Homer, so dreamt Ennius, remembered that he was once a peacock; however, I cannot for my part believe poets, even when wide awake. A peacock, no doubt, is a very pretty bird, pluming itself, at will, on its splendid feathers; but then its wings do not make amends for its voice, which is harsh and unpleasant; and there is nothing that poets like better than a good song. His transformation, therefore, into a peacock was to Homer a penalty, not an honor.

Tertullian – “A Treatise on the Soul”, Chapter 33 [1]

The title “Is the Peacock My Brother?” is a bit of a play on the title of James White’s book “Is the Mormon My Brother?”[2]. Not only does it refer to the above quote, where Tertullian recounts Ennius’ statement that Homer’s soul had once resided in the body of a peacock, but also to the more general claim, by the advocates of reincarnation, that the soul of one’s sibling could potentially transmigrate into a peacock upon their death. In the context of Christian theology, the acceptance of this theory would, furthermore, allow the peacock to be considered a potential brother or sister in Christ (pending their acceptance of Christ in a future incarnation). The purpose of this book, therefore, will be to examine whether or not the belief in reincarnation is compatible with the Christian faith.

This examination will be divided into three parts:

First, the theory of reincarnation will be explained and several possible variations of the theory will be explored. Possible purposes and consistency will determine which of these variations is most compatible with the Christian faith.

Second, a historical analysis will be made, primarily according to the testimonies of the early Church fathers. Since supporters of the doctrine of reincarnation often consider it to have been accepted by many of the early Christians before its supposed rejection at the council of Nicea, the focus of this section will be on the works of the ante-Nicene Church fathers.

Third, a biblical analysis will be made of the passages that are commonly given to support the doctrine of reincarnation, those that are used to deny the doctrine, and those that are relevant supplemental to the discussion.