Concepts and Arguments for the Soul
Teachings of Transmigration
During the eras before Christ and the founding of our faith, transmigration of the self was a standard teaching among most of the ancient religions and philosophies. This of course included the Vedic and Buddhist philosophies. But it also included the Egyptians, Mayans, American Indians, Aboriginals and many others. All of the early pagan religions, especially the most dominant, understood transmigration of the self (soul) as a basic tenet of their philosophy. The Greeks, Romans, and Northern Europeans also assumed this philosophy—as did the Hebrew religion prior to the period of King Constantine and successors—who oversaw the politically-driven Synods of Nicea of the fourth century on. These specifically banned the teachings of transmigration of the self (soul) as put forth by early fathers of the Christian church such as Origen of Alexandria.
Origen Adamantius (185-254 A.D.) was a devout Christian scholar and minister who was a close associate of the Bishop of Alexandria. Origen had a flourishing school in Alexandria during the third century. He was considered one of the fathers of the early Christian church for several centuries. Consistent with the conclusions in this book, Origen taught that the self was spirit in essence, and transcendental to the body. Origen taught that each of us initially fell from God’s grace by choice and took on a physical body. Once within the physical plane, the spiritual self then descends through the species, taking on one body after another, until again rising back to the human form of life. Here in the human form, Origen taught, we have the rare opportunity to return to God—should we use this human form wisely.
Should we make some progress but not enough, Origen taught, we may take on another human form until we progressed (evolved) to the level of returning to the spiritual world. However, if we got caught up in the chase for animalistic pleasures—eating, sex, and so on—we may once again fall into the animal forms to again transmigrate between countless physical forms until we have another chance in the human form. This journey through the lower species, Origen taught, was equivalent to going to hell. In Gnostic theology there is a substantial amount of evidence that Jesus also taught the transmigration of the self. Follow me here as an attempt to emulate the Gnostic teaching is presented:
The Gnostic books of the Essenes, a society that Jesus lived in, support this, and even some of the four gospels of the New Testament indicate this possibility. For example, we find in the New Testament (NIV) that Jesus’ disciples asked this question about a blind man: "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" (John 9:1) Let’s consider the question asked carefully. Why did Jesus’ disciples ask this question? First we should consider that multiple disciples asked this question and not just one ‘rogue’ disciple. This means that it was a question that arose from an understanding between Jesus and his disciples from Jesus’ teachings. In other words, it was assumed that before the man was born, he had the ability to sin. In other to have the ability to sin, the man must have had a previous physical body. Why? Because as Jesus taught previously, sinning was an action brought upon by the flesh. In other words, the person must have had a prior physical body in order to have sinned before he was born. Note also that Jesus did not ridicule or criticize this question. He took it in stride. He did not say, “what a preposterous question.” What he said was: "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me.” (John 9:2) Because Jesus accepted that the man could have sinned, he admitted that the man must have lived prior to his being born into that body. While he is saying that the activities of his previous life did not cause his blindness, Jesus is acknowledging that they could have. Jesus in fact is saying that there was another purpose to the blindness other than as a consequence of his previous activities; —previous to being born blind.
We can add to this that Origen was a famous and devout person who dedicated his life to Jesus. In the end he became a martyr for his devotion to Jesus and God. Origen received the teachings of Jesus through his father, Leonides, a devoted Christian teacher who was also persecuted for his determined faith in God. There is good reason to believe that Origen’s teachings were directly in line with one of Jesus’ disciples. Origen was one of the most prolific Christian writers and well known Christian teachers of that era, with possibly thousands of students at his Catechetical School of Alexandria, where Clement of Alexandria had also instructed. Origen’s teachings were also supported by the bishops Alexander of Jerusalem and Theoctistus of Caesarea of that time, and he had a close personal relationship with Demetrius, the Bishop of Alexandria. Origen was a devoted Christian who gave personal care for thousands of imprisoned Christians. He was a prolific writer, and his commentaries and translations of scriptures were well respected throughout the region. He is said to have produced some 6,000 writings during his lifetime. In one, Origen wrote:
“Or is it not more in conformity with reason, that every
soul, for certain mysterious reasons is introduced into
a body, and introduced according to its deserts and
former actions? It is probable, therefore, that this soul
also, which conferred more benefit by its former
residence in the flesh than that of many men (to avoid
prejudice, I do not say "all"), stood in need of a body
not only superior to others, but invested with all
excellent qualities.” 
Certainly the dedication and passion Origen had for serving God and Jesus, and his acceptance by the early church indicates that he wouldn’t have simply made up the philosophy of the transmigration of the self without a strong foundation of scripture. Origen in fact was highly committed to scripture as having ultimate authority, and all of his writings quoted scriptural passages. These facts all add up to one certain notion: That the transmigration of the soul was embraced by many in the early Christian church in the second century after Jesus’ disappearance. So the Gnostic asks “Are we to deny the possibility that it was also part of Jesus’ teachings as well?”
Everything changed in the fourth century. In 325 A.D. and periodically thereafter, Constantine and his successors organized the Hebrew/Christian church and dictated its teachings through the legislation of the Synods of Nicea. Here bishops of different regions were brought together into a politically oriented committee to produce a unilateral interpretation of the Jewish faith and Christianity. These and other governmental decrees resulted in massive restrictions on what could be taught within the Hebrew and Christian world. These culminated in an insidious persecution of anyone involved in teaching the transmigration of the self— which has continued (though less violently) through modern times. Evidence of this is found in the Fifth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, as it pushed forth this official anathema (meaning “to banish”) against Origen and similar teachers:
“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.” 
We notice here that other great teachers are also being banished 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). 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 sects, is said to have 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?”
We also find this passage, translated from ancient sermons and fragments of later Trismegistic literature:
“What then is the value nowadays of that ancient
doctrine mentioned by Plato, about the reciprocal
migration of souls; how they remove hence and go
thither, and then return higher and pass through life.
And then again depart from this life, made quick again
from the dead? Some will have it that this is a doctrine of
Pythagoras, while Albinus will have it to be a divine
pronouncement, perhaps of Egyptian Hermes.”
There is also evidence that the teaching was accepted by the original teachings of the Koran:
“How can ye reject the faith in Allah? Seeing that you
were without life, and He gave you life; then will He
cause you to die, and will again bring you to life; and
again to Him will you return.”
Today, transmigration of the self is most often considered an Eastern religious philosophy, along the lines of the Buddhist or Hindu faiths. These teach almost an identical description of transmigration as that taught by Origen and Hermes. Here the self is also described as a transcendental spiritual entity transmigrating from one body to the next. As the self evolves, it takes on progressively higher forms until the human form is achieved. In the human form, according to the most ancient Vedic texts, the self has an opportunity to return home to God and the transcendental world. Should the self be caught in the ‘wheel’ of karma, it may be dragged once again down into the lower forms of life. Should the self become reconnected with God by way of devotional service, the self may transcend the physical body. Should the self make some progress but not reach perfection, it may take on another human form. Here again, there is the risk that the attachment to the physical world may return the self to taking on bodies of lower forms of life. These include animals, fish, insects and even plants, according to the Vedas—the world’s oldest theistic writings.
In conclusion, it is no wonder the gospel writers included in their work admonitions and warnings against “other gospels”, false teachers, anti-Christ theology and actions, as well as splinter groups that shared many of the true biblical beliefs but introduced pagan theology as equal to the teachings of Christ and the established biblical doctrines. It is surprising that so many of the early writers entertained such fantastic and corrupting thoughts and teachings. It should be recognized that this menagerie of falsehoods and deluded doctrines still permeates the cultures of today as well as the very churches many hold to and follow without biblical foundations. We were warned that the deceptions would be so great that they could almost fool the very elect. It is no wonder that millions of words have been written through the centuries about this very subject and many others. It is so very evident that deception and false teachings survive and flourish despite great efforts to combat them. The danger, I fear, is that the fight of today is so weak because many do not know the truth nor care to discover it themselves. Thank God for His Word that we may learn the truth and the testimony of Jesus Christ that our salvation is laid before us. It truly is a testament of good news, of truth, and of meat necessary for the spiritual needs of our spirit.
 There was much disagreement and speculation within the Jewish faith with regards to the soul, death, and especially the survival of the soul. Many maintained that the breath of life was nothing more than just that – breath. Still others envisioned an entity that survives when separated from the physical body. This was indeed a large portion of which pagan belief systems were based i.e. that spirits existed and that man had himself a spirit, one that could roam the earth. The Sadducees, as we are told, did not believe in angels or resurrection. They were just one perspective group amid many others undefined or identified. Pagan belief systems survived among the Jews up to and including the time of Jesus and the gospel era. Idol worship, sorcery, and other practices that the Hebrews borrowed from other cultures were a big part of the need for a 40 year sabbatical in the desert after being removed from Egypt. There were also vestiges of the Babylonian, Assyrian, and other pagan beliefs carried by and through the Hebrews throughout their history. In fact, much of the pagan views of this nature still exist, in several forms and names, today.
 Here it is merely a imaginative attempt to view this belief through the minds of Gnostic teaching and written propositions as understood by myself after studying and reading many writings – not just Gnostic but also those of the Canaanites and other pagan religions.
 This is a summary of some of the teachings of the Gnostics as it pertains to this topic. This does not represent the entirety of Gnostic thought and or teachings. Much of this proposed ideology is taken from Gnostic texts and recorded sayings from the earliest Christian era as delineated by men such as Oringen. In most cases it is possible the writer is playing devil’s advocate in order to express current false teachings and misconceptions. At other times it appears these are the thoughts of the Gnostic influence on the writer(s). In either case, the theology is well presented in this hypothetical interpretation of how Gnostic views and insights about the example of the blind man and the actions Jesus prevailed in that era of heresy and false teachings.
 Against Celsus, I.32
 5th Ecumenical Council: Constantinople II, 553
 Al-Baqara 2:28