CREMATION: A Heathen Practice


Joe Chambers
By Joseph Chambers

“Dust to Dust, Not Cinders to Cinders”

The body in death becomes a seed sown in this earth. In every saint’s body, there is the DNA signature of that individual person by which they will be raised in perfect form, yet without the adamic nature, at the resurrection. Apostle Paul made this bold declaration in his first letter to the people of Corinth. His words proclaim the mystery of death and the hope of our new body. “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.” (I Corinthians 15:35-38).

Our resurrection is not a copycat event in which all of us have similar appearing bodies. Each resurrected body will be unique, exactly like we are all unique in this life. The seed or grain of the present body contains the nucleus for the new body. Our great God in the resurrection does not create new bodies, but recreates us from the seed sown in death and burial. Paul continues the thought above, saying, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; 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. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (I Corinthians 15:42-44, 49).

In death we sow the seed of our earthly life in complete assurance of the coming resurrection. No wonder the writer of Ecclesiastes stated unequivocally the following words, “If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he.” (Ecclesiastes 6:3). This is God’s ideal. It is clearly His plan and method.

The late Wlm Malgo of Midnight Call wrote a small booklet on The Fatal Path of Cremation. He quoted Doctor Karl Ludwig Scheich as saying the following, “It is the nucleolus of the cell, that concentration of the cell’s protoplasmic yolk, which, like a sort of central organ, like a brain, a soul of the cell, and also like the yolk of the egg, must be regarded as the essential element of these microscopically-small life units. These life units of the cell – the nucleoli – remain alive under all conditions, and in them there is no death, only a spore-like preserving, a waiting, until they, in the miraculous cycle of life, restore their minute, immortal energies to life through rhythmic transfer. Digestion, fermentation, caustic acids or lyes cannot destroy their almost crystallized life. Only fire dissolves them! But this is not part of nature’s plan. Cell-death by burning is the most unnatural thing there is, and we must come to a decision to prohibit cremation as one of the greatest errors of civilization! Every nucleolus, which is freely dissolved in the soil, carries within it something of the spiritual and physical ‘I-nature’ of that decayed body from which it came. There exists, therefore, a cycle of life, an immortality of bodily organization, and herein lie the reasons for why we declare that cremation is an act of human boldness. It unwisely meddles with the above-described cycle of life, and, with clumsy, unknowing hands, frustrates the methodical construction and promotion of living creatures to ever-increasing higher achievements.” (Miracles of the Soul, Dr. Karl Ludwig Scheich.)

Fantastic is the only word I can imagine for such a scientific miracle. Our God had it all planned in the beginning and the resurrection DNA or seed/cell/germ was implanted in the very creation of each living soul. It can be no wonder that cremation was unnamed in all of Scripture as the method for the death of His own saints.

Abraham Was Commanded For Burial
Abraham is the “Father of Faith,” so named by Holy Scripture. He was called out of pagan Ur to become the Father of a new nation that would leave heathenism and follow the path of obedience to God. He stands at the head (humanly speaking) of the Bible-believing world. God spoke to him and clearly commanded, “And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.” (Genesis 15:15).

“Thou shalt be buried” was a direct command. This was very clear to Abraham, although he was born in heathenism among the very worse of his day. The city of Ur in Sumer is at the center of where heathenism had its origin. North of Ur is Babylon and west of Ur is Erech, so named in Genesis. “And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” (Genesis 10:10).

Abraham buried his wife, who died before his own death, to show his readiness to be obedient. “And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.” (Genesis 23:19).

God Himself buried Moses on the top of Mt Nebo. “So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. 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 34:5-6).

The Scriptures give details of numerous burials of those who were God’s servants. Just a few names may be helpful to show that this is the only method ever followed in Holy Scripture. No one that was numbered with the chosen was ever cremated in the Word of God. Note these names: Rachel, Leah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Miriam, Aaron, Joshua, Gideon, Samson, Samuel, David, Solomon, and Elisha.

Moses gave a clear description for the burial of the dead in the Jewish Torah, our first five books of the Holy Bible. “His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 21:23).

The New Testament Supports Burial as God’s Clear Command
The Word of God always teaches by example as the first method for declaring truth. God rested on the seventh day of creation and forever set an example for the seven-day week, with one day devoted to Him and rest. Burial is seen throughout the New Testament with the death and burial of Jesus Christ at the center. Lazarus was buried and Jesus raised him from the dead. If Martha and Mary had cremated him, Jesus would not have resurrected him. His resurrection was the natural body, which was to die again in his proper season. “Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” “And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.” (John 11:39-40,43).

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the center of all truth. The Old Testament exists to purposefully and methodically bring us to the fullness of time, when the Son of God would be incarnated in a sinless human body. His body or His coming to live among men was the Second Adam. All that the First Adam sold, the Second Adam purchased and pardoned. His death, burial, and resurrection are the redemptive acts in which all redemption is complete.

His bodily resurrection from the death is the firstfruits of our resurrection. There will be no departing from this truth when that glorious moment arrives for each of the saints to be resurrected. Our body will be raised exactly as was His body. We will be like Him for we will see Him as He is. We shall also be known as we were represented in our bodies in this life. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (I Corinthians 13:12). Death, burial, and resurrection are the Lord’s clear pattern; and to depart from the same is barbaric and heathen.

Water Baptism Is Lost In Cremation

Water baptism is a beautiful and commanded experience. The entire base of this action typifies the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12). “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” (Romans 6:3-5).

The act of baptism has no meaning if there is no burial. You cannot show a resurrection from a cremation because there is nothing left to resurrect. Maybe, if you only believe in sprinkling, then you could call it just a type, but Scripture cannot be so ignored and still retain meaning.

The Body Is For The Lord

“Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.” (I Corinthians 6:13). Our body is clearly the temple of the Holy Ghost and all that the Lord does in His earthly kingdom He does by using His saints. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (I Corinthians 6:19). Our bodies are also members of Christ. “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.” (I Corinthians 6:15).

The entire majestic acts of redemption, water baptism, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and the promised resurrection of this very body make cremation unthinkable. How the church world treats those spiritual truths so cheaply is hard to grasp.

Heathenism & Secular Humanism

There is no question but that cremation has never been acceptable in a Bible-believing church. Only after the effects of pagan ideas and secular humanism could the church world be headed in this direction. A booklet written, entitled Burial or Cremation, gave this following information. “Between 1876 and 1884 there were only 28 recorded cremations in the U.S. During the 1960’s and 70’s many changes in our culture began to occur in a time of social instability fueled by the doctrines of secular humanism, the basic tenant of which is man is not accountable to any higher power or God. From this doctrine of human autonomy have come both the acceptance of abortion and the practice of cremation. The right to do both of these barbaric rituals is claimed on the basis of the false concept that one’s body belongs to himself and he can do with it whatsoever he pleases. Consequently, by 1977, 7% of all human corpses were reduced to bone fragments and ashes by cremation in this country. By 1993 that percentage had increased to nearly 20%. That percentage will continue to increase as Americans reject Biblical Christianity and adopt the so-called New Age thinking which is nothing more than ancient and pagan Hinduism and Buddhism in new garb.” (Burial or Cremation, by Royce Smith, M.A., Th.M., Th.D. Published by Bethel Baptist Church-Watchman Press, Lawton, OK.)

According to present information, in 25% of all deaths and funerals, the families are now opting for cremation. Churches all across America are actually promoting cremation by erecting columbariums on the church property. These columbariums serve as a memorial on the church grounds, usually near the sanctuary. Ministers are encouraging their congregations to consider cremation. Pagan religious ideas are exploding in the American churches. If a church welcomes Buddha-type meditation, New Age ten-step programs, martial arts, etc. then the natural direction is to welcome new forms of thinking in other matters. As many voices are now declaring, “We are living in post-Christian America.”

The Bible Condemns Cremation

The Scripture does not speak volumes about cremation because it does not need to do so. When you have the truth presented in great abundance, the need to condemn the opposite is not required. Yet, the Scripture shows God’s disfavor.

God utterly condemned Moab in the days of the prophet Amos. One of the clear reasons was an act of cremation against another king. “Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime: But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kerioth: and Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet: And I will cut off the judge from the midst thereof, and will slay all the princes thereof with him, saith the LORD.” (Amos 2:1-3). This judgment was severe and plain.

Often in Scripture, the wicked were judged by fire and complete obliteration. It was always reserved for great acts of blasphemy and sin. It appeared that a symbolism for a curse was the cremation of the body. We are dealing in those cases with people who had no hope of a saintly resurrection. “And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.” (Joshua 7:15).

The Catholic Church burned great numbers of saints at the stake because they believed they were cursed for withstanding this harlot institution. These very acts show the utter disregard for truth that has characterized this false religion.

What will happen to those who are burned to death accidentally? How about the martyred saints who were burned at the stake or any other believer who has been destroyed by fire? There is no direct Biblical answer, but we know that our Sovereign God is not hindered by those kinds of circumstances. On one occasion He stated, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9).

You can have perfect peace that no situation or event that has ever occurred will hinder our Father in the resurrection of the dead saints or the resurrection unto damnation of the ungodly. While God has ordained our resurrection from the body sown in the grave, He is clearly able to recreate the resurrection body for those destroyed by accident or in malice.

The Death of the Wicked

The resurrection of the godless and wicked persons is a resurrection unto damnation. So, cremation fits the death of the unjust perfectly. Their bodies will be raised up in the wickedness of their life and death. The resurrection of the righteous is glorious, but the resurrection of the unjust is fitted to their lifestyle of rebellion and stubbornness. This is clearly why God Himself has often judged the wicked in fire or brimstone. “And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.” (Numbers 16:35). “And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.” (Leviticus 10:2). “The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram. And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.” (Psalm 106:17-18).

God also commanded that certain blasphemous or extremely wicked person be burnt with fire. “And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.” “And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.” (Leviticus 20:14; 21:9).

Cremation must be reserved exclusively for the wicked and God rejecters in our midst. It should be expected that individuals that have rejected the Creator and His Holy Bible would desire to show their rebellion against the sacredness of life by choosing cremation. It becomes the last act of defiance and determination to escape responsibility to Him.

Offering Fiery Sacrifices To Idol Gods

Cremation has always been deeply connected to idolatry. The worship of false gods is almost always connected to fire. Israel was constantly warned not to be involved in such worship. “And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 18:21).

Human sacrifice is only a few steps away from cremation. Idol gods are intimately connected to spirits and demons, and destruction is their character. There is a special hatred in spirits of evil for the human life and body. Moses wrote, “Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.” (Deuteronomy 12:31).

Reincarnation is an important part of many false religions. Since they have no hope of eternal life or a physical resurrection, they have concocted a different idea. As men pass from one life experience to another, they must be released from each incarnation. Cremation is the chosen from of release. The Encyclopedia Britannica reported, “The pagan Scandinavians favoured cremation, believing that it helped free the spirit from the flesh and also that it kept the dead from harming the living. These pagan practices paralleled the Greek and Roman epic cremations.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition, p. 726.) It’s impossible to disconnect cremation from paganism and heathenism.

Hell and the Eternal Lake of Fire

Cremation is too close to hell for a saint to ever choose such a treatment of the divinely created body. God Himself created Hell and the Lake of Fire for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). It was never intended for man or woman. It is their choice, not His choice. The unregenerate person that refuses Christ and chooses self, will be cast into the “lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” (Revelation 21:8).


Wlm Malgo eloquently stated, “Cremation belongs to Satan’s refined system of destruction.” (The Fatal Path of Cremation by Wlm Malgo. Published by Midnight Call, West Columbia, SC.) There is no kinship between a human act of the destruction of the body and the beauty of God’s great creation and plan. The Bible does not teach, “dust to dust and ashes to ashes.” The latter part was somehow added, maybe by someone who believed in cremation. Dust to dust is what our God has decreed. “… For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:19). That is not just an idle statement, but a clear declaration. It is not “cinders to cinders,” but “dust to dust.”

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