Imagine turning up at the Pearly Gates, only for its heralds to tell you that you are not allowed in. Was it because of something you did? No, it was because your relatives chose to inter your body the wrong way.
It sounds like a horrible nightmare. Something that should never happen to you. Obviously, you want to know more. People have questions on burial, interment of ashes, cremation and the bible. Fortunately, the gospel is as always the place to turn for answers.
It is important to have peace-of-mind in your final days. While how your body ends up should not affect how you experience the afterlife, you do not want to worry about that as you prepare for your final journey. As always, God has laid out exactly why you should trust in Him, so continue reading to get more insight into what His words say on this matter.
What does the Bible say?
The Bible teaches nothing about cremation itself, especially its modern form. There is plenty within its pages, however, about burning in general.
There are a few major reasons why burning bodies occurs throughout the Bible. It tends to be used for:
- A challenge, or test
- A display of god’s power
While there are many different types of cremation, they all involve extreme heat and the burning of the body. You might therefore be concerned that this conjures up images of fire and brimstone such as in Revelations 10:20.
God Himself aims to reassure us, however, by using fire to represent His power on occasion.
When showing Himself to Moses, He appeared as a burning bush which did not consume the foliage but spoke to Moses through the fire. While Moses may have been afraid, God did not harm him and the fire itself did not cause further damage.
God even appeared to Elijah as fire when accepting offerings and prayer in 1 Kings 18:38-39:
“Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, ‘The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.’”
God has shown us that fire itself is not negative, evil or problematic in nature. He even uses its image Himself. If we perform work in God’s name, including burial or cremation, we have nothing to fear.
Punishment or Judgement
It is unfair to call anything happening to a cremated person a punishment. The burning is not coming from God’s judgement but is instead an attempt to respectfully dispose of the body left after the person has moved on.
Still, it would be folly not to mention when eternal fire consumed Sodom, Gomorrah and the Devil. These were not mundane fire however and were instead a holy punishment sent from God Himself.
Similarly, when the Israelites complained about their misfortunes and begun to trust God less, He showed his power. For the Moses’ people, his judgement fell upon them as a fire in Numbers 11:1:
“And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp.”
God made it clear in these times that he was the one acting. These were not acts of people choosing to accept the death of a loved one, but instead, God showing His holy power. So worry not.
God understands and teaches us that fire does not just consume. It can also cleanse, purify, or bring something beautiful to the forefront. This is much like safely burning a dense wood to allow new life to thrive. We can see this in God’s words about his workers when Malachi 3:2-3 states:
“But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.”
Through this, we can see that God understands and communicates to us that fire is not just a negative. His messenger is described as a metaphorical refiner. Intense fire like that of a refiner can make something beautiful, pure and perfect like a new piece of silver.
Cremation and the Bible
So, now we know people do not have to see burning as negative.
If that is the case, and if the Bible says nothing specific about what God thinks of modern cremation, where should we look for guidance? These days there are numerous different types of cremation. Many places such as Lonestar Cremation even offer several cremation options for those who wish to go that route.
It may simply be that we’re looking at the wrong part of God’s plan.
We may need to instead look at God’s ultimate plan. In the End Times, what has God promised us?
In 1 Corinthians 15, He gives us an answer through Paul’s writings:
“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
This vow, as well as verses around it, states that when Jesus returns, He will raise the dead. Not some dead, or those whose bodies were not burned, but everybody who inherits the Kingdom of God.
So worry not, for the Lord Himself has promised that all those who return will be able to return. They will be remade anew, and God would never promise anything he would not do. So rest assured those we cremate will return changed and renewed.
We can see cremation is not a problem, even for those who read the gospel. Cremation and the Bible are not at odds and you can rest assured of your place in the Kingdom of Heaven.
But despite this, it does not resolve the question of how and where the cremation should happen. Fortunately, there are experts in the field who treat bodies with respect and dignity. They even take care to adhere to the religious values of their customers.
If you’re worried, you could do a lot worse than giving them a call and asking questions. So give then a ring and be assured you and your loved ones are in good hands.