Q & A: Cremation and the Resurrection

I received this question some time ago “What will happen to those who are cremated on the day of resurrection?” This question is important since cremation is becoming more prevalent in our society as the more economical option for handling our earthly vessel.

First, let’s address ourselves and our bodies briefly. The Bible teaches that the “us” part of us is not our bodies. Our bodies are simply the earthen vessels that we have here on this earth. Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:7 reminds us that “the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” Our bodies will return to the earth from which God formed it (Genesis 2:7), and our spirits, our souls, the life force within us will return to God.

Second, we need to understand the power of the resurrection. Jesus in Matthew 19:26 said, “with people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” He spoke about salvation in that context, but this verse teaches a universal principle, that nothing is impossible for God Almighty. We see this principle in action in John 11, where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Everyone was in disbelief that Jesus could raise him from the dead because of how long he had been in his tomb. But Jesus called Lazarus to come out of the tomb and so he did.

Also think of the Lord’s resurrection. Consider how he had been beaten, scarred, and mangled beyond recognition (cf. Isaiah 52:14). Yet, He was resurrected! The power of resurrection is not dependent upon what state our body is in at the time of the resurrection but in the power of the One who is doing the resurrection.

So then, what will happen to those who have been cremated? They will be raised just like you and are. Consider a parallel situation that the book of Revelation speaks about. A man’s body is lost at sea. After centuries adrift, all that is left is his bones, and they may not all be in one place. But note what it says in Revelation 20:13, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.” God can raise the dead no matter the physical state our remains are in.

“Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?” Acts 26:8

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