Much more important in terms of salvation is the fact that Jesus, according to the Rastas, taught a form of Gnosticism. As already mentioned, Rastafarians hold to the immanence of Jah in creation, and the necessity of inner knowledge for the process of redemption.
Like many gnostic movements throughout history, some find the accounts of the resurrection of both Jesus and Lazarus to provide evidence, not of a physical but spiritual rebirth: The Rastafarians are of the view that the resurrection of Christ should never be monopolized by ‘the Christians’ but is the SPIRITUAL BIRTHRIGHT of every human being endowed with soul and spirit, whatever his religion may be. Such an individual becomes and is a Christ-Man. Thus, they uphold the salvific of all religions.
They argue that the ‘born again’ to which Jesus refers (John 3:3), then, is not physical (that’s the Rasta rejection of baptism by water), but mental and spiritual, and refers to a complete change of consciousness, through the acquisition of wisdom. Thus, the resurrection is to eternal life in this life, not at some future time, and in this body, not as a spirit.
For Rastafarians, the redemptive role of Jesus is not necessary; existence and salvation are seen, as in Buddhist or Hindu practice, as being dependent on knowledge and wisdom, and not on the elimination of sin. Thus, no redemptive death is necessary to atone for the sins of all humanity. Rather, a process of the development of inner knowledge is required to dissolve the false conceptions and lethargy imposed by the idea of an external redeemer. Jah, as the Rastafari have named their supreme being, is immanent in the material world.
As such, all have equal access to him, and indeed the path of Rastafari is one in which one’s connection with Jah, and identification of oneself as divine, of the same nature as God, is not only encouraged, but mandatory. Rastas themselves utterly reject the acceptance of death and believe that if they live correctly, with full knowledge of their divine identity, they too will not die. They believe that Moses, Elijah, Jesus, and Haile Selassie did not die and so if they also through knowledge live right they will not die.
Further, the Rastas argue that if Jesus is God, as the Christian Churches have always taught, then he could never die, or else all creation would die with him.
Finally, the Rastafarians believe that Christians are denying the black man his true destiny by daily representing to him a God who expects them to be humble and to bear suffering and shame in this life for imaginary heaven somewhere in the sky after death. To the Rastafarians, eternal life is in the here and now, this doctrine is a total farce that Christians must not accept. They believe that Ethiopia is the holy land, a Heaven on Earth where true Rastas live eternally as bodily and spiritual immortals, negating the need for an afterlife.