Is Cremation Biblical?

One of my sad duties as a minister is preaching funerals. One trend I have observed in recent years is the increasing number of cremations. Cremation is a subject I have often been asked about in 21 years of ministry. Many people are concerned if it is Scriptural to practice cremation.

I believe cremation has gotten a bad rap for many reasons. First, historically cremation of the dead was a pagan practice. For this reason, Jews and early Christians avoided it and buried their dead. Second, some believe that it does violate Scriptural principles, but I am not aware of any passage that cremation violates. Third, the Nazi Holocaust of World War II left many people with a bad taste in their mouth where cremation is concerned.

To understand whether cremation is biblical or not, we need to understand what happens at death. The wise King Solomon described death in these words: “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7). The truth is that cremation does to the body in a few hours what nature does over several years, that is, it returns it to the dust from which it was made. Thus, cremation is in harmony with God’s word and should never be a divisive matter in families or churches.

Travis L. Quertermous Dexter church of Christ Dexter, MO via


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