While Scripture isn’t explicit on whether you should or shouldn’t cremate, let me give you five quick reasons why I would argue for burial. Admittedly, this is a condensed list and thus void of exegesis and long argumentation (I’m sure you can find something like that elsewhere!). These are simply five talking points:
- Biblical Precedent – Burial is the historical and biblical practice throughout the Old and New Testaments. Even as the biblical writers look to the second coming of Christ, this is the working assumption – those buried rising from the grave.
- Theology of Burial and Resurrection – The NT writers not only portray the burial of a person in the grave with the burial of the Christian with Christ in his death, they also portray the resurrection of the Christian with Christ in his life. In other words, burial (not cremation) finds support from the biblical and theological metaphor of the Christian’s burial and resurrection with Christ.
- Witness – Such a picture of burial and resurrection may be appropriately employed and applied in the proclamation of the gospel at the funeral: “Have you been raised to walk in the newness of life?”
- Supports Biblical Closure – As adam (Hebrew for “man”) was created from the adamah (Hebrew for “ground” or “dust”), so to the ground/dust we shall return.
- Dignity of the Body as it Awaits Reuniting with the Soul. When Christ comes again, our bodies and souls will be reunited. It seems antithetical to the dignity of the human body to burn it, as many eastern religions did and still do. Rather, we bury and look for the coming of our Lord.