What Is Reincarnation? What Does the Bible Say about It?

The subject of death has equally fascinated and terrified people of all ages and religions for all time. Very few religions are silent about what happens to their followers after death. Beginning with the first human being to walk on earth, mankind has been intrigued by what happens after he takes his final breath on earth. Some people and faith groups celebrate death as a final and glorious ticket out of this fallen, depraved world. Other groups choose intentional ignorance or denial that death will eventually happen at all, and, instead, choose to seize life by the shirt tails and live it for all its worth.

And then there are some people who believe in reincarnation–that is, human beings don’t ever really die, but instead exist in an endless circle of leaving one body and returning in another. Side note: Even reincarnation is not without its legislation. In 2007, China banned Tibetan Buddhist monks from reincarnation without first gaining government permission.

Thankfully, God–via the Bible–is not silent on the matter of what happens to man after he dies.

The Pre-eminent Verse

While the Bible does not specifically use the term “reincarnation,” it does speak to what happens after death. One Bible verse in particular bears significant weight in the discussion and is worthy of consideration. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” and then the chapter goes on to discuss the Second Coming of Christ. This verse would seem to indicate two specific things as it relates to reincarnation.

First, man dies only one time. Coming back in another form or life would require a second (or third or fourth, and so on) death. If man is appointed to die only once, it would indicate he is also appointed to live on earth only once. Second, after death comes judgment. If reincarnation were a possibility, this would have been a good place to mention it. Instead, the writer of Hebrews indicates that what should be expected after death is accountability for how life was lived on earth.

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