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I have heard some people speak against cremation for Christians, because of the ties it has to some eastern religions. But what does the Bible actually say about cremation, or any other burial practices?

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What "eastern religions" does cremation have ties with? –  Sean McMillan Oct 31 '11 at 17:46
@SeanMcMillan: I don't know. I just know I've heard it associated with them, as a reason not to cremate. This meta question discusses problems with the term "eastern religions," and I agree... but since the association isn't mine, I think it's appropriate to leave it in the question. –  Flimzy Oct 31 '11 at 18:23

2 Answers 2

There is nothing in the Bible that specifically deals with what to do with the bodies of the deceased. Cremation does not appear to be a part of any burial customs of God's people in biblical times.

Joseph (Jacob's son), in faith, gave instructions to the Israelites to carry his bones back to the Promised Land when God would give Israel that land centuries after he died. With his role in Egypt, he may have even been mummified according to Egyptian customs.

We also know that Jesus was not cremated, and His body did not see corruption.

It seems that the biggest issue with cremation is that it actively destroys the body rather than passively surrendering it to natural processes.

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Don't cremate

The idea comes from the concept that whatever happens to our bodies in this life will impact our bodies for eternity:

Matthew 18:9 (NIV)
And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

Here, Jesus clearly states that if we are blinded, we will be blinded once we enter heaven.

Cremate, if you want

The argument for cremation says that Jesus was probably using hyperbole when he said this, since other passages show that there will be no blindness in heaven:

Isaiah 35:5 (NIV)
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

Also, even though this body is completely destroyed, we will be given an eternal one:

2 Corinthians 5:1
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

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