It seems that the word “karma” has become a common expression in the American vernacular. We might hear someone say, “Oh, karma will take care of that.” Some time back, a man was working on my computer. After he ﬁnished repairing the problem, his closing words to me were, “Good karma.” At times, the word is even used among Christians. Some Christians innocently do not realize it, but by using this term they are adopting a false philosophy that is most certainly contrary to biblical teaching.
Thus, what is karma all about? The word karma actually means “action, word, or deed.” It is a false theological concept that is founded in the Buddhist and Hindu religions. It ties in with their false doctrine of reincarnation. Karma in the present aﬀects one’s future in the current life as well as in future “reincarnated” lives. If you are kind and nice during this lifetime, you will be rewarded by being reincarnated with a pleasant life in your new earthly body. However, if you live a life of selﬁshness and evil, you will be reincarnated into a miserable, less-than-pleasant lifestyle in the next one. The word of God rejects the doctrine of reincarnation, and therefore, does not support the idea of karma.
Just one passage of scripture is suﬃcient to disprove this false philosophy. Hebrews 9:27 states, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after that the judgment.” This means that humans are born once and only die once. There is no endless cycle of life and death here on earth. Also, this scripture states that after a death we will face the judgment, meaning there is no second chance like there is in reincarnation and karma. We have one opportunity to live, and God desires that we obey and do His will, and that is it!
Yes, Galatians 6:7-8 says that a man will reap what he sows. Ultimately, the reaping will be eternal in nature — “corruption” or “everlasting life” (v. 8). Often, depending upon the nature of sin or faithful service — consequences or blessings are enjoyed while here on earth. But unlike karma, God doesn’t always promise justice here on earth (2 Thessalonians 1:6-7), and He doesn’t promise a carefree life for those who are righteous (John 16:33; Hebrews 11:35-40). For example, many righteous people that we read about in the Bible suﬀered greatly, such as Job, Joseph, and Paul; also, many evil men lived the good life such as the rich man in Luke 16:19-31. There is simply no reference or indication that we will be reincarnated into another life here on earth, based on how we are presently living before death. Thus, after death, and when all men will be judged, it is either eternal suﬀering in hell or eternal life in heaven with Jesus. He died so that we can live righteously in this life in order to live eternally with Him. Notice carefully what Jesus said in Matthew 25:46: “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Therefore, we can see that the concept of reincarnation and karma is incompatible with what the Bible teaches about life, death, and sowing and reaping of eternal life. Let us all, as Christians, refrain from using the word “karma” in our everyday conversations. “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11).
R. J. Evans