Historically, Christians have regarded burning as a proper and reverent way of disposing of objects which are blessed. We understand ourselves to the blessed children of God through our Baptism. The practice of cremation has existed for thousands of years, but has become more common among Christians since the nineteenth century. Contrary to popular notions about cremation, the body is not actually burned during the process, but rather is heated so that water evaporates; leaving on the solid matter. Thus, cremation simply speeds the natural process that take place after death. Since there is little difference between cremains and the remains of one who has been buried traditionally, more and more Christians believe there is little reason to favor one method of committal over the other . . . from a theological point of view.
While some other mainline denominations have made statements that cremation is acceptable in their tradition, there is no official view within the United Methodist Church on the subject of cremation, except for what follows from the website of the United Methodist Church.
Our doctrinal statements, then, affirm the bodily resurrection of Jesus, indeed the resurrection of the same body that entered the tomb. But for believers, many of whose bodies over the past two thousand years may have entirely decomposed, if there were not burned, lost at sea, or otherwise destroyed, our statements speak simply of the resurrection of “the dead.” This is consistent not only with biology, but also with the teaching of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. There, Paul insist that resurrection is real, necessary, and more than a matter of revivifying dead bodies or remains. Instead, he speaks of a spiritual body that is raised of which our perishable, corruptible bodies are at most but the seed (see especially verses 35-49).
…United Methodist do not insist upon burial as the only appropriate means of committing our earthly remains to God, and so are generally open to cremation as a viable alternative. Ultimately, this is a decision that will be in the context of the individual, families and cultural norms involved.