Trying To Figure Out Reincarnation

Question:
I have heard non-religious folks say that energy doesn’t come from nothing, and that when you die, it is like your energy is released back into the earth. I think many religions with the belief of "reincarnation" actually share this similar idea...in a way, religions with a belief in reincarnation could be sharing fundamental ideas, because in both, there is some sort of cycle, like a recycling of energy.  In reincarnation, it is believed that the energy or soul, or whatever, is concentrated to "reappear" in another body: human, dog, cricket, etc... but what if the energy is actually released equally to the ground, plants, air, etc? Maybe the idea of reincarnation is partly right. What do you think? Do you think this energy releasing thing that non-religious people believe is similar to the reincarnation belief? Thanks.

My Reply:
Do I believe in reincarnation? No.
Do I believe in resurrection?  Yes, but the 2 are not the same (nor are they close).

Hindus believe in reincarnation in the sense that it's not something to glorify, but something to dread, or an ongoing hell. As I understand it, their hope is to one day stop reincarnating and finally go to whatever they consider to be like heaven or something, and the only way they can do this is by selfish works/deeds. As for things you jump into, that's why they often won't kill roaches or eat cows...because they believe such may be former relatives.

New Agers and the non-religious, on the other side, see reincarnation as something to glorify, a continuous of life in the physical world, like the "spark" or "energy” you mentioned. But in terms of things they jump into, instead of hearing that one was a sacrificed dove or squashed bug, you'll usually hear them say they were somebody of valor (or tragedy) in their "past lives".
I suppose they believe this because they can't (or won't) believe in a spiritual God who wants them to spend (a non-worldly) eternity with Him, who offers salvation freely through grace, should they accept it, versus selfish (or charitable) deeds/works. And though some may in fact believe in a spiritual being who is in charge of the way things work, it's not the Lord.

Christians (meaning those of us who have an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ), on the other hand, believe in resurrection. We're told that we'll die physically, but spiritually, we'll go to be with the Lord, and one day in the future, our bodies will be resurrected (but as resurrected bodies), as was Jesus' at His resurrection. We also believe that the Body and Spirit are one, not separate as those who believe in reincarnation believe.

So to reincarnate is to become carnate again...return to life in the physical, fleshy world. I suppose this could also mean plants, for even the Native Americans' religions often talked of the spirits of the trees (though I don't think they believed such were spirits of their ancestors).

But resurrection in the Christian sense is to live again, only in a completely non-fleshy world.  And honestly, among the 2, I suggest focusing your attention on this one.

---Pastor Andy
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