Why is the resurrection so important?

Christianity stands unique among all the religions of the world. Only Christianity claims that it’s God became human, died and then returned to life. The claim that Jesus rose from the dead is one celebrated and remembered every Sunday of the year by Christian churches all across the world. The resurrection of Jesus is the most important event in all human history. The resurrection of Jesus is the seminal moment in Christianity. That event changed everything.

The New Testament is filled with declarations that Jesus died and then rose again. The resurrection is explained in all four gospels and the book of Acts. Jesus’ resurrection is expressly taught in many of the epistles and in the book of Revelation. The resurrection of Jesus is a crucial truth on which Biblical Christianity is built. Without the resurrection there is no Biblical Christianity. Without the resurrection there is no forgiveness of sin. Without the resurrection there is no salvation. Without the resurrection there is no eternal life. Without the resurrection, God is a liar, Jesus is a fraud and every gospel preacher is a charlatan.

The resurrection is important because without the resurrection the gospel is a lie. “And if Christ be not dead, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17)

The resurrection is important because without the resurrection the Christian life is pointless and worthless. “What advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.” (1 Corinthians 15:32)

The resurrection is important because without the resurrection the Christian has no hope of eternal life. “And if Christ be not raised, then they which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” (1 Corinthians 15:17-18)

The resurrection is important because it is the ultimate display of the power of God that is now at work in the believer. “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.” (Ephesians 1:19-20)

The resurrection is important because it is the evidence that Jesus is the Savior He claimed to be and that the Bible declares Him to be. “Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.” (John 2:18-22)

The resurrection is important because it is the powerful declaration that Jesus is God. “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead:” (Romans 1:3-4)

The resurrection is important because if it is untrue, God’s Word is a lie. “We are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.” (1 Corinthians 15:15)

The resurrection is the lynchpin on which all the gospel hangs, the certification that all the gospel promises are true and the certainty that God is true. Rejoice every Sunday because Jesus the Savior has risen.


What would have happened if Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of life?

When God created humans He made two people. He named the man Adam and the woman was named Eve. God also planted a special garden for them. He put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and gave them all kinds of fruit trees from which they could eat, including the Tree of Life. God also placed in the garden a tree which they were forbidden to eat- the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God warned Adam and Eve that if they ate of the forbidden fruit they would die.

Some have viewed the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil as possessing some special quality that had the ability to grant knowledge previously unknown to Adam and Eve. The fruit itself did not give knowledge of evil, but the act of disobedience did. By disobeying God they learned evil and thus, to their sorrow, they learned the difference between good and evil. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God He punished them. This punishment included death as God had warned them. Because Adam disobeyed, God told him, “From dust thou art, unto dust thou shalt return.”

What if they had eaten from the Tree of Life? We do not know how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden before they sinned. Some Bible scholars think it could have been as long as one hundred years. If they lived in the Garden of Eden for much time at all then it seems probable that they ate of the fruit of the Tree of Life. They were not forbidden to eat from that tree. They could eat it’s fruit just as readily as they could eat an orange or an apple. Though they may have eaten of the Tree of Life before their sin, it did not protect them from the wages of their sin. Because they sinned they fell under the curse of death.

The Bible says what would have happened if Adam and Eve continued to have access to the Tree of Life after they sinned. God drove them out of the Garden of Eden and placed an angelic guard outside the garden lest they, “take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:” (Genesis 3:22) If they had been able to eat of the tree of life, Adam and Eve would have lived forever, which would have been tragic.

In His mercy God prevented Adam and Eve from eating of the tree of life, otherwise they would have been condemned to an unending life in sin cursed flesh. Even worse, they would have been without hope of salvation. Jesus’ death on the cross saves by taking the punishment of man’s sin. Christ died because we are condemned to death. If man could have unending life without Jesus by simply eating from the Tree of Life then Jesus’ death would be worthless. Eternal life without Jesus would be Hellish. Existing without God is one of the torments of hell, “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.” (2 Thessalonians 1:9) If Adam and Eve had eaten from the Tree of Life after they sinned, they would have been able to live forever but the Tree of Life would not take away their sin. The tree on which Christ died is required. Without the cross there is no forgiveness of sin. Without forgiveness, there is no relationship with God. Through Jesus we can have eternal joy because in Jesus is forgiveness of sin and a right relationship with God.

Does God raise the dead today?

A December news item reported the heartbreaking story of a church which prayed for the healing of a two year old girl who had died unexpectedly. She stopped breathing, was rushed to the hospital, pronounced dead and transferred to the city morgue. While she was in the morgue the church members gathered to pray for her to be restored to life.

An official statement from the church said, “Bethel Church believes in the accounts of healing and physical resurrection found in the Bible (Matthew 10:8), and that the miracles they portray are possible today.” Despite the church’s prayers, the young girl did not revive.

Most Christians readily admit God is able to do the miraculous. Many Christians believe the miracles described in the Bible, including resurrections, actually happened. The question is not if God is able to raise the dead to life. The question is, should Christians today pray for the immediate resurrection of one who dies before their time?

God is absolutely able to raise the dead to life, but the Bible never promises He will do so. The Bible never teaches that resurrection should be a regular part of the Christian’s experience today. In the 4,000 years of Biblical history recorded from Genesis to Acts only 9 people are named as being raised from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus is the most important. In the Old Testament, only three people were raised back to life. All three of them were in connection with the prophetic ministries of Elijah and Elisha. In the gospels, Jesus restored three people to life. In Acts, Peter and Paul each raised one person to life. Millions of believers never saw a resurrection. The Bible never tells of God raising someone from the dead in answer to the prayers of a local church or its pastors. Jesus, two prophets and two apostles are the only ones who brought the dead back to life. Nothing in the Bible teaches Christians to expect to see resurrections in answer to their prayers. God is able to restore the dead to life at any time He desires, but Scripture shows His intent is for the dead to remain dead until the resurrection at the last day. The great resurrection at the return of Jesus is the only one promised to believers.

The New Testament miracles were directly associated with the ministry of Jesus and the apostles. The miracles recorded in the New Testament were the Divine certification that Jesus was the promised Messiah and the apostles were messengers of Him. The miracles were intended to act as confirmation of Jesus and His apostles. Jesus told the unbelieving Jews, “The works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” (John 5:36) When the apostolic era came to an end the miraculous confirmation of the truth of the apostles message was no longer needed.

Jesus’ death on the cross removed the sting of death, but death is still a grievous enemy. The death of a child is even more terrible. However, the Christian’s hope is not in a few more years on this earth with a loved one. The Christian’s longing is for the eternal life and the eternal joy of heaven. The Bible promises Christians they will one day put aside all sickness and death, but that day is not now.

Can the dead speak to the living?

“The dead are still with us and death is just an illusion. The dead try to connect with us every day. To receive guidance and comfort from them, we only have to be open and aware of the signs they send us.” Mystics and mediums promise they can help people hear from the dearly departed. Many people wonder if the dead really can speak to them. Many claim to have had contact with a deceased relative. Whether it be a touch of the wind on their cheek or a vision of a loved one, they believe they have had personal contact with a spirit. While these experiences offer a sense of comfort, are they real? What does the Bible say about speaking to the dead?

Most importantly, Scripture strongly condemns attempts to get instruction, input or guidance from the dead. Deuteronomy 18:11-12 says, “There shall not be found among you anyone who . . . practices divination or a sorcerer or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord.” This is not just a command for the Israelites that no longer applies today. All throughout the Bible witches and mediums were closely connected with idolatry. The New Testament condemns all forms of witchcraft and sorcery, which includes necromancy, mysticism and divination. If it were possible for the dead to speak to the living, the living are prohibitted to seek guidance from them.

The dead cannot speak to the living. The Bible describes the dead as no longer able to speak to the living. Ecclesiastes 9:5 says, “The dead know nothing.” and Ecclesiastes 9:10 says there is no knowledge or wisdom in the grave. Psalm 115:17 calls the grave a place of silence. These verses teach that the dead have no more voice upon this world.

But what about King Saul? Didn’t he speak to the spirit of the prophet Samuel? In 1 Samuel 28 King Saul visits a witch to seek guidance from the deceased prophet. The witch of Endor was genuinely surprised when Samuel appeared. Her surprise hints that she did not actually expect the spirit of a dead man come at her call. This incident is the only one of its kind in the Bible. None should read the description of Saul’s sin as permission to seek guidance from the dead. Saul’s visit to the witch of Endor is specifically mentioned as one of the reasons for his death in battle against the Philistines. Samuel’s appearance to the witch of Endor was a unique event that God allowed to happen for His own purposes. The dead do not possess any ability in themselves to speak to the living.

Everything the Bible teaches about the spirits of the dead shows that we should not expect to hear from them. The Word of God gives clear and strong condemnnation against seeking to contact the dead. These supposed contacts may offer a measure of comfort to some, they are fleeting and ultimately unnecessary. Wer have no need to seek input from the dead. The Bible gives all the comfort, instruction and guidance that anyone needs.

What about Reincarnation?

Many are intrigued by the teachings of the eastern religions, including the idea of reincarnation. Reincarnation is the belief that a departed soul will re-enter fleshly life in a new body. After millions (yes, millions) of cycles of birth and death, the person may be able to reach oneness with the universe and escape the reincarnation cycle.

Reincarnation is not based upon the Bible. Belief in a cycle of birth, death and re-birth is contrary to clear statements of Scripture. Ecclesiastes 12:7 says of death, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” The spirit returns to God, not to the earth to enter another body. Nothing can be more clear and contrary to the teaching of reincarnation than the declaration of Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment.”

Reincarnation is not a random cycling of a spirit through various lives. Reincarnation serves a purpose that is the very opposite of the Biblical teaching of salvation. Through the process of reincarnation the person is given the opportunity to work out bad choices from previous lives. In the cycle of karma the bad done in previous lives affects the present life, and the choices made in this one affect the next. Through reincarnation the person is able to gain good karma until he becomes enlightened enough to break the karmic cycle. The Biblical teaching of sin and salvation is nothing like the hope offered by reincarnation. Salvation is never achieved by works, whether in this life or one to come. Salvation is always the gift of God received only through faith in Jesus. Those who are saved by believing Jesus have no need of a future life to work out their sins. Those who do not trust Jesus for salvation have no chance of ever being good enough for heaven.

Reincarnation is not another way to describe the Biblical teaching of resurrection. Daniel 12:2 says, “And many of them that sleep in the dust shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” The comfort Jesus gave at the death of Lazarus was, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live.” (John 11:25) Resurrection is the restoration of the deceased body and the reunion of the departed soul with the newly restored body. Except for the few Biblical examples of miraculous resurrection of individuals, the resurrection will be a mass event which will take place at the end of this age. Reincarnation is the re-entrance of an individual’s soul into a new body. The reincarnated person’s new body could be anything from an insect to a holy man depending on his karma. Reincarnation gives no promise of resurrection, but instead offers the hope of eventually escaping the endless cycle of birth and death.

Reincarnation is a belief of many eastern religions that is tied directly to their other religious principles. As a result, reincarnation is not a Biblical concept. It is instead completely contrary to the Bible.

Does the Bible say anything about near-death experiences?

The image of a dark tunnel with a bright light at the end has been received by many Americans as the standard description of what a person experiences when he dies. This picture has entered the American consciousness through movies and personal stories of near death experiences. Other accounts have included the spirits of family and friends encouraging (or in some cases, warning) the person. Some who suffered heart attacks during medical procedures have described floating above the operating table, watching the doctor operate on their body and listening to the conversation of the nurses. Those who have experienced near death experiences know the memories are real and vivid. Does the Bible say anything about how a Christian should evaluate these near death experiences?

Before getting to he Biblical answer, a couple practical points should be mentioned as an aid to rightly thinking through this issue. Any injury that brings a person close to the point of death, and especially one that stops blood flow to the brain, traumatizes the entire body. As death approaches, the body suffers so many things that the senses are often overwhelmed or confused. Caution must be exercised that reports from those suffering great trauma do not become the final authority on how we understand major issues like life and death.

Some results of extreme or life threatening trauma have been tested and their effects duplicated in controlled settings. For example, astronauts in training are subjected increasing g-forces until they pass out. The astronauts commonly report seeing just before unconciouscness a dark tunnel with a bright light at the end. This vision seems to be nothing more than the common experience of a brain suffering the effects of oxygen deprivation.

The Bible speaks of some who died and were restored to life, but never records a near death experience or tells of someone who experienced one. Aside from Jesus, the Bible describes 8 specific instances of a person dying and being raised back to life. No record is passed on of what they experienced in the moments just before or during their death. The Apostle Paul wrote a signficant portion of the New Testament. In all his writings Paul made no mention of what he experienced in death. This implies, at the very least, the experiences of the person transitioning from death to life are not that important.

The only Biblical reference to a journey from life to the afterlife is that of the beggar Lazarus in Luke 16. When he died he was “carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.” (Luke 16:22) On the other hand, the rich man who died was buried and woke up in hell. Lazarus’ angelic transport could have been a Jewish idiom. But if angels literally guide the soul from earth to heaven, then that should be the standard by which all claims of near death experiences are evaluated. However, when the Bible mentions the movement of the soul from earth to heaven the typical description is of immediate translation. Scriptures describes death in such a way that we expect there to be no delay between death and the afterlife. Paul’s statement that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord agrees with David’s words, “I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.” (Psalm 17:15) The soul has no conscious experience between the body falling asleep in death and the spirit awakening in the afterlife.

The Bible says nothing about near death experiences, but what it says about life and death makes it much more likely that the events experienced near death are not necessarily supernatural or spiritual in nature. They are probably the result of senses disturbed by the terrible trauma being endured. Hallucinations, vivid memories, partial awareness or oxygen defficient brain cells are ample explanations for near death experiences. Even if the near death episodes are actual experiences of real events, they must take a second place in importance and authority to the Bible. Exta-Biblical glimpses into the afterlife, if possible, are never necessary for the Christian life. God has revealed in His Word all that men need to know about what happens at death.

Should I have a funeral?

Funerals seem to be decreasing in popularity. Instead of a funeral families are frequently opting to not have a service of any kind, to limit the service to a brief time at the graveside, to hold a family gathering to scatter the ashes or to have a “celebration of life”. Are funerals important? Does the Bible teach that people should have funerals?

The Bible does not depict any funeral service as we would know it today. Scripture does describe various aspects of the rituals and ceremonies observed during times of death. A summary of the Biblical data reveals that the deceased were generally treated with respect. The body was buried relatively quickly. The New Testament describes the first century practice of wrapping the body and covering it in spices. Acts 9 tells of Dorcas’ body being laid out in an upper chamber prior to her burial. These rituals followed the practices of the culture, not the instructions of the Bible. The Bible does not command the observance of any specific ritual or the holding of special services when someone dies.

Death is a recurring theme in the Bible. Though the Bible does not give any specific instructions regarding what kind of service should be held after someone’s decease it does give many principles that should guide the Christian’s thinking about funerals.

Most important is the Biblical truth that every person is an immortal being comprised of a body and soul. Though the body has died, the spirit remains. The person is an eternal being who has entered into an eternal existence. Only the Word of God can teach man what happens in eternity. The funeral provides an opportunity to share the truths of Scripture. The funeral interrupts the daily barrage of the fleshly and the worldly to remind people of the spiritual and heavenly.

The Bible also says that the wise man considers the short span of life. I suspect the tendency to do away with funerals is a part of the culture’s tendency to avoid anything that is painful or negative. Most people do not like to consider the end of life so they do away with those things which remind them of it. Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2-4) Psalm 90 says “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” “So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” (Psalm 90:10, 12)

Funerals remind us that mourning and weeping are fine. Grief is painful and sorrow is unpleasant but they are not wrong. Tears bring healing to the wounded heart. The wise man recognizes there is profit to be found in grief. The wise man learns wisdom by considering how short life is. A funeral is not required by the Bible yet most times a funeral is to be preferred. The funeral offers a chance to somberly consider the realities of life and death. By grieving together, remembering together and being comforted together with the truths of God’s Word a good funeral can give lasting benefit to those left behind.

Are the people in heaven watching us?

A popular country song from the 80’s says there are holes in the floor of heaven. Our loved ones in heaven are peering down through heaven’s (apparently) half rotten flooring to see what we are doing on the earth. (By the way, I can say with absolute certainty that no one in heaven is wishing she could be here on earth with us.) What does the Bible teach about those in heaven? Do they know what is happening on the earth? Are they watching their friends and family?

The people in heaven appear to be aware of some events that happen on earth. In Luke 15:10 Jesus tells the Pharisees that “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents.” It seems like Jesus is saying that believers who have died rejoice when someone on earth is saved. If so, then they are aware of some of what is going on in the earth.

This does not mean our loved ones in heaven spend a great amount of time watching us. Deceased Christians do not become guardian angels for their loved ones. That notion is more spiritistic than Biblical. The Bible has very few references to believers in heaven now. In Luke 16 Jesus tells of a man who died and went to heaven. In heaven he was receiving comfort and would not return to the earth.

The book of Revelation says the most about Christians in heaven. Everything it says describes believers as surrounding the throne of God worshiping Him. It seems that those in heaven are focused entirely on the glory of God.

Hymn writer Fanny Crosby described the focus of all in heaven with her hymn “My Savior First of All”.

Oh, the dear ones in glory, how they beckon me to come,
And our parting at the river I recall;
To the sweet vales of Eden they will sing my welcome home;
But I long to meet my Savior first of all.

Oh, the soul-thrilling rapture when I view His blessed face,
And the luster of His kindly beaming eye;
How my full heart will praise Him for the mercy, love and grace,
That prepare for me a mansion in the sky.

Aside from rejoicing at the salvation of souls nothing in the Bible indicates deceased believers are watching or are even deeply interested in what is going on in the lives of family and friends on earth.


Is Annihilationism Biblical?

In May National Geographic published an article entitled “The Campaign to Eliminate Hell”. The tagline reads, “A new generation of evangelical scholars are challenging the idea that sinners are doomed to eternal torment—but traditionalists are pushing back.” Annihilationism is the teaching that sometime in the future the condemned will be completely destroyed, body and soul. The historic evangelical doctrine has been that those who die without having received Jesus for salvation will suffer eternal physical and spiritual torment in the lake of fire. Annihilationism teaches that the unsaved will not suffer forever, but at some time will cease from existing. Though some well known evangelical leaders have held to annihilationism, very few evangelical Christians believe the teachings of annihilationism.

The Bible states that those who suffer in hell will do so forever. Jesus describes hell as a place where, “The worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Those who have rejected Jesus will, “go away unto everlasting punishment.” (Matthew 25:46) Reading these statements would lead one naturally to believe the suffering of the lost has no end. Annihilationists seek to explain these passages as metaphorical descriptions of the greatness of the suffering of the unsaved or as teachings that the result of God’s judgment will have eternal effects but the punishment itself is not eternal. The biggest problem with reading these passages in this way is the significant similarity between the warnings of eternal suffering and the promises of eternal joy. If the lost in hell will not suffer everlasting torment, then why should anyone believe the saved in heaven will enjoy everlasting bliss? The annihilationists cannot consistently define words like eternal and everlasting. They must define them one way when describing punishment and another when describing salvation.

Some arguments for annihilation are based on a misdefinition of death. Most people view death as the ending of life. Medically speaking life is over, death occurs, when the heart stops and the brain ceases to function. The Bible does not define death according to that modern, medical perspective. The Bible defines death as separation. When Adam and Eve sinned they died. They died on the day of their sin just as God had warned. They suffered the first death in being physically and spiritually separated from God, the Author and Sustainer of life. The end result of the first death- separation from God- was physical death- separation from the physical body. The person dies when the spirit and body are separated. This is why the Bible often speaks of death as “giving up the ghost”. When the spirit and the body are separated the person is physically dead. The eternal punishment for sin is called the second death. The condemned are not dead in the modern sense of ceasing to have existence, they are dead in the Biblical sense of being separated from the presence of God. (2 Thes. 1:9) The unsaved are eternally separated from God and thus they are eternally dead.

Annihilation is emotionally easier to accept than eternal torment. The idea that God would remove His offending creature from existence is easier to accept than the idea that God would punish them forever. Appealing or not, the Biblical doctrine is that the unsaved will suffer God’s wrath, actively and consciously, for all eternity. Annihilationism is not a Biblical doctrine. Historically this doctrine has had very few defenders and discerning Christians today should reject it as contrary to the plain meaning of Scriptures.

Should Christians cremate their loved ones?

Europeans and Americans have long placed great importance on burying the bodies of their dead. Even in times of war or great poverty the energy was invested to inter the body. Rich and poor alike sought to give their loved ones a proper burial. America’s west in the late 1800’s illustrates the importance that was placed on interring the body. A man could be gunned down in the streets of a western town, unknown to any one, but someone would dig him a grave. Boot Hill may have been filled with anonymous cowboys, but even the most despised were given a “decent burial”.

Over the last several decades America has seen a steady increase of the number of cremations. Some statistics show that nearly half of all deceased are cremated. For Christians considering what to do with the body of their loved ones this can be a difficult decision at a very difficult time. To make this matter even more challlenging the Bible does not give any commands for or against burning the bodies of the dead.

This does not mean the Bible is silent on death and burial. The Bible consistently shows burial as the standard practice of the people of God. Multiple examples of this could be given, starting with Abraham and ending with Jesus. Clearly burial was the normal practice of all those in the Bible. Burning of bodies is only mentioned a few times in the Old Testament and is always associated with judgment. Achan was burned after being stoned to death for his disobedience to God’s command to not take anything from the city of Jericho. The book of Leviticus prescribed two cases when a person’s body was to be burned and both were commanded as part of punishment for specific sins.

The example of the Old Testament must be considered by the Christian. Burial was the normal practice of the Old and New Testaments saints but that does not necessarily mean the Bible teaches burial is the only permissible treatment of a dead body. Generally those who oppose cremation offer theological reasons as the basis for burying the dead. Two of those theological reasons are the resurrection of the body and the dignity of the person.

Often funeral practices are a reflection of the beliefs of the culture. Much unconscious symbolism can be found in the modern tendency to have no funeral or to replace the funeral with a party. Burial points to the future resurrection of the believers. A Christian burial reflects the teachings of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 that the body is sown in the ground and will spring up again as something greater. The sown seed will spring up into a full, greater existence and the Christian, like that seed, looks forward to springing up again with a glorified body into eternal life. (This does not at all imply that the resurrection of the body is in any way dependent on a proper burial.) Burial points to the Christian’s expectation of resurrection.

Burial respects the dignity of the person who is created in the image of God. While Christian burial does not attempt to keep the body in a pristine a condition for as long as possible (though modern embalming and entombing practice seem to have that effect) it does seek to treat with respect the person who has died. Genesis 1:26-27 states that God created mankind in His own image. Though sin has marred this image Genesis 9:6 and 1 Corinthians 11:7 indicate that man still bears the image of God. That which is a reflection of the image and glory of God is worthy of respect. Cremation intentionally destroys the body and has been seen by many cultures as a sign of contempt. The apparent disrespect in burning a body is not in keeping with the respect due one who is the image of God.

The Christian should give careful thought to the Biblical teachings regarding death, resurrection and the dignity of the person. However, when all things are considered the Bible gives no direct instructions regarding the disposal of dead bodies. The Bible nowhere forbids burning a body after death, nor does it command burial. Crematiòn is a matter of liberty in which each Christian and each family must seek to reach a Biblical conclusion as best as they are able. Each Christian must be careful to not bring an extra measure of suffering on those mourning the loss of a loved one.