Doesn’t population growth disprove reincarnation?

by Chaitanya Charan dasMarch 2, 2011

Question:  Doesn’t the growth of population disprove reincarnation? As all souls are eternal and so no new souls are ever created, doesn’t the increase in population imply that new human bodies will eventually run out of souls with which to be incarnated?

Answer: No.

This argument is based on two unstated assumptions:

  1. Only human beings have souls.
  2. All souls exist only in our earthly realm.

But these assumptions are unfounded – either by science or by scripture. As modern mechanistic science has no access to the spiritual realm, it can neither prove nor disprove these assumptions. And scriptures – even the scriptures of the Semitic religions – indicate that animals have souls and declare that souls do exist in non-earthly realms. The Vedic scriptures not only assert this unambiguously, but also delineate an entire worldview that enables us to make sense of sociological phenomena like population explosion.

The Vedic universe is abuzz with continuous soul traffic: some souls degrade to subhuman species and subterranean regions, some stagnate in human species and on the earthly realm, some rise to supra-human species and celestial regions, some – a rare few – break entirely free to return to the spiritual world, never to return again. The fuel for this soul traffic is karma: bad karma degrades the soul, mediocre karma stagnates, good karma elevates, and outstanding karma liberates.

As many people today are engaged in mediocre karma, they are likely to be returning – reincarnating – on the human level. Souls from the subhuman bodies and existences naturally rise, with due passage of time, to human bodies, possibly causing the current population explosion. Even if we take into account that some souls may also be going down to lower species and realms, still that doesn’t stop other souls – in greater numbers – to be coming to our realm from other realms.

This population increase could be a part of a cosmic plan to give us our karmic dues. Today, people delight in bad karma, raping nature and abusing her resources for their own selfish greed. The consequent karmic reactions lead to nature withdrawing her gifts, causing the resource crunch plaguing the world today. Another aspect of these karmic reactions could be the current population explosion: increased population and decreased natural resources, when coupled together, deliver karmic dues in an acute way, which is perhaps a jolting yet necessary reminder for humanity to mend its errant ways.

Suffice it to say that once its hidden assumptions are pointed out, the population growth argument loses weight. And when we consider the Vedic reincarnation paradigm, it can account persuasively for population growth.

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Chaitanya Charan das

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