Reincarnation+karma in Christianity?

Hey all, dropping in here to ask for some help…

My maternal family is convinced that reincarnation and karma are taught in the Bible. For reincarnation, they point to John the Baptist being Elijah, and they point to “Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword” as evidence for reincarnation and karma, respectively. I’ve already told them that Elijah never died but was bodily taken up into Heaven, so reincarnation, by definition, cannot apply, and that “Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword” does not point to reincarnation or even necessarily karma, and I have asked them whether sin is just bad karma and where Hell factors into it if people simply go through lifetimes until they learn enough to reach Heaven, but they still hold that the Final Judgement will take place.

Tomorrow, I may be discussing the matter of reincarnation and karma being “Christian” beliefs. Has anyone else ever come across Christians who believe the same? How did you go about correcting their understanding, if you succeeded in bringing them back to orthodox Christian doctrine? My family believes that many Christians believe those two beliefs as well. Is this verifiably true or false?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states

1013 Death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage, of the time of grace and mercy which God offers him so as to work out his earthly life in keeping with the divine plan, and to decide his ultimate destiny. When “the single course of our earthly life” is completed,[584] we shall not return to other earthly lives: “It is appointed for men to die once.”[585] There is no “reincarnation” after death.

From the bible,
Hebrews 9:27- 28 "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."
There is no reincarnation after death.



Proclaimed By His Holiness, Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964
no 48 third paragraph
"Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed (cf. Heb. 9:27), we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed (cf. Mt. 25:31-46) and not, like the wicked and slothful servants (cf. Mt. 25:26), be ordered to depart into the eternal fire (cf. Mt. 25:41), into the outer darkness where “men will weep and gnash their teeth” (Mt. 22:13 and 25:30). Before we reign with Christ in glory we must all appear “before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body” (2 Cor. 5:10), and at the end of the world “they will come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment” (Jn. 5:29; cf. Mt. 25:46). We reckon then that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18; cf. 2 Tim. 2:11-12), and strong in faith we look for “the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13) “who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21) and who will come “to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed” (2 Th. 1:10).
Karma is not a truth of the Church. The bible simply teaches that there are consequences to sin.

It was the Jews who asked if John the Baptist was Elijah, John denied it in his fellow John’s gospel account. The Jews only asked if John the Baptist was Elijah because they knew Elijah did not die, and so, without knowing John’s past, could assume that John was Elijah returned, not reborn (you can’t be reborn if you don’t first die.) The maxim you quoted is referring to lifestyle. If you are a warrior, you will die a warrior’s death, not because of fate, but rather because you are swinging a sharpened stick on a field with other people doing the same – someone’s going to get hurt. If you are a selfish person, you will die alone because you have alienated everyone. Also to be included is that in warrior cultures like ancient Israel and Japan, to die by the sword was considered honorable. Context is important.

Karma involves reincarnation which is against the teaching of the Catholic Church. Karma you will receive out in this life and in previous lives. The Bible claims a similar law of sin and its consequences that does not involve reincarnation.
Karma only believes we are responsible for atoning our bad deeds, The bible teaches us that Jesus redeems us from our sins:

For through Your Son, You have “cancelled every record of the debt that we had to pay; He has done away with it by nailing it to the cross.” [Colossians 2:14-15]
No one can come to the Father except through Me.” [John 14:1-4, 6-6]
“The only thing that counts is not what human beings want to try to do, but the mercy of God.” [Romans 10:16] “It is by God’s grace that you have been saved, through faith. It is not your own doing, but God’s gift.” [Ephesians 2:8-9] Free your mind, then of encumbrances; control them, and put your trust in nothing but the grace that will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” [1Peter 1: 13]

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction;
the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:7-10)

See Matthew 25 verses 31-46 also for proof of one life and one destiny for the soul, and the consequences of good deeds and of bad deeds…as explained by Jesus Himself.

To really explain the single human existence on earth that we live, we go to God Incarnate Himself, the Judge of all souls. Jesus shows there is no second third or any other life on earth, Jesus speaks of the blessing or the punishment we bring on ourselves if we refuse to love in acts of practical kindness, and do not repent:

Matthew 25 verses 31-46…Jesus’ words
“The Last Judgement”
“When the Son of Man comes in all His glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men from one another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats.
He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. then the King shall say to those on his right hand,” Come you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was a stranger and you made me welcome. I was thirsty and you gave me drink; naked and you clothed me; sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.

Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?
And the King will answer, " I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
Next he will say to those on his left “Go away from me with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, for when I was hungry you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.”
Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty; a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and not come to your help?”
Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.” And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.

The Church believes what Jesus taught us, that there is no reincarnation, and as Catholics we cannot argue with Jesus Christ the Son of God.

In 1991 the Holy See’s International Theological Commission published Certain Aspects of Eschatology, which says: “Christianity defends duality, reincarnation defends a dualism in which the body is simply an instrument of the soul and is laid aside, existence by successive existence, as an altogether different body is assumed each time.

“As far as eschatology is concerned, the doctrine of reincarnation denies both the possibility of eternal damnation and the idea of the resurrection of the body. But the fundamental error is in the rejection of the Christian doctrine of salvation. For the reincarnationist the soul is its own savior by its own efforts” (Section 9.3).

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