Is reincarnation in the Bible?

A friend showed me the following link on the biblical proof of reincarnation.  So I have to explain to him that the Bible never teaches that:

1.  Interpretation of Scriptures.  Many can and did interpret the Scriptures to their own destruction. The best interpreter would be the Catholic Church who compiled both the Old and Testaments. This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “1013 Death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage, of the time of grace and mercy which God offers him so as to work out his earthly life in keeping with the divine plan, and to decide his ultimate destiny. When “the single course of our earthly life” is completed,586 we shall not return to other earthly lives: “It is appointed for men to die once.”587 (Heb 9:27) There is no “reincarnation” after death.”

2.  Sin of Man Born Blind.  Regarding the man born blind, Jesus did not confirm reincarnation. What he actually said is this: Jesus answered, ‘Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents, but the works of God were to be made manifest in him.'” This simply means that God, in his infinite wisdom, allows a person to be born blind, so that God will use this infirmity for His greater glory (Jesus shows His power as Son of God by curing a man born blind). Jesus’ silence on reincarnation is obvious because reincarnation is never taught in the Old Testament.

3.  John the Baptist as Elijah.  Regarding John the Baptist, you have to understand the literary device called allusion: http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples/examples-of-allusion.html. If somebody calls you ‘Einstein’ it simply means that you are a genius and not that Einstein reincarnated in you. Similarly, when Jesus calls John the Baptist as Elijah, Christ is making an allusion to Elijah who is the last and greatest prophet of Israel in the Old Testament, in the same way as John the Baptist is the last and greatest prophet of Israel in the New Testament. As Christ said: “I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John” (Lk 7:28). John is the prophet that prepared the coming of Christ. No other prophet has this privilege. As Christ said: “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.17Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” The apostles saw and heard Christ. And so did John.

4.  Resurrection of the Dead.  The resurrection of the dead referred to by St. Paul is at the End Times during the Last Judgment when Christ will judge the living and the dead. There is no reincarnation.

5.  Christian Family.  They who left brother, sister, and parents for the sake of Christ will have more of these a hundredfold. This does not imply reincarnation as the author thought. This simply means that the Christian family will be widened beyond the blood relations. That is why you have the La Salle brothers, Dominican sisters, and Jesuit fathers. They who enter the religious orders becomes a brother, sister, and father to the whole Christian community, and that is why we address them with such titles: Bro. Vince, Sr. Josephine, Fr. Villarin.

6.  Pre-existence of Christ.  Christ is God. He is the Word of God who made all things. That is why he pre-exists. This does not mean he reincarnates. He only incarnates once: God became man.

7.  Purgatory and the Last Penny.  The other passages that he cites concerning the person who will be jailed until he pays the last penny does not talk about reincarnation, but about Purgatory: after we die, if we don’t have unconfessed mortal sins, and we we still have other sins unconfessed or confessed without doing the corresponding penance (e.g. return what you steal), then we shall suffer the fires of Purgatory, where we shall be purified like gold in fire before we can be allowed to enter heaven. As Scripture says: in heaven, the city of God, “nothing unclean will enter it, nor any[one] who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Rv 21:27)

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Is Buddha the same as Jesus Christ?

Here is question posted in Pinoy Catholic and to which I shall reply here:

Question:

TPC that I know, in a way its wrong if that was said anyone would be upset.

But think about it openly if you put it on another view point its just giving respect to the other religion or belief.

In a sense its just right because the catholic church we love and cherish is also open for all. Just think about it Our Lord Jesus Christ as a universal church and one True God. In this world we have different religions and beliefs but all of them came from one and same origin pointing to Jesus Christ.

Its Jesus Christ represented differently among races just because of the traditions, beliefs, distance and those sort of differences like liberal, conservative or modernize that we know.

You mentioned the bishop called Buddha as equal to Jesus Christ but its because they are just one and the same interpreted differently, just like other God who is also Jesus Christ with a different name and teachings. The bishop might be right or wrong and even I might also but just think about it. He was just pointing out that they are the same one Lord Jesus Christ to us.

Why don’t we just pray and let God judge then decide who is right and wrong and it will turn out to be the best for all of us. I don’t mind whatever the outcome will be. Just don’t put to much into this one. You got many good articles here but of all the pointing out mistakes on certain people, priest or a religious head is one that am against. We are just humans after all we comment but never judge because the one that can is our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reply:

1.  Not all teachings of other religions point toward Christ

In this world, we have different religions and beliefs, but not all of them point towards Jesus Christ.  There are seeds of truth found in other religions which point to Christ Who is Truth, but the Evil One also sowed his seeds of falsehood:

The Church’s bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:

All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .331

843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as “a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.”332

844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:

Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.333

845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

2.  Buddha is not Jesus Christ

Jesus is unique.  Jesus is not one of the reincarnations of Buddha.  The Holy Name of Jesus is not equal to Buddha:

Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name* that is above every name,g10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend,*of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,h11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,* to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11)

Buddha teaches reincarnation.  Reincarnation teaches that there is one soul which is reborn again and again until it reaches perfection.  On the other hand, Jesus teaches that we have only one life here on earth, and after Death is judgement: Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory.  We have only one chance in this world before Judgement Day:

f “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne,32g and all the nations* will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left…Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42k For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,43a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’44* Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’45He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’46l And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Mt 25:41-46)

There is only one Truth and Jesus is Truth.  If He does not teach reincarnation, then reincarnation is wrong, and Filipino-Chinese Catholics should not believe on reincarnation, Astrology, Feng Shui, and other things that were part of Chinese Culture but are incompatible with the Catholic Faith.  The Catholic Faith purges cultures as gold is tested in fire, so that what remains of that culture can be offered for the glory of God.

3.  On judging others.

I can’t say against priests and bishops, because they are my superiors.  And St. Ignatius recommends that things should be brought to higher authorities.  If the bishop appears to be in error, he can be reported to a higher authority like the CDF (Congregation for the Doctrine and of the Faith), which is under the Pope.  Christ is a Just Judge.  But the Pope and the Bishops united with him were given by Christ  the authority to judge individuals and nations:

Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Mt 19:28)

Christ said to his apostles:

““Receive the holy Spirit. 23*n Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (Jn 20:22-23).

And to Peter, in particular, Christ said:

Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood 12 has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.18And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, 13 and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.19I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. 14 Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 16:17-19)

Thoughts on environmentalism: Hindu “ahimsa”, Greek goddess “Gaia”, and the Good News of Christianity

I

Environmentalism at a glance appears only a movement for the care of our environment, as a care for the earth on which we live in.  There is nothing wrong with this.  But I have a feeling that the movement is slowly being steered underneath by the following principle:  plants, animals, and man have equal dignity.  This sounds like the Hindu concept of “ahimsa,” meaning to “do no harm”.  For example,

Ahimsa in Jainism emphasizes vegetarianism and bans hunting and ritual sacrifice. Jains go out of their way so as not to hurt even small insects and other minuscule animals and make considerable efforts not to injure plants in everyday life as far as possible. In accordance to this policy, eating of some foods, whose cultivation harms small insects and worms as well as agriculture itself, is to be abstained from. (Wikipedia)

This equality of all life also appears to be rooted in the Hindu concept of reincarnation: if a man can be reincarnated to an animal or to a plant or to earth, then all animate and inanimate objects have equal dignity.  If we follow this line of reasoning, it is natural to regard our very Earth as an incarnation of another spirit–caring and sustaining all life like a mother to a child.    The Greeks call her Gaia or the Great Mother Earth: mother without a husband (appealing to feminists), mother of the sea (Pontus) and sky (Uranus), and through incest became the mother of all that is (c.f. Wikipedia).

In 1979, the name Gaia was resurrected by James Lovelock in his book, “Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth“.  In this book, Lovelock proposed the Gaia hypothesis:

Living organisms and inorganic material are part of a dynamic system that shapes the Earth’s biosphere, and maintains the Earth as a fit environment for life. In some Gaia theory approaches the Earth itself is viewed as an organism with self-regulatory functions. Further books by Lovelock and others popularized the Gaia Hypothesis, which was widely embraced and passed into common usage as part of the heightened awareness of environmental concerns of the 1990s.

Thus, we now see clearly the connection of the worship of the Greek Goddess Gaia with our present marches, concerts, and parties for Mother Earth this Earth Day.

II

What should we Catholic Christians do?  Let us read the Bible and proclaim the Good News of our Catholic Faith.  In the Book of Genesis, God, not Gaia, created the world and man.  But of all His creatures, it is only man that he made in his image and likeness:

God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. (Gen 1:27)

This gives man a dignity above that of any other creature: more than the animals, more than the plants, more than our very earth—the thing that we refer to as Mother.

And God blessed man (male and female), saying to them:

Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it.  Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth…. See I give you all the seed-bearing fruit; this shall be your food.  (Gen 1:28-30)

After the Great Flood, God gave a new blessing to Noah and his sons:

Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth.  Be the terror and the dread of all the wild beasts and all the birds of heaven, of everything that crawls on the ground all the fish of the sea; they are handed over to you.  Every living and crawling thing shall provide food for you, no less than the foliage of plants.  I give you everything, with theis exception: you must not eat flesh with life, that is to say blood, in it.  I will demand and account of your life-blood.  I will demand an account from every beast and from man.  I will demand an account of every man’s life from his fellow men.  He who sheds man’s blood, shall have his blood shed by man, for in the image of God man was made.  As for you, be fruitful, multiply, teem over the earth and be lord over it.

So why should we be afraid of human population growth?  God willed that the marriage of a man and woman would be fruitful.  Why should we use condoms, pills, and other contraceptives?  Why should we dread pregnancy and treat it like a disease?  Why abort the child in our wombs?

In the Book of Exodus, God listed the animals that are clean and unclean.  Clean animals may be eaten; unclean  animals may not be eaten (Lv 11:1-47).  But in the New Testament, God allowed all things to be eaten.  As Christ said to his disciples:

Do you not realize that everything that enters the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled into the latrine?  But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile.  For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, unchastity, theft, false witness, blasphemy. (Mt 15:11)

And as God explained to Peter in a vision, in reference to the acceptance of the Gentiles into Christianity:

[Peter] felt hungry and was looking foward to his meal, but before it was ready he fell into a trance and saw heaven thrown open and something like a big sheet being let down to earth by its four corners; it contained every possible sort of animal and bird, walking, crawling or flying ones.  A voice then said to him, ‘Now, Peter; kill and eat!’  But Peter answered, ‘Certainly not, Lord; I have never yet eaten anything profane or unclean’–Again.  a second time, the voice spoike to him, ‘What God has made clean, you have no right to call profane. ‘  This was repeated three times, and then suddenly the container was drawn up to heaven again.

This is the Good News.  Christianity is the Good News.