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Arguments for Reincarnation The most understandable of all the reasons for embracing reincarnation over resurrection is that

it does away with the need of judgment and the prospect of damnation to an eternal hell. It offers individuals the opportunity to gain their future state on their own terms. There is a growing swell of agreement that God would certainly not condemn man to an eternal everlasting hell, because it would be out of character for a loving and all forgiving God. On the surface this argument sounds noble and within Gods character. owever, we must not forget that the God of the !ible is a loving God but that e is li"ewise a just God who must punish sin #I Thess. $%&'(, eb. (%)*+. ,nother argument which has gained prominence is that man cannot achieve the moral perfection demanded by God without many opportunities, or lives, to complete his moral evolution. The argument goes on to add that since God is love, e would certainly give man many chances to wor" out his own salvation by reincarnation. Once again ebrews (%)* offers another perspective, one that the !ible is most clear about. That perspective is that man has only one lifetime in which to get right with God. -eincarnation as a philosophical construct implies an ethical type of evolution by which an individual grows into moral perfection. .any reincarnationists believe in physical, mental, and spiritual evolution and thin" of God as impersonal. /onse0uently, if there is no moral judge, then there is no need for judgment, whether it be for moral or for physical sin. -eincarnation is also appealing to many people because it seems to give an answer for the suffering of man"ind. These individuals reason that justice demands reincarnation because the suffering of the innocent is outside of Gods character and therefore could only be the result of prior sin or "arma. That is, the innocent who suffer and who could not have committed sin to justify their state must have residual sin from an earlier incarnation. Therefore, they are to live it out in this lifetime. 1or the reincarnationist, 2esus death on the cross opened the door for man to pursue his own salvation through his wor"s rather than the wor" of /hrist on the cross. .an is the solution to his dilemma, and the wor" of /hrist on the cross simply allows man to move forward and complete his own salvation. This salvation is achieved through his good wor"s, rather than relying on the 3or" of /hrist which, according to 4cripture, is the only acceptable solution to the true God, the God of the !ible.

Karma and the Law 5The theory of reincarnation holds, briefly, that each individual human soul or essence is reborn again and again, in a series of bodily incarnations on this earth, learning its lessons and facing the conse0uences of its actions, until it is sufficiently advanced to progress to the ne6t stage #whatever that may be+.7 8 /entral to the theory of reincarnation is the 9aw of :arma. This law is believed to be the immutable law that a person pays for the evil he commits in this life by suffering

for it in the ne6t life. In other words, the suffering one e6periences is directly attributed to the individual because of his prior life and the evil done by him. 4imply, it is his own fault. The 9aw of :arma was developed in induism as the law of cause and effect that underlies personal e6istence. ; This law not only dispenses suffering for wrong doing, but it also recogni<es the good that the individual does as well. ,t the end of ones life the law of "arma comes into play. If the individual has accumulated more positive "arma than negative "arma, he gains a positive reward. owever, if he has accumulated more negative "arma, he receives more suffering in the life to come. 5:arma means that a human being is loc"ed into action by the iron law of cause and effect. =ast acts determine the present and the future. 3hat a person does now results from past actions, and these present actions will determine future actions.7 > umanity is held hostage to a law that determines ones present and future life without the ability to defend ones actions. :arma dictates that 5One never gets away with anything, for every act has a conse0uence.7 ?

Karmic Debt and Hard Questions $. ow is justice served if people have no "nowledge of why they are suffering@

). If the individual does not "now why he is suffering, how can he avoid the same suffering in the future if he cannot correct his mista"es@ 8. ow can :arma be just if the individual is destined to commit the same evil over and over again without "nowing its root cause@ ;. ow can progress be made without an understanding of the past cause of suffering@

These 0uestions present difficulties for the reincarnationist. e must either accept them as legitimate and 0uestion his beliefs about life after death, or he must dishonestly rationali<e them and accept only his e6perience as truth. e cannot have it both ways. -obert .orey in his boo", Reincarnation and Christianity, lists several inade0uacies of the 9aw of :armaA he notes that it is a myth and not a good one at that. ,s a matter of fact, it does not e6ist e6cept in the mind of reincarnationists. The law of :arma has caused an untold amount of suffering as a result of its impersonal dealings with humanity.

$. It has no scientific evidence to support it. ). It has no analogy in nature that would offer us an e6ample of it in the world in which we live. 8. There is no beginning or clima6 to history. of the endless reoccurrence of events. istory has no meaning because

;. It does not satisfy mans moral sensitivity or sense of justice. >. It does not provide any absolute standards of right and wrong. ?. It teaches that suffering is the only real purpose in life. *. 4ince it views each individual life as having no purpose outside of its own suffering, there is no concept of living for the glory of God or for the good of others. &. It destroys the unity of humanity, since each soul is primarily concerned with its personal destiny. (. It produces despair, fatalism, and pessimism in the life of individuals. $B. It cannot apply any pressure to live a life of righteousness now as opposed to waiting until a later life. $$. It teaches that all suffering is ones own fault. $). It causes people to ignore the suffering of others. -eincarnation 5does not e6plain the world in which we live. It is devastating to every level of human e6istence. Its arguments have been e6amined and found to be invalid. The life'style which arises out of a reincarnational world and life view leads to political, economic, and sociological disaster. It is rooted in the world of the occult which is clearly denounced in the 4criptures.7 *

The Bible and Reincarnation -eincarnationists often turn to the !ible for credibility. Cdgar /ayce, the noted mystic and trance medium, considered himself to be a /hristian. e discovered that as a young boy he had the ability to see visions and interact with people in those visions, including the dead. /ayce believed that since he was able to help people physically by his trance wor" then his ability must be from God. !ut, in $()8, /ayce began to do readings, or trance wor", on individuals see"ing spiritual information, and because of those sessions /ayce gained a belief in reincarnation. In his readings he was told that the !ible was not inerrant or infallible. -ather, it suppressed the teachings of reincarnation held by the early church fathers. e decided to follow his feelings and visions rather than e6ercise complete trust in the !ible as his final authority. These readings by /ayce set up an atmosphere of deception that continues to this day regarding spiritual teachings. 2anet and 4tewart 1arrar in their boo", A Witches Bible Compleat, ma"e this observation regarding 2esus teaching ministry. 5,s for his #2esus+ teachings, even the Gospels ma"e it clear that he distinguished sharply between his e6oteric preaching to the masses and his inner teaching to his chosen disciples. One interesting occult theory

is that he left reincarnation out of his public teaching, because his message to the masses concentrated on the transformation of the =ersonality as the immediate step towards perfection, and the most they could grasp at the time, but that to his disciples he taught the inner truths of the reincarnating Individuality.7 & Over the centuries reincarnation has been rejected by orthodo6 /hristianity for two reasons. 1irst, the church has clearly taught the doctrine of -esurrection as being the future for humanity. ,nd, second, it has taught that God is a God of mercy and forgiveness who is just. The reincarnationists 0uote several 4criptures attempting to justify their position. ere are a few to consider. They claim that 2ohn the !aptist was a reincarnation of Clijah the prophet #.atthew $$%$;A .ar" &%$$'$8+. This would be a feat bordering on the miraculous since Clijah never died, but was ta"en to heaven without ever tasting death #) :ings )%$$+. Clijah appeared still alive and in his body on the .ount of Transfiguration #9u"e (%8B'88+. 2ohn $%)$ records 2ohn the !aptist denying that he was Clijah. 9u"e $%$* lends understanding to the fact that 2ohn the !aptist would minister in the power and spirit of Clijah. Others maintain that the passage in which Dicodemus was told that he must be born again is proof of reincarnation #2ohn 8%8+. The Gree" word for 5again,7 anothen, has a double meaningA it can be translated as 5again7 or 5from above.7 To be 5born again7 or 5born from above7 is e0uated in v. & with being 5born of the 4pirit.7 This passage is not referring to a physical rebirth, but a spiritual rebirth. 2ohn (%$'8 tells of a man blind from birth. The disciples as"ed 2esus if his blindness was a result of the mans sin or that of his parents. 2esus answer was straightforward, 5It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parentsA but it was in order that the wor"s of God might be displayed in him.7 The early church did not embrace reincarnation either because it was ta"en out of 4criptural teaching or because it was hostile towards itA the early church was simply apathetic toward the idea. If the idea of reincarnation was ever discussed, it was considered irrelevant.

Key Distinctions: Christianity and Reincarnation There are definite differences between biblical /hristianity and reincarnation. They differ on "ey doctrinal points. 9ets loo" at a few. Doctrine of God. -eincarnation does not perceive God as being personal, but impersonal. 1or the reincarnationist, God is not "nowable and therefore one cannot have a personal relationship with God. /hristianity teaches that God is a personal !eing and is "nowable. God desires a relationship with the human beings whom e created. Nature of Mankind. -eincarnation views man as being transient. .an lives many lifetimes see"ing ultimate union with an impersonal god. /hristianity views man as being created in the image of his /reator #Genesis $%)?+ and possessing a uni0ue personality

that e6periences one life with personal choices #moral responsibility+ regarding his ultimate destiny. Salvation and Atonement. 4alvation is achieved through the perfection of many incarnations. The individual must wor" off the bad "arma that "eeps him from perfection, thereby completing his own salvation by his own wor"s. /hristianity views salvation as a gift from God offering atonement for man, who is unable to achieve it for himself. In the process man retains his uni0ue personality and receives Gods grace irrespective of his merit. The Person of Christ. 2esus, according to the reincarnationist, is a wayshowerA he simply points us in the way to our salvation. /hristianity views 2esus as the God'man. e is the uni0ue 4on of God. e is mans only hope for salvation #2ohn $;%?+. The World. The world evolved out of an impersonal force, an energy that reincarnationists believe to be God. /hristianity views the world as being created out of nothing by a transcendent personal God who declared it to be good. Source of Evil. 1or the reincarnationist, evil is a product from a prior life visited upon this life. Cvil will ultimately be reabsorbed bac" into the impersonal force ' god. The /hristian sees evil as a free choice by the individual which will ultimately be destroyed by a holy God.

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b!ections

=aul Cdwards in his boo", Reincarnation: A Critical Examination, ( ma"es these observations about reincarnation. ,lthough Cdwards is not a /hristian, he offers a sound criti0ue of the subject. Cdwards raises the population problem as a significant issue for the reincarnationist to address. The problem is that 5if everyone alive today once inhabited a previous human body, how can the worlds population e6plosion be e6plained@7 $B e continues by pointing out that there 5are not enough former earthlings to account for todays population, and each year the problem gets worse.7 $$ The reincarnationists attempt to answer the above objection becomes an e6ercise in futility that stretches credulity. One solution to this problem is that souls from other planets have populated the earth. Cdgar /ayce often referred to the lost island of ,tlantis as being the point of origination for many souls who would later appear on earth. ,nother bi<arre solution to the problem is that some believe that one soul can occupy more than one body at the same time. , second powerful argument against reincarnation according to Cdwards is the sudden death of tens of thousands of people in earth0ua"es or other natural disasters. 5, reincarnationist must believe that all the victims were simultaneously punished for past sins. ow did this non'intelligent principle #"arma+ set up the geological forces so as to achieve the desired result with complete precision@7 $)

If the law of "arma is infallible, how can the si6 million 2ews all deserve the same fate without the reincarnationist 0uestioning the justice of the atrocity@

Conclusions about Reincarnation 3e have seen that reincarnation is not scientific. It is based on e6periential data and does not offer us any help in its justification. 9i"ewise, the 59aw of :arma7 cannot be considered scientific. The reincarnationists arguments for their view have been e6posed and discarded as displaying poor logic and unfounded faith. The !ible does not teach reincarnation, but resurrection, as the only future state of man"ind. 4ome are resurrected to eternal bliss and others to eternal punishment. The !ible is clear that it is appointed once for man to die then judgment by God # eb.(%)*+. There are "ey distinctions between /hristianity and reincarnational theory. They are not compatible on any level. It is evident that /hristianity is far superior in its treatment of man"ind. /hristianity offers the only hope for mans future.