Reincarnation, Karma and Biblical Interpretation
Past lives or reincarnation implies that we are spiritual as well as physical beings. Genesis agrees. In fact, it says that Man was created twice. Firstly, Man was created in God's image (non-physical, spiritual and immortal source of creation). Secondly, Man was created from the dust of the ground (Homo sapiens). So, we are immortal spirit wrapped in Homo sapiens flesh, if you take the biblical approach. In fact, it's funny that most Christians never see the reincarnation that the Bible talks about. And as for us created in God's image the founder of Christianity had to remind his enemies, "ye are gods," albeit sleeping gods.
When you remember a past life, have an inspiration, find yourself relinquishing fear, or give up resentment to forgive someone completely, you are viewing reality through the "eyes" of your true self — dieu en moi.
I (Rodney Carl Martin, Jr.) have not lived before, but I (the sleeping immortal within) have. The name is attached to one body; the immortal child of God can be attached to many, over time.
When I was a Hollywood artist, many years ago, one of my employers was a lovely older, Jewish lady from India. She had immigrated to the US as a young adult, and one of the things she noticed about cultural differences was the focus of the news headlines. In India, she remembered more spiritual things on the front page like "young boy helps ex-wife find family fortune." The five-year old boy was bothered that he had died before he could tell his former wife where he had buried the family gold. And he resolved his worries by telling her. Talk about awkward!
This is a thoughtful, thorough and compelling book on reincarnation found in Christianity. I highly recommend this book to anyone searching for answers. This may not have everything pegged correctly, but it opens doors to humility and a hunger for answers.
Our Spiritual Nature
I'm certain that we are each individually spiritual beings. Some people have to undergo a trauma or surgery and/or drugs to experience being outside of their body. I was lucky not to require anything so drastic. Though I floated outside a second story window for only a few moments, I could see all of my surroundings with crystal clarity including the cracks in the pink stucco, the closed grayish-blue blinds between me and my body, and the near-empty parking lot next door.
Seven years later, I experienced creating a miracle which reminds me now of Moses parting the sea. If we were only physical bodies, such a miracle would not be possible. Physical objects cannot circumvent the laws of physical reality. Only a spiritual being with the ability to create can do such things. Perhaps we can call ourselves "children of God." In fact, during recent exegetical research in Genesis, it became clear to me that the Bible's first book describes God creating Man twice. Genesis 1:26 is about creating Man in God's image.
There are many interpretations of the Bible. But each person has their own path. Truth doesn't come to us in one bold flash. But if we don't approach it with humility, we tend to blind ourselves to the fruits of discovery.
One strange idea about the Bible involves a literal interpretation of Genesis. The literalist's date for creation is 4004 BC, given to us by the honest, scholarly work of Ireland's Archbishop Ussher, first published in 1650 AD. It may have been honest, but it was incomplete. A literal interpretation of Genesis isn't good enough. Why? To quote eleventh-century judge of the rabbinical court at Saragossa (Caesar Augusta), Spain, Bahya ben Joseph Ibn Paquda, "Bliss ungrounded in physical reality is not bliss but delusion." The same can apply to truth. Any belief not grounded in reality is also a delusion. Certainly, the realm of creation is outside of the space-time continuum, but we mortals have to work through reality in order to get there. Ignoring a tree stump will only result in tripping over it.
Any biblical interpretation that disagrees with physical reality might benefit from attempting to include reality's fruits of discovery (science). Take, for instance, Ussher's timeline. It says that humanity and the universe began about 6,000 years ago. This is commonly the view of the Young Earth Creationist. There are variations on that theme. Yet, scientists tell us that Man is at least 200,000 years old and that the cosmos is 13.7 billion years old.
An Old Universe
One of my favorite sciences is astronomy. From this comes dozens of pictures of various pairs of galaxies suffering the aftermaths of collision. The Young Earth Creationists have been, well, "creative," in protecting their rather limiting interpretation of God and the universe. They keep a young universe by making the speed of light variable. So the light from galaxies billions of light years away, made it here in less than 6,000 years because smoking fast light was even faster in the past. There are some holes in this thesis, but ignore that for a moment. Take a look at any picture of galaxies colliding. Galaxies move far slower than light and are not subject to such changes in velocity. They obey the laws of inertia, momentum and gravity. And it takes millions of years for these galaxies to have their observed collisions. So a 6,000-year-old universe would make God look like a deceiver. Six thousand years ago, those galaxies would have been suffering the aftermath of collisions which supposedly never occurred.
Here you have one interpretation of a sacred book weighing in against dozens of scientific disciplines. It doesn't look good for the creationists. Recent exegetical research shows that a Genesis timeline compatible with science can exist (see www.GenesisCode.Net). So, the biblical literalists really don't need to hold onto their delusion. The Bible gets them off the hook, and they can make friends with science, after all.
"The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation" (Numbers 14:18, KJV).
Reincarnation and Karma in the Bible
Numbers 14:18 (sins of the fathers) speaks of karma and reincarnation. To speak otherwise would be to have a hypocritical God be falsely merciful by making innocent children pay for the crimes of their ancestors. As it is, the passage refers to children of the third and fourth generation after the perpetrator. This is enough time for the perpetrator to live out their arrogant life, die, be born again, and grow old enough to appreciate the boomerang they had thrown three or four generations earlier. The founder of Christianity also spoke of this when he said that anyone who lives by the sword will die by the sword. Many criminals are never victims, not in this life, at least.
The New Testament talks of reincarnation when it has people clamoring over John the Baptist, wondering which prophet he is, returned. And later, Jesus assures his disciples that John the Baptist was Elijah, despite John's denial (lack of memory) of that. Some Christians go so far as to say that reincarnation was "foreign to the Jewish mind." But they forget that Jews were asking about reincarnation. "John, are you Elijah returned to us?"
When Jesus and his disciples were leaving one of the gates of Jerusalem, one of the disciples asked about a blind man sitting there. Why had the man been born blind? Was it something he had done, or his parents had done? How can a blind man deserve to be born that way, unless he had lived before and committed some crime? They were talking about reincarnation. They didn't have to use the word to make it any plainer.
When the Bible says that God loved Jacob and hated Esau, it's talking about karma and reincarnation. How could God hate Esau in his mother's womb? You see, Esau had stolen someone else's birthright in a prior life. This time around, he had to pay the piper. And Jacob was happy to accept the challenge and take his twin brother's birthright from him. Esau was "dying by the sword" by which he had lived before.
Perhaps the most often used passage against reincarnation is that of Hebrews 9:27, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (KJV). But this passage is neither for nor against reincarnation. It is neutral on the subject. Why? A man consisting of one Homo sapiens body will live one life, certainly, then die and be judged for the virtues and crimes of that one life. Then, the immortal child of God will be born again of the flesh, and that body will die and be judged for its virtues and crimes. The Hebrews passage is not a valid argument against reincarnation, and can be read as consistent with reincarnation, though it doesn't support it directly.
These temporary bodies are our temples. We've worked at this for millions of years to build civilization, religion and wisdom to the point where we can discuss such things and open the door to our true selves.
Sometimes a child can remember things of the distant past, and all too frequently the adults around them teach them to forget. Let us teach them to remember.
Proof of Reincarnation
I've read numerous examples of so-called "proof" of reincarnation. Few are really convincing. One story of a little boy, who at age 2 woke up with nightmares about his favorite toys, is one of the more convincing tales. You see, his favorite toys were airplanes, and his nightmares were memories of crashing in a Corsair fighter plane during the last days of WWII. Over the next few years, his perplexed and skeptical father started to research some of the details his son had given him. He wanted to dispel any illusion that these dreams were anything more than a child's fantasy. The more he learned, the more he confirmed what his son had been saying. The name of the flattop ship from which his Corsair flew, the name of a friend from that ship who was still alive and living in the United States, and other details about airplanes and the military convinced the father that his son was indeed the true self of the dead pilot returned to the mortal world through reincarnation.
Understanding Why Reincarnation is Part of God's Plan
This book is from years of my own research into a biblical timeline compatible with those of mainstream science. I wasn't surprised that God's holy book would match his own creation (reality), but there were many surprises, including discovering through science the target of Noah's Flood -- a species which went extinct at that time.
Proof of reincarnation is not easy, and many are skeptical despite the evidence. For the scientist who thought the parents were deluding themselves, one has to ask, How could the young boy call out the name of a fellow soldier when meeting him for the first time in more than sixty years? When the young boy talked to the dead pilot's senior citizen sister, how could he know their elder sister's name?
In Dr. Ian Stevenson's book, Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation , one case is particularly compelling — that of a young Indian girl named Swarnlata Mishra. If the details of the story are accurate, then the tale offers convincing proof of reincarnation. Despite repeated attempts to trick her with false identities, she correctly identified numerous people from her prior life, including pet names she had used for them in that earlier life.
Why would reincarnation be part of God's universe? Our bodies may be young, compared to the universe, but our true selves are both very old and timeless. We have fallen. Miracles used to be easy. We have forgotten who we really are, and God wants His children back. Toward that divine purpose, He has given us an abundance of opportunities to return to Him. This includes numerous lifetimes.
How do you get sleeping immortals to hunger for a connection with God, when there is so much about the flesh that is seductive and wonderfully delicious? It takes time. It has taken millions of years, and reincarnation has given us the opportunities to nurture that hunger. Some of us have had more opportunities than others, and we need to be patient with those around us who do not yet see any value in spiritual things. The luster of the physical loses its bloom after thousands of lifetimes. After so many spouses, children and conquests, the need for something more meaningful leaves us with that divine hunger. We are no longer enamored with the Forbidden Fruit, and can wash away its poison. With that, the sleeping beauty within can awaken and be born again.