We never can be Christian and fully embrace the principles involved in reincarnation. The scripture is clear that if "we speak not according to this word there is no light (true revelation) in us." Having said that many things not only in the scripture but in life are difficult to be understood. For example, when John the Baptist was asked if he was Elijah returned, he strongly denied that, then Jesus turned this around and said, "If you can receive it, John is Elijah." Most theologians concur that John had no awareness of it, but he had come in the spirit or similitude of Elijah. They never imply that John was a reincarnation.
I was stopped just a few days ago by a woman in a pick-up truck. She called me by another name and asked me if I was that person. I assured her I wasn't and she replied, "Oh my goodness, now that I hear your voice I know you are him." But I wasn't and I'm not. I have met quite a string of people throughout my life time who have said that a certain butterfly hung around them for some period of time letting them know that they were a deceased loved one informing them that all was well. And finally I have met many people who claim they were Henry the VIII, a peasant girl in Romania or David the Shepard boy in a past life. Some even insist they knew too many details of that prior life for this memory to be an illusion.
I'd like to take a moment to sort some of this out. I'll begin by reassuring us that "God is love." People are known as being "wise souls" or "wretched souls" or a thousand other kinds of "souls," Animals can have a relationship with us that almost persuades us they are lacking any personality or are nearly human and everything in between. It is possible to have a soul bond or even a spiritual bond with some animals that goes beyond what we may have with most human beings. By this I am not implying that we can know everything about an animal's soul when we do not even know everything about ourselves and our own soul (mind, emotion and will).
It is not unlike God to permit or even direct a butterfly to take away some of the grief over the loss of a loved one or to supply us with a new animal companion that is in the mold of a previous pet. He knows what we like and what resonates with us as individuals. He knows what we admire, honor and appreciate. He knows what a wonderful thing it is for other forms of life such as a cat, dog or even an iguana and human beings when we have a loving, meaningful relationship. I am speaking of a relationship of soul and spirit that goes far beyond merely the wag of a tail and placing of a food dish.
I do believe and have experienced a oneness in the soul and in the spirit with a number of animals including "Fast Vinnie" my cat. He always knows exactly when my old heart begins to fail to beat properly, jumps onto my chest and places his heart directly above mine. The result is always the same: my heart almost immediately begins its regular rhythm again. He and I are both very affectionate and communicate in many ways. I am not elevating Vinnie to the level of humans or elevating myself to the level of a cat, but in some way I delight in saying I and my Vinnie are one. I also say with my elder brother Jesus, I and my Father are one. The one does not exclude the other, in fact Ephesians 1:10 tells us that God will, "In the dispensation of the fullness of times gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in Him."
Jesus says in John 14:20, "In that day you shall know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you." Even now some of this is at work in our lives. Please read Ephesians 4:25, "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another." This means we are parts of one another. We are interconnected. In Hebrews 7:9 we read a very interesting scripture, difficult to understand if you are not a bible student but it says, "And as I may so say, Levi also, who receives tithes, payed tithes in Abraham." Let me try to explain this. Levi was one of the priests in the old testament. Being a priest he received tithes but this scripture reveals that generations before he received tithes or was born, he paid tithes when he existed in his ancestor Abraham! So here we see there is at least the possibility that we did things in our ancestors or maybe even neighbors before we were ever born. I believe this says something about spirit and also about genetics and pre-existence. I wrote a poem once called, "I was there in Seattle" about my being present in Chief Seattle when he warned the great white father George Washington about how the white man would not be the environmental stewards God had called all humanity to be. When I wrote the poem I felt like I was there inside him when he spoke. Yet I know that I came to earth as David Prather, predestined to be called by God out of my sin and chaos to become part of the salt of the earth and part of the light of the world. I am confident I could not have endured the beginning of this adventure more than once! I also have some beloved pets whom I know are bounding around in eternity waiting for me to rejoin them on an everlasting romp.
Not only do we have this oneness with all the previous generations and all of the living but particularly to those who have been born again. In this heavenly realm we are both accountable and responsible in our individualization but are also a functioning and crucially placed heart of the Unity, of the Oneness and of the Whole. Ephesians 5:30 takes this to a higher level when it says, "For we are members of Christ's body, of His flesh and of His bones."
In this world of church splits, crazy doctrines and loveless dogma it is hard for some of us to comprehend such oneness. Nevertheless Sacred Scripture makes it clear there is only one true church, His one body and it has to be at this point in history a mystical union or body meaning that it is not this group or that group but all of those who are in the process of being conformed to the image of God's dear son being transformed through His word, His people and His Holy Spirit.
In the near future through the events happening on the earth and the intent and purpose of God there will be one body functioning together. (Zephaniah 3:8-9) These things are already in the mind of God and in his seeing the end from the beginning a reality, we just haven't had our eyes opened and our consciousness awakened to some things which God has not revealed to us yet but He that began a good work in us will complete it.
Because we are members and parts of the one body of Christ (even though some of us feel isolated or alienated because one of us is part of the nose and another part of the toes), this does not mean we are not one body.
Because we are members of one another, It is not difficult to understand how we might have some awareness of what it feels like to be an only child even though we come from a large sibling group or to imagine the smells of home baked bread being drawn from the outdoor oven even though we've always gone to the local health food store to buy our bread. Furthermore, because we are all members of one another it is not in my opinion beyond the limitations of our senses to remember what life and possibly events happened to Robin Hood or Chief Seattle and such memories could conceivably give us the illusion that we were them and we were there. This does not mean, however, that there is actually reincarnation. Christ has certainly made it a possibility and a reality for us to become fully transformed in one lifetime. Romans 9:28 promises us, " God will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness; because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth." For someone who is visually impaired it's taken me a long time to get this e-mail written and I haven't read every response, but to the gentleman who began this great discussion I hope that for the duration of your spiritual journey on this planet that your animal friend whom you thought might be reincarnated turns out to be more than you could hope for or expect. And I am sure he hopes the same thing of you.