(Compiled by E. Asiedu-Mante)
Hinduism and Buddhism teach that the law of karma is a universal law of cause and effect that affects everyone. As Newton’s third law of motion states:
“For every action there is equal and opposite reaction”.
The Law of Karma operates automatically and without prejudice. This is why there’s no injustice. We think that some people get away with everything while we get away with nothing. That makes us chafe a bit and wonder if there is a just God.
We simply have to be at peace and remember the teaching from Deuteronomy that Paul referred to; Deut. 32:35; Rom 12:19 “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord”. Therefore it is ours to forgive. God will mete out his justice and we certainly do not wish harm upon anyone, even those who are self-styled enemies.
We know that karma functions on an individual as well as on a group level. As the 20th century Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda wrote; “The cumulative actions of human beings within communities, nations or the world as a whole constitute mass karma, which produces local or far-ranging effects according to the degree and preponderance of good or evil. The thoughts and actions of every man, therefore, contribute to the good or ill of this world and all people in it.”
There is then, such a thing as personal karma, something very personal, for instance between you and me alone; it functions one-on-one. And then there is group karma. Entire nations or towns or families have made karma because of their stand against life.
They commit acts together as one body and therefore they must re-embody together. The Mafia families for instance, come back together again and again because of their karma.
Karma necessitates rebirth because you can’t reap all the effects of your karma in a single lifetime. There is simply not enough time in one’s lifetime to experience the return of, or the compensation for, all the good or the bad you have done in that life.
The law of cause and effect, which is the law of karma, is firmly rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition. So, we begin with Genesis and the flood of Noah. After that flood and the sinking of that continent, God enjoined Noah and his sons. He said; Gen. 9:6 “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood by man shall his blood be shed.”
Matt. 26:52 “All who draw the sword will die by the sword”.
Exodus 21:12, 23-25
He that smiteth a man so that he dies shall be surely put to death. If any mischief follows, then thou shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”
“The day of the Lord is near for all the nations. As you have done, so will it be done to you: your deeds will recoil on your own head.”
A classic example of the law of karma comes from the life of David. David falls in love with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, and she conceives a child by him. David secretly assigns Uriah to the front lines of battle, where he knows he will be killed, and then marries Bathsheba.
The Lord sends the prophet Nathan to tell David that because he has slain Uriah and married his wife, he will be punished. The Lord tells David through Nathan that the sword will never be far from his house and that God will give his wives to his neighbor. Nathan says that God has forgiven David and will not take his life, but the price of his sin will be the life of the child born to Bathsheba. Although David fasts and entreats God to spare the child, the child becomes sick and dies. (II Sam. 11, 12:1-23).
We see that God and God’s law is no respecter of persons. David took another’s life, so the life of his child is taken. And yet we know that God loved David. David had to learn his lesson, for had he not paid the price for his karma in that life, he would have had to pay it in a future life.
Not in every case does Jesus Christ take upon himself our sins, that is, our karma. If it were true, none of us would ever suffer any calamity. But we do suffer calamities, we suffer great losses. We can interpret these calamities in two ways. Either we think our God is a whimsical God and that we are subject to his moods of vengeance or we see the law of karma as operational in every facet of our lives, with ourselves, we and we alone setting causes in motion whose effects return to us by the mathematical precision of the law itself.
If you don’t have the understanding of karma, then when you suffer loss, you say, “it is the will of God.” But it is not the will of God. The law of karma is his will, but it was you who exercised your free will outside of his laws, and sometime, somewhere the fruit of your misuses of God’s law must come upon you.
The purpose of karma is to teach us, not to punish us but sometimes we identify more with the teaching. It is a fact that you can lengthen your life by making commitment to God and keeping them, by serving and obeying his laws, including his dietary laws. Nothing is final until we make it final and nothing is predestined until we make it our destiny. We do not believe in predestination. We believe in free will. We can change things.
We can shorten our lives by eating a bad diet. We can destroy our bodies with sugar, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and other drugs, so that we no longer have a fitting temple for our souls to dwell in, let alone for the Father, and Son to take up their abode in (John 14:23). For sure we need reincarnation at that point, for we have shortened our days; the body clock has run out, but we have not worked the works of him that sent us. (John 9:4).
The teaching of God is that good or bad souls are not born but made. In other words, God creates the souls as a clean white page. He endows the soul with divine spark, the sacred essence of himself and gives to the soul free will. From there on, she is on her own.
From the moment she takes incarnation in an earthly body, she begins to make choices. Hopefully, if she has wise parents and teachers, these choices are enlightened, loving and in fulfillment of God’s will. Since the gift of free will allows for good or evil as thought, as desires, as act or as conviction of conscience, then we must conclude that good souls have become good by choice and bad souls have become bad by choice. It also establishes the principle that good karma made in past lives follows the soul in future lives and that the momentums of personality, ego and character are cumulative.
The denial of karma and reincarnation in Christianity today is a betrayal of the soul of every Christian and Jew and Moslem. The clergy is not teaching us what Jesus really said and what he really meant. What is more, many Christians today who study the scriptures all of their lives fail to see that they teach karma and reincarnation. They don’t see that the law of karma is written in the four Gospels and in the letters of the apostles.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says; “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matt 5:17). So Jesus came to fulfill the law that is written in the Old Testament and the prophets who proclaimed it. And truly it was the law of karma that he came to fulfill.
All of the laws of God set forth in the Old and New Testament as well as major world religions are integral to the law of karma. Clearly this law establishes the righteousness or the unrighteousness of a man’s acts, including his thoughts and feelings, his lusts, the desires of his heart and the inclination of his soul.
Jesus said “verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled”. (Matt 5:18)
And this jot and tittle that we all must pay – that will not pass from our accounts or our accountability till all of our debts be paid – is the jot and the tittle of our karma.
We must remember that the law of karma is the law of the causal relationship between a man’s acts and the universe’s reaction to his acts that returns to his doorsteps. This return of positive and negative karma continues daily, hourly and forever until his soul is perfected in Christ and he escapes the rounds of reincarnation, which have their roots in the karma of desire.
If you want to move on with the universe, if you want to fulfill your reason for being on earth and graduate from this schoolroom of life and transcend the cycle of the stars and arrive at the next station of your evolution in realms of glory, you are going to have to shoulder your karmic responsibility and pay your debts to life.
A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things (i.e. good works, good karma), and evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. (i.e. bad works, bad karma). As the desire of the heart is and as the intent of the soul is, so will the karma, or the acts, be.
Next Jesus sets forth a law that will not be broken.
Matt. 12: 36-37
The following are the words of Jesus; “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shall be justified, and by thy words thou shall be condemned.”
Jesus never said that if you accept me as your Lord and Saviour, he will neutralize this law. He never neutralized it. It remains true to this very hour and this very day. If we are accountable for every idle word that we speak, how much more are we accountable for every act and the state of mind or mindlessness that precedes the act and the state of mind or mindlessness that precedes the act or the desire that impels it? The Law of Karma gives us sound reason to control our tongues as well as our uncontrolled thoughts and feeling that propel our tongues.
Matt. 7:2, 12
The Sermon on the Mount is a treasure trove of the law of karma. Jesus states the mathematical precision of the law of karma.
With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged. And with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them. For this is the law and the prophets.
The sermon recorded in Matthew 5:7 is Jesus’ doctrine on the reward of righteous and unrighteous conduct – karma. It is his teaching on the consequences of thoughts, feelings, words and deeds. It is the greatest lesson on karma, as the law of personal accountability for one’s acts, that you will find anywhere.
At the scene of his arrest, Jesus reiterates the law of karmic retribution. It is recorded in Matthew;
“One of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, put up again thy sword into his place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. And he touched his ear and healed him”.
In this act Jesus confirms, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”
“He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity. He that killeth with sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”
“Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Paul is saying that the law of God – that is the law of cause and effect, the law of karma – cannot be mocked by the high and the mighty, not by them of low degree.
“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the spirit shall of the spirit reap life everlasting. Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men.”
Jesus’ teaching on reincarnation.
“As Jesus passed by, he saw a man who was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying “Master, who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind? Jesus answered, neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; But the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that send me while it is day. The night cometh when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay and said unto him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.’ He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”
consider the understanding the disciples had to have in order to ask the question. “who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” They asked it because they were familiar with Jesus’ teachings on karma and reincarnation. They knew that this man could have been born blind from sins of a past life.
This account of Jesus restoring sight to the man born blind teaches the discussions of karma and reincarnation were ongoing between Jesus and his disciples. Had Jesus desired us to know that the implication of karma and reincarnation in his disciples’ question was not appropriate, then and there he would have delivered a sermon denying karma and reincarnation as an invalid premise, doctrinally and factually.
The doctrine of reincarnation cannot be separated from the doctrine of karma. The fact that we make karma and must balance it and that we continue to do so (until we learn the laws of God and stop making karma) means that we need the mercy of God, which he provided every living soul – yes, the mercy and the opportunity for reincarnation.
The reason the doctrine of karma begets the doctrine of reincarnation is that the karma of a lifetime cannot necessarily be balanced within that life. For instance, suppose a man shoots his wife and children and then shoots himself, he can’t balance the karma because he is dead.
And even if he didn’t shoot himself, he couldn’t make amends to his wife and children because they are dead.
In either case, he and they will be back to exercise their option under the option of the law of grace to make things right. He will most likely have to give birth to all of them in a future life to restore the life he has taken. They will have to learn forgiveness and pass the test of not getting even by killing him – that is, if they want to get off the merry-go-round of rebirth.
The keystone of Jesus’ teaching on reincarnation in the New Testament is our Lord’s statement that John the Baptist was Elijah come again.
It was a popular belief among the Jews of Jesus’ day that Elijah would come again as the forerunner of the Messiah, as the Lord has prophesied through the prophet Malachi;
Mal. 3 – “Beloved I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me….
Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and the dreadful day of the Lord.
And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
Not once, but twice did Jesus reveal that John was indeed Elijah come again. The first one took place after John’s death, on the occasion of Jesus’ transfiguration. The other took place while John was yet in prison when Jesus actually delivered a public tribute to John before the multitudes.
I will take up the first one. The scene is our Lord’s transfiguration on a high mountain, where he had taken Peter, James and John to witness his initiation. This is how it is recorded in scripture.
“Jesus taketh with him Peter, James and John and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elijah with Moses and they were talking with Jesus and there was a cloud that overshadowed them and a voice came out of the cloud saying, “This is my beloved son; hear him”.
And suddenly when they looked round about, they saw no man anymore; they saw Jesus only with them…..
And they asked him saying. “Why say the scribes that Elijah must first come?”
In other words, if Elijah is appearing to you out of heaven in his celestial body, then why didn’t he first go before you on earth as the prophet who should prepare the way for your coming. What is he doing in heaven when we haven’t yet seen him on earth?
And he answered and told them, Elijah verily cometh first and restoreth all things, and …………..it is written of the son of man that he must suffer many things and be set at a naught.
“But I say unto you that Elijah is indeed come and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written on him. (Mark 9:2-13)
Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist. (Matt. 17:13)
So when Jesus said, “Elijah is indeed come”, he was saying that Elijah had already reincarnated in the mantle and the calling of the messenger of the Lord who should go before the face of the son of God to prepare the way before him. And Herod had done with him what he would. Tragically, he had imprisoned and beheaded John the Baptist for his outspokenness against Herod’s unlawful marriage to his brother’s wife.
Matthew records Jesus’ words;
“What went you out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.
But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Verily, I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: not withstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
And from the days of John the Baptist unto now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all prophets and the law prophesied until John….
And if ye will receive it, this is Elijah, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Herod’s superstition that Jesus was “John whom I beheaded ….. risen from the dead.”
Many people today do not accept the twin doctrine of karma and reincarnation because if they did, they would have to accept accountability for their own actions in their life and all past lives. A large percentage of the people on earth today do not want to take responsibility for their karma. They have lived by the doctrine that says Jesus carries it all. “Jesus died for my sins. He is going to bear my sins and give me absolution and all I have to do is accept him as my Lord and saviour and he will do the rest. And I am guaranteed entrée into the kingdom by the profession of faith.”
This is a simplistic notion. Yet it is what the doctrine of the vicarious atonement, accepted by clergymen and churchgoers alike, is all about. The doctrine that Jesus pays the whole price for our karma and that we pay nothing is not the true doctrine of Jesus Christ. It is false doctrine and it is in violation of the laws of God set forth in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
Believing that you can commit any crime, break the laws of God and man, and not pay the price because Jesus already paid it for you is simply not what Jesus taught. Moreover, it is absolutely inconsistent with the law of karma set forth in the Old and New Testaments.
It is our responsibility to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12)
For in the end “every man shall bear his own karmic burden.” (Gal. 6:5)
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. So Jesus came to fulfill the law that is written in the Old Testament and the prophets who proclaimed it.”