What Does The Bible Say About Keeping Ashes?

Although there are circles that condemn cremation, the Bible does not directly say anything about this practice. Should you decide to do this, better you do so in knowledge than ignorantly.

Cremation is disposal of a dead body by burning it to ashes, typically after a funeral. Families do this so they can carry the “ashes” of their loved ones wherever they went.

Sometimes, cremations are wishes of the deceased. Some ask that their remains be scattered in the water, or released into the wind.

Cremation is practiced by some cultures around the world and is an abomination in others. Although there are arguments over the subject, we can learn from God’s word how to confront the issue. You will find this article a helpful guide in this regard.

What Does The Bible Say About Keeping Ashes?

It will surprise you that burning of dead bodies is mentioned in the Bible. However, the Bible does not explicitly encourage or prohibit the practice either way.

Although, not much, you would find several examples of cremation in the Bible.

For instance, it is mentioned that some surrounding nations practiced cremation while the Israelites buried their own dead most of the time. However, sometimes, the Israelites also burned their own dead and buried the bones.

A good example of this would be King Saul and his sons after they were killed in a battle against the Philistines and their bodies were captured. Some zealous and loyal Israelites took it upon themselves to go take back the bodies of Saul and his sons. They burned the dead bodies, then had their ashes buried.

All through the Bible, no mention specifically promotes or oppose burial and cremation, or one practice over the other. Each time either is mentioned, it is a revelation of the life and practice of the culture or society at the time.

What Does The Bible Say About Keeping Ashes KJV?

Although, we will find examples of cremation in the Bible, we do not find any record of keeping ashes of the dead. As aforementioned, it is neither condemned nor promoted.

Hence, the practice may be subject to the wishes of the deceased, the family involved, the cultural practice of the day, or any purpose.

Find below some citations of what the Bibles says about cremation in the KJV:

“So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together. And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them. And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa. And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people. And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Bethshan. And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul; All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.”1Samuel 31:6-13
“And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die. And a man’s uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that is by the sides of the house, Is there yet any with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the Lord.”Amos 6:9-10

We should take note of subjects that the Bible is silent about not to make our own doctrine of it but to trust the Holy Spirit and a clear conscience to guide us individually on the matter.

Before the end of the article, we will see how to best deal with issues that the Bible is silent about so that we do not go against God’s principles.

Is It A Sin To Keep Ashes Of Loved Ones At Home?

The Bible does not also mention this. However, the practice of keeping the ashes of loved ones at home is subject to purpose for doing so.

These purposes can range from wishes of the deceased to affordability (that is, this kind of funeral is cheaper than regular burial activity). It could also be due to government authorities (which is real in some parts of the world where cremation is the main means of burial). Some people cremate and end up idolizing the ashes of the loved one, stuck in the past memories with them and unwilling to move forward from their losses, or try to use them to make contact with the dead.

Hence, it is safe to say that, whether we keep the ashes of loved ones is not the sin itself but why. What makes it sin or not is the purpose for which we carry it out.

For whatever does not bring glory to God, point to Him and His good purpose, or edify our spirits, building up faith and focus on God, is sin.

Consider these two verses:

“But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. (NIV)”Romans 14:23
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (NIV)”1Corinthians 10:31

What Does The Bible Say About Spreading Ashes?

Honestly, nothing. The Bible does not mention any reference to burning a body and spreading the ashes.

Again, this is subject to the purpose behind our actions. It might be okay if:

  • Those are the wishes of the deceased
  • The Law requires it
  • The relatives of the deceased see it appropriate
  • It does not break any Laws
  • Does not pose a threat to anyone
  • It is not a spiritual ritual of sorts
  • It is for closure

Does The Bible Say A Cremated Body Can’t Rise?

There are circles of faith that believe cremation is sin on the basis that only buried bodies will be resurrected and reunited with our souls on the Last day according to the scriptures.

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (NIV)”1Thessalonians 4:16

However, whether a body is buried, cremated, drowned at sea, burned or crushed by an accident, or any other means, every human body decomposes and eventually turns into dust.

God created all bodies in the first place, and He has the power to recreate newer ones at the resurrection as we have seen in our text above. Cremation does not expedite the process of turning a body into dust. God is equally able to raise the cremated or those not cremated. He is able to raise a complete body from one devoured by animals or limbs lost in an accident.

To conclude on this matter, it is important as I have stated above to consider how our actions will glorify God, and to be sure that we are not exalting the flesh, the devil, or death in our lives instead.

If you are considering cremation, or any other thing, which the Bible seems silent about, pray for wisdom, and let the Spirit of God guide you in faith through a clear conscience towards God and towards men in such a way that God is glorified before all.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (NIV)”James 1:5

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