Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at .roger@preachitteachit.org.

Dear Roger,

What does the Bible say about Reincarnation?

From, J

Dear J,

Reincarnation is foreign to the Bible. In fact, the Bible teaches just the opposite. Hebrews 9:27 declares: “It is appointed unto men once to die and after that comes judgment." The essence of reincarnation is that we come back for many lives. Among other things, this allows us to avoid the reality of facing God in judgment for our behaviors.

Hinduism, Buddhism, segments of the New Age Movement and a host of other Eastern religions are becoming more and more popular in the United States. With that popularity comes increasing exposure to the teaching of reincarnation.

The concept of reincarnation is not difficult to understand once we consider how Westerners and Easterners conceive of time.

Those in the West see time as linear. We are born and time goes by and we die. Time continues on in a linear fashion from past to present to future.

In Eastern cultures time is circular. What comes around goes around. Circular time comes from observing the cycles of earth. The four seasons occur and then they return again and again. Crops are planted, they grow, are harvested and the cycle once again commences.

So, when you think about it, reincarnation is just a reflection of circular time. We are born and die and then cycle around again and again.

Reincarnation teaches that the present life forms—from insects to humans—are a direct reflection of several factors such as how well we behaved in previous lives, and the amount of good or bad karma we have. The better we were, and the more good Karma, the farther up the food chain we return.

Hindus refrain from eating beef because the cow may be a friend or relative from a past life.

The great number of Christians harboring reincarnation views continues to astound me.

The song, "Highway Man" sung by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristopherson and Johnny Cash was a national hit. Several of these country artists are professed Christians. Yet, their song explains and makes reincarnation seem like Biblical truth. It is not Biblical nor is it truth.

Just for fun, I'll share the lyrics of "Highway Man". I wish you could hear the enticing, rhythmic music. It is a catchy tune. Whenever I hear myself humming it I remind myself that this song is spirit inspired--just not the Holy Spirit.

"I was a highway man, along the coach roads I did ride - with sword and pistol by my side.  Many a young maid lost her baubles to my trade - Many a soldier shed his blood upon my blade. The master called me in the Spring of '25 - But, I am still alive."

"I was a sailor, I was born upon the tide - with the sea I did abide.  I sailed a schooner round the Horn to Mexico.  I went aloft and unfurled the mainsail in a blow- and when the yard broke off they said that I got killed.  But, I am livin' still."

"I was a dam builder - across a river deep and wide where steel and water did collide - A place called on the wild Colorado.  I slipped and fell onto the concrete below.  They buried me in that great tomb that knows no sound --but I am still around.