Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
- Weekly Pastoral Message -

"Continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine" Acts 2:42

Weekly Pastoral Message prepared by Rev. Murray Adamthwaite
for Sunday 15th June 1997

From the Pastor: Some Contemporary Buzzwords IV: Reincarnation

Talk about "past lives" has become the "in thing", both in jest and seriously. The reason, of course, is the increasing fascination with Eastern philosophy in our society, and promotion of the same by the secular media.

There is nothing new about this. In the early centuries the Church was faced with "influences from the East" (cf. Isaiah 2:6) in the form of Eastern cults which believed in the "transmigration of souls", as reincarnation was then called. Briefly stated, the doctrine is that every soul repeatedly passes from one body to another by a law of fate ("karma") until that soul reaches a state of perfection, when it is absorbed into the Universal One ("Nirvana").

Apart from specifically Christian objections some logical ones arise:

    (i) How does reincarnation account for the prodigious increase in human population? The whole philosophy is surely one of equilibrium and the status quo.
    (ii) How can I atone for the sins of a previous life, according to karma, when I have no clear memory of those sins? The Church father Augustine first put this objection centuries ago. It has never really been answered, despite modern claims of recall under hypnosis.

By contrast salvation from sin is for the Christian rock solid, and received by faith alone, (Galations 2:16). Then also, Christ died, and the same Christ rose again. Likewise, Christians will die, but the same persons will by His grace rise again to immortality, (1 Corinthians 15:23,42-49).


Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
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