Cremation is, in principle, the process of reducing a body to bone fragments by burning it. In reality, the process is slower and more complicated. The human body consists mainly of water; when a person dies, this water quickly dissipates so that the body shrinks. Burning a body completely would take about two hours; as most people choose to cremate their loved ones relatively soon after death, it typically takes about two hours and forty minutes for the body to be reduced to unidentifiable bone fragments and ash.
Cremation is a growing trend among Christians, and the Bible verse below shows that it’s not a new spiritual practice. For example, in Genesis 38 Jacob speaks of his wish to be buried with his loved ones under a tree, which is how he says they will be remembered hundreds of years later.
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What Does The Bible Say About Cremation Vs Burial
Cremation is a popular funeral choice for many Christians. When choosing cremation, the body will be burned and returned to the family as ashes in an urn. Many people who choose this service read through Scriptures to help themselves and their loved ones heal from loss. Below are some Bible verses to guide you through this difficult time.
Genesis 3:19 ESV / 131 helpful votes
By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
1 Samuel 31:12 ESV / 101 helpful votes
All the valiant men arose and went all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there.
1 Corinthians 13:3 ESV / 78 helpful votes
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Joshua 7:25 ESV / 53 helpful votes
And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 ESV / 43 helpful votes
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
Amos 2:1 ESV / 38 helpful votes
Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because he burned to lime the bones of the king of Edom.
2 Kings 23:17-24 ESV / 22 helpful votes
Then he said, “What is that monument that I see?” And the men of the city told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted these things that you have done against the altar at Bethel.” And he said, “Let him be; let no man move his bones.” So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet who came out of Samaria. And Josiah removed all the shrines also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which kings of Israel had made, provoking the Lord to anger. He did to them according to all that he had done at Bethel. And he sacrificed all the priests of the high places who were there, on the altars, and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem. And the king commanded all the people, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” …
Philippians 3:21 ESV / 21 helpful votes
Who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
2 Chronicles 16:13-14 ESV / 15 helpful votes
And Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign. They buried him in the tomb that he had cut for himself in the city of David. They laid him on a bier that had been filled with various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumer’s art, and they made a very great fire in his honor.
Romans 8:38-39 ESV / 14 helpful votes
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 19:41-42 ESV / 13 helpful votes
Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
Mark 13:27 ESV / 13 helpful votes
And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
1 Corinthians 15:1-58 ESV / 10 helpful votes
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. …
1 Corinthians 15:42 ESV / 7 helpful votes
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.
Philippians 3:1-21 ESV / 5 helpful votes
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; …
1 Corinthians 15:35 ESV / 3 helpful votes
But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?”
John 3:16-17 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
What Does The Bible Say About Keeping Ashes
Here are Bible verses about cremation, along with links to their translations. For many religious people, cremation is considered a choice that goes against God’s wishes. However, there are some places where cremation is common practice and accepted as part of the process of honoring a deceased loved one. When choosing to be cremated or buried, it is important to be aware of your family history and what your beliefs are.
Although not a biblical issue, many faiths prefer a traditional burial in order to comfort those left behind by the deceased. The opportunity to say a physical farewell to a loved one in a casket is important to many families and provides a certain sense of closure.
The dignity of the human body is also important for many people of faith, and the idea of burning someone immediately after death can be frightening to some.
What Does The Bible Say About Cremation
Bible verses about cremation offer comfort for those seeking spiritual guidance during a cremation service or when making plans for their own funeral. Some Christians believe that even though a body is cremated, the soul goes back to God. Others believe that death does not affect the soul once it departs from the body. Bible verses about cremation are comforting and uplifting for family members who may be grieving over the loss of their loved one.
Both Old and New Testament passages refer to burial as the standard practice for the Israelites and the early Christians. Rather than seen as a standard for most people of biblical times, cremation was often a form of punishment.
In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, we find the words “ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” which many people interpret as a biblical license to burn a dead body as an alternative to burial. But many scholars believe that this passage is only saying that our bodies will eventually become dust after we die, regardless of our burial method.
The first actual mention of cremation in the Bible is 1 Samuel 31: 11-13 where Saul and his sons are burned and then their bones buried after terrible ravages were inflicted on their bodies. But this was probably done for sanitary reasons rather than religious ones.
There are no cremation bible verses in the New Testament either, although certain verses describe how the resurrection will change our mortal bodies at the end of time and reunite them with our spirit.
Since the Bible does not ban nor promote cremation, most Christian denominations do not consider cremation to be sinful. The Catholic church, however, held an opposing view for many years.
So, what does the Bible say about cremation? Not much.
What Does God Have To Say About Cremation
The Christian Bible has a number of verses regarding cremation. The Biblical narrative records several instances where bodies are burned, sometimes without burial. When it comes to cremation versus burial, the Bible isn’t shy about what it has to say. Here is a list of Bible verses about cremation along with their meaning and relevance for modern Christians.
Are you looking for Bible verses about cremation? You’re in the right place. We’ve gathered lots of verses about cremation to help you with funeral planning and cremation services.
Cremation has been a burial alternative throughout history and is more of a philosophical and cultural issue, rather than a biblical one. While a few religions, such as Islam and Orthodox Judaism reject cremation, others have loosened their restrictions, and regard cremation as a spiritually sound process.
Today’s cremation services take into account the desires of both the deceased and the living and offer enough flexibility to provide for appropriate closure, grieving, and prayer.
Cremation costs less and uses fewer materials than a burial. It’s an ecologically sound method of dealing with remains that respect the importance of the human body, as well as the care of the earth.
Because we live in a transient society, more people are dying away from home, and the cost to transport a body can be prohibitive. For this reason, many families choose to have a direct cremation conducted at the place of death and then arrange to ship or carry the cremains back home–an even more affordable option.