What Does the Bible Teach about Reincarnation?

by Roger Barrier

Dear Roger,

What about reincarnation? Please support with Bible passage.

From, James


Dear James,


Reincarnation is foreign to the Bible. In fact, the Bible teaches just the opposite. Hebrews 9:27 declares: “It is appointed unto men once to die and after that comes judgment.” The essence of reincarnation is that we come back for many lives. Among other things, this allows us to avoid the reality of facing God in judgment for our behaviors.


Hinduism, Buddhism, segments of the New Age Movement and a host of other Eastern religions are becoming more and more popular in the United States. With that popularity comes increasing exposure to the teaching of reincarnation.


The concept of reincarnation is not difficult to understand once we consider how Westerners and Easterners conceive of time.


Those in the West see time as linear. We are born and time goes by and we die. Time continues on in a linear fashion from past to present to future.


In Eastern cultures time is circular. What comes around goes around. Circular time comes from observing the cycles of earth. The four seasons occur and then they return again and again. Crops are planted, they grow, are harvested and the cycle once again commences.


So, when you think about it, reincarnation is just a reflection of circular time. We are born and die and then cycle around again and again.


Reincarnation teaches that the present life forms—from insects to humans—are a direct reflection of several factors such as how well we behaved in previous lives, and the amount of good or bad karma we have. The better we were, and the more good Karma, the farther up the food chain we return.


Hindus refrain from eating beef because the cow may be a friend or relative from a past life.


The great number of Christians harboring reincarnation views continues to astound me.


The song, “Highway Man” sung by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristopherson and Johnny Cash was a national hit. Several of these country artists were professed Christians. Yet, their song explains and makes reincarnation seem like Biblical truth. It is not Biblical nor is it truth.


Just for fun, I’ll share the lyrics of “Highway Man”. I wish you could hear the enticing, rhythmic music. It is a catchy tune. Whenever I hear myself humming it I remind myself that this song is spirit inspired–just not the Holy Spirit.


“I was a highway man, along the coach roads I did ride – with sword and pistol by my side.  Many a young maid lost her baubles to my trade – Many a soldier shed his blood upon my blade. The master called me in the Spring of ’25 – But, I am still alive.”

“I was a sailor, I was born upon the tide – with the sea I did abide.  I sailed a schooner round the Horn to Mexico.  I went aloft and unfurled the mainsail in a blow- and when the yard broke off they said that I got killed.  But, I am livin’ still.”

“I was a dam builder – across a river deep and wide where steel and water did collide – A place called on the wild Colorado.  I slipped and fell onto the concrete below.  They buried me in that great tomb that knows no sound –but I am still around.

“I’ll always be around, around, and around, and around, and around.”

“I fly a starship across the universe divide – and when I reach the other side, I’ll find a place to rest my spirit if I can.  Perhaps I may become a highway man again.  Or I may simply be a single drop of rain.  But I will remain.

“I’ll be back again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again.”


From a Biblical perspective, the only problem with the lyrics is that they aren’t true.


The Bible teaches that we want to be born twice–once physically and once spiritually. However, we want only one death–the physical one. We don’t want to experience what the Bible calls the “second death,” which is being cast into the Lake of Fire. Come to Jesus and avoid the second death (John 1:12; 3:14-18).

Read Revelation 2:11; 20:6 and14; and 21:4, 8.


Why might some believe in reincarnation?  We have already mentioned circular time.


Another reason is that the Bible teaches that there are evil spirits (“familiar spirits”) who have been around for centuries. These spirits know intimately the lives of others down through the centuries and may influence present-day people with thoughts, emotions, and experiences of people who are long dead. These deceived people begin to believe that they have existed in previous lives and that the thoughts and emotions of others are really theirs.

Another reason is that our brains are capable of connecting all sorts of our present and past events and then melting them together in ways that make us think we have lived certain situations and events before. Reincarnation is the ultimate déjà vous.


When General Patton arrived on the Carthaginian battlefield he observed, “I have been to this battlefield before. I fought here with the Romans.” Unfortunately, Patton was deceived. We only get one life. My belief is that his brain was playing déjà vous tricks on him.

Sylvester Stallone once related that in a previous life he was a Central American monkey. If that is true then we have further evidence for both evolution and reincarnation–just kidding.


Well, James, I hope you find my answer helpful. I really appreciate your asking.


Love, Roger

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