Many are intrigued by the teachings of the eastern religions, including the idea of reincarnation. Reincarnation is the belief that a departed soul will re-enter fleshly life in a new body. After millions (yes, millions) of cycles of birth and death, the person may be able to reach oneness with the universe and escape the reincarnation cycle.
Reincarnation is not based upon the Bible. Belief in a cycle of birth, death and re-birth is contrary to clear statements of Scripture. Ecclesiastes 12:7 says of death, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” The spirit returns to God, not to the earth to enter another body. Nothing can be more clear and contrary to the teaching of reincarnation than the declaration of Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment.”
Reincarnation is not a random cycling of a spirit through various lives. Reincarnation serves a purpose that is the very opposite of the Biblical teaching of salvation. Through the process of reincarnation the person is given the opportunity to work out bad choices from previous lives. In the cycle of karma the bad done in previous lives affects the present life, and the choices made in this one affect the next. Through reincarnation the person is able to gain good karma until he becomes enlightened enough to break the karmic cycle. The Biblical teaching of sin and salvation is nothing like the hope offered by reincarnation. Salvation is never achieved by works, whether in this life or one to come. Salvation is always the gift of God received only through faith in Jesus. Those who are saved by believing Jesus have no need of a future life to work out their sins. Those who do not trust Jesus for salvation have no chance of ever being good enough for heaven.
Reincarnation is not another way to describe the Biblical teaching of resurrection. Daniel 12:2 says, “And many of them that sleep in the dust shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” The comfort Jesus gave at the death of Lazarus was, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live.” (John 11:25) Resurrection is the restoration of the deceased body and the reunion of the departed soul with the newly restored body. Except for the few Biblical examples of miraculous resurrection of individuals, the resurrection will be a mass event which will take place at the end of this age. Reincarnation is the re-entrance of an individual’s soul into a new body. The reincarnated person’s new body could be anything from an insect to a holy man depending on his karma. Reincarnation gives no promise of resurrection, but instead offers the hope of eventually escaping the endless cycle of birth and death.
Reincarnation is a belief of many eastern religions that is tied directly to their other religious principles. As a result, reincarnation is not a Biblical concept. It is instead completely contrary to the Bible.