Reincarnation in the BibleQUESTION: Is there reincarnation in the Bible?ANSWER:
Those that believe in the doctrine of reincarnation will try and tell you that there is indeed reincarnation in the Bible. However, their use of biblical Scripture is not backed up by other verses. The proof of any doctrine always lies in the Bible, i.e. the Bible itself will always verify the truth of any doctrine by providing supporting verses.
For example, proponents of reincarnation use the example of Elijah as proof of reincarnation in the Bible. They claim the verses that refer to him in the New Testament prove that he was reincarnated. Jesus frequently referred to Elijah as coming before Him, and there were those that thought that John the Baptist was Elijah (Mark 6:14-15). In addition, Matthew 17:3 says, "Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus."
There are two problems with this view. First, according to the tenants of reincarnation, Elijah should have had a different form or body when he appeared to the apostles. Secondly, Elijah never died, and therefore could not be reincarnated since reincarnation is the transmitigation of the soul from one form to another after the death of the previously inhabited form. In 2 Kings 2:11 it says, "As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind."
Those that believe in reincarnation also like to use the verse found in John 3:3 to prove that there is reincarnation in the Bible. The verse states, "In reply Jesus declared, 'I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.'" This is perhaps the most frequently quoted verse that is used to support reincarnation in the Bible. However, the verse is taken out of context, and just two verses later, Jesus explains what He means by "born again." It says, "Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit'" (John 3:5). Here one sees that Jesus was clearly talking about a spiritual rebirth, not a physical one.
Finally, the most telling verse against reincarnation in the Bible is found in Hebrews 9:27 where it states, "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment." This makes it clear that humanity only dies once and is then judged on the life he has lived. One is not born again in an endless cycle of death and rebirth, and its attendant opportunity to improve one's karma (karma being an associated doctrine of reincarnation that means if one leads a good life one will be reincarnated into a better situation in the next life).
This verse is backed up by the verse in Romans 6:23 where it states, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Here we see an equivalent verse to Hebrews 9:27 stating that death awaits all of us because all of us are sinners, and that Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross has freed us from this death and has brought eternal life in heaven to all who believe.