The Resurrection. (c. 1715-1716) By S. Ricci.

Hidden Beliefs Covered by the Church? Resurrection and Reincarnation in Early Christianity

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Is it possible that early Christians believed in reincarnation? Although some may find this idea unbelievable, several Christian sources (including the Bible) suggest that many centuries ago, it was common to believe that one does not come to Earth just once, but various times.

In 1945, researchers discovered some early Judeo-Christian writings. Two years later, the world heard about the Dead Sea Scrolls, the discovery which changed biblical history.  The early Christians and Jews followed the teachings of Jesus - including the concept of resurrection. There are several examples of this found in ancient resources.

The oldest texts provide two concepts of resurrection: spiritual and bodily. The spiritual rebirth by the Holy Spirit is also known as being born again. A bodily resurrection of a human could also be called reincarnation. According to the first important father of the early Orthodox Church, Origen (185 – 254 AD), the soul exists before birth. He suggested that pre-existence was found in the Hebrew scriptures and the teachings of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove descending on the Holy Family, with God the Father and angels shown atop, by Murillo, (c. 1677).

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove descending on the Holy Family, with God the Father and angels shown atop, by Murillo, (c. 1677). ( Public Domain )

Moreover, the writings of Clement of Alexandria - a disciple of the apostle Peter, suggest that his master received a few secret teachings from Jesus. One of them was related to the concept of physical and spiritual rebirth. The secret teachings confirm some writing in the Bible. There is a fragment which suggests that Jesus knew about reincarnation and past lives. Someone in the crowd apparently asked him: “What sign showest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven” - John 6:30-32

Jesus doesn't refer to “your fathers”, but “you”, signifying that the story is connected with every person. In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses said: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.”

Once more, Moses doesn't say “your children”, but “you”, indicating that it would be the same people to whom he was speaking that would see and hear the Messiah. According to many specialists in the Bible, there are many examples which promote the belief that reincarnation was well known and a fully accepted fact for early Christians.

Moses Pleading with Israel, as in Deuteronomy 6:1-15.

Moses Pleading with Israel, as in Deuteronomy 6:1-15. ( Public Domain )

Major Medieval Alterations

In the early medieval period, the doctrines of pre-existence and reincarnation only existed as Jesus’ secret teachings. In 553 AD this information was declared heresy at the Second Council of Constantinople. The Roman Church decided to destroy all the teachings which talked about it. The Catholic doctrine and the priests’ source of wealth could have been in danger if people believed that they would come back to life many times. The old knowledge faced the same fate as many ancient books by pre-Christian writers. The bishops were afraid of the knowledge which could prove that the institution of the Church wasn't the only option to bring “eternal life” to people.

During the Middle Ages, the growing Christian religion faced new unexpected problems. With the rising number of priests, bishops, parishes, and churches the new religious structure needed more money. Due to these needs, they also invented celibacy, to allow the church to own everything what belonged to their priests.

Moreover, they decided to invent more terrible outcomes for Christian followers if they didn't do what the bishops expected of them. In the ancient writings, there is nothing about asking the priest to ask God to release individuals from their sins…or even a place called Hell - where the people who broke God’s rules were said to go after death.

А fresco detail of Hell from the medieval church St. Nicolas in Raduil village, Bulgaria.

А fresco detail of Hell from the medieval church St. Nicolas in Raduil village, Bulgaria. ( Edal Anton Lefterov/CC BY SA 3.0 )

Comments

the word karma means consequences. The bible doesn't teach the eastern belief of karma. I does teach that there are awesome consequences for everything you think do & say.

Shabda's picture

Again you are mistaken. The work karma means action, plain and simple. The Bible is a collection of traditions from various other religions that preceded it. Buddhism includes all that Jesus ever supposedly said. The Bible absolutely DOES teach karma, and “awesome consequences for everything you think, do, and say.” is very literally "karma.” The word action that it means in Sanskrit is action of thought which is action, as are doing or saying any of the same things. Reaping what one sows does NOT regard the planting of crops, because it is used throughout the Bible to refer to actions taken for the purpose of selfishness or materialism as opposed to seeingthe motivation as being a spiritually righteous thought, word, or action i.e. serving the will of God. The same definitions are used throughout the ancient world making it extremely unlikely that Judaism or Christianity somehow became the ONLY groups to define the terminology as referring to crops and such. The very idea is quite ridiculous. Do the research, it is easy enough to find. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=karma

The central promise of Christ to his disciples is the bodily resurrection. This is very clearly not reincarnation. Reincarnation is the transmigration of the soul from one being to another after the first being dies. Resurrection is the person's body is raised up and perfected, reunited with the soul, and it shall live forever, body and soul, in heaven. For those bound for hell, the body is resurrected in its true corrupted form and reunited with the soul, to live body and soul forever in hell.
This is no "secret teaching" as it is very clear in Catholic doctrinal sources such as Ott, Denzinger, and the Catechism. Anyone who was unaware that the Church believes in the Resurrection of the Body has never paid attention to the Nicene Creed which ends with the statement, " I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come." Catholics, Anglicans, Orthodox and many protestant denominations recite the Creed every Sunday. This is no secret. A Christian certainly does not need reincarnation to believe that he or she will live forever. Indeed, if there were reincarnation, who is the "I" that lives forever...the first I, second I, third I? WHO is living forever? the same person with a series of different bodies? Why would a soul manifest itself in different ways? My soul informs the matter into me. Your soul informs the matter into you. If I died and my soul were to transmigrate to other matter, it would have to recreate me, because that's who my soul is.

Your understanding of Christian doctrine awful, and your reading of the Church Fathers Origen and Clement is hideous.

Congratulations, you have successfully spouted the "Christian' line of bulll perpetuated since 325 AD, when Constantine made the heresies of Paul into civil law, the biggest heresy of all time.
To understand Christian doctrine, you must know something about how it came to be what it is now.
In all its glory, its warts, and its cancers,
This is easily traced in well-supported neutral (meaning non-Christian) sourced references and historical records.

Shabda's picture

Wow, are you a Christian or not? I ask because only a Christian would claim that Saul of Tarsus made “heresies,” the existence of which is extremely questionable. For there to be such a thing one has to believe in the same Creator, and in the same way, anf furthermore this belief system would then have to be the same as the one promoted by Constantine as agreat deal of heresies within Christianity owe their existence to Constantine. Honestly, Jesus was never a Christian, he was a Jew. No Christians existed at any time during his life. Even Saul came along roughly thirty years after the crucifixion. How is it that his proclamations were heresies? Was it because they invited the population of the world to join into the faith? Without him, Christianity would never have become a large spiritual following. That owes its entire existence to Saint Paul. Using non-Christian sources for information is a thing I have no problem with, not being a Christian myself, I am merely asking about your own commentary in your post. It seems to contradict itself.

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