Is reincarnation in the Bible?

A friend showed me the following link on the biblical proof of reincarnation.  So I have to explain to him that the Bible never teaches that:

1.  Interpretation of Scriptures.  Many can and did interpret the Scriptures to their own destruction. The best interpreter would be the Catholic Church who compiled both the Old and Testaments. This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “1013 Death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage, of the time of grace and mercy which God offers him so as to work out his earthly life in keeping with the divine plan, and to decide his ultimate destiny. When “the single course of our earthly life” is completed,586 we shall not return to other earthly lives: “It is appointed for men to die once.”587 (Heb 9:27) There is no “reincarnation” after death.”

2.  Sin of Man Born Blind.  Regarding the man born blind, Jesus did not confirm reincarnation. What he actually said is this: Jesus answered, ‘Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents, but the works of God were to be made manifest in him.'” This simply means that God, in his infinite wisdom, allows a person to be born blind, so that God will use this infirmity for His greater glory (Jesus shows His power as Son of God by curing a man born blind). Jesus’ silence on reincarnation is obvious because reincarnation is never taught in the Old Testament.

3.  John the Baptist as Elijah.  Regarding John the Baptist, you have to understand the literary device called allusion: http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples/examples-of-allusion.html. If somebody calls you ‘Einstein’ it simply means that you are a genius and not that Einstein reincarnated in you. Similarly, when Jesus calls John the Baptist as Elijah, Christ is making an allusion to Elijah who is the last and greatest prophet of Israel in the Old Testament, in the same way as John the Baptist is the last and greatest prophet of Israel in the New Testament. As Christ said: “I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John” (Lk 7:28). John is the prophet that prepared the coming of Christ. No other prophet has this privilege. As Christ said: “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.17Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” The apostles saw and heard Christ. And so did John.

4.  Resurrection of the Dead.  The resurrection of the dead referred to by St. Paul is at the End Times during the Last Judgment when Christ will judge the living and the dead. There is no reincarnation.

5.  Christian Family.  They who left brother, sister, and parents for the sake of Christ will have more of these a hundredfold. This does not imply reincarnation as the author thought. This simply means that the Christian family will be widened beyond the blood relations. That is why you have the La Salle brothers, Dominican sisters, and Jesuit fathers. They who enter the religious orders becomes a brother, sister, and father to the whole Christian community, and that is why we address them with such titles: Bro. Vince, Sr. Josephine, Fr. Villarin.

6.  Pre-existence of Christ.  Christ is God. He is the Word of God who made all things. That is why he pre-exists. This does not mean he reincarnates. He only incarnates once: God became man.

7.  Purgatory and the Last Penny.  The other passages that he cites concerning the person who will be jailed until he pays the last penny does not talk about reincarnation, but about Purgatory: after we die, if we don’t have unconfessed mortal sins, and we we still have other sins unconfessed or confessed without doing the corresponding penance (e.g. return what you steal), then we shall suffer the fires of Purgatory, where we shall be purified like gold in fire before we can be allowed to enter heaven. As Scripture says: in heaven, the city of God, “nothing unclean will enter it, nor any[one] who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Rv 21:27)

About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

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