Originally Posted by SonoranBob
Seriously, where is the hope and inspiration in such a system? You might after some open ended number of lifetimes -- perhaps thousands for all we know -- achieve the status of a god, only to be doomed to consume all that good karma you had accumulated anyway? Yech.
Exactly. That is why Buddha doesn't advise you to aspire to be a god. It advises you to attain enlightenment.
The enlightened chap escapes the reincarnation cycle altogether. Won't be a pig, human, god, ghost or animal.
If he returns as a human being, it will on a voluntary basis (as a bodhisattva). An example I've previously given is Jesus. He would be a bodhisattva - returning purely for the purpose of helping others.