Animal reincarnation - Is it possible?
The belief in reincarnation dates back as far as the ancient Egyptians. The concept can also be found in the philosophies of ancient Greek, the Buddhist and Hindu religions, Jainism, and Taoism. Belief in reincarnation requires as a prerequisite the belief in an immortal soul, for it is the soul that returns again and again to life on earth in one form or another. The form the reincarnated soul inhabits is based on the soul's karma, a philosophy that can be summed up by the saying "you reap what you sow." In other words, people that have led a good life will reincarnate into a better form than ones who have led an evil life. This can include reincarnation as an animal, or animal reincarnation.
There are various belief systems about animal reincarnation or transmigration as it is sometimes called. Over 500 million people of the Hindu religion believe that one can be reincarnated as either a human or an animal. However, their doctrine is unclear as to whether this is the result of karma or the natural progression of the soul. One particular doctrine believes that the soul or jiva begins life in an extremely simple form inhabiting a concurrently very simple body. As the jiva grows and reincarnates from one life to the next the body it becomes increasingly complex, and when the soul has finally grown into a human body the concept of karma comes into play.
Christians also believe in an immortal soul. However, they believe that the soul is only born once into a human body and the concept of animal reincarnation is not part of their belief system. There are several biblical verses to back up their beliefs. In Genesis 1:28 it says, "God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." However, it says in Mark 9:35 it says, "Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, 'If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.'"
In these two verses, we have two commands. The first is to have dominion over the animal kingdom and the second is to be a servant to all. These two commands would be contradictory if the concept of animal reincarnation were true for how could one have both control over another soul and still be its servant. It is simply not possible.
Furthermore, in Hebrews 9:27 it states, "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment." In this verse we see that humans die only once and that judgment follows that death. There is no continual cycle of death and rebirth with its attendant opportunity to live a better life and thus improve one's karma, and thus the need for a Savior, Jesus Christ. With Jesus Christ as a Savior, removing the deleterious consequences of sin, the concept of animal reincarnation becomes a moot point.
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