Cremation was practiced in ancient times, but it was not practiced by those in the Old or New Testaments. According to the Bible, the dead were to be buried in the ground or caves (Genesis 23:19; 35:19; 2 Chronicles 16:14; Matthew 27:60-66).
God buried Moses himself (Deuteronomy 34:5-8; Jude 1:9). Abraham, purchased the first family cemetery recorded in the Bible, and many of his family members were buried there (Genesis 15:15; 23:1-20; 25:9-10; 35:8,19,29; 47:29-31; 49:28-33; 50:1-14). Joseph wanted his bones to be carried out of Egypt so he could be buried in Canaan, although his embalmed body was in a coffin for about 200 years until the Exodus (Genesis 50:24-26; Ex 13:19; Josh 24:32). David was buried and the location of his tomb was still well known 1000 years later in Jerusalem (I Kings 2:10; 11:43; Acts 2:29; 13:36).
There are many examples of burying the dead in the New Testament (Luke 16:22; Matthew 8:22; 27:1-10,57-60; John 11:33-44; Acts 5:1-11; 8:2). And the Lord Jesus Christ Himself was buried. Even though His body had been mangled, and there was no funeral, they still took the time to prepare His body for burial (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:43-46; Luke 23:50-53; John 19:38-42; Acts 13:29; I Corinthians 15:4).
While the prominent method is burial in the Bible, it does not specifically command against cremation. God can do anything, and He is certainly able to resurrect an individual who has been cremated “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54).
An individual who is considering this matter should pray for wisdom “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). Follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and He will lead you to the best decision.
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In His service,
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