I have had a discussion with a New-Age friend. Jesus is the only way to God (as opposed to New-age belief many roads lead to God) mainly based on Jesus’ statement in John 14:6. and also from Acts 4:12. My New-ager friend is aware of these passages and asks “How do you know that Jesus hasn’t been on earth before, in form of other wise teacher”? He implies (if I understood correctly) that Jesus had many incarnations and that we can be connected to God also through those other incarnations. Please help me respond him.
The one making this claim has the burden of proof. It is not the job of a Christian to prove that Jesus did NOT come in several incarnations. It is the job of the Christian to prove that Jesus lived, that he fulfilled the prophecies in the Old Testament, and that he was resurrected from the dead. It is not logical that the Christian must prove that he did NOT do things that we have no evidence he did. Unless we have solid evidence to support the conclusion, then it should be rejected as unsupported.
What is the evidence that Jesus had several incarnations? Is there a single piece of evidence that Jesus had more than one incarnation? Where? In what year? Without evidence, this claim is sheer nonsense and not worth even considering. Did they provide you with such evidence (obviously, they did not, of course)?
If Jesus came many times, then we must assume that he would have had the same nature and claims. Yet, there is no record at any time or in any place of a person who made claims even somewhat like what Jesus claimed. Jesus claimed to be God. Jesus claimed to have existed forever. Jesus claimed to have fulfilled dozens of prophecies. He claimed to be without sin. He claimed to be the bread of life (in other words the source of eternal life). He claimed to be “the resurrection and the life.” Does your friend have any evidence that there was a man who made such claims? The answer, of course, is no. This is an evidence-free claim and therefore can be ignored by anyone who is being intellectually honest.
Besides, it simply makes no sense that Jesus would come and be incarnated more than once. Like it says in Hebrews 9:23-28, Jesus had to die “once for all”–he would “die once” (9:27). Jesus came to take away the sins of the world. He said that he came to save the world (John 12:47). Why would he need to come again? What would be the purpose of his coming again? Would he need to save sinners a second time? Whoever makes such a claim has two problems: 1. They have no evidence and 2. They obviously do not understand the biblical picture of Jesus.