Some say cremation is prohibited by citing Amos 2:1(NASB):
“Thus says the LORD, “For three transgressions of Moab and for four I will not revoke its punishment, because he burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime.”
Here it is not the method of disposal of the body that is condemned, but the callous desecration of the body
of the King of Edom by Moab.
Others cite the example of the men of Jabesh-Gilead who burned the bodies of King Saul and his sons ( 1 Samuel
31:12). This was to keep the bodies from falling into the hands of the Philistines, in order that their bodies
would not be dishonored.
There were some offenses which were punished by burning (Gen. 38:24; Lev. 20:14).
However these and similar cases provide no guidance in the normal disposition of the body. Some say because
the ancients observed the custom of burying the dead in the earth, so must we. Others cite the fact that most nations
of the world have always practiced cremation, therefore so should we.
Some have assumed that the doctrine of the resurrection of the body has served to restrict Christians from the
practice of cremation. This is not the case. Once the spirit returns to God (as Ecc. says) the body is lifeless
. James 2:26 says “For just as the body without the spirit is dead…” When this happens the body begins
its return to its original elements.
Whether the return is the slow disintegration of the body through the process of decay or is achieved in seconds
by fire, the result is the same–the return of the body’s elements to their original state.
In the resurrection it will be raised a spiritual body (1 Cor 15). It makes no difference how those elements
returned to their original state.
We are taught in the New Testament, largely by example, to exhibit proper respect for the dead and to deal with
them in dignified and respectful fashion. Cremation is a respectful way to deal with the dead.
I believe this is an aesthetic problem rather than a biblical one. It will likely be resolved on emotional and
philosophical grounds rather than moral ones. Cremation violates no New Testament principle.