When Christians Believed in Reincarnation: More Facts

“The Jewish sect called the Samarians believed Adam reincarnated as Noah, then as Abraham, then Moses.”

“Evidence shows that reincarnation was part of the Church’s early doctrine and was promoted by Church Fathers, writers who established Christian doctrine prior to the eighth century and whose works were used to disseminate Christian ideas to populations of the Roman Empire. To be considered a Church Father one had to meet the following criteria. One had to lead a holy life;, one’s writings had do be free of doctrinal error; one’s interpretation of Christian doctrine was deemed to be exemplary; and one’s writings had to have approval of the Church.”

“A number of Christian Church Fathers believed in and wrote about reincarnation:

St. Justin Martyr (100–165 A.D.) expressly stated that the soul inhabits more than one human body.

Origen (185–254 A.D.), who was considered by St. Jerome as “the greatest teacher of the Church after the Apostles,” defended the idea that the soul exists before the body, fundamental to the concept of reincarnation.

Another Church Father, St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa (257–332 A.D.), wrote: “It is absolutely necessary that the soul should be healed and purified, and if this does not take place during its life on earth it must be accomplished in future lives. . . . The soul . . . is immaterial and invisible in nature, it at one time puts off one body . . . and exchanges it for a second.”

St. Gregory also wrote: “Every soul comes into this world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defeats of its previous life.”

St. Augustine (354–430 A.D.), one of the greatest theologians of the Christian church, speculated that philosopher Plotinus was the reincarnation of Plato. St. Augustine wrote: “The message of Plato . . . now shines forth mainly in Plotinus, a Platonist so like his master that one would think . . . that Plato is born again in Plotinus.”

Other Church Fathers who demonstrated a belief in reincarnation included Synesius (the Bishop of Ptolemais), St. Ambrose, Pope Gregory I, Jerome, St. Athanasius, St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, and Clement of Alexandria.”

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