Reincarnation, What is Reincarnation, Facts, Quotes and History

What is Reincarnation?

Reincarnation is a concept which is common to many religious beliefs and spiritual practices. According to the theory of reincarnation, when people die, some part of themselves lives on in another person or organism. Different faiths have different approaches to this concept, and there are a number of versions of reincarnation beliefs found around the world. Western religions, for example, notably reject the concept for the most part, although texts such as the Bible do have certain passages which is believed by some as referring to reincarnation.


The belief that an individual human soul passes through a succession of lives. The idea of reincarnation had its origin in northern India (c. 1000 - 800 BC). Western views of reincarnation popular today are modifications of the ancient theory of transmigration of souls (sometimes called metempsychosis), which holds that the soul may be incarnated not only in human bodies but also in animals and plants. The Western version of transmigration has been redefined to limit cyclic rebirths taking place in human form only.

The concept of reincarnation first appeared in the early Hindu scriptures (Upanishads). It has always been an integral part of classical Buddhism. Reincarnational thinking characterized some Greek philosophers, including Pythagoras and Plato. Because of the influence of the first century Greek mystery religions, the Gnostics, and the Roman Stoics, the theory of transmigration, or reincarnation, became firmly established as a Western as well as Eastern doctrine.

Eastern religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism are probably most famous for their associations with reincarnation. In these faiths, people believe that their actions in life have an influence on their future reincarnations. By exhibiting good behavior, someone is said to be more likely to be reincarnated as a person, or taken out of the cycle altogether as a reward, while people who act poorly may be reincarnated as more base animals or organisms such as plants, in a form of punishment.

Many practitioners of pagan and new age beliefs support the idea of reincarnation. Some people claim to have memories of past lives, and suggest that souls are returned to Earth again and again to learn valuable lessons or to contribute something to human society. People who claim to have memories of past lives often have competing claims to previous lives as noted historical figures, such as Cleopatra.

Some tribal cultures also manifest some form of belief in reincarnation, usually in the form of superstitions about specific plants and animals. According to these cultures, their ancestors live on in the bodies of particular plant and animal species, and these organisms are therefore sacred to avoid accidentally using ancestors for base uses such as building a home or making dinner. These taboos may also lead people to make offerings to sacred plants and animals as a gesture of respect to their ancestors.

Closely associated with the notion of reincarnation cycles in the Eastern concept of Karma. The law of karma asserts that the evil deeds of past lives relate to the present life, and that one's present actions have implications for future lives. Essentially karma is the law of cause and effect, of action followed by reaction. In the Orient the belief in karma has resulted in a basically pessimistic view of life. Human existence is often a dreary, endless cycle of pain, suffering, and rebirth. Karmic reincarnation does not resolve the problem of evil. It requires self salvation leading to ultimate liberation from the wheel of rebirth. The concepts of divine forgiveness and mercy are absent.

The modern Western expression of reincarnation emerged during the so called Enlightenment of the eighteenth century and was revived by such nineteenth century occultic movements as Theosophy, founded by the influential Madame H P Blavatsky. This westernized version of reincarnation was later popularized by such psychics as Edgar Cayce, Helen Wambach, and Jeanne Dixon. Unlike Eastern proponents of reincarnation, Western reincarnationists stress a more optimistic view of life, holding out the hope of more and better lives.

The ultimate objective of all reincarnation is to fuse with "ultimate reality," to merge with God, to become God. All reincarnation teachings are based on a monistic, mystical - occult world view that promotes the essential divinity of humanity, denies the notion of a sovereign personal God, and offers the promise of esoteric wisdom.

Biblical Christianity, in contrast to reincarnational teaching, emphasize grace, atonement, and forgiveness for fallen humanity through the once - for - all death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Christian's disavowal of reincarnation is anchored in the biblical assertion that "man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Heb. 9:27).

The Bible and Reincarnation

The abundance of reincarnation myths around the world is perhaps understandable. Many people find some appeal in the idea that a fundamental part of themselves will live on after death, even though their bodies may decay. Family members may also find comfort in the thought that their loved ones still exist somewhere on Earth, even if they do not make contact. In some societies, people may attempt to identify their loved ones in other people, occasionally adopting their "reincarnated" family members or contributing gifts to them.

The concept of reincarnation however is completely without foundation in the Bible, which clearly tells us that we die once and then face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). The Bible never mentions people having a second chance at life or coming back as different people or animals. Jesus told the criminal on the cross, "Today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43), not "You will have another chance to live a life on this earth." Matthew 25:46 specifically tells us that believers who die in state of grace go on to eternal life while unbelievers and mortal sinners go onto eternal punishment. Reincarnation has been a popular belief for thousands of years, but it has never been accepted by Christians or followers of Judaism because it is contradictory to Scripture.

Similarly, passages such as James 4:14; which discuss the temporal nature of human life are inconsistent with a reincarnationist idea of living earthly lives over and over for centuries, millennia, or all eternity. On top of all this, if human souls were reincarnated over and over, then how could some people in the Bible see the spirits of long dead people, like Moses being seen by the apostles in Matthew 17:3 during the transfiguration of Christ? In Hebrews 9:27-28, we are told that "just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." This passage alone appears to eliminate the possibility of reincarnation.

The one passage that some point to as evidence for reincarnation is Matthew 17:10-12 which links John the Baptist with Elijah. However, the passage does not say that John the Baptist was Elijah reincarnated but that he would have fulfilled the prophecy of Elijah's coming if the people had believed his words and thereby believed in Jesus as the Messiah (Matthew 17:12). The Bible is quite clear that John the Baptist is given this designation because he came in the "spirit and power of Elijah" (Luke 1:17), not because he was Elijah in a literal sense. The people specifically asked John the Baptist if he was Elijah, and he said, "No, I am not" (John 1:21).

Belief in reincarnation is an ancient phenomenon and is a central tenet within the majority of Indian religious traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. Many modern pagans also believe in reincarnation as do some New Age movements, along with followers of spiritism. For the Christian, however, there can be no doubt: reincarnation is unbiblical and must be rejected as false.

Memories of Past Lives

But what are we to do with those who claim they have memories of their past lives? The first and perhaps most important question we should ask is whether or not these "memories" are genuine. Human memory is notoriously unreliable (just ask any lawyer or detective), and people frequently misremember things, believing they remember things that never actually happened or not remembering things that did happen. In the case of those claiming to remember their past lives, one can easily imagine them misremembering images from TV shows or movies, mental fantasies from books they read years earlier, or mistaking dreams for genuine memories. How can we know with any certainty that their past-life memories are not one of these things? Is it really more logical to assume that their memories are genuinely from past lives rather than one of these other things? While some modern "past-life experts" claim to find evidence for reincarnation by connecting things like phobias and physical ailments in currently living people with traumatic events in past lives, the past-life "experts" are assuming the existence of a past-life (or past-lives) in explaining current health problems, not showing that those past lives actually happened.

The fact of the matter is that there is simply no solid, scientifically acceptable evidence that the memories of past lives claimed by some people are genuine, rather than misremembered events or simply make-believe.

Can Demons Cause Memories of Past Lives?

Many people say that the best evidence for reincarnation comes from people and children who say things or have memories of things that they only could have known if they had been another person in a previous life (as in "had a previous body") and could only have these certain behaviors that are similar or the same to that previous body if it had been theirs, and that another evidence is having a birthmark similar to some wound or fatal wound of the other body from which they have memories from. But there is no logical connection as to why they must have had that previous body merely because they have some of the memories of that body and some similar or some of the same behaviors of it. And, because of other possibilities as to how those memories and behaviors can be acquired, and with no proof that it is from reincarnation only, it cannot be proven that reincarnation would be the only mechanism by which those memories and behaviors were acquired. For example, many people have similar behaviors and interests as others, such as best friends or soul mates, yet both are living at the same time and are not the same person. Thus similar behavior or interests doesn't need to have anything to do with reincarnation. Having so called memories of a previous life is another ting, but even that can be explained logically in a way that has nothing to do with reincarnation. For example, demons (former angels that God has permanently shunned for rebelling against Him) can possess people, and are able to take over their bodies, including brain, and being that they have demonstrated the ability to manipulate flesh in supernatural ways, for example making it impervious or highly resistant to damage, causing it to change shape without damaging it, restoring it after changing its shape, and levitating it. So it is not a stretch to think that a demon could influence the thoughts and actions of a person it possesses and have done so, or that they memorize the events that have happened in the lives of various people, and later suggest those thoughts or memories into someone else after that person dies.

Some demons may have targeted certain babies for confusion because the demon saw that the baby had a birthmark that reminded the demon of some non-fatal or fatal wound that it saw had been inflicted on some human that it had memories of. According to Scripture, demons in general try to lead people away from the truth about God, especially trying to prevent them from learning the truth about how to be saved. If a person never had the faith to begin with the demon will try to make that person confident in his false religion by lying signs and false wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Scripture makes it clear that demons can memorize things, can have great power and intelligence (they are like Satan), and can be extremely hateful (Satan tried many ways to get Jesus to fall, and he influenced people to murder Him, but for all his scheming, God's perfect wisdom caused Satan's wisdom in evil, to backfire). It is also interesting to note that the so called "memories of past lives" are most prevalent amongst nations which already believe in this superstition. No wonder then that the demons have more power over them or that they are more successful in deceiving them, who want to hear and believe in just such things.

"And we beseech you, brethren... Let no man deceive you by any means... him, Whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity." (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

The claims of those in the reincarnation-believing group refute their own claim that reincarnation exists or can be said to be true in some case, this is because some say that demons exist and can possess people, some believe in "walk-ins" (which is when a spirit from a dead human possesses a living human's body), some say that after a person dies they go to "Heaven" (with other human spirits) and choose the life they won't live next, some say that aliens (demons) can possess a person's body and many believe in psychic powers and that knowledge can be gained from reading the minds of others or seeing into the past or future supernaturally, and some believe a person can leave their body and learn things outside of their body, and even learn any past event from a spiritual place where it is recorded. If these seven things can happen according to many of them, why do they claim with certainty that when anyone has "past memories" that they didn't go through in their current body, that it must have been because they once had another body, that they must have been reincarnated? And should Buddhists who don't believe in any of the other seven possibilities claim with certainty that reincarnation is the only reason why someone would have memories from another person when Buddhists claim that reality is an illusion or that they are deluded until they reach a state of perfection? And even if a person who believes in reincarnation doesn't believe in any of the other seven possibilities, but unlike Buddhists believes reality to be a definite thing and that reality is not even subjective, how can they state with certainty that "past memories", behaviors from another person's body, and a birthmark similar to some wound they had, is due to reincarnation if they can't see how the "past memories" are gained and if they can't show that reincarnation really happens and when they can't show any evidence that demons don't manipulate people anymore than anyone can show evidence that God doesn't exist or that the Bible isn't his word.

As for the birthmark "evidence", why would a baby have a birthmark similar to a wound from a previous body it had? What would cause such a wound? Obviously, birthmarks appear naturally and demons may target such persons who have special birthmarks with suggestions of so called "past memories," if that person is inclined to believe such things. Some children have reported having nightmares of certain memories, supposedly from "a past life", which I believe is from a demon somehow causing the child to focus on that memory or memories while that child is dreaming. The mind can be very deceptive and easily deceive people. For example, how many people have not thought that they are the Christ, the Buddha, the Antichrist, or that they can fly, or that they can't get hurt? Did it mean that because they believed in these things that it was true or that it happened? Obviously, not!

Almost every race and culture believes in demons, with the exception of most Buddhists, and even many atheists believe in "negative spirits (without a body)", so to claim that reincarnation must be the reason for anyone having past memories of being in another body, and having a birthmark related to that other body, and having certain behaviors of that other body, is either assuming things or ignoring other evidence and facts or both.

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