During my ministry of almost 50 years I have officiated in many funerals. Most of these were traditional with the burial of the deceased. During recent years I have noticed more are opting for cremation rather than burial. One motive for this is the cost. The traditional funeral with burial costs several thousand dollars, while cremation may be done for under $1,000.00.
Many have ask me about the ethics of cremation. They honestly want to know if it is okay for Christians. There is nothing in the Bible that speaks against it. Cremation in the Bible was usually reserved for the sinful or pagans. “And Joshua said, ‘Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day.’ And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.” (Joshua 7:25)
The pattern set by God was burial. Moses died and, “He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.” (Deuteronomy 34:6) Of course, Jesus was buried in a tomb.(Matthew 27:60)
The Bible does not make an issue of cremation and we should not. It is not condemned in the Word of God. Ultimately, there is no difference between cremation and burying. When the body is buried, given enough time, it will completely disintegrate. So, cremation and burying ultimately lead to the same physical condition of complete disintegration.
My personal preference is the traditional funeral with burial. My wife and I have purchased our burial plots in a little cemetery in the small town of Blevins, Arkansas. This is my preference, others prefer cremation. Each Christian should prayerfully chose which is best for themselves and their loved ones.