Thursday, October 18, 2007

Reincarnation In The Early Church?

In a recent post, Steve Hays quoted Elizabeth Kübler-Ross:

Reincarnation was taught in Christianity for hundreds of years. The teaching of it was eventually forbidden by the First Ecumenical Council, for purely political reasons.

For those who are interested, I wrote a post on this subject a couple of years ago, on another blog.


  1. "Reincarnation was taught in Christianity for hundreds of years."

    Still is, if you define reincarnation etymologically, since the resurrection at the last day consists of the soul of a man being incarnated again, or reincarnated into his own body which will have been at that time resurrected. Of course, what is normally meant by reincarnation today, transmigration of souls into other bodied, was not and is not a Christian belief since it isn't in Scripture.

  2. Of course, words are defined by usage rather than etymology. "Reincarnation" is a technical term with a specialized sense.

    The reason reincarnation isn't Christian is not merely because it's absent from Scripture, but because it's contrary to various Scriptural teachings.

  3. What I meant is that in the Latin writings of some of the so-called 'fathers' they may use some Latin term very similar etymolgoically to reincarnation that a reincarnationist may latch onto and say "aha! He's teaching reincarnation." For example, if Tertullian says something like "the souls of those raised will be made incarnate again" referring to the orthodox view of the resurrection, yet using a phrase that looks a lot like reincarnation etymologically, then a reincarnationist may latch onto that and purposefully twist it to make it look like he supports their view. I've never met a modern reincarnationist who claims to be a Christian, but I would assume this is the type of tactic they would use. And, if the reincarnationists are basing their claims on something like this then it simply needs to be pointed out that in the time of the 'fathers' what we now call reincarnation was called transmigration, and from that simple fact they are refuted.