The concept of reincarnation is becoming increasingly popular. Oriental religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, have taught it for centuries. More recently it has been popularized by the New Age movement and the entertainment industry. The doctrine says that, when a person dies, his spirit will be reborn in another body - perhaps as a person of a different social level, an animal, or even a god.
Does this idea agree with the Bible? Hebrews 9:27 says: "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Notice that each person dies only once. He does not experience a repeated cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Then after death comes, not another life on earth, but rather judgment.
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10). Everyone will be judged according to what he has done in the body. This shows that each person will have only one body - it says "body" (singular) not "bodies" (plural).
What happens after judgment? Do we then receive another physical body or another life? Will there be another chance to make up for evil done in this life? Matthew chapter 25 describes the judgment, showing the wicked will be separated from the righteous. Verse 46 concludes that the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.
God's plan provides for each person to have one life in one body. Our eternal destiny is determined by how we live this one life. The concept of multiple lives is fundamental to Oriental idolatry, but it is as foreign to the Bible as the heathen concept of multiple gods!
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2/28/1996
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