The inequality of births
If we start out from such a “pre-existence of the soul”, then the next question to arise is how the inequality with births is to be judged. Why, for example, do some children have to suffer severe illness, but others do not? Is there no justice in life?
There is much debate on this issue, but there are only two possible conclusions to be drawn: one either concludes that indeed many “innocent children” have to undergo unjustified suffering – or one accepts that there is a hidden lawfulness, which ensures that the “child is matched with the family that is right for it”.
When we start from the assumption that the whole of Creation is borne by the love and justice of the Divine Will, then only the second answer can give us a correct foundation for further deliberations. Following this train of thought, no human being can be considered innocent when “coming into the world”, but he must be “bringing” something with him that gives rise to the circumstances of his birth. He must therefore have acquired certain strengths and weaknesses earlier on, that is, he must have sown a “seed”, which he is now “reaping” through the conditions of his birth.
‘Earlier on’ – does that mean: in some past earth life?
Memories from former lives
Today many people already believe in reincarnation, but what is often raised as an argument against repeated earth lives, is that nobody can remember a former earthly existence. This is erroneous, however. There are in fact quite a number of children who are able to talk about events in a previous life. These children are usually younger than four years old when they quite spontaneously begin to tell their parents or siblings “about before”, about their previous name, about the house where they lived, their family back then or about certain persons. Such children might talk about major events often more than once, such as a wedding, an accident or illness, because they still remain deeply moved by the experiences.
One might dismiss these testimonies as products of child fantasy, but in reality there is more to it than that. The Canadian research scientist Ian Stevenson (1918-2007) examined hundreds of these reports systematically and in great detail. He visited the localities of which the children had spoken, collated the information given by eyewitnesses and conducted frequent interviews with the children themselves. He finally came to the conclusion that these descriptions must be true. The children really could remember previous lives.
Sometimes the identification of the child with its former self is especially strong. Such children then speak with longing of past times, have the desire to return to the place of their previous life, to meet up with their parents again or want to be called by their “proper first name”.
If they are then actually taken to the place where they had spent their former life, they are able to find their way home through a maze of streets. They recognise members of their former family or neighbours and can point out structural alterations that were made to the house.
Naturally, these are exceptional cases, which presuppose that a person was reborn very soon after his death. But one cannot take that as the rule.
The actual ego of the human being
Let us begin by assuming then that every human being entering the world already carries the sum of his experiences from past earth lives within him – even where he does not consciously remember them.
This now raises the question: What actually is this human core of being, his personal ego, which now has to reap all what he has sown in a former life – in the form of health or illness, a happy or unhappy fate? What is the personal ego which the parents did not create nor produce, but in reality only accept into their circle with the newly born child?
This ego is the spirit of the human being.1 This spirit originates in another, non-material plane of Creation. It is the centre of our consciousness, from where come all the spiritual abilities such as the free will, the perception of what is good and just or the sense of beauty. We human beings are spirit; the physical brain on the other hand is only a tool, which is at our disposal for our life in the earthly world.
It is therefore quite rightly said: “I have a body!” Whereas it would be wrong to say: “I have a spirit”. We do not have a spirit, we are spirit and as such we incarnate into a body. The expression “to incarnate” – “to enter into the flesh” – expresses very accurately what takes place: the spirit enters into a body which has been prepared for it, but it, nonetheless, remains a separate entity from the body.
From this point of view the fertilising of the egg receives a quite different meaning. It is not the life of a new spirit that begins with procreation, but only the development of a child’s body, that is, the material covering into which the spirit incarnates and which it will leave again at death.
Therefore, it is not new life that is created with human reproduction, but rather a new cloak, which, in a transient world, is able to hold fast for a time something which is immortal. Spirit – that is the living human being. The body is animated by the presence of the spirit.