Q. What happens at the Rapture/Resurrection to a born again believer who is cremated? I know the dead in Christ will rise first but what about those who are cremated?
A. When believers die, their spirits go to be with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6-8) and their dead bodies are left behind. Whether cremated or buried, once the life has gone out of them, all earthly bodies soon decompose and turn to dust (Genesis 3:19).
At the rapture/resurrection the spirits of deceased believers will return with the Lord where they will be united with completely new physical bodies that will never wear out or decompose. Immediately afterward, the bodies of living believers will be changed from mortal to immortal, and like the dead we’ll also have new bodies that will never wear out or decompose. This will all happen in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Thes. 4:16-17, 1 Cor. 15:51-53), and before we know it we’ll be in the presence of the Lord.
In 1 Cor. 15:37-44 Paul compared the resurrection to planting a seed. The seed that goes into the ground looks one way, but the plant that comes from it looks another way. You can’t tell exactly what the plant will be like from looking at the seed. You have to wait until it comes out of the ground.
So it will be with us. Our resurrection body will not be like our earthly one. Therefore, the disposition of our earthly body is irrelevant, because it was designed for this life. It doesn’t make any difference whether it was burned, buried, or drowned in the depths of the sea, because we will all get a brand new one, designed for the next life.
As raptured / resurrected believers we will be made glorious, conformed to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29-30). We won’t totally understand what this means until after it happens. But where now we only know in part, then we shall know fully, even as we are fully known (1 Cor. 13:12).
John said, “What we will be has not been made known. But we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see him as He is” (1 John 3:2). It will be a transformation beyond imagining.