“Do you believe in reincarnation?”
I’ve been asked this question many times over the years.
Sometimes it’s a litmus test question. The people asking already either believe in reincarnation or they don’t. If my answer agrees with their view, they’ll see me as enlightened. If not, they’ll see me as unenlightened. So it’s always tempting to answer with a light-hearted, paradoxical non-answer of the type a certain uncle of mine loves: “Not this time around!”
But the question keeps coming. People also want to know what the Bible says about reincarnation. And they want to know whether my favorite theologian, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772), says anything about reincarnation. Some are sincerely looking for understanding on this often confusing subject.
For example, here is part of a comment that a reader named Mark left on the article, “If there’s One God, Why All the Different Religions?“
Specifically however, please enlighten those of us who remain confused by reincarnation. As an example, Krishna conciousness teaches an absolutely beautiful and devoted life to God (whom appears in any way he chooses but still only ONE god). The bible seems to teach that we come through this human “life” but once. I understand that this could be once per each human life and I have considered that each human life, even reincarnated, is once. Please provide your take on this. Unless I have misunderstood, according to Krishna teachings, heaven is not the “final” or utmost attainment.
We’ll dig into all of this in a few minutes. But first, for those of you who just want the quick answers so that you can move on:
- I do not believe in reincarnation (though I do think it points to a deeper truth).
- The Bible does not support reincarnation (and it never did).
- Emanuel Swedenborg also does not support reincarnation (but he explains why people think it happens).
There! I’ve said it!
If you still want to learn more, settle in. This is going to take some time. But it will be worth your time if you want a thoughtful, spiritual, non-dogmatic Christian response to the currently popular belief in reincarnation.