This is the second and final week of guest speakers on the blog. This week's speaker is Dr. Jim Tucker. He runs a research group at the Univerity of Virginia dedicated to studying cases of childhood reincarnation. The UVA group has been in operation since 1967 and has meticulously collected files on 2500 individual childhood reincarnation cases. My commentary on this extraordinary work follows below.
Within the normal, western, Christian world the subject of reincarnation is very much taboo. In most of the rest of the world reincarnation is both accepted as real, and well known in terms of cases.
As Dr. Tucker explains, it is easy to find cases of reincarnation when traveling in many parts of the world. The research group he now leads adds academic rigor to the study of this phenomena. In particular they treat cases like you might for a jury trial. Anything that might hint of witness tampering is excluded.
Their particular study involves children who spontaneously start talking about a past life around 35 months of age. Half of all their cases were dead for less than 16 months, with the other half longer.
As I wrote about last week, this falls into a gray area in terms of science used against the text of scripture. If you live anywhere outside of the Christian world, reincarnation is common to find and widely accepted. That alone is evidence that it exists. This University of Virginia group adds the documentation we need to think about it broadly. They are not inventing a new cosmology.
Curiously, many groups in the western world dislike this work. The first group, Christians, because of their read of the Bible. The second group, curiously, is the secularist or materialist world. They don't like the idea that souls not only exist, but are actively recycled by someone by being placed back inside a new body while inside a new mother's womb.
In the Book?
As we do with all evidence like this, we ask the question, is it in the book? For us this is a double question. Is it in the Bible? And if so, is it in the Testimony? Of course we don't particularly care about conventional Christian wisdom. For us it starts with a new search of the book. Also, we don't care about any contradictions, we deal with those as a secondary study.
After watching last week's video, evidence of a 'spiritual body' or 'souls' and this week, evidence that souls can be given new bodies, I set out to find examples in the Bible.
The Woman at the Well
The 1st example that struck a home run for me is the Woman at the Well. I hinted at this last week, but let me complete the idea. Her bucket is her soul. Her water from the well is her body. That is easy.
Now watch. She must come back to the well repeatedly. Filling her bucket each day, and then doing it again the next. A different type of water, given by Joshua, breaks the loop, leading to a single, everlasting, life.
This story is portraying a 'reincarnation loop.' We can fill in more details. Like the bucket, the soul survives many such cycles. The soul goes back to the womb repeatedly. The daily nature of this simple story means days are also symbolic of lifetimes. Also, the well in which this happens is the womb of a new mother. You go to the well to be reincarnated.
Now, think about what Joshua says to her. If you asked me for living water it would eventually well up in you to everlasting life. Joshua is offering the woman an eventual break in the reincarnation loop. He will replace the regular water that dissipates from the bucket, and replace it with water that does not die.
Another detail, interesting to note, is the comment about the 5 husband's she has had, and the man she now has is not her husband. As a statement about her current life situation this is simple to understand. She even comments that Joshua must be a prophet for knowing this.
But, in the context of a reincarnation loop, this adds a twist. The reason she is looping in reincarnation is at least because of relationships with past-life husbands. And, importantly, this life is just the same as previous.
The second case where reincarnation is being discussed is with Nicodemus, and an unnamed friend, who come to Joshua at night. Joshua rebukes their supposedly great learning and says because of failure in that learning they must be 'born again.' Nicodemus protests, how could he enter a womb again and be born?
The answer is simple, through normal reincarnation. Which the Judeans of the day have no concept of, which is why Christians do not either.
Because of the nature of this as a rebuke, Joshua is telling him that this is the best that can happen to him after he dies. He is not going to hell, but will not leave the loop either.
If we follow the story forward we find Nicodemus and his now named friend, Joseph of Arimathea, taking care of the body of Joshua after the crucifixion.
They have taken to heart that rebuke and are going to replace bad learning with dramatic acts of faith. Of course their hope is this breaks the reincarnation loop in their case. (It might, but is apparently left to the reader to decide.)
John The Baptist
Another place to find reincarnation is in John's summary of Joshua's purposes on earth.
Joshua gathers some into barns. This is leaving the reincarnation loop for good. The Apostles are examples, as well as Joshua's own ascension.
Joshua purifies his threshing. This is going around the reincarnation loop. Working on some soul issue that needs attention, that needs purifying. Husbands, in the case of the Woman at the Well.
Joshua burns up chaff with unquenchable fire. This is permanent loss of soul, never to return to life anywhere. People responsible for Joshua's crucifixion are examples that follow late in Luke.
'Resurrection' is a specialized term that means being given a new body but off earth. (Eden, which is perhaps inside a moon of Saturn.) It is also possible to 'walk off' earth and go to the same place. Enoch, Elijah and Moses are the 3 most famous walk offs.
This strongly drives the idea that human bodies are essentially the same everywhere, since walk-offs go there directly. Resurrected bodies, not part of the reincarnation loop, do not suffer sickness nor death.
The term 'reincarnation' thus deals with a generational cycle, and takes place back on earth. One inspired term for this is to be 'born again.'
The stories I've mentioned here are already in the Testimony. We're finding the reincarnation loop vs. resurrection is mentioned in many places and is a massively important inspired topic. The various editors of the Bible hated it. Paul was on trial because of it.
The editors hated reincarnation and they hated essentially real time resurrection. (The man on the cross who would be with Joshua 'today in paradise,' is a real-time resurrection story. Less than 24 hours away and that man would be in Eden.)
We are working on cleaning up stories in the Testimony so these various routes off earth are more easily followed. To 'sleep' with fathers means reincarnation. To be 'gathered' is to be harvested off earth itself. Near Jacob's death he says he will sleep with this fathers, but after his prophetic words, he is said to be gathered. The deciding factor was not seen until the very end of his life.
Another story on this idea is the idea of being a guest at a banquet. Sit low at the banquet because you don't know what will happen, sit low, ie expect reincarnation, and let the host move you higher, to resurrection or to a walk-off, as the host may choose.
The story line from David to Josiah might well include a view to readers of 4 reincarnation cycles so we can see how this works across generations. David charges Solomon to preserve the Testimony. The same soul may cycle 3 more times. It always wants what is best for the Temple. That same soul eventually finds the Testimony hidden in the Temple. It is then gathered at Josiah's death.
What all this means is that properly understood, Joshua's 'salvation' is release from an earth-bound reincarnation loop. It appears gated on 2 things, development of personal character and development of a relationship with Joshua himself.
Character development appears measured by walking in the Commandments. Stay out of Egypt, honor parents, don't kill and so on. The relationship side appears measured by the presence of the Holy Spirit, at least enough to give prophetic words, as Jacob did near his own death.
We don't believe it is possible to get out of the loop in regular Christianity. At best you can be 'born again' just like Nicodemus. Christian theology is calling out where it fits inside the bigger system. It does not explain personal character development nor does Christianity properly explain Joshua's own approachable character.
This fault of Christianity is gated by the book, itself the result of historical editors.