HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG Proclaim to the World the GOOD NEWS OF THE WORLD TOMORROW
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Is the practice of cremation wrong? Does it prevent a person being resurrected?
The practice of cremation is of ancient origin. It was used in the idolatrous fire worship of paganism. Notice what the Encyclopedia Americana says:
"In primitive cultures which have survived into modern times cremation is widely practiced. Burning is not only supposed to destroy the dead body most effectively and thus to prevent the possible return of the ghost, but since fire serves also as a purifying agency, it is often considered a good means of warding off evil spirits.... Besides discouraging the ghost from haunting the corpse and its former abode, and serving as a means of purification from evil spirits and the contamination associated with the dead body, cremation has also, in some instances, as among the Hindus and — [the] — Chukchi of Siberia, been associated with a belief in a heavenly abode for the spirit of the deceased. The flames of the funeral pyre, leaping upward, are thought to facilitate the ascent of the soul." (Article, Cremation)
Nimrod and Semiramis were the originators of paganism and it was Nimrod who first bore the title of "Moloch." In his honour children were made to "pass through the fire to Moloch" (Jer. 32:35) — a pagan practice that God condemned! (Lev. 18:21).
Parents even sacrificed their children to Moloch, "the belief being cherished that the fire that consumed them also perfected them, and made them meet for eternal happiness.... Both the passing through the fire, and the burning in the fire, were essential rites in the worship of Moloch or Nimrod" (The Two Babylons by Hislop, p. 315).
Examples in the Bible show that a simple burial was the custom of the Hebrews who lived during that time. (Gen. 25:9; 35:20). Jacob, for example, was embalmed (an Egyptian custom) and buried (Gen. 50:5, 26). Christ was buried, not cremated! "Burning was looked upon as abominable, as injury to the dead (Josh. 7:25;...II Kings 23:20; Amos 2:1)....Not to be buried was a terrible disgrace which one could hardly wish even to one's greatest enemy." (Encyclopedia Biblica, Article, The Dead)
It is our absolute recommendation that the body be simply buried. In cases where a person has no control over the disposition or the body, however, we should remember that it is not so important what happens to our bodies after death as it is that of having lived a new life after conversion and having died in Christ.
Whether a body becomes dust OR ashes ("burnt" dust) the Bible promises that it will be in the resurrection (Acts 24:15; Rev. 20:12-15). Through the power of God, all cremated bodies will be resurrected!