Cremation is often practiced today in cultures that have no respect for the human body or see it as evil; Cremation was not commonly practiced by Gods people in both Old or New Testament times. God ordained burial in the earth as the way of the disposal of the bodies of the dead. “TILL THOU RETURN UNTO THE GROUND” was and is God’s decree for sinful man. Cremation goes dead against this basic law of God, and hence its inappropriate. Cremation with God’s blessing is never mentioned in the Old Testament We must not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2).
a)We are to honor our bodies in life and in death.
Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit of God, and therefore, even after we have died, they should be treated with respect for the creator who made them.
1.Take Abraham as an eg, . As the “Father of the Faithful.’ he chose to purchase a plot of ground for 400 shekels of silver as a place for burying his wife Sarah (Genesis 23:14).
2. Abraham was buried by his sons, Isaac and Ishmael – Gen 25:8-9
3. Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, was buried near Bethel – Gen 35:8
4. Isaac was buried by his sons, Jacob and Esau – Gen 35:29
5. Jacob buried Leah in the family tomb – Gen 49:31
6. Jesus was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea – Mt 27: 57-60
7.When Moses died, God buried him in Moab (Deut. 34:6).
8.Jesus said that the dead should be buried, not burned (Matt. 8:22).
9. Stephen was buried after his martyrdom – Ac 8:2
10. Eleazar was buried – “And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.” (Josh. 24:33).
11. John the Baptist was buried – “And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison…and his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.” (Matt. 14:10-12).
12. Joshua was buried – “And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him…” (Josh. 24:29-30).
b)Burial symbolizes the promise of resurrection
Bible teaches that one day those who die in Christ will be raised from the dead and given new bodies. The pledge is now given to all believers, who shall have died in the usual course of nature, that they will be raised from the dead by the same power by which our Lord was raised.
“Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” (1 Cor. 15:20 -21)
But God is able to bring together whatever has been scattered: “And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens” (Mark 13:27).
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 1 Thessalonians 4:16
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom.8:22-23).
In the resurrection it will be raised a spiritual body (1 Cor 15).
c)The bodies of criminals and certain immoral people were to be burned
Most of the reference to burning of a body in the Bible is instances of: punishment for improper behavior, killings by Pagans, punishment for criminal acts, destruction of idols and evil material. (Gen. 38:24, Lev. 20:14, 21:9, Deut. 7:25; Judges 15:6; Jer. 29:22; 2 Kings 10:26; Amos 2:1 and Joshua 7:15, 25).
d)GOD DECLARES CREMATION SINFUL
“Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime” (Amos 2:1).
e) Destruction of a human body by fire is often seen as a sign of divine wrath or of God’s curse
Example of the verses are:
Peter 2:6 (Sodom and Gomorrah); Leviticus 10:1,2 (Nadab and Abihu); Acts 19:18-19 (magic books); Exodus 32:20; 2 Kings 10:26; 1 Chron. 14:12; Deut. 7:25; (idols), Revelation 20:15 (unsaved cast into the lake of fire).
Hoping that our loved ones are buried rather than cremated for a hope of resurrection of the dead!