Nature

Main page | Jari's writings

Is reincarnation true?

 

Is reincarnation true? Reincarnation and soul migration. Read why it doesn’t make sense to believe in reincarnation

 

 

FOREWORD

 

If we start to examine the basic views of the New Age movement and the Oriental religions, it is good to start with reincarnation. This doctrine is in the background of almost all teachings of the New Age movement and it is also the basic belief of the Oriental religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. It is estimated that approximately 25% of people in the Western countries believe in reincarnation, but in India and other countries of Asia – where the origin of this doctrine are – the percentage is much higher. Mainly in India and other countries of Asia they have taught this doctrine for at least 2000 years; it was generally accepted about 300 years before Christ, not much before that.

   People who believe in reincarnation believe that life is a continuous cycle; each person is born on the Earth again and again and again, and will always get a new incarnation depending on how he has lived in his previous life. All bad things that happen to us today are only the result of earlier events. We must now reap what we sowed during earlier lives. However, if we do not experience enlightenment and at the same time gain freedom from this cycle (achieving moksha), this circular life will continue forever.

   In the Western world, achieving moksha is not very important. Instead, in the Western world reincarnation is seen in a positive light, mainly as a possibility to develop and grow spiritually. It does not have the similar negative nuances.

    But what should we think about reincarnation: Is it really true? Is it worth believing in? We will try to address these questions in this article.

 

 


1. Do we reincarnate again and again?
2. Examining reincarnation
3. Reincarnation or eternal life?
 

 

1. Do we reincarnate again and again?

 

As far as the doctrine of reincarnation is concerned, we can find many logical inconsistencies and question marks in it. The same also applies to the research that has been done on reincarnation and that has been done using hypnosis and spontaneous recollections. We will study this in the light of the next examples:

 

Why do we not remember? The first and certainly the most justifiable question concerning our former lives is; “Why do we not usually remember anything about them?” If we really have behind us a chain of past lives, would it not be logical that we could remember many details of these past lives such as family, schools, residences, jobs, old age? Why do we not remember these things from our former lives, even though we can easily remember hundreds, even thousands of events from this life? Therefore, is this not a clear piece of evidence that those former lives never existed, because otherwise we certainly would remember them? 

   If you are a member of the New Age movement and you believe in reincarnation, you should ask yourself why you do not remember anything about these former lives. Also take into consideration the fact that several supporters of reincarnation deny the possibility that we could remember these former lives. Even H.B. Blavatsky, the founder of the theosophical society, who perhaps more than anybody else made reincarnation known in the Western countries in the 1800s, wondered why we cannot remember:

 

Maybe we can say that in the life of a mortal person, there is no such suffering of the soul and body that would not be the fruit and consequence of some sin that has been committed in a previous form of existence. But on the other hand, his current life does not include even one memory of those. (1)

 

Population growth. The second problem we have to face is population growth. If reincarnation is true and someone always achieves moksha and leaves the cycle then the number of people on Earth should decrease – or at least it should not increase. In other words, there should now be fewer people on Earth than earlier.

   Why is the situation just the opposite? When the population should all the time decrease because people leave the cycle, it is, instead, increasing all the time, so that there are now about 10 times more people than 500 years ago and about 30 times more than 2,000 years ago. Actually, right now there are more people on Earth than ever before and their number has increased all the time through the centuries.

   As a matter of fact, we would not have to go further back than some thousands of years – basing calculations on the current population growth – before we would achieve the zero point where there would be no people. (Compare Genesis  1:28, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth...”).

   Population growth is a real problem from the point of view of reincarnation, especially if some souls are freed from the cycle. This does not support reincarnation; it contradicts it.

 

Oriental and Western reincarnation. One feature of the Oriental view is that a man can become an animal or even a plant, while in the Western countries, humans are assumed to remain humans. The older and more original Asian view includes all forms of life; that is why it is called the transmigration of souls. For example, Olavi Vuori (p. 82, Hyvät henget ja pahat) provided this description of the Chinese popular religion:

 

Chinese popular religion includes a view about reincarnation. After having gone through all tribunals, the soul will reincarnate to the world. The form in which a person will reincarnate depends on the person’s previous life. Those who have treated domestic animals badly will be born as domestic animals. For this reason, the religious Chinese do not kill animals. Laotse already advised, “Be friendly to animals. They can be your ancestors."

 

We might ask why Western believers have not placed much emphasis on this side? Very seldom – or never – have we read that someone has been a fish or a bacterium, for example, in his previous life; and who would remember such a former life as an animal? Another question that seems obvious is: If we lived as bacteria or even trees during our previous lives, what did we learn then? Certainly, bacteria and trees have no understanding. Many people believe that they were kings or other notable people but in studies of reincarnation, we do not usually hear that someone has been an animal in his former life – these kinds of stories are completely missing.

   We might justifiably wonder why there is such a big difference between the Western and the Oriental view. Isn’t that another proof that people do not know any concrete facts? Their ideas are based on beliefs that are difficult or impossible to prove true.

 

Interval between reincarnations. Another contradiction within reincarnation is the different intervals between reincarnations, the time that is spent in the other world. Opinions greatly vary, depending on the culture or society. The following examples illustrate these differences:

 

- In the community of Druus in the Middle East, people believe in direct reincarnation; there is no interval.

- In the Rose Cross movement, reincarnation is expected to happen every 144 years.

- Anthroposophy believes in reincarnation at an interval of 800 years.

- Reincarnation researchers estimate that the interval is usually between 5 and 60 years.

 

So a good question is: Which of these beliefs is right? Are none of them right? Do these contradictions not prove that these people have no factual information about this, and demonstrate that it is a question of everyone’s own false beliefs? Perhaps these intervals and former lives never existed.

   Another more serious problem is that if we have been in the other world tens or hundreds of years and even several times, why do we not have any recollections from them? Why are we as unaware of these intervals in the spirit world as we are of our former lives? Some explain this absence of memory by saying that our memory has maybe been wiped away. But if our memory was wiped away how can we prove that reincarnation takes place? If we do not remember anything from our former lives and the intervals between them, the evidence supporting reincarnation remains very meager.

 

Connection beyond the border and reincarnation. It is typical that many members of the New Age movement who believe in reincarnation also believe that they get messages from the spirits of the dead. They really believe that they can be in connection with the dead, even though they also think reincarnation is true. They may arrange special spiritualist sessions in which they believe they receive messages from people who have already moved beyond the border. For example, one of the best known mediums, the late Leslie Flint, established contact with such persons as Marilyn Monroe, Valentino, Queen Victoria, Mahatma Gandhi, Shakespeare, Chopin, and other famous people.

   What many members of the New Age movement do not take into account is how these two issues – reincarnation and contact with the dead – can be simultaneously valid. If we try to put them together we will only have a mess on our hands. We can see this in the next examples:

 

With whom might we be in contact? The first difficulty is identifying the person with whom we are in contact. If some person has behind him ten different incarnations on the Earth and he has just moved beyond the border as a person called Matthew, with which of these ten persons are we in contact?

   Look at the following list that describes this. Incarnations have been arranged chronologically – only the names change during his different lives. His latest incarnation on Earth was Matthew and the earliest one was Aaron. 

 

1. Aaron

2. Adam

3. Ian

4. Walt

5. Richard

6. Wayne

7. James

8. Edward

9. William

10. Matthew

 

The main problem appears when we ask a couple of questions: since these ten people are actually only one person, can we then be in contact with all ten persons or only with Matthew who lived last? Or does this same person beyond the border always present different roles according to what is needed, so that he is sometimes Matthew, sometimes Aaron, sometimes Richard, and sometimes somebody else?

   It is strange that those who believe they are in contact with people beyond the border do not generally ask these kinds of questions. They always believe they are in contact with those people whom they seek. However, as this example illustrates, this is quite unlikely.

 

What if the person has been reincarnated and is living on the Earth now? If we continue with the previous line of thinking, and consider the example of the same person who has been reincarnated ten times, now he’s back on Earth as Gary. This would be his eleventh reincarnation.

   The problem in this kind case is that if we now try to make contact with one of the ten persons before the current one (Aaron, William, etc, ending with Matthew), how can we succeed since the person is now living on Earth? For example, the above-mentioned Leslie Flint believed to have been in contact with Marilyn Monroe and other famous people but if these people had already reincarnated back on Earth, how could this connection have been made? Should it not have been quite impossible? (It could have happened if Leslie Flint had met these people on Earth in their new incarnations.) Therefore, there are great problems if we try to put these two philosophies together.

 

Can a person be in contact with himself? We might also be faced with a situation in which Gary, the eleventh incarnation, tries to contact one of his previous incarnations. It is really possible that he tries to have contact with one of his previous incarnations or even with all of them at the same time. The question is, how is that possible because this person himself is now on Earth and not beyond the border? This is a problem with two places: how can the same person be in two places at once? We can see that it cannot be possible.

 

Why are people still in the circle? One thought in reincarnation is that we are in a continuous circle of development, and that the law of karma rewards and punishes us according to how we have lived our previous lives. Civilized behavior and goodness should, therefore, constantly increase in the world as we develop.

   This is one major problem. The world is not going toward a better direction at all but toward the worse (as Paul said, "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 2 Tim 3:1,2). The crime rate is not decreasing but increasing. For example, you did not have to lock the doors or to use burglar alarms in the countryside in the past, but nowadays you do. Or, during the last century we experienced two of the most destructive wars in history that killed millions of people. If there has been any development in this area, it has been only in weapons and technology, not in people.

   On the other hand, if we have already reincarnated thousands of times should all evil not have already been driven out? If bad karma together with illness, poverty and other suffering is always the consequence of wrong actions in our previous lives, should not all of us already have learned our lesson? So why are we still "in the cycle" and why has development not proceeded to increase the good if each of us have already had thousands of chances to learn from our mistakes? There is an apparent conflict between these two, and it is one of the most powerful objections to reincarnation.

 

Our life on Earth and beyond the border. Especially the Western idea of reincarnation says that we sometimes go beyond the border to spend time there after our death. Usually, when it is a question of life after death beyond the border, it is in the Western countries described as a place that is filled with harmony, peace, and love. For example, in well-known book Kuolemaa ei ole by Rauni Leena Luukanen this view is clearly presented. The next quote is from the book (p. 209, 221), where the writer’s supposed "grandmother" transmits a message from beyond the border through automatic writing (In fact, it was a deceiving spirit who appeared as the grandmother of the writer). The message refers to life beyond the border, which is then compared with life on Earth, a loveless and cold environment:

 

    The love connects people. Words, gestures, and explanations are not needed. There is no physical love. All love is spiritual. People love each other in the same way regardless of whether they are men, women, or children. True love is like that even on Earth but is manifested in various ways because of our limited bodies.

   People on Earth live in a loveless and cold environment. On Earth, we learn, however, and here we must return again and again to learn the lesson of true love, to learn and to behave according to our development, serving and loving our neighbors.

   (…) On Earth one cannot imagine the love and beauty in the other reality. When people come here, they are surprised by the colors, peace, and beauty, which cannot be described with mere words.

 

However, if life beyond the border is like that (what about unrepentant evildoers who may have tortured others, people like Hitler who was guilty of killing millions; do they experience the same?) then why does not the same atmosphere prevail here on the Earth? If we all have been beyond the border where everything is different, why does the same thing not also happen here on Earth? This should not be a problem because it is a question of the same persons being both there and here – only the place has changed.

   This is another problem with reincarnation. Why do the same people live in these two places in a different way (sometimes happy and sometimes miserable depending on the place)? It is an equally big problem since we do not even remember anything about these intervals or our previous lives.

 

Why be born on Earth if it’s not necessary? Especially in the Western countries they teach that life after death is happiness, peace, and freedom from all the chains of material things (we referred to this already in the previous paragraph), and that we can always choose when we will reincarnate on the Earth, especially "because of our mental growth." This can be seen, for example, in Mitä on New Age? (by Kati Ojala, p. 22). The book states that we can even choose the conditions of living when we reincarnate back on the Earth.

 

  Also because of them, we will leave the astral after a certain time and return to a lower level of vibration, into physical matter and a new incarnation. However, before that we will choose the circumstances and the period of our future life.

  (…) We choose our parents, friends, neighbors...

 

However, if life after death is all happiness and peace, why would we want to reincarnate back on Earth? If we know that there is suffering waiting for us because of bad karma (for example, Hitler and many other evildoers), nobody would want to reincarnate back on the Earth. We would rather spend "happy days" beyond the border – since we are selfish – and would not come back here. Then, the Earth would certainly be quite deserted and there would not be the current great multitude of people.

   It is also questionable that we would reincarnate back here because of our desire for mental development. This is questionable because perhaps 90 percent of people do not ever think about it. If it was the most important reason behind our reincarnation, it would certainly occupy our minds from the very beginning, but that is not the case.

   One problem that appears particularly in the Western view of reincarnation is that it is not in line with the original Asian view. In the East, the goal is to leave the cycle but why would they want to reincarnate on the Earth if they had already achieved their goal? They would achieve their goal simply by deciding not to be born on the Earth anymore. In the East, they do not believe in this possibility, and this view is again one of those contradictions that appear in the doctrine of reincarnation.

 

How does the law of karma work? If we look at the mysteries of reincarnation, one of them is the law of karma. According to the typical view, it should function so that it will always reward or punish people according to how they have lived their former life. If a person has done bad things or thought bad thoughts, the result of it will be negative; on the other hand, good thoughts will result in a positive development.

   However, the mystery is how any impersonal law can function like that. No impersonal power or law can think, differentiate between actions, or even remember anything what we have done – just like a book of statutes cannot do that: you always need an executor of the law, a personal being; mere law cannot do that.

   Neither can the impersonal law make any plans for our future lives or determine the conditions we will be born to and live in. These activities always require a person, and the law of karma is not a person. How can mere law function in the above-mentioned way?

   The second problem is that if the law of karma will reward and punish us always according to how we have lived in our previous lives, why can we not remember anything about our past? If we are punished because of our former life, we should also know why we are being punished. What is the basis of a law if the reasons for punishments are not clear? This is one of those mysteries and question marks that are connected to the doctrine of reincarnation.

 

What about the beginning? Above, we considered bad karma that is created only in this life on Earth. We learned that reincarnation means we return here to the Earth again and again, and that our reincarnations are always based on how we lived before. It is generally thought, at least in the East, that the karma of the previous lives determines our destiny and our role in this life. Because bad karma is the result of our previous lives people try to get rid of it, especially in the East. Their goal is to be freed from reincarnation so that they do not have to reincarnate on the Earth any more. For example, Buddha taught that the eight-part road is one of the ways to do this.

   One point people do not usually think about is the beginning. What was the beginning like, when no-one had yet lived on the Earth and there was no bad karma because of previous lives? Somewhere there must be a beginning, with nothing and no-one on the Earth.

   A good question is: what was the starting point? The verified history of mankind does not go back in time for more than 5,000 years when farming, the ability to write, ceramics, buildings and towns were created, nor can the globe, life on its surface, or the Sun be everlasting – otherwise the energy reserves of the Sun and thus life on the Earth would have ended a long time ago.

   So one mystery is how did “bad karma” first become evident? How did it begin impacting our lives on Earth, because we did not have any preceding lives from which we could have gotten it? We are generally led to believe that we must during this life reap what we have sown in our previous lives but if, in the beginning, there were no preceding lives then how could this doctrine about the law of karma be true? Actually, this would mean that if we in the beginning had no bad karma from our previous lives then we would have then already been perfect and there would have been no need for the cycle of reincarnation. If it is true, how was the cycle created if only the bad karma from our former bad lives creates it and keeps it going? What was the initiator?

   These points may be explained by the next quote. It refers to how the cycle can perhaps start from the middle but it does not take into account the problem of the beginning. The author of this description discusses with Buddhist monks:

 

I sat in the Buddhist temple of Pu-ör-an with a group of monks. The conversation turned to the question of where does the spirit of man come from. (…) One of the monks gave me a long and detailed explanation about the great cycle of life that continuously flows through thousands and millions of years, appearing in new forms, developing either higher or coming lower, depending on the quality of individual actions. When this answer did not satisfy me, one of the monks replied, “The soul has come from Buddha from the western heaven."  I then asked, "From where has Buddha come and how does the soul of man come from him?" There was again a long lecture on the previous and future Buddhas who will follow each other after a long period, as an endless cycle. As this answer did not satisfy me either, I told them, “You start from the middle, but not from the beginning. You already have a Buddha who is born to this world and then you have another one Buddha ready. You have a complete person who goes through his cycle endless times.” I wanted to get a clear and short answer to my question: from where has the first man and the first Buddha come? Where has the large cycle of development started from?

  (…) None of the monks answered, they were all silent. After a while I said, "I will tell you this, even though you do not observe the same religion as I. The beginning of life is God. He is not like your Buddhas who as an endless series follow each other in the large cycle of development but He is eternally the same and unchangeable. He is the beginning of all, and from Him comes the beginning of a man’s spirit."  (…) I do not know whether my answer satisfied them. However, I got a possibility to speak to them about the source of life, the living God whose existence alone is able to resolve a question of the source of life and the origin of the universe. (2)  

 

 

2. Examining reincarnation

 

If you have read literature on the New Age movement and reincarnation, perhaps you have noticed reports in books about research that has been carried out on this area. You have perhaps noticed that two of the most common methods used in this research have been hypnosis and spontaneous reproductions.

   In order to get another perspective on these methods, it is perhaps good for us to read the following information. These methods are not very reliable and the research is not very thorough. We will first look at the use of hypnosis.

 

 The use of hypnosis

 

Not a normal condition. The first reason to question the use of hypnosis is that it is not the normal state in which we usually think and remember. We never start to think and remember things while we are asleep; we do these things only when we are awake. This also applies to study: we do it when we are awake, never when we sleep.

   So if we truly had previous lives, we should remember them in our normal state and not only while under hypnosis. The fact that we do not remember our previous lives makes it reasonable for us to wonder whether we have ever lived them.

 

The subconscious. Another problem with hypnosis is that our subconscious can interfere. It is possible that things we remember in the session are not from our former life but from a novel we have read, or from a similar source. This likelihood always exists.

  A Scientific Report on the Search for Bridey Murphy by Harold Rosen provides a good example of this:

 

For example, in hypnosis a man started to speak the Indo-European language Oski, which was spoken in Campani, Italy during the 3rd century before Christ. He could also write one swearword in Oski. It later became evident after several hypnosis sessions that the man had recently leafed through a grammar book of the Oski language in the library. His subconscious had remembered many idioms of the Oski language, which then “emerged” under hypnosis.

 

Adjusting to a role. The third problem with hypnosis is that perhaps the hypnotized person only adjusts to the role that is expected from him and only responds to the suggestions of the hypnotist. Many researchers think that 95% of hypnosis is only acting out a role and agreeing with the hypnotist (Bradbury Will, s. 174, In i det okända, Reader's Digest, Sthlm 1983). Even the famous reincarnation researcher Ian Stevenson has admitted that acting a role and adjusting to the will of the hypnotist are possible under hypnosis:

 

Those ‘personalities’ that usually appear during hypnosis when the subject experiences a ‘previous life' seem to include various features. They can include things about the person’s personality at this moment, the person’s expectations of what the hypnotist expected from him, the person’s ideas about what his previous life should have been like, and perhaps also paranormal aspects. (3)

 

Unknown spirits. The fourth danger with hypnosis is that in these sessions, people are in contact with unidentified spirits, and the information comes from them. This is very justifiable because many people who are easily hypnotized have experienced plenty of paranormal phenomena in their life, similar to those found in spiritualism.

  Helen Wambach who is a pioneer in examining possible former lives through hypnosis has herself admitted that the interference of spirits is possible in hypnosis. She said:

 

I know many people who have been dealing with occultism, who think that getting possessed by a demon is a real danger for people who are under hypnosis. (…) I was almost misled. When the spirits, odd messages, and automatic writing started to appear in spiritualistic sessions, I learned much more than I had ever anticipated. (4)

 

Spontaneous recollections

 

In addition to hypnosis, reincarnation has been examined by means of so-called spontaneous recollections. Sometimes we can hear very accurate descriptions from a person, often a child, who thinks that he has been someone else and speaks about the previous life. The weaknesses in this method are at least the following:

 

Most people do not remember anything. The worst problem is that the majority of people do not have any recollections of their previous lives. Even H.B. Blavatsky, who was the founder of the theosophical society and who brought the doctrine of reincarnation to the West, admitted this. If we have really lived previous lives, we should also remember them. But why can we not?

 

Bound to the culture. The second observation that we can make is that it is bound to the culture and expectations of people. Where people believe in reincarnation, we also find more recollections but there are less of these in the Western countries. Most of all, they are found among those nations that believe in direct reincarnation after death. Because of the cultural commitment, we can question whether they have any meaning at all because they are not found in the Western countries at all.

 

Other connections. Many people who have “a memory of reincarnation” have also experienced paranormal phenomena, which lead us to doubt whether it is only a question of spirits. It is possible that people receive their information from these unknown spirits and it is not a question of real reincarnation.

   Even Ian Stevenson, the best known researcher of recollections, has admitted that many situations that have been regarded as evidence of reincarnation can actually be about occultist phenomena and connected with unknown spirits. In addition to this, Stevenson received an open letter from a Hinduswami (Sri Sri Somasundara Desika Paramachariya) from South India. In this letter, the Hinduswami warned him about the possibility mentioned above. He wrote:

 

None of those 300 cases about which you told me support reincarnation. (…) In those, it is a question of getting under the power of a spirit, which the wise men from South India do not value very much. (5)

 

Living as the same person. Those cases where two children remember to have lived as the same person are very interesting. This was the case with Said Bouhamsy, a case Ian Stevenson also thoroughly studied.

   Bouhamsy was a Druus who died in a car accident in 1943. Six months after his death his sister gave birth to a boy whose first words were the names of Bouhamsy’s children. The boy could also tell about the accident that had ended his "previous life," and was terribly afraid of trucks for many years.

   The problem was that later in 1958, another male child was born who also started to recall his previous life as Said Bouhamsy! He remembered the accident and the number of his children and other things like that. He also developed a fear for trucks.

   So, these cases in which two people recall having lived as the same person are impossible to explain through reincarnation. It cannot be the reason why two people recall their life as the same person. Probably also in these cases, it is a matter of falling under the power of a spirit.

 

Person is still alive. It sometimes happens that a child recalls his previous life as a person who is still alive! This was the mysterious case of Jasbir Lali, another that Ian Stevenson examined. 

   In 1954 when Jasbir was 3.5 years old, he almost died of smallpox and soon after recovering from the illness started to speak about how in his previous life he had been a boy from the neighboring village of Sobha Ram. He told precise details about his life as that boy; things of which the truthfulness could be checked.

   However, in the case of Jasbir Lali the problem was that Sobha Ram had not died before the birth of Jasbir; he died when Jasbir was 3 years old.

   This case cannot be about reincarnation because the person was still alive. There must be some other explanation.

 

Many Napoleons. There have also been impossible and amusing cases with reincarnations. For example, in America we can find many people who claim that they have lived as Cleopatra or Napoleon! They claim that they once lived as Cleopatra or Napoleon even though there was only one Cleopatra and one Napoleon in the history of the world. We should also note that there are over a hundred people who claim to have lived as H.B. Blavatsky, the founder of the theosophical society!

   A good question to ask about these cases is: have the spontaneous recollections been mixed up? What is the foundation for these claims? This same special feature was also noticed by Daniel Home, one of the most famous mediums of his time. He met twenty Alexander the Greats among other notable people, for example. We can understand that these kinds of recollections cannot be true:

 

I have had the pleasure of meeting at least twelve Marie Antoinettes, six or seven Mary, Queen of Scots, a whole group of Louis the Greats and many other kings, and about twenty Alexander the Greats, but never an ordinary person like John Smith. I really would want to meet such an unusual case.

 

The borderline cases, visits beyond the border of death, are not as such included in recollections, but they can also contradict reincarnation. Thus, Maurice Rawlings, for example, who was a doctor for about 35 years and followed cases of mortal danger and sudden deaths, said that as a doctor he never received any proof of reincarnation when interviewing people. He wrote in his book Rajan taakse ja takaisin (p. 106, To Hell and Back):

 

It is interesting that I have not seen in any visions at the deathbed even one reference to reincarnation, the persons returning to Earth by reincarnating, or them still living in some other person who has already been born. The concept of 'ownership' – living in those who have already been born – was unexpectedly offered by the expert in reincarnation, Ian Stevenson.

 

 

 

3. Reincarnation or eternal life?

  

Does the Bible teach ABOUT reincarnation? If you have read books about reincarnation, it is likely that you have been faced with the idea that the Bible also teaches about reincarnation, or that it was removed from the Bible at some point, perhaps in the year 553 during the Council of Constantinople.

   But is this true? Or not? We will consider this in the light of the next information:

 

Council in Constantinople in 553. Firstly, the idea that the doctrine of reincarnation was erased from the Christian faith and removed from the Bible by the Council of Constantinople in the year 553 is not true. Actually, they did not discuss reincarnation; they considered the earlier existence of the soul as represented by Origen. It was rejected during this meeting.

     Thus, reincarnation was not removed from the Bible, because it was never there. In addition, Origen himself rejected the doctrine of reincarnation, just as several church fathers before him had rejected reincarnation. In his commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, he pondered about the relationship between John the Baptist and the prophet Elijah (please see a couple of paragraphs below) but said that this had nothing to do with reincarnation, "which is a strange doctrine to the church of God that does not come from the Apostles and does not appear anywhere in the Bible."

 

Manuscript findings. The claim that reincarnation was removed from the Bible in the Council of Constantinople of 553 is also unfounded because the Bible manuscripts dated before that time do not reveal that the Bible was changed.

   Regarding those manuscripts, more than 24,000 Greek and other ancient versions were found around 100-400 A.D. This number is huge when we consider that the next most-frequently copied text was that of Homer’s Iliad: only 643 manuscripts exist. That means that today we have nearly 40 times more ancient manuscripts of the Bible than we have of the Iliad. 

   These manuscripts prove that the Bible has been preserved in its current form, a fact that does not support reincarnation.

   It should also be noted that all but 11 verses of the New Testament can be reconstructed from excerpts that were preserved by church fathers through the next 300 years after the death of Jesus. According to research carried out by the British Museum, approximately 89,000 verses from the New Testament were adopted into the writings of the early church. This figure is noteworthy as a reflection of the importance of the New Testament during the early years of the church. These citations also indicate that the New Testament has been preserved in its current form, which does not support reincarnation.

 

John the Baptist and the prophet Elijah. One thing that many mystics of the East and members of the New Age movement often quote are the words of Jesus, saying that John the Baptist was Elijah (Matthew 11:11-14 and Mark 9:11-13). They think that this is support for, or evidence of, reincarnation.

   However, Luke 1:17 indicates that John the Baptist would go before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah. In other words, he had the same anointment of the Holy Spirit as his Old Testament predecessor, but he was a different person altogether.

   In addition, the clearest proof that John the Baptist was not Elijah is found in his own words of denial. Certainly, he himself knew better than anyone else who he was because he said:

 

 - (John 1:21) And they asked him, What then? Are you Elias? And he said, I am not. Are you that prophet? And he answered, No. 

 

Dying once. If we look at the general teachings of the Bible we see that they do not support reincarnation, either. It is possible to find tens or actually hundreds of verses referring to the fact that we can be saved only by grace through Jesus and that we can receive forgiveness of our sins immediately, now. (Eph 2:8,9: For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.) This clearly conflicts with the doctrine of reincarnation, in which people try to save themselves little by little over the course of many lives and through gradual development

   It is also significant that when addressing the possibility that life continues after death, the Bible does not teach us that we are reincarnated into a new body, but that we face God’s judgment, eternal damnation, and entry into Heaven. These completely exclude the doctrine of reincarnation. After we die we face judgment – once. 

 

 - (Hebr 9:27) And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:

 

- (2 Cor 5:10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad.

 

HOW ARE ORIENTAL AND BIBLICAL VIEWS SIMILAR TO EACH OTHER? It is remarkable that in the Oriental and biblical views there are many similarities in the area of our responsibility. In Western countries, people criticize damnation, but the Oriental view actually includes this notion, and teaches that we are responsible for our actions. It appears in the next passages:

 

Sowing and reaping. If we start from how responsibility is seen in Oriental religions, the doctrine of reincarnation and the law of karma especially include our having to make right and pay for our bad deeds. Even though some people often deny the notion that we face judgment and damnation, the original doctrine of reincarnation includes the very same premise that we reap what we have sown and pay for the wrong we have done.

   This principle of reaping and sowing is clearly addressed in the book Kuolemaa ei ole by Rauni-Leena Luukanen, where the author’s supposed "grandmother" mediates a message from across the border through automatic writing. This quote (p. 186) refers to the principle that we are responsible for our actions and will reap what we have sown:

 

An important teaching is this: A man reaps what he has sown. For all, which we have done we are responsible. (…) People do not usually understand the significance of the law of karma.

 

The teaching of the New Testament is quite similar: we will reap what we have sown; judgment will be made based on our actions, as the next verses reflect:

 

- (Gal 6:7) ... a man sows, that shall he also reap.

 

- (Col 3:25) But he that does wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done: and there is no respect of persons.

 

- (Rev 20:12-15) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

The view on damnation. As to our responsibility and evildoers’ having to pay for their actions, we should note that references to judgment are not restricted to the passage above and materials about reincarnation. This view is common in the world; many religions are partly founded upon the recognition of hell and the bad consequences that will come from wrong actions. For example, Islam and Judaism generally believe in hell but also Buddhism has some kind of an idea of it. The next quote talks about this:

 

My students generally have the opinion that only the good people can get to paradise and the bad ones have to go to hell. Japanese Buddhism teaches of the existence of both of these "places," and they are not at all afraid of using the word "hell" in the local religious language. I try to get the children to see that they themselves have done bad things. (6)

 

Eternity. The third noteworthy issue is that when it is a question of our responsibility and the eternity of judgment, the Oriental doctrine of reincarnation – in which, for example, many members of the New Age movement believe – can also lead to the very same result.

   For if an evildoer (a person like Hitler, for example) continues his wrongdoings and will not change the direction of his life, he too must pay for that continually in his next lives because of the law of karma. Also, punishment of the evildoer is in a way eternal if he never changes his way of life; this is at least possible in the reincarnation doctrine and therefore this view does not, in principle, differ in any way from the eternal damnation mentioned in the Bible.

   The view of the eternity of judgment also appears in Chinese popular religion. They believe that the punishment for certain people, especially murderers, is eternal. They do not even have the possibility to reincarnate, as the next quote tells us:

 

Chinese popular religion includes an idea of reincarnation. (…) The murderer will never be born again on Earth. He will suffer his punishment eternally. Instead, if a man has been an extremely good person in his previous life, he will be freed from the circle of reincarnation and will move to the western heaven in which he will become Buddha. (7)

 

The judgement HAS BEEN REMOVED! Regarding the Bible’s lessons about how we face judgment for our deeds, the good news is that we can all be completely free from judgment and damnation through Christ. This is so because Jesus Christ did not come to the world to condemn people but to save them. He came to save people so that everyone could join in fellowship with God and would not have to go to Hell. The next Bible verses refer to this important matter:

 

- (John 3:17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

 

- (John 12:47) And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

 

 - (John 5:24) Truly, truly, I say to you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life.

 

- (Rom 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

                                                           

So the best thing you can do now is to turn to Jesus Christ, by whom the judgment is removed. Only in Him and by turning to Him can you have eternal life and be freed from condemnation. Consider these verses that teach about this important issue:

 

- (John 5:40) And you will not come to me, that you might have life.

 

 - (John 6:35) And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.

 

 - (Matt 11:28-30) Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

 

- (John 14:6) Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

 

- (John 6:68,69) Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life.

69 And we believe and are sure that you are that Christ, the Son of the living God.

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

1. Quote from Jälleensyntyminen vai ruumiin ylösnousemus (Reincarnation), Mark Albrecht, p. 123

2. Toivo Koskikallio, Kullattu Buddha, p. 105-108

3. Quote from Jälleensyntyminen vai ruumiin ylösnousemus (Reincarnation), Mark Albrecht, p. 79

4. Same p. 89

5. Same  p. 14

6. Mailis Janatuinen, Tapahtui Tamashimassa, p. 53

7. Olavi Vuori, Hyvät henget ja pahat, p. 82,83

 

 

More on this topic:

What is God like? Read why it is not worth believing in the Hindu and pantheistic (divinity of everything) conception of God

Are there many ways to God? Hinduism and the New Age movement, the notion that all roads lead to the same God. Why is there no reason to believe this notion?

Near-death experiences and damnation. Near-death experiences and leaving the body. What is behind the border and is everyone's destiny good after death? Learn why hell needs to be taken seriously

Mother Amma and God. Karma or grace? Why can't Mother Amma forgive sins? Only a true and loving God can do that

Worldviews in comparison: naturalism / atheism, pantheism, polytheism and theism. Read why Christian theism is a sensible worldview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life

 

 

  

 

Grap to eternal life!

 

More on this topic:

What is God like? Read why it is not worth believing in the Hindu and pantheistic (divinity of everything) conception of God

Are there many ways to God? Hinduism and the New Age movement, the notion that all roads lead to the same God. Why is there no reason to believe this notion?

Near-death experiences and damnation. Near-death experiences and leaving the body. What is behind the border and is everyone's destiny good after death? Learn why hell needs to be taken seriously

Mother Amma and God. Karma or grace? Why can't Mother Amma forgive sins? Only a true and loving God can do that

Worldviews in comparison: naturalism / atheism, pantheism, polytheism and theism. Read why Christian theism is a sensible worldview