Reincarnation.. It’s Meaning and Consequences..
A Four Part Essay.
Reincarnation In World Religions
Eastern religions explain the differences that exist among people as a result of previous lives, good or bad, which bear their fruits in the present one through the action of karma. Therefore reincarnation seems to be a perfect way of punishing or rewarding one’s deeds, without the need of accepting a personal God as Ultimate Reality
Past-life recall as Modern Proof for Reincarnation?
An intriguing aspect of the testimonies recorded under hypnosis is the fact that they heavily depend on the already existing data in current historic knowledge. In many cases, although the information corresponds to generally acknowledged historical data, further archaeological discoveries contradict them, casting serious doubts on the veracity of "past lives".
Reincarnation and Cosmic Justice
The concept of reincarnation stands in contradiction with logic, social justice, morality and even common sense. Looking beyond the apparent comfort it provides to this life by promising further lives in which perfection may be attained, belief in reincarnation cannot bring any beneficial result, but only resignation and despair in facing fate. Why then accept it as a major spiritual belief?
Reincarnation and Christianity
Today’s religious syncretism not only accepts reincarnation as one of its basic doctrines but also tries to prove that it can be found in the Bible and in the history of the Church. We will therefore analyze the basic texts in the Bible which are claimed to imply reincarnation, examine the position of some important Church fathers who were suspected of having accepted it, emphasize the basic antagonism of this doctrine with Christian teaching, and then find a proper explanation for the past life recall experiences mentioned earlier, an explanation that should be compatible with Christian thought.
The Message of the Bible and The Warnng of The Bible
Far from being outdated, out of touch, and largely irrelevant to modern society, the Kingdom of God Jesus was sent to earth to proclaim (No, His main message wasn’t about ‘love’) is exactly the utopian world most men and women can only dream of. However, there is also a warning. The Bible very clearly tells us that we all have a choice to make in this life - the most important decision we will ever make. And, if the Bible is indeed the word of God, as it claims to be, and Jesus is the Son of God as He said He was, the consequences for the individual who chooses to ignore, or counter the evidence with clever arguments, will be fatal.
Does The Bible Teach Reincarnation
Leaders and promoters of the New Age Movement, like most cults, must deal in some way with the basis of Christian authority and doctrine, the Bible. Typically, antagonists to Christianity will either attack the validity of the Bible or else twist the Scripture to make it accommodate the cults' beliefs. Those in the New Age attempt to do both, depending on which position would best promote their agenda.
Reincarnation and the Council of Nicea (below)
The historical inaccuracies of the claim that The theory of reincarnation was recorded in the Bible. But the proper interpretations were struck from it during an Ecumenical Council meeting of the Catholic Church in Constantinople sometime around 553 A.D, called the Council of Nicea.
What The Bible Teaches
"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. " Genesis 3:19: (Note that this verse says you will return to dust, not that you will return to another body when you die.).
When one dies, "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." Psalm 146:4
"For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even one thing befalls them: as the one dies, so dies the other; yes, they have all one breath; so that a man has no preeminence above a beast…All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again" (Ecc. 3:19-20).
Upon death "the spirit returns to God who gave it" (Ecc. 12:7)
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Mat 25:46
The Christian's hope rests not on the reincarnation of the soul, but in the resurrection of the body (1 Cor. 15:42-55).
That "to be away from the body" is to be "at home with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8).
"it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" (Heb. 9:27-28). (No second chances).
Reincarnation and the Council of Nicea
Many claim that reincarnation was originally found in the Bible, but was later removed. for example Shirley MacLaine wrote
"The theory of reincarnation is recorded in the Bible. But the proper interpretations were struck from it during an Ecumenical Council meeting of the Catholic Church in Constantinople sometime around 553 A.D, called the Council of Nicea. The Council members voted to strike those teachings from the Bible in order to solidify Church control." [Shirley MacLaine. ‘Out on a Limb’. New York: Bantam Books, 1983, pp. 234-5.]
However, few realize that as Sue Bohlin says “the burden of proof is on the reincarnationists to show us those supposed Biblical passages supporting reincarnation!” And as said by Dr. Paul R. Eddy, Associate Professor of Theology at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota
"In response to this claim, we must begin by pointing out a few basic historical inaccuracies. First, The Council of Nicea, the first of the seven Ecumenical councils, took place in 325 A.D. It was concerned with the teachings of Arius and their implications for a correct understanding of the person of Jesus Christ. The documents from this Council offer no evidence that the topic of reincarnation ever came up for discussion, let alone that it was condemned and removed from the Bible. No doubt this claim means to refer, rather, to the fifth Ecumenical Council, held in 553 - the Council of Constantinople. The primary purpose of this Council was to ease the tensions in the Church caused by the Council of Chalcedon, 100 years previous. Again, there is no evidence whatsoever that the idea of reincarnation was ever discussed, let alone condemned and purged from the Bible.
What the reincarnationists are probably referring to here is the condemnation of Origenism, which included belief in the pre-existence of the soul. This should not, however, be confused with the notions of the karmic cycle of reincarnation. This is clear from Origen's own words on this matter when he writes of "the dogma of transmigration, which is foreign to the Church of God not handed down by the Apostles, nor anywhere set forth in the Scriptures." ....
“Another problem with this theory is the fact that manuscripts of the Bible exist dating back to the third century. For example, the Bodmer Papyri (dated around 200-225), the Chester Beatty Papyri (dated around 200-250), Codex Vaticanus (dated around 325-350), and Codex Sinaiticus (dated around 340) are all documents written centuries prior to the 533 Council, and none of them reveal any supposed reincarnationist teachings that were supposedly removed from later editions of the Bible! Beyond this, it is known that the core canon of the Bible was essentially recognized and acknowledged throughout the orthodox Church as early as the late second and early third centuries, as evidenced by the list contained in the Muratorian Fragment (dated around 170). All of this points towards the impossibility of a conspiratorial purgation of the doctrine of reincarnation--or any other doctrine for that matter--from the Bible during any of the Ecumenical Councils." [https://www.probe.org/was-reincarnation-ever-in-the-bible/]
IPS Note: Although Origen is often considered the father of systematic theology, and has been called "one of the greatest Christian theologians" and the "greatest by far" of the ante-Nicene writers of the Eastern Church, both as a theologian and as a "prolific Biblical scholar" much of his theology was so far removed from what the Bible teaches, that one is forced to the conclusion that, more than the Scriptures, Greek philosophy played a major part in determining his views on life, God, and religion in general. See More About Origen and his influence on the doctrine of the Trinity HERE]
And more about The Ecumenical Councils HERE