Each faith has their own beliefs surrounding cremation. Some are very clear in their stance. For example, Hinduism mandates that cremation is the only type of body disposition that should be used. Then there are faiths where the use of cremation isn’t so clearly established. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society falls into the latter category.
Like many religions, in the last few decades Jehovah’s Witnesses have worked to clarify their beliefs surrounding the practice of cremation, which is now more common than burial. Let’s take a closer look at what factored into the decision of whether or not cremation can be used by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
How Jehovah’s Witnesses View Resurrection
To understand Jehovah’s Witness’ stance on cremation it helps to first examine how the faith views resurrection, or the belief that people or their souls rise from the dead. Resurrection is a point where the Jehovah’s Witness faith deviates from most other Christian religions.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Heaven exists, but they don’t believe in Hell. They also don’t believe that Jesus Christ’s body was physically resurrected as other religions do. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society teaches that only his soul was resurrected. Another distinction is the Jehovah’s Witness faith only believes that a select number of their members will be resurrected by God.
However, in the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society faith God’s capability to resurrect isn’t limited. He’s able to resurrect a soul no matter what happens to the physical form (body).
What the Jehovah’s Witness Faith Says About Cremation as a Form of Body Disposition
Many people are aware that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t follow the same practices as other faiths in some key ways. They don’t celebrate Christmas, Easter or birthdays. They also don’t receive blood transfusions because it’s considered “unclean” to do so.
Based on these tenants of the religion, it’s easy to see why some people automatically assume cremation also isn’t allowed. While some religions limit the types of body disposition that can be used, the Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t.
After some debate over what the bible says about cremation, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society determined that cremation is acceptable. Church leaders found no passages that expressly prohibited cremation. Instead, there were passages that were supportive for burial and others that supported cremation. Since both are acceptable the official stance is that the choice of burial or cremation is up to the family.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are open to cremation because they don’t believe it affects resurrection. They acknowledge that the body decomposes, and cremation is simply a faster process compared to burial. They believe that the chosen members of their congregation will be resurrected by Jehovah regardless of what happened to their body after death. Essentially, Jehovah doesn’t need the body to resurrect a soul. The belief is that those who are resurrected would receive a new physical form, making the old body obsolete.
What’s most important in the Jehovah’s Witness faith is that the body be treated respectfully. There’s a specific mention in the Watchtower Bible of King Saul and his three sons’ bodies being disrespected after they died in battle. When their fellow Israelites discovered what happened they retrieved the bodies and cremated the four men, which was considered the respectful thing to do.
Green Cremation Texas works with families that belong to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society to provide eco-friendly cremation services that are respectful of personal beliefs. We can coordinate with local officials and church members to handle the process efficiently with very little stress on the family.
Call, text or email us any time of day to make cremation arrangements or get your questions answered.