The Economist 1843 magazine (June/July 2-17) reported: “In 1960 just 3% of America’s dead were cremated; this year cremation will overtake burial in the United States, matching countries like Britain, Sweden and Denmark where around three quarters opt for their bodies to be dispatched by fire.” One of the most frequently asked questions I am asked is, “What do you think about cremation? Is it wrong for a Christian to be cremated?”

The most common reason given for cremation is that it is much cheaper, and demonstrates wise stewardship of the Lord’s resources. The cost of cremation and burial vary tremendously, but there is no doubt that cremation is usually cheaper. But is that a compelling reason for cremation?

As I studied this topic it was clear that burial is the biblical pattern in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. In biblical times great care was taken of the body of a deceased. A whole chapter of the Bible, Genesis 23, is devoted to the death and burial of Sarah, including the burial location. In Scripture, the examples of bodies being burned are negative examples.

Also I believe that the theology of our bodies and of the resurrection points to burial rather than cremation. On resurrection we do not receive a totally different body. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul explains that there is a clear continuity of our physical bodies now being transformed to a new glorified resurrection body then.

I realize this is a controversial and emotional issue, but I encourage you to examine the issue from a biblical and theological perspective. At Calvary’s evening worship service on March 19, 2017, I spoke on this subject of cremation. Here is the link.

Whether you choose burial or cremation, make sure that your trust is in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. He still says: “I am the resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).

John Munro

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