Well, is there?
It’s a common enough question — much more common than you think, actually. Many people wonder if there is energy in cremated ashes.
So if you find yourself looking for answers, just know that you aren’t alone.
There are thousands of questions (and equally as many fears) surrounding death, life after death, the soul, and what’s often referred to as “soul energy.”
We obviously won’t be touching on all of them today, but we will gladly take a moment to discuss this particular one related to cremation.
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Is There Energy in Cremated Ashes?
The answer is yes and no. But the type of energy here is important to note, as it is physical rather than spiritual.
Physical energy is subject to science, and while there is so much in this world that science cannot explain (not yet, anyway), there is much that it can — including our topic!
We won’t get too scientifically in-depth, but understanding these concepts of energy will hopefully serve to both inform and put potential or existing fears to rest.
Most people can agree to some extent that humans are composed of body, mind, and soul/spirit. Upon death, the heart stops and brain function quickly follows. The metabolic processes that govern our physical bodies also stop, causing the production of energy to cease.
Energy producing processes having ceased, our corpses — and eventually ashes — become nothing more than remnants of the material “houses” in which we once resided.
From a scientific standpoint, cremated ashes do contain a little energy (energy here being “the ability to do work or cause change”). Let’s look closer at that “little energy.”
Thanks to one Mr. Einstein, we know that matter and energy are simply two rungs of the same ladder. All matter, including that of corpses and ashes, contains energy. But the type of energy is critical to this discussion.
Cremains contain what is known as rest energy, sometimes referred to as free or dormant energy. This type of energy is still subject to the restraints of natural law, and can have no physical or spiritual impact on those around it.
Where Does Your Energy Go When You Are Cremated?
We know from the first law of thermodynamics that energy cannot be created or destroyed under any circumstance, including cremation. It can only be converted from one form to another and dispersed by application of heat, work or other internal energy.
During the process of cremation, the body’s remaining energy is converted into heat energy, which is then distributed into the atmosphere.
What little energy remains in the ashes is, again, “rest” or dormant energy.
Is It Bad Luck to Keep Ashes in the House?
What remains of us and our loved ones after death is simply matter. All traces of who we are or the sentiments we held, good or bad, are no longer connected to the ashes that remain.
In short, the basic elements of calcium, carbon and potassium which make up cremains are no more capable of bringing bad luck to your home than the sixes you rolled in last night’s Yahtzee game.
Related: Keeping Cremated Remains at Home
What Does the Bible Say About Keeping Ashes at Home?
While the Bible doesn’t specifically address keeping human ashes in or near the home, it does reference the retention of animal ashes.
The one who burns the heifer shall wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water and shall be unclean until evening. And a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place. And they shall be kept for the water for impurity for the congregation of the people of Israel; it is a sin offering.
This passage clearly states that the ash remnants from the heifer’s sacrifice were to be kept for purification rituals. While these ashes had no actual cleansing properties, they were kept and used near the Israelites’ homes as a symbol of cleansing.
“But those are animal cremains, not human cremains. Is that passage actually helpful?” you may find yourself asking. Well, it might not be a direct answer, but it does seem to indicate that ashes themselves are not intrinsically bad, unclean or a spiritual “taboo.” God designated that they be kept and used, rather than discarded.
Ultimately, whether you decide it is okay to keep human ashes in your home is based on how you view cremation in light of your faith. We addressed this topic extensively here if you are unsure what your views are and wish to study them out more fully.
Since the Bible does not specifically address the modern practice of cremation, how it is viewed can depend on several factors. These factors can include your denomination, personal conviction, and your interpretation of Scripture as a whole.
Hopefully this quick overview has helped put your mind at ease in regard to ashes and the energy they may or may not hold after cremation.
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