I believe the Bible talks about reincarnation. Jesus talked about being “born again” didn’t He?
The concept of reincarnation is not found in the Hebrew Bible (Tenach, Old Testament) or in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament). The Bible talks about being resurrected rather than being reincarnated. The concept of the “new birth” is a very Jewish concept. As a result, Yeshua had some very important things to say about being “born again.” A key source of His comments is found in the Book of John, chapter three. Jesus used the concept of the wind to symbolize the new birth in John 3:8:
- Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
- This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
- Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
- Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”
- Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
- “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
- “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
- “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (NASB)
The new birth (being born of the spirit, being born again) that Jesus was talking about is not reincarnation. As I understand it, reincarnation is a physical rebirth over and over again that is dependent on the quality of spiritual progress or regression a person has made in their previous life. Jesus says that the new birth that He refers to is not of the physical realm, as Nicodemus was thinking. Reincarnation is not the point here.
In addition, Jesus says in verse 8 that the new birth is totally under the control of God and that man’s previous life has no bearing whatsoever on God’s decision. The spirit dispenses the new birth sovereignly. Mankind can only experience the effects of God’s gracious bestowal of the gift of eternal life. The work of the Spirit is invisible and mysterious like the blowing of the wind. Man controls neither.
The gift of eternal life is not an automatic experience for all men. Neither is it the ultimate result of numerous, automatic reincarnations. As I understand reincarnation, it is the automatic experience of everybody over and over again depending on spiritual progress until the final merging with the infinite. In contrast, the Bible teaches that eternal life has to be received from God simply by trusting Him and the substitutionary, sacrificial work of Jesus the Messiah. Otherwise, we remain in the state that the Bible calls death.