Does The Bible Talk About Karma?

by Robert Driskell · Print Print · Email Email

Karma’ is the idea that how we live our lives affect not only the here and now but also what, and who, we will be when we are reincarnated in a future life.  How we have lived in our past life determines our current place in life and also determines who, or what, we will be in our next life.  If we treat others with love and respect, in our next life we will reap the benefits of our loving behavior.  Conversely, if we are mean and nasty in this life, our lot in the next life will be less than desirable.

‘Karma’ is seen as a natural law like gravity.  ‘Karma’ is also seen as, “the force created by a person’s actions that is believed in Hinduism and Buddhism, and many other non-Christian religions, to determine what that person’s next life will be like” or “the force created by a person’s actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that person”.  They believe that karma, not the Christian concept of sin, is the cause of the bad things we see in our world today.  Those who believe in ‘karma’, attribute one’s hardships in this life to that person’s having lived a negative life in the past and now experiencing the consequences of that behavior.

There is no such thing as ‘karma’ in the Bible.  The Bible says “…it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27 ESV).  The Bible says we do not carry on an endless cycle of lives, one after the other, either worsening or improving with each succeeding existence.  We live one time on this earth and then we move into eternity, either in Heaven or in Hell, depending on our relationship with God.

There is no such thing as 'karma' in the Bible.  The Bible says “...it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment...” (Hebrews 9:27 ESV).  The Bible says we do not carry on an endless cycle of lives, one after the other, either worsening or improving with each succeeding existence.  We live one time on this earth and then we move into eternity, either in Heaven or in Hell, depending on our relationship with God.

There is no such thing as ‘karma’ in the Bible. The Bible says “…it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27 ESV). The Bible says we do not carry on an endless cycle of lives, one after the other, either worsening or improving with each succeeding existence. We live one time on this earth and then we move into eternity, either in Heaven or in Hell, depending on our relationship with God.

The Idea of ‘Karma’ is a Works Based, Self-focused Concept

The basis of ‘karma’ is that a person has the ability to save themselves.  There is no need for God, or any god, because it all rests in the control, and actions, of the individual.  The Bible tells us that it is not possible to work ones way to heaven, or out of judgment (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:15-17; Ephesians 2:8-10).  Therefore, the concept of ‘karma’ is nothing less than a tool of the devil, designed to make one believe that he or she does not have to rely on God for salvation; but, rather can attain forgiveness of sins, freedom, and salvation by his or her own efforts.

Related Reading: 10 Basic Christian Beliefs

Karma And Consequences

Even though there is no such thing as ‘karma’, we do suffer the consequences of our actions in this life.  God created the universe, and us, to function in certain ways.  When we reject His standards, we suffer the consequences.  Adam and Eve rejected God’s rule way back in the Garden of Eden and this put all humanity outside the will of God.  Now, we all suffer because we are born into a sin filled world with a tendency to sin.  The Bible tells us that all of creation is affected by this sin, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (Romans 8:22 ESV).  It is sin, not ‘karma’, that explains all of the evil, sickness, pain, and death we see around us everyday.

Conclusion

Nevertheless, God provided a way to break this cycle of sin; Jesus Christ paid for your sins and mine when He died on a cross some 2000 years ago.  When we unite ourselves with Him, through faith, our sins are forgiven and we receive forgiveness, joy, peace, strength, and everything that comes with a life that is in tune with the Creator of the universe.   This relationship will not make all our problems disappear, but God will supply the strength to endure whatever we face in our lives.

The biblical answer to ‘karma’ is to turn your life over to God and trust Him for all you need.  He is bigger than anything we will ever face in life.   The Bible says that there is, “…no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2 ESV).  Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29 ESV).

The only way to be free, and avoid the eternal consequences of sin, is to live a life dedicated to Jesus Christ.  Then, we can say with the apostle Paul, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 ESV).

Another Article of Interest: Is Jesus The Only Way?

Resources – The Holy Bible, English Standard Version “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

DocReits November 8, 2013 at 8:01 am

Hi Robert,

Though originating in the East, many in our Western culture have adopted this notion of Karma. It is subtle in the things we say, vis, “He got what he deserved”, “What goes a around, comes around”, “Looks like fate caught up with you”.

We have to be careful as these ideas are not exclusive to the world, as we hear these ideas in those who claim Christ as Savior. The believer’s “fate”, as you so well pointed out, is bound up in the reality of Christ our Hope. We need to understand(me included), that “we died already, and our lives are hidden with Christ in God”, not Karma Col 3:3

Thank you for your message!

DocReits

Reply

Robert November 8, 2013 at 9:04 am

Great points, Doc,
We believers must be diligent to continually reevaluate our relationship with Jesus, so that we stay on the right (Biblical) track. It was my pleasure to right this article. I pray it will help strengthen the faith of many. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

Reply

David November 19, 2013 at 2:16 am

I like what you said esp “This relationship [with God] will not make our problems disappear. but God will supply the strength to endure whatever we face in our lives“. Amen to that

Reply

Steven May 31, 2018 at 11:17 am

Also, Karma could remind one of the theology Elifaz, a friend of Job, talked about. In fact, Bildad and Sofar, who were his other friends, also had an understanding like this. An idea that a just world could only be so, if “what comes around goes around”. So the idea is in the bible, but it is false, God himself says it in the end of the book.

Reply

Jack Wellman May 31, 2018 at 11:34 am

Thank you Steven.

Reply

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