The first references to the idea of reincarnation are lost in the eternal night of history. We have news from it from around two thousand five hundred years ago, in the Upanishads [Holy Scriptures of Hinduism], the major Indian religion until today. In that period, Pythagoras (1), Greek philosopher and mathematic, born around the year 580 B.C., and who was a disciple of Pherecydes of Syros - said that the soul was immortal and, after the death of the body, it occupies other body - palingenesis - sometimes of an animal - metempsychosis [mistaken thesis of the mathematician of Samos]. According to historic sources, it is the first time that the reincarnation theory was mentioned in the West. Later, Plato (429-347 B.C.), also a Greek Philosopher, disciple of Socrates, taught that the soul was born many times, even during ten thousand years, and, then, leaves for the celestial blessedness.
In the first centuries, many majoritarian Christian groups defended the palingenesis, specially the Gnostic (2), with their profoundly intelligent view of the body and matter in general. The extraordinary Christian Origin (3) of Alexandria defended the reincarnation. From his thoughts, a group of wise monks appeared and they also started to profess the doctrine of the pre-existences. For the "owners" of the clerical power the so-called "Origenism" became disastrous and disturbed, mainly Palestine; in view of that the patriarch of the churchof Jerusalem, in the fourth century, asked Byzantine Emperor Justinian to intervene.
The emperor wrote a treaty against Origin and lead the "owner" of the church of Constantinople to gather a synod there (4) in 543, which condemned the thesis related to the pre-existence of the soul and other Origenist positions. Ten years later, in 553, with the ambiguous acquiescence of Pope Virgil (5), Emperor Justinian summoned the Second Council of Constantinople in which he knowingly definitively removed the so called " Origenist controversy", through a spurious election which he won by 3 to 2 votes. And the reincarnation was definitively excluded from the principles of the ecclesiastic right. (6) Of course! The Church was defending, in this extravagant act, the heaven and hell doctrine and the eternal punishments because they centered more power in its hands. And this way reincarnation was excluded in one of the most serious mistakes made by the Christianity.
Before that, in the third century, distinguished Clement of Alexandria remarked in his work called Stromata (Patchwork): "The hypothesis of Gnostic master Basilides says that the soul, having previously committed sins in another life, experiences punishment in this life.
Also at that time Tertullian, the first Christian author to write in Latin, denying metempsychosis, expresses himself many times about the subject, as in this passage: "The worthier of acceptance is our teaching that the souls will return to the same bodies. And the more ridiculous is the inherited (pagan) teaching that the human spirit must reappear in a dog, horse, or peacock!" (Ad Nationes, Chapter 19). It is evident that similarly to the spiritualists, the wise men of the church did not accept metempsychosis either.
The metempsychosis thesis conflicted the mind of some theologians, an issue that, strictly speaking, was only clarified with the advent of the Spiritualism. Let us see: apologist and historian Lactantius, in the fourth century, expresses the thought of his contemporary Christian: "The Pythagoreans and Stoics assured that the soul was not born with the body. Rather, they say that it was introduced in the body and that it migrates from one body to another." In another part of his works called The Divine Institutions, he affirms: "Pythagoras insists that the souls migrate from bodies consumed by age and death. He says that they are admitted in new bodies and newborn. He also says that the same souls are reproduced sometimes in a man, sometimes in a sheep, or in a wild animal, or a bird… That opinion of an insensate man is ridiculous."
Other important testimonial comes from the greatest theologian of the ancient church of the fifth century, Augustine. He was familiarized with the reincarnation theories, both Manichaean and Platonic ones, of his time. In a comment about Genesis, he rejected, as against the Christian faith, the idea that the human souls returned in bodies of different animals, according to their moral conduct (transmigration). In The City of God (Book X, Chapter 30), the Bishop of Hippo remarks that, however the neo-platonic philosopher Porphyry has rejected that concept taught by Plato and Plotinus, and did not hesitate in correct his masters in that point, he thought that the human souls came back in other human bodies. About that matter (metempsychosis) the Spiritualism corrects Pythagoras' mistake.
Currently, to some Christians, the "proof" of the unicity of the human life is found in chapter 9 verse 27 of Paul's letter to the Hebrews: "to men it is ordered to die just once, and after that, judgment." I wonder if Jesus attributed to the current life a decisive value to the whole existence after death. In the debate, unicity advocates proclaimed the resurrection, but it is imperious to reflect, about that supernatural phenomenon, about Jairus´s daughter's (Mt.9:18-26), Naim´s widow's son's (Lc.7:11-17), and Lazarus' (Jo.11:1-44) cases, if all of them "resurrected" as Christians believe, how would the evocation of the aforementioned letter to the Hebrews to deny reincarnation be?" Let us remember that both the "resurrected" would not have died just once. By the way, they were not even dead, they were just suffering from catalepsy. (7)
Jesus assured that the truth would set the man free, if the truth (reincarnation) is being currently denied to Christians, it is evident that they are not free, or, what is worst, they are enchained to the strong human dogmas, disseminated by contumacious deniers of the natural principle of reincarnation, forgers of a faith enthroned in the pinnacles of fiction, myth, and celestial dreams of the theological imaginary.
In the maxim "to be born, to die, to be reborn, and to continuously progress, that is the Law" we find the most legitimate universal process of application of the codes of justice in the Creator's Law.
<< Home Articles>>