filename REINCAR1 added July 14, 1988 Christian Information Exchange 714-531-3834 Fountain
filename : REINCAR1
added : July 14, 1988
Christian Information Exchange
Fountain Valley, CA
Sysop : Mike Wallace
REINCARNATION AND CHRISTIANITY
The teaching of reincarnation is being advanced on many sides today
as the philosophy and religion of the East makes its inroads in the
West. Such teachings call for a response from the Christian community,
which is in every way opposed to the idea that men's souls return time
and time again to go through the cycles of birth, life and death, as
it is taught in the Hindu systems which underlie all such concepts.
Reincarnation is neither a proven fact of science, nor is it
approved by the Bible. It should be remembered; However, that evidence
of a scientific nature put forward to "disprove" reincarnation will do
little, if any, good. Evidence of that sort can easily be
reinterpreted. What must be emphasized is that there is absolutely no
scientific evidence that proves it. On the other hand, there are many
psychological and scientific evidences which show that the phenomena
associated with the theory of reincarnation could as easily be
produced by other means.
It is very possible, for instance, for one to "learn" a language
subconsciously by being in the presence of those who speak it, even
for a short time, and then have something trigger that memory at a
particular time. Again, it is possible to learn things about other
places and times in a similar manner. While these do not account for
all the claimed phenomena, they do account for a great part of them.
Some knowledge is not obtainable by natural means, and since the
Bible says that reincarnation does not occur, we can only conclude
that the information comes through supernatural agencies, either good
or bad. The question of whether the agencies are good or bad depends
on what attitude they show toward Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Since
reincarnation belittles the Atonement (Substitutionary) and
sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, we can identify these agencies as
The Bible certainly denies the teaching of reincarnation. While it
does not mention the term reincarnation, it does mention it in context
in speaking of John the Baptist and others, but this does not mean
that it AGREES with the theory. It merely says that some people might
have thought John was Elijah reincarnated; and perhaps that certain
people thought the man born blind had sinned in another life, and that
was the cause of his blindness. However, it tells of many other
incorrect thoughts and actions of people. Where then does the Bible
tell us that reincarnation is false?
FIRST, it says in Hebrews 9:27 that it is appointed to everyone to
die BUT ONCE, and after that the judgement (where our ETERNAL
residence is decided - the New Earth or the Lake of Fire). There is no
room for one to die over and over again.
SECOND, the Bible teaches the OPPOSITE of reincarnation -
RESURRECTION! The righteous in Christ will be raised to Eternal Life,
and the lost to Eternal punishment. RESURRECTION involves not a
transmigration of the soul, in which it takes on a new body, but a
raising up and glorification of the old body, reuniting soul and body
THIRD, reincarnation is destroyed by the very idea of salvation in
and by the COMPLETED work of Jesus Christ. We cannot save ourselves,
no matter what the number of lives we go through. We are imperfect,
and God is perfect. That which is imperfect cannot possibly bring
forth perfection (for then the effect would be greater than the
cause!), and God can ONLY accept perfection. It is for this reason
that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for each of us who receive
His payment for our sins. Jesus bore on Himself our iniquities and
paid the penalty for our sins. By doing so; Jesus IMPUTED His
righteousness on us.
Reincarnation is FINALLY a "works-Righteousness," and Paul reminds
us in Titus 3:5 that we are saved NOT by works of righteousness that
we have done, but by the washing of regeneration and renewal by the
Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ. If we are due to be reincarnated
over and over again, then the death of Jesus Christ has no meaning for
us, and is of no effect, for we must still work our way to salvation,
making ourselves better, instead of allowing Jesus Christ to make us
acceptable to God.
Aside from Biblical arguments against reincarnation, there are
various philosophical and scientific arguments. We suggest that you
look up the article on reincarnation in THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF
PHILOSOPHY, edited by Paul Edwards (all college libraries USUALLY have
it), and see some of the arguments espoused there. In addition, the
ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA has an excellent dissertation on the matter
under the subject "Metempsychosis." Additional material is listed
under the subject "Reincarnation" and "Metempsychosis" in THE NEW
SCHAFF-HERZOG ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE. It must be
remembered, though, that people will not always accept evidence which
is objectively adequate. They may not be willing to look at the
evidence OBJECTIVELY. The best approach is to proceed on positive
direction, showing the reliability of the Bible, and that the Bible
presents Jesus Christ as having proved Himself to be God, the Messiah,
by His resurrection (A proven and reliable historical event), then
showing that Jesus Christ accorded the Bible of infallibility, and
then showing that the Bible proves reincarnation is wrong.
Computers for Christ
Christian Information Exchange
Fountain Valley, CA
Sysop : Mike Wallace
IS IT COMPATIBLE WITH CHRISTIANITY?
More than ever, Americans are accepting as fact the idea of
reincarnation - that a soul leaves one human body upon death and
enters a newly born one. Surveys show that nearly 60% of Americans
beileve in reincarnation is possible.
The broad acceptance of reincarnation can be attributed to several
factors. Among then are pruported scientificic evidence; testimoniues
from prominent people such as Shirley MacLaine and actor Glenn Ford,
who tell of their "former lives"; best-selling books (such as
MacLaine's Out on a Limb) that describe the afterlife and rebirth
cycle; and such "Christian" reincarnationists as Jeanne Dixon and the
late Edgar Cayce. Tabloids such as the such as the National Enquirer
also have helped spread the belief in reincarnation with constant
attention to the topic.
In the late 1960's and early 1970's, books such as Richard Bach's
Johnathan Livingston Seagull and Ruth Montgomery's A World Beoynd sold
briskly and planted the seeds of Hindu and occult philosophy, from
which the doctrine of reincatrnation springs, in the minds of readers.
By the late 1970's, the ideas of Bach and Montgomery largely had been
replaced by those of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, writer of such books as On
death and Dying and Questions and Answers on Death and Dying, and
Raymond Moody, writer of Life After Life and Reflections of Life After
These two writers propose that physical death is the beginning of
another, spiritual life and that all people find rest and peace in
that new life. Both Kubler-Ross and Moody reject the Christian notion
of a judgement by God. Both also believe in reincarnation.
While some Christians have offered a critique of reincarnation, much
of the church has remained ignorant about its implications. Faced
with the widespread silence from the church and apparent evidence,
many Christians may have come to the conclusion that reincarnation is
real - or at least they are not ready to rule out the possibility that
is is real.
What is Reincarnation?
Reincarnation, the teaching that a soul moves from body to body in
a birth-death-rebirth cycle, is a developement of the Hindu-Buddist
teaching of soul transmigration. Transmigration includes the
possibility that a soul can be born into the body of an animal. The
status of the body is born into, ranging from the house fly to a
well-to-do person, is an indication of th quality of life that soul
lived in its previous body. A good life brings rebirth into a higher
form; a bad life brings rebirth into a lower form. This upward and
downward graduation fulfills the Law of Karma, a central tenet of
Hinduism. Karma teaches that good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds
are punished. Hinduism's goal is for the soul to break out of the
Karma cycle and become one with the universe.
The western mind, apparently not liking the idea of being reborn as
a mosquito or a slug, has excluded animals from the cycle.
Reincarnationists also believe that souls have pre-existed
eternally. Montgomery, in 'A World Beyond' a book she claims was
written by automatic writing and transmitted from meduim Arthur Ford,
who was waiting in the spirit world to enter another body, writes on
"Now let us start with the premise that each person is a
continuing entity through all eternity. No beginning and no
ending, despite what some moralists say about our life beginning
with physical birth as a baby and ending with Judgement Day.
Bosh! There has never been a time when we were not, and we always
will be, even though in constantly changing forms and stages, for
we are as much God as God is a part of us."
What is its Appeal?
The most obivious appeal that reincarnation holds for Westerners is
its promise that life goes on and we get as many chances to get it
right as we need. If there is reincarnation, man has no compelling
need to make peace with a righteous God in this life or even to treat
his fellow man with love and respect. If a man has as many lives as
he needs to attain perfection, he might think, "Why not live up this
life and leave the good works and making peace with God for another
The need to make peace with God actually would never occur to true
reincarnationists, who do not believe in a personal deity.
Reincarnation goes hand in hand with pantheism, the belief that
everything is God and God is everything, including each human. The
doctrines of pantheism and reincarnation are the cornerstones of
Hinduism and occultism, which have grown popular in the Western world.
On pages 84-85 of his book 'Miracles', C.S. Lewis says this about
the appeal of pantheism and reincarnation to mankind:
"Pantheism is congenial to our minds not because it is the final
stage in a slow process of enightenment, but because it is almost
as old as we are. It may even be the most primitive of all
religions ... Pantheism is in fact the permanent natural bent of
the human mind; the permenent ordinary level below which man
sometimes sinks...but above which his own unaided efforts can
never raise him for very long."
What is the Evidence?
However, modern man is not about to admit that his thinking has sunk
to this spiritual lowest common denominator, so he looks for evidence
to justify his beliefs. His efforts have produced plenty of
"evidence" supporting the doctrine of reincarnation.
The most common defence for reincarnation is the phenomenon of
"past-life recall" - the ability to remember details of apparent
previous lives. It can be achieved through hypnosis and spontaneous
or intuitive recall, which sometimes is called deja'vu.
ome past-life accounts given by hypnosis subjects can be attributed
to the subject's fantasizing or leading by the hypnotist. However,
ther are two other explainations. One could e called the "Bridey
Murphey Effect," which was detailed in the book 'The Search for Bridey
Murphy.' The book told of the story of a women who, when under
hypnosis, could give details of Ireland and even speak Gaelic, a
language apparently unfamiliar to her. Her ability was attributed to
her living a previous life in Ireland. However, research turned up
the fact that she once had been cared for by a Gaelic-speaking
grandmother who used to tell her tales of old Ireland. The "past-life
memories" turned out to be forgotten childhood experiences brought out
Some recalls hold up under all scrutiny and appear genuine. To
understand these, we must realize that a person who is under hypnosis
is surrendering control of his or her mind to someone else. The
hypnotist may take the reins. He or someone else may plant
suggestions in the mind. In his book 'Reincarnations and
Christianity' Dr. Robert Morey says that "a hypnotic trance is the
exact mental state which meduims and witches have been self-inducing
for centuries in order to open themselves up to spirit or demonic
This being the case, it is not hard to imagine a demonic taking over
the will of the hypnotic subject and speaking through him. The demon,
with access to knowledge from all history, could piece together
memories and have the hypnotic subject speak them, thus encouraging
past lives. Perhaps - and maybe more likely, given the nature of
demons - he spins plausable tales that are impossible to either
disprove or verify. What fun they must have, duping gullible humans
with tales from a dozen different people, all claiming they once were
Deja vu, the feeling a person gets upon encountering a strange place
or a person he has never met that he has seen that place or person
before, often is used to buttress the reincarnation teaching. Most
every person can recall such an experience. Dr. Walter Martin, in a
tape of an address called 'The Riddle of Reincarnation', cites an
experience he had while viewing a mountian in Switerland. He knew
that he had seen this particular vista before, even though he had
never been to Switerland.
Upon returning home, Martin discovered the reason for his recall: a
postcard with a picture of the very mountaian he had seen. A person
actively uses only 10% of his brain, which continually is storing
information that is never recalled unless prompted by an experience
such as Martin's.
Does The Bible Teach Reincarnation?
Reincarnationists sometimes cite Sctipture to support their belief.
The four references they use most often are John 3:3, Matthew 11:14,
Hebrews 7:2-3 and John 9:2.
In John 3:3, Jesus rwlla Nicodemus that to see the Kingdom of God
one must be born again. Jesus, the reincarnationists say, is teaching
that a series of rebirths is necessary to achieve perfection. This
interpretation does not hold up, however. Nicodemus expressed his
puzzelment and spoke of a second physical birth (not exactly like the
one spoken of in reincarnation, but similar). Jesus promptly
corrected Nicodemus, calling the rebirth He was speaking of a
spiritual one (John 3:4-5). Thus, Jeus did not expound the Law of
Karma, but refuted it.
Reincarnationists also call attention to Jesus' statement in Matthew
11:14 that John the Baptist was Elijah. However, one must look
further in Scripture. Luke 1:17 says that John would precede Christ
"with the spirit and power of Elijah."
John the Baptist, a man who was filled with the Holy Spirit from the
time he was in his mother's womb, himself denied that he was Elijah
(John 1:21). Scritpute also states that Elijah never experienced
physical death (Hebrews 11:5) and during the earthly ministry of
Christ still existed as Elijah, as evidenced by his appearance with
Moses at the Mount of the Transfiguration (Matt. 17:3).
Another pet Biblical passage among reincarnationists is Hebrews
7:2-3. This verse, they say, tells us that Jesus was Melchizedek in a
previous incarnation. However, one need only to read the verses cited
to see that the Old Testament character Melchizedek was "made like
unto the Son of God," not that he was Jesus (the Son of God). The
writer of Hebrews is saying only that there is no record of
Melchizedeks' birth, death or family. Moreover, Melchizedek's
priesthood was unique in that is was not transferred to another.
Melchizedek was only being likened to Christ, not being called a
previous incarnation of Him.
The fourth Scripture often cited by reincarnationists is John 9:1-3,
which tells of a man born blind and the disciple's question as to
whose sin was the cause of his blindness. The question may, on the
surface, appear to be in accord with the Law of Karma. However,
Christ's reply that the man's blindness was in no way related to sin
renders the reincarnationists' stand indefensible.
Having looked at what the Bible DOES NOT say in support of
reincarnation, let us turn to what the Bible DOES say against
Man's One Chance
In just one verse, the Bible devastates the concept of
reincarnation. Hebrews 9:27 says that "it is appointed for men to die
once, and after this comes judgement."
Those seeking more Scripture can turn to James 4:14, which says:
"yet you do not know that your life will be like tomorrow. You are
are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes
away." The Psalms are full of references to the temporary nature of
man's life. Psalms 39:5, 103:15 and 144:4 are only three examples.
These verses also refute the theory that souls have pre-existed
eternally, as does the account in Genesis 2 of man's beginnings.
The Problem of Evil
While the Law of Karma appears to deal with evil with its system of
rewards and punishment, on a larger scale, it leaves the problem
unsolved. Mark Albrect, in his book Reincarnation: A Christian
Appraisal, writes on page 119:
"Reincarnation's endless cycles never solve the problem of evil;
evil is eternal, the idea of evil continuing forever is
unthinkable in Christianity. Evil was conquered by the death and
resurrection of Christ and will be put away forever when he
returns to judge the world."
Reincarnation and Spiritism
Reincarnationists also often violate the Biblical injunction against
spiritism. The Bible is clear in forbidding attempts to contact
spirits of the dead, which many reincarnationists try to do when a
soul purportedly is "between" incarnations. Leviticus 20:6, 27,
Deuteronomy 18:11, Isaiah 8:19, 1 Samuel 28 and 1 Chronicles 10:13
make clear that God does not want His people engaged in such
activities. No New Testament writer ever said this ban had been
lifted. Noted reincarnationists such as Ford, Cayce, Dixon,
Montgomery and Kubler-Ross openly admit their spiritistic and
Worst yet, some of these authors, most notably Cayce and Dixon,
claim that their beliefs are compatable with Christianity. In Matthew
7, Christ warn His followers that false prophets will come as wolves
in sheep's clothing. These self-proclaimed "Christians" are
fulfilling Christ's warning.
Reincarnation is in no way compatable with the Christian faith. The
Bible teaches that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23);
reincarnation is the same lie that Satan told Eve in the Garden of
Eden: "You surely shall not die." The Bible teaches that salvation
from sin and its eternal consequences is a gift that God freely gives
(Ephesians 2:8-9); reincarnation teaches that salvation will come when
a person perfects himself.
Christ, who created us, knows we have only one life and He has seen
what we do with our only chance. That is why He offered Himself as a
sacrifice for our sins. Our Saviour took our "bad Karma" upon
Himself. "My yoke is easy, and My load is light," He said in Matthew
11:30. Even if we could come back again and again, there is no reason
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