Job and Reincarnation? Job 1:20-21


The Bible teaches against reincarnation in Hebrews 9:27, so why does Job speak positively of it in Job 1:20-21?


Job 1:20-21 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: "Naked I came from my mothers womb and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."

Hebrews 9:27 And just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.

Job is not speaking about reincarnation (the return of the soul to another body to live again), but of the return of the body to the grave. God formed man from the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7), and Adam, the covenant/representative head of all humanity (Rom. 5:12-19), was told he would return to the ground (Gen. 3:19; Eccl. 12:7). Additionally, note that the Hebrew word for "womb" (beten) in Job is used figuratively for the "earth." We see something similar in Psalms 139:13-15:
Psalm 139:13-15 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. 
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Job believed in the resurrection of an immortal body. He said, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God" (Job 19:25-26; cf. 1 Cor. 15:42-44).

Although reincarnation is still taught in New Age circles, it is a false doctrine. The Bible teaches that human life is unrepeatable. As Psalm 139 teaches above, each human being is unique. We are responsible to God for our actions in the here and now (2 Cor. 5:10; cf. Job 34:11; Matt. 16:27). Death is not a transfer to some alleged higher existence depending on our behavior on earth (Acts 10:42; Rom. 2:5, 16; 14:10). The parable of the rich man and Lazarus teaches that once in hell, always in hell, and once in heaven, always in heaven (the new heavens and new earth). Man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment (Heb. 9:27).

If a person does not get it right the first time, they get it wrong for eternity! If one does not know Christ, then they have it wrong; you must be born again (John 3:1-8). Ask the Holy Spirit to give you repentance to the acknowledging of the truth that is found in Christ alone. True repentance is a gift (2 Tim. 2:24-26). Salvation is of grace (Eph. 2:8-10). Repent and believe in Jesus now (Mark 1:15; Acts 16:31).

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).