What is the difference between Reincarnation and Resurrection?

The Bible certainly mentions a notion of a resurrection, but this is different from reincarnation (or transmigration) in several ways.  Reincarnation is a rebirth into a new form of existence that may be totally different from the first form of existence.  For example, a human could get reincarnated as an animal such as a cow.  The cow is a totally different form than a human.

On the other hand, in a resurrection, the human stays as a human.  The Judeo-Christian notion of resurrection is a transformation of the body into an immortal form of existence, but there is a relationship between the physical body that dies and the body that is physically raised to immortality.  The body that dies is the exact body that is raised, yet it is transformed.  However, the resurrection is a physical one.

After his resurrection, Jesus said, “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have," (Lk. 24:39).  In this passage, Jesus clearly affirmed the physical nature of his resurrected body.  His body was identical to the body that had been killed.  Jesus's essence was not inhabiting another object.

In continuation, Jesus also stated, “Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' 20The Jews then said, 'It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?' 21But He was speaking of the temple of His body," (Jn. 2:19-21).  In other words, Jesus' body would be destroyed and then raised.

In agreement with Jesus, the apostle Paul taught that physical resurrection of the body in 1 Corinthians 15 stating “So also is the resurrection of the dead It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body,” (1 Cor. 15:42-44).  There is a clear connection between the physical body in the grave and the resurrected, yet transformed, physical body that is raised.  The “it” that is sown is the “it” that is raised.


Reincarnation Resurrection
Body Physical or Spiritual Physical
Means Moral decisions or good works such as detachment, denial, meditation, etc. Faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9).
Type of Future Existence Human to Animal or Plants, etc Human to Human