One Life to Live

Mar 22, 15 One Life to Live

3) One Life to Live – in the series: About the New Age

 

 

Made to be human and made to only live once…

 

“We Are Spiritual Beings Having A Physical Experience” – this quote is a reoccurring online/internet saying.

 

Gnosticism, Buddhists, Taoism, New Age, Syncretism, Esoteric, Mysticism, Occultism (to identify just a few), believe that “matter” is a temporary, fallen state. They believe we are spirit, working our way out from “matter”.

 

When I was a New Ager, I believed in “Reincarnation”. The definition for Reincarnation (from dictionary.com) is 1. The belief that the soul, upon death of the body, comes back to earth in another body or form. 2. Rebirthof the soul in a new body.

 

When I was a New Ager and believed in reincarnation, I thought that “mankind” was not intended to be human; I believed it was a base and gross condition because the reason we are “human” was a result of our departing from our intended state of being, which is “Spirit”.  In that belief system, being a “human” is considered a mistake. I’m not really sure why we felt mankind had fallen into that mistake but as a New Ager, being human was definitely something we were supposed to stop being, and to get away from, and to correct because, the reasoning is that being a human IS the reason for everything being wrong or imperfect.

 

I’m going to diverge from the subject for a moment because I want to write about why a Christian cannot reconcile the idea of reincarnation to Biblical Christianity. Christianity is the only religion in the entire world that believes in a Savior God. We’ve gotten so used to that idea as Christians that we sometimes forget how truly unique the concept of a loving Savior God is. ALL other religions believe that you have to work your way to “heaven” or perfection on your own. Christianity only recognizes that man cannot save himself; only God can save man AND this God loves us so much that He sacrificed Himself to save us.

 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

 

Christianity believes that this sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf was enough. Another way of putting it is that it was sufficient. His sacrifice is / was sufficient enough to save us. We can’t add anything to it by doing good works to earn some type of “point” or ANYthing. The point of reincarnation is to evolve spiritually because we aren’t enough YET. The point of reincarnation is to constantly work at becoming enough. A person who believes in reincarnation is denying the sufficiency of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. There is no way that these two belief systems can harmonize. You either believe Jesus’s sacrifice was enough, or you believe that somehow you have to live more than one lifetime to add to that sufficiency. The reincarnation belief has a goal; it doesn’t believe in reincarnation just as an end to itself. I hope this makes sense to Christians who think that they can reconcile reincarnation to Biblical Christianity. So, bottom line: you can’t. If you do, you aren’t a Christian. That’s the Bible’s definition, not mine. Christians believe in heaven and hell. Jesus came to save us from our destination of hell. He loves us so much that He wants us in heaven with Him forever.

 

Okay – To get back on point, the biggest lie of reincarnation is that a person’s soul, through many lifetimes, will eventually be like God or become a part of God. The Reincarnation belief system refuses to acknowledge the difference between a perfect loving Creator and us, His imperfect selfish creation. The truth is that we can only become unselfish when we allow God through Jesus to “perfect” us.

 

In some of the belief systems I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, the spirit-self is the part of a person that reincarnates and it is often referred to as the “Subtle body”.  As a New Ager, my belief system was more causal, i.e. “westernized”, and we referred to it as your “soul”.  In the reincarnation belief system, it is this “soul” that enters the human experience, each time, becoming encased in “matter”, i.e. “human”, lifetime after lifetime.

 

As a New Ager, I believed that the “soul” decides upon a new “personality” for each lifetime, and that personality is to live under a different set of circumstances chosen for that life. The hope is that the soul will evolve through these different experiences presented in each lifetime, to the goal. The goal is to finally stay “Spirit” without a human personality, which to a New Ager means perfect and divine, and never to return to the gross matter that the human state is viewed as. The reincarnation belief then is that the soul is striving to make its way back to that state of perfection from which we fell and part of that progression in striving is to finally recognize your “ignorance” of this “truth”. So, as a New Ager, the belief was that if a person believed in reincarnation, they had finally realized the truth and therefore, were more spiritually evolved then a person who was not yet able to believe in reincarnation. I used to believe that every person who believes in reincarnation was spiritually evolved, and every person who didn’t would hopefully in some future incarnation, be able to accept the truth of reincarnation. Only spiritually backward souls, i.e. Christians, would be unable to accept the “truth” of reincarnation. It was the litmus test for spiritual maturity.

 

In reincarnation, this state of Perfection occurs at some far and distant time and after many, many lifetimes after the “soul” has been able to experience the gantlet of human experiences and has therefore, gained enough experience.

 

It’s easy to romanticize the idea of living more than one lifetime.  Imagine!  You could have been a king in ancient Egypt or a Mayan priestess or … the possibilities are endless (literally)!  But in that belief system, that also means that the person you currently are in this lifetime will get swallowed up into the cosmic consciousness of your soul’s many, many lifetimes. Maybe you’ll even be a “past-life-regression” experience for one of your soul’s future personalities. (A “Past-life-regression” is a technique usually performed through hypnosis for the purpose of discovering who the person’s past lives or reincarnations were.) Aside from that possibility, the person you are now will be permanently cast aside, it is as if you were a piece of clothing and your soul strips you off like yesterday’s garment.

 

As a reincarnation believer, I believed that it was okay to lose your individual memories after each lifetime, over and over and that it was okay for each personality (lifetime person) to surrender to the “real” essence of who you are which is the soul.

 

At that time, the idea in Christianity, that we inherited sinfulness, and that somehow, we are affected, infected really, by Adam and Eve’s action of “fallenness”, was repulsive to me because, I thought, “Where is the fairness in that?”

 

To me at that time, it hardly seemed fair or justifiable that a loving God could allow my soul to be affected because of the actions of another. But consider the following examples: We can catch a cold from a person; we can inherit a propensity for a particular disease or condition. So, it’s possible that even “Sin”, which we exhibit as selfishness, is inherited.  We are BORN with this tendency.  No one has to teach us to be selfish.

 

As a believer in reincarnation, I believed that a person who is mentally challenged in this life could be making up for his failings (sins) from another lifetime.  It was his karma. As a Christian, I realize that God values a mentally challenged person as highly as He values a mentally average or a mentally exceptional person.  He values life PERIOD; He does not rate its worth.  He is the AUTHOR of life (Acts 3:15 and Hebrews 12:2).

 

It would almost be like stating that God values beautiful people more than He does ugly people.  Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and who can say what is beautiful and what is not? Well, use that rationale on the mental capacity example. Are these two examples then so different?  But the fact is whether we are considering outside appearance or mental capacity, it doesn’t matter to God.  HE formed each of us.  And whether we reflect the DNA in our family code or whatever, He has allowed our condition.  Although the Christian worldview, believes we are broken, we also believe that God can override this; He does not make mistakes.

 

As a Christian, I realize now that it is mankind who places value on beauty and on intellect and not God.  Because He is the Creator, only He has a perfect overview of what is Good; we do not.

 

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

 

When I believed in Reincarnation, I believed that a person goes through pain to pay for the sin they conducted in a past life, i.e. Karma. As a Christian, some of the reasons I believe there is pain is because, we live in a broken, fallen world and sin and free-will choices have ramifications; pain will cause us to rest in His strength and it helps us see that our ability to ride out a “storm” is NEVER dependent on our strength (2 Cor 12:9 is below); it draws us closer to God; it deepens our character, which could not have been developed otherwise and it creates empathy, allowing us to minister to others.  Our Jesus suffered incredible pain, so our God knows exactly what we are going through and it grieves Him.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 

 

Celebrate death?

When I believed in Reincarnation, I believed you celebrate deaths because the deceased person has finished the lesson in this lifetime. You mourn births because that means that the soul of the person being born has not evolved enough to escape the cycle of being born, dying, being born, dying, etc., etc.  A new birth means a soul has not passed on to perfection and true understanding.

 

I didn’t begin to think that this way of thinking was sad until after I’d become a Christian.  Prior to being a Christian, the concept of Reincarnation gave me comfort because it meant that I’d have many more opportunities to becoming perfect and therefore worthy of becoming Spirit only. I didn’t see the “downside” of Reincarnation until after becoming a Christian, which is that “me”, who I was and who God created, would be long gone because your person-hood isn’t important to the “God” of that belief system.

 

Only after becoming a Christian, did the Holy Spirit* form in me a new logic process or worldview.

 

As a Christian, I learned that we were born /created to be human.  Now this may seem like an obvious conclusion, but in the reincarnation worldview, you are not utmost human because that belief holds that being human is a temporary and despised condition. In Christianity, we were created human, and we are not a spirit-being who is punished or trapped and exiled to a coarse human body of matter, whose soul is trying through eons to become again spirit only.

 

Since becoming a Christian, I realize that, wow, God designed humankind to be HUMAN.  We each express our unique and individual GOD-intended personalities!  What a joy!  Each of us was created/made/designed/intended to be human.  God made ME! He intended me to always BE me.  He loves ME so much that He wants me to be around forever!

 

And even more awe inspiring is that God made us in HIS image! In Genesis 1:27 (Old Testament Bible verse), when God first created the world and humans, it states, So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them”.

 

Although, this concept is a Jewish belief and therefore also a Christian belief (because Christianity’s roots are Judaism), it has permeated our Western culture so much so that even an atheist, recognizes that humans have an inherent value.

 

But are we the humans God intended us to be?  No, no one is and that IS the sad part of the story.  This is a fallen, broken world but Jesus allows us to rise above that brokenness and become, through the acceptance of his sacrifice *sanctified, more like the human that God designed us to be.  This is so much of what the New Testament is all about.

 

I hope that this blog has been helpful to you. God bless you!

 

 

Endnotes:

* Holy Spirit: The Helper or Comforter.  From New Testament Bible passage John 16:4b-15 English Standard Version, Jesus tells his disciples (students) before he allows the Romans to kill him:

The Work of the Holy Spirit

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

 

 

* Sanctification or Transformation: – the work of the Holy Spirit bringing a believer’s whole nature more and more under the influences of the new gracious principles implanted in the soul in regeneration after you have been justified; the process by which God brings the Christian to be the person God created him or her to be.

This is how it happens. First comes repentance because you feel conviction (thank you, Holy Spirit! Job well done!), then you are regenerated, justified, then comes a lifetime of Sanctification. You CANNOT be sanctified without first, being justified.  To see more Christian definitions, visit my blog ”http://www.bloggingwithelaine.com/christian-vocabulary-101/

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