What Does the Bible Say About Cremation?
An in-ground burial typically costs twice as much as cremation and finding a place for the burial in itself can be a challenge. No wonder why cremation is becoming a more popular and preferred funeral solution around the world. However, the idea of cremating a body doesn't settle in well with some Christians. So what exactly does the Bible say about cremation? Let's find out!
Can Christians / Catholics be cremated?
Historically, cremation has been perceived as wrong by Christians due to their belief in the physical resurrection of the body. For Christians, ground burial also served to distinguish themselves from other Pagan religions that mainly practiced cremation rather than the burial of the dead.
However, at some point after the 1960s, the Roman Catholic Church removed the ban on cremation, and since then, it has become an acceptable thing to do as long as it is not done to express disbelief in the resurrection of the body.
While most churches do not encourage cremation but still see it as an acceptable practice, the Eastern Orthodox Church does not perceive cremation as a religious way to dispose of a body.
Also, what happens to the cremated remains is a topic of debate. For example, the Vatican's doctrinal office doesn’t believe it's right to keep the ashes at home for display or scattering the ashes at sea and recommends keeping the cremains in a church cemetery.
The common objection
Some Christians believe that cremating the bodies is not the right way because it may hinder the process of resurrection, which is the basis of life after death. But on the contrary, bodies buried underground decompose as well, so based on that logic, they should face the same problem with ground burials. Some may even argue that nothing is impossible or even difficult for the Almighty God, so it shouldn't matter whether the body is cremated or not. And, above all, it is our spiritual self that is brought back to life and not our physical bodies.
It's more of a personal preference
There are many verses in the Bible that you could interpret as favouring ground burials rather than cremation but nowhere does it say that cremation is prohibited. And preferences may change over time because of varying circumstances. Back then, ground burials might have been the easier option, but today, they can cost up to $10,000 as opposed to cremation that will cost you $2500 at most. That's why a lot of people today see it as a matter of preference or convenience, not religion.
Although cremation may seem very different from burial, the purpose of burying bodies as a symbolic memorial to loved ones can still be achieved by burying the remains in an urn or keeping the urns at the church cemetery. There's a number of options available when it comes to choosing an urn. Plus, the cost of an urn and its burial can be significantly reduced by opting for the most economical and practical options.