Cremation is sometimes a hot topic for discussion when it comes to religion. Some religions and cultures don’t accept cremation while others do. If you’re wondering about cremation too, this post is for you.
Cremation has existed for a very long time, but the opinions regarding it are sometimes split. Cremation involves burning the physical body, but it doesn’t harm the soul. Cremation may also offer a less expensive financial solution to paying last respects to your loved one.
Cremation is the process of reducing human bodies to bone fragments through heat. The process reduces the body to its basic elements and was developed as a means of burial that would not break down the natural order of things.
History Of Cremation
One of the first cremations took place in the 1760s and while this was early and not very common in the Western world, it was considered an illegal event. The documented cremation was done by Sir Thomas Browne, who was very open-minded about many things.
Later a historic crematorium was built in 1800s by Francis Julius LeMoyne, a French physician, and surgeon. It was used to cremate the remains of animals and humans. LeMoyne is also said to have performed the first cremation recorded.
Still, throughout the ages, cremation was often practiced when someone died. Even as early as the Stone and the Bronze Ages, the deceased was cremated with a ritual or ceremony at times.
Before the “rediscovering” of cremation, people preferred to be buried in their family plots, with their remains often being enclosed in a coffin or a lead-lined container. This was because cremation was viewed as an extravagant and costly practice that had little to no practical use. Some theories suggest that cremations were only performed on those who had died suddenly and unexpectedly, such as children and people under the age of 30.
The early Christians heavily opposed disposing of the dead via burning the body. It was considered a vulgar and highly sinful practice. But as things developed and views opened, more and more people saw cremation as a now affordable option in the years that followed, compared to the years before.
What Does The Bible Say About Cremation?
Some scriptures make reference to cremation, but not so much as an instruction forbidding the practice.
Corinthians 13:3″ And although I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burnt, and have no charity, it profiteth me nothing”.
Genesis 3:19″ By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it, you were taken, for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Again, in reading these verses, there is no mention of Christ despising cremation.
The Catholic church believes that the soul cannot go to heaven if the body was cremated. In the older Roman days, cremation was banned too to avoid the pagans from burning their family members who die. Burial became standard practice for a long time.
A non-religious opinion about cremation
Some people oppose cremation because the process is not environmentally friendly. Some folks believe that burning the human body emits toxic fumes that pollute the air and water.
Others argue that cremation may be in fact harmful to the environment because of the excessive carbon fuel used in the process plus the gases emitted are all damaging to the environment.
Whereas the buried body will decompose with time since our bodies are biodegradable and it may in fact be beneficial to the environment.
Other folks believe that the fire involved when doing a cremation ceremony could risk spreading to other buildings if it got out of control by any means.
There are also folks who believe that cremation is bad for the soul or causes an afterlife of torture-like conditions. Some people oppose cremation because they fear it will mean a rise in cost, and others oppose cremation because they fear it will not provide a dignified farewell.
Advantageous And Disadvantages Of Burials And Cremations
When it comes to choosing cremation or burial, there are certain preferences that people may consider before deciding.
Traditional burial: Pros and cons
Many Christians and other religions favor traditional burials. A burial plan is often expensive since it involves many aspects like the church or hiring the location where the family of the deceased will be for the memorial and funeral proceedings.
There are also flowers and florists to pay, undertakers to organize, a private burial plot to purchase, a headstone design and manufacture process, and lots more. Funeral services are often a detailed process and because it involves so many elements, the prices would often be considerably higher than a cremation service.
Cremation: Pros and cons
While there are plenty of burials each year, many families opt for cremation. In cremation, the process is less detailed and there may not be as many factors in relation to the burial. There may also be a smaller group of people at the proceedings with only one memorial or vigil for the departed loved one.
Since the cremated remains are contained in a ceramic urn, they don’t take up space in the ground as a coffin for burial would.
Is cremation okay spiritually?
The choice of cremating a loved one or burying them comes down to the family and the individual’s last wishes. While the Bible doesn’t ban cremation, it doesn’t specifically encourage it. It is a personal choice in the long run.
Is it a sin to be cremated?
It is not a sin to be cremated. In fact, in ancient times cremation was the way people gave their last farewell to their deceased loved one.
End-of-life planning is crucial so that those left behind will have direction on what to do next. Life happens and we can’t know when someone will pass away. Still, preparing ahead of time is important. You may set in place how your or a family member’s funeral must take place. Whether or not it is a cremation or a burial in the final respect, you can get the help you need for the funeral arrangements by using an end-of-life plan.