Christians do not practice cremation because they follow the teachings of Jesus Christ who was buried and later resurrected after three days.
Jesus was not cremated and thus cremation in Christianity is not biblical and Christians are not encouraged to practice it.
The biblical book of Luke (24:1-9), talks about the resurrection of Jesus Christ who is the foundation of Christianity.
According to the gospel, Jesus died and was buried after which, He resurrected after staying with the dead for three days in the tomb.
This teaching cements the Christian belief in the resurrection of the body.
The explanation above is the main reason why most Christians look at cremation as a sin before God.
Cremation refers to the disposition of human bodies by way of burning them to ashes while Christians believe in burying the dead.
Can Christians be Cremated?
No, Christians are not expected to cremate their loved ones because that is not part of their teaching since time in memorial.
What a Christian does according to the Bible with the body of a loved one, in this case, is that it is given a decent burial and a sendoff.
However, God really has not given specific guidance about what to do with a dead body and whether it should be cremated or not.
“The Bible doesn’t give us any direct revelation or direction as to what we should do with the dead body of a Christian but we do bury them because Jesus was also buried and not cremated. This is why many people always ask if Cremation is a sin or not in Christianity”
The societies in the Bible did many different things for example, the Egyptians practice mummification.
We don’t do that today but it was something that was done in the ancient biblical culture but all this changed with the coming of Jesus Christ.
The usual way that dead bodies were handled in the biblical world was burial. This was the usual way and there were many different types of burial in the biblical world.
This is because they had no way of embalming the body and keeping it from decaying or spreading diseases that were associated with their dead loved ones.
The custom was that you buried a body the same day that the person died and that custom of course could be stretched or chained a little bit here and there.
The custom of the Bible was that the very day a person died, they were buried before the end of that very day with different types of burial practices in different cultures.
Here are some types of burials that existed in the biblical times instead of cremation;
- There was direct burial in the ground
- There was burial in a crypt above the ground
- There were burial caves and these would be known as ancestral caves
A good example is when Abraham bought the Cave of Machpelah and buried his wife Sarah there. Then when Abraham, Isaac, Leah died, they were all buried in the same cave.
Christians are the descendants of Abraham and we see that Christians were not cremated in the bible but rather there were ancestral burial caves. We also know that Jesus Christ was buried in a cave.
Romans as well as the Jews preferred burying the dead as compared to cremation.
When it came to cremation, there was some cremation in the biblical world but not a lot.
Some the Greeks for example practiced cremation. Sometimes, bodies were cremated when they had been desecrated.
For example, the men of Jabish Gilead cremated King Saul and his sons who had been killed by the Philistines.
Christians and Cremation
In first Samuel chapter thirty-one verse twelve, you can see that the bodies were cremated and the bones were taken for burial afterward.
As we read the Bible, we have no command of God with no direct revelation about what is the proper thing to do with the dead body.
The fact that God didn’t give us any instructions then leads us to some specific conclusions and some interesting points about the dead.
The first is that whatever we’re going to do with a dead body, we have to follow what the second commandment says.
It states that we should love our neighbor just like ourselves. As Christians, we are supposed to do everything with love.
This means that whatever we do with the dead body, we should do it with great love, dignity, honesty combined with tenderness. We should make a conscious decision about it.
The second thing we learn is that no matter what happens to your body after death, what matters is the final destination of your soul.
Eventually what God said would happen happens and that is your body will return to the ground where it came from.
In Genesis chapter 3:19, God said to Adam that he will return to the ground. That he was taken from it, he is dust and to dust he will be returned.
Eventually, every dead body will return to dust and we need to keep that in mind as Christians.
It is only that how we get to dust differ. It may be through cremation or burial and decay but eventually, every dead body will get to drop and turn to dust.
Christians should never let death be final for them because God never intended death when God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden.
He never said that they were going to live a couple of hundred years and then die.
God intended an everlasting life for us and that is why He sent Jesus Christ to save our souls as Christians.
A true Christian should never be worried about what happens to the body but rather focus on the everlasting life.
The question of cremation and Christianity lies in the fact that Christians respect the dead as well and any loved one must be given a decent send-off so that we wish them a peaceful afterlife.
God has provided for mankind to have everlasting life through Jesus Christ.
Even if this flesh body dies, God will one day get that flesh body up from the dead in a new and wonderful body that will live forever.
Debate About Cremation in Christianity Today
There have been debates as to whether cremation is better for the environment as compared to burial.
This topic remains debatable but for some reasons, cremations has always been regarded as being environmentally friendly as opposed to burial.
Some of the reasons for this view include the fact that burial usually entails the use of coffins which are in most cases is carved out of wood.
This translates to the cutting down of trees which usually leads to environmental degradation.
It is also arguable that there are other methods of burial that may not necessarily have to involve the use of coffins.
It may also be argued that the decomposing bodies are likely to enhance the nutritional value of the soil.
Cremation may also be seen as contributing to air pollution and by extension, global warming by way of increased carbon emissions.
Sermon on Cremation
The resurrection of the body in the bible does not specify on the types of bodies that are likely to resurrect.
It is clear that all dead bodies have to undergo decomposition and they eventually disappear just the same way a cremated body would.
This means that if the bible talks of the resurrection of the body, then all are likely to resurrect regardless of the way they were interred.
Sermon on cremation in Christianity teaches that human beings were made out of the soil of the earth and that upon their death, they will go back to the earth.
This is a clear message that the dead should be buried in the earth to allow the bodies to decompose back into the earth.
Christians also strive to live the way Jesus lived and this includes how their bodies are handled upon their deaths.
These are some of the reasons that explain the reasons why Christianity is likely to be against cremation.
Cremation and The Soul
According to Christianity, humans have both the physical bodies and the souls. The human soul lives on after the death of an individual.
The soul can neither be touched nor felt. The actions of an individual in his/her lifetime determines where the soul goes after death.
In death, the individual loses control of the body and how the other individuals handle that body may not affect the soul.
Is Cremation a Sin in Catholic Church?
Cremation is a sin in the catholic church and that is why Catholicism is the oldest denomination in Christianity yet they do not cremate.
Catholics around the world follow the same doctrinal teachings which also apply in the events where holy mass is conducted for a departed soul.
Catholic priests live in seminaries and convents and are usually buried in a common cemetery. The burial is usually symbolic to the burial of Jesus Christ.
What does the bible say about cremation?
In the book of 1 Samuel 31:11-13, Saul, an Israelite army commander, had led his troops into war against the Philistines.
His three sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malki-Shua were part of his army.
Saul and his three sons fell in the battle and the Philistines cut off his head and displayed it alongside his armor as a way of shaming the Israelites.
When some of his people heard the news, they sought the bodies of Saul and his sons, burned their flesh, and buried the bones to save them from the shame.
Modern Christianity has a cocktail of different experiences that are either learned in formal education settings or simply acquired.
This means that different people have different views towards cremation and given the idea of a free will, they can choose how they would like their bodies or those of their loved ones interred.
Bible Verses on Death and Cremation
Some of the bible verses that talk about cremation incidences include;
- 1 Corinthians 15:35-55
- Genesis 3:19
- 1 Corinthians 13:3
- 1 Samuel 31: 11-13
- Joshua 7:25
- 2 Kings 23:15-20
Is Cremation Pagan?
Yes, cremation is pagan and that is why it was regarded as paganism given that the practice was seen as opposing the Christian belief in the resurrection of the body.
The Pope lifted the ban that had been put on cremation by the church in the year 1963.
This consequently allowed the priests to preside over interment ceremonies that included cremation among Catholics.
There are cultures around the world that practice cremation as a funeral rite and it usually serves as an alternative to rites such as burial.
There are ancient traditions that practiced cremation on open-air pyres. The practice has since been overtaken by time.
In the modern world, cremation furnaces are designed in a manner that the cremation is conducted in a closed oven.
What is of great interest is how other traditions and religions view the practice of disposing dead bodies by way of cremation.
This article focuses on the Christian view of cremation and some of their religious teachings that exist in regard to cremation.
This is amidst a growing trend across the globe of bodies being cremated for various reasons such as scarcity of land for burial.
The alternative use of land which is a trend being embraced in almost all parts of the world has also led to cremation among modern Christians.
Is Cremation Bad for the Soul?
Cremation is bad for the soul in Christianity because Christians are taught that the body is the temple of God.
Since God did not tell us to cremate the dead as Christians, then we should know that it is not good for the soul.
Christianity is a religion that has for long been known to prefer burial as a final rite that is exercised upon the death of the members.
The practice dates back to the old days of the traditions upon which the religion is founded.
It is important to mention that Christianity harbors a belief in life after death and resurrection.
It is not clear whether this could be one of the reasons that promotes the idea of burial over the other ways of handling the bodies of the dead.
However, there is also, no clear information as to whether Christianity forbids cremation.
It is, notable that the churches across the globe still give preference to burial which is the traditional interment method.
There are areas across the globe where there is the permission of cremation considering that the interment method is not intended to be used as a way of refuting the claims of resurrection.
In conclusion, cremation in Christianity is not encouraged because there is an afterlife in Christianity.
We have to persevere in Christ as Christians even in our hard times since we will see Him again.
Cremation involves the burning of the dead body which is considered to be cruel in Christianity.
It is not a respectable way to see a loved one off because Christians believe in love, care, and kindness.