The Bible on Reincarnation


To open the question and answer period of the August meeting, Richard responded to a question concerning the Bible’s lack of direct references to reincarnation. Richard stated that during the first century after Christ, the Christians did believe in and teach the concept of reincarnation. However, to avoid conflict with the Pharisees, then in power, and also to provide a more popularly acceptable base for the religion, the priests began approaching the masses with the doctrine of salvation after a single lifetime of Christian living, while intending to maintain the knowledge of reincarnation within the priesthood. Through the years, as the priesthood became popularized, this knowledge fell into general disrepute among the priests, so that the Bible as we know it today was composed with only a few veiled references to the philosophy of reincarnation. (08-1968)



What Does the Bible Say About Reincarnation?

Q: When I have conversations with people who are versed in the Bible and the subject of reincarnation comes up, they often mention a phrase which has appointed man to die once and then the judgment, and I don’t really know how to deal with that phrase. Do you know what it really does mean or what a correct interpretation might be?


RK: No. I guess I would have to see the whole context to see if I could work something out on that. But then, maybe the person who quoted it quoted it wrong. But the Pharisees, amongst the Jews, all believed in reincarnation. You scratch any European peasant, regardless of which nation they’re in, deep enough, and you will find a reincarnationist. It is not popular in the cities, but it is out in the people who have been associated with the land for a long time, because they really have not been so thoroughly imbued with Christianity that they’ve given up their Druidic beliefs. It was the Celts who essentially populated Europe and then their priests were the Druids, and they all believed in reincarnation. Most people I know who are Catholics from rural Europe all believe in reincarnation, even though they’re Catholics, and as I said, the Pharisees believed in it thoroughly, as did Saul, incidentally. Saul of Tarsus was a Pharisee. He believed in reincarnation. But there was a mixed bag of a number of pressures and tensions of what he should believe and what he should do, and he didn’t come very strongly across with the concepts of reincarnation. (02-1981)




Reincarnation References in the Bible?


Question:     If Christ taught reincarnation, why are there no references to it in the Bible?


Answer:       Some such references still survive, but most were deleted in about 400 A.D. by Empress Theodora of Byzantium. She was personally adverse to the concept of reincarnation, but there was also the religion of Isis, which was growing rapidly in popularity through its promise of “single life salvation” while Christianity, which then taught that one must strive for many lifetimes to earn salvation, was losing adherents. Therefore, the decision to delete certain references to reincarnation from the scriptures and theology of the day was primarily a political one. The Christian concept of reincarnation was already readily accepted by some Jews at the time of Christ’s ministry, because about 10 or 15 percent believed in it as part of Jewish philosophy. As Christianity grew over the ensuing three centuries, reincarnation remained as an underground theme in its creed.


St. Paul could not believe in it; so reincarnation received no approbation in his teachings and letters to the Gentiles. A few references, primarily in the Gospel of St. John, were overlooked when the deletions were made, and they remain to testify to the early Christian belief in reincarnation. An example is the passage in St. John where the disciples ask Christ about a certain man who had been blind since birth, “Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” They were referring in their question to possible karmic indebtedness which might have required that the man live through his life thus handicapped. Christ Himself said that John the Baptist was Elijah.


The determination of the Byzantines to shift emphasis away from reincarnation and the dearth of references to it in the Bible resulted in the disappearance of the idea from popular Christianity in a few centuries. (02-1972)



Where in the Bible Does It State That We Reincarnate?


Q:      Where in the Bible does it state that we reincarnate?


RK:      There’s no direct statement, bald faced, that comes right out and says we’ve lived before or something. According to the Bible, Christ made a very straight statement that John the Baptist had existed before as Elijah.


Q:      He can do that, God? It doesn’t mean to say that everyone can reincarnate.


RK:      That’s a good argument against that particular point. But then there is also the one statement where the Apostles asked Christ, said— they were looking at a mind who was blind, and they asked the Master, “Who sinned that this man was born blind? His parents or did he sin?” Now, how can somebody sin before they were born unless they had lived at another time to sin? Fetuses do not sin, to my knowledge.


Q:      Could it be the offspring, like a great uncle.


RK:      That’s why they asked the question. It was logical for them. It was that this child was born blind as a punishment for something his parents had done. Was it punishment for the parents, because obviously they couldn’t depend upon that child to provide them with a living in their old age. It was going to be an extra hardship to deal with him, teach him anything. So that could be punishment. So that was part of their question, which one was it. In this particular case, He says, This person was not born because of any sin of himself or his parents; he was born in order to experience My healing upon him. Sort of an indication. This Ego must have made a decision before he was born to do that. (02-1990)