"Neither this man nor his parents sinned ..." (John 9:1-3)

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?""Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in him." (John 9:1-3) 

Why was Jesus asked this question?

This is a curious question, made by Jesus' disciples. What made them ask such a question?

Since the man was blind from birth, the disciples are assuming that the man lived previous to his current lifetime. How do we know that? Because how else could the man have sinned prior to his becoming blind at birth?

This confirms that Jesus taught that each of us is spiritual, not the physical body. And that the spirit-person - each of us - can transmigrate from one body to the next in successive lifetimes.

How do we know this? First, because it was Jesus' disciples (his closest followers) who asked the question, and second, because Jesus' response did not condemn the question. If the disciples were asking something that was absurd to Jesus, he would have said so.

But he didn't think the question was absurd. He said that "Neither this man nor his parents sinned."

Did Jesus teach reincarnation?

This statement by Jesus does indicate that he was teaching his disciples that the soul - the spirit-person - can live multiple physical lifetimes. This is called transmigration of the soul, or more commonly, reincarnation.

Since Jesus said that the blindness was not caused by the man's previous sins, Jesus is admitting that a person's behavior in a previous lifetime could and often does produce effects in the next lifetime. 

This confirms that Jesus did teach reincarnation. But this isn't the only verses confirming this. Jesus also taught that John the Baptist had lived previously in another body:
The disciples asked him, "Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?" Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist. (Matthew 17:10-13)

Did Jesus clarify free will, consequence, and predestination?

Jesus said the reason for this particular man's being blind at birth was to support his mission. That means there was a greater purpose for the man being blind at birth.

Jesus' statement indicates that not only can a person suffer the consequences of a previous lifetime. But they can also be born into a body as part of a particular purpose.

This indicates the existence of free will, consequence and predestination all at the same time.

It means that the man could have sinned in his past life and suffered the consequences. But it also means the man could have chosen to do God's will by coming into a body that would be healed by Jesus to show others God's potency.

While many have argued that predestination and free will are incompatible, God allows each of us to freely choose to do His will if we want to. Should we commit to doing His will, predestination is the result of allowing God's will to be done in our lives.

Was reincarnation taught in Judaism and Early Christianity?

The reality that a person's activities in this lifetime can affect our situation in a next lifetime is confirmed elsewhere. These include the teachings of Jesus' disciples, early Church Fathers, Judaism, the Essenes, Gnosticism and others, which support that Jesus taught the transmigration to his disciples and students.
 
There is also clear evidence that the Jewish teachings assumed transmigration at that time. There is also evidence that the Pharisees also embraced reincarnation. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote the Pharisees said that soul could be "removed into other bodies" and "have power to revive and live again."

Even today, several Orthodox Jewish sects teach transmigration of the soul. The Kaballah teaches reincarnation, referred to as Gilgul neshamot (Gilgul means "wheel" and Neshamot means "souls" - meaning that souls cycle through different physical lifetimes). The Zohar contains extended discussions on reincarnation. Even today, if someone not ethnically Jewish converts to Judaism, Orthodox Judaism teaches that this soul had a Jewish body in the prior lifetime. To date, Hasidic Jews accept the transmigration of the soul.

In terms of early Christianity, there is strong evidence that Clement of Alexandria (150-210 A.D.) also held to this teaching of reincarnation. In addition, we find early Christian discussions of transmigration teachings from the discoveries of the Nag Hammadi and Dead Sea Scrolls - the Gnostic texts hidden from the destruction of the Romans during their virtual elimination of early scriptures.

Origen Adamantius (185-254 A.D.) a devout Christian scholar, teacher and priest, was a close associate of the Bishop of Alexandria Clement (who supported Origen's religious seminary). Origen's flourishing seminary was one of the largest in the Christian world at that time - during the third century.

Origen assumed the teaching mission of his father, Saint Leonides - an early follower of Jesus martyred at the hands of the Romans.

Origin was considered one of the fathers of the early Christian church. Origen taught that the self is spirit in essence, and transcendental to the body. Origen taught that each of us initially fell from God’s grace and took on a series of physical bodies. 

He taught that once within the physical plane, the obstinate spiritual self becomes attached to the trappings of the world, and would take on one body after another within different species, including the lower species. This journey through the lower species, Origen taught, was equivalent to going to hell.

Once rising to the human form, Origen taught, we have the rare opportunity to return to God — should we use this human form wisely.

His writings illustrated that not only did he believe in the “pre-existence of souls” but gauging by his mass acceptance among early Christian society, many other Christian scholars of that time agreed with this teaching. Where did this come from if not the teachings of Jesus?

Origen also compiled the famous Hexapla, which was a translation of six versions of the Old Testament, compared side by side in order to elucidate the core meanings from the various versions. It is thought that the LXX and Septuagint evolved from the passages of Origen’s work, which still makes up the backbone of many Old Testament translations used by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Did all major early religions teach reincarnation?

Prior to 1,800 years ago, transmigration of the self was actually a fundamental teaching among most of the ancient religions and philosophies. This includes not only Judaism and early Christianity, but also the Buddhist and Vedic philosophies, the Egyptians, Mayans, American Indians, Aboriginals, many Romans and Greeks (including Pythagoras, Plato and Socrates).

The ancient traditions of gnosis, hermeticism and Hellenism, which descended through the Greek texts from antiquity inclusive of ancient Egyptian teachings, also taught transmigration. Hermes Trismegistus, revered amongst Christian, Islam and Jewish teachers, stated:
“O son, how many bodies have we to pass through; how many bands of demons; through how many series of repetitions and cycles of the stars; before we hasten to the One alone?”

Why did the Roman Catholic Church reject reincarnation?

Then came the smackdown of this philosophy by the Roman Christian hierarchy, who felt that the teaching threatened their power:
“If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, Eutyches and Origen, as well as their impious writings, as also all other heretics already condemned and anathematized by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and by the aforesaid four Holy Synods and if anyone does not equally anathematize all those who have held and hold or who in their impiety persist in holding to the end the same opinion as those heretics just mentioned: let him be anathema.”(5th Ecumenical Council: Constantinople II, 553)
We notice here that other great Christian teachers were also banished ("anathema") together with Origen. These include Nestorius, who was the Archbishop of Constantinople in the fifth century; and Apollinaris, who was either Apollinaris Claudius, Bishop of Phrygia or Apollinaris of Laodicea, the Bishop of Laodicea (Syria).

Why did the Roman Christian hierarchy condemn these ancient teachings of early Christian teachers? Because they thought knowing we could have a second chance after this lifetime to continue our evolution towards our relationship with God threatened the absolute authority (and tithing income) of the Roman Catholic Church - and the authority of the Roman government.

Did they remove all traces of reincarnation from the Bible?

The collection of texts compiled and edited for the first Latin Bible by Eusebius was done by order of the Roman Emperor Constantine.

Though efforts were taken to eliminate this teaching from the Bible during this process, we still find clear telltales of this teaching in the Bible.

The basis of transmigration of the soul lies in the fact that we are not these physical bodies. We are made of spirit - not matter:
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him." (Luke 12:4-5)

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear." (Luke 12:22)

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41)

"Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." (John 3:6)

"The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life." (John 6:63)
“Watch and pray that you don’t continue to exist within the flesh. But rather, that you rise from the bondage of this bitter life." (Book of Thomas the Contender 72)
"If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body." (1 Cor 15:44)
The "spiritual body" is the self, who can leave the physical body:
"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." (2 Cor 5:1-8)
"If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!" I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body."(Phil 1:22-23)
These and others confirm the teachings of Jesus and his followers regarding our identity were being passed on in early Christianity.

Is resurrection the transmigration of the soul?

We find that Jesus also confirms two types of resurrection (Matt. 22:30-31), when Jesus comments on the "resurrection of the dead" and "of the living." As Jesus indicates in Matt. 22:30, resurrection "of the living" occurs when the soul (the spiritual self) rises from the physical body and returns to the spiritual world (heaven).

The word "resurrection" is translated from the Greek word ἀνάστασις (anastasis). This word means to 'rise' or 'rise from the dead.' So what is rising? We are talking about the spiritual self who is rising up from a dead physical body at the time of death.

So where will the "wicked" go upon their rising from the dead? Do they get thrown into a firey cave and chained and beaten under the surface of the earth as has been taught by ecclesiastical sectarian teachers? Have we found any of these firey caves as we've dug miles deep into the surface of the earth over the past century? No. Where do the "wicked" go, then?

The "wicked" spiritual self transmigrates into another physical body after death. Since the spiritual body mentioned by Peter is "eternal," we know the self lives on after the body dies. From Jesus' disciples we also know that a person's sins can affect the type of body they take on in the next life. This new body will reflect the activities and consciousness produced during the previous lifetime, and may well be the body of an animal, fish, insect or plant.

Therefore, the only conclusion we can draw from scripture is that the "wicked" (self-centered) spirit-person assumes another physical body after the death of the current one, and the spirit-person who has developed their loving relationship with God will rise and return to the spiritual world.

This also answers the question that many agnostics ask about why there is suffering in the world. They ask: If God is good, why is there so much suffering in the world? Why are babies born into starvation? Why are some babies born healthy, while others are retarded or otherwise sick? Is God not fair?

This question is not adequately answered by ecclesiastical sectarian teachers, because they do not have insight into the nature or purpose of physical suffering. If we follow their teachings, there is no logical reason why one person will suffer while another does not.

Is God unfair?

A person's physical body is subjected to suffering as a reaction to the suffering we cause others - in this body and those previous to it. The physical world is a place of consequence. We suffer the same consequences that we caused others in our previous lives. If we hurt others, our body will become hurt. If we help others' bodies, our body will be helped. It is the perfect learning system, as even social scientists have determined about better parenting: Something called "consequence learning."

We should also understand that the suffering that the temporary physical body is exposed to does not damage the spiritual self. We might compare this to a person playing a video game. Their video game icon might get shot or karate-chopped, but the person playing the game is safely sitting in their chair operating the computer controls.

In the same way, while within a temporary physical body, through God's design, we temporarily misidentify ourselves with these temporary physical bodies. This misidentification forces us to become involved in the physical body, allowing us to learn the lessons we need to learn.

This is why we are here in the temporary physical world: To learn. We are here to learn that we will never be happy unless we return to our loving relationship with the Supreme Being. We will not be fulfilled until we are re-situated in our eternal position as God's loving servant. We will not be fulfilled until we follow Jesus' primary instruction:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)

*Here is the translation of these verses according to the Lost Gospels of Jesus:

And as he was passing by, he saw a man who was born blind. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that his body was born blind?” Jesus replied, “It was neither that this man sinned nor his parents; but so that the service of God might be manifested with him." (John 9:1-3)