pre-existence

I am not sure where this goes so I am going to try here.

I am in a public speaking classes and one person, during a persuasive speech, was trying to convince us of a pre-existence. She explained it as a place where our soul is basically waiting in line go get down to earth. She quoted some scripture passages like,“before you were born I knew you” as evidence.

She also said that the early Christians and Jews believed in this and that it continued until the Council of Constantinople, which condemned it. I also couldn’t anything that said that the either of the councils of Constantinople condemned it.

Thoughts on this would be appreciated and, if the catholic church is against it, ways to defend against this.

Here is what “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” has on the topic:

  1. Pre.existentianism

Pre-existentianism, which was proposed by Plato, and which in the early Christian era was accepted by Origen and individual members of his disciples (Didymus of Alexandria, Evagrius Ponticus, Ncmcsius of Emesa), as well as by the Priscillianists, teaches that souls exist even bcfore their connection with the bodies-according to Plato and Origen, from all eternity-and are exiled in bodies, as a punishment for moral defect. This doctrine was rejected by a Synod at Constantinople (543) against the Origenists, and by a Synod at Braga (561) against the Priscillianists. D 203, 236.

The idea of a pre-existence of the soul and of a pre-corporeal fall through sin is unknown to Holy Writ. Again, the passage, Wis. 8, 19 et seq.: “And I was a witty child and had received a good soul. And whereas I was more good I came into a body t111defued,” is not to be understood in the sense of the Platonic doctrine of pre-existence, as the anthropological conceptions of the Book of Wisdom are entirely diffe’rent from those of Plato. According to the tes¬timony of Holy Writ, the first man created by God was good in soul and body (Gn. I, 31). Sin entered the world through the fall by sin of our first parents (Gn. 3, I et seq.; Rom. 5, 12). St. Paul, in Rom. 9, II, directly excluded a pre-corporeal fall through sin: “For when the children were not yet born, nor had done any good or evil.” The Fathers, with very few exceptions, are opponents of the doctrine of pre-existence upheld by Origen. cf. St. Gregory Nazianzus, Or. 37, IS; St. Gregory of Nyssa, De anima et resurt. Par. IS, 3; St. Augustine, Ep. 217, 5, 16; Leo I, Ep. IS, 10. The testimony of self-consciousness testifies against the pre-existence of the soul. cE. S. tho I lIS, 3.

Above from: catecheticsonline.com/Fundamentals-BookTwo-PartOne-II.php (scroll down about 1/4 of the way)

Perhaps checking out some of the references given in the article will offer some help.

Checking out the Denzinger references in the above article (D 203 and 236), I think D 203 would be the Council of Constantinople reference - (I’m assuming that from the 543 date given for the Council).
Here is the way my Denzinger reads (D 203):

*VIGILIUS (537) 540-555
Canons against Origen
[From the Book against Origen of the Emperor Justinian, 543]

Can. 1. If anyone says or holds that the souls of men pre-existed, as if they were formerly minds and holy powers, but having received a surfeit of beholding the Divinity, and having turned towards the worse, and on this account having shuddered (apopsycheisas) at the love of God, in consequence being called souls (phychae) and being sent down into bodies for the sake of punishment, let him be anathema*.

It appears Origen’s teaching involved a little more than just the simple pre-existence of souls.

**D 236 **is a response by the Council of Braga II 561 to the teaching of the Priscillianists.
6. If anyone says that human souls first sinned in the heavenly habitation and inview of this were hurled down into human bodies on earth, as Priscillian has affirmed, let him be anathema.

Nita

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