Question: Is cremation a sin?

    Answer: As we experience more land shortage, more people are considering cremation as opposed to burial. However, how does the teaching of the Bible apply to cremation? God created man out of the dust of the ground (Gen. 2: 7). The spirit of man was created in the likeness of God (Gen. 1: 27). The body of man returns to the dust and the spirit being incorruptible, returns to God (Gen. 3: 19, Eccl. 12: 7, 1 Pet. 3:4).

    Death is separation, scripturally speaking. In illustrating the futility of an inactive faith (no works), James taught: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (Jas. 2: 26). The body is simply the dwelling place or physical habitat for the spirit of man in this material existence (2 Cor. 4:16-5: 9). Hence, when the spirit departs the body, the body is dead. Jesus said man only has power over the body, man cannot kill the spirit (Luke 12: 4).

    The body will be raised. The resurrection of the body will be universal (John 5:28,29). The sea and grave will give up the dead, that is, the bodies (Rev. 20: 13). However, the body which will be raised appears to be different in that it will be spiritual and not natural (1 Cor. 15: 42-44).

    The body returns to its primary elements. When the body is buried in the earth, decomposition or corruption occurs. Over time, the body returns to the dust. In the process of cremation, the process of the decomposition of the body (returning to the primary elements) is hastened.

    Your writer prefers burial. However, I must hold this preference only as an opinion. I do not know of any biblical truth which would make cremation within itself sinful. If you know of such a truth, please share it with me. We must allow liberty when there is no binding teaching (cf. Gal. 2: 3-4).

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