DEAR REV. GRAHAM: My friend believes that when we die we don't go to heaven or anything like that, but we live our lives all over again, perhaps in other parts of the universe. Does the Bible say anything that might support this? —J.J.
Dear J.J.: Your friend apparently believes in what is called "reincarnation" — the idea that when we die we come back to life on earth (or some other place) again and again, instead of going to heaven.
The idea of reincarnation isn't found in the Bible, nor does anything in the Bible support it. In fact, the Bible clearly teaches that when we die our mortal lives on this earth are over, and we will enter the presence of God. The Bible says, "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).
Why is this? The reason is because only one thing can keep us out of heaven, and that is our sin. But when we know Christ, our sins have been forgiven and cleansed — totally and completely. Jesus Christ was sinless, because He was God in human flesh. But when He died on the cross, all our sins were transferred to Him — and His perfect righteousness was transferred to us. The Bible says, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
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Encourage your friend to ask himself why he finds this idea appealing. The reason, I suspect, is because down inside he knows he's not perfect, and somehow he hopes he'll have enough time to become better. Urge him instead to discover what Jesus Christ has already done for him. He alone gives us hope — hope for today, and hope for eternity.