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What does the Bible say about necrophilia?

necrophilia Bible

Necrophilia (literally, “corpse-love”) is a deviant sexual practice involving attraction to a corpse. It is also called necrophilism or necrolagnia. A necrophiliac is a person who derives sexual pleasure from having sex with a dead body. A necrophagist is someone who derives sexual pleasure from eating dead bodies or certain parts of them. The Bible nowhere directly mentions necrophilia or necrophagia.

In some cases, necrophilia involves sexually touching or having sexual intercourse with a recently deceased body; more often, however, a necrophiliac chooses bodies in more advanced stages of decay. The body of someone murdered by a necrophiliac is often kept in a shallow grave or other hidden place, allowing the necrophiliac to return for more sex with the victim at will. Fairly recent examples of necrophiliacs include Ted Bundy, Gary Ridgway (the Green River Killer), Edmund Kemper (the Co-ed Killer), and Jeffrey Dahmer.

“There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9), and the sin of necrophilia has been around for a long time. The Greek historian Herodotus (c. 484—425 BC) wrote of how the ancient Egyptians safeguarded the deceased from the practice of necrophilia (The Histories, Penguin Books, 1972, p. 161). At least one Greek mythology contains hints of necrophilia perpetrated by Achilles. In that second-century account, a fellow soldier says that Achilles “fell in love with the Amazon [Penthesilia] after her death” as he stood over her corpse (Apollodorus, Library Epitome, trans. by Frazer, J., book E, ch. 5, § 1).

Although the Bible does not explicitly condemn necrophilia, it contains principles that clearly mark it as a sin. The Mosaic Law specified that touching a dead body made a person unclean (Numbers 19:11–16). The law applied to any type of touching, including incidental contact required for moving the body and preparing it for burial. The uncleanness extended to those who touched a grave (verse 16) and even to those who were in the same tent as a corpse (verse 14). After seven days, the unclean person could be cleansed by going through a ceremonial process. Failing to complete that process carried a hefty penalty: “Whoever touches a dead person, the body of anyone who has died, and does not cleanse himself, defiles the tabernacle of the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from Israel” (Numbers 19:13, ESV).

The Bible limits sexual activity to a husband and wife. All forms of sex outside of marriage are sinful (Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 1:7; Revelation 21:8). Within the confines of marriage, sex is good and right. However, death ends a marriage (Romans 7:2). Thus, it is impossible for a necrophiliac to be married to the object of his lust, and necrophilia falls under the same condemnation as other forms of extramarital sex. Necrophilia in any circumstance is a sexual perversion and forbidden by God.

Some of the acts of the flesh are listed in Galatians 5. The first two are sexual immorality and impurity (verse 19). Necrophilia definitely involves immoral sex, and it is impure by any measure of purity. It is a sin that carries a severe warning: “Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21).

Death is the ultimate insult to God’s plan. Death is the result of sin (Romans 6:23). God’s original creation was perfect, complete, and good (Genesis 1). When sin was introduced into the universe, it began the process of perverting, twisting, and ruining what was intended to be holy, right, pure, and lovely. Necrophilia is one example of the twisting of God’s intent and the darkness capable of fallen humanity.

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This page last updated: October 12, 2022