A Christian Analysis of Reincarnation
in Contemporary American Society
By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
Copyright March 4, 2010
Ever since I was a young boy growing up in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia, I have had a fascination with life after death. What is death? What happens when we die? I remember spending a great deal of time reading a book that belonged to my mother, which was given to her by her father, that delved into the study of "near-death experiences." Then, in the second grade, I began to learn of the concept of reincarnation. I recall learning in school about the belief of the ancient Egyptians that at death, the soul of an individual comes back again into the body of anther creature in this world (i.e., reincarnation)
Honestly, I believe that it is natural to have a fascination with the topic of death. How we view death will inevitably shape how we view life. That is why I believe the topic examined by this book is one that needs to be seriously addressed. The subject of reincarnation fascinates many people, and an astounding one out of every four Americans believes in reincarnation. As Geisler points out:
Reincarnation is not only the dominant belief in Eastern religions, but it has gained increased popularity in the Western world. About one in four Americans believe in reincarnation. Among college age young people, the figure is nearly one in three. Surprisingly, about one in five who attend church regularly also believe in reincarnation, in spite of the fact that the Bible and orthodox Christian belief reject reincarnation. Many celebrities have proclaimed their belief in reincarnation. One of the most vocal has been Shirley MacLaine. Other famous celebrities who believe in reincarnation have included Glenn Ford, Anne Francis (Honey West), Sylvester Stallone (Rocky, Rambo), Audry Landers (Dallas), Paddy Chayevsky (author of Marty, The Hospital, Altered States), General George S. Patton, Henry Ford, Salvador Dali, and Mark Twain. In music, ex-Beatle George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Mahavishnu, John McLaughlin, and John Denver have been dedicated to spreading the message of their spiritual beliefs in a second chance. Even some comic books have gotten in on the act. Camelot 3000, Ronin, and Dr. Strange have all dealt with themes of reincarnation. 
This really goes to show how much American values and culture have changed in the last several years. I have heard sociologists discuss the ways in which the changes in American society may be judged (i.e., through the change in family values, social issues, political matters, etc.); yet I believe that one of the most evident examples of how America has changed is in regards to its' spirituality. In many ways, it can no longer be said that we are "one nation, under God." Sadly, it is just in many ways more appropriate to say that America is one nation, under "many gods." This is, I believe, a truly sad thing; yet something that must be dealt with by Christians.
For far too long, Christians have forgotten that the power to change the world lies-not in politics or social/economic reform-but in the Gospel that we preach and hold to. It was the Gospel message of salvation that was heralded by the early church in a polytheistic world, and it was this Gospel that literally "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6; Romans 1:16). It should be the case that Christians, members of the churches of Christ, are eagerly and boldly "reasoning" and "disputing" with our friends and neighbors (Acts 17:17; Jude 3). After all, it was the apostle Peter who declared:
I Peter 3:15- But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
Of the word "defense," we are told:
The word was often used of the argument for the defense in a court of law, and though the word may have the idea of a judicial interrogation in which one is called to answer for the manner in which he has exercised his responsibility (Beare), the word can also mean an informal explanation or defense of one's position. The word would aptly describe giving an answer to the skeptical, abusive, or derisive inquiries of ill-disposed neighbors. 
With an average one in four Americans holding to a belief in reincarnation, I would have expected lots of books to have been written by the Christian community dealing with this topic in depth. However, I have been quite shocked (and a bit annoyed) to find that it has only been dealt with in a casual way by many Christian apologists. Recently, while studying with a pagan in Kentucky, I was reminded of the need for an in-depth study of these matters when she proudly told me that she did not believe in the resurrection of the dead (which is a central teaching of Jesus Christ and His apostles), but was happy instead to be reincarnated many, many times until her karmic debt was repaid! Furthermore, when respected authors and researchers, along with numerous prestigious journalistic programs, go "on the record" and affirm their belief in reincarnation, as well as present a (seemingly) incontrovertible case for such a doctrine, Christians should be the first to carefully and objectively review such findings, while at the same time presenting the air-tight case for the resurrection of Christ Jesus from the grave. Yet what often happens? Christians usually shy away from such a study, and instead of providing people with the evidence which documents the rationality of Christianity (Acts 26:25), they will usually simply proclaim, "Well, you can believe that if you wish, since all paths will lead to the same place anyway." Beloved, while it may be the general consensus of our day and age that all religions and all religious beliefs are equally valid, it is NOT the truth. We need to remember the words of the Christ:
Matthew 7:13-14- "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Basic Outline Of This Book
I want to present an in-depth study of the doctrine of reincarnation. Along the way, I will share with you some of the reasons why people believe in this doctrine, along with an investigation of the research of some of the most well-respected scholars in the field of "past-life research." We will observe how a belief in reincarnation affects the course of an individual (both temporally and eternally). At the same time, we will carefully examine the Bible and its' teachings regarding the topic of death, especially on its' teaching regarding the resurrection of the dead. We will also focus on whether or not the Bible is an accurate guide for us today, and will examine some of the evidence which sustains its' claims to be the Word of God. Finally, we will notice how these should influence us in our daily walk, and as we come to better understand the reason for our existence in this world. If you are studying this book as someone who is just curious about the matters being discussed, welcome aboard! If you are a preacher or teacher who is trying to make sense out of the plethora of material regarding "past-lives," or are maybe trying to share with someone the Bible teaching regarding salvation and the falsehood of reincarnation, I hope that you will find this study illuminating. At the onset of our study, please know this is my prayer for you:
There are so many confusing and conflicting things taught in the religious world of today. Yet in the chaos that surrounds us, we have Your Word, the Bible, that guides us along the way. Please help us, as we examine and investigate these important topics, to keep our eye fixed first and foremost on Your Word. Help us to place our hope in what You would have us to hope in. Thanks for being with us. Amen.
Table Of Contents
1. The Existence Of God
2. History Of Reincarnation Theory
3. Various Purported Evidences Of Reincarnation
4. The Bible-Is It From God Or From Man?
5. Reincarnationist Claims About The Bible
6. What The Bible Teaches About Reincarnation
The Existence Of God
The greatest question of our time is not communism versus individualism; not Europe versus America; not even the East versus the West. It is whether man can live without God.
Central to any study of reincarnation and life after death is the discussion of the existence of God. This is especially clear when we take time to consider that there are many people who believe and teach that there is no God, and that therefore, there is absolutely no life after death of any kind. Therefore, it seems clear that the first stop on our road to answers regarding life after death and reincarnation must deal with the question of the existence of God. After all, if there is no God, then any discussion of life after death is paramount to simply "spinning our wheels!" If there is no God, then we should simply eat, drink, and be merry; for tomorrow we may die.
Many years ago, the creators of the Encyclopedia Britannica created a fifty-four volume set which contained and combined the writings of many eminent philosophers in the Western world. Interestingly enough, the longest article found therein was the article on the topic of "God". While discussing why this article was so long, Mortimer Adler wrote, "More consequences for thought and action follow from the affirmation or denial of God than from answering any other question." (Mortimer J. Adler, The Great Ideas: A Syntopicon Of Great Books of the Western World, vol. 1, Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 543) Think about it: how we view the existence of God will inevitably influence every thought and every decision we make. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative that we begin our study with the issue of God's existence. Can we know that there is a God? If so, what can we learn about His Nature from the creation? In order to answer these questions, we will need to take some time and seriously consider the following evidences for the existence of God.
The Cosmological Argument Shows That There Must Be A God
Perhaps the most powerful argument that may be used to defend the existence of God is known as the cosmological argument. This ancient argument reasons from the concept of cause and effect. Kenneth Himma describes the thrust of the cosmological argument when he informs us:
The cosmological argument attempts to show that a personal God was the cause of the universe's existence and hence was its Creator...In any event, all are grounded in the principle that the existence of certain kinds of things can be explained only by postulating a cause of some kind. In the case of the universe, the cause is the all-perfect, personal God of classical theism. 
In essence, the cosmological argument argues from the premise of cause and effect. It is obvious that there are effects in this universe (i.e., beings that are brought forth by things outside of themselves). For example, I am an effect; I was brought into existence by my parents. They also are effects, brought forth by their parents. I see all of these contingent beings (effects), and I have to ask: why do they exist in the first place? After all, none of them has the reason for existence within themselves, for they all rely on things outside of themselves to exist. If someone says, "Maybe Zeus made everything," we have to ask: Was Zeus also an effect, i.e., created? If he was, then he is just another effect that needs an explanation. Therefore, in order to explain why there is a universe at all, there must be a Being Who exists Who is not an effect. He was not created, and He does not depend upon anything outside of Himself for existence. He is eternal.
When I study with people about the existence of God, I point out that there are really only two possibilities. Either the universe has always existed (a concept known as an "infinite regress;"); or else the universe was created. Some people try to claim that the universe created itself out of nothing. However, a little common sense will show the absurdity of this. First of all, something cannot create itself. It would have to have existed prior to its' existence in order to create itself, which is sheer nonsense and double-talk. Secondly, something cannot create itself from nothing. It is an obvious fact (and one which is confirmed by every scientific fact known to man) that something cannot come from nothing.
Nevertheless, people often adduce the world of subatomic particles and physics as evidence that something can come from nothing. Norman Geisler addresses this objection when he writes:
Quantum Physics Shows that Subatomic Events Are Uncaused. Heisenberg's principle of uncertainty is a principle of quantum mechanics which states that "the position and speed of a particle cannot be simultaneously known with complete certainty. According to this view, for example, it is possible to predict accurately what fraction of uranium atoms will radioactively disintegrate over the next hour, but it is impossible to predict which atoms will do so" (ibid.). It is reasoned that if some events are unpredictable they must be uncaused. However, this conclusion does not follow for several reasons discussed in the article Indeterminacy, Principle of. First, Heisenberg's principle is not a principle of uncausality, but a principle of unpredictability. Second, it is only the position of a particular particle that cannot be predicted, not the overall pattern. Third, since the subatomic realm cannot be "observed" without bombarding it, the scientist cannot be sure what it is really like. Not all physicists agree with Heisenberg. Einstein's response was, "God does not play dice with the universe." 
It is clear to me that those who make such irresponsible claims such as their belief that the universe arose from nothing are either wishing to escape the obvious conclusion that the universe must have had a beginning point, or are trying to run from the equally evident fact that there is a moral God to Whom they are ultimately accountable. As my Apologetics professor used to point out, people do not turn against reason until reason turns against them!
Therefore, this leaves us with only two possibilities: ether the universe is here as the result of an endless chain of causes and effects (i.e., the universe is eternal), or else the universe was created. Please consider the following argument:
1. Either the universe is here as the result of an endless chain of causes and effects which stretch back throughout eternity without an ultimate Creator (i.e., an infinite regress), or else the universe was created.
2. An infinite regress is impossible.
3. Therefore, the universe was created.
1. The Creator of the universe is either caused (i.e., a created being), self-caused (i.e., he created himself), or uncaused (i.e., self-sufficient and eternal).
2. The Creator of the universe cannot be caused or self-caused.
3. Therefore, the Creator of the universe must be uncaused (i.e., self-sufficient and eternal).
An infinite regress is the belief that there has been an endless chain of causes and effects stretching back throughout eternity. It is claimed that there is thus no need for an original Creator of the universe. What may be said regarding this? First of all, let me point out that if we will simply stop and think for a moment, we can see that an infinitely old universe is impossible. Basically, here is the problem with an infinite regress: the idea of an infinitely old universe (i.e., an infinite regress) would lead to an infinite number of contradictions.
For example, if there is no Creator, then everything is here as the result of evolution. Yet if the universe has been evolving for an infinite amount of time, then the universe would already have to be perfectly evolved; for there would have been more than sufficient time for evolution to have completed its' course. Yet the universe is not completely evolved. Therefore, the universe is not infinitely old, and must have had a beginning. Philosopher Peter Kreeft says it very well when he writes:
If there is no Creator and therefore no moment of creation, then everything is the result of evolution. If there was no beginning or first cause, then the universe must have always existed. That means the universe has been evolving for an infinite period of time-and, by now, everything should already be perfect. There would have been plenty of time for evolution to have finished and evil to have been vanquished. But there still is evil and suffering and imperfection-and that proves the atheist wrong about the universe. 
Yet take it a step further still. If the universe has always been here, being the result of an infinite regress, then the universe should be completely run-down by now; for it has had more than sufficient time to completely wear out by this point. Yet the universe is not completely run-down. This shows that there has not been an infinite amount of moments and causes and effects in the past, and that the universe must have had a beginning point.
More to the point, if the universe has always existed (i.e., if the idea of an infinite regress were true), then the universe would have to be both completely perfect and completely imperfect at the same time; for it has had sufficient time to become both completely perfect and completely imperfect by now. However, the idea of an infinitely old universe being both completely perfect and completely imperfect is contradictory in nature. Therefore, the universe cannot be infinitely old.
If this has not demonstrated to you the impossibility of an infinite regress in the real world, then consider this illustration. Imagine taking two chairs from your kitchen table, and setting them facing each other on the floor with about five feet between them. The first chair (Chair A) represents "yesterday." The second chair (Chair B) represents "today." Now, imagine that there is an infinite amount of steps between Chair A and Chair B. If you were trying to move from Chair A to Chair B, and had to cross an infinite amount of steps, could you ever arrive from one chair to the other? No! The moment you took one step, you would have an infinite amount of steps left to cross; therefore, you would never span the gulf from Chair A to Chair B. Now, if you were to arrive at Chair B from Chair A, you could easily and readily conclude that there had not been an infinite amount of steps between the two. In the same way, we can look at the fact that we have arrived from yesterday to today, and know from this that there has not been an infinite amount of moments/events in the past; for if there had been an infinite amount of moments in the past, we would never have arrived from "yesterday" to "today." Yet we have arrived at today. Therefore, there has not been an infinite amount of moments/events in the past. Time itself shows that the universe must have had a beginning point! Doug Powell gives several other examples of the impossibility of an infinite regress:
If actual infinites did exist in the physical world, we would see absurdities and effects we could not live with, literally. For instance, let's say you had a CD collection that was infinitely large, and each CD had an infinite number of songs on it. If you listened to one CD, you hear as much music as if you had listened to all of the CD's-an infinite amount-and yet those infinites are of different sizes-a nonsensical notion...Or imagine a racecar driver and his son. The racecar driver is making circuit after circuit on a track a mile long. Meanwhile in the infield, his three-year old son is on his tricycle going in circles. The son is completing a dozen or so circuits to his dad's one. But if they had each been going for an infinite amount of time, they would have completed an equal number of circuits!...This demonstration of the non-existence of actual infinities can be applied in two real-world areas, time and causality. The best way to show that time is not infinite, that it had a beginning, is to observe that there is a "now." If now exists, then time cannot be infinite. To show this, picture the moment "now" as a destination, like a train station. Then picture time as train tracks that are actually infinitely long. If you were a passenger waiting on the train to arrive, how long would you have to wait? The answer is: forever. You can never reach the end of infinity; thus, infinitely long train tracks cannot ever be crossed. There is no end to arrive at, no station. If infinitely long train tracks could be crossed, they would be the equivalent of a one-ended stick, a nonsensical notion....But there is an end, a "now"; the train did arrive at the station. This means the tracks of time cannot be infinitely long. There cannot be an infinite number of preceding moments prior to the present moment. The past is not an actual infinite. Thus, time had to have a beginning. 
When we further consider the scientific evidence, we can more readily see that the universe must have had a beginning point. John Blanchard, discussing the well-known First and Second Laws Of Thermodynamics and their relevance to the subject of the origin of the universe, informs us:
The biggest problem with this view is that it violates the First Law of Thermodynamics, sometimes known as the law of conservation of mass and energy. This fundamental law, which Isaac Asimov called 'the most powerful and fundamental generalization about the universe that scientists have ever been able to make', states that matter and energy can neither be self-created nor destroyed...The Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that any physical system becomes less ordered and more random over time, provides another piece for the cosmic jigsaw. Applied very simply and generally, it means that our entire universe is running down. As the rotation of the planets and their moons slows down, and as stars (and whole galaxies) burn themselves out, the matter in our universe is becoming more and more disorganized as its energy is dissipated. The logical consequence of this is that the universe cannot be eternal. If it were, the stars would have ceased to shine long ago and all the energy in our universe would have long since been evenly spread throughout space. At the same time, this suggests that if the universe is becoming less ordered, it must have been more ordered in the past, and have had a highly ordered beginning. 
My friends, all of this goes to show that the universe simply cannot be eternal. It must have had a beginning point. Thus, an infinite regress is impossible, and therefore, there must be a God.
Having established these facts, we must now consider what kind of God exists. He must be either a created being; or else he must be a self-caused being; or else He must be an eternal and fully self-sufficient Being. First of all, God cannot be a created being-for this would lead again to the idea of an infinite regress, which has been shown to be impossible. You see, if God was created by something, then the Something before Him would be God. If you just keep going down that same line of thinking, you will inevitably come to an infinite regress, which is impossible. Therefore, God cannot be a created Being. Second, God cannot be a self-caused Being, for the reasons mentioned previously (i.e., something cannot create itself). Third, this leads us only to one possible conclusion: the God of the universe must be an uncaused Being, i.e., an eternal and self-sufficient Being. To be eternal means that He must have had no beginning, and will have no end. This also means that He must be fully self-sufficient, for if He depended upon anything outside of Himself He would simply be another contingent being (i.e., an effect). This means that everything that God needs for existence, He has within Himself. Being fully self-sufficient, He is therefore absolutely perfect in all of His attributes.
In my library, I have a book written by a former atheist. This atheist, a man by the name of Antony Flew, is a standard reference in the halls of atheism. In colleges across the world, his books are common texts in many philosophy classes and courses which are designed to undermine faith in the existence of God. In fact, in the year 1979, Thomas B. Warren, a well-known and scholarly preacher in the churches of Christ, met Antony Flew in public debate regarding the existence of God. Flew was no doubt one of the most hardened skeptics of our day and age. However, something drastic took place. The Associated Press headline (December 9th, 2004) made this stunning announcement: Famous Atheist Now Believes In God: One Of World's Leading Atheists Now Believes In God, More Or Less, Based On Scientific Evidence." Antony Flew was now a believer in the God He had denied for nearly all of his life! Writing a book chronicling his departure from atheism, he discusses how the traditional arguments for the existence of God (especially the cosmological and teleological arguments) influenced him:
But it is not science alone that has guided me. I have also been helped by a renewed study of the classical philosophical arguments... Science qua science cannot furnish an argument for God's existence. But the three items of evidence we have considered in this volume-the laws of nature, life with its teleological organization, and the existence of the universe-can only be explained in the light of an Intelligence that explains both its own existence and that of the world. Such a discovery of the Divine does not come through experiments and equations, but through an understanding of the structures they unveil and map...I must say again that the journey to my discovery of the Divine has thus far been a pilgrimage of reason. I have followed the argument where it has led me. And it has led me to accept the existence of a self-existent, immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, and omniscient Being. 
Indeed, the cosmological argument clearly demonstrates that there is a God. Furthermore, when we compare the traits of this Being that we have discovered with the God of the Bible, we find that they are identical. Therefore, the God of the Bible is the Creator of the universe. Before we move on, however, let's take a moment and examine another powerful argument which demonstrates the existence of God.
The Moral Argument
I believe that one of the greatest arguments which shows us that God exists is known as the moral argument. Basically, this argument deals with the fact that there is an objective code of right and wrong, and that mankind is aware (at least to a minimal degree) of this code by virtue of his very being and existence. It is what the apostle Paul referred to as the "law written on the heart" (Romans 2:12-16). It may be stated in this fashion:
1. If there is within mankind an objective and prescriptive code of morality, then there must be a moral God Who placed that code within man.
2. There is within mankind an objective and prescriptive code of morality.
3. Therefore, there must be a moral God Who placed this code within mankind.
When I mention that there is an "objective" moral code, I am saying that there is something outside the subjective nature of mankind that defines morality. It is placed within mankind by something (or, to be more precise, Someone) greater than humankind. To say that this moral code is "prescriptive" is to say that this moral code identifies what man ought to do, instead of simply what he does. For example, if I were to murder a man in cold-blood, there would be a part of my psyche that knew this was happening, as a cold objective fact; yet there would be another part of me that would be screaming, "This is wrong! You SHOULD not be doing this!" In this case, the latter would be the part of myself that would be prescriptive, telling me what I ought to be doing, not merely what I am doing.
Is there really an objective moral code within mankind? The simple answer is that there is within mankind a knowledge of morality, of right and wrong. We see evil and injustice in the world, and something inside of us says, "It shouldn't be this way!" I have talked with many people who have told me they no longer believe in God because of the existence of evil, pain, and suffering. No doubt they have suffered terribly. However, I have pointed out that the existence of this pain and suffering is actually one of the greatest evidences for the existence of God; for where do we get this knowledge of morality that something evil has taken place? Inherent within every person is a basic knowledge of right and wrong.
Jeff Vines, in an excellent book dealing with these profound subjects, describes a real-life dinner conversation he had with a group of people who were intent on "ambushing" him about the existence of God. One of the gentlemen asks him the question, "So, Jeff, how can you believe in God with all the evil in this world!? Have you ever heard of the Holocaust? Stalin? Lenin? War? Starving children? Tsunamis? Earthquakes? Wake up, man! There is no God!" To this, Mr. Vines responds:
Well, first of all, once you admit that there is such a thing as "evil" in the world, are you not also assuming that there is such a thing as "good?" After all, how can anyone know the definition of "evil" unless he knows the definition of "good?"...A crucial argument in a postmodern world rejects absolute morality and then attempts to invoke an absolute moral law on the Hitlers, Stalins, and Lenins of the world...The origin of the moral law within every human heart is perhaps one of the greatest objective proofs of God's existence. No matter where you travel in this world, absolute moral law exists within every culture. Equally astounding is the fact that even in communist, war-torn countries where God has been thrown out of the public arena, the masses continue to live in testimony to His existence in private. In fact, people in communist countries possess a moral law that is astonishingly similar to those nations in which religion is not restricted, where God is alive and well. 
It may be claimed at this point that while morality may be a reality for all cultures, yet their extreme differences in what constitutes "rightness" and "wrongness" demonstrate that there is not actually an objective prescriptive moral code inherent within mankind. However, the evidence is actually very clear that all societies throughout time have shared a basic moral code that is in many ways identical.
M. Nick Keehus wrote a fictional dialogue between two old friends who were reunited after spending a great deal of time apart. Benjamin is a Christian apologist, while Sixten is an agnostic graduate student in sociology. They begin to discuss several issues relative to the question of the existence of God. Eventually, they turn to a discussion of morality:
B: Moreover, it really overemphasizes moral differences and downplays similarities. C.S. Lewis, who taught Medieval and Renaissance literature at Cambridge University does say that sometimes there are different moralities,...but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference. If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very alike they are to each other and to our own.
S: That sound about right too, I guess.
B: C.S. Lewis further argues, ...but for our present purpose I need only ask the reader to think what a totally different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of doublecrossing all the people who had been the kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two makes five.
S: That's funny.
B: Does it seem a bit more obvious now? It was James Rachel who said, regarding the Eskimos' value of human life concerning the making of certain choices that you and I normally do not face, "I emphasize this in order to show that the raw data of the anthropologists can be misleading; it can make the differences in values between cultures greater than they are." 
The fact that there is within mankind an objective and prescriptive code of morality demonstrates that there must be a God. Such a code could not arise from mere matter; for matter has no consciousness or morality. Therefore, this could only have come from a moral God Who created mankind in His image, and placed His moral consciousness within us.
The first stop on our journey into our study of reincarnation has shown us that this is not a waste of time. Indeed, the evidence is abundant and clear that God DOES exist, which means we are being very wise in carefully studying the subjects of life and death. On the next leg of our journey, we will investigate the history and origin of reincarnation in religious thought and philosophy.
History Of Reincarnation Theory
The Corruption Of Monotheistic Religion
We have come to understand that there is a God, and that He is fully self-sufficient and perfect in all of His attributes. We have further noticed that this Being is identical with the God of the Bible. In the remainder of this chapter, I would like to share with you what happened to man's knowledge of God throughout the centuries. God had revealed Himself to mankind through two sources: nature (Romans 1:18-20; Acts 14:17), and through the Scriptures (II Timothy 3:16-17-much more will be said about the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible in a later chapter). In truth, the Scriptures maintain that this knowledge of God was eventually corrupted as man turned from Him. Interestingly enough, sociologists have confirmed that this is what originally happened. The oldest religions of man have been shown to be monotheistic (i.e., the worship of one God), many of which later turned polytheistic (the worship of many gods). One of the reasons this is so relevant to our studies is because the doctrine of reincarnation sprang primarily from polytheistic religions, which will be shown to have been corruptions themselves from an original monotheistic religion. This will demonstrate that belief in reincarnation had its' origin, not in the original monotheistic religions, but in a polytheistic worldview. John Blanchard describes the devolution of religion from monotheism to polytheism:
The evidence of modern archaeology has not evolved 'upwards', but degenerated from monotheism to pantheism and polytheism, then from these to animism and atheism, a finding confirmed by the Scottish academic Andrew Lange in The Making of Religion: 'Of the existence of a belief in a Supreme Being among primitive tribes there is as good evidence as we possess for any fact in the ethnographic region.' In History of Sanskrit Literature, the Oriental expert Max Muller, recognized as the founder of the science of the history of religions, came to the conclusion: 'There is a monotheism that precedes the polytheism of the Veda; and even in the invocations of the innumerable gods, the remembrance of a God, one and infinite, breaks through the midst of idolatrous phraseology like the blue sky that is hidden by passing clouds.' In The Religion of Ancient Egypt, Sir Flinders Petrie, universally acknowledged as one of the world's leading Egyptologists, claimed, 'Wherever we can trace back polytheism to its earliest stages, we find that it results from combinations of monotheism.' In Semitic Mythology, the Oxford intellectual Stephen Langdon, one of the greatest experts in his field, said, 'In my opinion, the history of the oldest civilization of man is a rapid decline from monotheism to extreme polytheism and widespread belief in evil spirits. It is in a very true sense the history of the fall of man.'...The same overall picture emerges in studies centered on the traditions of the oldest civilizations known to man: original belief in a 'High God,' followed by degeneration into polytheism, animism and other corrupt religious notions. 
Thus, over time people moved from a monotheistic belief system to a polytheistic philosophy. People began to worship many "gods" instead of the one "God" Who had made all things for His glory (Revelation 4:11) and for relationship (Ephesians 1:1-4; I John 4:8, 16). The Bible is in complete harmony with this historical development, as the apostle Paul points out:
Romans 1:18-23-For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
People began to depart from the true religion which God had revealed to man through nature, through the Patriarchal Age, and then later, through the Mosaic age (just as they continue to reject His revelations now through the Christian age). They were absolutely "without excuse" for doing this, which in the original Greek has reference to a man who has absolutely no legal defense whatsoever. God's revelation in nature was clear; yet man absolutely refused to accept this, and thus showed their "foolishness." It is important to understand here that a "fool" in the Bible is usually not someone who is mentally deficient in some way or fashion; rather, it is someone who is morally obstinate. John Blanchard notices this important factor of the word "fool" as he discusses the existence of God:
In Western society today, foolishness usually refers to ignorance or stupidity, but in biblical language it has a much deeper dimension. In the Old Testament, David twice says, 'The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." The word 'fool' translates the Hebrew nabal, which carries a sense of moral perversity. The Old Testament scholar Derek Kidner illustrates this by saying that the assertion is treated in Scripture, 'not as a sincere but misguided conviction, but as an irresponsible gesture of defiance.' Paul's word 'foolish' translates the Greek asunetos, which means 'without insight or understanding', while his later word 'fools' comes from moros, which basically means 'dull, sluggish, stupid', but which also includes the idea of something losing the purpose for which it exists. 
Another author, in discussing the word "fool" (used especially in the book of Proverbs) points out that such a person is distinguished from the "simple." He says:
The fools, or wicked (Proverbs 10:1-3). The "fool" is the man who, whether from weakness of character, or from stubbornness, lacks the perception necessary to guide him in the paths of righteousness. He is distinguished from the "simple" by the fact that he is self-sufficient in spiritual and intellectual matters. 
Thus, the basic reason people reject God and His revelation (both general and special) is because of moral obstinacy. Certainly, that is true in the situation Paul describes in Romans 1, and it has been shown to be true throughout time. As we examine the history of religion in the world, we notice that it was during this framework that the doctrine of "reincarnation" first began to take root. Some of the ancient religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, taught a form of reincarnation theory. However, it is important to realize that many of the ancient Western philosophers also held to a belief in reincarnation. One sixth century B.C. philosopher named Pythagoras, for example, is thought to have taught about the transmigration of souls. One of his disciples, Empedocles, taught that the cause of reincarnation was sin and that it lasted some 30, 000 times (until one reached godhood). Other examples of Greek philosophers holding to reincarnation would include Plato and Plotonius. It is also important to notice that many of the Gnostics-who will be dealt with more extensively momentarily-held to various forms of reincarnation.
The Influence Of The Theory Of Evolution On Reincarnation
One thing that is absolutely fascinating is that many of these philosophers adopted the theory of reincarnation (at least in part) due to their belief in the theory of evolution. It was believed that man is reincarnated time after time so that he will evolve and become more like God. Plato was a firm proponent of this belief. It surprises many to learn that the theory of evolution was advanced and taught thousands of years before Charles Darwin (the so-called "father" of evolution); yet this is absolutely the case. Bert Thompson, in his excellent book, The History Of Evolutionary Thought, documents some of the ancient philosophers who believed in the theory of evolution.
Really, it should not surprise us that the theory of evolution has such an influence on the doctrine of reincarnation. After all, it is believed that with each reincarnation, a person becomes more "evolved," until he finally reaches some form of "godhood." This is simply another reason it is so important for Christians to be well-versed in the study of Christian Apologetics. In the next chapter, attention will be given in greater detail to the interchange between reincarnation and evolution.
One very influential group of people who believed in reincarnation were known as the Gnostics. This was a group of disciples who began to be formed in the late first century A.D. who tried to combine the teachings of Jesus Christ with the pagan mystery religions of Greece and Rome. As they began to flourish in the second century, the Christians came into constant conflict with them. At that point, they began to write their own "scriptures" and to pawn them off on the churches as apostolic in origin (see chapter four for a refutation of these writings). However, it is clear that they taught a great deal about reincarnation. For example, in one fraudulent book dating to the mid second century, we read of a supposed conversation between Jesus Christ and the apostle John:
I said, "Christ, the souls of these, when they come out of the flesh, whither will they go?" He smiled and said, "To a place for the soul, i.e., the power which is far superior to the Imitation Spirit. This is strong; it escape from the works of wickedness and through the imperishable guidance it will be saved and raised up to the Rest of the Aeons." I said, "Christ, those who have not known the All, what are their souls or whither will they go?" He said to me, "An Imitation Spirit has overgrown them in their stumbling, and so the Imitation Spirit burdens their souls, draws the soul to the works of wickedness, and brings it in this way to lack of perception. After the soul is unclothed, the Imitation Spirit delivers it to the powers which are under the Archon. The souls will once more be cast into fetters and led about until they are saved from lack of perception, attain knowledge, and so will be perfected and saved." I said, "Christ, how then does the soul gradually shrivel up and return into the nature of the Mother or of the Man?" He rejoiced when I asked him, and he said, "Blessed are you for a clear understanding. Therefore they will be given together with the other in whom the Spirit of Life is a consequence for him. And because the soul hears through him, it will be saved. It no longer goes into another flesh." 
Notice the Gnostic teaching of reincarnation taught here. Those who do not have the "understanding" that the Gnostics do are bound by a spirit of foolishness. This spirit of foolishness eventually loses its' grip on a person as he goes through subsequent reincarnations ("cast into fetters," a Gnostic expression for living in the flesh, a reference to their belief that all material things are inherently evil, and the goal of life and of their "revelations" is to escape the bondage of physical existence), until at last he comes to gain the saving knowledge of the Gnostics, at which point he will no longer be born again in the flesh.
Another example of reincarnation is found in the Gnostic book, The Gospel Of The Egyptians, which portrays Jesus Christ as being the reincarnation of Seth, the son of Adam and Eve. In usual fashion, this Gnostic expression of Jesus portrays the Son of God coming to save the world from sin-not through His vicarious death, burial, and resurrection-but through the attainment of a certain kind of knowledge that only the Gnostics had access to.
The second-century Christians dealt with the reincarnationist teachings of the Gnostics on several occasions. It is often said in our world that the early Christians believed in reincarnation, and that this was later suppressed by "the church" in order to grasp power and authority from a pagan world. However, the following quotations from some very prominent second and third century Christian apologists clearly sets forth the teaching of the Christians in regard to the Gnostics and their teaching on reincarnation: 
Justin Martyr (c. 160)-Souls neither see God nor transmigrate into other bodies. For if they did, they would know why they were punished, and they would be afraid to commit even the most trivial sin afterwards.
Irenaeus (c. 180)-The Gnostics deem it necessary, therefore, that by means of transmigration from body to body, souls should experience every kind of life.
Irenaeus (c. 180)-We may subvert the Gnostics' doctrine as to transmigration from body to body by this fact: that souls remember nothing whatever of the events took place in their (supposed) previous states of existence.
Irenaeus (c. 180)-Plato, that ancient Athenian...was the first to introduce this opinion (i.e., reincarnation).
Clement of Alexandria (c. 195)-The hypothesis of Basilides (a Gnostic teacher) says that the soul, having sinned before in another life, endures punishment in this life.
Tertullian (c. 197)-How much more worthy of acceptance is our belief that maintains that souls will return to the same bodies. And how much more ridiculous is your inherited (pagan) teaching that the human spirit is to reappear in a dog, mule, or a peacock!
Hippolytus (c. 205)-He will accomplish a resurrection of all-not by transferring souls into other bodies-but by raising the bodies themselves.
Origen (c. 245)-(Referring to John the Baptist)-In this place, it does not seem to me that by the name "Elijah," the soul is being spoken of. Otherwise, I would fall into the doctrine of transmigration, which is foreign to the church of God. It is not handed down by the apostles, nor is it set forth in the Scriptures anywhere.
Lactantius (c. 304-313)-Pythagoras contends that souls migrate from bodies that are worn out with old age and death. He says they gain admission into bodies that are new and recently born. He also says the same souls are reproduced at one time in a man, another time in a sheep, another in a wild beast, and another in a bird. He says that they are accordingly immoral, for they often change their habitations-which consist of various and dissimilar bodies. This opinion of a senseless man is ridiculous. It is more worthy of a stage-play than of a school of philosophy.
The writings of the second and third century Christians (and these citations could be greatly multiplied) demonstrate at least five things regarding the early Christians' dealings with the doctrine of reincarnation. First, it was clearly a doctrine that was taught by some people in the second and third centuries. Indeed, it is clear that the theory of reincarnation had been taught for several centuries before the time these Christians wrote. Second, it is very clear from the writings of these Christians that the theory of reincarnation had its' origin-not in the teachings of the Scriptures and the traditions of the apostles-but in the various schools of pagan thought and philosophy. This is important to emphasize, since the Christians looked primarily to Jesus and the Scriptures (both Old and New Testaments) as God's revelation to mankind (Hebrews 1:1-3; II Timothy 3:16-17). Third, the Gnostics were greatly responsible for the spread of the doctrine of reincarnation in the second and third centuries A.D. The church of Christ opposed the Gnostics on the doctrine of reincarnation. This is important to realize; the Gnostics were a sect of the church, not the church itself. Many people confuse this issue, and claim therefore that the church accepted the doctrine of reincarnation. Nothing could be further from the truth! Indeed, Christians took their responsibility to "test the spirits" (I John 4:1) very seriously, which is why they vigorously opposed the Gnostics. Fourth, the basic purported evidences of reincarnation are the same basic evidences espoused today (i.e., spontaneous recall and past-life regression, arguments from universal justice, supposed evolutionary theory, etc.). The Gnostics added in their own arguments, trying to twist the Scriptures regarding Elijah and John the Baptist. Fifth, please notice that the hope of the early Christians was not in reincarnation-but in resurrection. This is the hope of Christians (Colossians 1:5), which is foreshadowed by Christ Jesus Himself (Philippians 3:20-21). The early Christians definitely did not believe in reincarnation! Instead, they rose to the challenge and opposed the teaching of the Gnostics on this matter, as they should have (and as we must in our world today).
Contemporary Society On The Teaching Of Reincarnation
More and more people in contemporary society accept and advocate the teaching of reincarnation. Millions of books have been written on the subject, and a multitude of Americans believe in it. Amazingly, many preachers in "Christendom" even advocate the doctrine of reincarnation! Perhaps one of the best ways to gauge the influence of the belief in reincarnation in contemporary American society can be seen in the popular books and movies that are best-sellers. Consider, for example, the claims of well-known actress, Shirley MacLaine. Two authors describe her belief in reincarnation:
Shirley MacLaine confidently teaches that we can now eliminate the fear of death from the minds of all Americans and indeed from the consciousness of the whole world. Death, says the influential actress, simply does not exist...Through contact with entities in the spirit world, she has discovered that she was a princess in Atlantis, an Inca in Peru, and even once a child raised by elephants. In some previous existence she was male; in others she was female. She believes that we go around perhaps 50 or 100 times in a cycle of spiritual evolution. 
The doctrine of reincarnation is very ancient, having roots both in Eastern and Western religions. The revelation of the one God to mankind (both through nature and through the Scriptures) was often ignored and despised by man. In this whirlpool of philosophical and religious theories, reincarnation sprang up, and was adopted by many famous orators of the past. It eventually found its' way into Christendom through the influence of the Gnostics, who were desirous of combining the religion of Christ with the pagan religions around them. However, the early Christians fought against these heretics, pointing out that Christ and the apostles had not taught this doctrine, and was therefore to be rejected. They placed their ultimate trust in the resurrection, which was a proven and confirmed fact of history. In the next chapter, we will carefully examine some of the purported evidences for the theory of reincarnation.
The Purported Evidences For Reincarnation
The theory of reincarnation has been around for a very long time. The opinion of many Americans is divided, however, over why so many people believe in this theory. It is therefore appropriate that we carefully examine the purported evidences for the theory of reincarnation that people have raised throughout the years.
Supposed Bible Support
It is often claimed that the Bible actually contains references to the doctrine of reincarnation. It has also been postulated that some statements found in the Bible were deleted by a corrupt Roman Emperor who wanted to gain more power through the church of his day and age. Believing that one way to do this was to silence the pagan belief in reincarnation, he ordered that any and all references to reincarnation found in the text of the Scriptures must be deleted and destroyed.
It is beyond the scope of this chapter to deal with all of these allegations (they will be dealt with in great detail in a later chapter). However, we will carefully examine two of the passages of Scripture that are most often used to try and prove that reincarnation is true.
The great patriarch, Job, was a man who suffered terribly at the hands of the devil. Losing his entire family and fortune in one fail swoop, he went out and worshipped the Lord. In this context, he declares:
Job 1:21-And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD."
Job emphatically declares that he had come from his mother's womb, and that he was going to return there. Is this a clear teaching of reincarnation in the Bible? If not, what is Job actually saying?
First, we must consider the context of this passage of Scripture. The surrounding verses demonstrate clearly that this a highly poetic text. How do we determine if a text of Scripture is to be understood literally or figuratively? A number of years ago, one well-known scholar discusses this question and provides the following logical rules of interpretation for determining when a passage is to be understood literally or figuratively:
We have already seen that much of the Scriptures was written in language that was highly figurative; that its poetry and prophecy, and very much of its prose, contain the loftiest of Oriental hyperbole. It becomes, us, then, to acquaint ourselves with the rules governing this kind of speech. We know that if we shall interpret literal language as if it were figurative, or figurative as if it were literal, we will certainly miss the meaning...Rule 1. The sense of the context will indicate it...Rule 2. A word or sentence is figurative when the literal meaning involves an impossibility...Rule 3. The language of Scripture may be regarded as figurative, if the literal interpretation will cause one passage to contradict another...Rule 4. When the Scriptures are made to demand actions that are wrong, or forbid those that are good, they are supposed to be figurative...Rule 5. When it is said to be figurative...Rule 6. When the definite is put for the indefinite...Rule 7. When said in mockery...Rule 8. Common sense.-Figures of speech sometimes occur when we have to depend on the things we know, in order to decide if the language is figurative or literal...
With these things in mind, carefully consider that the evidence very clearly shows that this text of Job must be understood figuratively and not literally. For example, Job says that when he dies, he will return to his mother's womb. This makes no sense, unless one understands it figuratively. Some reincarnationists I have studied with have told me that Job says he would go to another mother; yet that is not what he says! Indeed, he says that he will return to his (current) mother's womb. How, then, can people claim that this text is literal in nature? As Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe point out:
Furthermore, even if one insisted on a literal understanding of this figure of speech, it would not prove reincarnation. It would only show that the person returns to his mothers womb after he dies, which is absurd! 
So, the passage must be understood figuratively. Yet what is the literal point which Job is trying to get us to understand through his figurative language? What is he trying to "get across" in his lamenting? He is discussing the certainty of death, and the fact that all men (including himself) will die and their bodies will return somewhere. Where does a person's body go when it dies? Obviously, it returns to the Earth. Is this not what Job is discussing in this text of Scripture?
Before you discount this interpretation, consider the following:
Does this poetic phrase refer to reincarnation? Actually scholars have found that the Hebrew word for "womb" (shammah) is used here in a figurative sense to depict the "earth" from which we came. This alludes to Genesis 3:19 where God curses Adam with physical death...The ideas of "earth" and "womb" are put together in Psalm 139:13, 15...This is borne out in Ecclesiasticus 40:1 by the ancient Hebrew writer Ben Sira: "Much labor was created for every man, and a heavy yoke is upon the sons of Adam, from the day they come forth from their mother's womb, till the day they return to the Mother of all." 
Job is referring here to the fact that one day he is going to die, and return to the Earth. Ancient writers throughout time have referred to the physical Earth as a kind of "Mother." Why should it surprise us that Job uses these phrases in such a figurative context of Scripture? Indeed, there is no evidence of reincarnation in this text of Scripture. If anyone wishes to know what Job truly placed his hope in, all he need do is carefully examine the following:
Job 19:25-27- For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
The hope of Job was in resurrection, not in reincarnation. Much more will be said about this in a future chapter.
Jesus answered and said to them, "Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands." Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.
The prophet Malachi (Malachi 4:4-6) had foretold that before the Son of God (the Messiah) came to the Earth, God would send the prophet Elijah to the people, to urge them to repent. The disciples of Christ (in Matthew 17) ask Jesus about this matter, and the Lord tells them that Elijah had come-indeed, He spoke to them "of John the Baptist." On the surface, it sure sounds like John the Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah-but was he? Is that really what Jesus is teaching us here? Consider what John the Baptist himself says:
John 1:21- And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" And he answered, "No."
Here, John the Baptist quite clearly insists that he is not Elijah the prophet. Is there a contradiction between Jesus and John? Friends, the only way there is a contradiction here is when we fail to take into account figurative language!
First of all, consider the context of what Malachi the prophet actually said. He talks of the day burning like an oven (Malachi 4:1) and the wicked being stubble (Malachi 4:1). He refers to the Messiah as the "Sun of righteousness" with "healing in His wings" (Malachi 4:2). The Son of God is not a literal star in the Heavens that burns bright, and a star definitely does not have wings. The point is that the context surrounding the prophecy of Elijah coming to the Earth is couched in figurative language. As such, this person who goes before the Messiah is figuratively called Elijah.
Second, consider this point: John the Baptist could not have been the reincarnation of Elijah the prophet because Elijah the prophet never died! The Scriptures are very clear on this point (II Kings 2:11). This was clearly understood in the prophet Malachi's day-which is another reason why reincarnation was definitely not in the mind of the prophet, and why John the Baptist could absolutely affirm he was not the prophet Elijah. The Jews knew that John the Baptist had been born in that day and age, which is why they knew that he was not literally Elijah the prophet. This is why John could definitely affirm that he was not the prophet Elijah.
Third, the text in Malachi is clearly figurative, and describes a messenger who will come to the Earth before the Messiah, who will be similar in some way to Elijah the prophet. How were John and Elijah alike? The angel Gabriel answers that question for us:
Luke 1:17- He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
For several reasons, John the Baptist was not the reincarnation of Elijah the prophet. First, Elijah had never died. Second, the context of the prophet Malachi makes it clear that it was not the literal prophet Elijah who was to come before the Messiah, but one similar to him in some way or fashion. Third, John the Baptist clearly denied being Elijah the prophet. Fourth, Jesus clearly points to a figurative interpretation of Elijah the prophet being John the Baptist, as signified by the expression "if you can receive it." George Dehoff remarked:
In a figurative sense, John was Elijah. He came in the power and spirit of Elijah. The angel Gabriel said to the Virgin Mary, "And he (John) shall go before him (Christ) in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just," etc. The teaching that Elijah must come before the great and terrible day of the Lord was based on Mal. 4:5-6...Jesus announced that John was Elijah to come. "If ye will receive it," meaning if you can understand the prophecy. "This is Elias which was for to come" (Matt. 11:14) shows that a literal fulfillment was not expected...John denied being Elijah in person. 
Finally, the angel Gabriel makes it clear that it was not a literal return of Elijah that was foretold, but one who was to come in the power and spirit of Elijah. All of this goes to show that John the Baptist was not held up in Scripture as being the reincarnation of Elijah the prophet.
Past-Life Regression And Spontaneous Recall
Perhaps the most well-known examples of evidence for the belief of reincarnation come in the form of allegedly recovered memories. There are two types of such memories. Spontaneous recall is what occurs when a person (most often a child) vividly "remembers" something from a prior life, due to some kind of trigger (a scent, a scene, a sound, etc.). These "memories" may also be accessed through dreams. The second type of evidence comes from past-life regression, where a person is hypnotically regressed and "remembers" events from a previous incarnation. In American society, examples of past-life regression are much more commonplace than spontaneous recall.
One of the most well-known mediums of the twentieth century was Edgar Cayce. Known as the "sleeping prophet," he had the uncanny ability to slip into a self-induced trance and diagnose medical problems and solutions for people all over the country. His fame spread has spread world-wide, and many institutions and research projects have been funded in his name. In a recent book, we read of Cayce's beliefs about reincarnation:
...At first it was hard for me to separate the idea of reincarnation and past lives from transmigration, but I later realized that they are entirely different. Reincarnation had been considered a part of the Eastern religions for so long that we had cause to consider it foreign to Christianity...I also considered the idea of reincarnation as an answer to the question of how it is that when we meet some people, we immediately feel as if we had known them all our lives, and others we have known for years in this life and still do not feel close to or understand. I don't believe anyone can answer that question unless there is more than just this life....We have an opportunity to come into the earth to make manifest what we may have gained through whatever experience we may have passed. God gives us that opportunity. It is our job to do the working out. He is willing to aid us in doing the job right, but it's our job-and we have to do it! Too often we want to do the work out way and take the credit to ourselves. 
Cayce presents several traditional and contemporary arguments for the theory of reincarnation.
The Incredible Research Of Ian Stevenson
When a study is made of the topic of reincarnation, one referenced researcher you will find at the top of the list is that of Dr. Ian Stevenson. He was Carlson Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Division of Parapsychology, Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. During his lifetime, he amassed over 3, 000 case studies of children who experienced spontaneous recall. Being a thorough investigator, he carefully examined the contexts and contents of his case studies. Dinesh D'Souza describes some of his incredible discoveries:
Stevenson presents such cases in a rigorous and balanced way. In some cases he shows that children have birthmarks or diseases that are eerily similar to those of the alleged previous incarnation. More than one case involves a child whose phobia about water seems partly explained by the fact that the identified previous incarnation died by drowning. Some of his most interesting cases involve xenoglossy, where children speak in a language that they do not know. Since children with a gift for language can absorb foreign words and phrases from all kinds of places-movie scenes, billboards, a book read by a fellow passenger on a train-xenoglossy by itself proves little. Far from significant are Stevenson's cases where the child can converse and answer questions in the other language. Undoubtedly Stevenson's most sensational cases involve children who bear the physical marks of wounds that they claim to have sustained in previous lives. Stevenson's data includes more than a dozen such cases, in which children not only name their previous incarnations, but also give accounts of how they were killed in various stabbings or shootings. Stevenson and his colleagues began by confirming the existence of those named individuals. Then in each case they verified that the violence in question occurred. Most remarkably, they were also able to find scars on the bodies of the children in precisely the same spots. Stevenson's papers provide photographs of the scars. He offers alternative ways to read the evidence and argues that a reincarnation hypothesis makes the most sense. 
During his lifetime, Stevenson wrote several books and papers. His research spanned virtually the entire globe, and he has made serious contributions to the study of reincarnation. He died in 2007.
Contributions By Brian L. Weiss
Another well-known expounder of past-life research is Dr. Brian L. Weiss. In his book, Many Lives, Many Masters, this psychiatrist describes his experiences with a woman that he counseled for quite some time named "Catherine." Meeting Catherine in 1980, the good doctor slowly had his belief system turned upside down as Catherine began recalling "past-lives" while under hypnosis. While these intrigued him, he was especially impressed when Catherine began describing the dimension that lies beyond the physical world, when Catherine's previous incarnations described their demise on Earth. Describing his initial skepticism, Weiss writes:
After Catherine left, and over the next several days, I pondered the details of the hypnotic regression. It was natural for me to ponder. Very few details emerging from even a "normal" therapy hour escaped my obsessive mental analysis, and this session was hardly "normal." In addition, I was very skeptical about life after death, reincarnation, out-of-body experiences, and related phenomena. After all, the logical part of me ruminated, this could be her fantasy. I wouldn't actually be able to prove any of her assertions or visualizations. But I was also aware, although much more dimly, of a further and less emotional thought. Keep an open mind, the thought said; true science begins with observation. Her "memories" might not be fantasy or imagination. There might be something more than meets the eye-or any of the other senses. Keep an open mind. Get more data. 
Weiss's skepticism, however, began to be diminished during his continuous sessions with Catherine. There were beings called "Master Spirits" who were sending messages to Weiss through Catherine while she was undergoing hypnotherapy. One of the messages that a "Master Spirit" gave was particularly troubling to him:
Your father is here, and your son, who is a small child. Your father says you will know him because his name is Avrom, and your daughter is named after him. Also, his death was due to his heart. Your son's heart was also important, for it was backward, like a chicken's. He made a great sacrifice for you out of his love. His soul is very advanced....His death satisfied his parents' debts. Also he wanted to show you that medicine could only go so far, that its scope is very limited. 
Weiss then describes how his firstborn son, Adam had died at twenty-three days old in the hospital, around the year 1971. He had a defect in his heart, which amounted to the blood vessels in it being turned around (in essence) backward. Apparently, Catherine had no knowledge of the death of the doctor's son.
Weiss is now a firm proponent of reincarnation. Especially disturbing was the message from one of the "Masters" that humans will eventually destroy themselves:
"Yes," he answered. "Everything must be balanced. Nature is balanced. The beasts live in harmony. Human have not learned to do that. They continue to destroy themselves. There is no harmony, no plan to what they do. It's so different in nature. Nature is balanced. Nature is energy and life...and restoration. And humans just destroy. They destroy nature. They destroy other humans. They will eventually destroy themselves." This was an ominous prediction. With the world constantly in chaos and turmoil, I hoped this would not be soon. "When will this happen?" I asked. "It will happen sooner than they think. Nature will survive. Plants will survive. But we will not." 
Time after time in his sessions with Catherine, Weiss was told that the messages coming through were for him, not Catherine. It would seem that the "Master Spirits" wanted him to share this message of reincarnation with others in the world. More will be said about this in a future chapter.
The Story Of Bruce And Andrea Leininger
Perhaps the greatest "documented" case of reincarnation in contemporary America comes from the story of Bruce and Andrea Leininger, and their son James. From a very early age (about three weeks past his second birthday), James had disturbing dreams and recollections that could not be explained by simple coincidence or childhood imagination. James' parents came to believe that their son was the reincarnation of Ensign James McCready Huston, Jr., who was killed in action on March 3, 1945. During his nightmares, the child would say the same things over and over:
Those were the very words, the actual text of James's outcries. The child flung his head back and forth and screamed the same thing over and over: "Airplane crash! Plane on fire! Little man can't get out! Airplane crash! Plane on fire! Little man can't get out!" Now, it was not long after James's second birthday; he was just learning to speak in complex sentences, just finding a language to fit his thoughts. And yet, what he was screaming as he thrashed around his bed that spring were words so rich in detail, so plausibly offered, so unchildlike in their desperation, that Bruce Leininger was struck silent. In all his life, he's been the problem solver, the go-to guy, the man who could make things right because he understood the nature of almost any problem, grasped its geography, and managed to find a solution. But standing in that doorway of his child's bedroom, he was paralyzed-and a little frightened. These panicked phrases could not have come out of nowhere; on that point he was certain. 
Later, James revealed that he was "little man." He also gave detailed information to his parents regarding his past-life:
Andrea asked, 'Who is the little man?" "Me." There was no hesitation, no pause, no dramatic flourish. He was talking about something that called for no emotion. Andrea asked, "Do you remember the little man's name?" And he said, "James." He didn't understand, she thought. He was repeating his own name, as a two-year-old might if asked his name. Andrea was getting frustrated because she didn't' know how to push him without doing damage. She was desperate for some answers, but not if it was going to upset him. Bruce took over the questioning. "Do you remember what kind of airplane the little man flew?" "A Corsair," he answered without hesitation. Bruce flinched as if he's been punched. He knew the plane. It was a World War II fighter plane. How could James even know the name of a World War II aircraft, much less say with certainty that it was the aircraft in the dream? "Do you remember where your airplane took off from?" And James said, "A boat." Another answer that left Bruce dumbfounded. He knew vaguely about Corsairs and how they were launched from aircraft carriers in World War II, but how in hell did James know this? How could he have assembled such a complicated and credible nightmare? Nothing that Bruce had ever seen or read or heard could have influenced James to have this memory with all its intricate facts that he repeated over and over again..."Do you remember the name of your boat?" "Natoma."... "Natoma, huh?" "Natoma." "That sounds pretty Japanese." James got annoyed. "No, it's American." He gave his father another of those prickly, torn-patience looks. 
After this, the Leiningers learned that there was an actual aircraft carrier that was very prominent during World War II, with the name of the Natoma Bay. Throughout the entire ordeal, James began to reveal specific details of names, places, events, etc., that would be very difficult for a young child to have knowledge of. At an early age, James named two people he had known from his previous life: Leon Conner and Billie Peeler. Later, during a conversation with his parents after receiving a new GI Joe, the Leiningers were amazed at the following revelation:
"So what are you going to name your new GI Joe, James?" asked Bruce. James turned and looked up. "Walter," he said. Bruce and Andrea looked at each other, puzzled but amused. They didn't know any Walter. In fact, their son had a whole collection of intriguingly colorless names: Billy, Leon, and Walter. No Buzz, or Todd, or Rocky. They laughed, but Bruce was curious and asked, "Hey, how come you named your GI Joes Billy and Leon and Walter?" "Because That's who met me when I got to heaven." Then he turned and went back to play...He was holding the list of names of the men who were killed aboard Natoma Bay. He handed it to Andrea. On the list were James M. Huston, Jr., Billie Peeler, Leon Conner, and Walter Devlin... "When were they killed?" asked Andrea, trying to sound casual. But there was nothing causal about this stuff. Bruce looked at the papers, checked them again. Then he looked at his wife. His voice was flat. "Leon Conner was killed on October 25, 1944. Walter Devlin on October 26 of 1944. Billie Peeler was killed on November 17th of 1944..." "And James Huston was killed on March 3, 1945," said Andrea. The point was clear. Leon and Walter and Billie were already dead when James Huston was killed over Chichi-Jima. They were waiting for him in heaven. 
Carefully Examining The Evidence
Without a doubt, the evidence amassed above is incredible. It represents the lifetime work of many individuals, as well as the personal accounts of several who firmly and honestly believe in their experiences. I have seen several ways that a powerful emotional experience can alter someone's course in life, and let me point out that my desire is not to argue with experiences. My duty is to carefully examine the evidence, and see if there are other factors that may be relevant to the study at hand, and to determine if the evidence leads to the conclusion that reincarnation is a valid explanation and interpretation of that evidence. Whenever I study with people regarding such matters, I am quick to point out that my desire is not so much to argue with their experiences; it is to examine the evidence.
That being said, let's notice several things here that come into play.
Cultural Background And Upbringing
It is an undeniable fact that who we are today has been partially shaped by the events of yesterday. As such, when we carefully consider the topic of reincarnation and the evidences put forth of past-life recall, we must of necessity consider the issue of background. Our culture can play a huge factor in our experiences.
Please do not misunderstand me: I am not saying that all of the cases mentioned above may be explained simply by cultural influence. There are some obnoxious atheists I have dealt with who claim that our geographic location, coupled with our upbringing, are the determining factors in our religious convictions. I do not believe that for a second, and if our atheist friends would stop and consider, neither would they! It is not true that just because I am from America, I am going to have Christian beliefs, any more than the claim that a person from India will necessarily be a Hindu is true. While I do not doubt that cultural settings and beliefs can influence our spiritual make-up, common sense should dictate that this is not the determining factor in a person's religious convictions. Both Paul and James were Jewish to the core, and because of their religious and familial bias, rejected Christ Jesus and His claims (John 7:5; Acts 26:1-28), yet the undeniable evidence of the resurrection of Christ overcame any past cultural ties (I Corinthians 15:1-8). This should be enough to show us that our culture is not the sole determining factor in such important matters!
Furthermore, it is evident that not all of the cases may be attributed to simple cultural conditioning. Past life researcher Fredrick Lenz (PH.D.), in interviewing 127 persons with past life recall, clearly documents:
From the one hundred and twenty-seven cases of past life remembrances I have now collected, the following statistics have emerged: (1) Seventy-four cases of past life remembrances occurred to women and fifty-three to men. (2) Ten of these persons were under twenty-five; forty-seven were between the ages of twenty-five and forty; forty-six were between forty and fifty-five; and the remaining twenty-four were over fifty-five. (3) Ninety-five of the cases have occurred to individuals who reside in the United States, thirteen to people who live in Canada, and nineteen to people who live in Great Britain. (4) Thirty of the persons are professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc.); thirteen are blue-collar workers; twenty-seven are housewives; thirteen work in government jobs; fifteen are employed in agrarian and farm-related professions; ten are students; and the remaining nineteen either are self-employed (artists, writers, etc.) or are unemployed. (5) One hundred and nineteen of the persons I interviewed said that they had no belief in reincarnation prior to their past life remembrance. Five of the remaining eight said that they neither believed nor disbelieved in reincarnation; the three remaining individuals acknowledged a belief in reincarnation prior to their remembrance. 
However, this is not to say that cultural considerations may not play a role in some of the aforementioned cases. I believe that one author has pointed out the influence of cultural background very well when he writes:
But if arguments for reincarnation seem unpersuasive, so do the usual arguments against it...The reincarnation debate has been taken to a new level by psychiatrist Ian Stevenson, a longtime professor at the University of Virginia. Stevenson has published multivolume case studies of children who specifically recall their previous lives. Altogether he has more than 2, 500 cases, and more are regularly being added. Stevenson concedes that some of his cases may involve misidentification or even deception, but taken as a whole, he argues that he has assembled a body of data that demands to be taken seriously. The popular holistic guru Deepak Chopra agrees in a recent book, citing Stevenson's work as strong empirical evidence for reincarnation...In order for me to accept reincarnation as something that happens to all humans, I would at the least like to see evidence for it from around the world. While Stevenson and his colleagues do have cases from Sri Lanka, Brazil, Turkey, Lebanon, Nigeria, and even America, the vast majority of his cases are from India. Stevenson argues that this is because the Hindu culture encourages children to speak about these experiences; elsewhere, he writes, children who raise such subjects meet such shock and disbelief that they keep their stories to themselves. Yes, but if reincarnation is a global phenomenon we would expect that there would be a large number of bold children who would overcome their cultural inhibitions and speak their mind, as they have been known to do on other matters. Another serious problem is that Stevenson does not speak the native languages, so he has to rely on translators. This in my opinion greatly increases the chance of setups that go undetected. I grew up in India, and I know how children who claim to be religiously anointed become celebrities, sometimes attracting a large following and also donations of money. It is easy for me to see how families might conspire to produce the appropriate "evidence." Certainly this cannot be happening in most or all of Stevenson's cases, but since we don't' know which ones are authentic it is hard to know how to evaluate them. My conclusion is that reincarnation is possible but unlikely. 
Without a doubt, cultural conditions play a part in at least some of the past-life experiences and evidences mentioned above.
Hypnosis And Past-Life Regression
One of the factors that plays a huge part in the study of reincarnation and past-life remembrances deals with the conundrum of how many of these "memories" are recovered. Quite often, they are brought forth as the result of hypnosis. I am well aware that in our country, hypnosis is thought to be a marvelous tool for the facilitating of healing the mind and body. However, there are-I firmly believe-several dangers inherent in trying to pin a great deal of certainty on past-life memories gained from this procedure.
Basically stated, hypnosis is a technique which is designed to open a person to the power of suggestion, thereby giving the hypnotist a proportion of control over the will and memories of the hypnotized. By allowing himself to be put into this trance-like state, an individual opens himself up to the power of suggestion. Regarding the suggestibility of patients to their therapists during hypnosis, two eminent psychiatrists make the following excellent observations:
Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness that may be induced by the subject, by a guide or facilitator, or by another physical phenomenon. In this altered state the subject may experience changes in attention and memory, become more open to suggestion, and accept new ways of thinking and interpreting data that might otherwise remain unexplored...Orne, perhaps more than any other person in the medical field, influenced the U.S. courts' rejection of legal evidence obtained through hypnosis because of the uncertainty of suggestibility. The issue of suggestibility raises an important caution in the use of hypnosis, particularly in memory recall or interpretation. How a facilitator talks to the subject can influence how the person remembers a particular experience. For example, suppose the facilitator suggests that certain symptoms, such as depression or an eating disorder, indicate past sexual abuse. The individual could then begin to imagine or reinterpret experiences to fit that suggestion. Since the mind becomes increasingly receptive to new ideas under hypnosis, it is imperative that a subject select a facilitator who is well-trained and certified in hypnotic technique. 
We must also consider that many of the cases of past-life recall do not contain verifiable historical references. Why don't we see more people who can give us concrete details that can be checked up and examined? Why are the references and "past-life" memories often vague and easily refutable? This is just one of the many problems of these past-life regressions; yet is a very important factor that illustrates the credibility issue of such techniques.
For example, consider the observations of Tom Shroder, who set out to investigate these matters in great detail. In his amazing book Old Souls, he chronicles his travels with Ian Stevenson. In the beginning of the book, he discusses an interview he had with Brian Weiss (also mentioned previously). Weiss came to believe in reincarnation after treating a patient (primarily) through hypnotic therapy. Shroder, discussing an interview with Weiss, makes this excellent observation:
I was impressed with Weiss's sincerity, but not by his evidence. Had he located the museum guide and the guide confirmed Catherine's account, admitting that he had later researched the artifacts in question and found himself wrong and Catherine correct, I might have been impressed. But none of that had happened. And in none of Catherine's past-life memories did she come up with the kind of details that any fan of historical fiction couldn't have manufactured. Catherine did not speak in archaic languages or scribble madly in Sanskrit or even mention the name of a single person who could be proven to have existed...In the session when Catherine remembered the life of Aronda the Egyptian, she used the term "1863 B.C."-before Christ-a term that no ancient Egyptian would know, and a translation of the ancient dating system that would require painstaking calculation by an Egyptologist. Furthermore, despite this eerie omniscience displayed as an eighteen-year-old-Egyptian, in another lifetime Catherine could not come up with the date because she "can't see a newspaper." I also noticed that according to Weiss's account, Catherine said she was living as a Ukrainian boy at precisely the same date that she later claimed to be a Spanish prostitute. 
Especially important to consider in this regard is the fact that there have been many examples of past-life remembrances which have been shown to be false. Norman Geisler documents this with the following:
Past life "memories" do not prove reincarnation. There are other ways to explain the so-called "memories" or past lives. First, they may be false memories. Many other so-called "memories" have been shown to be false. Some people have "remembered" things that were empirically proven not to have happened. Many people have recovered from the false memory syndrome. Second, these so-called "memories" of previous lives are more abundant among those who have been reared in cultures or contexts where they were exposed to the teaching of reincarnation. This suggests that they received these ideas when they were young and later revived them from their memory bank. Third, there are notable cases, such as Bridie Murphy, where the alleged "memories" of past lives turned out to be nothing more than stories her grandmother read to her when she was a little girl. Other false memories have been implanted by hypnosis (the power of suggestion) or guided imagery therapy during counseling or teaching sessions. The false memory syndrome is recognized by psychologists today. 
Dr. Stevenson obviously recognizes the dubious tool of hypnosis in recalling past lives. In one of his books, he discusses the influence of hypnosis, as well as one case personal case study, and writes:
In the first place, the personalities evoked in the "previous life" fantasies were ad hoc constructions produced under the direction of the hypnotist, not personalities spontaneously exhibited by the subjects. However, I do not wish to emphasize this point since we shall have to consider later whether the personations by the children of these cases of other personalities might have been imposed on them by their parents in a way similar to that of a hypnotist, even if more subtly...I do not mean by the foregoing criticisms to deny the possible value of hypnosis for scanning the earlier life of the subject with regard to possible normal sources of information which he might have used in the manufacture of a "previous personality." But we should interpret negative results cautiously, for our screening may miss possible normal sources of information. Some years ago I studied a "previous personality" hypnotically induced and subsequently reviewed carefully the entire life of the subject (under hypnosis without regression) for traces of the content and theme of the "previous personality." In this case, the "previous personality" lacked plausibility in many features and I believe that most of its ingredients derived from fantasy. But I could not, except in a few places, discover actual origins of the material used in the fantasy. 
When we consider the amazing influence that hypnotists can have over their patients, isn't it remotely possible that they could (even unintentionally) implant some suggestion to the ones whom they are treating? Suggestions which might alter their "memories?" While hypnotic suggestion may not account fully for past-life memories in all cases, it certainly seems to be a strong possibility in many.
The Evident Bias Against Christianity In Many Of These Accounts
What I find extremely disturbing is the strong-anti Christian bias evidently displayed throughout nearly every apologetic book on reincarnation that I have studied. For example, consider the following claim from Weiss's book:
During the week I had reviewed my textbook from a comparative religions course taken during my freshman year at Columbia. There were indeed references to reincarnation in the Old and New Testaments. In A.D. 325, the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, along with his mother, Helena, had deleted references to reincarnation contained in the New Testament. The Second Council of Constantinople, meeting in A.D. 553, confirmed this action and declared the concept of reincarnation a heresy. Apparently, they thought this concept would weaken the growing power of the Church by giving humans too much time to seek their salvation. Yet the original references had been there; the early Church fathers had accepted the concept of reincarnation. The early Gnostics-Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Saint Jerome, and many others-believed that they had lived before and would again. 
What Weiss states above-that the Bible contained references to reincarnation that were subsequently deleted by the Roman Emperor-is absolutely false. Equally false are his claims that the "church fathers" believed in reincarnation. Evidence of these things will be provided in a later chapter; but notice for now the way that the claims of the Bible are shut out, almost from the beginning of Weiss's book!
A strong anti-Christian sentiment is also found in the aforementioned book, Soul Survivor. Discussing why this particular book is such a profound evidence of reincarnation, Carol Bowman (in the Foreword to the Leininger's book) writes:
But the great majority of his cases are from cultures in which reincarnation is a dominant belief: India, Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Lebanon, and West Africa. This makes it easier for skeptics to dismiss his findings, no matter how rigorous his proof, because these cultures already believe in reincarnation. I knew it would take a highly detailed and verifiable case from a Judeo-Christian family to open Western minds to this reality. But neither Dr. Stevenson, his international colleagues, or I had ever found any American or European cases as richly detailed as the Asian cases. This was puzzling, and more than a little frustrating...In our first conversation, Bruce's opening line to me was, "You have to understand, I'm a Christian." I felt I had hit a wall. I thought I'd have to find another case for TV. But then he surprised me when he added, "But I can't explain what's happening with my son." We talked more and I sensed an opening. 
Do you see the anti-Christian bias, right from the very start? This family represented what (to Carol's mind and thinking) was a case of Christians experiencing spontaneous recall. This was important to her, so it could be said that even Christians experience these things, despite what the Bible says! Of course, I am not sure what definition of "Christian" is used in this particular book-indeed, judging from the language and lifestyle choices clearly indicated in this work, I would surmise that this family uses the word "Christian" in a very general sense. The point is, you can see the anti-Bible stance taken throughout the book. You know, when you wear a pair of sunglasses, it will "tint" everything that you see. In the same way, when these books open with an obvious slant against anything Christian, should we not be cautiously skeptical when evaluating their findings?
Some Possible Supernatural Explanations For These Accounts
However, even with all of these factors in mind, and even if we are able to provide a naturalistic explanation for many of the preceding cases, it still must be acknowledged that there are some things which cannot be accounted for by a purely naturalistic explanation. For example, how do these children have many of the vivid memories they do, especially when there are obviously no possible natural explanations? I believe it is here that we must remember that there may be supernatural factors at work. Three experts on occultism explain:
It is true that some of these cases seem irrefutable; however, the solution to this problem lies with an intelligent, supernatural being that has lived through every age of man. He has lived through all human generations, and he knows minute details of human lives. It would not be difficult for him to inform someone in this generation about something that happened four generations in the past, and then encourage that individual to research the information for accuracy. Eventually, the person would arrive at the mistaken conclusion that he actually lived in that generation, when the truth is that Satan himself lived in that generation. He wants people to believe in past lives so they accept reincarnation rather than the Word of God. 
Perhaps people have been too quick and eager to forget the fact that there is a very real spiritual component to these experiences. As Weiss (and many others) point out, there are spiritual beings "out there" who claim their desire is to help enlighten us. They do this by bringing messages to people (through those who are being regressed in their past-lives); messages which have a definite anti-Christian message. David Hunt documents this:
One of the most powerful evidences we have of the reality of these spirit entities and of their continued contact with mankind is found in the consistency of the messages which they provide those who be in touch with them. The same message comes independently through persons widely scattered around the world and who have never been in contact with one another. That fact has been noted by all of the investigators...Quoted at the beginning of this chapter, Australia's New Age News notes the "remarkable agreement, even unanimity, among the various channeled entities." That fact is emphasized repeatedly by Jon Klimo in his definitive book on this subject. The major theme, as Klimo points out, is our alleged oneness with God, our ignorance of this oneness, the necessity to realize this oneness through "enlightenment," and our return to earth through reincarnation many times in this long evolutionary process of attaining our true or higher self...This "God" (who claims to be the author of A Course In Miracles) also tells Walsch that Satan and demons are nonexistent: "You have created in your mythology the being you call 'devil.' You have even imagined a God at war with this being...Of course, a real devil does not exist..." Of course "God" says we are all evolving through many lifetimes even higher to oneness with God and may have as many chances to do it over again and again as he wants or needs...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. 
The "Master Spirits" that Weiss documents contain many messages that are of a definite anti-Christian sentiment. For example, Catherine (under hypnotic regression) channeled the "Masters" who gave these sentiments:
"They tell me there are many gods, for God is in each of us." 
"That we must share our knowledge with other people. That we all have abilities far beyond what we use. Some of us find this out sooner than others. That you should check your vices before you come to this point. If you do not, you carry them over with you to another life. Only we can rid ourselves...of the bad habits that we accumulate when we are in a physical state. The Masters cannot do that for us. If you choose to fight and not to rid yourself, then you will carry them over into another life. And only when you decide that you are strong enough to master the external problems, then you will no longer have them in your next life...Some of us possess powers greater than others, because they have been accrued from other times. Thus people are not all created equal. 
We have debts that must be paid. If we have not paid out these debts, then we must take them into another life...in order that they may be worked through. You progress by paying your debts. Some souls progress faster than others. When you're in physical form and you are working through, you're working through a life...If something interrupts your ability...to pay that debt, you must return to the plane of recollection, and there you must wait until the soul you owe the debt to has come to see you...You determine what must be done to pay that debt. 
Dear reader, the vast majority of these statements from the "Master Spirits" are anti-Christian in various ways. For example, the Bible is clear that there is only one God, not many (Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Isaiah 40:27-31; Daniel 3:28). All men are created equal (Acts 17:26-31), even if they are not raised in areas where their equality is not recognized. The idea that we have to pay our karmic debt is entirely opposed to the entire foundation of the Christian faith, i.e., the belief that man can never pay for his sins, but is dependent upon Jesus Christ for that blessing (Ephesians 2:8-10; II Corinthians 5:14-21). Satan and his demons are presented as real and dangerous in the Scriptures (II Corinthians 11:13-15; Ephesians 6:10-18; I Peter 5:8).
Many more examples could be provided, but these are sufficient to show us that the messages of these beings (and the ones who are promoting the reincarnation agenda) definitely have an anti-Christian prejudice. In those cases of past-life regression which cannot be explained by naturalistic factors, the obvious existence of demonic spirits-coupled with their obvious anti-Christian agenda-easily explains the remainder of these cases.
Spontaneous Recall Of Past Lives
In my studies of reincarnation, I have been particularly impressed with the meticulous and scholarly research of the aforementioned Ian Stevenson. In his study on the topic of reincarnation, he deals primarily with the spontaneous recollections of children who have memories of past-life events. In the Preface to the second reprinting of his book, Twenty Cases Suggestive Of Reincarnation, he makes this important note for the readers to consider:
I would only here reiterate that I consider these cases suggestive of reincarnation and nothing more. All the cases have deficiencies as have all their reports. Neither any case individually nor all of them collectively offers anything like a proof of reincarnation. My most important single conclusion about them is of the need for further study of similar cases. If anyone takes up this task I shall consider my efforts amply rewarded. 
Throughout this book, Stevenson chronicles extensive research into the spontaneous past-life recall of some twenty individuals. At the conclusion of his book, he has a general discussion of alternative explanations that may help provide explanations for the spontaneous recollections of these children. Notice with me some important facts about each of these alternative hypotheses.
First, the doctor deals with the possibility of fraud. As far as he was able to determine, none of the families he interviewed had received any monetary reimbursement as a result of their interviews. Indeed, many of the families interviewed received negative feedback as a result of the reincarnation studies. Some of the children may have received other benefits besides monetary gain, however. He points out:
Nor can we identify other motives besides money as more reasonable explanations for getting up a fraud. A few children in Asia have received local attention from villagers who credulously believe that a child who remembers a previous life must also possess powers of healing and future-telling. Such adulation, however, occurs sporadically and transiently and it does not occur at all in Alaska or Brazil. It does not seem likely that it alone would justify the trouble of composing a fraudulent case. 
It may be true that fraud may be a motivator in some of the clients of Dr. Stevenson. Indeed, this result of receiving fame in some countries due to past-life recall may be a larger motivator for many of these cases than we may initially realize. However, fraud certain does not account for all of the cases.
Second, Stevenson mentions the possibility of cryptomnesia as an alternative explanations of spontaneous recall of past-life memories. Basically, cryptomnesia is where a person reads or somehow learns something, then forgets it, only to have it resurface later (without having the knowledge of where he had originally gained this knowledge). Stevenson explains:
According to this theory, the child would somehow have known a person or other source having the information he later "remembered" about the alleged previous family. The child would somehow come in contact with this person or information and would later forget both the source of his information and the fact that he had ever obtained it, although he would remember the information and later present it dramatically as derived from a previous life. His parents would have known nothing about the person or object furnishing the information at the time or they would later have forgotten their earlier knowledge, thus genuinely expressing surprise at the statements of the child. 
Discussing the importance of this possible alternative for these examples of past-life recall, Stevenson points out that in several of the countries where he had conducted his interviews, public records did mention the deceased persons whom the interviewed children were spontaneously recalling in their memories. Stevenson remarks:
In some of the cases, e.g., Wijerante, Marta, William George, Jr., Norman Despers, and Corliss Chotkin, Jr., members of the child's family already know most or all of the facts stated by the child. Cryptomnesia may suffice in these cases as an explanation for all, or nearly all, of the informational aspects of the cases, although it will not, I think, suffice to explain other features of some of these cases, e.g., the behavioral features or the birthmarks. 
This is a very important factor, and may help explain many of the cases of "past-life" memories. Dr. Stevenson points out that cryptomnesia may account for all, or nearly all, of the informational aspects of the cases previously mentioned. Some may find it hard to believe that a person's brain could remember such meticulous details. However, it is a documented fact that the human brain stores virtually every piece of knowledge a person accumulates, even if that knowledge is not readily accessible in the conscious state:
The pioneering work of Wilder Penfield in Canada, presented at the 1956 Vanuxem Lectures at Princeton University and published as Speech and Brain Mechanisms in 1959, sparked the idea that all events in a person's life are encoded in memory somewhat in the way a tape recording keeps sounds indefinitely. By stimulating points in the cortex of a patient whose skull had been cut open, Penfield and his associates elicited both auditory and visual "recollections" that allegedly the patient did not consciously admit remembering...
Wayne Jackson provides further insight into the amazing storage capacity of the human brain:
The brain's memory storage capacity is incredible. It has been compared to a vast library. Carl Sagan has written: "The information content of the human brain expressed in bits is probably comparable to the total number of connections among the neurons-about a hundred trillion, 1014 bits. It written out in English, say, that information would fill some twenty million volumes, as many as in the world's largest libraries. The equivalent of twenty million books is inside the heads of every one of us. The brain is a very big place in a very small space" (1979, p. 275)." It has been suggested that it would take a bookshelf 500 miles long-from San Francisco, California to Portland, Oregon-to house the information stored in man's brain...Experiments have revealed the brain's phenomenal memory capacity. Under hypnosis, a brick layer described a certain odd-shaped brick he had laid in a building at Yale University, even though he had laid thousands of bricks in that structure, and the work had been done ten years earlier (Pfeifer, 1961, p. 84). 
When we consider the amazing complexity of the human brain, it certainly demonstrates to us that many of these cases of spontaneous recall may be readily explained by cryptomnesia. Stevenson agrees, pointing out:
I do not think we can ever exclude absolutely some earlier normal communications of information to these children. I agree with Chari that unless we can do so there always remains some possibility that cryptomnesia accounts for the cases...
More to the point, I believe that cryptomnesia could also account for some aspects of the amazing story of the Leiningers (mentioned above). Throughout the book, you find constant examples of how their child was encouraged in his imaginative scenarios regarding the Navy and airplanes. Further, the child's father (in his exhaustive research of the material) brought into the home countless documents which made specific mention of names, dates, places, etc., that were reminiscent of James's "memories." While I am not suggesting that every detail of the Leininger's story may be explained completely by these facts, it should at least be considered a possible explanation for at least some of the spontaneous recall of their child. Even Stevenson, in discussing the specific cases of reincarnation studies he has done in the United States, pointed out:
I have myself investigated with personal interviews thirty-five cases of American children who claimed to remember a previous life. Informational features of the cases were scanty and in most of the cases no verification of the children's statements could be made, although the cases had interesting behavioral features. 
While Dr. Stevenson attributes this lack of verifiable evidence in America to cultural considerations, I frankly find it fascinating that (as noted previously) the vast majority of spontaneous recall occurs primarily in countries where reincarnation philosophies and beliefs are widely accepted and adhered to. In truth, cryptomnesia may certainly account for some (if not many) examples of spontaneous recall.
The doctor also discusses other possible alternative explanations for the spontaneous recall of the children he has interviewed, including such things as extra-sensory-perception, genetic memory, etc. He argues at one point that some cases of spontaneous recall may be explained by a combination of these factors:
The difficulties of the extrasensory perception plus personation theory seem extremely great to me for some of the cases. I admit the plausibility of the hypothesis for weak cases with little detail and the expectation of the rebirth of a deceased member of the child's family. A combination of cryptomnesia (the parents dropping more information in the direction of the child than they realize or remember), extrasensory perception, and unconscious influence by the parents toward personation of the known and loved previous personality may account for these weak cases. And perhaps it could account for the richer and more extended cases also. 
However, there is one other possible alternative our author alludes to that would account for virtually all of his case studies:
But in considering the cases we must not take them at face value or allow the subjective report of experiences to become the sole criterion for distinguishing them. It may turn out that cases of the reincarnation type are in fact instances of the Thompson-Gifford type in which (a) the deceased personality died after the birth of the "possessed" personality, and (b) the possessing influence goes farther than it did in the Thompson0-Gifford case so that there occurs a complete and sustained sense of continuity with the previous personality. This hypothesis will explain nearly all the facts and it jumps over all the difficulties which the theory of extrasensory perception plus personation encounters in trying to account for the features of personation in the cases suggestive of rebirth. 
Stevenson, in discussing the possibility of what he calls "possession," claims that nearly all of his case studies could be accounted for by this explanation. He offers many objections to this scenario, however; and yet when we take into account the clear evidence of biblical testimony regarding the existence of Satan, fallen angels, and demons (II Corinthians 11:13-15; I Peter 5:8; Genesis 3:1-6; I Timothy 4:1-5), all of his objections on this point are refutable. Much more will be said about these important matters in a future chapter (including an important distinction which needs to be made between demonic possession and demonic subjection).
Conclusions Regarding Evidence From Past-Life Regression And Spontaneous Recall
While on the surface the evidence from recovered memories and spontaneous recall among children may appear overwhelming, there are equally strong and compelling naturalistic and cultural explanations which can account for many (if not most) of the aforementioned cases. Further, we must remember that the cases which may only be explained with a supernatural cause does not necessarily prove the theory of reincarnation-especially when we take into account the evidence of Scripture regarding Satan and his host who continually try to manipulate our minds (John 13:1-2; Acts 5:2-4).
The "Proof" Offered From The Theory Of Evolution
One of the reasons people believe in the doctrine of reincarnation is because it goes hand in hand with the theory of evolution. This theory (often purported as "fact" in the public school arena) teaches that all life is gradually evolving into greater and more complex beings. Hence, many reincarnationists believe and claim that this goes hand in hand with their doctrine of continual rebirth, where a person is gradually and in some way, evolving into a higher being.
It is beyond my purpose here to offer a full rebuttal of the theory of macroevolution. However, I will propose the following serious problems with the theory which are "ungetoverable." These problems (and they could be multiplied greatly) demonstrate that the theory of evolution is completely false.
Problem One: The Biblical Account
The Bible is absolutely clear that the theory of evolution is false. Indeed, there are several contradictions between the Scriptural account and the theory of evolution. For example, the Bible is clear that the universe was formed in six literal days (Exodus 20:11; Genesis 1-2). It did not take billions of years to form. The Bible is clear that man was made directly from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7), and was not the descendant of some kind of ape-like creature. Again, the Bible is clear that mankind has existed on the Earth from the very beginning (Mark 10:6-7; Romans 1:18-20). Scott Huse has documented several discrepancies between the theory of macroevolution and the Bible:
1. Bible: God is the Creator of all things (Gen. 1). Evolution: Natural chance processes can account for the existence of all things. 2. Bible: World created in six literal days (Gen. 1). Evolution: World evolved over the eons. 3. Bible: Creation is completed (Gen. 2:3). Evolution: Creative processes continuing. 4. Bible: Oceans before land (Gen. 1:2). Evolution: Land before oceans. 5. Bible: Atmosphere between two hydrospheres (Gen. 1:7). Evolution: Contiguous atmosphere and hydrosphere. 6. Bible: First life on land (Gen. 1:11). Evolution: Life began in the oceans. 7. Bible: First life was land plants (Gen. 1:11). Evolution: Marine organisms evolved first. 8. Bible: Earth before sun and stars (Gen. 1:14-19). Evolution: Sun and stars before earth. 9. Bible: Fruit trees before fish (Gen. 1:11, 20, 21). Evolution: fishes before fruit trees. 10. Bible: All stars made on the fourth day (Gen. 1:16). Evolution: Stars evolved at various times. 11. Bible: Birds and fishes created on the fifth day (Gen. 1:20, 21). Evolution: Fishes evolved hundreds of millions of years before birds appeared. 12. Bible: Birds before insects (Gen. 1:20-31; Lev. 11). Evolution: Insects before birds. 13. Bible: Whales before reptiles (Gen. 1:20-31). Evolution: Reptiles before whales. 14. Bible: Birds before reptiles (Gen. 1:20-31). Evolution: Reptiles before birds. 15. Bible: Man before rain (Gen. 2:5). Evolution: Rain before man. 16. Bible: Man before woman (Gen. 2:21-22). Evolution: Woman before man (by genetics). 17. Bible: Light before the sun (Gen. 1:13-19). Evolution: Sun before any light. 18. Bible: Plants before the sun (Gen. 1:11-19). Evolution: Sun before any plants. 19. Bible: Abundance and variety of marine life all at once (Gen. 1:20-21). Evolution: Marine life gradually developed from a primitive organic blob. 20. Bible: Man's body from the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7). Evolution: Man evolved from monkeys. 21. Bible: Man exercised dominion over all organisms (Gen. 1:28). Evolution: Many organisms extinct before man evolved. 22. Man originally a vegetarian (Gen. 1:29). Evolution: Man originally a meat-eater. 23. Bible: Fixed and distinct kinds (Gen. 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25; I Cor. 15:38-39). Evolution: Life forms in a continual state of flux. 24. Bible: Man's sin the cause of death (Rom. 5:12). Evolution: Struggle and death existent long before the evolution of man. 
Yet are we justified for looking at the Bible's accounts first, and especially over the theories of modern-day scientists regarding the theory of evolution? Absolutely! Please carefully consider the following argument:
1. If it is the case that the Bible is the Word of God, and if it is the case that the Bible teaches X is false (here, X=the theory of macroevolution), then X is false.
2. It is the case that the Bible is the Word of God, and it is the case that the Bible teaches that X (the theory of evolution) is false.
3. Therefore, X (the theory of evolution) is false.
For evidence that the Bible is the Word of God, carefully consider the content of the next chapter. There are many evidences which document that the Bible is the Word of God, and it is very clear that the Bible and the theory of evolution cannot be harmonized.
Problem Two: Spontaneous Generation
Spontaneous generation is the belief that non-living material somehow gave rise to life itself. In order for evolution to have taken place, this would have had to occur. Without spontaneous generation, evolution could not even get started. The problem, of course, is that science has documented that life cannot arise from non-living substances! This was documented centuries ago. As Bert Thompson writes:
In the field of biology, one of the most commonly accepted and widely used laws of science is the Law of Biogenesis. This law was set forth many years ago to dictate what both theory and experimental evidence showed to be trued among living organisms-that life comes only from preceding life of its own type or kind....Experiments that ultimately formed the basis of this law were carried out first by such men as Francesco Redi (1688) and Lazarro Spallanzani (1799) in Italy, Louis Pasteur (1860) in France, and Rudolph Virchow *1858) in Germany. It was Virchow who documented that cells do not arise from amorphous matter, but instead come only from preexisting cells. The Encyclopedia Britannica stated concerning Virchow that "His aphorism 'omnis cellula e cellula' (every cell arises from a preexisting cell) ranks with Pasteur's 'omne vivum e vivo' (every living thing arises from a preexisting living thing) among the most revolutionary generalizations of biology" (see Ackerknect, 1973, p. 35). Through the years, countless thousands of scientists in various disciples have established the Law of Biogenesis as just that-a scientific law stating that life comes only from preexisting life. Interestingly, the Law of Biogenesis was established firmly in science long before the contrivance of modern evolutionary theories. Also of considerable interest is the fact that students consistently are taught in high school and college biology classes the tremendous impact of, for example, Pasteur's work on the false concept of spontaneous generation (the idea that life arises on its own from nonliving antecedents). Students are given, in great detail, the historical scenario of how Pasteur triumphed over "mythology," providing science with its' "finest hour" as he discredited the popular concept of spontaneous generation. Then, with almost the next breath, students are informed by the professor that evolution started via spontaneous generation. 
In order for the theory of evolution to be proven true, the well-established Law of Biogenesis must be conveniently set aside. However, we know for a fact that life does not arise from non-life! One Nobel Prize winner made this startling admission:
When it comes to the origin of life on this earth, there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation (evolution). There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved 100 years ago, but that lead us only to one other conclusion: that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds (personal reasons), therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance. 
Usually when discussing these matters with people, I am told that the experiments of Stanley Miller in 1953 have proven that life can arise from non-living materials. Taking several non-organic compounds and enclosing them in a chamber filled with several gasses which he believed characterized the "early earth," Miller fired electrical charges into the compounds, and organic compounds were formed. Evolutionists quickly claimed that life had been created from non-organic compounds, and therefore, this must be how life "got started" on the Earth for evolutionary processes to take place! Of course, there are several problems with this.
First of all, Miller's experiments did not actually create life. As Vance Ferrell points out:
Newspapers around the world heralded the news: "Life has been created!" But no life had been created, just a few biochemical compounds. Remember that neither nitrogen compounds nor amino acids are, of themselves, living things. Just because they are in living things, does not make them living things. 
Miller and his experiments did not create life. Another well-known author has documented this when he wrote:
All of the biology textbooks in my office contain a discussion of the famous Miller-Urey experiment conducted in 1953. Stanley Miller and Harold Urey put what they believed were the early atmospheric conditions together in an apparatus. They used an electrical spark to stimulate lightning. And then they heated up the mixture to see if they could spontaneously generate living material from these non-living gasses. Did they create life? No. Did they create proteins? No. What they created was 85% tar-something most textbook writers fail to include...(Also, make sure children understand that humans have never successfully created living material from non-living material. Life always comes only from other life!) 
What is more, there are other problems with his experiments. First, science has discovered that the gasses used in his experiments did not actually represent the environment of the "early Earth" that evolutionists postulate. Second, the spark of electricity used in the experiments would not have approximated the effect of what would have happened in the supposed primordial environment of the Earth. The electrical discharge would almost certainly have destroyed any amino acids that could have been formed! Third, even if the molecules could have formed in such a scenario, it is impossible they (or anything that was produced as a result of their formation) would have survived. Fourth, there is a simple way for evolutionists to prove spontaneous generation. In a recently deceased human body, all of these amino acids that are necessary for life to exist are still formed. All they need to do is reanimate a corpse, i.e., raise the dead. They will never be able to do this, my friends, because life is not just a chemical reaction! When evolutionists raise the dead, they will have proven that spontaneous generation could have occurred. Finally, remember this: there were so scientists and laboratory experiments in the so-called "early Earth" to direct the formation of these amino acids. Even if man-with all of his intelligence and aspirations-were able to create life itself, it would show that these things-intelligence and aspirations-would be necessary in such an endeavor! If humans-with all of our learning, scientific prowess, and technology-cannot create life-why are some so deluded that they believe it could have happened by chance?! Sir Fred Hoyle hones in on this inconsistency:
No matter how large the environment one considers, life cannot have had a random beginning. Troops of monkeys thundering away at random on typewriters could not produce the works of Shakespeare, for the practical reason that the whole observable universe is not large enough to contain the necessary monkey hordes, the necessary typewriters, and certainly not the waste paper baskets required for the deposition of wrong attempts. The same is true for living material. The likelihood of the spontaneous formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40, 000 noughts after it...It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence. 
Problem Three: The Complexity Of Life
More the point, when we consider the amazing complexity of life itself, we see that there is no way it could have evolved by chance. When we consider the complexity of the macrouniverse, and the obvious and ingenious design of the microuniverse, it becomes quite clear that there is no way life could have evolved by chance.
For example, consider the recognized anthropic principle (which states that the universe appears to have been designed just so that life can exist on Earth). Former atheist Ralph Muncaster tells us in one work:
There are more than 152 specific parameters that are crucial for life to exist on earth! Most of these are so finely balanced that even a deviation of a percentage point or so would be catastrophic. A few that are not readily apparent are reviewed below...While these are only a few of the 152 parameters, if all were tallied the probability of finding another planet like earth in the entire universe has been calculated to be one chance in 10193. Considering estimates of 1022 planets, this equates to less than one chance in a thousand, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion. No wonder most astrophysicists have maintained a strong belief in God! 
Are we going to be so deluded as to believe that all of these factors are in place for life to exist on Earth-by chance? However, we also consider the evidence from the microuniverse, i.e., the evidence from the world of the cell. The cell is an amazingly complex storehouse of activity. It is incredibly designed. Michael Behe, writing about the function of the cell, had this to say in the Preface to his amazing volume:
It was once expected that the basis of life would be exceedingly simple. That expectation has been smashed. Vision, motion, and other biological functions have been proven to be no less sophisticated than television cameras and automobiles. Science has made enormous progress in understanding how the chemistry of life works, but the elegance and complexity of biological systems at the molecular level have paralyzed science's attempt to explain their origins. There has been virtually no attempt to account for the origin of specific, complex biomolecular systems, much less any progress. Many scientists have gamely asserted that explanations are already in hand, or will be sooner or later, but no support for such assertions can be found in the professional science literature. More importantly, there are compelling reasons-based on the structure of the systems themselves-to think that Darwinian explanation for the mechanisms of life will forever prove elusive. 
In his volume, Behe discusses the amazing functions of the cell, and develops a concept he has named "irreducible complexity." In essence, he points out that if one of the various functions of the cell were not to work in the proper way and in the proper sequence at the precise moment, the cell would never work. In other words, all the functions of the cell would have to be fully functional and working "in sync" with all the other systems of the cell, or the cell could never have worked. As such, evolution cannot account for the existence and complexity of the cell; for evolution posits that things evolve in a gradual way over time. Yet if there was ever a moment in the cell when all of the different components were not fully formed and functioning, then the cell would be a failure! As such, Behe's description of irreducible complexity clearly demonstrates the impossibility of the evolutionary model.
Challenges have been raised to Behe's research, yet none has overcome the fact of irreducible complexity. Indeed, we see examples of irreducible complexity all around us, not only in the world of the cell; and this presents a fatal problem for the theory of evolution! Other scientists have documented the amazing complexity of the cell:
Cells are the fundamental building block of life. We have approximately 100 trillion of them. Until the advent of molecular biology, many scientists thought the cell would be a simplistic structure. Instead, we find the complete opposite! Apart from the brain, the cell is the most complex structure in the universe. For instance, a British team discovered a cellular F1FO-ATPase enzyme with an in-built rotary engine no bigger than ten billionths by ten billionths of a metre. One scientist recently described a single cell organism as a high-tech factory made up of 10 million atoms and complete with: artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principles of prefabrication and modular construction...and a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of hours. 
Many more problems of the theory of evolution could be cited (the problem of the fossil record, evolutionary hoaxes, the laws of thermodynamics, etc.). However, these are sufficient to demonstrate some of the serious "ungetoverable" problems of the theory of macroevolution.
Arguments From Xenoglossy
There are several examples of people being able to speak fluently in foreign languages as they are hypnotically regressed into "past lives." For example:
The world of the occult opens the door to the power of demons and the intervention of satanic forces. Hypnosis, in the hands of someone immersed in the occult, becomes a conduit of evil. For example, regression therapy became popular in the last half of the twentieth century; encouraging people to search subconsciously for evidence of their past lives. Glenn Ford, a Hollywood star at the time, became involved in hypnotherapy and told his story about regression to a national publication. It made him a firm believer in reincarnation and a devotee of the occultic world. Glenn was a hardcore navy man who did not buy a lot of nonsense; he attended a Presbyterian church for years and even taught Sunday school. What could possibly have happened to convince a man of Ford's intelligence of the reality of reincarnation? A friend led him into the strange world of the occult through the normal, simple channel of curiosity. Ford submitted to hypnosis at the hand of someone involved in the occult, and was "regressed" back to a level where a new story about a previous existence emerged. He discovered he had been killed in a duel in one of his past lives. A sword penetrated his body, and Ford described the pain under hypnosis. But as real as this sword would seemed to be, the whole story was nothing but a clever occult farce. When Glenn Ford awoke, the hypnotist pointed to a birthmark at the exact spot where his wound occurred in a previous incarnation, and Ford believed it after listening to himself speak fluent French on audiotape-a language he had never learned. And it was not modern French. UCLA experts analyzed the tape and determined that Ford was speaking a Parisian dialect common in seventeenth century France. 
The experience of Ford is hardly an isolated one. Reports of xenoglossy (speaking in foreign languages) have been a common defense of the doctrine of reincarnation. What may be said about this?
First of all, it must be remembered that there are many examples of fraud in this connection. I am not suggesting that all the examples of this kind are made by people trying to hustle a buck or two; but there are documented examples of intentional deception in this regard. Second, it is entirely possible that a person may have picked up on some phrase or terminology in a foreign tongue that he read about or saw, and then later forgot. Under hypnosis, it is possible that a person could "remember" this phrase, which would seem to be a "proof" of reincarnation. This would be an example of cryptomnesia (mentioned previously). Third, we must not discount the possibility of demonic influence. The Bible is very clear that there are spiritual forces of evil at work to try and destroy faith in God (I Timothy 4:1; James 4:7). These forces are definitely able to influence thought (John 13:1-2). These are at least a possible and even likely explanation of this phenomenon. Martin goes on to explain in his book:
Satan is behind the world of reincarnation, and he supplies all the data. He details all the regressions, so it is not surprising when the details check out. He was there, after all-he lived through all these ages, and more than likely has case histories on us. It is perfectly possible for him to communicate any information he chooses to the vulnerable through occult hypnosis. It is a minor issue for the prince of darkness to validate details historically when it suits his purposes. These hypnosis sessions do not prove that you lived before; they prove that someone else lived before, and that individual is using this knowledge to deceive. The Scriptures say that it is given unto man once to die, and after that the judgment-not reincarnation (Heb. 9:27). 
Garlow and Wall discuss these matters:
Sometimes the deceased person (supposedly reincarnated) died after the birth of the individual who was later influenced. This sequence dispels any notion of "I died" and then "I was reborn." The timing is simply off. As Stevenson says, "No matter how you look at it, reincarnation gets the short end of the proverbial stick." Xenoglossy, or speaking a previously unlearned language, can be accounted for by possession, so it doesn't constitute solid evidence for reincarnation. Neither does sharing birthmarks or a physical defect with a dead person. Stevenson cites mystics who sometimes develop stigmata, or wounds corresponding to those suffered by Jesus on the cross. Having those wounds does not make them reincarnations of Jesus. Similarity does not prove sameness. 
The arguments from xenoglossy do not justify adherence to reincarnation.
Arguments From The Supposed Purposes Of Reincarnation
In my studies of this doctrine, it seems that are at least two primary purposes stated for reincarnation. Authors have suggested others; however, I believe these two are at the heart of all reincarnationist claims. Let's carefully examine all three of them.
Becoming More Like God
It is believed by many individuals that we become more evolved through the various stages of reincarnation. Hence, we are becoming more and more like God Himself through our multiple rebirths, and will eventually become ) "like" God, or maybe even become "one" with Him someday. Various factions of reincarnationist teaching espouse this doctrine, both ancient and modern. For example, Plato declared that man is:
...a soul in a body, and his soul needs to grow toward the highest good, that it may no longer have to suffer continued rebirth, but go into that state in which it may, like God, behold and enjoy forever the hierarchy of the ideal forms, in all their truth, beauty, and goodness.
This sounds shockingly familiar, doesn't it? It really sounds like the enticing lies that Eve was told in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-6). Yet this is what is often promoted as the basic reason for reincarnation. Through various reincarnations, we will become like God, it is often claimed; yet this is much more in harmony with the father of lies than the Father of Creation (John 8:44).
Paying Off Karmic Debt And Righting Past Wrongs
It is claimed that there is a need to pay off a karmic debt that we owe from errors in previous lifetimes. Many books have been written (both ancient and modern) which seek to illustrate this idea. ("Karma" has reference to the belief that what happens to us in this life is a result-direct or indirect-of something that occurred in a previous life. Much more will be said about karma later in this chapter.)
A number of years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a series of books which are quite popular in our day and age. While fictional in nature, they address many of these common topics. I have talked to many people who have been able to "connect" with the messages taught in these books. Indeed, many of the tenants of reincarnation that are so adamantly taught are portrayed in this book in graphic and powerful ways. Consider the following.
A young man by the name of Rand Al'Thor is the reincarnation of a great and powerful man named Lewis Therin, who was instrumental in imprisoning the Dark One in a previous lifetime. However, the Dark One is about to break the seals of his prison, and it is up to Rand Al'Thor to stop him. Feeling the strain of life, and wanting it to be over, Rand travels to the mountain where his former incarnation had died, and broods. Ready to destroy the world, we read:
"We live the same lives!" he yelled at them. "Over and over and over. We make the same mistakes. Kingdoms do the same stupid things. Rulers fail their people time and time again. Men continue to hurt and hate and die and kill!"..."What if he is right?" Rand bellowed. "What if it's better for this all to end? What if the Light was a lie all along, and this is all just a punishment? We live again and again, growing feeble, dying, trapped forever. We are to be tortured for all time!"...Lewis Therin had made a mistake. He had died, but had left the world alive, wounded, limping forward. He'd let the Wheel of Time keep turning, rotating, rotting and bringing him back around again. He could not escape it. Not without ending everything. "Why?" Rand whispered to the twisting winds around him. The Power coming to him through the access key was greater than he'd held when cleansing saidin. Perhaps greater than any man had ever held. Great enough to unravel the Pattern itself and bring final peace. "Why do we do this again?" he whispered. "I have already failed. She is dead by my hand. Why must you make me live it again?"...Rand raised his arms high, a conduit of power and energy. An incarnation of death and destruction. He would end it. End it all and let men rest, finally, from their suffering. Stop them from having to live over and over again. Why? Why had the Creator done this to them? Why? Why do we live again? Lewis Therin asked, suddenly. His voice was crisp and distinct. Yes, Rand said, pleading. Tell me. Why? Maybe...Lewis Therin said, shockingly lucid, not a hint of madness to him. He spoke softly, reverently. Could it be...Maybe it's so that we can have a second chance. Rand froze. The winds blew against him, but he could not be moved by them. The Power hesitated inside him, like the headman's axe, held quivering above the criminal's neck. You may not have a choice about which duties are given you, Tam's voice, just a memory, said in his mind. But you can choose why you fulfill them....Why? Rand thought with wonder. Because each time we live, we get to love again. That was the answer. It all swept over him, lives lived, mistakes made, love changing everything...Within that moment, suddenly something amazing occurred to him. If I live again, then she might as well! That's why he fought. That's why he lived again, and that was the answer to Tam's question. I fight because last time, I failed. I fight because I want to fix what I did wrong. I want to do it right this time. 
I hope you will forgive me for including this quotation, but I wanted to share it because I believe it so adequately describes the why of reincarnation (in many people's thinking). Many people would like the opportunity to fix past mistakes, and the belief of reincarnation is that through each new life we have opportunities to somehow make up for our past misdeeds and balance out the cosmic scales by doing things differently. Who wouldn't like the chance to go back and somehow make up for some sin or bad decision in the past? I certainly understand the appeal of reincarnation in that regard! However, there are several problems with this thinking.
First, our good deeds cannot atone for sinful acts. The Bible is very clear about this (Isaiah 64:6). This is why we need Jesus Christ, Who alone can pay for our sins by His righteous blood (I John 2:1-2).
Second, even if it were possible to pay off our past sins in the present life, how can we do that if we do not readily possess the memories of our past transgressions? It is a fact that most people do not possess "memories" of past lives. How are we to be expected to right the wrongs of the past if we cannot remember the wrongs that were committed? Discussing reincarnation in modern day Wicca, Steve Russo expands upon this concept:
Stop and think about the spiral of life and death and rebirth in Wicca. Here's a religion that has no absolutes-no right and wrong-no such thing as sin. When someone dies, their soul goes to a holding place to review the past life and see what lessons need to be learned. Then, at the right time, their soul heads back to earth as a different person, maybe even a different sex, to start the process all over again. Basically, because of reincarnation, they get to keep trying to get things right-reach perfection, pay for sins-over and over again. Then when their soul finally reaches perfection, you merge with the god and goddess-the All-and cease to exist. Absurd! 
Third, even if we could make up for the sins of a past life (assuming we had that capability), we would still not be able to deal with the sins we have "racked up" in this life. Hence, we would be forever trapped in an endless chain of repeating lives, which would stretch back into eternity (i.e., an infinite regress, which was shown to be impossible in the previous chapter). There would be no escape! The good God Who has revealed His goodness and love in nature would not leave mankind in such a predicament. However pleasant the reasons for reincarnation may be on the surface, they break down when they are carefully examined.
Arguments From Universal Justice
It is often claimed that justice demands the concept of reincarnation. It is affirmed that there is a great deal of evil in the world, and that that evil may only be sufficiently explained in terms of the concepts of reincarnation and karma. For example, it seems unfair that some people are born into poverty in this world, while others are born into a life of ease and luxury. The purported solution? In past lives, the rich have been poor, and the poor have been rich. More to the point, the reason they are poor or rich in this life is a direct result of something right or wrong which they have done (or not done) in a previous life.
With these things in mind, let's take a closer look at "karma." Sir Norman Anderson provides this excellent definition of karma when he writes:
Karma is 'action' or 'doing' and is a moral interpretation of the natural law of causation which states that any action is the effect of a cause and is in its turn the cause of an effect. The law of karma is the extension of this physical law to the realm of the spirit and to life, past, present, and future. It is a principle of moral reaction applied to both good and evil actions. As a man sows, so shall he reap. Bad actions reap suffering and bondage to human existence. Good actions lead to freedom from bondage. Just as the law of causation is unalterable in nature, so the law of karma is fixed in the spiritual realm...Inextricably bound up with karma is the assumption of samsara, rebirth or transmigration of the soul. The soul, as eternal and, according to the Upanishads, in some sense identical with Braham, is distinct from the empirical self which transmigrates from body to body, carrying its load of karma with it. The wheel of rebirth is a natural principle of the universe, involving man and animals. According to karmic law, a man may be reborn as a god, as a member of a higher or lower caste or as an animal, according to his every thought, word and act. Each man, therefore, carries with him his past; in fact he is his own past. Similarly the mean and moral tendencies of this life will work themselves out in the next. All creatures are involved in this cyclic time-process of samsara, the state of each creature in any particular life being dependent on the good or evil actions of preceding lives. 
This doctrine of karma, which is inexplicably tied up with the concept of reincarnation, is one of the chief reasons for suffering in the world. These belief systems are one of the major causes of much of the poverty, disease, and terrible treatment of human beings in the world, especially in ancient cultures and (sadly) predominantly in the Eastern world of the modern times!
This is especially clear when we consider the terrible and nearly universally ignored reality of human sacrifice. In our day and age, we do not like to think of something so horrendous as offering up humans in worship to some god; however, it is an event that occurs-even in our "civilized" country. Discussing the relevance of a firm belief in karma and reincarnation have had in regards to pagan (human) sacrifice, two researchers have clarified:
Another pagan doctrine remained to be dealt with. Tribes that scarified only outsiders did not concern themselves much with the state after death of those they dispatched. Those that killed their own members, however, had designed elaborate justifications for the victim's death. The most powerful of these justifications, one that remains today as part of Hindu, and now New Age, doctrine, is the combined dogma of karma and reincarnation. Reincarnation literally means "fleshed again." It is the doctrine that after death we simply are born again as another person or creature. This means you never really die; you just pass on to another life. Karma is the bad or good you store up for yourself in previous lives. Everything that happens to you in this life is considered to be a direct effect from something good or bad you did in a previous life. Everything you do in this life will also lead to good or bad karma in future lives. Therefore, any suffering you receive is your own fault, and not to be pitied. And since suffering patiently leads to good karma in a future life, relieving pain is positively an evil act. Mix these doctrines with human sacrifice, and you end up with victims who sincerely believe they will be benefited by being scarified, and executioners who feel positively noble about murdering the victim. Also, since being sacrificed benefits the victim, there is no theoretical limit on the number of executions. All other forms of sacrifice had to justify some benefit to a third party or society. Only karma/reincarnation makes being sacrificed the benefit. This explains the incredible amount of sacrifice that went on in both Hindu and Aztec civilizations. Both cultures strongly stressed that people who submitted to sacrifice in this life would receive a superior station in the next. 
We also see the terrible ramifications of reincarnation and karma when we consider the terrible events that have transpired in India as a result of such beliefs. In many places in that country, people starve every day while cows and other animals are declared "off-limits" as food. The reason for this? Animals are the reincarnations of people; therefore, it is more "humane" to allow people to starve than to kill the animals for food! As an example of the Hindu reverence for the cow, notice the following from Atharva Veda (x:10):
Worship to thee, springing to life, and worship to thee when born!
Worship, O Cow, to thy tail-hair, and to thy hooves, and to thy form!...
The Cow is Heaven, the Cow is Earth, the Cow is Vishnu, Lord of Life...
He who hath given a Cow unto the Brahmans winneth all the worlds...
Both Gods and mortal men depend for life and being on the Cow...
She hath become this universe; all that the sun surveys is she!
Recognized Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias tells us about the general effects of "karma" on a typical society:
The incredible aspect of this teaching is that the more painful one's existence, the more certain that the previous life is successfully paying its dues. So that when one picks up the body of a little child, deformed from birth, karma is in operation. One might not wish to admit this, but that is the existential reality of this teaching. Some years ago, I was told of a group of missionaries and their families who had been killed in a bus accident near a village in a Buddhist country. Within minutes, the bus was ransacked and the bodies pillaged for loot. The reason-those who died were only receiving their karma, and there is nothing wrong in taking what is left from one who is paying his or her dues. 
These are examples of how what we believe about death will ultimately and meaningfully shape the way we view life. We are able to see the influence of these religions in countless examples above. It is claimed that the doctrines of karma and reincarnation adequately explain the reasons for suffering and death in the world. Yet they do not account for suffering in the slightest! Norman Geisler highlights some of the serious problems of karma and reincarnation in trying to explain the problem of evil, pain and suffering:
Rather than solving the problem of unjust suffering, reincarnation simply says that it is just. No one is really innocent because the karma of one's past lives is causing suffering in this life. Reincarnationists complain that when a Christian is faced with giving a reason to the grieving mother of a dying four-month-old, he can only say, "I don't know." But the law of karma can give her an answer: "Your sweet, innocent angel is dying because in an earlier incarnation she was a scumball." Would that make you feel any better? This is not a solution to the problem; it is merely a subversion of it. It doesn't deal with the difficulty; it dismisses it. Is it really fair for God to punish children for the sins of adults? Especially when they don't' remember those sins! It seems morally repugnant and terribly unjust to mete out judgment on someone who does not even know what his crime was. Besides this, by putting the guilt back one lifetime, one begins an infinite regress of explanations that never really pay off with an explanation. If the suffering of each life depends on the sins of a former life, then how did it all begin? If there was a first life, where did the karmic debt come from to explain the suffering in that life? Is evil an eternal principle, right alongside God? You can't keep "backpedaling" forever to solve the problem of evil. Even John Hick recognizes that the law of karma fails to resolve the conflict: "It only pushes the problem back into earlier lives without ever coming any nearer to a solution." 
No, reincarnation does not solve the problem of evil-it makes it worse! Consider further how it is opposed to the basic facts of logic. As pointed out in chapter One, we can see that there is a Creator to this great universe in which we live, and we can see that He is perfect in all of His attributes. You and I can look around at this universe and see the goodness of God displayed everyday in the beauty of love and relationships, the laws of nature that balance our existence on the earth so marvelously, and in so many other ways (just like the Bible has taught all along-Acts 14:17; Matthew 5:4-45). When we see evil, we may doubt God's goodness; but when we look at the overwhelming goodness of Creation, we see a Creation that was created good, and that has gone horribly wrong. That is why the psalmist could declare:
Psalm 52:1- Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures continually.
If reincarnation and karma are true, then what kind of god would we have? He is a god who would make children suffer for the sins they (or others) had committed in a previous life; he is a god who would create man for the purpose of learning vital lessons, and then would erase the memories of those beings as soon as they are "reborn"; a god who would afflict people with birth defects or genetic illnesses as a result of some transgression in a previous incarnation which they do not even remember. My friends, this "god" would not be worth worshipping! Fortunately, that is NOT the God of Creation, Who displays His goodness every day to us (Lamentations 3:22-24). Clearly, the "god" of the reincarnationists does not match up with the God of Creation Whose lovingkindness is displayed every day we live! Dave Hunt clarifies:
Reincarnation is amoral, senseless, and hopeless. It is amoral because (as noted earlier) 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...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. 
Far from solving the problem of evil, pain, and suffering, reincarnation and its' sister doctrine of karma advance it further than ever. Reincarnation and karma would impugn God's character by having Him stand aloof while His Creation continues a hopeless and endless chain of births and rebirths. It would make man's salvation absolutely hopeless.
Compare this with the God of the Bible, Who in His mercy comes to the world Himself and bears the weight of man's sins. By sending His Son to the world, God shows us His real solution to the problem of sin: the cleansing and healing blood of Jesus Christ. In truth, this supposed argument for reincarnation falls far short!
Then Why The Suffering?
Before we attempt to answer the question of why there is evil, pain, and suffering, we must look carefully at God's role in such matters. Some propose that God is evil. One of the great defenders of Christianity, C.S. Lewis, went through a terrible bought of depression when his wife died before his eyes. During those times of trial, he wrestled with his faith in the goodness of God. In one particularly rough moment, he wrote:
Sooner or later I must face the question in plain language. What reason have we, except our own desperate wishes, to believe that God is, by any standard we can conceive, "good"? Doesn't all the prima facie evidence suggest exactly the opposite? What have we to set against it? We set Christ against it. But how if He were mistaken? Almost His last words may have a perfectly clear meaning...The trap, so long and carefully prepared and so subtly baited, was at last sprung, on the cross. The vile practical joke had succeeded...Step by step we were 'led up the garden path.' Time after time, when He seemed most gracious He was really preparing the next torture. 
Lewis was not trying to undermine faith in God. He was simply describing where he was at that moment. By doing this, he reflected the age-old examples of such great Bible characters as Job, Moses, and Gideon. Think of Job, a devout saint who was sorely tested, and who had constant bouts with this type of despair. He records:
Job 9:21-24- "I am blameless, yet I do not know myself; I despise my life. It is all one thing; Therefore I say, 'He destroys the blameless and the wicked.' If the scourge slays suddenly, He laughs at the plight of the innocent. The earth is given into the hand of the wicked. He covers the faces of its judges. If it is not He, who else could it be?
There have been many people through the ages who have questioned the goodness of God when they were facing the storms of life. When we go through difficult and prolonged periods of suffering and grief, especially when we do not understand the why behind something, we tend to blame God. I am not saying that this is alright or justifiable; only that that is the way it seems we as humans often react to evil. Yet we must carefully and cautiously confront that attitude. During the hard times of life, to lose your faith in the goodness of God is perhaps the greatest tragedy imaginable. I know that from experience. Yet I also know (from logic, nature, Scripture, Jesus Christ, and personal experience) that God is not responsible for evil, and is the Source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).
In chapter One, it was pointed out that God is a Being Who is completely self-sufficient, which means that He must be absolutely perfect in all of His attributes. An imperfection is that which is lacking in some way. Obviously, a fully self-sufficient Being cannot be lacking in any attribute He possesses! Therefore, in whatever attribute God possesses, He possesses it to the greatest degree possible. If He is knowing, He is all-knowing; if He is good, He is all-good, etc. If God were evil, therefore, He would be perfectly evil. Just as there cannot be darkness in perfect light, so in a universe there would be nothing good if God were perfectly evil. Yet there are many good things around us (love, joy, pleasure, etc.), which demonstrates that God is not evil.
Further, consider that God is the Greatest. This is by virtue of the fact that He is the Creator of all things; and since a cause cannot give something to the effect that it does not posses, then the effect can never be greater than the cause. Now, let's put these things together. If God were evil, what would He be like? He would be the greatest evil imaginable. He would be completely and perfectly evil. Think for a moment about the most evil person you know of. Who would it be? Hitler? Stalin? Osama Bin Laden? Now, imagine a being like that with the power of God at his disposal. How would things be?. The universe would be totally different then what we see around us! There would be no goodness; no love; no joy; no life; no happiness; no peace. Yet what do we see when we open our eyes and carefully take an inventory of the universe? We see a marvelous Creation that has gone horribly wrong; a Creation that is good, and yet is becoming more corrupt as evil abounds. Yet we still see unlimited examples of God's love and goodness around us every day we live!
So, we must understand that evil did not have its' origin in God. He is the Source of every good and every perfect gift (James 1:17). Lewis, like Job, returned to his faith in the Lord; and in our times of suffering and trial, when we do not understand the "why," we must also hold onto God like they did.
The basic reason for suffering is tied back to man's sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15-17). As a result of sin, sickness and death entered the Creation (Romans 5:12; Genesis 3:17). Yes, it is true that the basic reason for suffering in this world is sin. However, that is not the end of the story!
Often, we suffer in this world because of the sins of others. We see countless examples of that every day, don't we? We see people who are killed by drunk drivers; people shot in fits of rage; children brutalized in terrible and horrendous ways. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, we see constant examples and reminders that people often suffer for the sins of others. Yet here is the exciting thing: even though God does not cause evil and pain and suffering, He allows these things to happen to bring about good! For example, consider what Jesus teaches us when he deals with a man who was born blind:
John 9:1-3- Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.
This demonstrates to us that not all suffering is the result of personal sin. (In the next chapter, I will present the case for the Bible, and how you can know without a doubt that the Bible is the Word of God, and that what it teaches, it does so authoritatively and as the absolute truth.) Our friends who proclaim that the problem of evil and suffering is explainable by the law of karma place themselves in flat contradiction with the Son of God here. Madasamy Thirumalai points out:
Even though Christians know that suffering, both physical and mental, is real, suffering is never treated as something good in Christianity. Otherwise, the Lord Jesus Christ would not have gone about reducing and eliminating it whenever He came across people who were hurting. He actually calls the weary and sick to come to Him to find rest and peace from their pain. However, according to the Christian faith, suffering is not merely something that causes pain; God also allows it as a means of providing an opportunity for edification. Suffering can be a mode of punishment for one's acts of commission and omission, but it is also the function of uplifting and cleansing the one who suffers...Suffering is caused not exclusively as a consequence of sin but also as a result of our intention to do good or even from actually doing good. For example, Joseph was obeying God when he ran from the temptations of Potiphar's wife, and yet he went to prison as a result. Jesus endured indescribable pain because He bore our sins. Likewise, when we bear the burden of others, we may suffer...Suffering can come from various sources. We may bring it upon ourselves by our own actions...However, it is not true that suffering is always a result of our sin. 
My friends, man's greatest problem is the problem of sin. Reincarnation and karma cannot provide a sufficient answer to this problem; only the Lord Jesus Christ can. In conclusion, let me share the following words with you, spoken by Christian apologist Michael Brown. Being interviewed by investigative journalist Lee Strobel, he was asked the question, "Who is the real Jesus to you?" As you read his answer, reflect on the fact that Jesus Christ is the only real answer to the problem of sin.
Yeshua is the right continuation of my Jewish roots...He's the Messiah of Israel and the savior of the world. He's the one to whom I owe my life, and through him I've come to know God. He is the one who provided me complete forgiveness of sins, who loved me when I was a miserable, ungrateful, rebellious, proud wretch. He put a new heart and a new spirit within me; he has turned my life around and given it meaning. He's the fullness of God in bodily form. He's the very expression and image of the Father-in seeing him, I see and know God. And he's the only hope of the world. Outside of him, all we see is darkness. He's the hope of Israel. Israel will run out of options and finally in the end recognize that the one that it thought was the source of all its pain and suffering through the years is its only hope. He's the beginning and end, the all in all. I cannot imagine existence outside of him. I cannot imagine truth outside of him. I can't imagine purpose in life outside of him. So really he is the ultimate expression of God to the human race. That's why I'm spending my life talking to Jewish people-as compassionately and accurately as I can-about the reality of Jesus the Messiah. I just can't withhold God's very best from those he dearly loves. 
At first glance, it might seem that the case for reincarnation is extremely strong. Yet as we carefully examine it from all angles, we see that its' foundations are actually quite weak. In the next chapter, we will examine the reliability of the Bible, to see if it really is the Word of God; and then notice what the Bible teaches us regarding the subjects of death and reincarnation.
From God Or From Man?
Having carefully examined the main evidences for the theory of reincarnation, we need to now continue our research into the subject of the Bible. At the onset of this chapter, let us take a look at the line of thought that we will be investigating.
1. If it is the case that the Bible is the Word of God, and if it the case that the Bible teaches that the doctrine of reincarnation is false, then the doctrine of reincarnation is false.
2. It is the case that the Bible is the Word of God, and it is the case that the Bible teaches that the doctrine of reincarnation is false.
3. Therefore, the doctrine of reincarnation is false.
Our primary reason for rejecting a belief in reincarnation comes from the evidence and testimony of the Bible itself. In a future chapter, it will be shown that the Bible is wholeheartedly and completely against the concept of reincarnation. The hope for the Christian lies-not in reincarnation-but in resurrection of the body at the end of time when Christ returns (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
However, it will be imperative that we understand whether or not the Bible truly is the Word of God. After all, if it is just a work of man, then it is not authoritative in any meaningful way in this study. Further, if it is true that the text of the Bible has been altered to "edit out" passages that talk about reincarnation (as many reincarnationists claim), then we cannot rely on its' teachings. As such, the next two chapters will carefully examine the authority and authenticity of the Bible itself. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that our next stop in this investigation puts us right into the path of the question: Is the Bible from God, or from man?
Claims Of The Bible
In investigating any document, it is vital to careful examine the claims that it presents. For example, it would not be appropriate to claim that the Bible is the all-sufficient and inspired Word of God if it never claims to be such! Two texts of Scripture clearly demonstrate for us that the Bible claims to be the inspired Word of God. Notice the first of these passages:
II Peter 1:20-21- knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Peter, discussing the accuracy of the prophetic Word of God, tells us that no Scripture is of any private "interpretation." The word translated as "interpretation" is footnoted in the NKJV, pointing out that the more literal rendering would be "origin." In other words, the prophecy of Scripture did not have its' origin in the mind of the prophet; rather, it came directly from the Holy Spirit of God. Specifically, notice that the text tells us that the holy men of God spoke as they were "moved" by the Holy Spirit. Cleon Rogers II and III tell us precisely what these things mean:
...releasing, solving, explaining, interpreting. The word almost comes to mean inspiration (Green; Mayor; MM). The (ablative) here indicates source. Peter is talking about the divine origin of Scripture, not about its roper interpretation (Green)....to carry; pass; to be carried, to be borne along. Pres. Describes the action as it was in progress. The word was used of a ship carried along by the wind (s. Acts 27:15, 17). The metaphor here is of prophets raising their sails, the Holy Spirit filling them and carrying their craft along in the direction He wished. Men spoke; God spoke (Green). 
Thus, the prophets of God were being borne along by the Spirit. God communicated His Word to them (a process known as revelation); then, by the process of inspiration, the message the prophets preached and inscribed was God's message, and not their own. This is the Bible concept of "inspiration." It is the process by which God ensured that the message preached by the prophets to the people was not contaminated with the message of the prophets themselves. Peter assures us that the words of prophecy did not have their origin in the prophets themselves; instead, they had their origin in the Mind of God, and the prophets were just the instruments being "borne along" by the Spirit as the message was delivered. Therefore, the word "inspiration" technically applied to the message that was delivered, and the words the message was delivered in.
Another text which clearly teaches the inspiration of Scripture is found in one of Paul's letters to the young preacher Timothy:
II Timothy 3:16-17- All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The word "Scripture" carries with it the idea of any writing which had its' origin from God's prophets and apostles. The Word was applied to the Old Testament Scriptures (Luke 24:44-47), and to the New Testament Scriptures equally (I Timothy 5:18 with Luke 10:7; II Peter 3:15-17). Our text specifically tells us that every bit of the Scripture was inspired of God. Geisler and Nix point out some important things for us to consider regarding these matters:
The most significant characteristic of the Bible is not its formal structure but its divine inspiration. The Bible's claim to be divinely inspired must not be misunderstood. It is not poetic inspiration but divine authority that is meant when we speak of the inspiration of the Bible. The Bible is unique; it is literally "God-breathed."...It is the Bible which is inspired and not the human authors. Properly speaking, it is only the product which is inspired, not the persons...God is the Prime Mover in the inspiration of the Bible...That God is the ultimate source and original cause of biblical truth is the first and most fundamental factor in the doctrine of inspiration...The prophets were the immediate cause of what was written, but God was the ultimate cause...The final product of divine authority working through the prophetic agency is the written authority of the Bible...The Bible is the last word on doctrinal and ethical matters. All theological and moral disputes must be brought to the bar of the written Word. The Scripture derive their authority from God through His prophets...In brief, an adequate definition of inspiration must have three fundamental factors: God the Prime Mover, men of God as the instruments, and a divinely authoritative writing as the final result...The inspiration and consequent authority of the Bible does not automatically extend to every copy and translation of the Bible. Only the original manuscripts, known as autographs, were inspired...A translation or copy, then, is authoritative only to the extent that it accurately reproduces the autographs. 
Let's take a closer look at some of the specific claims of the inspiration of the Old Testament, and then of the New Testament.
A Closer Look At The Claims Of The Old Testament Scriptures
The Old Testament is composed of thirty-nine books. Throughout its' pages, we see plenty of examples of its' claims to be the inspired Word of God. Notice:
Exodus 4:12- Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say."
Psalm 119:43- And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I have hoped in Your ordinances.
II Samuel 23:2- "The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue.
Jeremiah 1:9- Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me: "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
These verses clearly indicate that the Old Testament Scriptures claimed to be the inspired Word of God. What's more, the phrases "thus says the Lord," and "the Word of God" are found hundreds of times in the Old Testament. All of this goes to demonstrate that the Old Testament clearly claims to be God's Word to mankind.
A Closer Look At The Claims Of The New Testament Scriptures
Having clearly established the overall teaching of the Bible regarding its' claims of inspiration, as well as looking specifically at examples in the Old Testament of Divine inspiration, we must now carefully examine the teachings of the New Testament regarding its' inspiration. Did the writers of the New Testament claim to be writing the Word of God? Notice several examples:
II Timothy 3:16-17-All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
II Peter 1:3-as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
I Corinthians 2:13-These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
Matthew 10:19-20-You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
Without a doubt, both the Old and New Testaments clearly claim to be God's inspired Word to mankind. Rubel Shelly has summed up this evidence well when he writes:
The Bible's own case is that God gave certain men both the thoughts and the words which accurately expressed his will. At the same time, while exercising this type of thorough control over the writers, he allowed for their own personalities, vocabularies, and writing styles to be in evidence. Thus the Bible claims to be the authoritative Word of God which has been given as a revelation to mankind. It claims to be not a mere recording of the events of history but the unfolding of God's purpose in these events. The Bible claims to be God's Word, not man's. It admits to have come through man but denies being of man. 
The Real Question: Is There Any Evidence That The Bible Truly Is The Inspired Word Of God As It Claims?
Any document can claim to be Divine in origin. The Koran does, as does the Book of Mormon. Hundreds (really, thousands) of examples could be provided like this! The question before us is whether or not there is anything about the Bible to suggest that it is any different from these other religious documents.
Regarding that issue, consider the following argument:
1. If the Bible contains characteristics which may only be accounted for by Divine inspiration, then the Bible must be the Word of God.
2. The Bible contains characteristics which may only be accounted for by Divine inspiration.
3. Therefore, the Bible must be the Word of God.
As we continue our study of this important matter, I want to suggest to you several reasons why we know that the Bible is truly the Word of God. The evidences for the Bible's inspiration may be divided into two different classes or types: internal evidences (those proofs which arise from the Bible itself), and external evidences (proofs outside of the Bible which help confirm its' historical nature, and from there, its' record of miraculous events). We will first begin our study by considering some of the internal evidences of the Bible's inspiration, beginning with the incredible unity which characterizes this great book.
The Unity Of Scripture As Evidence Of Its' Divine Origin
The Bible is a book of 66 books, written by about 40 different men over a period of some 1600 years. At times it was penned by kinds, soldiers, shepherds, farmers, and fishermen. These men lived during different political reigns, and during different social and economic circumstances. The Bible is written in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), and its' writers were often hated and despised. Yet what happens when you bring these books together into one book? They form one harmonious volume, fitting together like a hand in a glove, with a unity which boasts of Divine origin! Roy Deaver helps us better understand this point when he tells us:
If a forty piece orchestra should suddenly begin to play-in perfect timing, melody, and harmony-it would be evidence of direction by a single mind. If forty archers, in forty different places, widely separated by time, should shoot their arrows and all hit the same target "dead-center" it would be evidence of (proof of) direction by a single mind. If forty men-widely separated in geography, with varied backgrounds, and living over a period of sixteen hundred years-should each write down a few lines, and these lines when brought together constituted a beautiful poem, it would be evidence of direction by a single mind. Because of its marvelous and otherwise inexplicable unity, we believe that the Bible came from God-that it is miraculously inspired and is divine authority. 
One of the strongest evidences that the Bible is the Word of God comes from its' amazing unity. Once while studying with a member of the Muslim faith, I was told that the Koran also has the same evidence of Divine inspiration. He informed me that the book he believed to be from Allah was perfectly united together. I informed the gentleman that he had not understood my argument. I was not arguing that just because a book has incredible unity, it must be Divine in origin. If that were the case, many Stephen King novels could be included in that list! I asked him the question, "How long did it take for the Koran to completed?" He told me, "About one hundred years-give or take." I said, "How many people were involved in actually delivering the message of the Koran?" He told me, "One-the prophet Muhammad." I then pointed out that he was comparing apples and oranges-that if the Koran had had the same vast background as the Bible (including forty different writers, spanning a gulf of some sixteen hundred years to finish its' completion), then he would have a good argument for inspiration for the Koran. Yet as it stood (and as it continues to stand), only one Book can claim such a status: the Bible! Indeed, the unity of the Bible is one of the greatest evidences of its' inspiration.
Yet it will be claimed that the Bible contains numerous contradictions. In a recent Bible study with a pagan, I was informed that "all Christians are alike-you all use that book, and don't even realize it has hundreds of contradictions in it!" I calmly responded, "Well, if it has hundreds of contradictions in it, surely you can name just one?" Of course, she couldn't. Many people claim that there are contradictions in the Bible-but in truth, there have never been any true contradictions found in the Sacred text! As Wayne Jackson points out:
Those who allege that the Bible contains contradictions basically fall into two classes. First, there is the person who honestly believes this to be the case because he has heard the hackneyed charge repeated frequently; thus, he sincerely is misinformed about the facts. Second, there is that type of person who, from base motives, hates the Bible and so does not scruple to pervert its testimony in order to discredit the Sacred Volume. In either case, the Word of God is not at fault!...In dealing with so-called contradictions in the Bible, let these principles carefully be remembered: (1) No contradiction exists between verses that refer to different persons or things. (2) No contradiction exists between passages that involve different time elements. (3) No contradiction exists between verses that employ phraseology in different senses. (4) Supplementation is not the same as contradiction. One need show only the possibility of harmonization between two passages that appear to conflict in order to negate the force of an alleged discrepancy. Finally, this point needs to be made: the differences in various Bible accounts of the same events actually demonstrate the independence of the divine writers and prove that they were not in collusion! God, although using human writers in the composition of the Bible, is nevertheless its ultimate Author. And since the perfect God cannot be the source of confusion (I Cor. 14:33) or contradiction (Heb. 6:18), it must be acknowledged that the Bible is perfectly harmonious. This does not mean that men will not struggle with difficult passages. If seeming discrepancies are discovered, let us apply ourselves to a diligent study in an effort to resolve them; but let us never foolishly charge God with allowing his sacred writers to contradict one another. 
Prophecy As Evidence Of The Divine Inspiration Of The Bible
One of the greatest evidences of the inspiration of the Bible is in regard to its' amazing prophetic accuracy. Throughout the Scriptures, we are reminded of the accuracy and testimony of the Bible prophets. Perhaps the greatest prophet in the Bible was Moses, the great deliverer who helped deliver the people of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. Being God's spokesman, he stood against the people of Egypt with the power of the Lord on his side; and as the prophet of God, he delivered the Word of Jehovah to the masses.
What exactly is a prophet, and how does prophecy help us determine that the Bible is truly the Word of God? One excellent source defines the words "prophet" and "prophecy" very well:
Prophecy, Prophets. Reception and declaration of a word from the Lord through a direct prompting of the Holy Spirit and the human instrument thereof...Three key terms are used of the prophet. Ro'eh and hozeh are translated as "seer." The most important term, navi', is usually translated "rprophet." It probably meant "one who is called to speak." 
The prophets, by the Divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, were able to see into the future and predict events that would come to pass. Throughout the Bible, this fact of Bible prophecy is set forth as one of the greatest evidences of inspiration. Indeed, the Lord (through the prophet Isaiah) challenged the false gods of the foreign nations to prophecy the future as did the prophets of Jehovah.
Isaiah 41:21-24- "Present your case," says the LORD. "Bring forth your strong reasons," says the King of Jacob. "Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show the former things, what they were, That we may consider them, And know the latter end of them; Or declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, That we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, That we may be dismayed and see it together. Indeed you are nothing, And your work is nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination.
The prophet Isaiah is pointing out that one way you can tell the difference between the true God and the false gods of the heathen is that Jehovah God knows the future, and announces it before it comes to pass! Without a doubt, therefore, predictive prophecy is one of the greatest evidences of the Bible's Divine origin.
Of course, in order to guarantee the credibility of a prophecy, several things have to be established regarding the prophecy itself. As Kenny Barfield documents:
...Using his observation as a base, the following standards seem to be reasonable criteria for assessing the claims of predictive prophecy. First, the prediction should occur well in advance of the fulfillment. There should be no valid reason to suspect the prophecy was after-the-fact. Second, the prediction should be accurate. It must conform to historical fact. Third, fulfillment should occur in an impartial manner. There should be no evidence of collusion or manipulation of the events. Fourth, the fulfillment should be obvious to a reasonable person. Absent bias toward either position, an individual should be able to weigh evidence on both sides of the argument and conclude that a prediction was made prior to an event and was later confirmed to have occurred through valid testimony. This does not suggest that the prediction has to be totally free from ambiguity, but that the fulfillment should be obvious. Fifth, predictive prophecy should be dynamic. It must be ongoing, repetitive, and consistent. Anyone can be lucky, so, to eliminate the chance of an accidental fulfillment, the number of accurate predictions should be significant. Sixth, the prediction should suggest supernatural guidance. Predictions capable of being based on human reasoning or genius is not sufficient to establish one's claims as a prophet. 
We could investigate several of the writings of the prophets which make some profound claims against the nations, as well as some of the Messianic prophecies which document the inspiration of the prophets of Jehovah. However, we are going to consider only a few of the prophecies in the Old Testament.
The Decree Against The Nation Of Tyre (Ezekiel 26)
The prophet Ezekiel was commissioned by the Lord to stand against nations, and to preach His Word to all peoples. In his book, Ezekiel rails against the sins of the nations, and warns of God's upcoming judgments. Addressing the coastal nation of Tyre, Ezekiel prophecies several things:
· Nebuchadnezzar (king of Babylon) will destroy the mainland city of Tyre (Ezekiel 26:8).
· In the destruction of Tyre, many nations will be involved (Ezekiel 26:3).
· The debris from the city will be thrown into the water (Ezekiel 26:12), and will have a part to play in the destruction of the people.
· The city would be scarped bare, like a rock (Ezekiel 26:4).
· The city will never again be rebuilt (Ezekiel 26:14), but will instead be a place where fishermen will spread their nets (Ezekiel 26:5).
It is truly amazing to see the incredible details regarding the destruction of Tyre. Let's contemplate several things.
First of all, it was made absolutely clear that-while Nebuchadnezzar was to be the first line of attack against the city-there would be many other nations involved in destroying the city. Burt Coffman expands on this:
It should be noted that a final end of Tyre was not to come in a single overthrow; it would be the result of "many nations," coming against the proud city "as the waves of the sea." First, there was Nebuchadnezzar (586-573 B.C.); the Persians next subjugated Tyre in 525 B.C.; then, there was Alexander the Great (332 B.C.); and Tyre's remaining history continued to show the "continuing waves' of destruction. These included their submission to the Antiochus III, to Rome in the days of that empire, and to the Saracens in the fourteenth century A.D.. Is not this indeed "as the sea causeth her waves to come up?" 
Please notice that there is not a complete destruction of the people of Tyre foretold here. Indeed, the text is clear that there will be a time when fishermen will dwell there, showing that it would be inhabited to a degree. What is being discussed in the text is the fact that as a world-wide power, the nation of Tyre will be destroyed. In this sense, it will never again be rebuilt (i.e., brought back to its' prestige as a world-wide power). What is incredible is the actual fulfillment which took place, as history has documented:
One of the most unusual prophecies in the Bible is that concerning the ancient city of Tyre. Probably all books in defense of Christianity will use this example, and with good reason. Soon this reason will be clear...Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to mainland Tyre three years after the prophecy. The Encyclopedia Britannica says: "After a 13-year siege (585-573 B.C.) by Nebuchadnezzar II, Tyre made terms and acknowledged Babylonian suzerainty. In 538 B.C. Tyre, with the rest of Phonecia, passed to the suzerainty of Achamenid Persia." When Nebuchadnezzar broke the gates down, he found the city almost empty. The majority of the people had moved by ship to an island about one-half mile off the coast and fortified a city there. The mainland city was destroyed in 573 (Prediction 1B), but the city of Tyre on the island remained a powerful city for several hundred years. The next incident was with Alexander the Great. "In his war on the Persians," writes the Encyclopedia Brittanica, "Alexander III, after defeating Darius III at the Battle of Issus (333), marched southward toward Egypt, calling upon the Phoenician cities to open their gates, as it was par tof his general plan to deny their use to the Persian fleet. The citizens of Tyre refused to do so, and Alexander laid siege to the city. Possessing no fleet, he demolished old Tyre, on the mainland, and with the debris built a mole 200 ft. (60m.) wide across the straits separating the old and new towns, erecting towers and war engines at the farther end." Curtius, an ancient writer (Loeb Classical Library: Quintius Curtius IV. 2.18-19) wrote concerning the construction of the causeway by Alexander. He says much material was available from Mount Libanus (trees for beams) and the Old City of Tyre supplied stones and dirt. 
Perhaps one of the most amazing prophecies made here by Ezekiel is his reference to the fact that the mainland city will be scraped like a rock, and her trees will be cast into the sea. Kenneth Barfield elaborates:
No one knows who devised the precise method of attack. Some credit Alexander. Regardless, the choice proved ingenious. Engineers would construct a causeway from the mainland to the island giving Alexander's giant war machines a chance to breach the walls. Parties of workers would be dispatched to the nearby mountains to collect wood for the pilings. Others would tear down the buildings of mainland Tyre and use those materials as well. The great stones and pillars that graced the magnificent buildings on the mainland would serve as the foundation for the mole...Though his advisors counseled abandoning the task, Alexander's pride had been stung. More determined than ever, he vowed to destroy the island fortress. Ordering a second mole, even wider than the first, he directed that everything remaining from the mainland city he dumped into the sea. Workers even scraped topsoil from the old city to gain material for the causeway. Ezekiel's prediction had been fulfilled. 
The prophecy of Ezekiel is absolutely amazing. In stunning detail and accuracy, he describes the destruction of the mainland city, the many nations coming against the people of Tyre, and even the details of how the stones and timber of Tyre would be cast into the sea and help in destroying this world-wide empire! This prophecy provides ample evidence of the Divine inspiration of the Old Testament prophets.
The Seventy Weeks Of Daniel And The Coming Of The Messiah
In the book of Daniel, we see several examples of amazing prophecy. The prophet lived in the city of Babylon, having been taken captive by the Babylonians from Jerusalem around 606 B.C. The prophet Jeremiah had prophesied that the Jews would be in captivity for seventy years, after which they would return to their land:
Jeremiah 29:10- For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.
Now, the time has arrived for the prophecy to be fulfilled, and Daniel has spent a great deal of time praying for the remnant who are returning to Israel from Babylon. The Lord dispatches the angel Gabriel to Daniel, to inform him of the timetable of upcoming events:
Daniel 9:24-27-"Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. "Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate."
Several things stand out about this prophecy.
First, the text tells us of a period of seventy "weeks." Literally, the angel is talking about seventy "sevens." What is the meaning of this phrase? Josh McDowell explains:
The Hebrew word for "week" is shabua, which literally means a "seven." (We should disassociate any English concept of week with the concept intended by Gabriel). Then, in Hebrew, the idea of seventy weeks is "seventy sevens." (2) The Jews were familiar with a "seven" of both days and years...(3) Leviticus 25:2-4 illustrates the above fact. Leviticus 25:8 shows that there was a multiple of a week of years. Remembering what has been said previously, there are several reasons to believe that the seventy weeks mentioned in Daniel are seventy sevens of years. (1) Daniel had been thinking in terms of years and multiples of seven earlier in the chapter (Dan. 9:1, 2). (2) Daniel knew that the Babylonian captivity was based on violation of the Sabbatic year, and since they were in captivity for seventy years, evidently the Sabbatic year was violated 490 years (Lev. 26:32-35; 2 Chr. 36:21; and Dan. 9:24). (3) The context is consistent and makes sense when we understand the seventy weeks as seventy sevens of years. 
So, Daniel describes a period for us of seventy "sevens," or 490 years.
Second, notice that the prophecy is divided up into three different time frames. There will be a period of seven weeks (49 years), followed by a period of 62 weeks (434 years), after which will the final week of the prophecy. The first seven weeks of the prophecy deal with the time of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem, while the second time frame (the 434 years) deals with the people preparing for the Messiah. Finally, the last week, will be divided into two sections, 3 and 1/2 years each. Wayne Jackson provides an excellent answer as to why the 490 years are divided into three different sections:
But why are the "seventy weeks" of Daniel's prophecy divided into three segments-seven weeks, 62 weeks, and the "midst" of one week? There was purpose in this breakdown. (1) The first division of "seven weeks" (literally, forty-nine years) covers that period of time during which the actual rebuilding of Jerusalem would be underway, following the Hebrews' return to Palestine (9:25b). This was the answer to Daniel's prayer (9:16). That reconstruction era was to be one of "troublous times." The Jews' enemies had harassed them in earlier days (see Ezra 4:1-6), and they continued to do so in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah...(2) The second segment of sixty-two weeks (434 years), when added to the previous forty-nine, yields a total of 483 years. When this figure is computed from 457 B.C., it terminates at A.D. 26. This was the year of Jesus' baptism and the beginning of His public ministry. (3). Finally, the "midst of the week" (3 1/2 years) reflects the time of the Lord's preaching ministry. This segment of the prophecy concludes in A.D. 30-the year of the Savior's death. 
Therefore, there was a need to divide these 490 years into these segments, in order that the timing of the Messiah might be made absolutely clear.
Third, notice that the text clearly tells us what the Messiah would accomplish when He came to the world. He would: (1) finish the transgression. (2). Make an end of sins (also including the idea of "sin offering"). (3) Make reconciliation for iniquity. This carries with the idea of bringing man back into fellowship with God and with his fellow man. (4) Bring in everlasting righteousness. The Messiah would bring a system to the world by which man would be able to be completely righteous before God (cf. Colossians 1:19-23). (5) Seal up vision and prophecy. Notice that this text clearly foretells the end of the miraculous age, just as the apostle Paul does (I Corinthians 13:8-10). (6) Anoint the Most Holy. This likely has reference to the time when the Messiah ascended back to His Father in glorious defeat of all the powers of darkness (Acts 1).
Fourth, please notice the time frame for these events is clearly foretold. The 490 years "countdown" would begin with the command to rebuild and restore Jerusalem. After all, there were three different decrees issued for the Jews to return to their former land of Jerusalem (the decree of Cyrus-536 B.C.; the decree of Artaxerxes I, 444 B.C.; and the decree given to Ezra by Araxerexes I in 457 B.C.). When we carefully consider the details of this prophecy, I believe it that only the return of Ezra squarely "fits the facts" of the decrees under examination. Nevertheless, it is often claimed that Ezra was never commissioned to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (as this prophecy in Daniel actually foretells). However, notice what Ezra says:
Ezra 9:9- For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
Obviously, Ezra's commission from the Lord did indeed involve rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Furthermore, he was supposed to prepare the spiritual training of the people as he restored the Law of Moses to the people to help them prepare for the coming Messiah. Therefore, the countdown for the 490 years begins with the commission of Ezra. Where does that lead us? Gleason Archer clarifies:
If, then, the decree of 457 granted to Ezra himself is taken as the terminus a quo for the commencement of the 69 heptads, or 483 years, we come out to the precise year of the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah (or Christ): 483 minus 457 comes out to A.D. 26. But since a year is gained in passing from 1 B.C. to A.D. 1 (there being no such thing as zero), it actually comes out to A.D. 27. It is generally agreed that Christ was crucified in A.D. 27-a most remarkable exactitude in the fulfillment of such an ancient prophecy. Only God could have predicted the coming of His Son with such amazing precision; it defies all rationalistic explanation. 
Dear reader, please understand the significance of this prophecy. Daniel the prophet foretold the exact year the Messiah would begin His public ministry (i.e., the year 27 A.D.-the year of His baptism). It was also clearly foretold what the Messiah would accomplish as He served the Lord, and the determination was made that the nation of Israel would suffer terribly for the sin of rejecting the Messiah. Please observe that the text tells us that God made His final determination to destroy the people of Israel during the one week when they chose to reject the Messiah. As Roy Deaver has expounded:
It should be pointed out that the prophecy does not say that the city would be destroyed within the span of the one week. Rather, it says that within that week the destruction of the city was determined. One could hardly read verses 26 and 27 without recalling our Lord's words: "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." (Mt. 23:28). 
So, the prophet Daniel describes for us an account of the Jewish people spanning nearly five hundred years-almost six hundred years before it took place! All of it adds up to demonstrate once again the prophetic accuracy of the Bible.
In this connection, consider with me finally some of the amazing Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. There are over three hundred prophecies in the Old Testament Scriptures made regarding Jesus Christ. Josh McDowell, in an excellent defense of the Christian faith, tells us about the relevance of probability studies as he examines some of these prophecies:
In the Old Testament, there are sixty major messianic prophecies and approximately 270 ramifications that were fulfilled in one person, Jesus Christ. It is helpful to look at all these predictions fulfilled in Christ as His "address." You've probably never realize how important the details of your name and address are-and yet these details set you apart from the five billion other people who also inhabit this planet. With even greater detail, God wrote an address in history to single out His Son, the Messiah, the Savior of mankind, from anyone who has ever lived in history-past, present, or future. The specifics of this address can be found in the Old Testament, a document written over a period of a thousand years, which contains more than three hundred references to His coming. Using the science of probability, we find the chances of just forty-eight of these prophecies being fulfilled in one person to be right at one in 10157 (a one followed by 157 zeros!)...The following probabilities are taken from that book (Peter Stoner, Science Speaks, M.T.) to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science of probability. Stoner says that by using the modern science of probability in reference to just eight prophecies, "we find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 1017." That would be 1 in 100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000. In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that..."we take 1017silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he mist pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote in their own wisdom. Now these prophecies were either given by the inspiration of God or the prophets just wrote them as they thought they should be. In such a case the prophets had just one chance in 1017 of having them come true in any man, but they all came true in Christ. This means that the fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of these prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one chance in 1017 of being absolute. 
Hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament teach us about Jesus Christ the Messiah. Notice just a few of these prophecies. It was claimed that the Messiah would be uniquely the Seed of woman (Genesis 3:15), which Jesus was (Galatians 4:4). He would be the seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:7; Romans 9:7). He was to come to the world before the Jews lost the power of capital punishment (Genesis 49:10), and would be the Prophet like unto Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-18; cf. Acts 3:22-23). He would be the Redeemer of mankind Who would save us from sin and death (Job 19:25-27). His healing ministry was clearly foretold (Isaiah 35:4-10), as was His personal ministry (Isaiah 61:1-3). His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection are clearly foretold (Isaiah 53). It was promised that He would be both the Son of Man and the Son of God (Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 7:13-14). His Divine Nature was especially foretold (Psalm 45:6; 110:1). It was told that He would be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9) for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13).
On and on we could go; however, this should be sufficient to demonstrate for us the incredible reliability of the prophecies of the Bible, and how these prophecies and their fulfillment demand the conclusion that the Bible truly is from God.
External Evidences Of The Inspiration Of The Bible: How Archaeology Has Helped To Confirm The Biblical Narrative
In this section, we will notice a small sample of the archaeological evidence which helps to document and confirm the trustworthiness of Scripture. As we delve into this topic, it is important to have a clear understanding of what biblical archaeology is. On that note, Charles Pfeiffer has this excellent definition:
Archaeology is the scientific study of the material remains which have been left behind by men during past ages. Most modern countries have undertaken a study of their ancient past by excavating ancient towns, graves, etc. so that today there is a vast storehouse of knowledge about ancient man all over the world..."Biblical Archaeology" is concerned with the understanding of the history, life, customs, and literature of the Israelites and of those people sin the neighborhood of ancient Israel who influenced them...The archaeologist obtains his information from the material remains left behind by men in past ages. These are of two broad classes: the written documents which were inscribed on stone, clay, metal, papyrus, parchment, wood, etc.; and the unwritten documents which comprise all other kinds of remains-buildings of various kinds, fortifications, sculptures, household vessels, tools, personal ornaments, coins, weapons, clothing, art pieces, food, animal and human bones, etc. These are found in association with buildings which have become completely or partially covered or in graves and tombs. 
A Brief Note Regarding "External" Evidences
Please understand what we are talking about when we discuss the external evidences of the Bible's inspiration. I am not claiming that just because the Bible is a historically verifiable document, it is inspired of God. Rather, it is my purpose in this section to demonstrate that the Bible is a valid historical document of both natural and supernatural events.
The Historical Confirmation Of The Story Of Noah
Some of the most fascinating archaeological confirmations have dealt with the story of Noah's Flood. In the Bible, God decided to send a massive world-wide flood upon the Creation due to the sins of continual rebellions of mankind (Genesis 6:5-6). Of all the world, one family was found truly righteous-the family of Noah. By faith, Noah and his family spent one hundred and twenty years constructing the ark (Genesis 6:3). The Lord instructed Noah to save representatives from all the animals of the entire Earth on the ark (Genesis 6:19-22). After the destruction of the world, the ark was set down to rest on the mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:4).
For centuries, skeptics have mocked at the story of Noah's ark. However, evidences from geology and zoology have mounted to demonstrate the truthfulness of the Bible narrative. Especially of interest is the number of "flood legends" that are found in every culture around the world. Consider the following:
There is evidence which suggests that world creation and Flood myths have a common origin in history. Most creation and Flood myths worldwide have a basic core of themes. This fact provides strong evidence of a common origin of these myths based on actual events. The Genesis account, however, stands out from all others...Syrian, Sumerian, Greek, Babylonian, Chinese, Persian, Irish, American Indian, Toltec, Cholulan, and even Estonian creation stories all include a variant of the biblical Flood story. Striclking concludes from his study of world Flood legends that "nearly all" Flood accounts "are variations of the theme in the biblical account...however, a statistical analysis indicates the purity of the biblical account and reveals evidence of subsequent upheavals having corrupted in varying degrees all other accounts." Among the similarities, Striclking found a favored family was saved in 32 of the Flood accounts, and in 21 survival was due to a "boat" of some time. Other similarities include: (1) a forewarning, (2) one flood only, and (3) preservation of non-human types of life such as animals...In a study of over two hundred Flood myths, Morris found these similarities...(1) Was the catastrophe a flood, not another type? 95% (2) Was the flood global? 95% (3) Was a favored family saved? 88% (4) Was the geography local? 82% (5) Was the rainbow mentioned? 75% (6) Did animals play any part? 73% (7) Was survival due to a boat? 70% (8) Were animals also saved? 67% (9) Was the flood due to the wickedness of mankind? 66% (10) Were they forewarned? 66% (11) Did survivors land on a mountain? 57% (12) Were birds sent out? 35% (13) Did survivors offer a sacrifice? 13% (14) Were specifically eight persons saved? 9% Morris concludes from his study that "one of the strongest evidences for the global Flood which annihilated all people on Earth except for Noah and his family, has been the ubiquitous presence of flood legends in the folklore of people groups from around the world." 
Once, while I was working with a family in Hazard, KY., I met a woman who was quite skeptical of the Bible and its' claims. She had been born in Japan, yet raised in China; and she had moved to the United States some years earlier. As we were talking, she politely scoffed at the Bible and its' stories. When I pointed out that the Bible is a historical book, she told me that I was simply mistaken. I told her that the evidence for the Bible's historicity could be found in her own Chinese language. I asked her to draw the Chinese word for "boat." She did so, and I asked her to explain to me what each part of the word represented. She frowned, and told me that it literally translates as "eight people saved." I asked her if she knew the story of Noah's ark, and then she made the connection: there were exactly eight people saved in Noah's Ark! As one linguist has documented regarding this matter:
The Chinese character for boat gives this very representation. There are three elements pictured: a vessel, eight, and mouth, meaning people. The word for boat, then, tells the story of this first great ark which, in spite of the years of warning and pleading by Noah to his compatriots, had just eight passengers. 
More and more findings corroborate the biblical account of Noah, the flood, and the ark. It truly is amazing to see how the spade of the archaeologist has served to confirm the truthfulness of the Bible in so many different ways. Unfortunately, many people continue to ignore the evidence. The reason is not because the evidence is lacking; it is because of the prejudiced mindsets of many people in the world who refuse to abandon their preconceived notions. One author has expounded on this in his fascinating book on the flood legends of many civilizations:
An oft-referenced work in this book has been Theodore Gaster's Myth, Legend, and Custom In the Old Testament. In it, Gaster gives more than 65 examples of Deluge stories from around the world, not including the three primary versions we have considered here, nor does it include some of the other hundreds of versions that are also out there. The stories come from every continent and every major people group. They all agree on one important point: the world was flooded, and only a handful of people survived. How long do we continue to ignore it? How long do we turn our blind (but "enlightened") intellects away? How long do we scoff at what our ancestors have all tried to tell us? How long do we, like Sisyphus, push against our very intellects, trying to put the flood myth where we think it deserves to be? How long can we play this game before it finally rolls down on top of us, when we realize-too late-what it was we were vainly hoping to accomplish? 
Joseph In Egypt
Some of the most fascinating archaeological support for the Bible has been in regard to the story of Joseph. Jacob (the grandson of Abraham) had twelve children, the most treasured being his son Joseph. Being jealous of their father's affections for Joseph, the older sons of Jacob sold him into slavery, telling their father that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. While in captivity, Joseph was accosted by the wife of Potiphar (who falsely accused him of rape), and the young man was thrown into prison. Later, by the providence of God, Joseph became the second greatest man in all of Egypt. The Lord had a special plan and purpose for Joseph: it was his duty to prepare Egypt to save a great deal of food during seven years of abundance. Following that seven years of abundance, there would be seven terrible years of famine in all the world, and people would flock to Egypt to buy food. In this, God demonstrated His remarkable plan for allowing Joseph to suffer the things he did (Genesis 50:20).
Regarding these events, let me share two things with you two amazing archaeological discoveries which have helped confirm the biblical record. regarding this subject. First is a statement found by people living in Yemen during the time of the seven year famine recorded in Genesis. This inscription was found on a marble tablet in a ruined fortress on the seashore of Hadramaut. The inscription dates back to the time of the seven year famine. It reads:
We dwelt at ease in this castle a long tract of time;
Nor had we a desire but for the region-lord of the vineyard.
Hundreds of camels returned to us each day at evening,
Their eye pleasant to behold in their resting places.
And twice the number of our camels were our sheep,
In comeliness like white does, and also the slow moving kine.
We dwelt in this castle seven years of good life-how difficult for memory its description!
Then came years barren and burnt up;
When one evil year had passed away,
Then came another to succeed it.
And we became as though we had never seen a glimpse of good,
They died and neither foot nor hoof remained.
Thus fares it with him who renders not thanks to God:
His footsteps fail not to be blotted out from his dwelling.
Please notice that the inscription clearly records seven years of amazing plenty, followed by a period of horrible famine. This is one of the amazing ways that archaeology has helped to confirm the biblical record.
Yet what about the claims that Pharaoh would never put a non-Egyptian in charge of his country, and over such a monumental project? People made such claims for centuries; but that all changed a few years ago. Ebn Heshman, an Arab from Yemen, showed an English explorer, Mr. Cruttenden, the tomb of a wealthy Yemenite women who died during the time of the Egyptian famine recorded in Genesis 41. The tomb itself was uncovered in 1850, but its' contents remained undiscovered for quite some time. Inside the tomb was a stone tablet bearing her final inscription. It reads:
In thy name, O God, the God of Hamyar,
I Tajah, the daughter of Dzu Shefar, sent my steward to Joseph, and he delaying to return to me, I sent my hand maid
With a measure of silver, to bring me back a measure of flour;
And not being able to procure it, I sent her with a measure of gold:
And not being able to procure it, I sent her with a measure of pearls;
And not being able to procure it, I commanded them to be ground:
And finding no profit in them, I am shut up here.
Whosoever may hear of it, let him commiserate me;
And should any woman adorn herself with an ornament from my ornaments;
May she die with no other than my death
This woman clearly describes sending her servant to Joseph, who was Pharaoh's servant, to buy food.
Throughout the years, skeptics have scoffed at the Bible account of the Exodus (the time when the people of Israel exited the land of Egypt on their way to the land of Canaan). Usually it was claimed that other historical sources would have made references to such an event. Grant Jeffrey, in is fascinating volume regarding Christian Apologetics, tells us about some of the archaeological and historical evidences we have today which serve to confirm the biblical record of the Exodus. He writes:
The biblical record in the book of Exodus about the supernatural deliverance of the Jews from their bondage in Egypt is one of the most miraculous and fascinating accounts in the Bible. Very few Christian pastors or laymen are aware that we have numerous historical records and ancient inscriptions that provide evidence and confirmation for these key events that resulted in the creation of the Jewish people as a distinct nation...It is fascinating that the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus reported that two ancient Egyptian priest-scholars, Manetho and Cheremon, specifically named both Joseph and Moses in their history of Egypt as leaders of the Jews (Flavius Josephus, Josephus Against Apion, I., 26, 27, 32). Josephus recorded that the Egyptians remembered a tradition of an exodus from their country by the Jews whom they hated because they believed the Israelites were unclean. It is interesting to note that Manetho and Cheremon stated that the Jews rejected Egyptian customs, including the national worship of Egyptian gods. Most important, these pagan historians acknowledged that the Jews killed the animals that they held as sacred, indicating the Israelites' practice of sacrificing lambs on the first Passover. These historians also confirmed that the Israelites immigrated into the area of "southern Syria," which was the Egyptian name for ancient Palestine. Perhaps the most important confirmation is found in the statement by Manetho that the sudden Exodus from Egypt occurred in the reign of "Amenophis, son of Rameses, the father of Sethos, who reigned toward the close of the 18th dynasty," which places this event between 1500 and 1400 BC. This evidence confirms the chronological data found in the Old Testament that suggests the Exodus occurred approximately 1491 B.C. 
Conclusion Regarding The Testimony Of Archaeology And The Bible I
Regarding the powerful confirmatory evidence which archaeology has shed on the Bible account, consider the words of these two world-renowned archaeologists: 
It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries. (Dr. Nelson Glueck)
Archaeology has confirmed countless passages which have been rejected by critics as unhistorical or contradictory to known facts...Yet archaeological discoveries have shown that these critical charges...are wrong and that the Bible is trustworthy in the very statements which have been set aside as untrustworthy...We do not know of any cases where the Bible has been proved wrong. (Dr. Joseph Free)
Many more areas could be investigated which would help to further document the inspiration of the Bible (e.g., the scientific foreknowledge of the Bible writers, the indestructibility of the Bible, the profound themes of the Bible, etc.). Yet this is sufficient to demonstrate that the Bible truly is the Word of God. As such, it must be clear that the Bible serves as the only truly authoritative guide to describe and define the parameters of death and the afterlife. However, before we delve into the topic of what the Bible teaches regarding the doctrine of reincarnation, we must first carefully examine what our reincarnationist friends teach about the Bible. As such, our next stop will take us into the realm of modern-day conspiracy theories regarding the Scriptures.
Reincarnationist Claims Against The New Testament Examined
What People Are Saying About The New Testament
It is often claimed that we cannot trust the Bible, especially the New Testament Scriptures. Critics allege that early Christians altered the text of Scripture, removing entire books and references from the Sacred text. Our reincarnationist friends make the claim that the Bible originally taught the doctrine of reincarnation, and that subsequent church councils (eager to gain more power and authority) removed these texts-even entire books-from the Bible.
In this chapter, we will need to examine the authenticity of the New Testament Scriptures, especially focusing upon the Canonical Gospels (i.e., Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Are these books truly written by their purported authors? Did they then objectively report the events that they recorded? Finally, are we certain that texts have come down to us without alteration? These are the questions we will examine.
If is asked why this study is necessary, I would point out that if the Bible (especially the New Testament) has been altered throughout time, then we can have little faith in its' teachings; however, if it is proven to be a historically reliable document, then it truly is the one true Standard for determining the facts on the matter of reincarnation. Let us turn, therefore, to a careful study of the genuineness and credibility of the New Testament Scriptures.
The Genuineness Of The New Testament Scriptures
When we talk about the "genuineness" of something, we are talking primarily about authorship. For example, are we certain that the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were truly written by their purported authors? Are the "Pauline epistles" truly the products of the apostle Paul? Evidences may be garnered from at least three sources.
First of all, the early Christians testify to the genuineness of the New Testament text. It needs to be remembered that the early church knew the apostles, and knew their teachings, intimately and fully. They were in a better position than anyone to know the evidences of the genuineness of these books. Their testimony is clear regarding the authorship of these Gospels.
Second, we could look at evidences from the early sects of Chrsitanity, such as the Gnostics. This group of heretics attempted to combine Chrsitanity with pagan forms of Greek religions. They were marked and refuted by the second-century Christians. If the Gnostics could have established that the New Testmaent Scriptures were not written by their purported authors, it would have greatly helped their cause. However, they did not deny the authorship of these books, and instead endorsed it! As McGarvey points out:
His teaching demonstrates the previous general recognition of this Gospel and these ten Epistles, while his antagonism to the other Gospels and the writings in general of the other Apostles, demonstrates the existence of those. Moreover, the ground on which he rejected the latter was not their want of genuineness, but, admitting their genuineness, he denies the apostolic authority of their authors. 
Finally, we need to consider the evidences of the early enemies of Christianity. These men would use any and every advantage at their disposal to try and destroy the new faith. However, when it comes to the genuineness of the New Testament Scriptures (especially the Canonical Gospels), they are united in their testimony. One writer documents:
Infidel writers of the first four centuries also wrote favoring our authors. The Emperor Julian, known as "the apostate," wrote in 361 a work against Christianity; but he nowhere expressed a doubt as to either the books of Christians or their authors. It is almost certain that had occasion admitted of it, he would have challenged the genuineness of the books. Porphyry, universally conceded to have been the most formidable opponent to Christianity, wrote in 270, and spoke of Matthew as "their evangelist." In 176, Celsus, esteemed by modern infidels as a wonderful philosopher, wrote a book against Christianity entitled A True Discourse, of which Origen has preserved fragments. But so unlike was he to his modern infidel brethren that he admitted the existence of the Christian or New Testament writings, and their genuineness...Whatever the reason, it must be apparent to every unprejudiced mind that earnest seekers after truth, who ignore such testimony accessible to the average scholar, are inexcusably guilty of trifling with indisputable evidence which would be convincing in any civil court. Such testimony has been provided in abundance by the friends and foes of the lowly Nazarene-our Lord in glory-and it proves that these"...holy men of God," to whom their writings were assigned, "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21). 
Yet is it not true that in some places, some New Testament books were hotly debated? Yes, it is. This demonstrates that in some places, some of the books of the New Testament were not accepted or were rejected because the disciples did not yet have the necessary background evidences of these books. Really, this should comfort us-because it demonstrates that the early Christians did not haphazardly throw any book into the Canon that they wanted to! Instead, they were thorough and meticulous in their research.
Thus, when all the evidence is considered, we can readily see that the New Testament Scriptures are genuine.
The Credibility Of The New Testament Scriptures
When we discuss "credibility," we are discussing whether or not the author relayed the events they did with objectivity. Were the events they reported truly historically accurate? Or, did the writers "smudge" the facts in some way or fashion? I would briefly suggest that there are at least five irrefutable evidences which demonstrate that the canonical gospels are historically credible. First, their testimony is confirmed by the fact that it is based upon eyewitness testimony. Matthew and John were both eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ, and Mark and Luke were extremely close companions of two other eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ (Peter and Paul). In any court of law, the strongest type of evidence is eyewitness evidence. The apostles were not going on second or third hand information; rather, they had been eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ (cf. I John 1:1-3; II Peter 1:16-21). Second, the fact that the apostles of Jesus Christ recorded historical figures, places, dates, and events demonstrates the historical nature of their writing (Luke 1:1-4). Third, the apostles of Christ encouraged people to carefully investigate the things they were preaching and teaching (I Corinthians 15:1-8). If they had "smudged" the events they were reporting, they would not encourage people to go and check up on them. Fourth, the basic historical tenants of Christianity were not questioned in the first several centuries. This shows that the contemporaries of Christianity did not have a problem with the historical accuracy of what was being preaching, but rather with the theological implications of it. For example, the Pharisees could not deny the historical miracles of Jesus Christ-but they often did not believe Him because they did not like what those miracles said about Who Jesus Christ is (cf. Mark 2:1-12)! Fifth, the testimony of the apostles is only further confirmed when it is realized what the apostles gained for their preaching-suffering and martyrdom. They gained no earthly reward; only pain and anguish for preaching Jesus Christ. Sometimes people contend that we cannot trust the Bible just because the apostles died for their "belief." It is true that religious people will sometimes die for a belief; however, that is not why the apostles suffered for Jesus Christ. They died, not because of a belief, but what they had themselves witnessed with their own eyes and ears-the miracles of Jesus Christ which clearly demonstrate He is the Son of God. And friends, I declare to you today: their blood seals their testimony!
The Transmission Of The Scriptures
Have the New Testament Scriptures come down to us faithfully? While this will be dealt with in much greater degree at a later time, we need to understand the amazing textual basis of the New Testament Scriptures. Josh McDowell provides us with an understanding of the amazing testimony of the ancient manuscripts that we possess today:
There are now more than 5, 686 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Add over 10, 000 Latin Vulgate and at least 9, 300 other early versions (MSS), and we have close to, if not more than, 25, 000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence today. No other document of antiquity even begins to approach such numbers and attestation. In comparison, Homer's Illiad is second, with only 643 manuscripts that still survive. The first complete preserved text of Homer dates from the thirteenth century (Lach, OB, 145). 
The sheer amount of manuscripts we have today demonstrates that the New Testament we read is the same one that was read by Christians down through the ages.
Could The New Testament Scriptures Have Been "Edited" By The Christians?
While the evidence is overwhelming that the Bible has been faithfully transmitted to us today, I believe it is important and necessary to examine another claim that is often made by our reincarnationist friends, i.e., the claim that the Christians somehow "edited" the canon of Scripture, and thus virtually "deleted" references to reincarnation that were originally present in the Bible. Of course, this claim is nothing new. It has been around for centuries, and has gained impressive momentum with those who herald the cause of books like Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and of course, The Da Vinci Code. These books propose that the church at some point "edited" the canon of Scripture, and cast out certain books that should have been included in the New Testament canon of Scripture.
Is it possible? Could "the Church" have edited the canon of the New Testament? Could it have "edited out" references to the doctrine of reincarnation, or perhaps some other doctrine? Is it possible that the New Testament we have today is actually not the New Testament the Christians in the first few centuries A.D. had? Let's take a look at each of these charges.
Understanding How We Received The New Testament
The Old Testament people of God (the Jews) had a basic test of whether or not a certain book was truly "canonical" (authorized, i.e., from God). It would rest on the identity of the author. For example, if a known prophet of God (one whose prophecies came to pass and who had been confirmed by further miraculous attestation) was known to have been the author of a particular book, then that book was automatically canonical, i.e., authoritative. Therefore, the matter of authorship was absolutely essential to the question of a book's authority.
The same was true with the New Testament Scriptures. Books that were known to have been written by an apostle, or an intimate companion of the apostles, were automatically "canonical." Any books of questionable authorship were not accepted into the canon of Scripture. It is true that in some areas, certain books of the New Testament were not accepted for a time-due to lack of knowledge in those areas regarding the evidences of apostolic authorship. However, as the evidence became known, these books were finally accepted.
We must understand that books which were written after the close of the apostolic age were not regarded as of Divine origin. Timothy Paul Jones discusses this thoroughly:
What's important about the Muratorian Fragment isn't merely the fact that it includes an early list of authoritative books for Christians. What the fragments provides in its references to a book titled The Shepherd is a snap-shot of how and why certain books were excluded from the New Testament. The Shepherd, penned by a man named Hermas, is a quirky allegory filled with visions that are mediated through a divine being in a shepherd's outfit. In the second and third centuries, the book was a best seller among Christians-well, not really, but it would have been a best seller if such concepts had existed at that time. The Shepherd became so popular in the second century that some people wanted to read the book in times of worship, alongside the four Gospels, the apostles' epistles, and the Jewish Scriptures. The Muratorian Fragment tells us why The Shepherd came to be cut out of the sacred collection that Christians read during times of worship: The Shepherd couldn't be placed among the Hebrew prophets because the era of Old Testament prophecies had ended ("their number has been completed"). Yet the book didn't fit among the authoritative Christian writings, either, because with the deaths of the apostolic eyewitnesses, that era had ended too ("it is after their time"). Through The Shepherd might continue to be read as a devotional text ("it should be read"), the book could not be considered an authoritative text for Christians ("it ought not to be read publicly for the people of the church"). So what truths can we pick up from our first stop? At least as early as the mid-second century, the standard for determining which writings were authoritative in the church was whether the book represented eyewitness testimony about Jesus. Writings that came after the deaths of these witnesses could not be regarded as universally authoritative in the churches, regardless of how popular these texts might become. Here's what's also clear from the Muratorian Fragment: even though Christians disagreed for several hundred years about seven or so writings, the core of the New Testament-including the four Gospels, Paul's letters, and at least John's first letter-was accepted as authoritative no later than the mid-second century, probably earlier. 
Books that were not written by known apostolic writers, as well as not written during apostolic times, were not accepted as canonical writings. This stems from the unique role of the apostles. Remember that Jesus had promised them:
John 14:26- But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 16:13- However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
Furthermore, it is clear that the apostles were confirmed by God, as evidenced by their witness to the resurrection of Christ, as well as by the miraculous gifts that followed their testimony:
I John 1:1-3- That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life--the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us--that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
II Corinthians 12:12- Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.
Acts 2:43- Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
As the apostles preached the Word of God, they eventually began to write it down as well. Is what is found in their writings sufficient for us today, and for all time? Look at what the apostles say themselves:
John 20:30-31- And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
Ephesians 3:3-4- how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),
I Corinthians 14:37- If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.
Luke 1:1-4- Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.
More evidence could be cited, but this should be sufficient to demonstrate that what the apostles wrote down in the New Testament Scriptures are truly able to make one "complete" unto every good work (II Timothy 3:16-17).
The Gnostic "Scriptures"
In the early to mid-second century, a group of disciples known as the "Gnostics" began to create their own "Scriptures." They attempted to attach the names of apostles to them, to try and legitimize their work. Yet, these books were in most cases easily discernible from the true apostolic writings due to their content and the circumstances of their origins.
For example, one of the earliest Gnostics was a man by the name of Marcion. This second century teacher attempted to promote various Gnostic doctrines upon Christendom, and even alluded to some of the apostolic writings (perverting them to try and make his case). However, it is interesting that he never once quoted from any Gnostic book. Why is this the case? No doubt because when he was living, the books had not yet been written! As one excellent resource expounds:
To be sure, he edited these books heavily to suit his own purposes, but why didn't he include such works as the Gospel of Thomas or the Gospel of Mary or the Acts of Peter? Marcion was certainly exposed to such ideas, so why didn't he include any Gnostic writings in his list? The most likely inference is that they did not yet exist. And even if some of them did exist, they would not have been regarded as authentic because of their obviously recent vintage. Marcion easily could have edited any Gnostic work for his own purposes, just as he did the New Testament books. Indeed, his job would have been considerably easier, since he would not have had to cut out nearly as much material! The fact that he used only New Testament books for his truncated canon, and mutilated those copies, suggests that even a radical heretic like Marcion knew that these books were already highly regarded. 
Isn't it interesting that Marcion-perhaps the most famous second-century Gnostic-did not even know of the Gnostic scriptures, yet he knew of the New Testament Scriptures? As Green points out:
Marcion was the first person known to us who published a fixed collection of what we would call New Testament books. However, it is very unlikely that he invented the concept of a canon of sacred books. In any case, Tertullian, who wrote an attack on Marcion, accused him of excluding some of the sacred Scriptures of the church, and Marcion himself claims to have "purged" the epistles of Paul and the Gospel of Luke...That suggests that there was some sort of canon before him...It clearly presupposes and frequently refers to a large number of New Testament books, whose authority it assumes. The author knows almost the whole New Testament...And the evidence from Valentinus' Gospel of Truth supports the view that Marcion did not invent the idea of an authoritative list of books: he was selecting from one that was already in existence. 
The Gnostics quoted from the New Testament Scriptures, even when they do not quote from their own scriptures! This shows a familiarity with the New Testament Scriptures, as well as a general acknowledgment of their acceptance and authority by the Christian community. It also demonstrates that the Gnostic scriptures had either not yet been penned, or were in the process of being penned, by the time Marcion lived. Either way, it shows that the Gnostic documents were from a time after the apostolic age, and after the completion of the New Testament canon!
However, consider also the circumstances of the introduction of these books into the world. Remember the context of the early second century church. The Word of God had been given in oral form in the first century, and then was eventually written down. These traditions and these books were to be repeated and read to the disciples throughout the Empire as copies were variously made (Colossians 4:16). The churches of Christ in the world had had the Word in this form, and the text of the New Testament canon had been generally understood by these disciples, for some years. Then, without any reliable or discernible history, a book pops up that claims to have been written by an apostle, and yet which contains several doctrines and teachings which are squarely opposed to the teachings of the apostles which were widely known and accepted. Furthermore, these books were in harmony with tenants of pagan religions which were espoused by the recent Gnostic movement. Is it really any wonder, then, that the early Christians were able to identify the Gnostic works as the forgeries they were?
We have to understand today that the early Christians were not a bunch of bumpkins! They were intelligent, learned, and devoted to the use of reason (Acts 26:25). They went to meticulous care in scrutinizing every book and document that "popped up" during their and age. They found several documents that were clearly non-apostolic in origin. Craig Evans gives us an example of the research done in determining if a work was truly authentic:
A third issue involves the cultural accuracy of the document, in terms of its allusions to contemporary policies or events. This can expose phony documents that claim to have been written earlier than they really were. When we have a writer in the second or third century who's claiming to be recounting something Jesus did, often he doesn't know the correct details. For example, whoever wrote the so-called Gospel of Peter didn't know Jewish burial traditions, corpse impurity issues, and other matters from Jesus' time. He gets exposed by mistakes that he didn't' even realize he had made. 
My friends, when we consider these facts, it should not surprise us that contemporary Christians can make the confident claim that the Gnostic "scriptures" were not of apostolic origin. One excellent book clarifies:
Nag Hammadi, papyri. Collection of more than forty Gnostic documents, unearthed in the mid-1940's near Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt. According to The Da Vinci Code, these are "the earliest Christian records. Troublingly, they do not match up with the gospels in the Bible" (245-246). The Nag Hammadi documents do not "match up with the gospels in the Bible"-that much is true. The documents found at Nag Hammadi are not, however, "the earliest Christian records." The documents in the New Testament were written between AD 40 and 100. Most of the texts at Nag Hammadi were copied between the third and fifth centuries AD. In fact, the oldest document at Nag Hammadi is probably the Gospel of Thomas, which seems to have been written around AD 140-nearly a half-century later than the latest New Testament text! 
These are some of the reasons why the claims put forth by current day promoters of anti-Christian philosophy (i.e., that the church edited the canon of Scripture and wrongfully excluded the Gnostic scriptures which helped paint a more accurate picture of Jesus) are clearly and absolutely false.
What Would Have Happened If The Church Had Tried To Alter The Scriptures?
Finally in this connection, please consider this important factor in our study. What would have happened if someone in the early church had tried to change the Scriptures? What would have been the response of the Christian community, and of the world?
First of all, the change would have been quickly and easily determined by the Christians. My friends, we must remember: the apostolic doctrine existed in oral form throughout the Empire for years before it was written down. The early Christians knew the text of Scripture, and any attempt to altar it would not-and could not-have succeeded. In discussing the fact that the New Testament Scriptures are not forgeries, Harvey Everest makes this point exceedingly well:
If any could or would have forged them, yet it would have been quite impossible to secure for them acceptance and circulation among the churches. (1) It should not be forgotten that the Church existed before the books of the New Testament were written. The Apostles and early evangelists were the first depositaries of the Gospel. The oral Gospel was first preached, received, and treasured up in the memories of individual Christians. It was not till after some years that the sacred teachings were committed to writings. The churches, therefore, first of all, become well acquainted with the facts and requirements of the Gospel, and with the Apostolic method and style. They were well qualified to judge of the genuineness and credibility of what might be presented. (2) It would have been impossible for base men to palm off on the churches forged and spurious books. It would have been impossible to replace the true account with the forged, so suddenly, so quietly, and so perfectly, that the change never excited a suspicion nor left on record a single word of protest. 
Another author recently made the same point in his response to the renowned atheist, Richard Dawkins:
The Church had spread in the years immediately following the crucifixion, as Professor Dawkins cannot deny. By the year 70 AD, say, it was established in a large part of the empire, in such cities as Antioch, Corinth, Alexandria, Rome, Ephesus, Philippi and so on. Those who had known Christ personally on earth would naturally have been held in particular honour by those who had come to believe later through their preaching. The sayings of the apostles, in particular, would have been jealously treasured. How would a man who had never known Christ have been able to write a book, at some point after this date-for this is what our author implies by saying that the gospels were written 'long after' Christ's earthly life-and convinced everyone, in such a great number of churches spread throughout so widely separate cities, that his book was written by an apostle? It would have been morally impossible for such an imposture to succeed. If we put the date of the gospels early, the apostles themselves or their immediate successors would have still been living, and would have pointed out a fraud. If we put the date of the gospels late, the Church would be too widespread for a fraud to be foisted upon it with universal success...Or again, why did not those pagans who were hostile Church deny the authenticity of the four gospels if there was any room for doubt?...Professor Dawkins' claim that the four canonical gospels of the Catholic Church were chosen 'more or less arbitrarily' from a dozen or so possible contenders by a 'council of ecclesiastics' is pure fantasy. Historians know of no time when the Church was uncertain which the true gospels were. None of the early councils of the Church discussed the question, for there was no need to discuss it. 
There is simply no way that someone could somehow "edit" the canon of Scripture and have this go unnoticed! The early Christians-who were firmly dedicated to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostolic doctrine-would quickly and unequivocally stand against such activities.
It must also be pointed out that such an attempt would elicit a powerful response from the pagans and the hostile Jews. These adherents would have been among the first to criticize the church for tampering with the text of Scripture, if such were done. However, we do not find a word in their writings to suggest that this ever took place! Some years ago, in a public debate between a member of the churches of Christ and a Muslim, this topic arose. Our Muslim neighbors have long claimed that the early Christians tampered with the text of Scripture. Notice the gentleman's response to this charge:
I submit this to you: The Jews and Christians were hostile to each other, and yet both of them used the same Old Testament. Any tampering with the Old Testament by one or the other would have been exposed by the other. We have no record of such. Furthermore, all Christians-and I use the word in an accommodative sense-all Christians used the same Greek text. Any alteration or tampering by any particular sect would have been exposed by others. Furthermore, there were a number of "Christians" and Jews who did become Moslems, and these would have exposed the supposed tampering of their former associates, if they could, but there is no record where they even tried. 
The good brother's point is that if any "sect" within Christianity had begun tampering with the Scriptures, and had been trying to edit them in some way, the other "sects" would have quickly pointed out that this was going on! History, indeed, reveals that this did begin to happen! The Gnostics began to "cut out" sections of the New Testament Scriptures that did not agree with their pagan traditions and beliefs. They freely acknowledged what they were doing-and claimed superior revelation as their authority to do so! In other words, by their claims of superior revelation, they acknowledge that the traditional text of the New Testament remained intact-thus showing that the Christians who held to the traditional text of Scripture had not altered it any way. Instead, the Gnostics tried to claim that they were receiving superior knowledge than the apostles of Christ had received. This was simply not true (John 14:26; 16:13). Furthermore, the signs of the apostles clearly demonstrated that what they were proclaiming and writing were indeed from God (Mark 16:17-20; Acts 2:22; Hebrews 2:4; II Corinthians 12:12). The Gnostics, by comparison, could not substantiate their claim that their message was Divinely authorized-and the second and third century Christians called them out on this fact!
So, if some in the early church had tried to change and alter the text of Scripture, such attempts would have failed miserably. Indeed, the "case-in-point" of the Gnostics demonstrates that anyone who attempted to change the Scriptures was exposed powerfully and publicly. As a result, the Gnostics were relegated to antiquity, until recent times.
The claims of our reincarnationist friends-that we cannot trust the Scriptures-that they have been edited and altered by the church-are completely false.
What The Evidence Tells Us About Jesus Christ
So, where does this lead us? We have seen that the claims made by our reincarnationist friends-that the text of Scripture has been altered-are unfounded and not true. We have also seen that the New Testament Scriptures are both genuine and credible, and therefore we need to examine what the evidence shows us about Jesus Christ.
The birth of Christ-as well as countless other important details-were prophesied by the Hebrew prophets. At every event in His life, Jesus was acknowledged with Divine miracle as being from God. The virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18) and the angelic announcement (Luke 2:8-14). Throughout His ministry, there are the miraculous events which confirm His Divine Nature, such as turning the water to wine (John 2:1-11), the healing of the blind man (John 9), the raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11), etc. All of these miracles were done in the full view of witnesses (Acts 2:22), so that the knowledge of Christ was evident in many areas (Luke 24:19-24).
When we look at the events surrounding the death of Christ, we see further miraculous confirmation of His Divine Nature. For example, consider the darkness that covered the Earth.
Matthew 27:45- Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.
Pagan historians make mention of this amazing event. One of them, a man by the name of Thallus, who wrote around A.D. 52, and was quoted by a Christian apologist named Juilius Africanus in about 221 A.D, makes this comment:
On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.
Another pagan historian, named Dionysius the Areopagite, discusses this darkness. Commentator Gill comments:
Dionysius the Areopagite, then an Heathen, saw it in Egypt; and said:
"either the, divine being suffers, or suffers with him that suffers, or the frame of the world is dissolving.
The Mayans and the Aztec civilizations also contain written references to the terrible darkness and horrible earthquakes which transpired when Christ died on the Cross. Don Mariano Fernandez de Echevarria y Veytia wrote a two volume work entitled Historia Antigua de Mexico. He chronicles:
These natives indicate another singular event in their histories with great exactness, which later served them as a fixed era for their chronological calculations. They say that 166 years after the correction of their calendar, at the beginning of the year that was indicated with the hieroglyph of the House in the number ten, being a full moon, the sun was eclipsed at midday, the solar body being totally covered, such that the earth became darkened so much that the stars appeared and it seemed like light night, and at the same time an earthquake was felt as horrible as they had ever experienced, because the stones crashing against one another were broken into pieces, and the earth opened up in many parts...Following these calculations, and adjusted to the comparison of the tables, this event should be placed in the year 4066 of the world, which was indicated with this character as can be seen in the tables, and precisely 166 after the adjustment of the calendar; and because of the circumstances surrounding this eclipse and earthquake, it was impossible for it to be any other than that which was observed at the death of Jesus Christ our Lord, having suffered it in the thirty-third year of his age, and so it seems that the incarnation of the Word should be placed in the year 4034 of the world, which the Indians indicated with the same hieroglyph of the House in the number 4, and I have noted it that way in the tables, and with this calculation following the chronological order they observed, counting the years from one memorable event to another with the assignment of the hieroglyph of the year in which they fell, I have been able to coordinate it perfectly with our years in the year 1519, in which Cortez landed at Veracruz, as will be seen in the discourse of this history. 
Consider also the resurrection of the saints that took place at the time of Christ's death:
Matthew 27:51-53- Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
For years, skeptics mocked this account. They claimed that there is no other mention of this resurrection taking place in the ancient archives of history. To these folks, I point out two things. First of all, this resurrection did take place, whether or not any other corroborating testimony is found. How do I know this? Very simply, if it is the case that the Bible is the Word of God, and if it is the case that the Bible teaches this resurrection happened, then this resurrection happened! It is the case that the Bible is the Word of God (see previous chapter), and it is the case that the Bible teaches that this resurrection took place. Therefore, this resurrection took place! End of story! Secondly, however, we are blessed to have plenty of extra-biblical evidence regarding this event. Famed Christian apologist Michael Licona explains:
A number of sources have reported that these were real persons who were raised by Jesus. Ignatius speaks of the prophets raised by Jesus (To The Magnesians 9:2). Quadratus (117-138) reported that they existed a considerable time and some even still lived (Ecclesiastical History 4.3.2). Acts of Pilate 17:1 says Jesus raised Simeon and his two sons, that their tombs could still be seen opened, that they were alive and dwelling in Arimathea, and that people had gone and talked with them 
Finally, we could investigate the amazing fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was the resurrection of Christ that the apostle Paul declared was the culminating evidence of Jesus' Divine Sonship (Romans 1:4). It is the resurrection of Christ from the grave that is the assurance of our resurrection one day (I Corinthians 15:50-58; Philippians 3:20-21). However, as to be expected, many of our reincarnationist friends deny the resurrection of Christ from the grave. Therefore, it is essential to take a moment and examine the evidences for His resurrection, as well as carefully consider the arguments that have been rallied against it.
The Solid Eyewitness Accounts
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is based upon solid eyewitness accounts. Please carefully read and consider the following Scriptures:
Acts 2:32- This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
Acts 10:39-43- And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins."
Acts 13:29-32- Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. And we declare to you glad tidings--that promise which was made to the fathers.
I Corinthians 15:1-8- Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
II Peter 1:16- For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
The resurrection of Christ is based upon multiple eyewitness accounts. It was not a "cunningly devised fable." It was a remarkable event of history that shook the very powers of Earth, and continue to influence the entire rise and fall of nations even now. In His death, burial, and resurrection, the Lord Jesus defeated the powers of darkness (Colossians 2:14-15; II Corinthians 4:14-21). Furthermore, the sincerity and love of the apostles in promoting and preaching Christ is seen in what they were willing to suffer for what they had witnessed. History documents that the apostles all suffered terrible persecution for their testimony, and all of them (with the exception of the apostle John) died the death of a martyr. Their blood forever seals their testimony!
Let us now turn to examining some of the arguments that are often raised against the resurrection of Christ.
Maybe The Disciples Stole The Body
The oldest attempt to explain away the resurrection of Christ deals with the belief that the disciples of Jesus stole His body. Notice what Matthew's account reports:
Matthew 28:11-15- Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, "Tell them, 'His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.' And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will appease him and make you secure." So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
There are several people in our world today who still subscribe to this belief. For example, the recent book, The Jesus Family Tomb, made headlines as it proclaimed that the tomb of Jesus Christ had been found-right along with His body! This outrageous "documentary" tried to claim that the disciples of Christ had stolen His body from the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, and then placed it in a hidden "family" sepulcher. It, along with many other conspiracy theories regarding the resurrection of Christ, starts from the premise that the disciples stole the body of the Lord.
So, how about it? Could the disciples have stolen the body of Christ? The answer is a very definite "no." Consider the following facts.
First, the disciples of Christ could not have stolen His body, even if they wanted to. Remember that Jesus' tomb was protected by Roman guards to ensure that no one could steal the body (Matthew 27:65). Ralph Muncaster tells us about these guards:
The Roman guard would have consisted of 16 soldiers for an important political prisoner like Jesus. These guards were typically arranged four on each side of whatever they were to protect. At night, four guards would have been placed directly in front of the entrance to the tomb, with the other 12 sleeping "face in" in a semicircle in front of the four that were at watch. Guards slept in shifts so that there would always be a minimum of four on watch at a time. As noted earlier any guard who deserted his post or fell asleep would face crucifixion. 
Some have attempted to claim that the "guard story" was later added by the Christians to the resurrection accounts. It has already been demonstrated that any attempts to alter the Bible text by anyone would have resulted in dismal failure. Yet I believe the words of William Lane Craig offer further insight into this subject:
"Think about the claims and counterclaims about the resurrection that went back and forth between the Jews and Christians in the first century. "The initial Christian proclamation was, 'Jesus is risen.' The Jews responded, 'The disciples stole his body.' To this Christians said, 'Ah, but the guards at the tomb would have prevented such a theft.' The Jews responded, 'Oh, but the guards at the tomb fell asleep.' To that the Christians replied, 'No, the Jews bribed the guards to say they fell asleep. "Now, if there had not been any guards, the exchange would have gone like this: In response to the claim Jesus is risen, the Jews would say, 'No, the disciples stole his body.' Christians would reply, 'But the guards would have prevented the theft.' Then the Jewish response would have been, 'What guards? You're crazy! There were no guards!' Yet history tells us that's not what the Jews said. "This suggests the guards really were historical and that the Jews knew it, which is why they had to invent the absurd story about the guards having been asleep while the disciples took the body. 
The presence of the guards at the tomb ensures that the disciples did not steal the body.
Is it possible the guards fell asleep? First of all, Roman guards faced the death penalty for such a serious dereliction of duty. They did not fall asleep! Second, even if some of the guards had fallen asleep, all of them would not-especially at the same time! Third, if the guards had fallen asleep, they would have been awaked by the sound of the stone being rolled away from the tomb. Fourth, if the guards had been asleep, how would they have known it was the disciples who stole the body? If they had been asleep, they could not have identified the perpetrators! Fifth, assuming that all of the guards fell asleep-even knowing the serious consequences of such an action-and assuming that the guards were not awakened by the sound of the tomb being uncovered-and if somehow in their slumbering state they could have somehow positively identified the apostles as the thieves-if somehow all of this could be accounted for and it could be held up that the disciples stole the body-why didn't the nation of Rome go after the apostles of Christ for such a serious violation? I have never understood how the Roman government would just sit by while such a crime took place, if indeed they believed the disciples had stolen the body. The Romans had already allowed the Master of these disciples to be crucified; is it logical to believe that they would just sit idly by and allow His apostles to get away with stealing the body from the tomb and thereby begin such a powerful religious movement? My friends, it simply does not add up. There is no possible way that the disciples could have stolen the body of Christ, even if they had wanted to.
Sometimes it is suggested that perhaps the disciples of Christ stole His body before His tomb was secured by the guards. It is often alleged that there was a whole day before the guards were placed at the tomb. Usually, the Gospel of Matthew is invoked to provide the proof for this allegation:
Matthew 27:62- On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate,
However, the alleged difficulty is removed when we consider the Jewish reckoning of time. Christ was crucified on Friday, which was also known as the Day of Preparation (the day before the Sabbath-Saturday). The Jews reckoning of time was from sundown to sundown (6:00-6:00 p.m.). Christ died at about three o'clock p.m. on Friday (Matthew 27:45-50). The Jews went to request the body of Jesus after the Day of Preparation, between what we would call Friday evening and Saturday morning (Matthew 27:57-61). An entire day did not pass between these two events; rather, only a few hours had!
Yet consider further. First of all, it is highly unlikely that the Jews would have left the body of Jesus completely unguarded before they went to the Roman authorities; for they suspected the possibility that the disciples might take the body (Matthew 27:64). Second, Pilate would have made sure that the body of Jesus was still in the tomb when he stationed the guards there-for he had been "tipped off" to the suspicion of the Jewish leaders regarding the possibility that the disciples might steal it. Third, the guards would definitely have made sure that the body was still in the tomb. Remember, their necks were on the line! Fourth, if there had been the slightest possibility that the body of Jesus was not there when the guards arrived, the story would not have been, "The disciples stole the body while the guards slept." It would have been, "The disciples stole the body before the guards got there!" Fifth, we must remember-it was not just the presence of the empty tomb that convinced the apostles and early Christians of the resurrection; it was the eyewitness accounts of the risen Lord. The disciples of Christ could not have stolen the body of Christ, even if they had wanted to.
Further, there is no way that the disciples would have stolen the body of Christ, even if they could have! Think about the emotional state of the disciples at the time of the Resurrection. They were devastated, heart-broken, and defeated. What is more, they were dealing with their terrible guilt. The One they believed to be the Messiah had been taken by a lawless mob and crucified. The One they had followed for three years-their Lord-their Master-their closest Friend-had been taken-and they had deserted Him. My friends, when we consider these facts, it becomes very clear that these disciples were in no shape to take on the Roman Empire! As one author has so eloquently elaborated:
Now it is impossible in the highest degree that the Apostles could have preached and written as they did unless they were absolutely sincere and under deep conviction of the truth of what they preached. They had instantaneously changed from craven runaways to bold, Spirit-filled proclaimers of Christ and the resurrection. Such preaching cost them the loss of their possessions, intense persecution, and finally the loss of their lives, but they kept preaching as long as strength permitted. 
We could consider the fact that these apostles were transformed to such a degree that they eventually laid down their lives for their Lord. What had brought about this transformation? What had caused them to do such an "about-face?" The only thing that accounts for such a drastic change is the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
The Swoon Theory
Another interesting theory that has developed in recent centuries has been the "swoon theory." This is the idea that perhaps Jesus did not really die on the Cross; perhaps He just passed out, or "swooned," and then later revived in the tomb. Appearing to His disciples, they were somehow convinced that He had risen from the grave. Is this is a viable alternative to the Resurrection?
First, the Romans who executed Christ were professionals. They knew how to kill a man. They had been crucifying people for centuries. Second, the guards took a speak and pierced Jesus' side, ensuring His death (John 19:34). Third, even if Jesus somehow had passed out and the Romans were too ignorant to tell the difference between a man who was asleep and a dead man, how did Jesus-whenever He revived-move that huge stone that blocked the tomb He was in-especially in His weakened, crucified state? Fourth, how did Jesus then somehow make it past the Roman guards without their noticing? Fifth, how did Jesus then make it back to His disciples-having been scourged, beaten, crucified, and presumed dead? Sixth, how did Jesus then convince the apostles that He was actually risen from the grave and not just a guy who got lucky by cheating death?
Of course, most of this is really beside the point. When one really understands the brutality of crucifixion, and the experience and expertise of the Romans in administering it, he realizes the swoon theory is sheer nonsense. People did not survive crucifixion! Medical testimony on this matter is very clear:
Clearly, the weight of historical and medical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted and supports the traditional view that the spear, thrust between his right rib, probably perforated not only the right lung but also the pericardium and heart and thereby ensured his death. Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge. 
Having established the identity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God by miraculous attestation, we are able to understand that He and His Book-the Bible-are uniquely qualified to be able to teach us the truth about the topic of reincarnation. In our next chapter, we will carefully examine what the Bible teaches us regarding the subject of reincarnation.
What Christ And The Bible Teach About Reincarnation
We come now to examine the crux of the matter. Having established that the Bible is the Word of God, we must now carefully examine what it teaches regarding the doctrine of reincarnation. At the onset, it must be kept in mind that reincarnation was the prevailing belief and motivating philosophy of life of most of the pagan nations that surrounded the Jews and the Christians. As such, let's notice several problems with the Bible and the doctrine of reincarnation which demonstrate that reincarnation is a false doctrine.
Problem One: Sheol And Hades-The Realm Of The Dead
The Bible teaches that there is a realm of departed spirits, known in the Old Testament as "Sheol" and in the New Testament as "Hades." There are constant references to this realm throughout the Old and New Testaments. Many believe that Hades is "the grave." Even more believe that it is a reference to Hell itself. Unfortunately, the King James Version of the Bible has helped fuel this ignorance by mistranslating the word Hades time after time. Gareth Reese has documented this in his commentary on Acts:
The "Intermediate Place Of The Dead" speaks of the place (or state) where a person is between his death and the second coming of Christ. It is, of course, a "disembodied state," since at death the person leaves his body, and the body is buried in a "grave." Each person will receive a resurrection body when the Lord Jesus returns. "Heaven" is the place where God dwells. Here, with God in the midst, is where the redeemed will spend eternity future. "Hell" is the final state of the wicked, their place of punishment after the judgment. The refusal of the King James Version translators to distinguish between the Greek words Gehenna, Haides, and Tartarus has led to much confused theology. 
So, what exactly is Hades? Alexander Campbell enlightens us:
What and where is hades? Is it heaven, or hell, or the grave?...Gehenna (the Greek word for Hell, M.T.) and hades do not represent the same idea. The former is the receptacle of the wicked only, the latter is the receptacle of the spirits or bodies (as the case may be) of all mankind, good and bad. Certain it is, then, that two words so dissimilar ought not to be represented by one and the same English word...The Hebrews, Greeks and Romans located the souls of all the dead under the ground. Among the Romans, Infernus contained both Elysium and Tartarus, repositories for all souls-good and bad. Inferi, in the Latin tongue, comprehends all the dead. Among the Jews it sometimes indicates the grave, and is, therefore, equivalent to keber, in their tongue, sepulcher. Still, it most frequently means something deeper than the grave, the profound abyss where souls abide. Numerous examples may be found in Jewish writings...The contrasts here are most sublimely beautiful. In this place, certainly, hades descends below the Grave...That souls separated from their bodies (not merely animal souls-and dead bodies-sometimes in Hebrew called nepesh) are the proper inhabitants of hades, may be learned from other passages...
Hades is the realm of departed spirits, and corresponds to the Hebrew word "Sheol." This is an important fact to remember. Guy N. Woods helps us understand this similarity between these words:
The Hebrew Old Testament was translated into Greek earlier than the beginning of the Christian era. This translation, known as the Septuagint, was started about 285 B.C., at which time the Pentateuch was translated, and subsequently, the remainder of the sacred volume. The Septuagint Version is an extremely valuable one ofr many reasons. It bears testimony to the text of the Old Testament far antedating the Christian religion. It establishes renderings which cannot be ascribed to the prejudicial leanings of those whose position it supports. It was the Old Testament which Christ and the apostles used, and from which the sacred writers of the New Testament, for the most part, derived their quotations. Sixty-five times the Septuagint translators met with the word Sheol in the text they were rendering. Not once did they render it gehenna, the lake of fire, not one time did they translate it by mnema, grave; sixty-one times they translated it Hades, a word which occurs eleven times in the New Testament ext. It follows, therefore, that Hades, in Greek, is the exact equivalent of Sheol, in Hebrew. But, Sheol, in Hebrew, designates the realm of disembodied spirits. Such, then, is the significance of Hades in the Greek text....Hades is the realm of disembodied spirits because, (1) it is the rendering of the Hebrew Sheol which designates such a place in the Old Testament Scriptures. (2) Such is the meaning assigned by the classical Greek dictionaries which reflect its usage by the Greeks. 
Contrary to popular belief, man is not reincarnated when he dies. Instead, his spirit goes to a "waiting place" known as Hades. This realm is divided into two sections: a place of comfort, and a place of torment. The story in Luke 16:19-31.  This realm is temporary in nature, and will be "emptied out" when Christ returns to the world and the resurrection of the dead occurs. Please carefully observe how the apostle John confirms this:
Revelation 20:12-15- And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
The Bible is very clear: those who die go to the realm of Sheol.
Special Note About "Demons"
The Bible talks a great deal about "demons." It is often alleged that these are fallen angels, who at one time rebelled against Heaven. It is true that there are fallen angels who have rebelled against God (cf. II Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Job 4:18; Revelation 12:4-12). However, I do not believe these fallen angels are biblically identifiable with demons. Famous scholar, Alexander Campbell, writing of the Greek word translated "demon," describes how this word was used by ancient peoples before, during, and after the time of Christ. He points out:
We have, from a careful survey of the history of the term demon, concluded that the demons of Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity were the ghosts of dead men. But we build not only upon the definition of the term, nor on its philological history; but upon the following seven pillars:-- 1. All the Pagan authors of note, whose works have survived the wreck of ages, affirm the opinion that demons were the spirits or ghosts of dead men. From Hesiod down to the more polished Celsus, their historians, poets, and philosophers occasionally express this opinion. 2. The Jewish historians, Josephus and Philo, also avow this conviction. Josephus says, "Demons are the spirits of wicked men, who enter into living men and destroy them, unless they are so happy as to meet with speedy relief.3 Philo says, "The souls of dead men are called demons." 3. The Christian Fathers, Justin Martyr, Ireneus, Origen, &c. depose to the same effect. Justin, when arguing for a future state, alleges, "Those who are seized and tormented by the souls of the dead, whom all call demons, and madmen."4 Lardner, after examining with the most laborious care the works of these, and all the Fathers of the first two centuries, says, "The notion of demons, or the souls of dead men, having power over living men, was universally prevalent among the heathen of these times, and believed by many Christians.5 4. The Evangelists and Apostles of Jesus Christ so understood the matter. As this is a very important, and of itself a sufficient pillar on which to rest our edifice, we shall be at more pains to illustrate and enforce it. We shall first state the philological law or canon of criticism, on the generality and truth of which all our dictionaries, grammars, and translations are formed. Every word not specially explained  or defined in a particular sense, by any standard writer of any particular age and country, is to be taken and applied in the current or commonly received signification of that country and age in which the writer lived and wrote. If this canon of translation and of criticism be denied, then we affirm there is no value in dictionaries, nor in the acquisition of ancient languages in which any book may be written; nor is there any confidence in any translation of any ancient work, sacred or profane: for they are all made upon the assumption of the truth of this law. 
Campbell's research indicates that demons were the spirits of the wicked dead. Other scholarly researchers have borne out this conclusion. For example, consider the words of Peter Bolt:
Although it would be a rare reader today who would equate the 'demons' exorcised by Jesus with ghosts, i.e., spirits of deceased human beings who still exert an influence upon the living, many ancient readers of the Gospels would have done so automatically...To sum up the discussion thus far: it can be argued that the continued presence of the connection between the daimons and the dead in the philosophical literature, alongside the more elaborate emergent daimoniology, may indicate that 'even these circles to had to orientate themselves by popular ideas', despite combating, or seek to move beyond them...For my purposes, the dating question is not crucial, since the testimony of the papyri and the curse tables combine to show that the connection between the daimons and the dead was made across the several centuries on either side of the NT period...Many of the spells in the Magical papyri show us that the daimons manipulated by the magicians were patently connected to the spirits of the dead...Several passages in Josephus assume the connection between the daimons and the dead. To provide but one example, Josephus says that, despite its tendency to kill the one attempting to pluck it, the plant rue possesses one highly-prized value:... "for the so-called daimons-in other words, the spirits of wicked men which enter the living and kill them unless aid is forthcoming-are promptly expelled by this root, if merely applied to the patients." Here the daimons are defined in terms of the ghosts of the wicked, bent on human destruction. 
Also, consider that the Scriptures bear out this definition as well. For example, the "gods" the people of Israel worshipped in Numbers 25:2 are called "demons" in Deuteronomy 32:17. Later, the psalmist, referring back to this incident, refers to these spirits as "the dead" (Psalm 106:28). These demonic spirits are under the control of Satan (Matthew 12:24), and are also identified in the Bible as "unclean spirits." These "unclean spirits" want to torment and destroy men (Matthew 12:43-45). Why these spirits were not sent to Hades is beyond my understanding, although I know that they are in terror of being sent there (cf. Luke 8:31). It is also clear that they understand that their fate is sealed (Matthew 8:29).
I feel it is also important to point out that demonic spirits, when they would possesses a person (i.e., take control of a person against his will), could only be cast out by miraculous gifts (Mark 16:17-20). Since miraculous gifts were done away with at the time of the completion and circulation of the New Testament Scriptures (I Corinthians 13:8-10), it seems that demon possession does not occur today. However, that does not mean that a person cannot (through willful sin that a person refuses to repent of) "open the door" for Satan and his demons to influence a man (cf. Acts 5:1-3; John 13:1-3, I Timothy 4:1; Ephesians 4:26-27). As such, demonic subjection and bondage may occur, even if flat out demon possession doesn't.
All of this being said, it remains clear that a person does not "re-incarnate" into another body after death.
Problem Two: The Resurrection Of Christ And His Teaching About The General Resurrection Make It Clear That Reincarnation Is False
While in the world, Jesus told us these powerful worlds:
John 5:28-29- Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth-- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
Christ is clear that when He comes again, there will be a great resurrection of all the dead. The Bible makes it clear that our hope as Christians is tied into the resurrection of the dead, not into the reincarnation of the dead. We are told that our hope lies in Heaven (Colossians 1:5), and that we "eagerly wait" for the coming of the Lord and the resurrection of the body (Philippians 3:20-21). Paul wants us to understand that this resurrection of the body is where our hope lies (I Corinthians 15:50-58), and the apostle John points out that everyone who has this hope lying within him purifies himself (I John 3:1-3). The apostle Paul makes it clear that there is one body per person, and that that one body will be resurrected at the end of time (I Corinthians 15:42-44). This would be meaningless if we have an unlimited supply of bodies that we "transmigrate" into at the point of death. Hank Hanegraaff explains it well:
Furthermore, the biblical teaching of one body per person demonstrates that the gulf between reincarnation and resurrection can never be bridged. Rather than transmigration of our souls into different bodies, the apostle Paul explains that Christ "will transform our lowly bodies" (Philippians 3:21, emphasis added). He explicitly says that the body that dies is the very body that rises. "The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in honor; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body" (I Corinthians 15:42-44; emphasis added). 
The evidence is clear that Jesus arose from the dead (see chapter five), and that His apostles were inspired by the Holy Spirit in the things which they proclaimed (I Corinthians 2:11-13, II Peter 1:19-21). Therefore, the resurrection of Christ (along with the subsequent inspired teaching regarding the resurrection of the dead at the end of time) demonstrates that reincarnation is a false doctrine. Many years ago, a Gospel preacher named V.E. Howard expounded upon this:
The resurrections of both Testaments clearly refute the doctrine of reincarnation. There are not a great many resurrections mentioned in the Bible, but the ones that are portrayed therein are very significant. They have a real bearing upon the subject under current consideration. We read about the resurrection of the widow's son, who lived in Zarephath and who befriended Jehovah's great prophet Elisha, during a great famine. This resurrection is treated by the sacred scribe in I Kings 17. When the Lord's prophet raised the boy from the dead he came back as the son of the widow. He did not come back with another body. He did not come back in another form. He did not come back as the son of another woman, but as the son of the mother who had given him up. He certainly did not come back as an animal, as transmigration holds possible under certain circumstances. He did not come back as an inanimate object. He came back as the same person he was before his youthful death. We read in 1 Kings 4 of the raising of the son of the couple of Shunem who greatly aided Elisha with the finest of Hebrew hospitality in their Shunammite home...In Mark 5 the daughter of Jairus was raised from the dead by the Lord Himself. She did not come back as a baby. She did not come back as an old woman ready for the grave...In Luke 7 we read about the resurrection of the widow's son in Nain....In John, chapter 11, we have the raising of Lazarus from the grave....Lazarus came back as Lazarus...In Acts chapter 9, the apostle Peter raised Dorcas from the dead...She came back as the same woman she was before her serious sickness and her untimely death. In Acts, chapter 20, Paul raised Eutychus from the dead...He came back as the same certain young man who fell from the third loft while Paul's long sermon was in progress in Troas. The Bible tells of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke and John 20. When Jesus came back from the dead he came back as Jesus. He did not come back as another person, completely different form the one who had come from the Palace of the Universe to seek and save man from his sins....The gospel is not the death, burial, and REINCARNATION of Jesus; the gospel is the death, burial and RESURRECTION of Jesus. The gospel of Christ fully supports the doctrine of the resurrection; but the gospel fully and thoroughly refutes the absurd theory of reincarnation. 
We Only Experience Physical Death Once
Our reincarnationist friends often claim that we experience multiple deaths and rebirths. Yet the Bible is very clear that man only does a physical death once:
Hebrews 9:27- And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
The word "once" is very important here. Please consider the words of Gareth Reese on this text of Scripture:
The whole idea (an idea held by many ancients as well as moderns) of numerous re-incarnations for men is flatly contradicted by what is here written in Hebrews. Men live and die but once! The "once-for-all" (hapax) so often used of Christ's sacrifice is here used of man's physical death. There is a finality about it that is not disputable. (Cases of resurrection, such as Lazaurs and Dorcas, differ from re-incarnation. They came back in the same bodies. In re-incarnation, it's a different body, and a different life). (Because of recent writing on "out of body experiences," some have asked, "What about OBE's? Do they not die twice (or more)? Are not these experiences a contradiction of what is here written in Hebrews?" Perhaps the problem is in our definition of death. When a person experiences what is called an "out of the body experience," maybe it is not proper to say he has "died." Perhaps he was only in the process of dying, but that process was not completed.) We understand the Scriptures to teach that physical death ends mean's opportunities to alter his circumstances and destiny. He does not get a second chance, nor a second life. 
The word "once" carries with it the idea of "once-and ONLY once." Hence, we do not die physically many times; we die only once. The Bible is very clear along these lines.
Beloved, many other problems with the theory of reincarnation could be cited here. However, these are sufficient to demonstrate that reincarnation is a false doctrine-and we would be very misguided to accept it.
We have covered much ground in this book. I hope that this study has been enlightening to you, and that you reject reincarnation for the dangerous worldview it is. Many people in our country continue to believe in this philosophy, and it drastically changes the way they live. One author, while discussing the popularity of reincarnation on American society, says it like this:
One of the questions that comes to our minds as we are introduced to this subject is, "Why would any thinking modern person be tempted to believe in reincarnation?" As you remember from statistics, reincarnation belief is on the rise...After my brief conversation on the airplane, I wondered, Why is this belief growing? We know it is seeping into every corner of our society, but the only reason we don't know how fast it's growing is because we can't get our arms around it. There is no way to track it. However, people are pulled in because it's what they believe is a wonderful way to deal with life. First, it's an escape from death. The Bible says that many people go through life in fear because they are in bondage to death. If you believed in reincarnation, you wouldn't have to worry about dying. Reincarnation is Satan's major lie to deal with the problem of death. Remember Satan told Eve in the Garden? "You will not surely die" (Gen. 3:4). The reincarnationist believes you'll check out of this life and start over in a new life. Do we face the fact that death is a reality? That's the question in the heart of every human being, whether or not the person wants to admit it. George Bernard Shaw wrote with a wry wit, "The statistics on death are quite impressive. One out of one people die."...Reincarnation purports to take the fear out of death. Next, reincarnation provides an excuse for sin. It is appealing to a lot of people because it allows them to continue living the way they are without ever having to deal with their sin and helplessness before God. Why should you feel personally accountable if you have the opportunity to go around one more time, trying to get it right? For instance, if a reincarnationist is pursuing an immoral lifestyle, he or she doesn't have to deal with the consequences because it's not his or her fault. It is the result of something that happened in the past, and this person is just living out his or her karma. I have heard the most bizarre things about how movie stars who are into reincarnation explain their adulterous affairs. They say they were really married in a past life to the person with whom they are committing adultery. Now the past-life husband (or wife) has migrated into their present lover's body, so they are having a reunion from a past-life relationship. (How do they celebrate wedding anniversaries? "We just had our twenty-fifth hundredth anniversary!") Third, reincarnation supposedly has a great explanation for evil. The principle of karma answers the question of suffering and evil in each person's life. Everyone is suffering what he or she deserves. If you are suffering, it is because you did something worthy of suffering when you lived before. This doesn't solve the problem of why people suffer...The reincarnation issue is dangerous because it doesn't have the answer to suffering, evil, or life after death. It leaves a person with little hope for today or the future. 
My friends, what we believe about death will drastically impact the way that we live. As such, it is important that we have a philosophy of life that is accurate. Having demonstrated that God exists, that the Bible is His Word, and that Jesus Christ is His Son, let me encourage you to now commit your soul and your life to Him Who alone can save you from sin and death. Our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), and if we die in that state, we will be separated from God for all eternity (Matthew 25:41-46). Yet, there is Good News! God sent His Son to this world to pay the price for all of our sins. Through His atoning death, burial, and resurrection three days later, we can have the victory (I Corinthians 15:1-8). Jesus established His church with His blood (Acts 20:28), and wants you to be a part of it (Ezekiel 18:23). What is the church? It is His family (I Timothy 3:15), and He will add you to it when you are saved from sin (Acts 2:47). The Bible tells believers what they need to do to be saved:
Acts 2:37-38- Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Why not obey God's plan of salvation today? The churches of Christ are ready and eager to assist you. Be buried with Christ in baptism today! Then, as a new Christian, you will have the joy of knowing the God for which you were made (Ephesians 1:3-11; Acts 17:26-28; Deuteronomy 32:8-9), as you live as a pilgrim in this world and fight the good fight of faith (Ephesians 6:10-18; Hebrews 11:13-16), and eagerly look forward to the Second Coming of Christ (Hebrews 9:27-28) and the promise of Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). May God richly bless you!
 Norman Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia Of Christian Apologetics, 638; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books
 Cleon L. Rogers III and Cleon L. Rogers Jr., The New Linguistic And Exegetical Key To The Greek New Testament, 575; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing House
 Kenneth Himma, quoted in John Ashton and Michael Westacottt, The Big Argument: Does God Exist? Twenty-Four Scholars Explore How Science, Archaeology, and Philosophy Haven't Disproved God, 39; Green Forest, AR; Master Books
 Norman Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia Of Christian Apologetics, 123; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books
 Peter Kreeft, quoted in Lee Strobel, The Case For Faith: A Journalist Investigates The Toughest Objections To Christianity, 35; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing House
 Doug Powell, Holman QuickSource Guide To Christian Apologetics: A Clear And Complete Overview, 29-32; Nashville, TN; Holman Reference
 John Blanchard, Does God Believe In Atheists? 251-252; Auburn, MA; Evangelical Press
 Antony Flew, There Is A God: How The World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, 89, 155; New York, NY; HarperCollins Publications
 Jeff Vines, Dinner With Skeptics; Defending God In A World That Makes No Sense, 15-18; College Press Publishing Company
 M. Nick Keehus, Reasoning About God Man & Evil: A Dialogue In Christian Apologetics, 118-120; Fountain Valley, CA; Joy Publishing
 John Blanchard, Does God Believe In Atheists? 26; Auburn, MA; Evangelical Press
 Blanchard, ibid., 489-490
 Thomas Seals, Proverbs: Wisdom For All Ages, 30; Abilene, TX; Quality Productions
 The Secret Book of John, quoted in The Other Bible, 60; San Francisco, CA; HarperSanFrancisco
 The following quotations are from David Bercot, A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs: A Reference Guide To More Than 700 Topics Discussed By The Early Church Fathers, 552-553; Peabody, Massachusetts; Hendrickson Publishers
 Erwin W. Lutzer & John F. DeVries, Satan's Evangelistic Strategy For This NEW AGE, 73-74; Wheaton, Illinois; Victor Books; 1989
 Professor D.R. Dungan, Hermeneutics: A Text-Book, 195-203; Delight, Arkansas; Gospel Light Publishing Company
 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, When Critics Ask, 226; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books
 Norman Geisler and J. Yutaka Amano, The Reincarnation Sensation, 134-135; Wheaton, Illinois; Tyndale House Publishers, Inc
 George Dehoff, Alleged Bible Contradictions, 262-263; Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Dehoff Publications
 A. Robert Smith, Edgar Cayce-My Life As A Seer: The Lost Memoirs-The Visions, The Prophecies, And Life Of The Twentieth Century's Leading Psychic As Told In His Own Words, 176-178; New York, NY; St. Martin's Paperbacks
 Dinesh D'Souza, Life After Death: The Evidence, 58-59; Washington, DC; Regnery Publishing Company
 Brian Weiss, Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story Of A Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives, 30-31; New York, NY; Fireside Books
 Weiss, ibid. 54
 Weiss, ibid. 159
 Bruce and Andrea Leininger with Ken Gross, Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation Of A World War II Fighter Pilot, 11; New York, NY; Grand Central Publishing
 Leininger, ibid. 68-69
 Leininger, 157-158
 Fredrick Lenz, Lifetimes: True Accounts Of Reincarnation, 16; New York, NY; Ballantine Books
D'Souza, ibid. 56-57
 David G. Benner & Peter C. Hill, Baker Encyclopedia Of Psychology & Counseling-Second Edition, 594-596; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books
 Tom Shroder, Old Souls: Compelling Evidence From Children Who Remember Past Lives, 19-20; New York, NY; Simon & Schuster Paperbacks
 Norman Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia Of Christian Apologetics, 641; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books
 Ian Stevenson, Twenty Cases Suggestive Of Reincarnation, 341-342; Charlottesville and London; University Of Virginia Press
 Weiss, ibid. 35-36
 Leininger, ibid. xii-xiii
 Walter Martin, Jill Martin Rische, Kurt Van Gorden, The Kingdom Of The Occult, 180; Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers
 Dave Hunt, Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction Of The World And Church, 161-162; 164; 229; Eugene, Oregon; Harvest House Publishers
 Weiss, ibid. 53
 Weiss, ibid. 69
 Weiss, ibid. 171-172
 Stevenson, ibid. ix-x
 Stevenson, ibid. 332
 Stevenson, ibid. 333
 Stevenson, ibid. 334
 Benner and Hill, ibid. 737
 Wayne Jackson, The Human Body: Accident Or Design? 52-57; Stockton, CA; Courier Publications
 Stevenson, ibid. 339
 Stevenson, ibid. 349-350
 Stevenson, ibid. 371
 Stevenson, ibid. 376-377
 Scott Huse, The Collapse Of Evolution, 152-153; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books.
 Bert Thompson, The Scientific Case For Creation, 41-42; Montogmery, Alabama; Apologetics Press
 George Wald, as quoted in Dr. Joe White and Dr. Nicholas Comninellis, Darwin's Demise: Why Evolution Can't Take The Heat, 137-138; Green Forest, AR; Master Books
 Vance Ferrell, The Evolution Handbook, 229; Altamont, TN: Evolution Facts, Inc.
 Brad Harrub, Convicted: A Scientist Examines The Evidence For Christianity, 224-225; Brentwood, TN; Focus Press
 Sir Fred Hoyle and Shandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution From Space, 176; New York, NY; Simon & Schuster
 Ralph Muncaster, Why Are Scientists Turning To God? 26-27; Eugene, Oregon; Harvest House Publishers
 Michael Behe, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge To Evolution, 10; New York, NY; Free Press
 Paul Ferguson, God And The Atheist: A Lawyer Assesses The Evidence For The Existence Of God, 24-25; Greenville, South Carolina; Ambassador International
 Martin, The Kingdom Of The Occult, op.cit. 254-255
 Martin, ibid. 255
 James Garlow and Keith Wall, Heaven And The Afterlife, 236; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Bethany House Publishers; 2009. The authors fail to make a distinction between demonization and possession. In possession, a demon is able to force its' way into a person, whereas in demonization a person (either directly or indirectly) grants Satan and his forces access to the human heart and soul (Acts 5:1-4; John 13:1-2; Ephesians 4:26-27).
 Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, The Gathering Storm, 758-759; New York, NY; A Tom Doherty Associates Book
 Steve Russo, What's The Deal With Wicca? A Deeper Look Into The Dark Side Of Today's Witchcraft, 111-112; Bloomington, Minnesota; Bethany House Publishers
 Sir William Anderson, The World's Religions, 142-143; Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdman's Publishing Company
 Paul de Parrie & Mary Pride, Unholy Scarifies Of The New Age, 16-17; Westchester, Illinois; Crossway Books
 Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims Of The Christian Message, 122-123; Nashville, TN; Word Publishing
 Norman Geisler and Ronald M. Books, When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook On Christian Evidences, 241-242; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books
 Hunt, ibid. 229-230
 C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed, 42-43; New York, NY; Harper Collins Publications
 Madasamy Thirumalai, Sharing Your Faith With A Buddhist, 33-34; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Bethany House
 Michael Brown, as quoted in Lee Strobel, The Case For The Real Jesus; A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks On The Identity Of Christ, 225; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishers
 Cleon Rogers II and III, The New Linguistic And Exegetical Key To The Greek New Testament, 584; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing House
 Norman Geisler and William Nix, From God To Us: How We Got Our Bible, 11-15; Chicago; Moody Press
 Rubel Shelly, What Shall We Do With The Bible? 17, Ramer, TN; National Christian Press
 Roy Deaver, quoted by Charles Pugh III, Why I Am A Christian, 42; New Martinsville, WV)
 Wayne Jackson, The Bible On Trial, 59-60; 66-67; Stockton CA; Christian Courier Publications
 Randy Hatchett, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 1333; Nashville, TN: Holman Reference
 Kenny Barfield, The Prophet Motive: Examining The Reliability Of the Biblical Prophets, 31-32; Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company
 James Burton Coffman, The Major Prophets: Ezekiel, 262; Abilene, TX; ACU Press
 Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands A Verdict: Volume One, 274-275; San Bernardino, CA; HERE'S LIFE PUBLISHERS, INC.
 Barfield, ibid. 92-94
 Josh McDowell, Evidence For Christianity: Historical Evidences For The Christian Faith, 237-238; Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson, Inc.
 Wayne Jackson, Reason And Revelation; July, 19997; Montgomery, Alabama; Apologetics Press
 Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia Of Bible Difficulties, 290-291; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing House
 Roy Deaver, Premillennialism: True Or False? 109; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Winkler Publications, Inc.
 Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, A Ready Defense: The Best Of Josh McDowell, 210, 213; Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers
 Charles Pfeifer, Wycliffe Dictionary Of Biblical Archaeology: Features Over 380 Archaeological Sties And Topics Related To The Biblical Lands, 59-60; Peabody, Massachusetts; Hendrickson Publishers
 Jerry Bergman, John Ashton and Michael Westacott, The Big Argument: Does God Exist? 241-246; Green Forest, Arkansas; Master Books
 The Discovery Of Genesis: How The Truths Of Genesis Were Found Hidden In The Chinese Language, 95; St. Louis, Missouri: Concordia Publishing House
 Charles Martin, Flood Legends: Global Clues Of A Common Event, 118-119; Green Forest, AR; Master Books
 Grant Jeffrey, The Signature Of God: Documented Evidence That Proves Beyond Doubt The Bible Is The Inspired Word Of God, 38-40; Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson
 both quoted in The Evidence Bible, compiled by Ray Comfort, pg. 1237; Gainesville, FL; Bridge-Logos Publishers. Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson Publishers
 J.W. McGarvey, Evidences Of Christianity, 75, emphasis added; Indianapolis, Indiana; Faith And Facts Publishers
 James Todd, quoted by W.E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary Of Old Testament Words, 167-168; Old Tappan, New Jersey; Fleming H. Revell Company
 Josh McDowell, Evidence For Christianity: Historical Evidences For The Christian Faith, 60; Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers
 Timothy Paul Jones, Conspiracies And The Cross, 60; Lake Mary, Florida; FrontLine: A Strang Company
 J. Ed Komoszewski, M. James Sawyer, and Daniel B. Wallace, Reinventing Jesus: How Contemporary Skeptics Miss The Real Jesus And Mislead Popular Culture, 127; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Kregel Publications
 Michael Green, The Books The Church Suppressed: Fiction And Truth In The Da Vinci Code, 60-61; Oxford, OX; Monarch Books, emphasis added
 Craig Evans, quoted in Lee Strobel, The Case For The Real Jesus, 32-33; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan
 James L. Garlow with Timothy Paul Jones and April Williams, The DaVinci Codebreaker: An Easy-To-Use Fact Checker, 141; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Bethany House
 Harvey Everest, The Divine Demonstration: A Textbook Of Christian Evidence, 57-58; Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company
 Thomas Crean, O.P., God Is No Delusion: A Refutation of Richard Dawkins, 67-70; San Francisco; Ignatius Press
 Hiram Hutto, The Hutto-El-Dareer Debate On The Christian And Islamic Faiths, 28; Indianapolis, Indiana; Faith And Facts Press
 Donald W. Hemingway and W. David Hemingway, The Bearded White God Of Ancient America: The Legend Of Quetzalcoatl, 50-51; Cedar Fort, Inc.
 Michael R. Licona, Paul Meets Muhammad: A Christian-Muslim Debate On The Resurrection, 168-169; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books
 Ralph Muncaster, Examine The Evidence: Exploring The Case For Christianity, 389; Eugene, Oregon; Harvest House Publishers
 William Lane Craig, quoted in Lee Strobel, The Case For Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation Of The Evidence For Jesus, 212; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing House
 Henry M. Morris II and III, Many Infallible Proofs: Evidences For The Christian Faith, 104; Green Forest, AR; Master Books
 Journal Of The American Medical Association, March 21st 1986
 Gareth Reese, Acts: New Testament History, 135; Joplin, Missouri; College Press
 Alexander Campbell, Life And Death, quoted in Maurice Barnett, Jehovah's Witnesses: Volume 2; Cullman, Alabama; Printing Service: 1975.
 Guy N. Woods, Questions And Answers, Volume One, 265; Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman University; 1976
 Many people believe that this is a literal account of two men, one of whom is named Lazarus. I personally believe that this passage of Scripture is a parable-often defined as "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning." My reasons for believing this are contextual. Back in Luke 15, Jesus begins telling a series of parables to the Jews of His day, in order to instruct them regarding their self-righteous and materialistic attitudes. He begins the parables with the common phrase "a certain man" (cf. Luke 15:11; 16:1; 19). However, whether this "Lazarus" and this "rich man" were real historical figures or not is irrelevant to the very real and very literal lessons which Jesus here teaches us regarding Sheol and the Hadean realm.
 Peter Bolt, quoted in Anthony N.S. Lane, The Unseen World: Christian Reflections On Angels, Demons, And The Heavenly Realm, 75, 88-89, 95-96; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books; 1996.
 Hank Hanegraaff, Resurrection, 127; Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2000
 V.E. Howard, The Occults: Gospel Radio Sermons Vol. 2, 149-153; West Monroe, Louisiana; Central Printers & Publishers; 1976
 Gareth Reese, Commentary On Hebrews, p. 165, footnote 111; Moberly, Missouri; Scripture Exposition Books; 1992.
 David Jerremiah with C.C. Carlson, Invasion Of Other Gods: The Seduction Of New Age Spirituality, 53-55; Dallas, TX; Word Publishing; 1995
· Barfield, Kenny; The Prophet Motive: Examining The Reliability Of the Biblical Prophets; Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company; 1995
· Benner, David G, and Hill, Peter C.; Baker Encyclopedia Of Psychology & Counseling-Second Edition; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books); 1999
· Coffman, James Burton; The Major Prophets: Ezekiel,; Abilene, TX; ACU Press; 1991
· Craig, William Lane, quoted in Lee Strobel, The Case For Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation Of The Evidence For Jesus; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing House; 1998
· Crean, Thomas, O.P; God Is No Delusion: A Refutation of Richard Dawkins; San Francisco; Ignatius Press; 2007
· Evans, Craig; quoted in Lee Strobel, The Case For The Real Jesus, 32-33; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan
· Dehoff, George; Alleged Bible Contradictions; Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Dehoff Publications; 1982
· Dungan, D.R.; Hermeneutics: A Text-Book,; Delight, Arkansas; Gospel Light Publishing Company
· Ferrell, Vance; The Evolution Handbook; Altamont, TN: Evolution Facts, Inc.; 1999
· Ferguson, Paul; God And The Atheist: A Lawyer Assesses The Evidence For The Existence Of God; Greenville, South Carolina; Ambassador International; 2007
· Garlow, James L, with Timothy Paul Jones and April Williams, The DaVinci Codebreaker: An Easy-To-Use Fact Checker; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Bethany House; 2006
· Geisler, Norman; Baker Encyclopedia Of Christian Apologetics; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books; 1999.
· Geisler, Norman, and William Nix, From God To Us: How We Got Our Bible; Chicago; Moody Press; 1974
· Green, Michael; The Books The Church Suppressed: Fiction And Truth In The Da Vinci Code; Oxford, OX; Monarch Books; 2005
· Hatchett, Randy; Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary; Nashville, TN: Holman Reference; 2003
· Hemmingway, Donald W, and W. David Hemingway, The Bearded White God Of Ancient America: The Legend Of Quetzalcoatl, Cedar Fort, Inc.; 2004
· Himna, Kenneth, quoted in John Ashton and Michael Westacottt, The Big Argument: Does God Exist? Twenty-Four Scholars Explore How Science, Archaeology, and Philosophy Haven't Disproved God; Green Forest, AR; Master Books
· Hunt, Dave; Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction Of The World And Church; Eugene, Oregon; Harvest House Publishers; 1998
· Hutto, Hirram; The Hutto-El-Dareer Debate On The Christian And Islamic Faiths; Indianapolis, Indiana; Faith And Facts Press; 1974
· Jackson, Wayne; The Human Body: Accident Or Design?; Stockton, CA; Courier Publications; 2000
· Jones, Timothy Paul; Conspiracies And The Cross; Lake Mary, Florida; FrontLine: A Strang Company; 2008
· Komoszewski J. Ed, M. James Sawyer, and Daniel B. Wallace, Reinventing Jesus: How Contemporary Skeptics Miss The Real Jesus And Mislead Popular Culture,; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Kregel Publications; 2006
· Keehus, M. Nick; Reasoning About God Man & Evil: A Dialogue In Christian Apologetics; Fountain Valley, CA; Joy Publishing; 1997
· Kreeft, Peter; quoted in Lee Strobel; The Case For Faith: A Journalist Investigates The Toughest Objections To Christianity, 35; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing House)
· Lenz, Fredrick; Lifetimes: True Accounts Of Reincarnation,; New York, NY; Ballantine Books; 1979
· Lewis, C.S.; A Grief Observed,; New York, NY; Harper Collins Publications; 1961
· Martin, Charles, Flood Legends: Global Clues Of A Common Event; Green Forest, AR: Master Books; 2009
· Walter Martin, Jill Martin Rische, Kurt Van Gorden, The Kingdom Of The Occult, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2008
· McDowell, Josh; Evidence For Christianity: Historical Evidences For The Christian Faith, 60; Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006
· McDowell, Josh; Evidence That Demands A Verdict: Volume One; San Bernardino, CA; HERE'S LIFE PUBLISHERS, INC; 1979
· Parrie, Paul de & Mary Pride, Unholy Scarifies Of The New Age, 16-17; Westchester, Illinois; Crossway Books; 1988
· Doug Powell, Holman QuickSource Guide To Christian Apologetics: A Clear And Complete Overview; Nashville, TN; Holman Reference
· Rogers, Cleon, II and III: The New Linguistic And Exegetical Key To The Greek New Testament; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing House; 1998
· Seals, Thomas; Proverbs: Wisdom For All Ages; Abilene, Texas; Quality Productions.
· Smith, A. Robert; Edgar Cayce-My Life As A Seer: The Lost Memoirs-The Visions, The Prophecies And Life Of The Twentieth Century's Leading Psychic As Told In His Words; New York, NY: St. Martin's Paperbacks; 1997)
· Stevneson, Ian: Twenty Cases Suggestive Of Reincarnation: Second Edition; Charlottesville and London; University Of Virginia Press; 1974
· Thompson, Bert; The Scientefic Case For Creation; Montgomery, Alabama; 1999
· Thirumalai, Madasamy, Sharing Your Faith With A Buddhist; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Bethany House; 2003
· Todd, James, quoted by W.E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary Of Old Testament Words; Old Tappan, New Jersey; Fleming H. Revell Company; 1978
· Vines, Jeff; Dinner With Skeptics; Defending God In A World That Makes No Sense; College Press Publishing Company; 2008
· Pfeifer, Charles; Wycliffe Dictionary Of Biblical Archaeology: Features Over 380 Archaeological Sties And Topics Related To The Biblical Lands; Peabody, Massachustes; Hendrickson Publishers; 1973
· Zacharias, Ravi; Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims Of The Christian Message; Nashville, TN; Word Publishing; 2000