Is the concept of transmigration of souls biblical?
Transmigration of souls refers to the idea that a person's soul can be passed on to another being or suffer a series of punishment-related lives or rewards-based lives after he dies. It's also referred to as reincarnation and has its roots in Hinduism and Buddhism. To determine what happens to a soul, a person's good and bad behavior is weighed out and the balance will determine the soul's destination. This is a belief in karma.
The concept of transmigration of souls, or reincarnation, by way of karma is a lie many millions believe. They are taught there are four kingdoms you can graduate to or be demoted to: the human and the animal/plant kingdoms, and the infernal (place of punishment) and celestial (place of reward) kingdoms. If a person generates good karma, the person graduates to a better kingdom. If they generate bad karma, they are demoted. This leads many to lead lives of desperation or hopelessness, and entire societies to base their cultures upon these false concepts. In India, the caste system requires people to remain in the caste they were born into in order to learn from their bad karma or build upon any good karma they have acquired. It may take several lifetimes of good karma living to attain the celestial kingdom.
Of course, Christians believe that our souls, the essence of who we are, have an afterlife. However, our destination is final and is determinate upon our relationship, or lack of one, with God's own Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:27). Reincarnation, karma, and transmigration of souls all leave out the existence of a Savior, forgiveness, and sometimes even a god. Christians know that the Bible teaches us that righteousness is a gift from God and that salvation originates in God's goodness to those who believe in what Christ has done (Romans 1:16).
Paul writes his friend Timothy of this goodness of Jesus regardless of Paul's own past behavior in 1 Timothy 1:12–15: "I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost."
Our righteousness is a result of what Jesus has done, not us (Romans 1:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8–10). Even the best behaved person cannot earn this righteousness, nor a place in heaven (Romans 3:23; 1 Timothy 6:16; Isaiah 33:14; Hebrews 12:29). It is because of God's desire for our fellowship that He made a way through Jesus (John 14:6).
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