Ask Augustine with Dr. Paul Tambrino
Ask Augustine is a weekly column where professor/author Dr. Paul Tambrino discusses various theological questions with wit, clarity and substance.
Question #54 – Is Reincarnation Possible?
Philosophically and statistically, reincarnation or the transmigration of souls (metempsychosis) is “possible,” but highly improbable.
Biblically speaking however, reincarnation is IMpossible.
The purpose of reincarnation is for the progressive purification or evolutionary development of the soul.
It is widely believed in Eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. It was also taught in the Greek traditions of Pythagoreanism, Platonism, and by the Neoplatonists of the Italian Renaissance. “Reincarnation carries with it a notion of justification by works, that one has to earn one’s reward to a higher level in one’s next incarnation. Any system of justification by works is antithetical with Scripture.”
Today one finds advocates of reincarnation among astrologists, New Age religionists like Shirley MacLaine, spiritualists and theosophists like Emanual Swedenborg.
Reincarnation lacks biblical support. The Bible clearly teaches that, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,” (Heb. 9:27).
Moreover, reincarnation carries with it a notion of justification by works, that one has to earn one’s reward to a higher level in one’s next incarnation.
Any system of justification by works is antithetical with Scripture.
The Bible clearly states that a man is, “not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified,” (Gal. 2:16).
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” (Eph. 2:8-9).
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