Every now and then someone wants to know what the Bible says about reincarnation, an eastern philosophy that seems to be catching on in North America. The dictionary defines it as “the rebirth of a soul into a new human body.”
I asked myself “why would I believe in reincarnation? Some thoughts were: It gives hope for a second chance. If I could come back in another body, maybe I could just put behind me all the mistakes I made in this one. Also, if I could live again, perhaps I could have all the things denied me this time around. Besides, who wants to die?
So, what does the Bible say about reincarnation? Absolutely nothing. The word is not in Scripture. Surprised? Wouldn’t you think that if this was a valid concept, God would have something to say about it? Actually, He does. He reveals truth about the very same issues that reincarnation appeals to, the issues of: life after death, second chances, how to deal
with mistakes, and finding satisfaction and fulfillment.
LIFE AFTER DEATH: Jesus Christ said “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear (the Father’s) voice, and shall come forth...” (John 5:28-29) He goes on to say that those who have done good (satisfied the Father’s standard of righteousness) shall experience the resurrection of life and those that have done evil, the resurrection of damnation. Either way, everyone will live again after they die.
SECOND CHANCES: The Bible is blunt about this one. Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement.” Very simple. We only die once. There is not one thing in Scripture that even infers that life is a cycle of souls re-entering other bodies.
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR MISTAKES: While it would be nice to just sweep our mistakes and failures into a casket and freely enter a next life, there is nothing in God’s Word that says it will happen. Instead note He. 9:27 again, we die once... “but after this the judgement.” The next life is not one where we face a new beginning but where we face God.
Again, the Bible doesn’t mince His words and try to soften the blow. If our “mistakes” are sin, they are called sin. Furthermore, the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and everyone has sinned. God loves those He created, but He is also just. Those wages must be paid. The death that comes from sin is not just physical death but spiritual death - separation from God, forever. In other words, everyone dies physically, everyone is resurrected, but not everyone will spend eternity with God.
FINDING SATISFACTION: One would think after all this gloom and doom that it is no wonder people avoid Scripture and turn to the religions of the eastern mystics that are in such utter contradiction to God’s Word.
But the Bible has good news too. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live...” It also says, we are saved from God’s wrath by faith in His Son. That means Jesus + faith = eternal life, with the Lord, forever.
Jesus gives a genuine second chance - not by a vague hope for a future reincarnation but by a very real spiritual birth, IN THIS LIFE. “If any person is in Christ, He has become a new creation, old things are passed away, all things have become new.” Yet He doesn’t sweep our sin under the carpet, when He gives that life. Instead, He bore our sin Himself. He paid its terrible penalty on the cross where He suffered and died.
This is not a pie-in-the-sky philosophy that puts everything off into the hereafter as reincarnation does. It offers fulfillment and hope for this life right now because Jesus also said, “I have come that they might have life, and they might have it more abundantly.” The Lord is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think.”
Even if I could come back in another body, I know I could not do better than He can.
(Next week: The Bible does talk about INCARNATION.)