What’s the difference between resurrection and reincarnation?
It makes sense to question the nuances of these two words since they stem from the same general idea: rising from death to life. Yet, if we’re talking about people, spirits and souls, the death-to-life parallel of these two words differs dramatically. One word speaks of salvation and rebirth while the other word is deeply rooted in mythology and spiritual darkness according to the Bible.
When we search out the meaning of words for greater understanding, it’s important to gather the academic definitions of them first, in order to gain the full picture. Reincarnation is “The belief that the soul, upon death of the body, comes back to earth in another body or form. A rebirth of the soul in a new body.” Resurrection is “The act of rising from the dead. The state of those risen from the dead. Revival.” (https://www.dictionary.com)
A reincarnated person who dies supposedly returns to earth in the form of another person or creature. It suggests that there are a certain number of souls which are recycled and repurposed, once the host dies. Religions to include this spiritual cycle are numerous and are all in full opposition to the teachings of Christianity. In God’s creation, a human soul is an eternal, one-of-a-kind life and comes intact with its own destiny and plan (Psalm 139:16.) Once the body dies, this God-ordained soul goes to its eternal destination and does not return to earth. Reincarnation suggests that each soul is destined to repeat an exhausting journey from one living thing to the next, over and over. Many branches and tributaries apply, but the main roots of reincarnation come from the anti-Christ tenets of Shamanism (Witch-Doctors), Druidism (The Celtic Druids), Norse mythology (The Vikings), Voodoo (Africa), Hinduism (India) and the Mayans (Mexico.)
The Bible is clear that death is final; there are no recycled souls, nor multiple souls involved. Many verses allude to this fact, but none is clearer than Job 7:9 which states: “As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so one who goes down to the grave does not return.” (NIV) The Apostle Paul, who was tasked by God to write thirteen books in the Bible, echoes this truth in the New Testament as well: “It is in the plan that all men die once. After that, they will stand before God and be judged” (Hebrews 9:27, NLV.) Many evangelical giants have used this verse to assure and challenge their audiences, “Everyone dies, then our souls are judged. Do you have Jesus, your Court-Appointed Advocate, in your corner?”
Resurrection is the Bible’s answer to eternal life, which is what the reincarnation folks are reaching toward. While the term “born again” has been overused or even misused by religious zealots, Jesus himself used the term while assuring one of those people, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, NASB.) Most people are curious about God, right? Even the atheist must have considered God in order to reject the idea. And certainly, if God has a kingdom, folks will want to know about that, too. Thus, being born again opens our spiritual eyes to see God and his kingdom.
So Jesus the Savior explains the need to be born-again—resurrected into a new life. Why would Jesus require new birth? Because he is one-third of the sacred Trinity of Almighty God, and in so being, resurrected himself after a horrible, torturous death. He did it in order to break through the barrier between life and death so we humans could do the same. Now, human beings have the ability to be resurrected two times: once when we accept Jesus as our personal savior, and once when we die. Our confession of faith enables us to discard a life without hope and be born-again into a good life with the Savior alongside. Then, when our earthly body dies, we resurrect all over again and are reborn into our eternal bodies and our heavenly home.
Clearly, resurrection sounds like a better deal. Choose wisely!
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