Reincarnation and the Bible: Can they be reconciled?

REINCARNATION AND THE BIBLE- Introduction
Few people today are surprised when they hear someone claiming to have lived before. Thanks to celebrities like Shirley MacLaine, reincarnation has become a household word. Additionally, she numbers among those who maintain that even the Bible espouses reincarnation. But just how accurate is that assertion?

REINCARNATION AND THE BIBLE- Death is an Intermediary?
Reincarnation asserts that death is but an intermediary stage in a cycle where the eternal soul passes from one physical body to another. This cycle of death and rebirth continues until the person finally attains a state of utter perfection. For many, this includes becoming “one with the universe.” Can such a view be found within the pages of the Scriptures?

REINCARNATION AND THE BIBLE- The Scriptural Truth
The answer is an emphatic NO! Reincarnation blatantly opposes the message of God’s Word. It is essentially an attempt to bootstrap one’s way out of this world, a system of works righteousness condemned by Scripture. “(God) saved us,” Paul wrote to Titus, “not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Tit. 3:5; cf. Eph. 2:8-9).

REINCARNATION AND THE BIBLE- Jesus is not Unique
Furthermore, reincarnation does away with the uniqueness and sovereignty of Christ. No longer is Jesus “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) nor the Messiah pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (Isa. 53; cf. John 1:41). Instead, the eyes of reincarnation see human beings as healers of their own wounds, arduously striving to settle a debt Christ had already paid in full.

REINCARNATION AND THE BIBLE- A Dangerous Proposition
Reincarnation is especially dangerous because it denies the reality of eternal torment resulting from the rejection of God’s gift of salvation. It peddles the message that there remain countless chances to try harder and do better during upcoming lifetimes. In contrast, the Bible explicitly teaches that “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27-28). There are no second chances. There is no coming back.

REINCARNATION AND THE BIBLE- Conclusion
Scripture tells us that upon death “the spirit returns to God who gave it” (Ecc. 12:7), that “to be away from the body” is to be “at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8). Indeed, the Christian’s hope rests not on the reincarnation of the soul, but in the resurrection of the body (1 Cor. 15:42-55).

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