I was asked recently what I thought about cremation. I don’t get asked this question very much as of late. I took a few minutes to jot down my thoughts and sent them off in an email (humbled by the opportunity to weigh in on a very sensitive subject.) Without extensive study here are my thoughts. I hope they might be of interest and/or help to someone who might have or is currently thinking about this particular issue.
First, I don’t have a problem with cremation. I have yet to see any specific prohibitions in Scripture concerning this subject. I haven’t seen any veiled or implicit principles that might govern it. I think this issues falls under the “conscience” of a Spirit-filled and led believer.
Second, I am well aware that many “believers” in the past have associated the practice of cremation with demonic, tribal, heathen, or ritualistic practices that would be considered “ungodly.” Certainly unbelieving people and people groups have utilized cremation in relationship to one of these areas. This certainly is neither the motive nor reason for God-fearing born-again believers who have chosen this method of “handling the remains of a loved one.”
Thirdly, I truly think that cremation serves as a means of the decomposition process. After all, if left alone, our bodies return to “ashes” and all but “disappear.” When one is cremated the body is rendered to “ashes.”
Fourth, I do not think that our sovereign Lord in all of his majestic power and glory will have any problem “reassembling” those who have been cremated. After all, I don’t think God will have any more trouble resurrecting someone who has been cremated than someone who has been dismembered, run through a wood chipper, has been burned to a crisp, decomposed in the oceans or deserts. When it comes time for the immortal soul to be united with an eternal resurrected body, God will be able to handle it.
Fifth, I believe that the conscience and motives must be the guide. If the motives are clear and they do not violate biblical principles and one’s conscience is clear, and the act is done in faith, then I don’t have any biblical evidence that the Lord is more or less pleased with the practice. Remember you must be convinced in your own mind and be operating in faith or any act can be “sinful.” Take this issue before the Lord in fervent, honest, and intimate prayer. If God does not cause you to have unrest or a lack of peace then be settled in your conscience as you seek to honor God in all things including the question of cremation.