What Does The Bible Say About Reincarnation?




What Does The Bible Say About Reincarnation?

Reincarnation, in case you didn’t know, is the view that people die multiple times and every time someone dies, they come back later in a brand new body. Some people wonder if reincarnation can be compatible or reconciled with the teachings of The Holy Bible. Before we go further, let’s take a look at what The Bible has to say about the afterlife and then let’s see if reincarnation can somehow fit in there.

What does the Bible say about the afterlife. First, The Bible teaches that when we die, our soul leaves the body and goes to either Heaven or Hell depending on whether or not you’ve placed your hope and trust in Jesus Christ (John 3:16-18), and we will exist for a short period of time as a disembodied ghost/spirit (see 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, Luke 23:39-43) until God raises us in brand new, immortal, indestructible, physical bodies in the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17, 1 Corinthians 15:20, Philippians 3:20-21). This is the biblical view of the afterlife. Death, existence as a disembodied ghost/spirit, then resurrection. It seems to me that if you throw reincarnation in there, then it makes this view of the afterlife very odd. What’s the point of there being a Heaven and Hell and a resurrection if you’re just going to keep coming back over and over and over. There isn’t even a hint in scripture whatsoever, not even a single verse which even remotely suggests that we come back to this life over and over again. However, there is a verse which speaks against such an idea.

'And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment," - Hebrews 9:27

The Bible makes it clear as day that when human beings die, we die once and only once, then after that, we go to judgment (see Hebrews 9:27 referenced above). This verse rules out any notion of people coming back over and over. 'And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment," - Hebrews 9:27 Some people say “Well, God can do anything. God can send me back into a new life over and over if He wanted to. It is within His power.” While this is true, our concern isn’t so much over what God can or cannot do, rather its what He does or does not do, and what He did or did not do. Yes, God could indeed set up a system of reincarnation for souls if He so pleased. It is logically possible and therefore within His capabilities. However, His Word tells us that that is not what He does. The Afterlife system God has set up is that we come into this world, we die once and only once (Hebrews 9:27), , our soul leaves the body and goes to either Heaven or Hell depending on whether or not you’ve placed your hope and trust in Jesus Christ (John 3:16-18), and we will exist for a short period of time as a disembodied ghost/spirit (see 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, Luke 23:39-43) until God raises us in brand new, immortal, indestructible, physical bodies in the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17, 1 Corinthians 15:20, Philippians 3:20-21).

Another scripture in opposition to the idea of reincarnation is found in Luke 16:19-31. In this passage, Jesus told an account in which a poor man named Lazarus, and a wealthy man, both passed away. The Bible explains that Lazarus died and “was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom” (16:22), but the rich went to “torments in Hades” (16:23). The text further states that the rich man “lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom” (16:23). Here we have three people who once lived upon the Earth but died, yet we don’t see their spirits re-inhabiting some earthly body. Instead, we see the three men—Lazarus, Abraham, and the rich man—in a fully conscious state in the realm of the dead, separate and apart from any earthly ties. In fact, the rich man begs Abraham to send Lazarus back to Earth to warn his brothers, but Abraham denies him. Therefore, if Lazarus had died, and his soul no longer was on Earth, then he could not have been reincarnated to another material body. Moreover, Abraham’s presence in this “realm of the dead” demonstrates that Abraham had not been reincarnated either.

Moreover, reincarnation teaches not just that people come back over and over, but that many times they the come back, they don’t even come back as human. Sometimes they come back as animals. This is why some cultures don’t eat beef. They strongly believe that the souls of their ancestors could very well be inside the body of those cows, and so, in order to avoid a sort of cannibalism, they avoid eating meat. Now, this is completely contrary to scripture. How can people come back as animals and still remain people? The Bible teaches us that man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Animals are not made in God’s image, only humans are. Being made in God’s image has traditionally been understood as having certain mental, rational and spiritual faculties in the human soul which the souls of animals do not possess. We can reason, we can think about the meaning of life, where we came from, what happens after we die, we have the ability to acknowledge and worship our Creator, we have the ability to design and build things. If you strip these qualities from a person (which you’d have to do in order to have a normal cow), in what sense are they still made in God’s image? Cows aren’t made in God’s image. They lack these qualities.

One very common passage that people often point to as biblical evidence for reincarnation is Matthew 17:10-12 which links John the Baptist with Elijah. However, the passage does not say that John the Baptist was Elijah reincarnated but that he would have fulfilled the prophecy of Elijah's coming if the people had believed his words and thereby believed in Jesus as the Messiah (Matthew 17:12). The people specifically asked John the Baptist if he was Elijah, and he said, "No, I am not" (John 1:21).

It doesn’t seem to me that there is any biblical basis for accepting the belief of reincarnation, but there are biblical reasons to reject it. Therefore, those who accept The Bible as the inspired Word Of God should reject this view.

Comments

  1. “Unaccomplished activities of past lives are also one of the causes for reincarnation. Some of us reincarnate to complete the unfinished tasks of previous birth. The is evident from my own story of reincarnation:
    “My most Revered Guru of my previous life His Holiness Maharaj Sahab, 3rd Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith had revealed this secret to me during trance like state of mine. This was sort of REVELATION.
    HE told me, “Tum Sarkar Sahab Ho” (You are Sarkar Sahab). Sarkar Sahab was one of the most beloved disciple of His Holiness Maharj Sahab. Sarkar Sahab later on became Fourth of Spiritual Head Radhasoami Faith.
    Since I don’t have any direct realization of it so I can not claim the extent of its correctness. But it seems to be correct. During my previous birth I wanted to sing the song of ‘Infinite’ (Agam Geet yeh gawan chahoon tumhri mauj nihara, mauj hoi to satguru soami karoon supanth vichara) but I could not do so then since I had to leave the mortal frame at a very early age. But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.”
    I am one the chief expounder and supporter of Gravitation Force Theory of God. This is most scientific and secular theory of God. This is the Theory of Universal Religion. I have given Higher Theory of Everything. Sometimes back I posted this as comments to a blog on:
    ‘Fighting of the Cause of Allah by Governing a Smart Mathematics Based on Islamic Teology’
    By Rohedi of Rohedi Laboratories, Indonesia. Rohedi termed my higher theory of everything more wonderful than which has been developed by Stephen Hawking. Some details are quoted below:
    rohedi
    @anirudh kumar satsangi
    Congratulation you have develop the higher theory of everything more wonderful than which has been developed by Stephen Hawking. Hopefully your some views for being considered for Unified Field Theory are recognized by International Science Community, hence I soon read the fundamental aspect proposed by you.
    I have posted my comments to the Blog of Syed K. Mirza on Evolutionary Science vs. Creation Theory, and Intellectual Hypocrisy. Syed Mirza seems to be a very liberal muslim. He responded to my comments as mentioned below.
    “Many thanks for your very high thought explanations of God.
    You said:
    “Hence it can be assumed that the Current of Chaitanya (Consciousness) and Gravitational Wave are the two names of the same Supreme Essence (Seed) which has brought forth the entire creation. Hence it can be assumed that the source of current of consciousness and gravitational wave is the same i.e. God or ultimate creator.
    (i) Gravitation Force is the Ultimate Creator, Source of Gravitational Wave is God”
    Whatever you call it, God is no living God of any religion. Yes, when I call it “Mother Nature” is the God generated from all Natural forces and Gravitational force is the nucleus of all forces or we can presume that Gravitation is the ultimate guiding principle of this Mother Nature we call it non-living God unlike living personal God of religions. I can not believe any personal God would do so much misery created for its creation. Hence, only non-living natural God can explain everything in the Universe. When we think of any living personal God, things do not ad up!”
    I have also discovered the mathematical expression for emotional quotient (E.Q.) and for spiritual quotient (S.Q.).
    Austrian Scientist Rudolf Steiner says,
    “Just as an age was once ready to receive the Copernican theory of the universe, so is our age ready for the idea of reincarnation to be brought into the general consciousness of humanity”.

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    Replies
    1. I'm just going to go with what Jesus has to say about the afterlife. After all, He did claim to be the God of the Jewish Faith various times and backed those claims up with his miracles, death and resurrection (as powerful historical evidence seems to suggest). It seems reasonable then that He'd be in the know regarding how the universe works.

      He taught that God was a personal being, that there is life after death (and that it wasn't a reincarnation view), and that if you devote your life to Him, you will be raised from the dead (John 11:25).

      For a look at the historical evidence for Christ’s authenticity, take a look at this blog post I wrote back in April.

      http://cerebralfaith.blogspot.com/2014/04/did-jesus-really-rise-from-dead-brief.html

      You wrote " I can not believe any personal God would do so much misery created for its creation. Hence, only non-living natural God can explain everything in the Universe." -- So your objection to a personal God is from the presence of suffering in the world? I’m not sure how pantheism was solve that problem. But I don’t think that suffering in the world does anything to disprove the existence of a personal God. This is a topic that’s too in depth to go into in a single comment, but for one thing; God has given people free will. God has given human beings the ability to choose between right and wrong. Given the presence of free will, God can’t guarantee that the creatures He creates will always do what He wants them to do. It is logically impossible to force someone to freely do something. God desires that we love and worship Him, and that we also love each other. In fact, to love God and to love one’s fellow man are the two greatest commandments God has given us (see Matthew 22:37-39, Mark 12:30-31, Luke 10:27). However, due to the presence of free will, God cannot ensure that everyone, everywhere will do those two things. God could force everyone to always do the right thing, but then it wouldn’t mean as much to Him as it would if everyone were to do the right thing freely.

      If I were to program my computer to say that it loved me, would I feel loved? No. There would be no love there. I only programmed the computer to say it loved me. It really didn't have any other choice but to say that about me. Or think of this, if I programmed a robot to be nice to me and to take care of me, my family and even provide for the poor, would we find anything the robot does to be praiseworthy? Would we think the robot had genuine love? No. The only reason the robot is showing us affection, putting our needs and the needs of the poor above its own is because we programmed it to do such. We determined that the robot would be a loving humanitarian. It was impossible for the robot to do anything else. God wants us to love Him and each other. Without free will, genuine love would be impossible. You can't have a satisfying relationship with a puppet.

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    2. Again, this is a topic that's too in depth to go into here (given the character limit). But I offered more info in the article below. In the article below, I explain how God can use tragic events and certain events of hardship to bring about things of equal or greater goodness. I also explain that the reason why God allows SOME to suffer is actually to get them to a place of repentance, and I explained that although we know how many times God does not intervene to prohibit suffering, we have no idea just how many times He does. And the reason why we don't know how many times God intervenes to stop suffering is because the tragedies never occurred.

      http://cerebralfaith.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-problem-of-evil-suffering-revisited.html

      I implore you to take a look at those two posts. The historical evidence for Jesus' resurrection establishes who He is and really establishes the truth of Christianity. The second article I linked to deals with the topic of evil and suffering in the world and how that relates to the existence of an all powerful and all loving God. I think you'd really benefit from reading both of those.

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    3. Also, if you plan on responding again, please space out your words in individual paragraphs so it isn’t quite so messy. Your last comment was somewhat difficult to read.

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