Reincarnation was on Jesus’ mind when he spoke of how we need to be reborn. It’s not hard to see that we will stagnate if we’re not constantly rediscovering and rebirthing aspects of our true selves as we do this work to know ourselves better. Physical rebirth is an unalterable component of this same process. It would be pure folly to assume that we could complete all of the development we need to do in one short life. This defies any logic and all common sense.
So reincarnation is hinted at in Holy Scripture in the concept of being reborn. But it’s stated as a boldface fact in the clear expression that John the Baptist was a reincarnation of Elijah. In the early years after the life and death of Jesus Christ, in fact, reincarnation was taught as a normal part of the Christian religion. So early Christians knew perfectly well that reincarnation was a true reality.
It was later on that church fathers saw how the knowledge of reincarnation was misused in Eastern traditions. So they took action to remove this danger; they took it out of the Bible. The misuse they witnessed in Eastern cultures was that of a fatalistic attitude toward life: “It doesn’t matter what I do—it’s karma. I have to go through this and there’s not a thing I can do about it.” It’s not hard to imagine how this set people back.
But the opposite extreme is no winner either. Denying this truth brought about a different damaging attitude. We placed an overemphasis of free will on ourselves, but did so with a superficial finger-wagging attitude of “I’d better behave or I’m going straight to you-know-where.” So then the fear of just about everything—fear of God, fear of not being good enough, fear of not fulfilling “the law”—caused just as much harm.
Every deviation can cause us to swerve into an equal and opposite reaction that is just as bad. Early church fathers removed the truth of reincarnation to combat our lazy ways and fatalistic thinking that would have kept us from growing and healing our own souls. So good motivation, but unfortunately misguided.
Then why not just bring it back? Well, that would create a whole nother problem. Because this is not the only truth that has been deleted, denied, distorted, mistranslated and misunderstood. Rewriting the Bible would require a greater level of maturity and self-responsibility among the world’s churches than exists today. All would need to be open to the deepest inner truths that are unchanging on those timeless levels but constantly changing at street level. Church leaders would need to really open their channels to God, and frankly, we’re just not all there yet.
This is why we cling to rules, relying on them to safeguard us against the impulses of the Lower Self that so like to act out. Take away the rigid structures and these safeguards go bye-bye. That’s also why so many cling to literal interpretations of the Bible, sometimes taking it to the point of absurdity.
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