a. Pre-existence of the Soul In Biblical Times
As previously mentioned, pre-existence is the doctrine of the soul/spirit not being created at birth; but rather having existed before birth in heaven and/or in past lives on Earth. All Bible verses referring to reincarnation assumes the reality of the pre-existence of the soul. All Bible verses referring to pre-existence of the soul implies the reality of reincarnation. Both concepts of reincarnation and pre-existence are inseparable and both concepts were common knowledge in Jesus’ day. The pre-existence of the soul was an accepted teaching held by early Christians until it was officially condemned by the Church in 553 A.D. along with reincarnation and other teachings associated with the early Church Father Origen. But although the Church did its best to destroy all Christian writings and gospels mentioning pre-existence and reincarnation, the Church could not destroy the references already in the Bible.
Skeptics who assume that pre-existence and reincarnation are false doctrines must explain why there is such an incredible amount of inequities and apparent injustices in life. All over the world we see how some people are born into families with many resources, with excellent health, provided the best education, live in large estates, and many other favorable conditions. While, on the other hand, an even larger percentage of people on Earth are born in extreme poverty, with severe handicaps, uneducated, destitute, or many other unfavorable conditions. Without pre-existence and reincarnation this inequity and apparent injustice between people might make a person conclude God to be extremely unjust. In fact, this is one of the main arguments skeptics use against the existence of God. So without pre-existence and reincarnation how are we to explain this? This very question was asked of Jesus by his disciples in the following Bible verse:
“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.'” (John 9:1-3)
The disciples asked Jesus if the man committed a sin that caused him to be born blind. Given the fact the man was blind since birth, this is an unusual question to ask unless the disciples believed in pre-existence and reincarnation. How can a man sin before he is even born? An obvious answer to such a question is that the blind man committed a sin in a past life causing his current blind condition. And although Jesus stated the reason the man was born blind was to manifest the works of God, and not because of sin, this does not mean everyone who is born in unfavorable circumstances are born this way to manifest the work of God. The fact that this blind man and his circumstances are described in the Bible may be exactly what Jesus was referring to concerning him manifesting the works of God. When the blind man was brought before the Pharisees, they rejected his testimony because they believed he sinned before he was even born:
“They answered and said to him, ‘You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?’ And they cast him out” (John 9:34)
Notice how Jesus did nothing to dispel or correct the idea of the disciples believing in the possibility of sinning before birth or believing in reincarnation. If reincarnation is a false doctrine, this would have been an excellent opportunity for Jesus to say so. But the fact is, nowhere in the Bible does Jesus teach against reincarnation. He does, in fact, teach reincarnation throughout the Bible. And because of this, we can assume that Jesus believed pre-existence was certainly a possibility.
The idea of a person sinning before birth can also be found in the Old Testament:
“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5)
b. The Pre-existent Jesus
The Bible affirms the pre-existence of Jesus. Here are some examples:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:1-2)
“No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven — the Son of Man.” (John 3:13)
“I (Jesus) am not of this world.” (John 8:23)
“‘Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.’ ‘You are not yet fifty years old,’ they said to him, ‘and you have seen Abraham!’ ‘Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!'” (John 8:56-58)
“I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” (John 16:28)
“And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (John 17:5)
“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” (1 John 4:2-3)
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)
“He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” (1 Peter 1:20)
c. The Pre-existent Human Being
Jesus referred to the people around him to be the same people who were alive in the days of Moses:
“So they asked him, ‘What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.'” (John 6:30-32)
Consider the following Bible verse which suggests human pre-existence:
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4)
The above verse declares how God chose people before the world was created to be holy implying they existed before Creation. A skeptic may object to this interpretation by claiming the chosen people existed only as a thought in the Mind of God. But even if we assume this was true, it would not negate pre-existence. After all, there may be no difference between existing as a thought in the Mind of God and existing as a spirit. And because Jesus himself had a human nature and spirit, it is not a leap of faith to believe other human beings pre-existed as Jesus did. In fact, this is exactly what the Bible says:
“The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
“I (Jesus) have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” (John 17:14-16)
These words of Jesus are astonishing when you think of them. Jesus revealed that his disciples were “not of the world” any more than he was of the world. So if the disciples pre-existed, we can assume other people pre-existed as well. And pre-existence implies reincarnation. They go together.
The Book of Genesis implies all human beings pre-existed:
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7)
Although we must assume the creation account of Genesis to be a metaphor for evolution, it doesn’t say man “became a soul” — it says man “became a LIVING soul” resulting from God’s breath of life. This implies Adam pre-existed as a soul, without a body, before becoming a living human being. Verses in the Book of Ecclesiastes agree with Genesis in suggesting the soul is pre-existent:
“Whatever man is, he has been named that long ago, and it is known that it is Adam; nor can he contend with Him who is mightier than he whether God or death.” (Ecclesiastes 6:10)
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
As previously mentioned, we have the case of Jacob and Esau, who, before they were even born, God assigned them their karmic lots in life:
“Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad — in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls — she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'” (Romans 9:10-13)
Of course, as a Pharisee, Paul could have explained this apparent divine injustice according to bad karma from a previous lifetime. Instead, he leaves it at the feet of God:
“Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” (Romans 9:21)
But Paul also states in his Second Epistle to Timothy of people making themselves into vessels of honor prepared for good work:
“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:20-21)
In the Book of Jeremiah, God told the following to the prophet Jeremiah:
“Before I formed you (Jeremiah) in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
If God foreknew the prophet Jeremiah, it is no leap of faith to assume God foreknew everyone else. And foreknowledge by God has further implications including pre-existence and reincarnation. Also, in Part 1 of this article, Jesus taught his disciples that John the Baptist pre-existed as Elijah the Prophet. And because James (the brother of Jesus) declared Elijah to be “a human being, even as we are,” (James 5:17) we can safely conclude all human beings pre-existed as John the Baptist did.
d. Foreknowledge By God Implies Pre-existence of the Soul
As was the case with Jacob and Esau, the Bible states that people have been predestined, elected, foreknown, called, and chosen by God before the beginning of time. As applied to reincarnation and universal salvation, predestination means that God has ultimately chosen everyone for salvation according to His own timetable. In fact, Paul states in his Epistle to the Ephesians that everything — and by extension — everyone has been predestined by God:
“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” (Ephesians 1:11)
The following list of Bible verses are proof of the predestination and pre-existence of the soul implying the reality of reincarnation:
“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness — in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” (Titus 1:1-2)
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4)
“Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.” (Isaiah 49:1)
“But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles.” (Galatians 1:15-16)
“To God’s elect… who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” (1 Peter 1:1-2)
“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” (2 Timothy 2:10)
“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.” (2 Peter 1:10)
“Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (James 2:5)
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28)
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
“They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings — and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Revelation 17:14)
“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.” (Romans 8:33)
e. The Church’s Condemnations of Pre-existence and Reincarnation
The history of the Church’s official stance on pre-existence and reincarnation is actually a very complex one. The Second Council of Constantinople (553 AD) was initiated and headed by Emperor Justinian (527–565 AD) at a time when the Emperor was engaged in a bitter conflict with Pope Vigilius (died 555 AD). Although the main objective was to reconcile differences between the churches of the East and West, the Council’s preparations heavily favored the East. For this reason, Justinian ordered the Council to consider the condemnation of the teachings of Origen (185-254 AD) which was not an item on the previously announced agenda. In the process, fifteen condemnations (anathemas) proposed by the Emperor against Origen were ratified.
The first of the “Anathemas Against Origen” states:
“If anyone asserts the fabulous pre-existence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema.” (Decree of the Fifth Ecumenical Council in A.D. 545, officially ratified in 553 AD at Second Council of Constantinople)
The heretical condemnations against Origen’s teachings were not the only unbiblical and unjust condemnations by the Church. Of note were also the unbiblical and unjust heretical condemnations against Arius (256-336 AD) and his teachings; and Nestorius (386-450 AD) and his teachings:
The fifteenth anathema stated in part:
“If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, Eutyches, and Origen as well as their impious writings … let him be anathema.” (Decree of the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 AD)
Arius was a priest in in Alexandria, Egypt, whose teachings about the nature of the Godhead in Christianity emphasized the Father’s divinity over the Son, and his opposition to what would become the dominant Christology: “Jesus as God in the flesh.” This made Arius’ teachings a heresy, the Arian Controversy, at the First Council of Nicaea convened by Emperor Constantine in 325 AD. The other notable “heretic” was Nestorius who was the Patriarch of Constantinople whose Christological teachings (Nestorianism) emphasized a distinction between the human and divine persons of Jesus. Nestorianism led to the Nestorian Schism when churches supporting Nestorius broke with the rest of the Christian Church from 431-544 AD.
The condemnation of Origen’s teachings in 553 AD led to the rejection of pre-existence and reincarnation by the entire Church. Of the 165 bishops who signed the condemnations against Origen, not more than six were from the West. Pope Vigilius’ appeal for equal representation of bishops from East and West were denied. In protest, the Pope boycotted the Council. So there are no records documenting Pope Vigilius approval of the condemnations issued by Eastern bishops. For this reason scholars today question the Council’s legitimacy and separate the Roman Church from the condemnations of the teachings of Origen. Therefore, they argue the Roman Catholic Church has never really officially declared the teaching of reincarnation to be heresy. Nevertheless, at Justinian’s instigation the Council’s condemnation of Origen’s teaching resulted in Origenist monks being expelled and much of Origen’s writings destroyed. The Council’s action was accepted in practice by the Church making reincarnation incompatible with Christianity and making the Christian “heretics” who believed in reincarnation persecuted and killed. But today we have the freedom to reexamine Christian theology and discover how Origen’s teachings were more in synch with the teachings of Christ than the later teachings of the later orthodox Church Fathers.
Origen was acknowledged to be the most educated and most original thinker of the early Christian Fathers. In his book, entitled “On First Principles,” Origen explained how souls are assigned to their “place or region or condition” based upon their actions “before the present life.” God has:
“…arranged the universe on the principle of a most impartial retribution.” (Origen, On First Principles, trans. Butterworth,, pp. 136-137)
Origen wrote how God did not create on the basis of favoritism but gave souls bodies “according to the sin of each.” Origen asked:
“If souls did not pre-exist, why is it that we find some blind from birth, having done no sin, while others are born having nothing wrong with them?” (Origen, On First Principles, trans. Butterworth)
Answering his own question, Origen wrote:
“It is clear that certain sins existed (were committed) before the souls came into the bodies and as a result of these sins each soul receives recompense in proportion to its deserts.” (Origen, On First Principles, trans. Butterworth, p. 67)
f. More on Origen’s Teaching of Pre-existence and Reincarnation
Reincarnation is closely linked with two of Origen’s favorite themes: God is just, and human beings have free will. God’s justice can be defended, Origen argued, only if each person:
“…contains within himself the reasons why he has been placed in this or in that rank of life.” (Origen, On First Principles, trans. Butterworth, p. 241)
Therefore, we can believe God is just only if we believe our actions in some previous existence are the cause of our present fate. If we are unfortunate, we can either blame God or see our misfortune as the result of our own past actions — and then do something to change it. The idea of people being responsible for their destiny leads directly to the other key concept in Origen’s thought — free will. It was for this idea, as much as any other, the reason his writings came under ﬁre by the Church. The concept of free will made the orthodox uncomfortable because it implied Christians could fall away. It also implied a prostitute could rise to the level of the angels without help from the Catholic priesthood.
Origen believed God created the world as a place for human beings to exercise free will. Along with reincarnation and God’s help, the soul is responsible for attaining salvation. God provides the repeated opportunity, lifetime after lifetime, for the soul to “work out” its own salvation (Philippians 2:12). Origen believed free will is implied throughout scripture and free will implies reincarnation. He saw every Bible verse afﬁrming moral responsibility and also afﬁrming free will. And because God has given us this freedom, we advance or decline our soul’s status based upon our own merits. And because this is true; and we are destined to return to God, then logically, God must give us more than one chance or lifetime to do it. For Origen, freedom equals opportunity. If there is only one opportunity and lifetime — and it is often cut short — then there is no freedom. And Origen believed freedom to be an important part of God’s plan. After all, Paul wrote:
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
Origen’s interpretation of the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden also implies both free will and reincarnation. Origen taught how the story of the Fall represents the experience of every soul. Each of us once existed in a primordial state of divine union as an angel in heaven. Then came the Fall of souls from heaven, after which our souls were imprisoned in matter, bound to return to Earth again and again, each time acting and experiencing the corresponding reaction. Therefore, the differences in our circumstances are not based upon God’s whim but upon our own actions. God’s creation was equal and just in the beginning. Interesting enough, this was the exact interpretation of human origins according to the 20th century near-death experiencer and Christian psychic Edgar Cayce. Origen wrote of God creating:
“…all those whom he did create equal and alike.” (Origen, On First Principles, trans. Butterworth)
The Bible describes human beings pre-existing as souls before the world began and having previous lifetimes. The pre-existence of Jesus and human beings means souls are not created at the time of conception. The Bible also mentions pre-existing sin implying pre-existence, previous lifetimes, and reincarnation. God’s foreknowledge, election of all people before birth, and universal salvation which also implies pre-existence and reincarnation. The Church’s 6th century condemnation of the 2nd century Church Father Origen’s teachings of pre-existence and reincarnation were not officially sanctioned by the Pope at the time which means the Church has not technically condemned reincarnation. For all these reasons and more, pre-existence and reincarnation should now become an official doctrine of Christianity.
a. Introduction to the Mystery of God in Man and Reincarnation
In this section, a biblical case will be made supporting the nature of the eternal, immortal, and indestructible human soul or spirit. Jesus taught “the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). You will see that because all humans partake in the divine spirit as Jesus did, the idea of reincarnation becomes a necessity. It is the spirit – the “spark” of the divine – within human beings that is reincarnated. Because the human spirit is a part of God, it cannot be destroyed nor can it suffer eternally in hell. It is the flesh which must be overcome, and through reincarnation this becomes possible. As co-heirs with Christ, humans can attain at-onement with God as Jesus did. It is self-evident that attaining perfection and at-onement with God requires more than one lifetime and this implies the necessity of reincarnation.
b. The Mystery of God in Jesus
Central to Christology in Christianity is the divine nature of Jesus Christ. As previously mentioned, beginning in the fourth century AD, the Arian Controversy occurred within the Church specifically over the nature of Christ and his relationship to God the Father. The following is a list of the various Christian groups based upon the different beliefs of Christology:
Early Christian Christology
(1) The “Homoousian” group believed the Son was of the “same substance” as the Father (i.e. both uncreated). This form of Christology, “Jesus is God,” was declared orthodox at the First Council of Constantinople in 381 AD and became the basis of modern trinitarianism.
(3) The “Homoian” group believed the Son was “similar” to the Father, either “in all things” or “according to the scriptures,” without speaking of substance. This position was held by the Acacians, a sect of the Arians, who separated themselves from the Niceans because they rejected the word “homoousios”; and from the Semi-Arians because of their surrender of the homoiousios; and from the Anomoeans by their insistence upon the term homoios.
(5) The Jews believed their Messiah was a coming human king — not “God” — which otherwise would be blasphemy to monotheistic Judaism. Then there were Jewish Christians who believed Jesus was their Messiah and prophet who was born with the fullness of the Holy Spirit (as was John the Baptist). This position was held by the early Jewish Christians in Jerusalem who were called Nazarenes and “Ebionites.”
The fact of God dwelling within Jesus cannot be denied because it is clearly stated in the Bible:
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.” (Colossians 1:19)
“In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:1-3)
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
The Bible also gives Jesus the title of “Son of Man” — the anointed one and the firstborn of all creation:
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” (Colossians 1:15)
“And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him’.” (Hebrews 1:6)
The Hebrew word most often translated “worship” is “shachah“, and it is usually rendered as “proskuneo” in the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament. The Greek word “proskuneo” is translated as “the act of bowing down in homage done before a superior in rank or a ruler. Thus David “bowed himself” (shachah) before Saul in 1 Samuel 24:8.
The following is another Bible verse referring to Jesus as the “firstborn”:
“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.” (Hebrews 12:22-23)
Then there is the mystery of Christ in humans:
“I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness — the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:25-27)
c. The Mystery of the Trinity
Whether or not a Christian believes in a “Trinity” (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), the Bible describes three parts of Christ (the Mind of Christ, the Body of Christ, and the Spirit of Christ), and three dimensions of God (light, life, and love) which the three-dimensional enlightened Christian shares (mind, body, and spirit):
The Mystery of the “Trinity” in Man (of Mind, Body, and Spirit)
(1) The Mind of Christ: “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
The Light of God: “God is light” (1 John 1:5)
Claim: The enlightened mind is one with God.
Proof in Man: “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6).
Proof in Christ: “I (Jesus) and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
Conclusion: The “Mind of Christ” is the Father (light) of whom our minds can become one with as well.
(2) The Body of Christ: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27).
The Life of God: God is “eternal life” (1 John 5:20)
Claim: The body in which Christ dwells has eternal life and is a part of Christ.
Proof in Man: “I (Paul) have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Proof in Christ: “I (Jesus) am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)
Conclusion: The “Body of Christ” is the Son (life) of whom our bodies are a part.
(3) The Spirit of Christ: “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9).
The Love of God: “God is love” (1 John 4:8)
Claim: The Spirit of God dwells in everyone who loves others.
Proof in Man: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16).
Proof in Man: “This is my command: Love each other” (John 15:17).
Proof in Man and Christ: “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love” (John 15:10).
Conclusion: The “Spirit of Christ” is the Holy Spirit (love) who lives in Jesus and lives within people as well.
So now we understand the mystery of God within humanity, the so-called “Trinity,” to be the three-dimensional image of God (light, life, love) within the mind, body and spirit of a human being. The Christ spirit, the metaphysical divine “Logos” of God indwelling in flesh, is the perfected image of God in humanity and the fulfillment of God’s Word spoken in the Book of Genesis at creation.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.'” (Genesis 1:26)
The mystery of God in humanity defines all of humanity created with a spirit in the image and likeness of God’s Spirit. The human spirit is a “spark of the divine” and is immortal and indestructible. Because of the nature of the spirit, the human spirit is pre-existent before the creation of the world. Because of the nature of the Fall of spirits from heaven, the human spirit is “unawakened” (“spiritually dead” in biblical terms — see Romans 5:12-21, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 1 Corinthians 2:14), “trapped in flesh” and therefore, subject to the cycle of birth, death and rebirth (John 3:3). This is why God sent Jesus (John 3:16). God’s plan is to rescue all souls through the ministry of Jesus by allowing them return to their original home in heaven through a new form of resurrection — spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-6)
d. God In Jesus Does Not Mean God Is Jesus
The Bible declares Jesus to be “one with God,” having God as his “Father”, being the “Logos” (the human creative power of God), being a literal “mouthpiece” of God (the Word), being the “Son” of God; having the “fullness” of God (Spirit) within him; and having the perfect human-divine unity. But it would be incorrect to say “Jesus is God.” We can only say “Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9). This is because there is only one God (the Father) and one Lord (Jesus) as perfectly explained in the Book of Ephesians:
“There is one body (Christ, the Church) and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)
So there is one God, the Father, and one Lord, Christ the Son. In the Christian phrase “Jesus is Lord,” the general use of the term “lord” in antiquity was a courtesy title for social superiors, but its root meaning was “ruler”. Kings everywhere were titled “Lord” and often considered divine beings so the word acquired a religious significance. Here is another verse supporting Jesus being subject to God:
“For he (God) ‘has put everything under his (Christ’s) feet.’ Now when it says that ‘everything’ has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:27-28)
The above verse says the Son “will be made subject” to God. Notice also the same sentence says Jesus will be subject to God so that “God may be all in all” — a reference to universal reconciliation and universal salvation as mentioned in Acts 3:19-21 and Part 3 of this article.
Here are a few Bible verses to support the idea that God is not Jesus:
“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.” (Numbers 23:19)
“The Father is greater than I (Jesus).” (John 14:28)
“For us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.” (Revelation 3:14)
“No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” (John 1:18)
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32)
“Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’ ‘Why do you ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.'” (Matthew 19:16-17)
As previously mentioned, universal salvation and the notion that God dwells within human beings through the Holy Spirit suggests it takes more than one lifetime for this to be realized in people.
Nontrinitarianism refers to belief systems within Christianity rejecting the mainstream Christian doctrine of the Trinity — that Jesus is God. To be sure, Jesus was a man and within him dwelt the Holy Spirit — a condition all human beings can attain — and this implies reincarnation until a human being experiences spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
Trinitarianism was declared to be Christian doctrine at the 4th-century First Council of Nicaea (325 AD) which declared the full divinity of Jesus. The First Council of Constantinople (381 AD) declared the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Nontrinitarian denominations today are a minority among modern Christians which include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”), Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Unitarian Universalists, and the United Church of God; although nontrinitarian views differ widely on the nature of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Biblical and historical evidence indicate that first-century Christians did not believe Jesus was God. The doctrine of the Trinity is not a part of the other major Abrahamic religions, Judaism and Islam, which views the doctrine of the Trinity as blasphemy to monotheism.
If you think of God as “light” (1 John 1:5), then you will find “God” is the Ultimate Reality in all the major religions: Buddhism (Clear Light, Luminous Mind, Buddhahood), Hinduism (Brahman), Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In NDE studies, God is viewed as “the Light” and the “life review” as a form of enlightenment.
Even atheists must admit that light (electromagnetic radiation) has many “god-like” properties to it according to quantum mechanics. Eminent physicist, David Bohm, viewed all matter as “condensed” or “frozen light.” Physicist Stephen Hawking once stated ,”When you break subatomic particles down to their most elemental level, you are left with nothing but pure light.” Science discovered light was pervasive at the beginning of the universe. Scientists recently discovered the so-called “God Particle” — the particle which bestows mass upon all other particles. This particle is very crucial to physics because it is a critical understanding of the structure of all matter. Albert Einstein’s great equation E=mc2 (where E is for energy, m for mass and c is the speed of light) describes the awesome power and energy holding all atoms together. Surprisingly, the Bible supports Einstein’s equation when it declares: God is the invisible power “holding all things together” (Colossians 1:17). If a person could travel at the speed of light, they would be able to live forever because time would cease to exist. The transcendent view of consciousness as “light” is the basis for major world religions. So it shouldn’t be surprising why the original top quantum physicists where influenced by religion. Erwin Schrodinger, for example, studied Hinduism; Werner Heisenberg looked into Plato’s theory of the ancient Greeks; Niels Bohr was drawn to Taoism; and Wolfgang Pauli to the Kabbalah — all of which hold to the doctrine of reincarnation.
e. The Mystery of God In Humans
Before his religious enemies, Jesus proclaimed his oneness (human-divine union) with God and they thought it was blasphemy. In Judaism, a father’s son was equal in status to his father. Therefore, when Jesus was claiming God was his father, he was also claiming equal status with God. Of course, Jesus was merely stating his human-divine unity due to unique relationship with God which his enemies didn’t understand. Jesus answered his religious enemies by quoting Psalm 82:6 where God refers to all “sons of God” as “gods” — an obvious reference to God’s Spirit in humanity:
“‘I and the Father are one.’ Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any good work,’ they replied, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods?’ If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came — and Scripture cannot be set aside — what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son?'” (John 10:30-36)
“I (God) said, ‘You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High.'” (Psalm 82:6)
The mystery of God in Christ and human beings is the revelation of God’s Holy Spirit residing within human beings. Of course, Jesus was born with the “fullness” of the Holy Spirit as the “Logos“. But all God’s “sons” or “children” can be said to have God’s Holy Spirit:
“We declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” (1 Corinthians 2:7)
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” (1 John 3:1)
And there are many Bible verses stating flat out that God resides within His “children”:
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:12-16)
“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (John 14:20)
“Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.'” (John 14:23)
Just as Jesus proclaimed, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), Jesus proclaims God’s children are also “one” with the Father:
“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11)
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:20-22)
f. The Mystery of Christ in Humans
As children of the Father, we share the same nature as Christ:
“But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:17)
“I (Paul) have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.” (2 Corinthians 4:10-11)
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
The mystery of Christ in humans is like the mystery of God in humans — as God’s children, we are growing more and more into the image of His Son:
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
“And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.” (1 Corinthians 15:49)
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30) Also, see Genesis 1:26-27
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17)
“To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (Revelation 3:21)
g. The Mystery of Humans Evolving Into the Image of Christ
In Christian theology, the Greek word “theosis” is translated divinization (deification, making divine) and is the perfecting effect of divine grace by the atonement of Christ and spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit. It literally means to become more divine, or to become like God. In the Bible it is also referred to as “glorification” which is the process of sanctification or perfection of the Christian. It is self-evident that divinization is a very long and arduous process; and because it is the goal of every human being to attain divinization through good works, then reincarnation becomes a necessity. The teaching of deification or “theosis” in Eastern Orthodox Christianity refers to the attainment of the likeness of God, the Christian’s union with God or reconciliation with God.
There are several Bible verses stating how, through Christ, people realize their divine nature and become “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” and “inherit all things” just as Christ inherits all things:
“Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:4)
“So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:7)
“So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future — all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new Earth, for the first heaven and the first Earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband… ‘Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.'” (Revelation 21:1-7)
There were many references to divinization in the writings of the orthodox Catholic Church Fathers.
Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons (130-202 AD) and one of the first great Christian theologians, wrote how:
“God became what we are in order to make us what he is himself.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5)
“If the Word became a man, It was so men may become gods.” He added: “Do we cast blame on him [God] because we were not made gods from the beginning, but were at first created merely as men, and then later as gods? Although God has adopted this course out of his pure benevolence, that no one may charge him with discrimination or stinginess, he declares, ‘I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High.’… For it was necessary at first that nature be exhibited, then after that what was mortal would be conquered and swallowed up in immortality.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 4.38)
Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), regarded as the foremost interpreter of the theory of the Logos in the 2nd century, insisted how in the beginning:
“Men were made like God, free from suffering and death,” and how they are thus “deemed worthy of becoming gods and of having power to become sons of the highest.” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 124)
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD), viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity, wrote:
“But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. ‘For he has given them power to become the sons of God’ [referring to John 1:12]. If then we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods.”[On the Psalms, 50.2] “To make human beings gods,” Augustine said, “He was made man who was God” (sermon 192.1.1). Augustine goes on to write that “[they] are not born of His Substance, that they should be the same as He, but that by favor they should come to Him… (Ibid).” (Augustine, “Psalm 50”, Exposition on the Book of Psalms)
Theophilus of Antioch (120-190 AD), whose writings are most notable for being the earliest extant Christian work to use the word “Trinity” except as “God, his Word (Logos) and his Wisdom (Sophia), wrote:
“For if He had made him immortal from the beginning, He would have made him God. Again, if He had made him mortal, God would seem to be the cause of his death. Neither, then, immortal nor yet mortal did He make him, but, as we have said above, capable of both; so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God.” (Theophilus, “Book II, Chapter 27”, To Autolycus)
Hippolytus of Rome (170-235 AD), the most important 3rd-century theologian in the Church in Rome wrote:
“And you shall be a companion of the Deity, and a co-heir with Christ, no longer enslaved by lusts or passions, and never again wasted by disease. For you have become God: for whatever sufferings you underwent while being a man, these He gave to you, because you were of mortal mold, but whatever it is consistent with God to impart, these God has promised to bestow upon you, because you have been deified, and begotten unto immortality.” (Hippolytus, “Book X, Chapter 30”, Refutation of all Heresies, and The Discourse on the Holy Theophany)
Gregory of Nyssa (335-395 AD), a Catholic saint and believer in reincarnation who was greatly influenced by Origen, wrote:
“For just as He in Himself assimilated His own human nature to the power of the Godhead, being a part of the common nature, but not being subject to the inclination to sin which is in that nature (for it says: ‘He did no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth’), so, also, will He lead each person to union with the Godhead if they do nothing unworthy of union with the Divine.” (Gregory of Nyssa, On Christian Perfection, p. 116)
Of course, there is only one God — the one Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:4-6). Divinization mean exactly what Jesus and the Bible says, humans can become “gods” or “godlings” — not “Gods” — but “sons” of God, “children” of God, an “image” of God, like “the Logos,” like Christ, a “part” of God, a “thought” within the Mind of God. A better definition of “gods” is a mathematical definition — “fractals” of God. A fractal is a part of the Whole (like a “chip” off the “old block”) which is identical in image to the Whole.
So because all human beings have a spirit which is a “fractal” of God, whether they are spiritually “awakened” to the fact or not — an eternal spirit which cannot be destroyed — the idea of reincarnation becomes a necessity. Because all humans are undergoing a process of perfection, then it is self-evident that this process takes a number of successive lifetimes to accomplish it. According to NDE studies, everyone is born into this world with a “mission” from God — lessons in life to learn toward spiritual growth and perfection. After people die, they have a “life review” during which their entire life is evaluated. The life review implies life is a “test” after which we are graded for educational purposes. The life review also reveals one lifetime is not enough to accomplish all a person must accomplish on Earth including the process of spiritual growth. During a life review, some people have been shown past lives. NDE studies also support and incorporate reincarnation studies.
God’s law of divine justice, karma, universal salvation, Christian perfection, pre-existence, the indwelling Holy Spirit, divinization, and reincarnation are mentioned many times throughout the Bible. The process of perfection obviously takes more than one lifetime because the goal for everyone is to become like Christ — the image of God within humanity. Only reincarnation offers continued personal identity and further spiritual growth after death. The mystery of God within human beings means everyone can partake in the divine nature through the spirit within flesh. The human spirit must first be “awakened” (regenerated) from a state of “spiritual death” to a new life through the Holy Spirit. Sanctification means the flesh must then be completely overcome through reincarnation. The mystery of the “Trinity” is God within humanity: the “Mind of Christ” (the Father, God is light, 1 John 1:5), the “Body of Christ” (the Son, God is life, 1 John 5:20), and the “Spirit of Christ” (the Holy Spirit, God is love, 1 John 4:8). As co-heirs with Christ, humans can also attain at-onement with God through the mind, body, and spirit of Christ (the light, life, and love of God) — the “Logos”, the human “image” of God in three-dimensions. Attaining perfection and at-onement with God obviously requires more than one lifetime. Evidence in the Bible and NDE studies have shown humans living many lifetimes on the path toward at-onement with God. For all these reasons and more, reincarnation must now become an official doctrine of Christianity.