QUESTION: My husband & I would like to be cremated after our deaths. Our families do not approve. Is there scripture that will back us in our decision?
ANSWER: I know of no scriptures that give guidelines as to acceptable burial procedures. No matter which burial practices are followed, the result is always the same: dust. Job mentioned the final disposition of the body in Job 34:14-15: “If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath, all mankind would perish together and man would return to the dust.
The ancient Egyptians delayed decay by embalming bodies. In Jesus’ time bodies were buried the day of death! A sixty-foot length of one-foot wide cloth was wrapped around and around the body while sprinkling in all sorts of spices in order to reduce the stench of decay. The bodies were then placed in caves or stone sepulchers.
During recent times it has been customary in our culture to embalm a body and thus delay decay for several days in order for the family to spend time mourning the deceased before burial in the ground.
In today’s culture more people seem to be turning to cremation. In my experience this is possibly because of the cost prohibitive soaring astronomical dollars involved in embalming, buying a casket and purchasing a piece of ground to put it in.
The only long-term difference between embalming and cremation is time. Cremation just speeds up the process.
You may do well to investigate why your family does not approve of your cremation choice. Perhaps they consider cremation as not Biblical. However, as we have seen cremation is not a Biblical issue. Perhaps they are worried that at the Rapture when Jesus returns and the graves of all Christians are opened and their bodies are resurrected as spiritual bodies that you won’t have a body to raise. Frankly, since the first century, most all bodies are now dust anyway. Since God is big enough to produce a world-wide resurrection, He can do anything He wants to do with only a speck of dust.
Perhaps they want you in a grave so they can have a place where they can spend special times remembering you and your life together. Recently, I have observed many families foregoing the expensive caskets and burial plots by choosing cremation. They then purchase a small cemetery plot in which to bury the ashes. This might be a good solution if they want a place where the can remember you.
With all that being said, remember that your body is still your body. Discuss openly with your family that you want to dispose of your body in the way most comfortable to you. My mother just traded in her outdoor burial plot for an indoor mausoleum space. She decided that she was uncomfortable with the idea that she would be down in the ground with the “worms and maggots!” Then she got to worrying that above ground a tornado could hit the mausoleum! She wanted to change back but she finally decided that worms were worse than tornadoes. If you are more comfortable with cremation then I recommend that you do so.
Personally, I want my body cremated. I picked out four-golf courses where I want my family to spread my ashes. Recently, our church decided to put in a columbarium with small spaces for burial urns in an outdoor wall of the new chapel. I will be first in line when they go on sale. The chapel wall sounds like a great final resting place while I wait for the sounds of the resurrection of Jesus to reach my ears—or my ashes—or whatever is left!
Well, I hope this helps. Have a great talk with your family. Psalm 103:15-17