I get this question often. Is it wrong to use cremation as a means of disposing of a loved-one’s remains? I read another article this morning that said that cremation (a cheaper alternative than burial) is growing rapidly in this difficult economy. That is buttressed by my own conversations with local funeral directors who have observed essentially the same thing. Cremation is becoming more common and we must answer the question whether it was wrong.
I would make the following two points:
1) The Bible does not mandate any single way of handling bodies. The Jews did not practice cremation as a rule, but little instruction is given on the subject.
2) The symbolism of cremation is Eastern (Buddhist/Hindu, etc) and not Christian. Burial customs tend to reflect beliefs about the afterlife. Cremation is rooted in an Eastern dualism in which the goal is not the resurrection of the body but escaping the cycle of rebirth. The body is destroyed by fire as a part of that process.
It is on this basis that some have condemned the process of cremation.
But ultimately, when I am asked, I tell them what I have just said. Cremation is rooted in Eastern symbolism, but it is not prohibited in scripture and it is a personal decision each person and each family must make under the Lordship of Christ.
What’s your view?