in context, some insight can be gained regarding what attitude Christian believers might take toward the practice of cremation.

The bible does not mention cremation as a practice, but it does address the disposal of a body’s remains. The bible states that even a man’s bones must be treated with respect, honoring the spirit and memory of the deceased. It additionally teaches that a body should put back in the earth from whence it came, in Deuteronomy 21:23 “you must not leave his body on the tree overnight, but must certainly bury him the same day; for he who is hanged on a tree is accursed of God.” Cremation has not traditionally been a Jewish custom and in many Christian circles has been known to be against church doctrine.

Despite this general opinion, many modern Christians and church denominations view cremation as an acceptable form of body disposal. In fact, the number of people choosing cremation over burial is sharply on the rise in the United States, now at 44.5% of people in 2020, according to Statista. This may mean there is an increasingly broadening of acceptance and tolerance for cremation, something that has not been seen in the religious world for centuries.

Though cremation may have been more commonly accepted in the ancient world, typical Christian practice has shifted from acceptance to disapproval, especially over the last centuries, leading to the idea in modern Christian practice, that while one may be cremated, burial is still seen as the “gold standard” by Christians. As having a proper burial is a sanctified belief, it is not thought proper to burn or dispose of a body in any way outside of a proper gravesite.

Sometimes, however, it takes a fateful turn of events to adequately answer the question of ‘What does the Bible say about cremation?’ In the book Acts, the Apostle Paul and Silas were imprisoned and bound with chains. A miraculous earthquake opened the prison cell and in an instance, just 2 of the prisoners were immediately unbound! The others all remained as they were. Given the situation, the jailer was so overwhelmed by what happened that he asked Paul and Silas, “What shall I do to be saved?” Paul answered declaring, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved.” He was then baptized in the jail immediately, along with all of his family.

This is an example of one of the many miracles in the bible and is a testament to how a difficult situation can lead to powerful transformation. In this sense, it could almost be seen as a metaphor for the dilemma of where in the bible does it talk about cremation. Though the bible does not explicitly state it as an approved practice, it does teach

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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