Rebirth From Above
In all I’ve said, the rebirth mentioned is one which means spiritual development. It is the rebirth taught by the Lord Jesus. But we should realize that a person who rejects the Divine Love and Wisdom, deliberately choosing a way of selfishness and wrongdoing, is reborn again and again in a descending scale. He goes from bad to worse, and as new ideas of evil dominate him, he is shaped by them. His spiritual rebirths are from below, not from above. They are the opposite of the ones which happen in true rebirth. The potential angel, through his own deliberate desire, becomes an actual devil. He is a child of hell, one of the company of “those unhappy ones who hate and are cruel,” and he passes from birth to birth as malicious loves dominate him one after another. But let me emphasize that those births are changes in his state of mind, and do not produce reincarnations.
Reincarnationists, in my view, have done themselves and the world an injustice by their literalistic and materialistic interpretation of sacred writings which are actually speaking of spiritual realities. And it seems that their literalism comes from failure to see sound spiritual values and the reality of the spiritual world, and to an unconscious but compelling materialism which demands physical satisfactions.
The aspiring soul does not ask to return after death to scenes on the earth, but reaches out to the eternal world where it will enjoy the full fruits of its labors. It does not ask for any other reward there than the fulfillment of its being. It does not suffer any punishment arbitrarily meted out, but only the painful reaction which comes after failure to serve a good and sacred purpose. In the other world every person finds his own place where he can truly be himself and find the fulfillment he needs. Even in this world, with all its inequalities and imperfections, no one can corner happiness. Whatever condition we find ourselves in, we can be fairly happy most of the time if we will only decide to be.