What is reincarnation? Is it Biblical?

by Dr. Michael L. Williams · Print Print · Email Email

Since the beginning of time people have wondered when someone dies if that person will be reborn to live on this earth again. In my own experience before salvation, I was told by a “Christian Psychic” that a reoccurring dream I had when I was younger of me walking up a desert mountain trail in dusty sandals was a memory of me in an earlier life when I was Moses walking up Mount Sinai. It was only later, after salvation and I read the Bible that I realized that there was no such thing as a “Christian” psychic. However, many people, including some who claim to be Christians, believe in reincarnation. What is reincarnation and is it Biblical?

what-is-reincarnation

What is reincarnation?

According to one source, reincarnation is described as follows:

“Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that an aspect of a living being starts a new life in a different physical body or form after each biological death. It is also called rebirth or transmigration, and is a part of the Saṃsāra doctrine of cyclic existence. It is a central tenet of all major Indian religions, namely Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. The idea of reincarnation is found in many ancient cultures, and a belief in rebirth that was held by such historic figures as Pythagoras, Plato, and Socrates. It is also a common belief of various ancient and modern religions such as Spiritism, Theosophy, and Eckankar and is found as well in many tribal societies around the world, in places such as Australia, East Asia, Siberia, and South America.” [1]

Reincarnation is not found in the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, but the word incarnation can be found as follows: “INCARNA’TION, noun The act of clothing with flesh. 1. The act of assuming flesh, or of taking a human body and the nature of man; as the incarnation of the Son of God. 2. In surgery, the process of healing wounds and filling the part with new flesh.” [2] If you add the prefix Re- to this definition, it communicates the idea that an incarnation happens again. In other words, someone will live a life in the flesh, more than once.

What does the Bible say about reincarnation?

The Bible does not use the word reincarnation, but it does tell us that man only lives in human flesh once as follows:

  1. Christ lived a life in the flesh and put an end to the annual sacrifice by the High Priest by sacrificing himself once to put away sin forever. This made it possible for everyone to live one life, die, and stand before Him either as a child of God at the Judgment Seat of Christ to received rewards for what they have done as a believer. Or, as a non-believer at the Great White Throne Judgment where they will receive their eternal life sentence to the lake of fire (Matthew 25:46; Hebrews 9:24-27; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Revelation 20:5-15).
  1. When a person dies they are later resurrected in bodies that are not flesh and blood. Their earthly flesh and blood bodies have perished and they receive celestial bodies. However, they are the same person, not a completely different person (Luke 20:34-36; John 5:25-29;1 Corinthians 15:35-58).
  1. People who die do not get reincarnated to live in some other world in the universe (Deuteronomy 4:32-39; Isaiah 66:17; Isaiah 67:22; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 21:1).
  1. There is no confusion about how many lives we live in Scripture (2 Samuel 12:22-23; Job 7:9-10; Job 14:10-14; Psalms 78:38-39; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Luke 23:40-43; Hebrews 9:27).

Scripture is clear that we live one life and we are held accountable for how we live that life. Any teaching that supports reincarnation is not Biblical because it denies the fact that Jesus has come to give us life and that we may live an abundant life. In this life, we make choices and have consequences. If we chose to trust Christ as our Savior, the consequence is that we have eternal life. If we choose to reject Christ, the consequence is eternal punishment. There are no do over’s when it comes to either one. To deny this truth is to deny everything that Christ did for us on the cross.

Conclusion

Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that an aspect of a living being starts a new life in a different physical body or form after each biological death. The word reincarnation communicates the idea that an incarnation happens again – that someone will live a life in the flesh, more than once. The Bible does not use the word reincarnation, but it does tell us that man only lives in human flesh once. Reincarnation is not Biblical and denies God’s plan of salvation for us in our life.

More reading for you: Does the Bible Talk About Karma?

Resources – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, King James Version. [1] “Reincarnation”, WikiPedia: The free encyclopedia, Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reincarnation. [2] Webster, Noah (1828) “Incarnation”. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1828): American Dictionary of the English Language, Retrieved from http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/incarnation



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