Cremation can be used as a funeral or post-funeral service, or as an alternative to burial. When an adult is cremated, an average of 2.4 kilograms (5.3 pounds) of remains, called "ashes," are left behind. This is not all ash, but also includes unburned bone mineral fragments, which are usually ground into a powder. They pose no health risk and can be buried, interred in memorial sites, retained by relatives or dispersed in various ways. It's more flexible to deal with the cremated ashes when choosing cremation. Turning ashes into cremation urn necklace is what most people do these days.
Related: "10 Ideas for Dealing With Ashes After Cremation".
Around 1000 B.C., cremation became popular in Greece, Rome, and other countries. People usually disposed of the body by cremation and stored the ashes in urns. Cremation gradually spread to the Western world. However, with the rise of Christianity in the Western world, cremation fell out of favor and burial became the preferred method of burying the dead. The belief in the resurrection of the body and the association of cremation with pagan rituals led to its decline. Nowadays, however, cremation is once again gaining popularity. As a result of the Industrial Revolution, which led to a drastic reduction in the resources available for cemeteries in cities, as well as considerations of health and environmental concerns. Christians have begun to revisit cremation as a method of burial.
Do Christians choose cremation or burial?
Some Christians refuse to choose cremation as a way to dispose of their own remains or those of their family members. One argument against cremation is rooted in the belief in bodily resurrection. Some individuals interpret verses that emphasize the importance of the body and its eventual resurrection to argue against cremation. They refused the option of cremation for their own or their family's remains. One example is the belief that burial preserves the body for resurrection, as seen in 1 Corinthians 15:42–44 (NIV):
"So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. 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."
This perspective emphasizes the idea that the body, even in death, is significant and will be transformed in the resurrection.
However, most Christian churches have changed their stance and the percentage of Christians choosing cremation as an alternative to traditional burial methods is increasing. The choice of cremation does not necessarily contradict Christian beliefs, as many denominations now recognize it as a valid option. Some view cremation as a more affordable and eco-friendly alternative, allowing for a personalized approach to the memorialization process.Cremation urn necklace is a new way to preserve the cremated ashes of the deceased loved one. By wearing this cremation urn necklace, your loved one can be close to you.
Why have they changed their views? Cremation is not explicitly forbidden in the Bible. The resurrection of the body is one of the most important aspects of Christ's salvation (see 1 Corinthians 15:42-57). However, all material bodies decompose, whether through decay or through fire (Genesis 3:19). Christianity has also taken a different view of the soul and the body. The cremation of the body does not mean the death of the soul.
The Catholic Church, which at one time believed that cremation denied the possibility of resurrection, has allowed cremation since 1963. Since 1966, it has also allowed Catholic priests to officiate at memorial services for those who have been cremated. Intent plays a significant role in whether or not the Christian Church authorizes cremation. First the intent of cremation needs to be clarified, why do you choose cremation and what has to be your motivation? If you still believe in God and still desire salvation, choosing cremation will be supported. However, after you have chosen cremation, you still have to take it seriously. You should still have a formal cremation ceremony, and the ashes should be treated with the same respect as the remains. Many churches have special cremation facilities for this purpose.
John MacArthur explains the issue this way:
"Obviously any buried body will eventually decompose (Ecclesiastes 12:7). So cremation isn’t a strange or wrong practice-it merely accelerates the natural process of oxidation. The believer will one day receive a new body (1 Corinthians 15:42-49; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Job 19:25-26), thus the state of what remains of the old body is unimportant.”
It's essential for Christians to approach the topic with compassion and understanding, recognizing that individuals and families may have different perspectives based on their beliefs, experiences, and cultural backgrounds.
Cremation or Burial? Which one to choose
As Christians contemplate their end-of-life arrangements, the age-old question of cremation or burial often takes center stage. This deeply personal decision is influenced by a myriad of factors, including religious beliefs, cultural considerations, and individual preferences. The choice between cremation and burial for Christians often involves a delicate balance between faith traditions and practical considerations. Some denominations explicitly address this decision in their teachings, providing guidance for their followers. It's essential for individuals to explore their faith's stance, consult with religious leaders, and consider how their choice aligns with both personal beliefs and practical needs.