It is most biblical to be buried in the ground.  The Bible states that God “formed man of dust from the ground,” (Gen.2:7), and later said: “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” (Gen. 3:19).  Furthermore, it is written that “the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same.  As one dies so dies the other…All go to the same place.  All came from the dust and all return to the dust,” (Ecclesiastes 3:19,20).

It was a sign of malediction, of utter disrespect, to allow a body to decay uncovered in the open, as in the case of the wicked Jezebel, who, having fallen from a window, was allowed to remain on the ground, whereupon dogs came and ate her flesh, (I Kings 21:23-25).  From the beginning, the dead were buried, either in the ground or placed in caves; it is recorded that Abraham buried Sarah in the cave of Machpelah. Later, when he died his body was also placed there, (Genesis 25:9,10). 

There are some instances of partial cremation in the Bible.  When Saul and his three sons were slain in battle, the Philistines cut off Saul’s head and carried it away.  Later the inhabitants of Jabesh came, removed the bodies of Saul and his sons, burned them, took the bones that were left and buried them under a tree, (I Samuel 31:8-13).   But this procedure was not the norm.  The Jews practiced burials.

Cremation is thought to have originated in India.  Buddha was cremated in 483 B.C. and his ashes were scattered on the Ganges River.  The Greeks and the Etruscans practiced both cremation and burials, and the Romans followed their example.  Cremation is simply a faster method of reducing a body into dust.

In any case, these procedures do not in any way affect the destiny of the dead one, for the Bible is clear on one important point: that “the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything,” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).  It is then not surprising that Jesus, who understood that He possessed the power to resurrect mankind, said, “…Marvel not at this for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice and come forth…” John 5:28, 20. Remember, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22.