Reba McEntire is an amazing talent and an inspiration on many levels. Please don’t take this as a personal attack on the Country and Western icon. But among the list of her many talents, theologian is probably not near the top of the list. Why do I say that? It comes as a result of reading some comments she made in a recent interview. (Reba interview) In the interview she affirms a belief in reincarnation which comes as something of a shock to most people due to her clear statements of faith in God and having grown up in the Bible Belt of America. Reba said, “People said I can’t be a Christian if I believe in reincarnation, but I always felt God loves us so much He’d want to recycle us and not just throw us away”.
There are at least two things seriously wrong with what she says. One is simple from a Biblical point of view. The other is more subtle but perhaps more profound. As to the first thing. The Bible is clear that reincarnation is not part of God’s plan. Hebrews puts it this way; “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27,28. We don’t die and come back and die again and come back again. Just like Jesus died once, we die once.
Part of what is fascinating is that like many westerners who embrace reincarnation, Reba sees coming back again and again as a good thing. In the article she muses that maybe she is part Christian, part Buddhist. The problem is, Buddhists don’t see coming back again and again as a good thing. Just like Hinduism which also has reincarnation, they are trying to escape this life. In their system the world is nothing but pain that we are trying to escape and reach Nirvana. If you come back reincarnated it means you failed. No Buddhist wants to come back. They want to escape this reality.
The more profound part of her statement actually has to do with the implied view of God’s love and what eternity with Him would be like. Somehow the notion is expressed that once we die, we are just a throw away. Apparently it would be far more environmentally friendly on a cosmic/spiritual plane for God to “recycle” us. Like most westerners she misses the point that God does not recycle us, He redeems us. The Bible teaches that eventually Heaven and Earth will become one. God will restore creation to its intended purity and restore us to a right relationship with Him. His love for us is so vast and overwhelming that far from simply recycling us, He redeems us to be His people and to walk with Him again in the Garden.
I don’t fault Reba at all for her ideas. They are becoming more common all the time. I place the blame on those of us who claim to follow Christ. We have not understood or promoted the Biblical teaching of God’s love being a redeeming love. When we have it has only focused on being forgiven of personal sin. But redemption is so much more. All creation groans in expectation of the day when God will set things to right. It will be a day when sin, and pain, and sorrow, and suffering are no more. It will be a day of rejoicing, and dancing, and delighting in God our King. That is how much He loves us. He loves us so much that He sent His only son to redeem us and the world. He will in fact make us New Creatures and not a recycled retread.