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Does the Bible Support Karma?

"It seems like the idea of karma is supported in the bible. Do you believe in Karma?", (Question from Ken Merceri).

The word karma gets thrown around a lot, and I'm not sure that there is a set definition for the word. The most basic meaning of karma is a kind of raw spiritual cause and effect; that the actions of the past have created the present, and the actions of the present will create the future. Generally, any notions of right and wrong, or divine reward and punishment, are implicitly denied. Karma is viewed as more of a law of nature, like gravity, as opposed to the wrath or blessings of a Creator. According to this definition I would certainly have to say no, I don't believe in karma.

However, I do believe in ultimate justice, because God is by his nature fair, and not a respecter of persons, "For there is no respect of persons with God" (Romans 2.11 KJV bible). In fact, God is better to most people than they actually deserve, "ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil" (Luke 6.35 KJV bible).

Many people (both believers and non-believers) have observed that in life, what goes around tends to come around. The betrayer gets betrayed, the thief gets robbed, and so on. However, it's also true that many people seem to reap tragedy that is greater than anything that they have sown, particularly in comparison with other people. The is why the operative term when it comes to understanding God's fairness is "ultimate justice". A nonbeliever's perception of the world is built upon life in the flesh, because they don't know anything else. This is how they reckon reward and punishment. However, the believer knows that life in the flesh is fleeting, and that it pales in comparison to the spiritual realities of salvation and eternal life. So ultimately, God deals fairly with everyone, but on his own terms, which are far more foresightful and comprehensive than man's.

"For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men...When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction." (Psalm 18.3-5,16-18 KJV bible).


Bob Jackson      27 Dec 2010, 16:28

So many of my Christian family talk about Karma...i.e. what comes around goes around...Although not biblical...its interesting to seemingly observe this type of belief and how wide-spread it is...thanks for your insight..

Doug Buckley      28 Dec 2010, 15:19

Hi Bob, yes the bible does seem to support "karma", in the sense of justice. Its different from the karma of eastern religion though, which I didn't really understand till I wrote the article. Good to hear from you.

Bob Jackson      29 Dec 2010, 13:07

So...Karma is in there...and supported by our reading...The karma that deals with what comes around goes around...not reincarnation etc...?? I certainly believe in ultimate justice too...but sure have seen what I think is modern karma in action..I'm so glad I think to google questions like this...I love finding the different opinions out there...I try and learn something from everyone I meet..God is good....again thanks for your insight..

Doug Buckley      29 Dec 2010, 15:34

Hi Bob, karma can be boiled down to the idea that what goes around comes around. However, the original eastern concept of karma rejects God, at least the biblical God, as having any role in this. I think they also reject the idea of blessings and punishment. They don't believe in any good karma or bad karma, just everyone has their own unique karma that is right for them.

The bible does support a kind of karma, in the sense of ultimate justice. "The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming...For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous. The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever...For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand" (Psalm 37.12-13, 17-18, 22-24 KJV bible).

So ultimately the righteous will be vindicated and rewarded by the Lord, and the wicked will be punished. This is similar to karma, but not exactly.

Vijay Kumar Jain      25 Mar 2011, 07:45

As per infallible laws of <A href="">karma</A> ... we reaped fruits of karma performed! Nothing in cosmic system happened of its own! If we suffered in present life... all owes its existence to bad karma performed by us in past or previous lives!

Doug Buckley      25 Mar 2011, 18:19

My understanding of the karma in eastern religion is that there is no good or evil karma, its just the right karma for the person. It's similar to when Jim Carrey said that a brick in the face and winning the lottery are the same. However, I'm sure there's different opinions about karma in eastern relgions.

jackie chavez      29 Mar 2011, 23:19

karma is just that, an rastern religio teadhing and has nothing to do with the Christian Bible. I have been involved with yoga,astrology, meditation etc.. and believe me, they are not focused on Jesus, but are geared towards a person developing a higher level and acheiving self awareness and the god within, it directs people towards anything and everything, but the one true God. what you feel when you get near a true believer in Christ is not karma or an aura, it is the Spirit, if that person is a person of God, he will have a unique magnetism, the same if a person who is in the black arts will feel repelled to a person that posseses Gods Spirit. the Holy Spirit can be sensed by the unsaved, also a person who is saved and full of Gods Holy Spirit will become uneasy or feel sickish when a person dabbling in the black arts is near or speaking to them. I have personally gone through some very wierd stuff with past friends who are unsaved or into eastern arts. it doesn't matter, don't preoccupy your time with those things, satan uses them to draw people into his domain, once you start reading about it, it is like a labarynth that pulls you in and before you know it, you are spending way too much time reading that stuff and the Bible gets pushed aside, that is when you become more and more confused and start doubting the Bible more and more, it becomes harder to understand, the devil gets his fangs into more people through eastern religions than anything else, be careful, the mind is made to be fed the truth, and can become contaminated with those teachings or beliefs, there is Gods way and theres the highway, you have the freedom to choose, God sets you free, other religions promise you wealth, health etc.., but instead bind you by taking you down a bad road, jackie

jackei gribs      22 Apr 2011, 18:15

there are people that i know and they say that if you believe in karma you aren't christian is that true or not because i believe in karma and i have looked in the bible hundreds of times and there was nothing about not being christian if you believe in christian

Doug Buckley      23 Apr 2011, 17:33

Hi Jackie G. Is karma something Christians should believe in? In other words is karma biblical? The problem is that it depends on what is meant by karma. Pure Buddhist or Hindu conceptions of karma are not biblical. However, if karma is used to refer to a recompense for evil, or to say that people reap what they sow, then in those contexts karma is biblical.

Christians really shouldn't believe in the true eastern concept of karma, even if karma appears to have some similarities with what the bible teaches. However, people who go around judging other Christians over something like that should be concerned about whether they really know the Lord.

David      24 Jul 2011, 02:43

From what I know, karma means many different things in different religions, but basically it is concerned with a person doing things that he considers good in order that he may receive good things. However the scriptures say instead that we cannot do anything good at all (Rom 3:9-20, Psa 14, Isa 59, Eccl 7:20), and neither would we deserve blessing based upon anything we have done. Therefore by the grace you are saved through the faith, and this salvation, not out of you, is the gift of God, not out of works, so that not anyone might boast (Eph 2:8-9, see Eph 3:6-8). And in Christ alone God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. We worship and serve God not because we want to gain any earthly blessing but because he deserves our whole heart and our whole soul and our whole understanding and our whole might. Moreover we cannot even repay him for what he has done, having sent his only-begotten son into the world to be crucified by the world for our sins. Therefore let us set our hearts not on recompense but on that which we ought to do (Luke 17:10). For God will reward those who seek him with his loving presence.

Doug Buckley      24 Jul 2011, 18:00

Hi David, I agree with what you're saying about Christianity and karma for the most part. However, the bible doesn't say that everything every nonbeliever does is bad, just that no one can be justified or vindicated and have eternal life outside the grace of Christ. I agree that salvation is absolutely not something we earn or can repay.

It's not the same as karma but God does and will repay people according to their works, "And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes...(Luke 12.47-48 KJV bible), "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works" (Matthew 16.27 KJV bible).

"For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel" (Romans 2.11-16 KJV bible).

David      24 Jul 2011, 19:50

Yes. Indeed those who truly seek God will manifest his law written in their hearts, and I believe they also will know and acknowledge their need for his salvation, and, like Cornelius, believing God and doing his will even while not fully knowing. I said that no one can do anything good because many people consider themselves good only according to their own standard, but God will judge according to his standard, of which we have come short (Rom 3:23). Also, according to Jesus himself, no one is good except one, God (Mark 10:18)! This does not mean that Jesus himself is not good, but it clearly means that no one is good in himself apart from God, who is the unique good one, who is the source of all good works. Jesus is also good because he does the father's will. Likewise only works that we work in God are actually good (John 3:13-21, Matt 7:21, Rom 12:2). Therefore let us do good works not for our sake but so that our father in the heavens is glorified (Matt 7:16), and let us seek to know the will of God so that we may walk in the good works that God has prepared for those who love him (Eph 2:20).

deceivenomore      30 Jun 2012, 16:02

The Bible does not support the term Karma.

A popular term, but then so are many other terms that have no association to the Bible.

Karma does not exist. It is false.

Tineka Nunes      27 Nov 2012, 01:16

Hi there, I've had a problem with a family member that always throws karma in my face! I don't think the bible teaches us to wish bad things on one another nor does it teach us to judge. I think karma only comes into play once we have died, and the second coming of Christ has come. Judgement day! We will be judged on good and wrongs we have done in flesh and spirit. What do you think?

Doug Buckley      28 Nov 2012, 14:07

Hi Tineka, yes we aren't supposed to wish harm on or judge people (the two are actually related). As I explain in the article it depends on what someone means by karma. Karma in its original eastern sense isn't biblical. But someone can certainly reap what they've sown in life, and it happens alot. Most of people's problems are their own fault, and if you want to think of this as karma then its karma.

God doesn't necessarily zap people, but evil is opportunistic like a disease and when we sin we open the door to allow evil to rise up and prosper and destroy ourselves and our families. Yes there will also be judgement day as well, because some people actually prefer evil and side with it, and God will get rid of them.

Rev. Mike Eaton      08 Mar 2013, 16:15

The basic nature of God's Justice is that we reap what we sow.

7: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8: For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9: And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Everything that you do has repercussions. It comes back to you one way or another.
You cannot escape the consequences of your actions. What you do comes back to you.
You will see the long-term effects of your actions.
What goes around comes around.
Your actions all have consequences. Don't ever be fooled into thinking that your actions don't have consequences. Don't think you can get away with bad choices even if you don't seem to get caught. Remember verse seven tells us that God cannot be mocked. He sees it all. You reap what you sow.

Karma, on the other hand, is the Hindu and Buddhist philosophy according to which the quality of people’s current and future lives is determined by their behavior in this and in previous lives. Good behavior is rewarded with goodness in life, and bad behavior is punished.

Of course, as a Christian, our sins have been forgiven, our failures have been forgotten by God. We won't suffer the eternal consequences of our wrongs as long as we trust in Him and live our lives in accordance to His ways. Even so, we can and most assuredly will suffer temporal consequences here on this Earth.

Thomas      20 Mar 2013, 10:32

Jer 17:9
"Who can understand the human heart? There is nothing else so deceitful; it is too sick to be healed."

Rom 3:9-20 [No One is Righteous]
Well then, are we Jews in any better condition then the Gentiles? Not at all! I have already shown that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say: "There is no one who is righteous, no one who is wise or who worships God. All have turned away from God; they have all gone wrong; no one does what is right, not even one. Their words are full of deadly deceit; wicked lies roll off their tongues, and dangerous threats, like snake's poison, from their lips; their speech is filled with bitter curses. They are quick to hurt and kill; they leave ruin and destruction whatever they go. They have not known the path of peace, nor have they learned reverence for God." Now we know that everything in the Law applies to those who live under the Law, in order to stop all human excuses and bring the whole world under God's judgment. For no one is put right in God's sight by doing what the Law requires; what the Law does is to make us know that we have sinned.

desmond      12 Apr 2013, 11:40

hi bob' what language do i find this karma?

SJ      16 Apr 2013, 10:58

The concept of "karma" is actually quite biblical... although it seems to be confined to this life or possibly to one's life to come (eternal life).

Negative Karma in the OT:
"He who digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him." (Prov. 26:27)

Positive Karma in the OT:
"The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered."
(Prov. 11:25)

Positive and Negative Karma in the NT:
From Jesus:
"Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure-- pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." (Lk. 6:38)

From Paul:
"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." (Gal. 6:7)

Clearly, though, God's grace is greater than any negative karma, AND it is only by this amazing grace that we are able to create any positive karma at all.

Doug Buckley      16 Apr 2013, 20:06

hi SJ, those are good verses that suggest something like karma in the bible. The biblical writers observe that what goes around comes around and if you're up to no good don't be surprised if it blows back on you. I suppose one can call this karma.

However this observation of "karma" isn't the biblical explanation for all the bad things and suffering that happen in the world. There isn't a law of karma. For example Job's suffering was much greater than other people who had many worse sins. Yet it was part of God's plan for Job to move closer to Him.

Jesus does teach that we often reap what we sow, but he also teaches that there isn't a law of karma to explain tragedy. Suffering is likely more related to man's fallen nature and state.

"And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:2-5 KJV bible).

June Lowther      30 Aug 2013, 04:03

What you sow, so shall ye reap. This, I call GOD's Karma. God doesn't specifically call it "Karma".... but we all know what IS meant by "Karma" and YING YANG (where there is good there is evil) etc. all religions have their own name to it, but the concept is there in Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity.

"As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same" Job 4:8

“I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:10

Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life. It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing. The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out". ...Proverbs 20 1-30

And I guess any drug related substance does this too! So there you go my daughter Tineka you have your answers. Love and God Bless... Mom xxx"
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