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“What does the Christian Bible have to say about reincarnation?”— Nirman
There are those who have attempted to make a case for a Christian version of reincarnation. Various schools of thought (e.g., Unity School, Theosophism) have held to such a belief (formed by an eclectic merging of eastern metaphysics and unorthodox interpretations of Scripture).
Individuals including Edgar Cayce, Jeanne Dixon and Shirley Maclaine popularized the notion. The writings of Raynor Johnson sought to provide a rational basis for the argument that early Christianity possessed a belief in reincarnation; i.e., that the soul enters this life after a long course of previous existences on its way to a future transformation which it is now shaping through karmic actions.
The entire biblical revelation lends no support to this concept, in spite of valiant efforts to show otherwise. The Bible makes very clear the distinction between creator and creature — there is no teaching that “all are one” and that life is a journey toward final absorption into “the one” (a fundamental precept of reincarnation).
The biblical view of history concerning man is linear, not cyclical: a man is born, he lives, he dies, he faces the personal, holy God, his soul enters into its final disposition (either with God or separated from Him). There are no further lives in which to “get it right” (Heb. 9:27). To be “born again” is spiritual transformation, not a subsequent life time (Jn. 3:3-4).
The scope of salvation history — God intervening in history to redeem lost humanity —with its attendant themes of creation, the value of individual persons, the reality of sin, the necessity of salvation, the Incarnation — God becoming man — and the Resurrection — Christ raised from the dead — renders the claim for “Christian reincarnation” a speculative and specious imposition upon Scripture of a concept that is simply not there.
To send questions or to communicate with Pastor McCullough, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.