Bible Question:

I know that in Judaism there IS such a thing. Does Christianity have such a thing as soul's incarnation?

Bible Answer:

The term incarnation refers to a soul taking on the body of a human or animal. Reincarnation means the soul takes on a different body or incarnates again. Some believe the soul starts with a “higher power” or god and then takes on a physical body. Others believe the soul cycles from body to body seeking to eventually be with god. The Hindus believe there is a being called an Avatar which is believed to be a god-like incarnation. What follows answers the question, “Does Christianity teach reincarnation of the soul?”

Does Christianity teach reincarnation of the soul?

Our Spirit Is Created In Our Body

Christians do not believe the human spirit exists before physical birth. Listen to Zechariah 12:1.

The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him . . .  Zechariah 12:1 (NASB)

This passage states that God forms the spirit of man “within him.” Notice that it says, “. . . within him.” That is, in his body. The phrase “forms the spirit of man” in Hebrew literally says, “forming the spirit of man in his inward.” The point is clear. God forms the spirit in a man’s or woman’s body. It does not exist before a man or woman’s creation.

Reincarnation of the Soul?

Neither the Hebrew Tanakh nor the Protestant Bibles teach the existence of man’s spirit prior to physical birth. Christians do not believe in reincarnation of the soul, nor they believe in reincarnation of the spirit because of several passages. The first one describes what happens after a man or woman dies. Since our bodies are made of dust it says,

Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 (NASB)

The second passage, Daniel 12:2, states that after our bodies die, we are destined either for everlasting life or everlasting contempt (punishment).

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt . . .
Daniel 12:2 (NASB)

In order to have everlasting life or everlasting punishment we will be given immortal bodies. Thus Christians and non-Christians will live forever. The only question is where will be live. Note, that after a person has obtained an immortal body they cannot be reincarnated and return to the earth. Death is a one-way trip to either everlasting life or everlasting punishment.

The third passage reveals that after our bodies die, we are judged by God. Again, we are sent to everlasting life or everlasting punishment after death. We do not return to this earth.

. . . . as it is laid up to men once to die, and after this – judgment. Hebrews 9:27 (NASB)

This verse says that we die one time! Then every man and woman will be judged by God. From Daniel 12:2 it is clear that after death we cannot return to earth. We cannot be reincarnated.

What happens at the judgment is described in Revelation 20:11-15. There we are told that God will evaluate the deeds of non-Christians are send them to eternal punish or the lake of fire. The lake of fire is a place of eternal suffering, torment, and fire. However, Christians immediately go to heaven (2 Corinthians 5:6, 8).

Further, Revelation 20:4-5 refer to the first and second resurrection. Revelation 20:12-14 indicate the second resurrection occurs at the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11). That is, all of the dead non-Christians are resurrected. If men and women were reincarnated, then there were be no need for a resurrection. Everyone would be living in some body. Also, if we were reincarnated, we would have a problem – which body would return to life?

In summary people are not reincarnated. the Bible does not teach the reincarnation of the soul, or the reincarnation of the spirit.


Now a few final comments about Jesus Christ. First, Jesus is not an avatar. In Isaiah 46:9 and 48:12-16 God is speaking and says,

Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me.
Isaiah 46:9 (NASB)

Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I
am He, I am the first, I am also the last.
Isaiah 48:12 (NASB)

Come near to Me, listen to this:
From the first I have not spoken in secret,
From the time it took place, I was there.
And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit.  Isaiah 48:16 (NASB)

The Hebrew Tanakh agrees with this wording. God declares there is no other God. There is no one like God – that includes an avatar. He is the first and last. There is no other – including reincarnation. Then in Isaiah 48:16 we hear the same God declare “the Lord GOD sent Me.” If there is no other? If there is no one like Him, and He is the first and last; there is only one explanation. They are the same being. How? That is a mystery of God.  Jesus is God and not an avatar.

Christians believe that God or Jesus Christ became incarnate in human flesh in order to be the perfect, unblemished sacrifice for our sins. As a result, there is no need for more sacrifices. Jesus ended it all. He will forgive our sins, if we believe that He died for our sins. Discover how you can have eternal life and live with God forever in heaven.

Suggested Links:

What is the second death in Revelation? — Lake of Fire
Did Jesus visit the Himalayas?
Searching for God — In Search of God — Go To Heaven
Does the soul sleep after death according to the Bible?