THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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CHAPTER
I
GOD
God and Infinity - Proofs of God’s Existence - Attributes of Divinity - Pantheism God and Infnity


God and Infinity

1. What is God?
“God is the Supreme Intelligence, the frst cause of all things.”8 (1)


2. What is to be understood by infnity?
“That which has neither a beginning nor an end, the unknown. All that is unknown is infnite.”

3. Can it be said that God is the infnite?
“This is an incomplete defnition. One shortcoming of the language of humankind is that it lacks the ability to defne that which transcends human intelligence.”

God is infnite in Divine perfections, but infnity is an abstraction. Asserting that God is infnite is to substitute the attribute of something with the thing itself, and to defne something unknown by reference to something else that is likewise unknown.


_______________________________________________________________________________________________________
(1) The text in quotation marks following each question is the actual response given by the spirits. The comments and clarifcations added by the author are in a smaller font whenever they might otherwise be confused with the spirits’ response. Where the author’s comments constitute full chapters, the regular font is maintained, as there is no possibility of confusion. A.K.


Proofs of God’s Existence

4. Where can the proof of God’s existence be found? “In a premise that is applied in science: there is no effect without a cause. Investigate the cause of anything that is not the work of human beings and reason shall provide the answer.” To believe in God, simply observe the works of creation. The universe exists, therefore there is a cause. Doubting the existence of God would be to deny that every effect has a cause, and to presuppose the idea that something could be created from nothing.
5. What inference can be drawn from the innate perception possessed by all of humanity concerning God’s existence?
“That God exists, because from where would this idea originate if there were no real basis? Once again, this is a corollary of the principle stating that there can be no effect without a cause.”

6. Could our intuitive sense of God’s existence simply be the result of education and the product of acquired ideas?
“If such were the case, how could this intuitive sense be retained by primitive cultures?”

If the sentiment of the existence of a Supreme Being were solely the result of education, it would not be universal and would only exist, like all acquired knowledge, in the minds of those who have received this education.

7. Is the frst cause of creation found in the essential properties of matter?
“Then what would be the cause of these properties? There must always be a frst cause.”

To attribute creation to the essential properties of matter would be to consider the effect as a cause, because these properties are an effect, which must in turn have a cause.

8. What should we think of the opinion that creation was an unplanned combination of matter, in other words, pure chance? “Another absurdity! What person possessing common sense can seriously view chance as an intelligent agent? Besides, what is chance? Nothing.”

The harmony that regulates the universe can only result from predetermined combinations and ends, thereby revealing the existence of an intelligent power. Attributing creation to chance is irrational because chance is blind and cannot produce the effects of intelligence. If chance were intelligent, it would no longer be chance.

9. Where may we see in the frst cause of all things a supreme intelligence, superior to all other intelligences?
“There is the proverb that dictates, ‘The worker is known by his or her work.’ In that case, look at the work and you will fnd the author. Pride is what creates skeptics. Arrogant human beings want nothing to be above them, which is why they are called strong-minded. Pitiful beings, just one breath from God would obliterate them!”

We evaluate the power of intelligence by its works. As no human being could create that which is produced by nature, the frst cause must be superior to humans. Regardless of the wonders accomplished by humankind, human intelligence itself has a cause and the greater the results achieved, the greater the cause of which it is the effect. It is this supreme intelligence that is the frst cause of all things, whatever name humanity may bestow upon it.

Attributes of Divinity

10. Is humanity capable of comprehending the essential nature of God?
“No, human beings lack the sense required to comprehend it.”

11. Will humans ever be able to understand the mystery of Divinity?
“Humans will see and understand God when their spirits are no longer obscured by matter, and when they have come closer by striving for perfection.”

The inferiority of human faculties makes it impossible for human beings to fully grasp the essential nature of God. In the early stages of life, humans often confuse the Creator with the creature, and attribute the imperfections of the latter to God. As the moral sense of human beings becomes more developed, they are able to penetrate the nature of things more deeply. They will be able to form a truer more conforming and rational idea of God, even though it will always be incomplete.

12. If we cannot comprehend the essential nature of God, can we grasp an idea of some of God’s perfections?
“Yes, some of them. Human beings understand them better as they rise above matter. They catch glimpses of them through thought.”

13. We say that God is eternal, infnite, unchangeable, immaterial, unique, all-powerful, supremely just and good. Is this not a complete impression of God’s attributes?
“From your point of view, yes, because you think that you sum up everything in those terms. However, you must understand that there are things that transcend the intelligence of even the most intelligent human being, and that your language cannot express. Reason tells you that God must possess all these qualities in the supreme degree because if one of them were short or not possessed to an infnite degree, the Creator would not be superior to everything and everyone, and thus would not be God. To be above all things, God must have no variations and must have no conceivable imperfections.”

God is eternal. If God had a beginning, it either would have had to spring from nothing, or have been created by a being that existed before God. This is how we gradually arrive at the idea of infnity and eternity.

God is unchangeable. If God were subject to change, the laws governing the universe would be unstable.

God is immaterial. God’s nature is completely different from everything that we call matter. Otherwise, God would not be unchangeable. God would be subject to the transformations of matter.

God is unique. If several Gods existed, there would be neither unity in the plans of the universe, nor power in its organization.

God is all-powerful because God is unique. Without supreme power, there would be something more powerful than, or as powerful as God. The Creator would not have created everything and those which God had not created would be the work of another God.

God is supremely just and good. The great wisdom of the Divine laws is clearly revealed in the smallest and the greatest things. This wisdom makes it impossible to doubt God’s justice or goodness.

Pantheism

14. Is God a distinct being, or as some believe, or as some believe, the result of all the forces and intelligences of the universe combined?
“If it were the former, God would not be God because the work of creation would be an effect and not the cause. God cannot be both the cause and effect.”
“God exists. You cannot doubt this, and that is a crucial point. Do not try to go beyond it. Do not get lost in a labyrinth from which you will never fnd an exit. Trying to go farther will not make you any better; instead, it would only increase your pride by causing you to believe that you know something, while in reality you know nothing. Cast aside all these systems. You have enough to worry about that directly affects you, beginning with yourselves. Study your own imperfections so that you may shed them. This will be far more useful to you than any attempt to penetrate the impenetrable.”

15. What about the concept that all of nature, beings and worlds of the universe are parts of the Divinity, and they are in their entirety Divinity itself, i.e. the Pantheistic Doctrine? “Human beings cannot be God. Upon recognizing this, they want to, at least, be a part of God.”

16. Those who support this doctrine claim to fnd some of God’s attributes in it. As there are an infnite number of worlds, then God is infnite. As vacuum or nothingness is nowhere, God is everywhere. Since God is everywhere and everything is an integral part of God; God gives an intelligent purpose to all natural phenomena. How can we oppose this reasoning?
“Reason. Think long and maturely about the assumption in question and you will have no trouble fnding its irrationality.”

This doctrine makes God a material being who, despite being endowed with supreme intelligence, would only be a large scale version of what we are. However, as matter is incessantly transforming, God would have no stability if this theory were true. God would be subject to all the instabilities and needs of humanity. God would lack one of the essential attributes of Divinity, the quality of being unchangeable. The properties of matter cannot be attributed to God without lowering divinity in our thoughts, and all the subtleties of sophism fail to solve the problem of God’s essential nature. While we do not know all that God is, we know what God cannot be and the theory stated above directly contradicts God’s essential attributes. It mistakes the Creator for the creature, as if one were to consider a clever machine to be a vital part of the engineer who designed it. God’s intelligence is revealed in the work of creation, as an artist in his or her canvas. God’s works are no more part of God than the canvas is the artist who painted it.


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