27 Question 2

In the scriptures, the first mention of the disposal of the remains of a person was spoken to Abraham in Genesis 15:13-15, “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.”  This was the Lord’s promise to Abraham of a long life and then burial of his remains.

Over and over again in the Bible, we see that burial of the body after death was the preferred method.  One exception to this was King Saul.  He was cremated.  Let’s read 1 Samuel 31:8-13, “And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa. And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people. And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Bethshan. And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul;  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 Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.”  After his death, his body was taken by the Philistines, mutilated, and hung in public display.  When the brave men of Jabeshgilead learned of this, they took the bodies of Saul and his three sons and burnt them.  The reason for this is not clear.  Perhaps they wanted to completely destroy the bodies of these men so that the Philistines could not get them back and further humiliate them with more public display.  We do see that even after cremation, they buried the remains of the four men.

Is it sin to be cremated?  I see nothing in the scriptures that would prohibit anyone from being cremated.  After the original sin in the garden of Eden by Adam and Eve, the Lord proclaimed to Adam in Genesis 3:19, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”  Whether our bodies are buried or burned, we will all be returned to dust.  And whether our bodies are buried or burned, the Lord will raise up each one of us as we read in Daniel 12:2, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”  Everyone will be raised.  At the rapture, those who had trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior will be re-united with their bodies.  Their bodies will be changed into incorruptible bodies like that of the Lord Jesus, as we read in 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”  To those that die in their sins, we read in Revelation 20:11-15, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

So, to have your body burned after death is not something that the scriptures condemn, but you sure don’t want to burn forever in the lake of fire.  I urge you, that if you have never trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, that you would bow your knee to Him today. (27.2)