Reincarnation, resurrection, and redemption are utterly irreconcilable. But would you believe that in America approximately thirty million people believe in reincarnation? These people think it offers hope, for if we don’t “get it right” in this life, we have another chance—and another and another and another.1 According to a Barna poll taken in 2003, 29 percent of “born again” Christians believe we can communicate with the dead, and 10 percent believe in reincarnation.2
If reincarnation were true, over the millennia each of us would probably have left hundreds of bodies in graves around the world. So we would have to ask, When Christ returns for His own, which body would be resurrected? However, Christ’s own resurrection completely refutes reincarnation. He lived once. He died once. He rose from the dead once. The Bible clearly states that we live only once, and when our bodies are resurrected, we will live in them for all eternity. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
Job possessed great wisdom, knew God, and was an outstanding example of a righteous man. In Job 19:25–27 he declared, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
While the human soul never dies, according to reincarnationists, here any similarity to Christian beliefs ends. “Reincarnation” literally means “to come back again in the flesh.” Since we have not yet reached perfection, we are in the “process of becoming.” Good is replacing evil. We don’t have enough time in one lifetime to achieve this higher goodness, so we must keep coming back. Thus the soul simply passes through a succession of lives until it finally reaches “perfection” and moves on to the “ultimate reality,” merges with God, and becomes God.
According to psychic and spiritual teacher Sylvia Browne, also a prolific author, “We tend to do things repeatedly until it is done correctly. Even the most trivial of tasks needs repetition. . . . Will [God] be upset if we are not perfect after one life? . . . We think not, at least not a loving God.”
She adds, “Reincarnation is the most reasonable concept to explain the inequities of life in light of an all-loving God. The alternative, a God of hate, is simply not tenable. Reincarnation is accepted in the vast majority of religions. Even the Jewish mystical tradition, the Kabala, supports it.”3
Further, past-life recollections gleaned through hypnotism sometimes include information a person would not have known. The hypnotists claim the person had to have lived before to know the information. However, people sometimes “remember” things that never occurred. Of course another logical explanation is that the information is given by demons who have been around for thousands of years and thus would have this knowledge.
Organized belief in reincarnation originated around 800 BC in India and is vital to classical Buddhism and Hinduism. Today’s Western, more modern and popular versions are modifications of the ancient, Eastern beliefs of Hinduism.
Not surprisingly, Satan has been telling this lie since God created man. In the Garden of Eden, he redefined the meaning of God and the meaning of death. While God told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate of the forbidden fruit, Satan promised them that they would know as God knows and that they would not die (Genesis 3:4, 5).
Today we find the reincarnation myth increasingly promoted. One reason is the desire to completely reject the concept of an all-powerful God. If we admit God exists, then we are accountable to Him for our actions here on earth and are not in control of our own destiny. Reincarnationists choose to ignore God and go their own way. They want to reach a pleasurable destination without accepting the salvation God provided through Christ’s atoning work on the cross. The idea of reincarnation allows the sinner to eventually reach a happy afterlife. In addition, this belief removes the concept of an eternal Hell for those who refuse to acknowledge and believe the God of the Scriptures. With reincarnation, there is no personal accountability and no judgment at death.
In the end, with reincarnation everyone “wins”—the person who cheated you, the spouse who left you, and the mass murderer. It will, of course, take the Adolph Hitlers, the Saddam Husseins, and others like them many lives to reach perfection, but eventually they will get there too!
Reincarnation and Evolution
Evolution is much in the news these days. While many consider Charles Darwin to be the father of evolution, the Hindus championed their own form of evolution long before Darwin was born. It allowed for the gradual development of the soul to a higher form. It has no beginning or ending but is an endless process of refinement and perfection and slowly eradicates the weak, the unfit, and the undesirable.
Today the evolution lie has permeated our world. Evolution is even accepted and taught in many professing Bible-believing churches and Christian colleges. However, what we do with the first eleven chapters of Genesis has a bearing on the doctrine of original sin as the cause of death. If reincarnation and evolution were true, there would be no need for Christ to come to earth to die for our sins—we could take care of them ourselves.
Reincarnation, Homosexuality, and Adultery
Reincarnation has other implications. Shirley MacLaine, actress and strong proponent of reincarnation, “found out” some women were males in previous existences. “It dawned on her that she might have stumbled on an explanation that would help us understand our present society. After being told that she was a male at least twice in previous lives she asked her entity (an unseen spirit) whether this could be a metaphysical explanation for homosexuality. ‘I mean, maybe a soul makes a rocky transition from a female to a male body, for instance, and there is leftover emotional residue and attraction from the previous incarnation?’ John, the entity with whom she spoke, agreed; all souls are basically the same because elements of both sexes are present.”4
Furthermore, adultery can be interpreted according to the laws of karma, the teaching that whatever we did (good or bad) in a past life affects our present life. Gina Cerminara, New Age proponent and author of Many Mansions Part II: Healing the Karma Within You, explains, “‘In short, such cases would indicate that the infidelity of the mate sometimes occurs through karmic necessity. . . . John’s unfaithfulness to Mary may be due to the fact that Mary deserves this treatment because of her unfaithfulness to Claudius in ancient Rome, but on the other hand his philandering may stem from Mary’s failing in the present; the infidelity may be no more than a contemporary reaction to a contemporary instigation. . . . ’
“And if karma can be used to justify adultery, why can not it be [used] to explain why a thief robs a bank or why a man rapes a nine-year-old girl?5
Identifying the “Guides”
Reincarnationists readily admit they are in contact with spirits. They believe these “entities” are guides, who either are the dead or can speak to the dead for them.
The Bible teaches that there are intelligent spirits in the world called demons (New Agers call them entities) who enter humans and communicate information to them about the past, the present, and, in a limited way, the future. They are well acquainted with people and places, because they have been around since they were thrown out of Heaven with Satan. Therefore they can easily communicate “memories” to the people they inhabit.6
Some time ago I visited with a lady who had been deeply involved in the New Age movement. She told me some of the horrors she endured while controlled by her spirit guide. She explained how her guide completely controlled every aspect of her life. It told her when to get up and when to go to bed, when and what to eat, when to do her chores, and so on. After she trusted Christ as Savior and was freed from the guide’s power, she wrote a book detailing her experiences in the hope it would warn others of the dangers of the New Age movement.
Twisting the Scriptures
Some New Age writers try to convey that the Bible teaches reincarnation. For example, New Agers say that John the Baptist was Elijah reincarnated. However, Luke 1:17 states that John would “go before Him [Christ] in the spirit and power of Elijah” (emphasis added).
Another passage that reincarnationists frequently cite is John 9:1–3, where Jesus dealt with the idea that the origin of a blind man’s illness was the result of sin he committed before his birth, since he was born blind. When asked why the man was born blind, Christ stated that neither the man nor his parents had sinned to cause his blindness (v. 3). Actually the disciples’ question was based on the Jewish notion that sin can be inherited.
The Jews also believed that a baby could sin while in the womb. However, there is no evidence that they believed in reincarnation. The Bible contradicts the belief in karma by emphasizing grace and by teaching that we may gain atonement and forgiveness only through the death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Word of God presents Jesus as the incarnate Christ, that is, as God, Savior, and Lord: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6).
What about Suffering?
Only Christianity answers the question of injustice. Those suffering from painful diseases are not “getting what they deserve” because of sins in a previous existence; likewise victims of injustice or accidents are not being punished for something they do not remember doing. Pain, suffering, and death are natural consequences of original sin in the Garden of Eden.
Christ saw the human predicament as defined by sin: the willful transgression of God’s standard. Christ taught that redemption comes “through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7). As the apostle Paul put it, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
When on earth, Christ taught redemption, not reincarnation. While maintaining His position in the Godhead, Christ became a man to provide us a way to God and everlasting life: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Thus reincarnation is a lie of Satan to keep people from realizing they are sinners in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and His redemption. It is imperative that we recognize this lie and protect ourselves and our families and friends from it.
Ultimately we are left with deciding who is believable: Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Godhead and Creator of the universe, Who came to earth and died for our sins, or Satan, who lied, “You will not die; you will be gods.”
1. “Is Reincarnation Biblical?” Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries.
2. Gene Edward Veith, “Unbelieving ‘born-agains,’” World (December 6, 2003): 33.
3. Sylvia Browne, “Reincarnation.”
4. Erwin Lutzer and John F. DeVries, Satan’s Evangelistic Strategy for This New Age (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1989), 79.
6. Ibid., 83.Main Source:
Erwin Lutzer and John F. DeVries, Satan’s Evangelistic Strategy for This New Age (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1989).Additional Reference:
Groothuis, Douglas R. Unmasking the New Age. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986.
Loma G. Davies Silcott, a prolific writer, is the wife of Ralph Silcott, pastor of Rapid Valley Faith Baptist Church, Rapid City, South Dakota.