THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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114. Are spirits good or bad by nature, or are the same spirits made better by the force of their own efforts?
“The same spirits are made better through their own efforts. They rise from a lower to a higher order as they improve.”


115. Are some spirits created good and others bad?
“God created all spirits simple and unaware, meaning lacking all knowledge. God has given them each a particular mission, to enlighten them and help them gradually reach perfection through the knowledge of the truth, and rise closer to Him. In that perfection they will fnd eternal bliss without any troubles. Spirits acquire knowledge by experiencing the trials inficted by God. While some accept these trials with resignation and arrive at their destiny more quickly, others are defant and remain far from the perfection and happiness promised to them through no fault other than their own.”


a) According to this statement, spirits are like children when they are born, unaware and without experience. However, gradually, they acquire the knowledge that they lack by experiencing the different phases of human life.
“Yes, that is a fair comparison. Rebellious children remain ignorant and imperfect; how much they beneft depends on their obedience. A person’s life has an end, while that of spirits extends beyond infnity.”


116. Do any spirits remain in the lower ranks forever?
“No, they all eventually become perfect. They change over the course of time, no matter how long the process may take. As we have already explained, a just and merciful father cannot condemn his children to eternal banishment. Do you presume that God, in His infnite goodness and Divine justice, is less kind than you?”


117. Are the spirits themselves responsible for accelerating their progress to perfection?
“Of course, they reach their goal more or less quickly depending on the force of their desire and the degree of their submission to God’s will. Doesn’t a docile and submissive child learn faster than one who is stubborn and lazy?”


118. Can spirits regress?
“No, they learn what has impeded their progress as they advance. When spirits fnish a trial, they learn the lesson of that trial and never forget it. They may remain stationary, but they never regress.”


119. Could God exempt spirits from the trials that they must still undergo in order to reach the highest rank?
“If they had been created perfect, they would not have merited the enjoyment of such perfection. Where would the merit be without struggle? Besides, the inequality that exists between spirits is necessary to develop their personality, and the mission that each spirit accomplishes at each step of their progress is part of God’s plan for ensuring the harmony of the universe.”


Since all individuals may reach the highest ranks of social life, we might as well ask: Why does the leader of a nation not make every soldier a general? Why are not all subordinate employees made into department heads? Why do all students not become teachers? This is the main difference between life in the social world and that of the spirit world. The frst is limited and does not give everyone the opportunity to rise to the top of society while the latter is unlimited, and ensures everyone the possibility of reaching supreme happiness.


120. Do all spirits travel the road of evil to arrive at good?
“The road traveled is more like the one of unawareness rather than evilness”


121. How is it that some spirits have traveled the road of the righteous, and others the road of evil?
“Do they not have free will? God has not created bad spirits; they were all created simple and unaware, possessing an equal aptitude for good or bad. Those who become bad become so of their own volition.”


122. How can spirits possess freedom of choice between good and bad at their origin when they have not yet acquired self-awareness? Is there any principle leading them to either one road over the other?
“Free will is developed as spirits acquire consciousness. Freedom would not exist for them if they made choices by any means other than use of their will. The causes that determine their choices are not within, but outside of them, via the infuences to which they voluntarily yield because of their free will. This choice is represented by the ‘fall of humanity’ and the concept of ‘original sin.’ Some spirits yield to temptation, while others resist it successfully.”


a) From where do the infuences that act upon them originate?
“From imperfect spirits who seek to dominate them, and take pleasure in watching their failures. This temptation is represented metaphorically as ‘Satan.”


b) Does this infuence only act upon a spirit at its inception?
“It follows the spirit through all the phases of existence, until it has acquired such absolute self-control that vile spirits abandon the attempt to tempt him or her.”


123. Why has God enabled the possibility of spirits taking the wrong road?
“How do you dare ask God to give account for the divine acts? Do you think you can penetrate God’s designs? Instead, you should say that the wisdom of God is shown in the free will that God grants to every spirit, for each has the merit of his or her actions.”


124. Since there are spirits who unwaveringly travel the path of righteousness right from the beginning and others who swerve onto the wrong path, isn’t it likely that there are many degrees of deviation between these two extremes? “Of course. These degrees constitute the paths of most spirits.”


125. Will spirits who have chosen the wrong road be able to reach the same degree of elevation as others?
“Yes, but the eternities will be longer for them.”
This expression, the eternities, must be understood as referring to the belief that inferior spirits hold regarding the endless nature of their suffering, resulting from the fact that they do not have the ability to foresee the end of that suffering. This conviction of the endlessness nature of the latter is reaffrmed after each new trial to which they have succumbed.


126. Are spirits who have reached the supreme degree after wandering down the wrong road less worthy than others in God’s eyes?
“God views the drifters who have returned to the right path with the same approval and loves them regardless of their past. They have been classifed as bad spirits, because they yielded to bad temptations. Before their fall, they were merely simple spirits.”


127. Are all spirits created equal in terms of intellectual capacity?
“They are all created equal, but as they do not know from where they originate, their free will must take its course. They progress more or less rapidly in both intelligence and morality.”


Spirits who follow the right path from the beginning do not attain perfection right away. Despite being free from iniquity, they have to acquire the experience and wide-ranging knowledge necessary for their perfection. They may be compared to children who, no matter how good their natural instincts are, need to be developed and enlightened, and who cannot mature without transition. Just as some people are good and others bad from infancy, some spirits are good and others bad from their inception. There is, however, one radical difference: a child possesses instincts that have already been formed, while the spirit, at its creation, is neither good nor bad. Rather, it possesses all possible tendencies, and strikes out on its path through the action of its free will.


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