PAST LIVES THERAPY: A CHALLENGE TO THE CHRISTIAN SOUL
Copyright © 1999 by Sarah Victoria Lewis
The idea of reincarnation is taking root and growing in this country.(1) One source of this idea is the practice of "past lives" therapy. This paper will consider whether or not the phenomena giving rise to the belief can be explained within the Christian tradition, specifically, can the traducian view of the origin of the soul provide an acceptable explanation.
It is not hard to dismiss the claims of parapsychologists who compile studies that "prove" re-incarnation. Convinced of the reality of re-incarnation, these researchers look for it, and it is no surprise that they find "evidence" of it.(2) More compelling evidence for "re-incarnation" is found in the case histories of psychotherapy clients whose "past lives" are discovered by accident in the course of therapy. When the traumas from the "past lives" are treated in the therapeutic process, the persons' current problems disappear. This suggests that there was a real influence from the past. The case history below provides an example of this.
The specific phenomena of "past lives" include: "Memories" of "past lives" in different locations and in different historical eras. There may also be patterns of behavior, fears, preferences that seem to bear little or no relation to present life experience. In addition, sometimes people exhibit a knowledge of facts, locations not learned in present life, or show ease of learning particular foreign languages, or skills. The feeling you have known someone before, or the experience of meeting a "soul mate," conclude the main phenomena associated past lives therapy.
The type of re-incarnation assumed by past lives therapists does not fit neatly into the types of re-incarnation taught by the great faith traditions or Greek philosophers. While it could be fascinating to explore the differences, it is beyond the scope of this paper. The kind of re-incarnation assumed by past lives therapy is rather sketchy about the origin of the soul, and even more vague about the end result. The central premise is that a human soul takes a body on earth in order to make "spiritual progress," to "learn lessons," and evolve into a more "spiritual" person--a kinder, more aware, more loving person. The final goal of this "spiritual evolution" is not clear; therapists' opinions vary.
The soul constitutes everything about the person except the body, and presumably will live forever. Bodies are expendable, like clothes. Some therapists believe that the soul rests between lifetimes and reviews how it did. Some therapists look for "karmic" effects, others simply look for traumas or behavior patterns from the past that are causing difficulties in this life. To sum up, the belief is that the soul, i.e., the person, re-incarnates in order to grow spiritually.
A Past Lives Case History
Brian Weiss, M.D., graduate of Yale, Chairman of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami, Florida writes of "Catherine," a woman in her twenties who was a lab technician at the hospital.(3) She was the middle child of a conservative Roman Catholic family, and had grown up in a small town in Massachusetts. She accepted basic Catholic doctrines and believed heaven, purgatory, or hell was where a person went after death. She was not interested in metaphysical or occult topics and did not believe in re-incarnation.
She was referred to Weiss by her lab supervisor because of her anxiety, nightmares, and panic attacks about drowning and choking. She was afraid of water, and could not swallow pills. She also feared airplanes, being locked in the dark, suffered from insomnia, and was terrified of dying. She refused anti-depressants because she could not take pills.
The method of treatment was standard: she and Dr. Weiss discussed her life and childhood to see if any events could account for her fears. Her father had abused alcohol. Her mother suffered severe depression, and had been given shock treatments. She had been pushed off a pier when a child, and she panicked because she was already afraid of water. No other traumas were found, and it should be noted that she was "normal" except about water, swimming, flying, the dark.
After 18 months of treatment but with no relief from her distress, hypnosis was introduced in the hope of uncovering forgotten traumas that caused the symptoms. After a number of sessions which entailed taking Catherine back to childhood events and which did uncover a very early water-related trauma, but did not relieve symptoms, she was given the hypnotic suggestion "go to the event that caused your symptoms." She spontaneously began to describe herself in a simple and ancient life possibly in the mid-East, perhaps 4000 years ago, which ended when she and her infant were caught in a flood. Her child was torn from her arms, and both drowned. Catherine was able to re-experience the emotions connected with this scenario, and after this, her symptoms began to diminish. She lost her fear of water, the anxiety and panic attacks ceased. After exploration of several other "memories from past lives" her symptoms cleared up completely and she began living without fear. She remained unconvinced of the validity of re-incarnation, but Dr. Weiss became a firm believer.
This case is typical. Time after time, when regular therapy has failed to bring relief, exploration of "past life" traumas results in considerable alleviation of the distressing symptoms. The events are not fantastic, but are the usual traumas people suffer in this life, and particularly traumas which result in death. The fact that tangible benefits result from treatment of the "past life" traumas is what I find compelling, and is what impels me to seek an explanation.
Some Objections Considered
The use of hypnosis may be objectionable to some. If the hypnosis had brought forth an early childhood memory involving a traumatic episode around water, and psychological work with that memory resulted in alleviation of symptoms, probably few would hesitate to accept the results as valid, and the treatment as a valid use of hypnosis. However, because of the "wild-card" factor here, a number of questions leap to mind. Were those really her memories? Were they memories of real events? Or were they false memories induced by hypnosis? Did the exploration of those particular "memories" result in her improvement, or was that co-incidental? Does this prove re-incarnation? Let us first address the issue of hypnosis.
Dr. Weiss uses hypnosis, and many, perhaps most past lives therapists use it, but not all. Dr. Morris Netherton, for example, uses an adaptation of another great Freudian technique: free association.(4) In addition, some patients enter therapy claiming to have memories of previous lives. This last has been my experience with several persons coming to me for spiritual direction who believe they remember their past lives. So the well-founded argument that hypnosis may "implant" false memories is not universally applicable in the case of past lives therapy.(5) The use of hypnosis is not the critical issue here.
There is also controversy as to whether or not psychotherapeutic methods in general are helpful. It is beyond the scope of this paper to explore this issue. I personally believe that there is a large enough body of literature attesting to the value of psychotherapy to make it acceptable. In another sense however, the issue need not even arise. The fact is, people are participating in past lives therapy, and believe that they benefit. Furthermore, unlike the case cited above, most of the people reported in the books believe in re-incarnation, either prior to therapy, or as a result. So whether or not they benefit psychologically, they re-enforce or take on a theological belief.
The question of whether or not the memories are of real events is, unfortunately, not something that interests most past lives therapists. They are primarily concerned with alleviating suffering, and no effort is made to ascertain the factual reality of the memories.(6)
Some might want to assert that "memories" of past lives are merely the result of tapping into the "collective unconscious." Maybe so. Again, however, the people who are involved in past lives therapy do not for the most part use a psychological belief system in which to interpret and explain the phenomena--they use a theological one.(7) So let us, for the sake of argument, grant that past lives therapy provides relief for some people, that the memories are reasonably accurate, and let us seek to account for the memories within a theological framework, specifically, within a Christian framework.
One Possible Theological Approach to the Phenomena
One could assert that this type of re-incarnation is valid, it explains the phenomena, and Christianity should incorporate it, as Geddes MacGregor recommends.(8) A case could be made that since this type of re-incarnation was not the type argued against and discarded by the theologians of the primitive church, it would not be perverting Christianity to accept it. MacGregor has written two books attempting to reconcile re-incarnation with Christianity; there is no point in my writing a paper recapitulating his arguments for it. However, I would like to seek an explanation within the tradition.
One Possible Theological Explanation Within the Tradition
Maurice Rawlings, referring to those cases of people who know information about lives that they could not possibly have known, explains that evil spirits give genuine information about things that really happened in order to deceive people and make them believe in re-incarnation.(9)
Using this line of reasoning, if evil spirits could implant false memories of traumatic events that would cause the person considerable distress, that would be even more desirable (from the evil spirits' point of view).
Perhaps this is possible. It has been the traditional Christian belief that evil spirits can tempt humans with thoughts and desires that will lure the person into sin, and that they can even enter humans, influencing human behavior. That evil spirits can somehow get hold of human "felt-memories" and implant them in the victims' psyches has not been part of the tradition, but I suppose it is not too much of a stretch if you grant the other assumptions (i.e., the existence of evil spirits and their ability to cause human woe). However, perhaps there may be a less "supernatural" interpretation.(10)
Another possibility focuses on the nature and origin of the soul, and how it might carry ancient memories with it, not from re-incarnation, but naturally, from the way the soul is constituted. The doctrine of traducianism is that the soul is derived from parents just as is the body. Let us explore the doctrine, and then consider whether it might provide understanding of past lives phenomena.
Traducianism was held by Tertullian, Gregory the Theologian, Gregory of Nyssa, Macarius the Great, Anastasius the Presbyter and a number of the other early theologians. Although the Roman Catholic Church later decided on special creation as the origin of each soul, the Eastern Orthodox churches simply assert that some of the Fathers held one view, some the other.(11) The reformers reviewed the issue. Calvin tended towards special creation, while Luther tended towards traducianism.(12) Melanchthon refused to take a definite position, which may have influenced the Protestant confessions to leave it an open question.(13)
The Scriptural basis for the traducian view comes from Genesis 2:7: "And God formed man out of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul." (KJV) Since Scripture does not state that God breathed into Eve, or anyone else, it follows that after Adam, the soul was simply passed down. This is felt to satisfy the Scripture "He hath made of one blood all nations of men. (Acts 17:26)(14)
Gregory the Theologian writes:"
Just as the body, which was originally formed in us of dust, became subsequently the current of human bodies as has not been cut off from the first-formed root, . . . so also the soul, being inbreathed by God, from that time comes together into the formed composition of man, being born anew, and from the original seed being imparted to many and always preserving a constant form in mortal members . . .."(15)
Gregory of Nyssa writes: ". . . soul and body have one and the same beginning." Using the analogy of a slip of a tree put into earth and growing, he continues " . . . the propagation of a human being is itself also in the same way a soul-endowed being from a soul-endowed being."(16)
Tertullian gave a great deal of attention to the question of the soul and its origin. In De Anima, he writes:
The soul then, we define to be sprung from the breath of God, immortal, possessing body, having form, simple in its substance, intelligent in its own nature, developing its power in various ways, free in its determinations, subject to the changes of accidents, in its faculties mutable, rational, supreme, endowed with an instinct of presentiment, evolved out of one [archetypal soul]. (XXII)(17)
Tertullian held that the soul was corporeal--not that it is a tangible substance, but because it suffers with the body (V), it can be moved emotionally and physically (VI), it moves the body (VI), in scripture Jesus speaks of the soul of the rich man suffering in flames of torment (Lk 16:23,4) (VII), it can be sent to Hades to await the day of judgement (VII), it is not therefore spirit but must have some form of corporeality. He reasons that if the soul had no corporeality, it would have no limits, be incapable of being confined, incapable of suffering. (VII) He insists on invisibility and weightlessness as properties of the soul's essence. (VIII) That its substance is neither ether nor air (IX) but "its material nature is wind and breath." It is God's breath condensed, congealed. (IX) It is "uniform and uncompounded . . . in respect of its substance."(X)(18)
Spirit, to Tertullian, is something separate--the Divine Spirit (or an evil spirit), comes upon the living soul causing it to behave in a different fashion from its normal behavior as is shown in Scripture. (XI) (19) Mind (nous) is not separate but "coalesces with the soul . . . not distinct from it in substance, but as being its natural function and agent." (substantiae officium) (XII)
He holds that there are two aspects of the soul--rational and irrational. (XVI) The soul was created rational, its natural condition, but the irrational is an accretion, from the devil, as a result of the Fall.(20) He holds that the inclination toward sin is irrational, and this tendency has been passed down to us all. But the irascible and concupiscible is not necessarily part of the irrational aspect. He reasons that Jesus got angry with hypocrites, and "desired" to eat with the disciples, and God justly feels wrath towards some, and desires the salvation of others. So reasonable anger and desire are compatible with reason and part of the rational aspect of the soul. (XVI)
Tertullian writes that "although we shall allow that there are two kinds of seed--that of the body and that of the soul--we still declare that they are inseparable, and therefore contemporaneous and simultaneous in origin." (XXVII) He sees the Biblical creation of the human as combining clay and breath--"two different and separate substances" to form a single individual. "...they then amalgamated and mixed their proper seminal rudiments in one, and ever afterwards communicated to the human race the normal mode of its propagation. (XXVII) "From the one man comes the entire outflow and redundance of men's souls--nature proving herself" fruitful (XXVII). . . . "all souls derived from one." Soul is "formed and produced at the time the flesh is molded." (XXV)
To sum it up, Tertullian proposed a human source for the on-going origin of souls after Adam. He held that it survived the body, that it remembered its life, and that it could suffer or enjoy the afterlife.
St. Augustine of Hippo was unable to decide between traducianism and special creation of the soul. He wrote to St. Jerome for help with the problem.(21) Jerome never replied, and Augustine thereafter refused to make a pronouncement regarding it.(22) He wrote that he would like special creation to be the origin of the soul, but not only was he unable to find definitive Scriptures to support that position(23), he was unable to reconcile God's justice with the unfairness of a child predestined for damnation being born, suffering greatly, then dying.(24) Also, he reasoned God would not create a soul with sin, and asked Jerome when would the infant soul sin, when would it contract the guilt that would justly require baptism to avoid damnation?(25)
He questioned the concept of the corporeality of the soul, treating it as something of a semantic issue,(26) but he excoriates Tertullian's opinion that "souls are not spirits but bodies and are produced from corporeal seed," condemning it as a "perverted view."(27) He liked the idea of the descent of souls from Adam as showing the unity of all humankind. He also appreciated the way traducianism showed how original sin was passed on,(28) for unlike some later theologians(29), he strongly rejected the idea that the soul could be contaminated by contact with the body.(30) Soul was too spiritual to be subject to contamination by the body.
The early theologians brought up many tantalizing issues, and while it is tempting to delve into the question of special creation vs. traducianism, we need to move on towards the past lives question. First, we need to consider one objection regarding memory.
Some may want to assert that memories are purely the results of neurophysiological functions. If memory is purely physical, then mention of the soul is not needed. We do not need to speculate on whether or not the soul carries memories and whether or not the soul is transmitted by parent to child. If, however, memories persist after death--if, in other words, you will remember your life after you have died--there needs to be some sort of carrier for memory besides the physical body. Christian Scriptures assert, and a large part of the tradition holds, that even before the resurrection of the body souls do remember their deeds after death--to their joy or sorrow.(31) Thus, we are postulating a soul which derives from the souls of the parents, but has the capacity to exist, feel and remember after death while awaiting the resurrection of the body.
Can Traducianism Explain Past Lives Phenomena
We can now consider whether traducianism offers an explanation of past lives phenomena. Let us start with Tertullian's assertion that soul is "subject to the changes of accidents, in its faculties mutable," (XVI) that although the soul was created rational, the irrational inclination to sin invaded the original soul. This irrational element:
. . . thenceforth became inherent in the soul, and grew with its growth, assuming the manner by this time of a natural development, happening as it did immediately at the beginning of nature." (XVI)
The effect of the Fall had a significant, damaging, and lasting impact on succeeding souls. It seems possible that, in a similar way, memories could also impress themselves on the soul with such intensity that they (or their effects) would be carried down through generations. Since memory is one of the faculties of the soul, mutable in Tertullian's schema, particularly vivid positive or negative experiences could implant themselves in such a way as to "become inherent" in the memory.
These memories might not show up in every child in every generation. Just as some physical traits are inherited by one child in a family but not by not another, and some traits seem to skip a generation, there could be variations in how memories, impressions or behavior patterns manifest in the children in a family, resulting in different children having dissimilar memories, irrational fears, or psychological tendencies.
In a recently publicized news story on PBS, the DNA of a mummified body thousands of years old found in England was compared with the DNA of contemporary residents of the area. One man was found to be a descendant of the ancient man. The traducian view would be that the modern man's soul would also show a connection with the ancient. If memories are indeed carried in the soul, the modern might have memories at a subconscious level that belonged to the ancient. Thus, an ancient trauma could be carried unknowingly--creating fear, triggering behavior patterns that reflect that trauma. Case studies of "past lives" trauma do show close parallels between the unearthed incident and the symptoms. For example, fears of flying and of high places often relate to memories of falling or being pushed off cliffs, etc. The "wound" to the soul might well respond to a therapeutic technique that uncovered the ancient trauma, allowed the emotional energy to be released and the soul to be healed. It would not be the person's "past life" but a previous human's.
The Biblical declarations that God will "visit" "the iniquities of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations"(32) and that "because of the iniquities of their fathers the children shall pine away like them"(33) may take on a psychological perspective. Particularly so in light of the passage that the fathers and children are not to be put to death in place of the other, but "each man shall be put to death for his own sins."(34) It may be understood not as a threat that God will actively "visit" the sins on succeeding generations, but rather a warning to avoid sin because the effects may not vanish for a long time.
If we take the idea of the soul being transmitted from the parents along with the body, allow that the soul can remember, and accept what Tertullian held as to the mutability of the soul, and that injurious consequences can be transmitted, and it appears possible for memories of other lives and places, inexplicable fears and behaviors, exceptional skills or capacities to learn to manifest in a person's life. It must be clarified that this does not mean that what is remembered is the person's past life. It is someone else's life, but the memories were transmitted. A physical analogue of this is that the tip of my little finger is slightly crooked. My grandmother had this trait also but my little finger is not the re-incarnation of her little finger. Were I to have memories of a life in North Wales, I would not assume that those were my memories, but that they were passed down just like the crooked finger tip.
However, "memories" that cannot be transmitted through the family tree must be considered. Take the Weiss case cited above: it is not unreasonable to suppose that a modern person in America might have a mid-Eastern ancestor from 4000 years ago, but how could the memory of a death trauma be transmitted--and a very high percentage of the traumas treated in past lives therapy are death traumas? After death there are no more progeny. There are two issues here--memories that cannot reasonably be transmitted, and, memories from lives with no possible connection to the modern person. One approach to solving this problem is to modify our understanding of the consistency of the soul.
The traditional Christian view has been that the soul is "all of one piece"--that the soul is a discrete, non-divisible unit and that after death it will be rewarded or punished. There is, however, another possibility: that the soul is not an indivisible unit, that instead of moving as an inseparable whole, it is not so cohesive. Personality is subject to fragmentation during bodily life, as evidenced by Multiple Personality Disorder and schizophrenia.(35) Even "normal" persons have a "subconscious" aspect which is not easily accessible to the conscious and can be considered separated from the rest of the mind. Psychologically overwhelming or unacceptable material may be relegated to this subterranean level, and a person thus hides from him or herself. This breakdown of wholeness results in a divided personality--a fractured soul.
Now, Christian tradition has held that the whole person consists of both body and soul. Thus, the soul after death is only a portion of the whole person. Already injured by sin, perhaps not even wholly aware of the contents of its own psyche, it is now separated from the body. It might be extremely vulnerable, at high risk for further fragmentation. Un-integrated or psychologically damaged parts of the soul--aspects caught in traumatic memories, or attached to desires unfit for the kingdom of God--might splinter and separate from the main part of the soul.(36) These would not merely reside in the inaccessible subconscious, but, lacking a physical body to hold the soul together, they could split off altogether. The principal portion of the soul might indeed go on to its "heavenly reward" (or hellish punishment), the fragments would not. The trauma-bound fragments might wander wraith-like, looking for a haven. Or, lacking conscious awareness might float aimlessly until they landed on a receptive or unprotected soul.
Durwoood Foster hypothesizes that "the demonic fragment of the soul is something like an idea that can exercise causality in reality when able to impose itself on substrata."(37) Thus, if a fragment were to land in a proper sub-stratum (i.e., an embodied soul), it would take root and begin to manifest its tendencies. Once embedded, it might have a disproportionate impact, throwing the whole person into distress because of its alien and toxic qualities. We see this on a physical level when small things like viruses enter the body and cause far greater damage than their size would warrant.
In this view, the soul is not solid, not impervious to outside forces. Instead of an inviolable whole, it would be more of a mosaic, a patchwork quilt, composed of a basic personality, but infiltrated by foreign fragments of other souls, forced to carry memories, fears, and traumas not only of its own life, but of others' as well. Is it possible that Scripture is referring to this process of intrusion in the following statement?
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Matt 12:43 (KJV)
A Christian Perspective on Healing the Wounded Soul.
It appears that past lives therapy may treat a condition of the soul that is not truly a "past life" at all. Nevertheless, it brings relief for many people. Does Christianity offer anything similar? The ministries of "healing of memories" and "healing the family tree" cover some of the territory. "Deliverance" ministry takes care of another part. But I think there is even greater "Balm in Gilead." Julian of Norwich writes of her revelation that the "higher and lower" parts of our souls are "oned in Christ."(38) It follows that all parts of the soul would be "oned in Christ." Whatever fragments of other lives and souls may be in us, through our acceptance of Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell in us, our souls will be made whole. Seeking deeper union with Christ, a closer, more intimate relationship with the Trinity, will result in the infusion of God into every aspect of our being. This is the truest healing, for it includes regeneration of the soul, the transformation of the soul by the re-newing of our minds. (Romans 12:2) Some people may find "past lives" therapy helpful, but for the Eternal healing, it is only the Great Physician who can provide the cure.
If souls are generated from human parents as are bodies, and if souls do indeed carry memories, it seems possible that fears, memories of other historical times, behavior patterns, and so on, might be transmitted as well. Thus, a traducian view of the origin of the soul could explain much of the past lives phenomena.
Since many "past life memories" are of traumatic deaths or from genetically unrelated sources, this hypothesis requires further refinement. Tertullian's idea of the Fall resulting in the invasion of the soul by an irrational element inclined to sin suggests the possibility of serious malfunction of the soul. Even in this life the soul is subject to fractures (schisms)--personality dis-integration, or repression of traumatic memories. Since Christian tradition has held that soul and body together comprise the "whole person," and that the resurrection of the body is necessary to give a complete experience of personhood, the soul after death is itself only a segment of the whole person, thus at risk, possibly fracturable, subject to accidents and abnormal occurrences.
Contaminated by the irrational aspect, the soul already functions in aberrant ways. Thus, after death of the body, psychological facets of the soul that are not integrated into the whole because of trauma, attachment to sinful behavior, guilt, or various other reasons, might well split off into fragments that attach to other humans, take root, and assert their own patterns, fears, and memories. These afflicted and afflicting remnants, once uncovered, could be treated successfully by psychotherapeutic methods. Neither memories passed down through generations nor these randomly acquired memories constitute re-incarnation, but comprise both a natural process and a deviant phenomenon.
This hypothesis provides an alternative explanation to the theory of re-incarnation for "past lives" phenomena. It can be offered to Christians who have benefitted from past lives therapy or wish to try it, but who do not wish to embrace a theological explanation outside the Christian tradition. The Christian message of renewal in Christ offers the ultimate healing, and deeper union with Christ is the cure most urgently to be sought.
1. Roger Woolger, Other Lives, Other Selves, (New York: Bantam Books, 1987) xviii. A Gallup poll in 1982 showed one American in four believed in reincarnation.
2. Woolger, Other Lives. Woolger notes that Ian Stevenson gathers most of his material from cultures that believe in re-incarnation. Stevenson, Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1974)
3. The following material is taken from Brian Weiss, M.D., Many Lives, Many Masters, ( New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988).
4. Morris Netherton, Past Lives Therapy, (New York: Morrow, 1978).
5. There is also a question as to whether or not implanting a false memory, then treating it would produce alleviation of symptoms. The use of hypnosis in sexual abuse cases seems to produce lawsuits as often as healing. It seems unlikely that producing a false memory, then "healing" it, would have any beneficial results at all.
6. The difficulty of establishing the truth of memories is notorious. Just try re-constructing with your spouse an argument you had, and establishing who said what.
7. Woolger, a Jungian, has the greatest understanding of the issues involved, and offers the most complete consideration of possibilities I have so far read. He concludes that re-incarnation is the most probable explanation. Other Lives, Chs. 3, 4.
8. Geddes MacGregor, Reincarnation in Christianity, (Wheaton Ill: Quest Books, 1978)
9. Maurice S. Rawlings, Life Wish, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publisher, 1982) 107.
10. We could also consider the possibility that God implants the false memories within the human psyche--perhaps to "test faith," perhaps to increase compassion, perhaps for inscrutable reasons. However, just as the Rev. Gosse's explanation of fossils--God put the bones there at the time the earth was made in 4004 B.C.--was furiously rejected by both creationists and Darwinists, I suspect this idea would be unacceptable to everybody, including me, so I'll skip it.
11. Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, (Platina, CA: St. Herman of Alaska Press, 1973) 129.
12. "Creationism," Dictionary of Christian Theology, ed. Alan Richardson (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1969) 79-80.
13. Lord, Fred Townley, The Unity of Body and Soul. (London: Student Christian Movement, 1929) 97.
14. Orth Dogm Theol, 129.
15. Gregory the Theologian, Homily 7, "On the Soul," Orth Dogm Theol, 130.
16. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection, trans. Catherine Ross, (Crestwood, New York: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1993) 100.
17. This and all the following Chapter citations are taken from De Anima, The Writings of Tertullian, Vol 2. De Anima, 410-541. (Ante-Nicene Christian Library, [T. & T. Clark: Edinburgh, 1870] Vol 15) 462.
18. St. Ambrose, Pope Gregory the Great, John Damascene also held a "certain comparative bodiliness or materiality to the soul." Orth Dogm Theol, 128.
19. I Sam, 10:6, 10--God's Spirit comes on Saul, causing him to prophesy.
I Sam 16:14--An evil spirit comes on Saul, troubling him.
20. It seems to me that this compromises the simplicity of the soul--but that's a different paper.
21. Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo, Letters, trans. by Sister Wilfrid Parsons, (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc. 1951-56) Letter 166. Augustine to Jerome, 415 C.E. "On the Origin of the Soul."
22. Retractiones, Ch.56, (cited in Lord, Unity, 97)
23. Letter 202A (To Ophatus).
24. Letter 166: (to Jerome) Chs. 10, 16, 20-25; Letter 180 (To Oceanus)
25. Letter 166. Chs 6, 10.
26. In Letter 166, Ch. 4.
27. In Letter 190 (To Opatus, 418 C.E.)
28. Letter 190, Letter 202A (To Ophatus, 420)
29. Anon, Three Treatises on Man, On the Spirit and the Soul, ed. Bernard McGinn, (Kalamazoo, Mich: Cistercian Publications, 1977) 247. The flesh "infects" the soul.
30. Letter 190.
31. Jesus promises the "Good Thief" that "today" he will be with Jesus in Paradise--an empty promise if he has to wait for the resurrection. (Lk 23:43) Also Luke 16:23.
"After death and before the resurrection . . . the soul can see the essence of God nulla mediante creatura, by a visione intuitiva, and possesses (individual) bliss . . .." "Soul," Encyclopedia of Theology, ed. Karl Rahner, (New York: Seabury Press, 1975) 1618.
The purported suffering of souls in purgatory is known to all.
32. Ex 20:5, 34:7b, Num 14:18, Deut 5:4. RSV.
33. Lev 26:39.
34. Deut 24:16. This point was evidently hard for people to grasp, because it is repeated in Ezekiel 18:1-4.
35. Woolger points out that schizophrenia is not a true "splitting" of the personality as MPD. It "is a condition where many voices or imaginary selves attempt to influence and undermine the sufferer's sense of an integrated personality or ego identity." Other Lives, 214
36. Some of the Vedic and Esoteric traditions assert fragmentation of the soul after death. However, they postulate splitting along different topographical lines: the etheric body--which is the equivalent of the physical body, the astral body--or emotional body, the mental body, etc. Howard Murphet, "The Undiscovered Country," (London: Sawbridge Enterprises, 1984)
37. From notes taken during a conversation with Durwood Foster, PSR Prof Emeritus, Theologian Extraordinaire. Berkeley, May 1999.
38. Julian of Norwich, cited in English Spirituality, Martin Thornton, 213, Cowley, NY, 1986. Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, ch 57.
Past Lives Therapy Titles
Fiore, Edith. You Have Been Here Before: A Psychiatrist Looks at Past Lives. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan. c1978.
Goldberg, Bruce, D.D.S. Past Lives, Future Lives. Newcastle: Pub Hollywood, Ca. 1982.
Hall, Judy. Past Lives Therapy. London: Thorsons. 1996.
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_____. Through Time into Healing. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1992.
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Other Books Cited
Anon. Three Treatises on Man. Edited by Bernard McGinn. Kalamazoo, Mich: Cistercian Publications. 1977.
Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo. Letters. trans. by Sister Wilfrid Parsons. New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc. 1951-56.
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Lord, Fred Townley. The Unity of Body and Soul. London: Student Christian Movement. 1929.
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Tertullian. De Anima, in The Writings of Tertullian, Vol 2. 410-541. Ante-Nicene Christian Library. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. 1870. Vol 15.