Larry Brian Radka
a spirit reincarnate here on Earth?
“Come now, and let us reason together saith the Lord” in the Bible
(Isaiah 1:19). Therefore, I will try
to follow His advice in my short discussion here—to briefly present enough
information to inspire us to pursue the answer to this question further.
popular Website*—Bible.org—asks a relevant question: “What does the Bible say about
reincarnation?” And its author goes on
The whole thrust of the Bible opposes reincarnation. It shows that man is the special creation of
God, created in God’s image with both a material body and an immaterial soul
and spirit. He is presented as distinct and unique from all other
creatures—angels and the animal kingdom alike.
The Bible teaches that at death, while man’s body is mortal, decays and
returns to dust, his soul and spirit continue on either in a
place of torments for those who reject Christ or in paradise (heaven) in God’s
presence for those who have trusted in the Savior. Both categories of people will be resurrected, one to eternal
judgment and the other to eternal life with a glorified body (John 5:25-29). The emphatic statement of the Bible, as will be pointed out
below, is that “it is appointed unto men once to die and after that the
judgment” (Heb. 9:27).
Before we evaluate the statement above, perhaps we should
try to define “soul” and “spirit,”
which are separate entities of our human condition.
The 1979 Macmillan paperback edition of its
dictionary defines the two words as follows:
of life in man, consisting of the faculties of thought, emotion, and action and
regarded as being a separate entity distinct from the body”
“spirit: moral or spiritual part of man believed to be immortal and to
separate from the body at death”
What we are focusing on in this little discussion is the reincarnation
of the spirit of mankind.
The soul* is another issue, another unseen entity attached to the
body, which creates a record of decisions and experiences from the birth to
death of one’s carnal body—in most cases along with its soul-controlling spirit
as they develop together during their shared lifetime. A carnal body’s soul being possessed and
controlled by multiple spirits is an unusual condition—which sometimes requires
exorcism for cleansing.
Nevertheless, did you ever notice how many good parents
turn out wicked kids so unlike themselves or how they trained their kids? Or how many evil parents’ kids grow up to be
good instead? This might be explained
by the type of reincarnated spirits their children’s bodies and souls received
at birth—strange independent spirits for which their parents were not responsible.
However, before we can accept the possibility of an
independent ever-changing spirit-molding soul—moving toward progressively more
good or evil—during each of its lifetimes, we must present a little scriptural
evidence that might question the veracity of Paul’s statement in his letter to
the Hebrews, which inspires so much popular Christian belief in that “it is
appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment.” (Heb. 9:27).
After all, Paul was human—and humans make mistakes! And the Bible points out that “All
scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
(II Timothy 3:16 & 17)
So perhaps in his letter to the Hebrews, Paul’s statement:
“It is appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment”—needs
some correction? Or maybe not
after all, since mankind’s soul may indeed receive a temporary judgment before
its spirit moves on to another carnal birth and lifetime.
If so, it may be subtly incorporated in one of the
Bible’s “Five Separate Judgments”
discussed by the great author,* the Reverend Clarence Larkin in his
renowned work entitled Rightly Dividing The Word.**
Therein, he points out that “They differ in
five general aspects.
As to ‘Subjects,’
‘Time,’ ‘Place,’ ‘Basis of Judgment,’ and ‘Result.’”
He goes on for thirteen pages of interesting
text and diagrams to detail these and other spiritual issues in his outstanding
In concluding this short essay on “reincarnation”—to
inspire much more thought and research on the subject—I should mention that the
belief in reincarnation was accepted, and perhaps even popular, in ancient
Israel’s time. Even Israel’s governor apparently believed in reincarnation
then. As proof, I submit that the Bible
states: “At that time Herod the
tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, and said unto his servants, “This is John
the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew
forth themselves in him.” (Matthew 14:1
& 2) This may indeed have been a
good example of reincarnation since Jesus did perform mighty miracles!
INTERESTING INFORMATION ON REINCARNATION OF THE “SOUL”
* Another Web site defines Reincarnation
of the Soul as: “The individual soul survives and is reincarnated
into another body. Reincarnation is usually connected with the next belief,
pantheism, by the notion of karma: that after the soul has fulfilled its
destiny, and learned its lessons and become sufficiently enlightened, it
reverts to a divine status or is absorbed into (or realizes its timeless
identity with) the divine All.”
still another Web site adds even more information on Reincarnation as follows:
Reincarnation is the belief that the human soul
never perishes or dies, it simply passes through a succession of lives. In its
basic concept, it had its origin in India sometime near 800 B.C. Reincarnation
is vital to classical Buddhism and Hinduism. Although reincarnation has ancient
roots, its more modern, popular versions are modifications of the ancient,
eastern beliefs of Hinduism.
In the original forms of reincarnation, it
was believed that souls transform from life to life in never-ending cycles. It
was believed that it was even possible to reincarnate into the form of an
animal or plant. Most modern, popular versions of reincarnation limit this
never-ending process to the transmigration of the soul into human bodies.
The concept of karma is closely
associated with reincarnation. Karma is essentially the law of cause and
effect. Those that profess belief in karma teach that the deeds (good or
bad) of one's past lives affect this present life. Further, ones present deeds
will have ramifications for future lives.
In other words, the law of sowing and
reaping is not limited to this present life but rather continues throughout
In much of the Orient, this strict belief
in karma has resulted in a hopeless, pessimistic view of life. Their
lives are seen as dreary, endless cycles of suffering and rebirth. Because of
this endless chain of karma, reincarnation does not resolve the problem
of evil, but simply points toward the impossible goal of perfection and
self-salvation, the ultimate freedom from reincarnation. In modern, western
reincarnation, the objective is to join with “ultimate reality,” merging with
God and becoming God. Modern reincarnation often promotes the divinity of the
soul and denies the biblical concept of a sovereign, personal God.
The Bible also contradicts the belief in karma
by emphasizing grace. According to the Bible, atonement and forgiveness may be
gained only through the death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Salvation is based solely upon the work of Jesus Christ, not upon our own
merits. The concepts of reincarnation and karma are in clear contrast to
Hebrews 9:27,“For it is appointed for men to die once and after this
** Other Books by Rev. Clarence Larkin include: Dispensational Truth or God’s Plan and
Purpose in the Ages, The Book of Revelation, The Second Coming of Christ,
and The Spirit World.