Many “spiritual” people today mix a smorgasbord of ideas from various religions into their beliefs, but how do ideas such as reincarnation fit in with Christianity?
The concept of reincarnation
Reincarnation proposes that every living being starts a new life in a different physical form or body after biological death. It is also called rebirth or transmigration. The Hindu belief reincarnation is tied in to that of karma.
This is the idea that our soul (atman) records and impression of every good and bad deed we perform while we are alive. This is where the terms “good,” and “bad karma” come from.
According to this belief, after we die, if the sum of our good deeds is positive, then we are reborn on Earth into a higher level. However, if our deeds are mostly bad, we are reborn at a lower level.
This belief is also adopted by Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, the New Age Movement and an esoteric breakaway of the Jewish religion known as Kabbalah.
A belief in reincarnation is not part of traditional Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Islam or Judaism.
Christians and reincarnation
“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,”
– Hebrews 9:27
According to Christian doctrine, we only live one life – and then we are judged. None of us are without sin. We all have bad deeds. It is primarily our faith in Jesus Christ that earns us reward through the grace of God.
If we are found to be worthy, we are redeemed and cleansed of our sins, we made righteous and resurrected into eternal life in heaven.
Jesus said those who believe in him will be resurrected into eternal life in heaven:
“And everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
– John 11:26
Before dying on the cross, Jesus told a criminal being crucified next to him that he would be with him in heaven after dying.
“And he said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.'”
– Luke 23:43
This clearly points to one life and not reincarnation.
Reincarnation is not compatible with Christian beliefs. Christian belief stands on the principle that Jesus Christ defeated sin and rose from the dead, resurrected into eternal life. As Christians, through Jesus Christ, we also inherit that right. Jesus said:
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
– John 14:3
Therefore, resurrection of the dead is primary to Christian belief.
“If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is worthless, and so is your faith.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:13-14