a. Universal Salvation in the First 500 Years of Christianity
Universal salvation, or Christian Universalism, is the doctrine of universal reconciliation — the view that all human beings will ultimately be restored to a right relationship with God. It is the belief that God’s infinite love and mercy is such that God is not willing for anyone to be lost. Therefore, God has a plan of salvation for everyone — even after death. One major plan involves reincarnation which allows people to “work their way up” through the afterlife realms immediately after death with the goal of becoming permanent citizens once again in the highest heaven — the soul’s original home.
Universalism is a doctrine supported by numerous Bible verses. According to religious studies scholar, Dr. Ken R. Vincent, the number of Bible verses supporting universal salvation is second in number only to those advocating salvation by “good works.” One example is 1 John 2:6 which states, “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” Universal salvation does not assume the nonexistence of hell; but assumes hell to be a spiritual condition of purification which doesn’t last forever (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). In this sense, hell is more like the Catholic notion of Purgatory.
History shows for the first 500 years of Christianity, Christians and Christian theologians believed in the doctrine of universal salvation. Modern archaeological findings and Biblical scholarship has confirmed Universalist thought among early Christians. Contemporary Christian scholars, such as the Jesus Seminar, found Universalist theology was most authentic to Jesus. The translation and mistranslation of the Bible from Greek to Latin contributed significantly to the later reinterpretation of the eternal nature of hell.
The merging of Church and State under Emperor Constantine (272-337 AD) encouraged the corruption of Universalist teachings as the Church sought more political control over the people through the fear of eternal damnation and salvation only through Church priests. Later in Christian history, when the Church claimed hell was a place for eternal torment and punishment, the so-called Universalist “heretics” countered with their conviction of God being too good, loving and merciful to condemn anyone to eternal torture. With today’s world news replete with the horrors resulting from religions which insist on their own “exclusive” path to God, universal salvation is making a come back — assisted by the proliferation of information concerning spiritual experiences such as near-death experiences (NDEs).
Dr. Ken R. Vincent recommends the works of three scholars for further examination of the first 500 years of universal salvation in Christianity:
(1) Ballou, H. (1842). Ancient history of Universalism: From the time of the apostles to the Fifth General Council. Forgotten Books. (Original work published in 1878).
(2) Beecher, E. (2007). History of opinions on the scriptural doctrine of retribution. Kessinger Publishing, LLC.
(3) Hanson, J.W. (2012). Universalism, the prevailing doctrine of the Church for its first 500 years with authorities and extracts. Forgotten Books. (Original work published in 1899).
In this Part of this article, the biblical case will be made that it is God’s will for everyone to be saved; and how this implies God has a plan of salvation for people after their death; and how this implies the reality of reincarnation.
b. God’s Punishment is Not Eternal
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “punishment” as: “suffering, pain, or loss, that serves as retribution” and “a penalty inflicted on an offender through judicial procedure.” Divine retribution in the Bible establishes how punishment must correspond in kind and degree to the offense as authorized by God’s law:
“Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury. Whoever kills an animal must make restitution, but whoever kills a human being is to be put to death.” (Leviticus 24:19-21)
Because of this, a case can be made for the injustice of eternal damnation as retribution upon any person for sin(s) — especially in those cases where the person’s lifetime was very short. Retribution in a just judicial system must use punishment in the context of correction. Sentences of “life in prison” and the “death penalty” can be viewed as corrective punishment because the punishment is of limited duration. Because all punishment has a corrective aim, it is necessarily of limited duration. On the other hand, eternal damnation is neither corrective nor limited; so it is therefore not punishment. The purpose of punishment is to correct human behavior toward the goal of not repeating the offense for which the offender is being punished. Therefore, eternal damnation does not fit into any punitive or judicial system.
We also know God is love, and whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them (1 John 4:16). And we know Jesus taught us to be merciful, just as our Father in heaven is merciful (Luke 6:36). So if we, as human beings, would not want to see someone tortured for eternity, how much more would God not want it. Jesus himself expressed this principle when he said:
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? … If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:9-11).
The following Bible verses describe God’s mercy and refutes the concept of eternal damnation. And because the Bible does so, it also implies God gives people opportunities of salvation after death:
“For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” (Lamentations 3:31-33)
“I will not accuse them forever, nor will I always be angry, for then they would faint away because of me — the very people I have created.” (Isaiah 57:16)
In the following parables, Jesus uses the metaphor of a “prison” for hell and a “judge” for God:
“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5:25-26)
“In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:34-35)
The interesting aspect about the above parables is how they declare a person will not get out of “prison” (hell) until their “debt” (transgressions) have been paid in full. Because these parables imply people getting out of hell, one wonders where they would go? It would be reasonable to assume they would be reincarnated. Also, as you will see in Part 6 of this article, the very words in the Bible translated in the Greek for “eternal” and “forever” are mistranslations of the word “aeon” which means “a long period of time” but not forever. This is important because “aeon” should be properly translated in verses dealing with “eternal” damnation and to “forever” as the measurement of time that people spend in hell. The word “aeon” also applies to the “Lake of Fire” as a temporary place for purification before reincarnation — not a place of eternal torture.
c. God Wills Everyone To Be Saved
The following Bible verse clearly states it is God’s will for everyone to be saved and this implies reincarnation:
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
And there should be no doubt about this: nothing can thwart God’s will from being accomplished. If God wills everyone to be saved, then everyone will be saved and this implies reincarnation until everyone is saved:
“I know that you (God) can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2)
“He (God) does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the Earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?'” (Daniel 4:35)
So the question is not, “Will everyone be saved?,” because 1 Timothy 2:3-4 says it is God’s will that everyone be saved. And because nothing can thwart God’s will, the only logical conclusion is that everyone will be saved. These combined Bible verses prove beyond doubt the reality of universal salvation. So the real question is, “How is everyone saved?,” because it is obvious that a countless number of people have died without salvation. Therefore, God must have a plan of salvation for such people after their death. Obviously, one such plan of salvation is through reincarnation. Given enough opportunities and lifetimes, as Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son implies, everyone will return to the Father. The following are more Bible verses supporting the doctrine of universal salvation implying an “after death” plan of salvation such as reincarnation:
“For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.” (Romans 11:32)
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:12-14)
The next verse is not only a statement of God wanting everyone saved, it is a statement that makes the most sense if reincarnation is true. Peter is dealing with scoffers who no longer believe Jesus is returning. But Peter reassures his audience that the Lord is patiently waiting for everyone to be saved. And if this is true, it can only come about through reincarnation:
“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this coming he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’ But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the Earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and Earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:3-9)
Part 2 of this article describes Jesus telling some of his followers they would be be alive when he returns, and how this meant they would be reincarnated before he returns, not that he would return in their current lifetime. This misunderstanding, among other things, led early Christians to expect Jesus’ return in their lifetime and the non-occurrence of Jesus’ return surprised the early Christian communities of the 1st century. And as the decades continued on without the return of Jesus, scoffers began to doubt he would ever return. So in the above verse, Peter dealt with these scoffers by reminding his audience of similar scoffers in Noah’s day at his building the ark until the very day of their destruction by the flood. Peter mentioned a similar “day of judgment” is coming when Jesus will return resulting in the death of “the ungodly.” Peter also informed his Christian audience how humanity’s timetable is not equivalent to God’s timetable by suggesting it may be a “thousand years” before Jesus returns. Peter continued his line of reasoning to justify the Lord’s “patience” on the grounds the Lord is trying to save “everyone” because he is “not wanting anyone to perish.” So if we try to understand Peter’s words of universal salvation, without the context of reincarnation, they makes little sense because at that time many people have already died without salvation and there would have been no hope for them. And the Lord would be disappointed because his wanting of everyone’s salvation would perish along with the people who died unsaved. But if we understand Peter’s words with the context of reincarnation, Peter’s words of universal salvation make perfect sense. The Lord is patiently waiting for everyone to be saved; and this can only occur through reincarnation.
d. Everyone Will Be Saved
Now that it’s been established through scripture that God wills everyone to be saved, it will be established through scripture that everyone will be saved and this implies reincarnation. The following list of Bible verses compares the results of Adam’s original sin — the condemnation of the entire human race — with the results of Jesus paying the “karmic debt” for Adam’s sin through his crucifixion and death, resulting in the justification of the entire human race:
“Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.” (Romans 5:18)
“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22)
“For he ‘has put everything under his feet.’ Now when it says that ‘everything’ has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:27-28)
Think of the enormity of the above statements by Paul: in Christ all will be made alive; and God will be “all in all.” These verses are two of the most explicit Universalist verses in the entire Bible and cannot be refuted.
The following Bible verses describe all people turning (repenting) to the Lord and seeing God’s salvation which can only be accomplished through reincarnation:
“Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.” (Luke 3:5-6)
“You who answer prayer, to you all people will come. When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.” (Psalm 65:2-3)
“All the ends of the Earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him.” (Psalm 22:27)
“The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the Earth will see the salvation of our God.” (Isaiah 52:10)
“All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name.” (Psalm 86:9)
The following Bible verses reveal Jesus to be the Savior of “all men”, “all people”, the “whole world” and “everyone”:
“That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10)
“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)
“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” (1 John 4:14)
“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9)
“The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.” (John 1:7)
“And I, if I be lifted up from the Earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32)
Some of the parables of Jesus have a Universalist interpretation which can only occur through reincarnation:
“Then Jesus told them this parable: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.'” (Luke 15:3-7, Parable of the Lost Sheep)
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:8-10, Parable of the Lost Coin)
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'” (Luke 15:21-24, Parable of the Prodigal Son)
The greatest biblical scholar of early Christianity, Origen, considered Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son to be a perfect example of how God’s love would not allow anyone to be lost forever or destroyed. According to Kurt Eggenstein’s chapter entitled “The Prodigal Son: Preexistential Origin of Man from the Fallen First-Created Spirits,” from his book, Origen believed the soul leaves the place of purification, again and again; but punishment does not go on forever:
“Perfection will have been achieved when all souls have found salvation in becoming angels. All creation returns to God. The universal resolve to achieve salvation is a revelation of the all-compassionate God.” (Origen, The Book on Heretics, Walter Nigg, p.56-57)
In his Contra Celsus 92-97, Origen equated Adam with the primal unit of human nature, which fell from heaven in the beginning of time as a whole. Origen refers to the words of the prophet Joshua upon reaching the Promised Land:
“Far indeed my soul has been wandering. Comprehend, therefore, if you are able, what are these wanderings of the soul, to continue on which she laments with sighs and sorrows. For, of course, for as long as she is wanderings insight into these things is halted and is veiled, only when she has reached her homeland, her peace, paradise, shall she be enlightened more truly on this, and see more clearly which has been the way and meaning of her wanderings.” (Origen, Contra Celsus 92-97)
e. The Time of Universal Restoration
Paul mentioned a time of “universal reconciliation” in his Epistle to the Colossians:
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on Earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20)
Peter also mentioned a time of “universal restoration.” As previously mentioned, Peter confronted those who killed Jesus and told them to repent so the “times of refreshing” may come, so Jesus can return, and the time of universal restoration happen:
“But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses… Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.” (Acts 3:14-15; 3:19-21)
Peter’s reference to a “time of universal restoration” becomes clear when we read of Jesus’ words in Matthew:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'” (Matthew 19:28)
The reference to “universal restoration,” or “apokatastasis” in Greek, refers to the thousand year reign of Christ on Earth and the universal salvation of all souls resulting from it mentioned in Revelation 20:1-6. More information about the thousand year reign of Christ will be given in Part 6 of this article. Origen, the writer most commonly associated with “apokatastasis panton,” although not the first writer on the subject, saw an end to the cycle of successive reincarnations predicted by the final restoration of all souls to God. Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD), the first Christian to write on the subject, described the fire of hell as a “wise” fire, the means by which sinners are purified, reincarnated, and ultimately saved. Origen’s cosmological scheme starts with the creation of angels who, after falling away from God, underwent an ontological change to become souls. It ends with the return of all the souls to God. In De Principiis1 VI 3, Origen argued how even the demons, souls who are most remote from God, could ascend to the human condition and from there ascend to the angelic. Origen’s argument follows naturally after two assumptions:
(1) The power of free will remains with the soul after death.
(2) God has not created an eternal place of damnation.
Origen saw the entrapment of the souls in matter, as well as the flames of hell, existing as both a punishment and as a means of rehabilitation for souls to be encouraged to return to God. Furthermore, Origen writes elsewhere of the nature of hell not being eternal. The ancient, as well as the late Byzantine position, was that nothing evil can come from God, not even punishment. The punishment and torments of hell are only inflicted upon ourselves, both in this world and in the next one. Hell and its fire are not different, essentially, from the benevolent purifying Spirit of God, when experienced by the sinners (Hebrews 12:29, Acts 15:8-9).
Gregory of Nyssa (335–395 AD), in “On the Soul and the Resurrection” and in the “Catechism Oration,” followed Origen in writing how the fire of hell plays a purifying role and is, therefore, not eternal. He goes even further in his argument however: because evil has no real existence, its “relative” existence will be completely annihilated at the end times. He stated his belief in the final restoration of all:
“When, after long periods of time, the evil of our nature… has been expelled, and when there has been a restoration of those who are now lying in sin to their primal state, a harmony of thanksgiving will arise from all creation, as well from those who in the process of the purgation have suffered chastisement, as from those who needed not any purgation at all.” (Gregory of Nyssa, Catechism Oration 26)
The main role of divine judgment, according to Gregory, is not to punish sinners. Instead, it:
“…operates by separating good from evil and pulling the soul towards the fellowship of blessedness.” (Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection)
More than merely “separating,” the purifying fire will melt away evil so what is left is only good. We have to keep in mind, in several of the writings of Gregory of Nyssa on the Fall and the nature of evil, Satan is not presented as the adversary of God, but as the adversary of man. In this sense, the “relative” existence of evil does not diminish God’s power or goodness. Evil is directly connected with the pain experienced by sinners after the last judgment, when they are given to torture “until they pay back all that they owe” according to the parables of Jesus:
“In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:34-35, Parable of the Unforgiving Servant)
According to Gregory, after their punishment, they will “enter into freedom and confidence” and “God will be all in all.”
“There is a rebirth and an image of rebirth. It is certainly necessary to be born again through the image. Which one? Resurrection. The image must rise again through the image. The bridal chamber and the image must enter through the image into the truth: this is the restoration (apokatastasis). Not only must those who produce the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, do so, but have produced them for you. If one does not acquire them, the name (“Christian”) will also be taken from him.” (Gospel of Philip)
The above verse agrees with New Testament verses concerning the two rebirths mentioned in Part 2: of the flesh and of the spirit. Spiritual rebirth comes when we share in Christ’s resurrection by taking up our own crosses in self-denial and self-sacrifice to follow Jesus in putting into practice his teachings toward spiritual perfection:
“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:38)
“So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead.” (Romans 7:4)
“For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:7)
Everyone’s goal is to be transformed into the image of the Logos — the image of God in man:
“We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
So if Christians must take up their own cross, follow Jesus, make themselves ready and be transformed into his image with “ever-increasing glory”, then we know this is much more than a single lifetime process — especially when you consider how life is often cut short for so many people.
Jesus taught Nicodemus of two rebirths: one of the flesh, and the other of the spirit. To be “born again of the flesh” means to be reborn of water, childbirth, and reincarnation. To be “born again of the spirit” means spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Those who are not spiritually regenerated, who have not transformed into Christ’s image, who have not attained eternal life, must be reincarnated and continue the cycle of death and rebirth until they do. The biblical teaching of universal salvation means God has a plan of salvation after death for those who have not been spiritually regenerated, and that plan involves reincarnation. For the first 500 years of Christianity, Christians and Christian theologians were broadly Universalists and reincarnationalists. The mistranslation of the scriptures from Greek to Latin and the merging of Church and State fostered the corruption of Universalist and reincarnationalist thought. Universal salvation is an important doctrine because it shows how God is indeed infinite in love and mercy. It shows God is not willing that even one soul fall into some “crack in the universe” to be lost forever. Universal salvation shows God giving people as many opportunities as necessary to attain salvation. Universal salvation is not only suggestive of the reality of reincarnation, as we will see in the next section, God’s law demands it. For all these reasons, reincarnation must now become a doctrine of Christianity as it was widely believed during the first hundred years of Christian history.
a. The Law of Divine Justice Defined as Karma and Reincarnation
We have already mentioned in Part 1 about the law of divine justice in the case of John the Baptist as a reincarnation of the prophet Elijah. Elijah killed with a sword the prophets of Baal who were associated with the King’s wife Jezebel. And although Elijah may have repented and God forgiven him, divine justice demands “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth” to satisfy divine justice (Exodus 21:23-25). So when Elijah reincarnated as John the Baptist, his life had to end by being killed by the sword. This law of divine justice, karma, is taught elsewhere in the Bible:
“All who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)
“He who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.” (Revelation 13:10)
As previously mentioned, this law of divine justice is known by eastern religions as “karma” and is practically a universal religious concept. It is a law which implies reincarnation and can be found throughout the Bible. And in such cases as John the Baptist and Elijah, people who “kill with the sword” and do not “die by the sword” in their lifetime (as is often the case), must do so in a future lifetime. In fact, the law of karma is reincarnation. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction according to the law of karma (causality). Karma is the law of cause and effect — action and reaction. There is in this universe a strict balancing process steadily at work which deals justly with everyone “according to their works.”
“Bad karma” is not the “sin” or transgression itself. Bad karma is a state of imbalance in the equilibrium of divine justice in the negative direction in a person’s life because of particular sins committed which have yet to occur to the sinner. According to the biblical concept of “original sin,” Adam’s sin created “bad karma” for himself and for his descendants — spiritual death — which was “paid” by Christ at the cross (1 Corinthians 15:22). Christ’s atonement for sins and the redemption of sinners does not nullify karma. Karmic debts against other people are separate from our karmic debts to God for sin because God’s law was not nullified at the cross (Matthew 5:17-20). God may forgive a man for killing another man; but God’s forgiveness of his sins doesn’t nullify the murderer’s obligation to seek forgiveness, pay restitution, and restore the karmic “balance” with his victims. Otherwise, people such as Adolf Hitler could have “accepted Jesus” as Savior before he killed himself and it would be his “ticket” to heaven. Sure, God would have forgiven him. But what about the millions of people he ordered killed? Hitler has a lot of things to set right. And although God’s forgiveness could spare Hitler a very, very long time of purification in hell, everyone is still judged according to their works — both good and bad. It is easy for a God of infinite love and mercy to forgive even the worst of sinners, but unless the sinner seek (and get) forgiveness, pay restitution, and give good karma to his victims, then a karmic debt still remains. So the salvific work of Christ on the cross doesn’t necessarily nullify the effect of all sin or karma. To be sure, God has forgiven us of our sins — our sins against God unto death. God forgives the murderer for murdering his victims. But only the victims can forgive (or not forgive) the murderer for the murderous act against them. If, as Jesus taught, the victim is of a pious nature and forgives the murderer, then that karma is paid and ends there. Else, the cycle of karma continues and the murderer faces the possibility of being murdered.
When it comes to karma there are many different kinds of karma. Besides personal karma, there is group karma, family karma, relationship karma, organization karma, nation karma, etc. As a perfect example of nation karma, the Christian psychic Edgar Cayce revealed that many of the Jews who suffered in the Holocaust were the reincarnation of Jews who lived in Jesus’ day and chose to reincarnate and suffer to pay the karmic debt for Israel’s rejection of their Messiah. Cayce also revealed that Hitler was the reincarnation of Pontius Pilate. So although Christ’s sacrifice applies to our justification with God, and our justification with God is not necessarily mutually exclusive with justification from sins committed against God’s Law, there are aspects to God’s Law which concerns only human-to-human relationships which demand justification. In other words, there are aspects to God’s Law which are relevant to human relationships and are mutually exclusive to aspects of God’s Law which are only relevant to God’s relationship to humans.
A person’s accumulation of “bad” and “good” karma determines which heaven or hell in God’s hierarchy of afterlife realms they dwell in between Earth lifetimes. As Jesus said, there are many abodes in his Father’s house (John 14:2), and there are many levels of heaven and hell. Everyone is on a path moving up God’s “corporate ladder of success” (see “Jacob’s Ladder“). Everyone’s goal is the highest heaven which is permanent citizenship there (Revelation 3:12). In fact, the physical universe is just one of the Father’s abode — one level of heaven — out of many. According to many sources I’ve come across, the physical realm is somewhere in the middle between the highest heavenly realm and the lowest hell realm. So, in essence, we are halfway to heaven while in the physical. But we are actually spirit beings having a physical experience which means we come from higher spirit realms with missions from God to further God’s Kingdom in the physical..
b. The Law of Karma in the Old Testament
The Old Testament is filled with references to karma; and therefore, reincarnation. Here is a list of some of them:
“Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.” (Genesis 9:6)
“Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.” (Ecclesiastes 11:1)
“They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7)
“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception.” (Hosea 10:12-13)
“As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.” (Job 4:8)
“As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” (Obadiah 1:15)
“The wages of the righteous is life, but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.” (Proverbs 10:16)
“Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.” (Proverbs 11:27)
“Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.” (Proverbs 20:22)
“Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, And the rod they wield in fury will be broken.” (Proverbs 22:8)
“Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.” (Proverbs 26:27)
“The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.” (Proverbs 28:18)
“The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads.” (Psalm 7:16)
c. The Law of Karma Taught By Paul
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever 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)
“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” (2 Corinthians 9:6)
Only reincarnation can satisfy God’s divine justice of reaping what we sow; an eye for an eye; living by the sword and dying by the sword. This universal law of God explains why some people are born into favorable conditions and others are born into unfavorable conditions. Some people are born into unfavorable conditions because of “bad karma” from a previous lifetime. This can be seen in the story of Jacob and Esau as described by Paul:
“Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’ What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses: ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the Earth.’ Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: ‘Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?’ But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?” (Romans 9:13-21)
“The babies (Jacob and Esau) jostled each other within her (Rebekah), and she said, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ So she went to inquire of the Lord. The Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.'” (Genesis 25:22-23)
We now understand it was divine justice, Jacob’s and Esau’s karma, determining the twin’s destiny and Esau’s unfavorable life conditions. This is why Paul could safely ask and answer:
“Is God unjust? Not at all!” (Romans 9:14)
In referring to Esau’s apparent unjust and unfavorable life conditions, Paul asks then answers:
“Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will? But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God?” (Romans 9:19)
Paul doesn’t argue any further; but simply lays Esau’s karma at God’s feet and divine justice. The potter has a right to do as he pleases with his clay. And of course, we know the potter is infinite in divine justice and mercy. Paul’s metaphor of the potter (God) and clay (flesh) to describe the perfection process of how God creates, destroys and recreates better pots (people) is an excellent description of the pre-existence of souls and reincarnation which originally can be found in the Book of Jeremiah:
“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, ‘Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.’ “So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me, ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?‘ declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 18:1-6)
By comparing the sovereignty of God over humans with the sovereignty a potter has with clay, Paul is also affirming both the pre-existence and karma of Jacob and Esau. The central point Paul makes is that God created Esau as an object of wrath because of his so-called “hatred” for him before he was even born. God must have “hated” Esau because of a past incarnation displeasing to Him which can only explain why God reincarnated him as an “object of wrath.” The opposite destiny of Esau was the destiny of Jacob. Because Jacob had led a previous life pleasing to God, Jacob was reincarnated as an object of God’s mercy. So the story of Jacob and Esau is rich with hidden knowledge concerning divine justice, the sovereignty of God, pre-existence, reincarnation, predestination, and free will.
Origen also wrote of the “karma” of Jacob and Esau:
“‘Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.’ (Romans 9:14) As, therefore, when the Scriptures are carefully examined regarding Jacob and Esau, it is not found to be unrighteousness with God that it should be said, before they were born, or had done anything in this life, ‘the elder shall serve the younger;’ and as it is found not to be unrighteousness that even in the womb Jacob supplanted his brother, if we feel that he was worthily beloved by God, according to the merits of his previous life, so as to deserve to be preferred over his brother.” (Origen, On First Principles 2.9.7)
The following is a list of more Bible verses by Paul on how to deal with the God’s just law of karma:
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:17-19)
“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you.” (2 Thessalonians 1:6)
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
“For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.'” (Hebrews 10:30)
d. The Law of Karma Taught By Jesus
Reincarnation and karma are the missing links — the long lost doctrines — of Christianity. They are the keys to understanding the secret, mystery teachings of Jesus and his parables. A good example is the beginning of Jesus’ Parable of the Talents:
“It (the kingdom of heaven) is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.” (Matthew 25:14-15)
This idea of God giving people varying amounts of abilities at birth — each according to his ability — is the heart of reincarnation and the law of divine justice. Origen used this very parable to teach pre-existence and reincarnation. Here is an excellent summary of Origen’s position on pre-existence and reincarnation based upon his work “On First Principles“:
“Every soul has existed from the beginning; it has therefore passed through some worlds already, and will pass through others before it reaches final consummation. It comes into this world strengthened by its victories or weakened by the defeats of its previous life. Its place in this world as a vessel appointed to honor or to dishonor is determined by its previous merits or demerits. Its work in this world determines its place in the world which is to follow.” (Hatch, Edwin, and A M. Fairbairn. The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages Upon the Christian Church. London: Williams and Norgate. page 235)
The above summary comes from the following writings of Origen:
“The soul, as we have frequently said, is immortal and eternal, it is possible that, in the many and endless periods of duration in the immeasurable and different worlds, it may descend from the highest good to the lowest evil, or be restored from the lowest evil to the highest good. (Origen, On First Principles 3.1.21)
“If they (souls) had a beginning such as the end for which they hope, they existed undoubtedly from the very beginning in those (ages) which are not seen, and are eternal.” (Origen, On First Principles 3:5:4)
“The cause of each one’s actions is a pre-existing one; and then every one, according to his merits, is made by God either a vessel unto honor or dishonor … it is due to previous causes.” (Origen, On First Principles 3:1:20)
“At the consummation and restoration of all things, those who make a gradual advance, and who ascend (in the scale of improvement), will arrive in due measure and order at that land.” (Origen, On First Principles 3.6.9)
When Origen used the Parable of the Talents to refer to reincarnation and pre-existence, he was not introducing some foreign religious concept into Christianity. He was merely expressing what is described throughout the Bible and believed by early Christians to be one of the secret teachings of Jesus. At the end of the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18, Jesus mentioned karmic divine justice which can also be viewed as a Universalist parable denying eternal damnation:
“In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart” (Matthew 18:34-35)
The following are more Bible verses of Jesus teaching karma:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2)
“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8)
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
“For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” (Matthew 16:27)
“Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!” (Matthew 18:7)
“Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you — and even more.” (Mark 4:24)
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25-26)
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:37-38)
“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.'” (Luke 10:25-28)
The brother of Jesus, James the Just, wrote this karmic verse:
“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:18)
Jesus also taught how to stop and reverse the cycle of bad karma when it happens to you:
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:27-36)
The Apostle Peter described how Jesus practiced what he preached in stopping bad karma instead passing it along:
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:21–23)
e. Bad Karma Can Extend Into Multiple Lifetimes
As Paul taught, using the story of Jacob and Esau, knowing the divine justice of karma allows us to ask and answer, “Is God unjust? Not at all.” It also allows us to understand some of the apparent injustices in the Old Testament. Here is one of them:
“‘Today you (God) are driving me (Cain) from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the Earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.’ Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.” (Genesis 4:14-15)
Many Bible versions of verse 14 are translated as Cain saying “every one who finds me will kill me” suggesting Cain believed he would be killed by many people in many lifetimes implying reincarnation. God’s reply to Cain also implies reincarnation and karma when God declared “anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over” meaning the killer of Cain will have to be killed seven times implying seven lifetimes.
Consider the next apparent injustices in the Old Testament:
“You shall not bow down to them (idols) or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” (Exodus 20:5, Also: Deuteronomy 5:9)
“The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” (Numbers 14:18)
According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance 1755, the Hebrew word translated “generation” is “dor” meaning “a revolution of time” — also “a dwelling.” The latter is especially significant, as our human bodies are characterized in Scripture as temporary dwellings. So with this understanding, it is consistent with sound interpretation to also translate this verse, “he punishes the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth reincarnation (bodily dwelling) of those who hate me.” A literal interpretation of the above verses describe God punishing the children and great-grandchildren for the sins of the parents. The obvious question again is: “Is God unjust?” The only answer can be: “Not at all.” And the reason is because of divine justice, karma, and reincarnation. God punishes the parent when they reincarnate as one of their own grandchildren or great grandchildren — the third and fourth generation. And it is common knowledge in reincarnation studies how people tend to reincarnate within their own families; for example, a father may reincarnate as their own grandchild or great grandchild.
f. Is There an End To Reincarnation?
Because a person’s karma carries over from one lifetime to the next, the question then arises, “Is there an end to reincarnation; and if so, how does it end?” Thankfully, the Bible has an answer for this question as well. The short answer is bad karma can be overcome through good karma or good works:
“Whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:8)
A careful study of relevant scriptures reveals a metaphorical interpretation of spiritual “resurrection” as the beginning of the state of liberation from the cycle reincarnation and its corollary, liberation from death, and the freedom to eventually ascend to Paradise from which Adam and Eve originally fell. In the Nicene Creed (325 AD) we find the expression the “Resurrection of the Dead.” The “dead” are those who are subject to the law of sowing and reaping of the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. They are those who are caught in the wheel of the relentless law of karma until Christ opened the way to liberation, to spiritual “resurrection,” and the restoration to Paradise:
“I (Jesus) know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people… You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary… Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:2-7)
The above words of Christ are a great reference to reincarnation. By doing good works, persevering, and standing firm until the end times, this ensures a person has attained Paradise as Jesus taught in the following verse in the Gospel of Matthew. Notice how Jesus told the people around him that they will be persecuted at his Second Coming:
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:21-22)
In Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount, he mentioned more ways to overcome the world through good karma such as:
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the Earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
The above teaching also begs the following question: when and how will the meek inherit the Earth? For millions of years, the principle has always been that only the aggressive and strong rule the world. The law of evolution is the physical correlation to the law of “spiritual evolution” or reincarnation. Evolution means only the fittest survive — certainly not those who are meek. So Jesus’ promise of the meek inheriting the Earth can only be fulfilled in some future reincarnation when the meek reincarnate into a world ruled by meek people. And this can only be a reference to the thousand year reign of Christ on Earth described in Revelation 20. The following list of Bible verses are more promises of how good karma (good works) can ultimately lead to the end of reincarnation and the beginning of eternal life in God’s Kingdom:
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:7-10)
“Use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” (Luke 16:9)
“A certain ruler asked him (Jesus), ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good — except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’ ‘All these I have kept since I was a boy,’ he said. ‘When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'” (Luke 18:18-22)
g. Other Ways To Overcome Bad Karma and Reincarnation
Jesus taught another way to overcome bad karma through simply not responding to bad behavior or through responding with righteous behavior. Here are some examples of such teachings:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” (Matthew 5:38-39)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:44-45)
Although all our actions have repercussions, not everything happening to us is the result of previous karma. Here is a good Biblical example presented by Christ:
“Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them — do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:1-5)
In the above verse, the people around Jesus assumed the Galileans were killed because of bad karma; but Jesus explained this was not the case. Bad things can happen because of bad karma, and bad things can happen without karmic origins. One thing we know for certain is that the persecution of those Galileans will result in their gaining good karma. And as for Pilate’s unjust actions, they will certainly result in his own bad karma.
In a different incident, Jesus did refer to how bad karmic actions can result in bad karmic consequences. After Jesus healed the invalid of thirty-eight years near the Sheep Gate pool, he later told him:
“See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (John 5:1-15)
As previously mentioned, the law of karma is also called the law of cause and effect (causality). This law is so universal it can even be found in science. Isaac Newton (1642–1726) established the well known third law in physics: for every action there always opposed an equal reaction. What goes up must come down. In fact, the law of divine justice is very similar in principle to the law of gravity. Both laws are impersonal. Breaking both of these laws are like breaking the laws of nature. We cannot blame God for the apparent injustices happening to us in life. Like the law of gravity, if we go against the law of divine justice, it is completely our fault and due to our ignorance of divine justice. However, there are even greater divine laws which can overcome bad karma. They are God’s law of love, the law of forgiveness, and the law of grace.
h. The Law of Karma and the Law of Grace
Some Christians deny the law of karma based on certain passages in Paul’s epistles which emphasize salvation by faith and grace alone. Such Christians claim good works are no guarantee of salvation though they believe good works are an important part of Christian life. They claim we are not required to perform good works, such as seek forgiveness and pay restitution to those we’ve transgressed against, because Christ paid for all our transgressions. But Jesus taught differently:
“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5:25-26)
“In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:34-35)
So while it’s true that people are saved by the grace of God, it means God’s grace allows us the time and space through reincarnation to follow Jesus, carry our own cross, and pay for our karmic transgressions against others as God has forgiven our transgressions against Him. As Paul stated:
“You were bought at a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
So Christ paid the karmic debt of Adam’s transgression as the great burden-bearer of our bad karma against God. But inherent in God’s grace is our obligation to follow Christ, take up our own cross, pay our karmic debts against others, become transformed into his image, and attain at-onement with God. And because of this, we can say along with Paul:
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17)
More arguments will be presented in Part 4 about salvation based upon good works versus salvation based upon faith alone.
God’s law of divine justice as the law of karma is mentioned many times throughout the Bible. The biblical teaching of universal salvation implies reincarnation and is also mentioned many times throughout the Bible. Reincarnation, universal salvation, and the law of karma are doctrines which can be found in the Old and New Testaments, the Gospels, the Epistles of Paul, the parables of Jesus, all Hebrew and Christian writings, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Christian Gnostic gospels, the Torah, the Apocrypha, the Kabbalah and Zohar. The Bible teaches how bad karma can extend into multiple lifetimes; and how overcoming bad karma with good karma ultimately leads to eternal life — no more reincarnation and dying. The Bible also teaches how God’s law of love, grace, and forgiveness overcomes bad karma. Reincarnation is God’s plan for people to “work their way up” through the afterlife realms immediately after death, through earning good karma and paying for bad karma on Earth, with the goal of becoming permanent citizens in God’s Kingdom. For all these reasons and more, reincarnation must now become a doctrine of Christianity as it was widely believed during the first 500 hundred years of Christian history.