As a replacement for the Christian teaching of man's salvation through Christ, more and more we see the spreading of the pernicious, occultist and theosophical teachings of reincarnation. According to the ancient Hindu version of this teaching, the soul after death temporarily goes into the astral plain from which it reincarnates into a different form of life, such as a plant, insect, animal or human being. (We should probably add microbes and viruses to this list, as the ancient Hindus were not aware of these forms of life). The selection of the body is determined by the amount of Karma, the amount of deeds, good or bad, collected by the soul in its previous life. If a person was good, his body transfers to a more developed and nobler creature. If he was bad, than his soul is punished by a transfer to a lower class of creature. The process of reincarnation continues until such time as the soul frees itself from Karma by losing all interest in life at which time it blends with the absolute, Brahma, or according to Buddhism dissolves in Nirvana.
Teachings of reincarnation pronounce that as there was a time when man did not exist, so there will come a time when he will be no more. Man began his development from the lowest orders, as a plant or a fish, and will develop into something greater than man. Therefore, human beings are just transitory creatures. They are completely at the mercy of cosmic powers pulling them towards some unseen goal and will eventually be brought into condition that has no humanity.
There are several versions of teachings on reincarnation. In the west the more humanized version is popular wherein the souls of people only reincarnate into other human bodies that are nobler or baser, but not into lower life forms.
The teaching of reincarnation in all its different forms goes against the teaching of the Holy Scripture regarding the nature and purpose of man. This false religion has objective facts in its favor and is founded in fantasy. Notwithstanding, it attracts converts by, on the one hand, promising a type of immortality of soul (in its primitive and heathen form) and, on the other hand, denying God's judgment and the punishment of hell. It frees a sinner from feelings of responsibility and fear for his inappropriate actions. The logical conclusion of the teaching is that even if a person commits many sins in this life, in his next reincarnation he can mend his ways. After an unlimited cycle of reincarnations each person will eventually reach the same end as all the other, a blending with the absolute. The only difference is in the quantity of cycles.
Additionally, the teachings of reincarnation provide an explanation for any passions or even transgressions a person might have. For instance, if a sodomite feels attraction towards another man, it is apparently because he was a woman in one of his former lives. If a wife is unfaithful to her husband, it may be that her lover was a husband in a previous life and so on.
However, the teaching is completely unverifiable fiction and its seeming appeal is in actuality extremely depressing. Firstly, what is it that reincarnates after a person's death? Evidently, it is not the soul with which we associate with our feeling of self (me). After all our feeling of self, our me, recognizes itself as single and unending being throughout the course of its life. Our "me" learns, acquires knowledge and develops its talents. As it turns out, all of this spiritual cargo, acquired with great effort, is erased and we start learning all over again from ground zero. At the moment of reincarnation the soul is a blank page. If a person suffers for bad Karma, collected in a previous life, he will never understand why he is being punished. After all, he can remember nothing. As a result, he bears the punishment for acts committed by him in a state of incompetence, which is not only unfair, but also not allowed in any system of law.
If all people, sooner or later, will reach the same goal, why labor or try to develop your good traits or do good deeds? And what kind of a reward is it to dissolve in Nirvana, where there is no thought, feeling or will? In the discernment of personality a sharp contrast is drawn between the theosophical teachings of reincarnation and the Christian teachings regarding man. Teachings of reincarnation abolish the personality or soul. According to them, in the cosmic evolution it is just a transitory embodiment and does not make up the core of the man. In reincarnations, a person's personality is not retained. In theosophy, the core element, retained during reincarnation is not personality, but individuality, which is explained as a combination of functions and indicators. Individuality is a purely biological category, established by an evolutionary process. Consequently, man’s destiny is determined by cosmic forces.
The teachings of reincarnation do not in essence solve the problems of immortality, because memory of previous lives is not retained which would be a prerequisite of a singular personality. The reincarnated becomes a different person, at times not even a person but something different. The theosophical understanding of the world is in conflict with personality and is, therefore, in conflict with man. The theosophical deity is without personality, as is his man. The deity, mankind and nature are all different forms of the absolute.
Christian teaching declares exactly the opposite. The core element that inherits eternity is the personality. Personality is created by God and carries in it the image and likeness of God. This is the great advantage of Christianity over theosophy. In Christian teachings man is continually developing and growing, can enter into communion with God, and to some degree be likened unto Him. All the while retaining his human nature. Man did not develop from the lower spheres of cosmic life. He was created by the Living God and in this likened unto Him. In view of this, man is preordained for eternal and conscious life.
Teachings of reincarnation also conflict with the Christian teaching of redemption. This is seen clearly from the Gospel’s example of the wise thief, who in one moment inherited the kingdom of heaven by simply appealing to Christ (bypassing Hindu Karma). Redemption, created by Christ, frees man from the forces of cosmic processes and from the powers of fate. It gives, by the power of Grace, that which theosophy's endless cycles of wandering through cosmic corridors cannot.
Contemporary stories of life after death are valuable, because they foil the very root of occultist teaching regarding reincarnation. In all the accounts recorded by the reanimating doctors, the soul upon leaving the body continued to recognize itself as the same being that lived in the flesh. If it wanted to return to this world, it was only to finish some task. In meeting the souls of departed friends or relatives, the souls of those who later returned to life recognized them as living personalities and they were likewise recognized by their deceased relatives and friends. In all instances the souls of the departed retained their unique personalities.
By denying the retention of personality, teachings of reincarnation deny immortality and make man a toy of blind cosmic processes. It is as false as it is pessimistic.
Yet, Christ has risen! By his strength, we too shall rise in transfigured bodies for eternal and conscious life. Glory to Him unto the ages. Amen.