Summary: What happens after I die?
This question relates to the idea of reincarnation. This notion has become popular today because of the rise of New Age thought in our culture, but its origins go back to eastern mysticism.
Reincarnation is the belief that the individual soul survives and is reincarnated into another body upon death. The good and bad deeds that we do add or subtract from our accumulated record, our karma. At the end of our life, we are rewarded or punished according to our karma by being reincarnated into either a painful or good new life. This process continues until the soul has fulfilled its destiny, learned its lessons, and become sufficiently enlightened so that it might revert to its divine status or is absorbed into (or realizes its timeless identity with) the Divine All.
The reincarnationist accepts four primary presuppositions:
#1: The problem facing man is imperfect discernment -
The idea behind reincarnation is that people need to discover the divinity within through "enlightenment," "attunement," "self actualisation" - whatever it may be called. This occurs through a shift in consciousness and when our consciousness is enlightened then we can escape the lie of our finiteness and realize our "oneness with the divine." Of course, this takes time for a person to figure out. Hence the need for reincarnation.
Also complicating matters is something the reincarnationist refers to as "karma." "Bad karma" refers to the things we did wrong in our past lives for which we are being punished in the present. "Good karma" refers to the things we did right in our previous lives for which we are being rewarded in the present. Since everyone is having to pay for previous mistakes from the past, that complicates, making it even more difficult to progress toward "enlightenment."
To add insult to injury, your next body could be an animal, vegetable or human depending on whether you were good or bad. Your past behavior catches up with you in your present life due to the law of karma. You could in your next reincarnation end up a clam, a carrot, a bush or a human being. Because of this, reincarnation is necessary because it provides one with an infinite number of lives through which they can figure things out.
So the idea is that a person is condemned to pass through one life-time after another until they achieve "enlightenment." Following this achievement, then, upon death, the process stops, and the person is absorbed into the "Divine All."
This whole idea does not make sense! The idea that we are reincarnated in order to learn lessons we failed to learn in a past earthly life is contrary to both common sense and basic educational psychology. I cannot learn something if there is no continuity of memory. I can only learn from my mistakes if I remember them. Additionally, how is it going to help me figure anything out if, because of "bad karma," I come back as bird, or a dog, or a cow?
Now, the reason this does not make sense is because reincarnation has its source in man’s imagination rather than God’s revelation.
If you are a Christian who has toyed with the idea of reincarnation or if you are not a believer and have assumed that the notion of reincarnation can somehow fit with Christianity, think again. As we consider the revelation give to us by God through the Bible, we find that the idea of an individual living multiple life-times is categorically rejected. Life is a one-way trip. Our Bible makes this abundantly clear: "Man is destined to die ONCE," (Hebrews 9:27).
Reincarnation also assumes that . . .
#2: The key to enlightenment is introspective discovery -
As previously mentioned, the idea of reincarnation assumes that the problem with people is a lack of awareness of their divinity. Therefore, through various means, one needs to alter their state of consciousness. This can be done in a variety of ways, including meditation, Yoga, chanting, drugs, visualization, and the like. These practices are intended to supposedly reconnect us with the "divine" in each of us. The Bible reveals, however, that there is nothing divine in us.
In fact, this is the lie that Satan believed when he rebelled against God ("I will be like the most high" ~ Isaiah 14:14b). It is the lie that Satan sold to Adam and Eve, which brought about the fall of mankind into sin ("You shall be like God" ~ Genesis 3:4-5).
It is also the lie that a rebellious mankind will believe as they follow the anti-Christ in the last days prior to our Lord’s return. "For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe THE LIE." ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:11
The Bible tells us that Satan is, "is a liar and the father of it (the lie that we can be our own god)," (John 8:44). Through the propagation of "the lie" Satan keeps people in darkness and blinded to the truth. "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." ~ 2 Corinthians 4:4