Call it morbid or a topic no one wants to talk about, but one day you or a loved one will have to make arrangements for your body after you die. That’s right, the statistics are high, one out of one die and it will be a decision that everyone makes.
The popular choices today are either burial or cremation. If finances are an issue, the choice becomes pretty easy because cremation is 1/3 of the cost of burial. But what if money were no object? What would be your process for making a decision? Is there something more to consider? Does God have an opinion about this?
Here are a couple of truths from the Bible that may help you decide.
Remember God Created Your Body
Psalm 139:13 – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
David’s prayer and song to God highlight the important truth that He uniquely created your body. He gave you a design, DNA and fingerprints that are unique only to you. There is no one like you! Your body is an important gift from God and it is a big part of what makes you who you are.
Of course, it is not the only thing, but it does play a big role. Scripture highlights that we are to take care of our bodies, respect them, and keep them healthy (Ephesians 5.28-30). This is important to remember when we are alive and when we die. This is honoring to God and shows gratitude for the gift He has given us.
A popular perspective when people die today is that “it doesn’t matter”, “do whatever you want with my body”, “I’m not there anyway”, etc. But how does this show dignity and respect for the gift God has given you? Jacob went to great lengths to make sure his body was handled in a way that honored God when he died (c.f. Genesis 49:29-33). So the issue isn’t whether we are present or not but one of respect and gratitude to God for the body he has given you.
This perspective will not only help you better navigate between cremation and burial but will also help you think through the best way you can show dignity and respect for your body when you die. Asking these kinds of questions will most likely create more questions about what happens to the body when it is cremated or buried. So it is important you also get the answers by asking those who are helping you make the arrangements.
Recognize Burial Models The Resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:42b-44 – The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
Throughout the Bible, we see that burial was the preferred way to care for a dead body by God’s people. The only time cremation is mentioned is within the context of pagan cultures, warfare, or punishment. In the New Testament, burial came to model the resurrection of Christ, symbolizing a waiting on the future resurrection when every Christian will receive an eternal body from God (2 Corinthians 5:1-4). So in terms of Biblical precedent, burial is certainly the preferred method. This isn’t to say that cremation is wrong or a sin, we just don’t see this being modeled by God’s people. So where does this leave you? What do you think?
This is an important issue and one that most of us will have to think through. So when the topic does come up, make sure you not only put your decision through the lens of financial responsibility, but also consider the issues of dignity, respect, and Biblical precedent.
Note: This posting is to help you process your own funeral arrangements and not condemn what others have chosen or done in the past.
If you found this post helpful, please share with others on the media link below.