JOEL - The concept of a pre-earth existance for the spirits of all human beings has been known throughout the history of the earth.
It is evident in not only the Bible, but also in the Old Testament apochrapha; old Jewish sources; in Greek thought;
and in the Quran. Ancient writings, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Texts, also make specific mention of a life before life.
In fact, over 800 references to the pre-earth existence of mankind have been identified in Jewish and Christian sources from the time of Christ until the sixth century, A.D. However, after the sixth century A.D., mention of a life before mortality virtually disappears from orthodox Jewish, Christian, and Greek writings (Hamerton-Kelley, R.G., Pre-Existence, Wisdom and the Son of Man in the New Testament, Cambridge University Press, 1973).
In A.D. 553 the doctrine of the preexistance of the soul was dropped from Christianity by an edict known as the "Anathema against Origen." This was the work of the Roman Emperor Justinian; the Pope consented under extreme duress.
Some references to this doctrine do still exist in the Old Testament. In the following scriptures God is talking to Job about the creation of the earth:
"Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"(Job 38:4, 7)
These scriptures bring up two questions. If there were no pre-earth life why then would God ask Job where he was when he created the earth? God knew where he was but He knew that Job would not be able to remember. And while God was creating the earth, who were all those "sons of God" who "shouted for joy"? They were all of the spirit children of God(us) anxiously anticipating the completion of His work.
In Genesis before God created Adam and placed him on the earth it says:
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." (Gen 2:1)
The only thing that the word "host" could be refering to are those spirits who would eventually inhabit the earth God created.
The Lord said to Jeremiah: "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth
out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations" (Jer. 1:5).
Here God explains to Jeremiah that He knew him, sanctified him, and ordained him before he was born. Jeremiah must have existed in some form for this to be possible
The "Preacher" asserted "The spirit shall return unto God who gave it" (Eccl. 12:7). You can't return to somewhere if you did not come from there in the first place.
In the New Testament Jesus and his disciples saw a man who had been born blind. The disciples asked if the man was blind due to his own sins or due to his parent's sins.
"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which 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?" (John 9:1-2)
Jesus explained neither the man nor his parents had sinned, but the man was born blind that the works of God should be made manifest in him (John 9:3), that is, so Jesus could heal him. The account in John gives no reason for us to believe the disciples were insincere or incorrect in asking if the man had sinned prior to his birth. Likewise, Jesus said nothing to indicate it was impossible for the man to have sinned prior to birth. These verses thus imply the man could have sinned prior to birth, that is, he had a pre-earth existence of some type and had the capacity to sin in that existence.
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