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An ancient doctrine to the effect that the human soul existed before its birth in the physical world. It must be kept in mind that this does not imply reincarnation as taught in theosophy, but neither does it exclude it.

Perhaps the most prominent figure in history to advocate the doctrine was Origen (Origenes Adamantius), an Egyptian who lived c. 185-c. 254. He regards that the soul not only preexisted, but that it returns to the flesh, that is, reincarnates. His views however were condemned by the Fifth General Council (553). Many Christians have advocated preexistence and have cited the Bible as espousing this view, such as Jeremiah 1:5 and John 9:1-3. In Eastern religions such as BUDDHISM and HINDUISM, preexistence and REINCARNATION are commonly accepted doctrines.


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