The above video is a debate held at All Saints Catholic High School, Ontario, Canada. The moderator is Michael Coren, an author, public speaker, TV talk show host and radio host. The late Dave Hunt was a Christian apologist, speaker, and world renown author. Dr. Doobay is one of the top leaders and philanthropists in the South Asian community in Canada. He was born in Guyana and is the founder of Voice of the Vedas stationed in Canada. Dr. Doobay makes a lot of claims and points in this debate, I promise to explore several of them in future posts, but for now I would like to discuss his points on Karma and Reincarnation:
1) Karma and Good Works
Many believe that the law of Karma can be supported by the Bible, this is far from the truth. There are several instances in the scriptures where the Bible actually brutally assaults any notion that Karma is real. The Law of Karma basically says that when one does good, the same is rewarded with good done unto him or her, on the other hand, when one does evil the same has evil done unto him or her. The Bible actually presents several scriptures that pokes holes through the law of Karma like Psalms 126:5 which presents contradictory ideas:
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
Luke 16:19, 20, 25
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
The same is painted in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man above, where the rich and wicked man lived a life of excess and happiness while Lazarus who was righteous and good, lived a life of poverty and sickness, even though this was merely a story it is still diametrically opposed to the concept of Karma. One of the greatest arguments against the law of Karma is presented through Jesus life here on Earth. Christians and even Hindus will agree that Jesus Christ was a righteous, good teacher and spiritual leader and as such, should have stored up only good Karma. Shouldn’t He? Well why did He die? Here we have a perfect human being who died one of the most bloodiest deaths imaginable, crucifixion is so brutal that a new English word was invented to convey the agony, the word “excruciating.” Surely the definition of Karma can never explain the reasons for His death and even Dr. Doobay, in this debate could not provide any reasonable answer to this dilemma. Thankfully for us Jesus during His life gave us a glimpse into how this was possible:
John 9:2, 3
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
John 9:2,3 occurred just before Jesus had cured the blind man of His sight. When questioned by His disciples as to the origins of the man’s blindness, we learn that the Jews of that day held the position that evil was only brought upon others through their own sins and the sins of their forefathers, but Jesus reveals that it was God who allowed this to happen for the greater good and demonstration of His power. Note well, that Jesus in a sense admits that evil can come upon others through sin, however, He explains that it may indeed be allowed by God Himself. This answer given in John 9:3, is the precise answer as to why Jesus, this perfect man, was allowed to die in such a way, it was God using Jesus as a means to demonstrate His power and love for us. This brings me to my next point on how God can influence good and allow evil in our lives but it must be made clear that God is not the author of evil in our lives:
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
As the scripture above and John 9:2 points out that oftentimes the bad things in life is the direct result of sin and iniquity in our lives; not due to some kind of impersonal force or self propelled law called Karma which Hinduism would like us to believe. God does not punish the innocent but He does punish the guilty for their sins:
Job 4:8, 9
Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.
By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.
Proverbs 22:8, 9
He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.
He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
We learn from the last two verses that there is a direct correlation between iniquity and the just punishment of God. So, the Bible does not paint the idea of Karma that rewards evil with evil and good with good, rather it says clearly that it is God that is at the heart of it all and as the judge of the universe, it is Him who rewards us accordingly. Another thing that further divorces the idea of the law of Karma, is God’s forgiveness. In spite of evil being performed once an individual shows genuine repentance it is possible for the punishment of that evil to be completely overlooked by God:
Ezekiel 18:20, 21
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Karma does not show any mercy when punishing or rewarding others, once evil is done it is rewarded with evil no matter what, however, the God of the Bible teaches us that evil that is committed can be repented of and exchanged with mercy, which is of course against the amoral workings of Karma. Even well meaning Christians may fall victim to the belief that the Bible supports the law of Karma by quoting Galatians 6:7:
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Then, they proceed to say that this verse is proof that the Bible supports Karma, when it does not. Galatians 6:7, is taken out of context here, it is only when one reads it along the following verse, verse 8, that we can grasp the true meaning of the verse:
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
So, you may realize now that Galatians 6 verses 7 and 8 speak on the spiritual matters, it uses the term “flesh” the same word defined by Paul in Galatians 5:19-21 as being the works of sin and iniquity. It speaks on the matter of God rewarding sin with punishment and righteousness with eternal life in the same way that Job 4:8-9, Proverbs 22:8-9 and Ezekiel 18:20-21 does; it does not support the idea of an impersonal law that rewards good deeds with good and evil with evil in this life. Another verse which is often taken out of context is the one that became the basis of what we know as the “Golden Rule” which is Matthew 7:12, “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.” However, I will show you now that this is not another biblical support for Karma at all and reading the verses before Matthew 7:12 will clarify this:
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
So, the Golden Rule, is not a proof of the law of Karma, it is simply a law given by God for us to learn to be more like Him. Jesus encourages us to love each other and do good for the express purpose of pleasing and emulating our Heavenly Father; He never encourages us in Matthew 7:9-12 to do good with the expectation of receiving good in turn, never does He say this and this is reflected by His own words in Luke 6:35, 36:
Luke 6:35, 36
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Biblical Christianity teaches us that we are not saved by good works, salvation is a gift given to us by God:
Ephesians 2:8, 9
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
It is should be clear to you now that the Bible truly never supports any notion of Karma whatsoever. If you had read this entire point you would learn that it never does support it but consistently goes against it. Therefore, Karma is completely incompatible with the Bible in every way and a Christian can never hope to reconcile this view in eastern mysticism with his or her biblical beliefs.
2) Reincarnation and Past Life Regression
I will just jump now into what the Bible has to say concerning reincarnation. The Bible, almost by design, seems to consistently oppose the very idea of reincarnation in every way as if it actually anticipated the rise of this idea. Paul had this to say concerning the matter:
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Some debate that the above verse does not teach against reincarnation but it does, the verses just before and after this verse disposes the claims that Jesus Christ was the reincarnation of Buddha or Vishnu or some other famous spiritual leader:
Hebrews 9:26, 28
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
And as to what this “judgment” in Hebrews 9:27 is, 2 Peter 2:9 explains it as being either sent to Heaven or being reserved for punishment in Hell, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” 2 Timothy 4:18 also helps us understand that this “judgment” can indeed be interpreted as either a reward for the righteous and punishment for the wicked, “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Even the apocryphal books of 2 Esdras and the Wisdom of Solomon both follow this very consistent theme that the accepted canon of the Bible agrees on:
2 Esdras 14:34, 35
Therefore if so be that ye will subdue your own understanding, and reform your hearts, ye shall be kept alive and after death ye shall obtain mercy.
For after death shall the judgment come, when we shall live again: and then shall the names of the righteous be manifest, and the works of the ungodly shall be declared.
Wisdom of Solomon 15:17
For being mortal, he worketh a dead thing (idols) with wicked hands: for he himself is better than the things which he worshippeth: whereas he lived once, but they (idols) never.
Wisdom of Solomon 16:14
A man indeed killeth through his malice: and the spirit, when it is gone forth, returneth not; neither the soul received up cometh again.
Even if one completely denies the message echoed through Hebrews 9:27, there are several other verses of the Bible which all oppose the idea of reincarnation. This can clearly be said of Job 14:10-12, which uses imagery to help convey the idea that every man has only one life to live:
But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?
As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up:
So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
Jesus Christ, who claimed to be God and thus knew better, denied the idea of reincarnation of the soul in Luke 23:43 when He talked to the good thief on the cross, “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Note well that He says today “you will be with me in paradise,” He does not say that the thief and Himself would be reincarnated into other bodies that day. And ironically 2 Esdras 14:9 also seems to support this exact statement made by Jesus, “For thou shalt be taken away from all, and from henceforth thou shalt remain with my Son, and with such as be like thee, until the times be ended.” So, it seems that Jesus, who is well respected in many Hindu and New Age circles, does not support reincarnation at all. The informed New Ager or Hindu may no doubt object by claiming that Jesus taught reincarnation and they often use John 3:3 to support this claim:
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
But this is not true, Jesus actually elaborates what He said in John 3:3 in John 3:5, 6: “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Jesus is the one who gives us rivers of living water as John 4:14 points to, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life,” so Jesus is the source of this “water” which He mentions in John 3:5. This “Spirit” that Jesus points to is the baptism and indwelling of the Holy Spirit of the Heavenly Father which was prophesied in Ezekiel 36:27, “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” So, Jesus explains that being born again is only done through the indwelling of Himself and His Heavenly Father in the individual. This interpretation is confirmed when one reads the following verse “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him (John 14:23).”
Some also present the argument that John the Baptist was actually the reincarnation of the Prophet Elijah, but this is simply not true. They often turn to Luke 1:17, which says, “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias (Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Because John the Baptist had the spirit and power of Elias or Elijah it does not mean that he was Elijah’s reincarnation, not at all. In 2 Kings 2:9 we learn that Elisha was given the “spirit of Elijah” even though both Elijah and Elisha was still alive and well, “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” I explore this particular debate about John the baptist in greater detail in another article here.
The Bible never seems to support reincarnation but it supports the resurrection. Reincarnation and the resurrection are two opposite doctrines; they both logically can never be true, because resurrection needs the human soul and if at death the soul finds a new body for reincarnation, then resurrection is impossible and the opposite is true. After all Jesus and the many other people who were dead and was resurrected in the Bible were all resurrected within their same bodies; not reincarnated into other bodies. In any case the Bible further points out that the souls of the righteous are in Heaven even as we speak, exactly as Jesus suggested to the good thief in Luke 23:43:
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
The above verses raises two fundamental points that there is a finite number of souls that God has created on this Earth and that each soul are clearly unique from each other. This is the same line of thinking that is echoed in the apocryphal book of 2 Esdras, a book which is allegedly written by the Old Testament prophet Ezra:
2 Esdras 4:35-37
Did not the souls also of the righteous ask question of these things in their chambers, saying, How long shall I hope on this fashion? when cometh the fruit of the floor of our reward?
And unto these things Uriel the archangel gave them answer, and said, Even when the number of seeds is filled in you: for he hath weighed the world in the balance.
By measure hath he measured the times; and by number hath he numbered the times; and he doth not move nor stir them, until the said measure be fulfilled.
Some New Agers and Hindus make the claim that Early Christianity especially members of the Gnostic church who used some of the Apocrypha books believed in the idea of reincarnation but this may not necessarily be the case at all! One of the books that they may have used was 2nd Esdras, which consistently paints this theme that even the Gnostics may have held on to a resurrection view as opposed to a reincarnation view:
2 Esdras 5:41-48
And I said, Behold, O Lord, yet art thou nigh unto them that be reserved till the end: and what shall they do that have been before me, or we that be now, or they that shall come after us?
And he said unto me, I will liken my judgment unto a ring: like as there is no slackness of the last, even so there is no swiftness of the first.
So I answered and said, Couldest thou not make those that have been made, and be now, and that are for to come, at once; that thou mightest shew thy judgment the sooner?
Then answered he me, and said, The creature may not haste above the maker; neither may the world hold them at once that shall be created therein.
And I said, As thou hast said unto thy servant, that thou, which givest life to all, hast given life at ONCE to the creature that thou hast created, and the creature bare it: even so it (the Earth) might now also bear them that now be present at once.
And he said unto me, Ask the womb of a woman, and say unto her, If thou bringest forth children, why dost thou it not together, but one after another? pray her therefore to bring forth ten children at once.
And I said, She cannot: but must do it by distance of time.
Then said he unto me, Even so have I given the womb of the earth to those that be sown in it in their times.
So, even these books which have not been proven to be inspired by God all do confirm with the rest of the accepted canon that reincarnation is simply not true! I must put this disclaimer out there that I am not necessarily endorsing the apocryphal books at all. Some may object with another claim that reincarnation has been scientifically proven, even if it was, the evidence for it is very negligible. “Science” in the Oxford dictionary, is defined as “The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” Science studies the “structure” and “behaviour” of phenomena in the physical world. So, do not be deceived by those who claim that science has conclusively proven the supernatural (non-physical) experiences circulating the reincarnation debate. Dave Hunt, founder of The Berean Call (TBC), in this short video below explains that even though some of the cases of past life regression may seem credible, they are very unreliable:
We cannot place our complete trust in personal experiences and the testimonies of past life regression as it opens one up to embrace deceptions. There is such a thing as absolute truth and through the application of absolute truth we can distinguish lies from reality. The Bible warns us that:
1 Timothy 4:1
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Sir John Eccles who received his Nobel Prize for research on the brain, described the brain as “a machine that a ghost can operate,” so it is entirely possible that the spiritual experiences that one may have could be implanted by the demonic spirits of this world during hypnosis and altered states of consciousness. As such we certainly can never reliably confirm reincarnation by these means. As I said earlier reincarnation and resurrection are diametrically opposed to each other and both can never be true at the same time. It is important to note that resurrection has been proven by thousands of confirmed cases throughout the world. Either reincarnation is true or resurrection is true but the evidence supporting resurrection seem to have a lot more scientific merit because one can scientifically observe the life signs of those who died via vital signs monitors and through secondhand means of verification like death certificates. I strongly encourage you to do research on the resurrection cases that have been documented throughout the world and you will learn that there seems to be mountain of evidence supporting the resurrection which makes the reincarnation allegations look like an anthill. Try this simple rough test right now, Google “reincarnation testimonies” or just “reincarnation” and then ” resurrection testimonies” or just “resurrection” and you will see the number of results and will know that there is some truth here.