Debunking re-incarnation


#1

Greetings folks.

I have a friend who is deeply involved in yoga and mediation (member of the yogananda’s SRF…). I’m trying to come up with a good explanation of how Matthew 17:9-13 is not an example of reincarnation. Could someone please help me understand this passage:

9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead. 10 And his disciples asked him, saying:
Why then do the scribes say that Elias must come first?

11 But he answering, said to them: Elias indeed shall come, and restore all things. 12 But I say to you, that Elias is already come, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they had a mind. So also the Son of man shall suffer from them. 13 Then the disciples understood, that he had spoken to them of John the Baptist.

I don’t believe in re-incarnation!

God bless,
Noel.


#2

Our faith sees time in a very linear fashion. We begin with the creation and progress through salvation history straight to the incarnation of the Savior. From the Savior we are progressing to the Second Coming. Very linear. (About the only cyclic aspect is the liturgical year.) Rejection of reincarnation is in the very bones of scripture and church teaching.


#3

Hi nkelly,

Welcome to the forums!

Here are somepoints that may be helpful in marshalling your refutation of reincarnation:

  1. John the Baptist himself denies that he is Elijah. (John 1:21)

  2. Luke tells us that John came in the *spirit and the *power of Elijah, not *as *Elijah. “He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah 7 to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17)

  3. Elijah himself appears in Luke 9:29-31, at the Transfiguration. There is no indication that this is John the Baptist.

  4. 2 Kings 2:11 has an account of Elijah when he was on earth being taken up bodily into heaven. . .he didn’t die. Isn’t that a prerequisite for reincarnation?

  5. Evidently some people thought that Jesus could “be” John the Baptist. See Matthew 16:14. But, they must not have thought that Jesus was the reincarnated John the Baptist, because everyone knew that Jesus and John were contemporaries. So, they must of thought that Jesus was going forth in “the spirit and power” of John the Baptist when they say this. See note #2 above. This isn’t reincarnation.

Also check out Catholic Answers: Reincarnation and the Bible and Reincarnation.

Does any of that help at all?
Fight the good fight!

VC


#4

Hello VC.

It is helpful and thank you. However I don’t understand why John the Baptist is mentioned? i.e. I can’t make sense of this:

13 Then the disciples understood, that he had spoken to them of John the Baptist.

I must be getting a bit slow in my old age!

God bless,
Noel.


#5

The Bible was not written by people who held a belief in reincarnation so it tends simply not to address the subject.
Trying to make the Bible speak on that which it does not address is a fool’s errand.

However, the Bible does speak on the afterlife, quite clearly, by stating what it is, rather than addressing what it is not.

If your friend holds the Bible as having authority, then you can discuss what the Bible does say about the afterlife. If your friend does not accept the Bible as an authority, then no amount of pointing out passages will help.

I find it ridiculous that people of non Biblical faiths try to use the Bible to “prove” their own faith. The Bible is not a mystical book that somehow “proves” all faiths. It is a specific book, about a specific faith history and the relation of Yaweh with His people.

Others will have to look to their own faith traditions for support. If they want the Bible, then they will have to accept what it really says, and not try to make it say what they want.

cheddar


#6

Reincarnation – what a tricky topic to discuss!

(1) The verse you cite clearly indicates that there is – at the very least – a similarity if not identity between the spirit and power of Elijah and that of John the Baptist.

(2) The word "spirit’ refers to the breath, the living force, what the Chinese call “chi”, what the Hindus call “prana”. So, hypothetically speaking, a portion of Elijah’s “prana” might have taken rebirth within John.

(3) The Hindus divide the human person into five different interconnected parts: the physical body, the prana/life-force, the receptive mind, the discriminative mind, and the soul.

(4) According to some Muslims who believe that the ideas of reincarnation and non-reincarnation are both true, the explanation of how both could be true goes like this: when someone dies, the physical body, prana, and mind separate from the soul. The soul continues on its journey, while portions of the prana and mind might become re-associated with a new person.

(5) Thus, one could speak of John as having portions of the the prana associated with Elijah’s soul – in some sense, you could refer to Elijah as having returned. But in another sense, one could argue that Elijah did not return, because Elijah’s soul went off to wherever it went.

(6) The Buddhists have another way of reconciling reincarnation and non-reincarnation: in each second, your body and mind are each reborn thousands, if not millions, of times. Thus, after each second, you are the same person, and yet not the same person. Thus, reincarnation (the reincarnation of exactly the same person) isn’t completely true, and non-reincarnation (the appearance of a totally, absolutely, different person) isn’t completely true either.

(7) An example often used by Buddhists is a candle flame going from one candle to another. Once you take one candle flame, and ignite the wick of a new candle, is the new flame the same or different from the old flame? Well, you could say that in some ways its the same; in other ways its different – that is, in some ways reincarnation has occurred; in other ways non-reincarnation has occurred.

(8) I haven’t even mentioned Jewish traditions of reincarnation, or "gilgul’, so I’ll leave that alone.:smiley:


#7

Cheddar, thanks, good points.

Ahimsa, I think you’re in the wrong forum!

God bless,
Noel.


#8

I’m afraid I can’t remember the exact verse, but it does state in the NT that “man dies once”. Can’t get any more direct and clear than that, whatever your friend wants to extrapolate from the passage about Elijah—no extrapoloation necessary here. Perhaps someone here can provide the exact verse…


#9

[quote=Sherlock]I’m afraid I can’t remember the exact verse, but it does state in the NT that “man dies once”. Can’t get any more direct and clear than that, whatever your friend wants to extrapolate from the passage about Elijah—no extrapoloation necessary here. Perhaps someone here can provide the exact verse…
[/quote]

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment: Heb 9:27


#10

You may be right, sir, you may be right.:slight_smile:


#11

[quote=nkelly]Cheddar, thanks, good points.

Ahimsa, I think you’re in the wrong forum!

God bless,
Noel.
[/quote]

The forums are open to non-Catholics as long as they abide by the rules of the forums and respect where they are. So, ahimsa and people like myself are here - and we try to respect the Catholic faith. We often can offer information that isn’t available elsewhere, because we each understand Hinduism and Buddhism and the Baptist faith more so than many others.

Peace…


#12

[quote=ahimsaman72]The forums are open to non-Catholics as long as they abide by the rules of the forums and respect where they are. So, ahimsa and people like myself are here - and we try to respect the Catholic faith. We often can offer information that isn’t available elsewhere, because we each understand Hinduism and Buddhism and the Baptist faith more so than many others.

Peace…
[/quote]

And most of us are grateful that you are here my good friend!
:clapping:


#13

[quote=Mickey]And most of us are grateful that you are here my good friend!
:clapping:
[/quote]

Thank you friend and it is always a pleasure to “see” you!

Peace…


#14

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