THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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CHAPTER I
SPIRITS
Origin and Nature of Spirits - Primitive Normal World - Form and Omnipresence of Spirits - Perispirit - Different Orders of Spirits -Spirit Hierarchy - Progress of Spirits - Angels and Demons

Origin and Nature of Spirits

76. How can spirits be defned?
“Spirits may be defned as intelligent beings of the creation. They populate the universe outside the material world.”

NOTE. The word spirit is employed here to designate extra-corporeal beings, and not the universal intelligent element.

77. Are spirits distinct from the Divinity, or are they portions of the Divinity called sons or children of God for that reason?
“Good Gracious! Spirits are the work of God, just like a machine is the work of the person who made it. The machine is the product of the person’s work, but not the person. When human beings have created something useful, they call it their child or creation. Well then, the same applies to us in relation to God. We are God’s children because we are the product of Divine work.”

78. Do spirits have a beginning or birth, or have they existed for all eternity like God?
“If spirits did not have a beginning, they would be equal to God, but they are God’s creation and subject to Divine will. It is indisputable that God is eternal, but we know nothing in regard to when and how we were created. In this sense, we have had no beginning since God is eternal, the Creator must have unceasingly created. As to when and how each of us was made, I will repeat, no one knows. This is a mystery.”

79. Since there are two general elements in the universe, the intelligent element and the material element, is it correct to say that spirits are formed from the intelligent element as inert bodies are formed from the material element?
“Obviously. Spirits are the individualizations of the intelligent principle, as bodies are the individualizations of the material principle. It is the time and mode of this formation that are unknown to us.”

80. Is the creation of spirits continuous, or did it only take place at the beginning of time?
“It is continuous as God has never ceased to create.”

81. Are spirits formed spontaneously, or do they proceed from one another?
“God creates them as all other creatures were created, by Divine will. We repeat that their origin is a mystery.”

82. Is it accurate to say that spirits are immaterial?
“How could something for which no terms of comparison exist, and that your language is unable to express be defned? Can someone born blind defne light? Immaterial is not the right word, perhaps incorporeal would be more accurate, for a spirit, since it is a creation, it must be something real. The spirit is quintessentialized matter existing in a state that has no equivalent within your scope of comprehension, and it is so ethereal that it transcends your senses.”

We say that spirits are immaterial, because their essence differs from everything that we know as matter. A nation of blind people has no way of expressing light and its effects. For someone who is born blind, the only methods of perception are sound, smell, taste, and touch. He does not understand the ideas that would be perceived by a sense that he lacks. Accordingly, with respect to the essence of superhuman beings, we are truly blind. We can only defne them by comparisons that are imperfect or the product of our imagination.

83. Do spirits have an end? We understand that their source is eternal, but we want to know whether their individual existence has a fxed term, and if, after a given period of time, the element from which they are formed is re-distributed. Does it return to the mass from which they were produced, as is the fate of material bodies? It is diffcult to understand the concept that something that has had a beginning does not have an end.
“As humans have limited intelligence, there are many things that you do not understand. Regardless, this does not constitute suffIcient grounds for rejection. Children do not understand all that is understood by their parents, nor does an uneducated person understand all 66 Allan Kardec - The Spirits’ Book that is understood by an educated one. The existence of spirits has no end and that is all that we can reveal at this time.”

Primitive Normal World

84. Do spirits makeup a world that is separate from what we see?
“Yes, the world of spirits or incorporeal intelligences.”

85. Which of the two, the spirit world or the physical one, is the principal one in the order of things?
“The spirit world. It is preexistent to and survives everything else.”

86. Could the physical world cease to exist, or never have existed at all, without affecting the essence of the spirit world?
“Yes, they are independent of one another. And yet, their correlation is continuous for they ceaselessly react upon each other.”

87. Do spirits live in a specifc, restricted region in space?
“Spirits are everywhere and they populate infnite space in infnite number. Imperceptible to humans, they are always beside you, observing and acting upon you as they are one of the powers of nature and the instruments employed by God to accomplish God’s designs. All spirits do not go everywhere, and there are regions that are restricted to those who are less advanced.”

Form and Omnipresence of Spirits


88. Do souls have a fxed, limited, and unchanging form?
“For us, yes but not for you. You can imagine them as a fame, gleam or ethereal spark.” a) Is this fame or spark colored? “To you, it would vary between a dull gray and brilliant ruby, depending on the degree of the spirit’s purity.” Geniuses are usually represented with a fame or star on their foreheads – an allegorical allusion to the essential nature of spirits. The fame or star is on the head because it is the center of intelligence.

89. Do spirits require any time to travel through space?
“Yes, but their travel is as rapid as thought.” a) Isn’t thought the soul itself moving from one place to another? “Wherever the thought is, the soul is with it since it is the soul that thinks. Thought is an attribute.”

90. When a spirit travels, is it conscious of distance it travels and space it crosses, or is it suddenly transported to its desired destination?
“A spirit can travel either way. If it so wishes, it can be aware of the distance it travels, or it can completely disregard the sense of distance. This depends on the spirit’s will and degree of purity.”

91. Does matter impede a spirit’s movement?
“No, spirits pass through everything. Air, earth, water and even fre are all equally accessible to them.”

92. Do spirits have the gift of omnipresence? In other words, can a spirit divide itself, or exist at several points in space at the same time?
“A spirit cannot be divided, but every spirit radiates in all directions. That is how a spirit may appear to be in several places at once. The sun is only one body, yet it radiates in all directions and its rays of light travel great distances, but it is not divided.”

a) Do all spirits have the same power of radiation?
“This depends on the degree of their purity and varies greatly.” Each spirit is an indivisible unit, but it has the power of extending its thought without dividing itself. It is only in this sense that spirits are omnipresent. This capability is like that of a spark, emitting its brightness so strongly that it can be perceived from every point on the horizon; or like individuals who can transmit orders or signals to many distant points in several different directions without changing their position or dividing themselves.

Perispirit


93. Is the spirit uncovered or is it enveloped in a substance of some kind, as postulated by some?
“The spirit is enveloped in a vaporous substance, as you perceive it, although that would seem too heavy and cumbersome to us. It is suffciently vaporous to allow a spirit to foat in the atmosphere and travel through space as it so desires.”

As the seed of a fruit is surrounded by the perisperm, the spirit is surrounded by an envelope that, by analogy, may be called the perispirit.

94. From where does the spirit draw its semi-material envelope?
“From the universal fuid of each world. For this reason, the perispirit is not the same in every world. When traveling from one world to another, the spirit changes its envelope as you change your clothing.”

a) When spirits of higher worlds visit us, do they adopt a more material perispirit?
“Yes, they must clothe themselves with your matter in order to be able to enter your world, as we have already said.”

95. Does the semi-material envelope of the spirit assume specifc forms, and can it ever become perceptible to us?
“Yes, it can assume any form that the spirit may choose. This is how a spirit is sometimes able to make itself visible to you, whether in dreams or when awake, and can assume a form that may be visible and even tangible.”


Different Orders of Spirits


96. Are all spirits equal or is there a spirit hierarchy?
“There are varying degrees according to the level of purifcation that they have attained.”

97. Is there a set number of orders or degrees of purifcation among spirits?
“The number is unlimited, because there is no marked line between the different degrees of elevation. As there are no fxed or arbitrary divisions among spirits, there may be a greater or lesser number of orders, depending on the point of view from which they are contemplated. If we consider the general characteristics of spirits, we may reduce them to three principal orders.”

“The highest rank is held by those who have reached perfection. These are the pure spirits. In the second rank we have those who have reached the middle of the ladder. These spirits are mainly concerned with doing good. The third or lowest rank comprises those who are towards the bottom of the scale: the imperfect spirits. They are characterized by ignorance, a penchant for malevolence, and all the low passions that hinder their progress.”

98. Do second order spirits only desire good or do they also have the power to accomplish it?
“That power is proportionate to their degree of perfection. Some are distinguished by their scientifc knowledge, others by their wisdom and kindness. Despite this, it is still necessary for all of them to experience trials.”

99. Are all third order spirits essentially bad?
“No. Some are neutral, not doing any good or bad. In contrast, others take pleasure in wickedness and are delighted when they fnd an opportunity to do wrong. Others may be fippant or mischievous rather than malicious. They amuse themselves by perplexing the human beings on whom they are able to act and annoying them for their own pleasure.”

Spirit Hierarchy

100. Preliminary Observations. – Spirits are classifed based on the degree of their advancement, the qualities they have acquired, and the imperfections they still possess. This classifcation is by no means absolute. It is only a summary of the typical character of each category, for each fows seamlessly into the one immediately above it. Specifc characteristics of the successive categories blend into one another as is often the case in nature, as seen in the colors of the rainbow and the phases of a human life.

Consequently, spirits may be divided into a number of classes, depending on one’s perspective, as in the case of any other scientifc classifcation system. The systems adopted may be more or less comprehensive, rational or appropriate for understanding, but, regardless of this, they have no effect on the facts of science. When questioned in this respect, spirits vary as to the number of categories into which they are divided. This is not a matter of practical importance. Too much emphasis is placed on this contradiction by those who fail to realize that disembodied intelligences completely dismiss any form of orthodoxy. For them, the meaning of a statement is the only important factor. They leave its form, as well as the choice of terms and classifcation to us – basically all that is required to establish systems.

We should also never lose sight of the fact that spirits, just like physical beings, can be very unaware. We can never be too careful in believing that all spirits know everything simply because they are spirits.

Classification requires a method, analysis, and thorough knowledge of the subject. Spirits who possess only a small amount of knowledge are as incapable as unaware human beings in terms of grasping the whole scope of any subject, let alone formulating a system. They have no idea, or at best, an imperfect one, regarding any sort of classifcation. All spirits superior to them appear to be of the highest order, because they are incapable of distinguishing between the various shades of knowledge, capacity and integrity by which they are separated, much like a savage would not be able to distinguish between the characteristics of civilized people. Even those who are capable of making this perception may vary in their comprehension of details, according to their unique perspective, especially in regard to a matter that is not unconditional. Linnaeus, Jussieu and Tournefort each have their own classifcation system, but the nature of botany has not changed due to this variation between botanists. They have not invented plants or their characteristics, only observed certain analogies, according to which they have formed certain groups or classes. We have proceeded in the same fashion. We have not invented spirits or their characteristics, only seen and observed them. We have then judged them by their own words and actions, and then classifed them by similarity. Our classifcation is based on the information provided by them.

Spirits generally acknowledge the existence of three primary categories, or main divisions. The bottom of the hierarchy is made up of imperfect spirits who are characterized by the predominance of material instincts over the moral nature, and the propensity to be wicked. Second degree spirits are good spirits characterized by the predominance of the moral nature over material instincts, and the desire for good. The frst or highest category consists of those who are pure spirits and have attained the supreme degree of perfection.

This division of spirits into three separate categories is perfectly logical, and under this general classifcation, we only need to highlight subdivisions within these three categories. We have done this with the assistance of the spirits themselves, whose benevolent teachings have never failed us.

Using this table, it is easy to determine the superiority or inferiority of the spirits with whom we may communicate, and, consequently, the respect and confdence to which they are entitled. Determining these points is a key to Spiritism, as by enlightening us in regard to the intellectual and moral inequalities of spirits, it can explain the inconsistencies presented by spirit communications. We have, however, remarked that spirits do not always belong exclusively to one specifc class. As their progress is only accomplished gradually, they may display the characteristics of several categories, a fact that is easily reconciled by scrutinizing their language and their actions.

THIRD ORDER – IMPERFECT SPIRITS


101. General Characteristics – Matter has a predominant infuence over the spirit. The spirit has a propensity to do wrong and is marked by ignorance, pride, selfshness, and all the related vile passions.

They intuitively realize the existence of God, but they do not understand God.

They are not all entirely bad. Many of these spirits are more frivolous, lacking reasoning power, and love mischief, rather than being downright malicious. Some do neither good nor bad, but the very fact that they do not do good is a glaring indication of their subservience. In contrast, others take immense pleasure in doing wrong, and are thrilled when they discover an opportunity to do wrong.

A certain amount of intelligence is often associated with malice and the love of mischief in these spirits. However, regardless of their intellectual development, their ideas lack elevation, and their sentiments are inferior, overall.

Their knowledge of the spirit world is narrow, and what they do know is muddled with the prejudices of the physical life. They give false and incomplete notions of the spirit world, but an intent observer may always fnd the validation of great truths proclaimed by higher spirits, no matter how imperfect their communication may be.

Their language reveals their character. Every spirit who betrays malicious intentions may be ranked in the third order. Every bad thought suggested to our minds comes from a spirit of this order.

The happiness enjoyed by good spirits causes everlasting torment on spirits of the third order. It stems from the anguish produced by envy and jealousy.

They retain the memory and perception of physical suffering, and this impression is often more painful than reality. They suffer both from the misfortunes they have themselves endured, and those that they have caused to others. As this torture persists for a very long time, they feel that they are destined to suffer for eternity. God allows them to believe in this eternal suffering as a form of atonement.

They may be further divided into fve main classes.

102. Tenth Class – IMPURE SPIRITS. – These spirits are inclined to wrongdoing, and make it the center of their attention. As spirits, they give false and devious advice, cause confict and suspicion, and don every mask possible to more effectively deceive humans. They torment weak people who yield to their suggestions, and take great joy in delaying their advancement and causing them to fail in the trials of corporeal life.

These spirits are recognized easily by the language they use while communicating. Vulgar or trivial language, whether employed by spirits or human beings, is always an indication of moral and at times intellectual inferiority. Their communications reveal the immorality of their inclinations. Try all they might to infuence us by speaking in a thoughtful manner, they are unable to keep up the charade, and eventually betray their true nature.

Some people designate them as malevolent divinities, while others call them demons, evil geniuses or bad spirits.

The human beings embodying such spirits are addicted to all the vices of debasing passions – sensuality, cruelty, deceit, hypocrisy, greed, and avarice. They commit heinous acts solely for the sake of doing evil, without having any specifc motive and, as they hate all that is good, they generally target honest victims. They are a plague upon humanity, regardless of their social standing, and the mask of civilization is not enough to hide their ignorance and depravity.

103. Ninth Class – FRIVOLOUS SPIRITS. – These spirits are ignorant, mischievous, irrational, and masters of ridicule. They intrude in everything, and reply to every question with no regard for the truth. They delight in irritating others, raising false hopes, and misleading people with hoaxes and tricks. The spirits commonly called goblins, sprites, will-o’-the-wisps, and gnomes belong to this class. They are often utilized as servants by spirits of higher orders.

In their communications with people, they are often witty and lighthearted but extremely superfcial. They are quick to pick up on people’s quirks and traits, on which they comment sarcastically. They are fond of borrowing the names of respected individuals for sport, rather than attempting to genuinely deceive.

104. Eighth Class – FALSE SCHOLARS. – These spirits often possess considerable knowledge, but fancy knowing a great deal more than they actually know. Having accomplished a certain degree of progress, their language has a tone of dignity that may easily give a false impression of their enlightenment. In truth, their ideas are generally nothing more than the refection of the preconceptions and fawed reasoning of their human life. Their statements are a combination of truths and the most absurd errors, overwhelmed by arrogance, pride, jealousy, and stubbornness, from which they have not been able to free themselves.


105. Seventh Class – NEUTRAL SPIRITS. – These spirits are neither good enough to do right, nor bad enough to do wrong. They sometimes are inclined to one, sometimes to the other and are equal to humankind in terms of both integrity and intelligence. They are strongly attached to the things of this world, and greatly miss all their material satisfactions.

106. Sixth Class – BOISTEROUS AND DISRUPTIVE SPIRITS. – Strictly speaking, these spirits do not form a clear-cut category based on their personal qualities, they may even belong to any of the third order classes. They often reveal themselves by producing of phenomena perceptible to people, such as knocking, the movement and abnormal displacement of inert bodies, rustling the air, and other similar occurrences. They appear to be attached to matter more than any other type of spirit, and are the principal agents in determining changes in the physical elements, air, water, fre, or in the entrails of the earth. Whenever these phenomena present a deliberate or intelligent nature, a random, physical cause should never be assumed. All spirits can produce physical phenomena, but elevated spirits usually leave them to the devices of lower spirits, who are more suitable to act upon matter than intelligent matters. When higher spirits deem that manifestations of this nature are of some noble use, they employ subordinate spirits as their aids.


SECOND ORDER – GOOD SPIRITS

107. General Characteristics – These spirits prevail over matter and desire excellence. Their qualities and power to do good match their degree of perfection. While some possess scientifc knowledge, others have acquired wisdom and charity. The more advanced spirits combine intelligence with moral superiority. Not yet completely dematerialized, they preserve the traces of their physical existence, which vary greatly according to their rank. These traces are seen either in their method of expression, practices, or even in the quirks and habits still retained by them. If it were not for these weaknesses and imperfections, they would be able to be pure spirits.

They understand God and infnity, and share the happiness of higher spirits. Doing good and preventing malevolence truly inspires them and makes them happy. Envy, regret and all the bad passions that torment imperfect spirits have no place in the hearts of good spirits, the love that unites them is an overwhelming source of happiness. Nevertheless, they still have trials to undergo to reach absolute perfection.

As spirits, they inspire good thoughts, turn people away from the path of wickedness, protect those whose actions make them worthy of their assistance, and neutralize the infuence of lower spirits on the minds of those who do not willingly yield to the sinful guidance of the latter.

The human beings that these spirits reincarnate into are good and compassionate towards others. They are motivated neither by pride, selfshness, nor ambition. They feel neither hatred, resentment, envy, nor jealousy, and do good purely for the sake of doing good.

Good, protective, and benevolent spirits belong to this order. During periods of ignorance and superstition, people worshiped them as benefcent deities.

They may be divided into four main groups.

108. Fifth Class – BENEVOLENT SPIRITS. – These spirits shine in their sense of kindness. They take pleasure in helping and protecting people. Their knowledge is somewhat narrow and although they have progressed in the moral sense, they are lacking in intelligence.

109. Fourth Class – SCHOLARLY SPIRITS. – These spirits are particularly marked by the vast extent of their knowledge. They are more interested in scientifc research, for which they have a greater aptitude, than moral issues. Their scientifc studies are always focused on practical utility, and are entirely free of the passions commonly possessed by imperfect spirits.

110. Third Class – WISE SPIRITS. – These spirits are set apart by their extremely elevated moral qualities. Not yet possessing unlimited knowledge, they have an intellectual capacity that enables them to judge people and things correctly.

111. Second Class – SUPERIOR SPIRITS. – These spirits exemplify scientifc knowledge, wisdom, and goodness. Their language only displays benevolence and it is always dignifed and elevated, often times sublime. Their superiority makes them the most likely to be motivated to share the most honest ideas with respect to the invisible world with human beings, within the limits of the knowledge permitted to us. They willingly communicate with those who honestly seek truth, and with those who have freed themselves enough from the shackles of materialism to be capable of understanding it. They dismiss those whose inquiries are prompted only by curiosity, or who veer from the path of righteousness in pursuit of material temptations.

Under exceptional circumstances, they may incarnate on Earth to accomplish a mission of advancement or development, and they show us the ideal perfection to which we can hope to attain on Earth.


FIRST ORDER – PURE SPIRITS

112. General Characteristics. – Matter has no infuence over these spirits. They are characterized by the moral and intellectual superiority in relation to the spirits of others.

113. First Class – ONLY CLASS. – These spirits have climbed every rung of the ladder of progress, and have shed all the impurities of matter. As they have reached the sum of perfection that can be achieved by created beings, they no longer experience trials or tribulations. No longer subjected to reincarnation, they enter eternal life in the immediate presence of God. They enjoy permanent happiness, because they are no longer subject to the wants or variations of material life. This happiness is not the tedious idleness of perpetual contemplation. They are God’s messengers and ministers, the executors of God’s will in maintaining universal harmony. They exercise independent control over all inferior spirits, aid them in accomplishing their purifcation, and assign each of them a mission for their progress.

They genuinely strive to assist human beings in their time of need by motivating them to the love of good or making amends for the faults that keep them from supreme happiness. They are sometimes called angels, archangels, or seraphim

People can communicate with them; however, those who claim to have them constantly at their service are foolishly arrogant.


Progress of Spirits

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.

Angels and Demons

128. Do angels, archangels and seraphim constitute a special category different than that of other spirits?
“No, they are pure spirits. Those who have reached the highest degree of the ladder are all united in perfection.” The word angel generally implies the idea of moral perfection, but it is often applied to all superhuman beings, good or bad. Therefore we say, “a good angel,” “a bad angel,” “an angel of light,” “the angel of darkness,” and so on. In those cases, it is synonymous with spirit. It is employed here in its most popular sense.

129. Have the angels passed through every degree of progress?
“Yes, but with the difference that we have already mentioned. Some of them, accepting their mission with resignation, have reached their goal more quickly, while others have taken longer in reaching the same goal.”

130. If the opinion that acknowledges that some beings have been created perfect and superior to all others is wrong, why is this belief found in almost every population or religion?
“You need to understand that your world has not existed for all eternity. Long before it existed, masses of spirits had already attained the supreme degree. Therefore, the people on Earth naturally assume that those perfected spirits have always been at the same degree of elevation.”

131. Do demons, as commonly understood, exist? “If demons existed, they would be God’s work. Would it be just, on the part of God, to create beings eternally condemned to a life of wickedness and misery? If demons exist, it is in your low world, and any others of a similar degree. People who represent a just God as being cruel and vindictive, and who believe they will receive God’s approval through the misdeeds they commit are hypocrites.”

The word demon only implies the idea of bad spirits in its modern acceptance. Its Greek root daimon signifes genius or intelligence, and is applied broadly to all immaterial beings, whether good or bad.

Demons or devils, according to the popular meaning attributed to these words, are allegedly a class of beings that are fundamentally bad. If they exist, they would be God’s creation, just like everything else. However, a supremely just and good God would not have created beings predestined to evil by their very nature and condemned to a life of eternal misery. If they are not a creation of God, they must either have existed for all eternity, like God, or there must be several supreme beings.

The frst requirement of any theory is to be logical. The idea that postulates the existence of demons, as commonly known, lacks this essential condition. It is natural that underdeveloped people, who know nothing of God’s attributes and profess the existence of malicious deities, should also acknowledge the existence of demons. For people who acknowledge God’s goodness as an attribute par excellence, it would be illogical to presume that God could have created beings destined to do bad deeds forever. This belief would confict with God’s goodness. Those who believe in devils appeal to the words of Christ to 80 support their theory. Far be it from us to challenge the authority of his teachings, which we would be delighted to see practiced in the hearts of humans, rather than solely preached from their lips. Are those advocates sure of the meaning attributed by Jesus to the word “devil”? It is common knowledge that his teachings and the Gospels contain many allegorical narratives that should not be taken literally. To prove that such is the case, we only need to cite the following passage:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass until all these things have taken place.”

Does science not contradict the Bible, particularly in reference to creation and the movement of the Earth? Could this not also be the case as with other fgurative expressions employed by Christ to adapt his teachings to the time and place of his mission?

Christ would not have knowingly made a false statement. Therefore, if his words appear to contradict reason, either we do not understand their meaning or we have interpreted them incorrectly.

Just as people have imagined angels as being created eternally perfect, they have also imagined that demons are lower spirits that are eternally bad. The word demon should be understood as indicating impure spirits who often are no better than the imaginary beings implied by those names, but with the difference that their impurity is temporary. They are imperfect spirits who defy the discipline of their trial, and who must experience that trial for a longer period of time. Nevertheless, they will ultimately reach the goal when they have decided to do so by their own free will. Demon could be used in this sense, but as it commonly conveys the meaning that has now proven to be false, its use could lead to error by appearing to acknowledge the existence of beings specifcally created for wrongdoing.

Satan is a personifcation of evil in a metaphorical form, because it is impossible to admit the existence of a malicious being fghting God, and whose sole aim is to thwart God’s designs. As images and fgures are needed to make a strong impact on the human imagination, people have adopted material forms for immaterial beings, with attributes that suggest good or bad qualities. In the past, human beings had personifed time as an old man holding a scythe and an hourglass. The image of a young man would have contradicted common sense. The same may be said of the allegories of fortune, truth, and so on. Modern individuals have depicted angels or pure spirits as radiant beings with white wings, a symbol of purity. In contrast, Satan has horns, claws, and the attributes of bestiality, symbols of the lowest passions. Human beings tend to take things literally and have mistaken these symbols for actual personalities, as they formerly regarded Saturn as the allegory of Time.

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