TEXTS – ORTHODOXY
What is Reincarnation?
Reincarnation (which literally means ‘to come again in the flesh’) is the belief that at death the soul separates from the body to then be reborn in a new body. A person’s deeds in their lifetime (known as karma) determine their fate in the next. To break this cycle of death and rebirth, one should strive to eliminate karmic debt through good deeds and attain Nirvana, a state of inner peace. Reincarnation as a belief is found in many eastern religions (e.g. in Hinduism, where it is known as Samsara.)
Christianity rejects reincarnation as contrary to the sovereignty of God – the ultimate judge of all. Furthermore, the cycle of rebirth and death as a way of dealing with our sins would negate Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, made for the sins of all mankind.
“Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him” (Hebrews 9:27-28).