Monday, January 18, 2010

Ask Anything: What does the Bible say about reincarnation?

We all like a second chance, a do-over. Maybe that is why someone came up with the idea of reincarnation. This concept has been around for hundreds of years. It basically states that the human soul will progress through a series of lives (some think this will include plants and animals) and eventually will merge with God. Along with the belief in reincarnation comes the concept of karma, which teaches that how we live in this life will effect our future lives. Hindu and Buddhist belief systems embrace reincarnation as a central concept.

So, what does the Bible say about this? It is pretty straightforward that the Bible gives absolutely no room for such an idea. In Hebrews 9:27 we read, "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people."

Remember when Jesus was on the cross and the criminal who was crucified alongside Him said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus did not suggest that he live his next life better and therefore improve his chances to enter the kingdom. His answer was very simple: "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

The apostle Paul writes in a letter to the Corinthians (II Cor. 5:6-10) that being out of his body would mean being present with the Lord. And that is true for every Christian. We can be as confident as Paul in knowing that at the moment we take our last earthly breath, we will be in the presence of our Savior.

So our do-over does not come from a long string of reincarnations, but from the grace and sacrifice of Jesus. He provides our new life. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

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