EXPLORING THE WORD
What Does the Bible Say about Reincarnation?
By Dillon Burroughs
Reincarnation has become an increasingly popular spiritual idea in contemporary society. It is the idea that a spiritual soul can be reborn into a new physical body after the death of a previous one. With far more than a billion adherents of eastern religions that embrace spiritual systems that teach reincarnation and numerous Western spiritual practices that include the belief, many Christians are asking, "What does the Bible teach about this issue?"
First, the Bible is clear that we live once and then enter the afterlife. Hebrews 9:27 states, "It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment." There is no second chance to experience life as we know it now.
Second, the life that began at our conception (Psalm 139:13) will extend into eternity future. John 3:15 is clear that "whoever believes in [Jesus] may have eternal life." Those who do not will experience eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46).
The difference between eternity with God and eternity apart from Him is how we respond to Jesus Christ in this life. John 3:16 says it best, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." To respond to Jesus and receive eternal life, a person must believe He is God's Son. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." This salvation, or eternal life, is a gift, not something we earn. No one is good enough to make it to heaven on his or her own, but God has made it possible for anyone to experience eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ.
How can we respond to those who believe in reincarnation? First, ask, "What is the basis for this belief?" Proof for reincarnation would require someone who could provide evidence of having lived previous lives, something impossible to verify. In the end, reincarnation is a faith claim rather than a claim based on strong evidence.
Another question to ask of those who believe in reincarnation is, "What if you are wrong?" What is the alternative if reincarnation doesn't work out or is not true? It would be better to consider what Christ suggests regarding eternal life than to neglect it and risk the possibility of being wrong and receiving eternal punishment rather than eternal life.
Finally, ask, "What is better? Eternity with God or repeated experiences in this life?" Anyone who is honest would admit they hope there is something better than what life can offer in this world. This craving for more is ultimately a desire for the One who has created us and desires to spend eternity with us in Heaven.
Image Credit: woodleywonderworkd; "seventh sense"; Creative Commons
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