A friend of mine believes in reincarnation. He was sharing about how a young girl in his family was the spitting image, physically and spiritually, of her deceased grandmother. He described an event where she did something exactly the same as her grandmother, who she never met, suggesting that this little girl was the returned grandmother. It was obvious that it brought him comfort to have such a thought. But it was entirely unsettling to me.

HeavenThough there are wonderful joys and triumphs in this brief life, it is lived in the shadow of death. I say good-bye far too often. The thought of endless cycles of the living and dying process does not bring comfort. I would not want those who I love to have to re-endure the painful part of life as they do it all over again. As beautiful and precious as life here can be, it is also tragic and hard – and more so for the majority of the world’s people who live day to day in an effort to simply survive.

I do understand the desire to feel the presence of a lost loved one. I would love to be reunited with people who I will never see again in this life; which is exactly what God promises to those who love Him. The Christian concept of Heaven is beautiful and unique. Resurrected people will once again stand together in the presence of God and one another. We will recognize one another and share in a reunion banquet fit for a King. Eden will be restored in a New Heaven and a New Earth.

I love the story my friend told about the young girl in his family. There is beauty in the reminders that we see in traits and in spirits that are repeated from one generation to another.  I believe it is spiritual and that it is from God. God has a way of speaking to us through the world we live in – sometimes what appears coincidental or even mundane to some we know to be messages from God. It is the privilege of seeing our world through eyes illuminated by the Holy Spirit.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)

When we see things that are spiritual beyond coincidence and sense that God is saying something – He probably is.  That is what I enjoyed about my friends story. But my hope lies in something better than reincarnation. It is in the reunion that God promises in a world without sin.

About marknicklas

Mark Nicklas is a husband, father, son and follower of Jesus Christ. He is a pastor at Beaverton Foursquare Church and an adjunct professor at Multnomah University, where he earned his doctorate in Cultural Engagement. Like Jacob wrestled with God at Jabbok, this site is a place for talking about the identity of the church with respect to the cultures we live in. You are invited to share the journey.
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3 Responses to Heaven

  1. rmiller says:

    I don’t know how I feel about reincarnation. But I do think there is a lot more to us than the physical, and in a way that no one truly understands – that there is another dimension which has its own traits, characteristics, and rules. The Bible outright admits this in many places – if there is a spirit world, is it not unreasonable that our spirit would inhabit it in one way or another, even while it is embodied?

    I don’t have a lot of experience with this world but I have enough to know it exists and is a very real place.

    I don’t see the Bible as being at enmity with the idea of reincarnation – as long as there’s an endgame. Reincarnation over and over forever? No. Reincarnation until the spirit finally is given over to its final destination? Less certain about that.

    • marknicklas says:

      Thanks for your comment, my friend. Jesus leaves no room for reincarnation, Russell. We have one life to live here. The body is not separate from who we are, which is why we look forward to a resurrection, of which the Bible is very clear. So which body do you get if you have been reincarnated numerous times? Which personality? Which gender? Reincarnation fails to take into account the very personal relationship God has with very real people. Hebrews 9:29; Luke 16:19ff; Luke 23:43; John 5:25-29; 2Corinthians 2:5-8; Rev 20:6. Sin requires no continuing “purging” life cycles. Forgiveness is complete. Isaiah 1:18; Hebrews 8:12; 1John 1:9. This should bring great hope to everyone! It is good news.

  2. Gerry says:

    Absolutely Mark. Beautifully explained. Love mom xo

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