Reincarnation in the New Testament
We know that the reincarnation theory penetrated Palestine and had its advocates among the Apocalyptics who flourished around the time of our Lord. Many Jewish thinkers adopted the theory, and it appears in the Zohar. It was probably a person who favored reincarnation who asked Jesus the question, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, so that he was born blind?” (John 9:12). And the theory is reflected in the answer given to Jesus when He asked, “Whom do people say that I am?” The disciples answered, “Some say Elijah, others Jeremiah, and others one of the old prophets.” But nowhere in the Bible do we find a positive word which approves the theory. We do not have to accept a teaching which is mentioned in Scripture as being held by people with a speculative mindset. The Bible shows that by a certain time the reincarnation theory had influenced popular thought. It also shows that people once believed that the earth was a flat disk floating on water. We do not have to believe either.
The Word is not given to tell us about ancient beliefs, but to show us spiritual and eternal truths about the Lord, the way He provides for us, and His life in people’s souls. Just because there are shadows of reincarnation in the Bible does not prove that the theory is true. Reincarnationists claim that Jesus was a reincarnation of a pre-existent Christ. But the New Testament indicates that He was God Himself accommodated to human understanding. Someone may bring against this statement the philosophical doctrine of the Eternal Word, given in John’s Gospel. All I need to say is that the Word, or Logos, referred to there is the Eternal Wisdom, Thought, or Mind of God which became personal and appeared as the Word made flesh.