Q. I have read your commentaries on the questions regarding cremation, and the Biblical/Christian perspective. My question is about the phrase in 1-Corinthians 13:3 “and though I give my body to be burned…” I would like to know what you think is the significance of that phrase, and what, if any, implication it may have. It almost sounds, to me, like some kind of forboding finality to be avoided. When pondering the question of cremation, for myself or my loved ones, my mind goes back to that phrase, and I wonder “why is it there and what does it mean; and is there an implication to cremation that should warn us to avoid it?”
A. In 1 cor. 13:3 Paul was referring to being burned at the stake, a form of martyrdom suffered by many early Christians. He was saying that even such a supreme sacrifice was of no value to a person if it wasn’t done out of love. This verse cannot be used in connection with cremation, which is simply a way to dispose of a dead body.