Is it a Sin To Be Cremated?

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Is it a Sin To Be Cremated?

 Is it a sin to be cremated? What does the Bible say about cremation? Is it a sin for a Christian to be cremated? In this article, we are going to answer all your questions.

What Is Cremation?

Cremation is a method of final disposition of a dead body through burning. Cremation is an ancient practice which began during the early stone age around 3000 B.C. According to available sources, cremation has most likely begun in Europe and the Near East. [1]

Benefits of Cremation

Below are some of the reasons some Christians prefer cremation to burial

  • Cremation is affordable when compared to burial
  • Cremation is believed to environment friendly
  • Burning the body saves space. Cremation requires limited space especially in urban settlements
  • Cremation also has more time efficient. It is always faster than the traditional burials.

Today, some religions such as Hinduism still practice cremation. Hindus believe that the physical body serves no purpose, and therefore does not need to be preserved. They believe cremation is the quickest way to release the soul and help in reincarnation.

Is it a Sin to be Cremated According to the Bible?

This is a difficult question to answer since the Bible is silent on the matter. There is no Biblical evidence that suggests cremation is a sin or not. Cremation is not labelled a sinful practice in the Bible.

Roman Catholic View on Cremation

 The Catholic Church is one of the few Christian denominations who neither favors nor forbids cremation. The Catholic Church does not teach that it is a sin to be cremated. For instance, Pope John Paul ll in his code of law (also called the Johanno-Pauline code) states:

The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teachings." [2]

In contrast to Pope John Paul's ll Code of Law, most Catholics believe cremation should not be practiced by the Church. According to them, the body is the Lord's temple and therefore would be ineligible for resurrection if they are cremated.

Most Catholics quote the Bible to justify their beliefs. We read:

1 Corinthians 15:35-55 GNB

Some will ask, "How can the dead be raised to life? What kind of body will they have?" You fool! When you sow a seed in the ground, it does not sprout to life unless it dies. This is how it will be when the dead are raised to life. When the body is buried, it is mortal; when raised, it will be immortal.

Eastern Orthodox View On Cremation

Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox strongly opposes burning of the body. The Byzantine Canon Law, which the Orthodox Church firmly upholds, forbids the burning of the body. Orthodox even believe that cremation has its origin in pagan and gnostic societies.

One Orthodox Christian put it this way;

We believe that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and is therefore Holy. Our bodies are gifts from God that we must always treat with dignity, reverence and care. Any act that deliberately defiles the body (tattoos, sexual reassignment surgery, cremation, suicide) is not acceptable to the Church God commanded the Old Testament Israelites not to adopt the values, beliefs, and practices of the pagan societies around them, which included cremation of the dead [4]

Orthodox Christians can choose to be cremated because of their free will to make their choices, but it does not mean the Church approves or sanctions those choices. The Church believes it is a sin to be cremated.

Protestants View On Cremation

In recent, just like the Catholic Church, most Protestants neither condemn nor commend cremation for their members. This does not mean every Protestants Church is neutral. There are so many Protestants Churches with different interpretations of the Bible.

According to reliable sources [1], some Protestants Churches accepted and adopted cremation earlier even than the Roman Catholic Church. Burning of the body is more common in Protestants' countries than that of the Catholics.

Example of Protestant Churches that do not condemn cremation are Pentecost, Baptist, Jehovah Witness, Seventh Day Adventist, Lutheran etc..

Some Bible Verses About Cremation

1 Samuel 31:12 ESV

All the valiant men arose and went all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there.

1 Corinthians 13:3 GNB 

I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burnt -- but if I have no love, this does me no good.

Joshua 7:25

And Joshua said, "Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today." And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.

 Amos 2:1 ESV 

This says the Lord: "For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because he burned to lime the bones of the king of Edom.

Conclusion

Is it a sin to be cremated? As we have learnt from the above article, it depends on which denomination you ask. Eastern Orthodox and some few Protestants Churches seem to condemn the practice while other Christians Churches neither favors nor forbids cremation.

Other related topics

Can Short People Go To Heaven?

Do You Go to Hell If You Kill Yourself?

Can Catholics eat Pork?

Sources

1. https://www.funeralpartners.co.uk/help-advice/arranging-a-funeral/types-of-funerals/hindu-funeral-rites-and-death-rituals/#:~:text=Why%20do%20Hindus%20cremate%3F,soul%20and%20help%20with%20reincarnation.

2. [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cremation

3. [2] The Code of Law, 1985, #1176.3

4. [4] https://www.saintjohnchurch.org/can-orthodox-christians-be-cremated/

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