Eastern Mysticism – Part 3

By: Dave Hunt; ©1998
Reincarnation is a recurring theme in eastern mysticism. But Dave Hunt says there are lots of reasons not to believe in it. Among other reasons, reincarnation is amoral, senseless and hopeless.

 

Reincarnation

Yoga was developed as an escape from endless reincarnations. The theory of reincar­nation is continually promoted by the deceiving spirits “channeling” to mankind. In Eastern mysticism, as in Christian Science, death is an illusion. Existence follows an endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth through reincarnation. There is no such thing as resurrection, but a “transmigration of souls” into one body after another.

Reincarnation has become a widely accepted belief in the West to replace the biblical declaration that it is “appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). In the East, however, reincarnation is viewed as a means of punishment. Gandhi called it “a burden too great to bear”—returning to this life of suffering and disappointment, spinning forever upon a never-ending “wheel of reincarnation”!

One cannot believe in both reincarnation and resurrection. Each new reincarnation leaves one more body in the grave, overcome by death. In contrast, the Bible promises complete victory over death through Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection for our sins. Jesus Christ was resurrected, not reincarnated. The Antichrist, lacking the marks of Cal­vary, will likely claim to be the latest reincarnation of the “Christ spirit.”

Professing Christians go to astonishing lengths in attempting to reconcile the anti-Chris­tian doctrine of reincarnation with the Bible and even to find it taught there. Elijah is a favorite because “Malachi prophesies the return of Elijah, and Jesus says John the Baptist is Elijah returned.” [1] Yet Elijah was taken to heaven without dying and appeared with Moses in conversation with Jesus (Matthew 17:3), so he could not have been reincarnated into John the Baptist’s body, as it is claimed. Clearly, John the Baptist came “in the spirit and power” of Elijah (Luke 1:17), not as Elijah himself.

Some who teach reincarnation pose as born-again Christians. Reincarnationist Herbert Bruce Puryear says, “I love Jesus, and I know Him as my personal Savior. [2] Yet he admits that “most of Christian theology must be reexamined and rewritten in the light of this new truth.” It is not surprising that Puryear claims to have experienced in prayer “the radiant white light” [3] so common in the occult.

Reincarnation and Scientific Evidence

Yes, some scientific evidence is claimed for reincarnation. There are the studies of clinical psychologist Helen Wambach. She hypnotically regressed hundreds of subjects into “past lives” and found them to be more than 99 percent accurate in descriptions of life and surroundings. Hypnosis, however, involves a highly suggestible state in which one is con­trolled by the hypnotist. It is entirely reasonable to believe that a demon would take advan­tage of this passive state to interject its influence as well. Hypnosis is one of the oldest occult practices. No one should ever submit to hypnosis.

Another respected researcher in this area is psychiatrist Ian Stevenson. He has investi­gated and documented a number of cases of young children who, in the process of sponta­neously expressing memories of past lives, gave so much factual data that there seemed

to be no other explanation except reincarnation. Once again, of course, a demon could have implanted such “memories” of past places and events.

Yet in the scientific evaluation of the data, the possibility of demonic interference in an altered state is not even considered. Nor is there any “scientific” way to know whether or not a demon was involved. Yet that possibility alone is sufficient to undermine what few examples reincarnationists can offer. Reincarnation can be refuted by simple logic, but the Bible, which contradicts reincarnation, is fully verifiable in every point. One cannot believe in both the Bible and reincarnation.

Amoral, Senseless, and Hopeless

Reincarnation is amoral, senseless, and hopeless. It is amoral because it perpetuates evil. If a husband beats his wife, the cause-and-effect law of karma will require him to be reincarnated in his next life as a wife who is beaten by her husband. That husband will have to return in his next life as a wife beaten by her husband and so forth endlessly. The perpetrator of each crime must become the victim of the same crime, thus necessitating another crime, the perpetrator of which must in turn become a subsequent victim at the hands of yet another criminal, ad infinitum.

Reincarnation is also senseless because no one recalls the many past lives he or she has supposedly lived nor the previous mistakes and lessons supposedly learned. What then is the point of living again and again, only to bear the burden of bad karma due to misdeeds one can neither remember nor correct? It is argued that subconsciously we have such memories and are thus benefiting at an unconscious level. If that were true, we should see evidence that mankind has gradually progressed morally. Obviously, this is not the case.

Evolution, the essential partner of reincarnation, claims that man is the result of hun­dreds of thousands of years of gradual advancement to an ever-higher order of being. The Bible, however, says that man is degenerating into ever-more-immoral behavior. One need only read the daily papers and study history to know which of these opposing views is correct.

That reincarnation is also hopeless follows logically. The karma built up in the present life must be worked off in a future reincarnation. In that process more karma is accumu­lated, which must be worked off in a subsequent life, and so it continues endlessly. The cycle offers no release. As for escaping through yoga, there is no explanation of how that practice could abrogate the immutable law of karma nor any proof that anyone has ever effected such an escape.

A further moral dilemma is presented. Suffering by an individual could never make right his past misdeeds. Nor would living a perfect life in the future (even if that were possible) make up for past wrongs. Somehow the penalty must be paid or God Himself could not forgive us.

In Christianity alone the penalty for breaking God’s laws is paid by God, who became a man through the virgin birth. He never ceased to be God and will never cease to be man. Jesus Christ is the one and only God-man, who as perfect and sinless could represent the human race, taking the penalty it deserved, and could fully pay that penalty. Only on that basis can pardon justly be offered to all who repent and receive Christ as Savior.

What a difference there is between an impersonal law of karma which can only perpetuate evil and suffering, and the personal God who loves us so much that He became one of us to pay the penalty we deserved, which alone could end evil and suffering!

 

Notes

  1. Herbert Bruce Puryear, Why Jesus Taught Reincarnation: A Better News Gospel (New Paradigm Press, 1992), p. xii.
  2. Ibid., p. v.
  3. Ibid., pp. v, xii.

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