Sunday, January 4, 2015

Thoughts On Reincarnation

Question: What do you think about reincarnation?

AP: Although Origen’s book De Principiis (Book III, Chapter 5) defends reincarnation, I think that this doctrine was never overwhelmingly Christian. Let me recommend a very comprehensive and well-documented book written by people from my department at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. It is called Reencarnación (Madrid: Editorial Abada, 2012), edited by Alberto Bernabé, Madayo Kahle, and Marco Antonio Santamaría.

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TWH: Some have attempted to show that reincarnation and Christianity are compatible. One such work is Geddes MacGregor's Reincarnation in Christianity: A New Vision of the Role of Rebirth in Christian Thought (Wheaton, IL: Quest, 1978). The Bible, however, teaches that there is but one death and then comes judgment (Heb. 9:27). The fact that some during Jesus' day affirmed or in some way were open to the idea of reincarnation does nothing to change that truth. You live once, you die, and then there is judgment. Discussions about Christianity and reincarnation are primarily confined to discussions about John the Baptist and Jesus (i.e., was Jesus the reincarnation of John the Baptist or some other prophet [e.g., Matt. 16:13-14], was John the reincarnation of Elijah [Matt. 11:14], etc.). Jesus does not affirm that reincarnation takes place in any of his teachings. The Bible teaches nothing of the sort. Reincarnation and Christianity are incompatible.

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