Back to The Sifford Sojournal By God's Sovereign Grace & Mercy
Back to The Sifford Sojournal

Why Not Cremation


What are Christians to think of cremation? Based on biblical precedences, history and the practices of anti-Christ and the heathen world, the following is why Christians should not practice cremation:

Let's start with a premise. A man's actions come from his heart (Prov 4:23 - “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”), and by nature a man's heart is not only desperately wicked deceitful above all things (Jer 17:9 - “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”). Given this, men cannot be left to decide what truth is and how they run their lives. Therefore, in order to have any truth or guide for how a man lives, there must be a source that is not the man. For the Christian, this is the Bible. It is imperative that the Christian live his life according to the Bible and its precedences.

Thus, letting the Bible be our guide for what we do and don't do in our lives, there is no precedent for cremation in the Bible in a positive way; and in fact, burning of the dead is done typically in negative circumstances. The Bible describes the burning of bodies as the results of condemnation (Josh 7:15, 25 - “15 And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel. 25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.”; 2 Kings 23:19-20 - “19 And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the Lord to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel. 20 And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men's bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.”). Also, for burning the bones of the king of Edom, the Lord declared punishment for them (Amos 2:1 - “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:”).

Cremation is typically heathen, a practice of the Romans of history, Hindus and Buddhists. For America (considering from when the Puritans were here), cremation has been adopted only fairly recently, as the first cremation in America took place in 1876; and not surprisingly as it gets farther and farther away from its Christian roots, cremation has since become even more popular over the last 40 years.

The biblical precedent is burial, which is clear throughout the Bible:

Christ also mentions it to one of His “disciples” when telling Him to follow Him: Matt 8:22 - “But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.”

How about indirect evidence from the Bible? The Bible is full of types and shadows: persons/things in the carnal realm that represent persons/things in the spiritual realm or persons/things historically future. For example, most Christians know that the commanded ordinance of baptism symbolizes Christ work here on earth. Note that baptism represents Christ's death, burial and resurrection. It would seem contradictory of God to require an ordinance that shadow's His Son's work here on earth, and for us as followers of Him to do otherwise with our own carnal existence (ie. with Christ being buried, and with burial being a part of baptism, we as followers of Christ should be buried when we die). Christ's resurrection from the dead also represents the hope of Christians of their resurrection to be with the Saviour forever. Furthermore and contrarily, it is said that part of the reason the anti-Christ Roman Catholic Church would burn the Protestant martyrs of the faith was in the (false) hopes they would be kept from being able to be resurrected.

And so, as is evident, God's word declares that burial is overwhelmingly the prescribed method of handling the dead, including the examples of God burying one of His (Moses) and the Lord Jesus being buried as well.

Further evidence comes historically from the catacombs in Rome, where the early Christians were buried.

In conclusion, from history and the Bible's explicit evidence, it would seem clear the Christians should not cremate, but should bury their dead.


Back to The Sifford Sojournal By God's Sovereign Grace & Mercy
Back to The Sifford Sojournal