Reincarnation is the belief that our souls pass on from one body to another until we’ve arrived at karmic equity at which time we’re absorbed into “God” either personally or impersonally. But resurrection says that after death the same physical body will be made incorruptible. Rather than a repetitive series of bodies, one after another, resurrection calls to life forever the same body that died. Christianity doesn’t see man as a soul in a body, but as a soul-body. Geisler says, “While reincarnation is a process toward perfection, resurrection is a perfected state. Reincarnation is an intermediate state, while the soul longs to be disembodied and absorbed in God; but resurrection is an ultimate state in which the whole person, body and soul, enjoys the goodness of God. Quite a difference, huh?”

Many Christians accept the New Age concept of a soul residing in a body rather than the biblical concept of soul-body continuity. We will have real physical bodies after our resurrection, after all, Jesus did. In Luke 24:39, after his resurrection he called his disciples to “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.” Further, he was recognized for who he was in life as well. He even ate fish! You could not do that without a real physical body. However, as Geisler goes on to explain about the resurrection body, “But it had some differences too. He could appear and disappear at will (Luke 24:31; John 20:19, 26). And He ascended into the clouds without a jet pack (Acts 1:9–11). These differences show that the raisings of Lazarus (John 11:1–44) and of the widow’s son (Luke 7:11–17) were not resurrections, but only revivification of their mortal bodies (since they both died again). So the resurrected body was material, but immortal. It was physical, but imperishable (1 Cor. 15:50–54).”

When Paul talks about our existence in heaven, he says we will be “changed.” He says that Jesus resurrection is a picture of our resurrection. It speaks not of a disembodied state but of a perfected literal body. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says “We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (51-52). When the body is resurrected it is a perfected body with all the qualities and characteristics of Jesus’ resurrected body: perishable becomes imperishable, mortal becomes immortal. The weaknesses and imperfections of our current body will be no more. We will have a perfect body! The burdens and pains and weaknesses of our bodies in this world move us with a longing, not to be bodiless, but to live in a resurrected, glorified body. According to Paul, “…while we are still in this tent (physical body), we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed (be a disembodied spirit), but that we would be further clothed (given a new body), so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage.” The Holy Spirit is God’s pledge and promise of our physical resurrection into life everlasting! (2 Corinthians 5:4-6)