Long answer. There are several scriptures which address the issue of being “born again in the flesh.” King David had a baby son who died after being ill. David tells us this: 2 Samuel 12:22 “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
David said he will die and go to his son, but the son will not return. If you have lost a baby, how nice to know s/he is in heaven. This would include babies that have been aborted.
Another passage is often brought up to support notions of reincarnation. John the Baptist was selected before he was born to work as Elijah did. Luke 1:16 He (John) will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” This is NOT the old Elijah in a new body. In fact Elijah shows up later in front of Jesus and the apostles, looking like himself. Matt 17:4 Peter said to Jesus ….. if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Clearly they knew exactly who Elijah was, not a combo of John and Elijah and any 3rd person either.
Finally, the concept of reincarnation makes the “person” into a bi-polar or worse, multi-personality. If you lived as Hazel, Mary, and Joanne, what are you going to be – 3 personalities? Really?!
The bottom line is that Jesus died for your sins, here and now, not in a future life. He can’t do both. And when you die, once for all, you face the judgment. Hebrews 9:27 It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment
You will need Jesus’ sacrifice then, not at some future time. We know this teaching is false because it reduces the person and work of Christ to nothing.
Meanwhile God says the following:
2 Peter 3:10-12 10But the day of the LORD will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.
So being rational human beings, why are we trying to change what will happen anyway? Will we waste time and money on reversing the future?
Why not work towards making our lives better in the presence of great temperatures. One effective thing to do in hot cities especially is the planting of flat roof gardens. Of course they must be maintained just as you would any piece of property, but where they are now growing, air conditioning costs are fewer, and that also cuts down on the use of fossil fuels. And it looks wonderful, employees have a place to hang out when they have a break, and flowers encourage the stressed bee populations.
You can think of your own solutions.
These three terms begin with the prefix “re” which tells us that what we are talking about happened in the past. “Re” goes back – remember, things of the past; regret, what has happened; restore, what was once in good condition, revisit, and so on. In fact you could invent your own word by adding re. “Re” calls up our past, our history.
The prefix re
Animals do not have a history; they keep no records of their ancestry. They remember bad behavior, locations, and events with people but the notion that their baby cat is a child ends when the cat is adult. He or she just becomes another adult cat.
Memory reaches to God
Memory for human beings helps them to make contact with God. If we were not able to contemplate the past we would not also be able to consider our future. Animals avoid danger because they have a will to live, as do we all. The tiny baby facing a knife in the womb fights back! But humans know that death is permanent and that the life thereafter is up for grabs. Animals don’t know this and they don’t need to.
There are levels of dealing with the past. To regret may be a simple oversight. I regret not closing that window; the rain has ruined those books on the window sill. If regret is allowed to eat away at your personality, it can become an obsession.
A woman with a unicornuate womb wrote to me in a deep depression. This malformation means she may not be able to have a baby. And if this depression increases she is at risk of suicide. So regret can lead to serious problems if you do not work on controlling your mind, and seeking a plan to meet your life head-on.
Remorse involves deeds, in fact sins, you have committed which eat away in guilt. Sometimes remorse leads to suicide as well, if you let what you did, or what someone else did to you to take over your personality. Many people can run to God for help but in fact it is only remorse. They are sorry they did something but more often, more sorry they were caught or unable to have their own will in their situation.
Mind control is your responsibility
Only repentance leads to God. The word repent means literally “to change your mind; “meta” Greek for change, and “nous” Greek for “mind.” You need to think differently about your situation. For atheists it could encourage them not to cut God out of their lives. All of us face death. There is no escape. Even the man that Jesus raised from the dead, Lazarus, eventually died a second time.
And what happens after death is determined by what happens in life. No one faces death without realizing that s/he has made some very bad mistakes, both deliberate and accidental. And all cultures believe in life after death.
Ministers may even be fooled into thinking the new believer has truly repented when he’s only become sick with remorse. There is a test for that; it’s called the “fruits of repentance.” A changed attitude will lead to changed behavior.
Fruits of Repentance
Fruits are things that show up after a growing season. Berries take only one season to bear fruit; apples require at least three years before the first crop. The wise minister waits to see those fruits before he accepts the new life of the believer.
We often hear of Christians who “lose their salvation.” More often than not their commitment was weak and they had not really turned their life over to God. We must always be quick to forgive but expect the Christian life to grow slowly.
Many of these posts are responses to questions, so I invite them here. Immaculateassumptions@gmail.com.
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That statement seems obvious enough but it is the firm position of many. An atheist, a woman on an internet Q and A site, informed me that she was much happier now that she was an atheist. She said her guilt over her sexual activities was now gone since there was no guilt from church doctrine bearing down on her and she was enjoying her sexual freedom, She believed reality had changed because she changed her mind, when in fact, only her behavior has changed.
If we apply this principle to ordinary life – the one that says you can change reality by changing your opinion – we find ourselves in the absurd.
For example, let’s say I believe that it is not raining outside. It actually is raining, but never mind, I believe otherwise. I leave my house with no raincoat or umbrella, and I get soaked but still, my opinion is that it is not raining. We call such people psycho and for good reason.
It must be obvious that reality is not what we say, want or think. Reality has an immediacy which we cannot get around. If I die in the rain, it is still raining even though I am not there to deny it.
What is the problem here? That people can say that because they believe in no God they can therefore change reality?
The problem is the assumption that there are no absolutes, something taught by relativists and materialists. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The universe is a macrocosm of absolutes. Take for example the space ship program, Voyagers One and Two.
In August 2012, Voyager 1 made the historic entry into interstellar space, the region between stars, filled with material ejected by the death of nearby stars millions of years ago. Voyager 2 launched on August 20, 1977, from Cape Canaveral, Florida aboard a Titan-Centaur rocket.
Provided there are no major systems malfunctions and no collisions with other space bodies, Voyager 2 is expected to continue transmitting data back to Earth until at least 2025 – over 48 years after its launch and well after it exits the solar system and enters interstellar space.
If there were no absolutes scientists could not have possibly programmed these space probes to do anything but wander aimlessly around the sky. As it is, as long as they are transmitting data we can know they have done exactly to the millimeter what they were told to do.
The same rules apply to our tiny universe down here on earth. There are absolutes in science (the sun rises promptly every day), but also to human beings. And since there is a God His absolutes apply to us all whether we believe it or not.
This woman believe she is not rid of her guilt. Guilt is not a problem; guilt is the emotional equivalent to pain – it tells us there is something wrong on the inside. We immediately handle our pain. My daughter had a terrible headache and drove herself to the hospital. Her brain tumor was so serious they moved her to another hospital by ambulance. Her pain told her something was wrong in her head.
Guilt is the same pain which tells us to seek change in our lives – there is a problem in our souls. Guilt is His blessing to us to inform us that we are in trouble. No individual opinion of one person out of 7 billion can change that no matter how hard one might try.
Without fail every year there are complaints about the commercialization of Christmas and the emphasis on spending money – say for that $45,000 Lexus, while many families have nothing extra for children or adults. But after seven long years of want and unemployment across the land Christmas 2017, with added cash and hope, shoppers were not complaining about anything more than the traffic – and the prices. (A critic wrote to me to say there was no thing as a Lexus as cheap as $45,000. I stand corrected.)
There is a hidden benefit to Christmas no matter how garish.
But that is the surface. There is a hidden benefit to Christmas which is no doubt why God doesn’t seem to mind the glitz and over consumption of it all. And that is because aside from Christmas, how would so many people, especially foreigners in distant isolated lands, without American television or in most homes the Internet as well, know about Christianity?
No other religion has such a worldwide display. There is no birthday bash for Mohammed. Judaism has an interesting history with celebrations in September and October, but there is no glamour in it. Christianity alone takes a day off every year to recognize the birthday of someone very few people on this planet know anything about. The atheists join in the fun as well.
The Bible is forbidden & Christians persecuted in many areas.
Large swathes of the planet forbid the Bible or Christianity of any kind, some to the point of death or imprisonment. There are no religious bookstores or friendly church suppers where the curious can learn anything new. Even at the birth of Jesus the political leader, Herod, was so terrified of this infant that he slaughtered 6,000 baby boys in Bethlehem. Information about Jesus causes a reaction.
Factory workers in China wonder as they make Christmas items, “Who are these wise men? This ornament cost 400 kuai! That is more than my daily pay!” They have no internet, and religious liberty is more talk than do. Possibly someone at the work table may know what a Christian is. The Chinese prize education and are full of questions.
The American Christmas raises questions.
Here is a chance for the lone Christian in that factory to tell the story to one’s fellows. Workers in Taiwan and Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines are also making trees, garlands, jewel studded ornaments, paper mache decor, blinking lights, some of them very expensive.
Everything we have at Christmas has a spiritual dimension. The tree is both the one that Jesus was crucified on, as well as representing the tree of life. The other tree, The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, was the tree coveted by the First Pair. Jesus is now that green tree of new life to replace the one we mistakenly chose previously. We learned about evil, but now we also have access to all the knowledge of good – the good God of salvation – as well.
The gifts represent those of the wise men; and those men were foreigners, just like so many worldwide foreign nations, also able to receive the works of God. Jesus also promised us gifts on his death – wisdom and knowledge, tongues and interpretation, prophecy and other anointings. God didn’t just give us a son, but also a provider, leader, the King of Kings. Our trinkets pale in comparison.
There is the music business too which reflects the praising angels on high. I wonder how many unbelievers eventually in their lifetimes have a chance to think about the words they sang in a choir somewhere, or heard in the mall. To sing The Messiah is to repeat the words of Isaiah about the coming ruler. Do they contemplate the revelation in the lyrics?
Dollar for dollar this Christmas shows people care.
What does a person in impoverished Yemen for example, think of the richest nation in the world taking a day off in December to spend money like crazy, eat a fabulous meal, and exchange costly gifts all because of some tiny baby born in a barn in the Middle East 2,000 years ago?
It really makes no sense. But God sees the influence of this outward show and can use it to raise questions in the minds of men and women worldwide. They may ask, as so many already have, “What child is this?”