Karma is a spiritual concept of cause and effect that is often associated with eastern religions, and many westerners are surprised to learn that references to this concept can be found in the Bible. In several passages, the sacred text portrays a clear chain of activities, consequences, and divine acts that uphold justice. Whether this is karma, in the eastern sense, or a poetic representation of justice and cosmic balance is a topic of debate.
The word ‘karma’ itself never appears in the Bible, although it is closely related to the concept of reward and punishment. The Bible refers to this often, using a variety of terms such as ‘works’, ‘wages’, ‘deeds’, and ‘punishment’. In Romans 6:23, Paul speaks of the ‘wages of sin’ being death. The Hebrew bible is filled with accounts of God rewarding the good and punishing the wrong, while both the Old and New Testaments teach against the idea of a person earning salvation through works.
This raises the question of whether karma is present in the Bible. While some may argue that it is, others point out that many of the concepts related to karma are absent from the Christian faith. In the eastern tradition, karma is believed to be accumulated from a person’s actions and passed through lifetimes. In contrast, the Bible often speaks of salvation and forgiveness, implying that a person can be freed from the consequences of their past deeds. This has been interpreted to mean that while there may be some similarities, the idea of karma found in the Bible is much different than that found in other religions.
When looking at the Bible, it is important to understand the religious and cultural context in which it was written. The idea of karma existed in many religions before the time of Jesus and this could have influenced the way some passages of scripture were written. At the same time, it is important to note that the Bible clearly teaches that people are held accountable for their actions and will be judged according to their deeds. This can be seen in passages such as Hebrews 12:28-29, which states that ‘God will judge every deed’.
Ultimately, whether karma is present in the Bible is a matter of interpretation. While some may view the concept of reward and punishment found in the Bible as an example of karma, others may see it as a different concept altogether. Regardless of one’s interpretation, the Bible makes it clear that God is the ultimate judge, and that justice will be served.
Relation to Common Moral Values
The concept of karma, as found in the Bible, is closely related to common moral values. The Bible teaches that people should strive to do what is right as they will be rewarded in the afterlife. This is similar to Eastern teachings on karma, as they also encourage people to live good, moral lives in order to avoid negative karmic consequences. Therefore, while the concept of karma itself may not be expressly found in the Bible, its underlying message of justice is certainly present.
The Bible also speaks of divine retribution and judgement, which is similarly found in the Eastern teachings of karma. In the Bible, God is seen to act as a just judge, rewarding those who do good works and punishing those who do evil. This is echoed in the Eastern concept of karma, where people are held responsible for their actions and will be rewarded or punished accordingly. Therefore, while the term ‘karma’ may not be found in the Bible, the underlying principles are certainly there.
The Bible doesn’t just speak of divine retribution but also of mercy and forgiveness. The Christian faith teaches that despite a person’s past mistakes, they can be forgiven and reconciled to God. Eastern religions generally do not have such an idea of forgiveness, instead believing that one’s karma must be worked off. Therefore, while there may be similarities between the concepts of karma in the Bible and Eastern teachings, there are also clear distinctions.
Influence on Court System
The idea of karma has influenced the court system in many countries, including the United States. In his book Manifest Your Karma, author Stephen Cope explains that many courts have adopted the idea of karma as a way to evaluate cases and make decisions. For example, in the US, courts have often used punishment as a way to teach a lesson, as well as to punish for its own sake. This is similar to the Eastern concept of karma, where a person is held responsible for their past actions and must suffer the consequences.
In addition to influencing punishments, the concept of karma has also been used to influence sentencing. For example, many judges now focus on rehabilitation rather than simply punishment. This is based on the idea that everyone deserves a second chance and that, with the right guidance and education, people can learn from their mistakes and become better citizens. Therefore, the influence of karma on the court system can be seen not only in the punishments handed down but also in the attempts to rehabilitate those who have committed crimes.
At the same time, it is important to note that the concept of karma found in the Bible is often more lenient than that found in Eastern religions. In the Bible, God is seen as a loving and merciful God who is willing to forgive and redeem those who have gone astray. Therefore, while the concept of karma certainly is present in the Bible, it is often interpreted in a more compassionate and forgiving light than in the eastern traditions.
Karma in Everyday Life
With the influence of Eastern religions, the concept of karma has become popular among many westerners. This is evident in the way people talk about karma in everyday life. For example, people often say that ‘what goes around comes around’, implying that good and bad deeds will eventually be rewarded or punished. This is similar to the concept of karma found in the Bible, as it indicates that people will be held accountable for their actions.
The concept of karma has also been embraced by popular culture, with many people seeing it as a way of creating balance and justice in the world. For example, the idea of random acts of kindness or ‘paying it forward’ has become popular, with the hope that good deeds will be rewarded in some way. This is similar to the concept of karma found in the Bible, where good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds are punished.
Finally, there are some who believe that the concept of karma has become part of modern western thinking. According to Robert Ornstein and Paul Ehrlich, authors of What would Jesus Really Do?, the idea of karma has become so ingrained in western culture that it has become an unconscious part of our thought processes. This is reflected in popular sayings such as ‘what goes around comes around’, which are used to explain why certain people experience good or bad luck.
Differences between Christianity and Eastern Religions
As mentioned previously, the concept of karma found in the Bible is often quite different than in Eastern religions. In Christianity, the concept of sin is emphasized, while Eastern religions focus more on karma and the need to work off one’s karma in order to achieve enlightenment. In addition, Christianity stresses the importance of faith, while Eastern religions focus more on attaining knowledge and understanding. Finally, Christianity emphasizes a personal relationship with God, while Eastern religions focus more on spiritual rituals and practices.
Ultimately, whether the concept of karma can be found in the Bible is a matter of interpretation. While there may be similarities between the concepts of karma found in the Bible and Eastern religions, there are also clear differences. The important thing to remember is that, regardless of one’s interpretation, the Bible teaches that people will be held accountable for their actions and that justice will be served.
Conclusion of Eastern Religions
The concept of karma found in the Bible is often seen as different than that found in Eastern religions. The Bible speaks of reward and punishment, while in Eastern religions, karma is believed to be accumulated from a person’s actions and passed through lifetimes. The Bible also emphasizes the importance of faith and a personal relationship with God, whereas Eastern religions focus more on attaining knowledge and understanding. Ultimately, the concept of karma found in the Bible may be interpreted differently depending on one’s belief system, but it is clear that justice will be served.