INCARNATION OF SPIRITS
Purpose of Incarnation - The Soul - Materialism
Purpose of Incarnation
132. What is the purpose of spirit incarnation?
“God imposes incarnation as a tool to reach perfection. For some
it is a means of making amends, while for others it is a mission. Every
spirit must experience the diffculties of physical existence to reach
perfection, therein lies their atonement. Incarnation also requires a
spirit to contribute to the work of creation. To fulfll this purpose, spirits
assume physical bodies in harmony with the material state of each
world to accomplish the missions that have been appointed to them
by God. Through these missions they contribute to the general good
while also achieving their own advancement.”
The action of physical beings is necessary to the operation of
the universe, but God has wisely designed this action to serve
as a means of climbing closer to God. Thus, through the law of
providence, all things are connected and everything in nature
133. Is incarnation necessary for spirits who have followed the right path
from the outset?
“All spirits are created simple and unaware, and learn through
the trials and tribulations of corporeal life. God is just. Our Creator
could not create some spirits happy, without their having experienced
pain or without their having made an effort, in other words without
a) So what do spirits gain by following the right path, since they are not
exempt from the suffering of corporeal life?
“They reach their goals more quickly. Pain and suffering in the
physical life is often a consequence of the spirit’s imperfection. The
fewer the imperfections, the less it suffers. If a spirit is neither envious,
jealous, greedy, nor ambitious, it is not forced to experience the torture
that is a consequence of those faws.”
134. What is the soul?
“An incarnated spirit.”
a) What was the soul before being united with a body?
b) Are souls and spirits one and the same thing?
“Yes, souls are spirits. Before joining a body, the soul is one of the
intelligent beings living in the invisible world. It assumes a physical
body temporarily to complete its purifcation and enlightenment.”
135. Is a person made up of anything other than a soul and a body?
“The link that unites the soul and the body.”
a) What is the nature of this link?
“It is semi-material, it is the intermediary between the soul and the
body. This is required for communication between the soul and the
body. The spirit can act upon matter and vice versa through this link.”
Therefore, human beings are made up of three essential elements:
1) The body, or material being, similar to animals, and given
life by the same vital principle;
2) The soul, or incarnated spirit, which is housed in the body;
3) The intermediary principle, or perispirit, which is a semi-material
substance. It is the innermost envelope of the spirit and
unites the soul with the body. This three-part nature is equivalent
to that of a fruit, which includes the seed, the perisperm,
and the rind or shell.
136. Is the soul independent of the vital principle?
“The body is merely the envelope, as we have repeated multiple times.”
a) Can a body exist without a soul?
“Yes, however, when the body dies that the soul leaves it. The union
between the soul and the body is not complete before birth, but once
this union is established, only physical death can break the bond uniting
the body to the soul. Organic life may exist in a body without a
soul, but the soul cannot live in a body deprived of organic life.”
b) What would our body be if it had no soul?
“A mass of fesh without intelligence, anything you would like to
call it, except a human being.”
137. Can the same spirit incarnate two different bodies at the same time?
“No, the spirit cannot be divided and cannot live in two different
bodies at the same time.” (See The Mediums’ Book, chapter on Bi-corporeality
138. What should we think about some people’s opinion that the soul is the
principle of material life?
“This is a matter of words, to which we impart very little importance.
Before anything else, you should come to an agreement
139. Some spirits, and some philosophers before them, have defned the soul
as “an animated spark emanating from the Great Whole.” What is the cause
of this contradiction?
“There is no contradiction. It depends on the meaning you attribute
to certain words. Why does your language not have a word for
The word soul is often used to express very different things.
Sometimes it is used to refer to the principle of life and in this
sense it is correct to fguratively state that the soul is an animated
spark emanating from the Great Whole. These words
describe the universal source of the vital principle, of which
each being absorbs a portion, and that returns to the general
mass after death. This idea does not in any way exclude that of
a separate moral being, independent of matter, maintaining
its own individuality. This being is also called the soul, and it is
in this sense that we speak of the soul as an incarnate spirit. In
having different defnitions for the word soul, spirits each use
their own version according to their personal perspectives and
the earthly ideas that they still support. This is just one example
of the inadequacy of the human language, which does not have
a unique word for each idea, a shortcoming that causes a vast
number of misunderstandings and disputes. It is for this reason
that the higher spirits tell us to frst come to a mutual understanding
in terms of our definitions. (1)
(1) Refer to the explanation regarding the word soul in the introduction, Section II. A.K.
140. What should we think of the theory that the soul is subdivided into as many
parts as there are muscles in the body, each ruling over a bodily function?
“It still depends on the meaning attributed to the word soul. If you
equate the soul with the vital fuid, that theory is correct. If the word
is used to express an incarnate spirit, it is wrong. We said that a spirit cannot be divided. Therefore, movement is transmitted to the organs
through the intermediary fluid, without ever dividing itself up.”
a) All the same, there are spirits who have given this definition.
“Ignorant spirits often mistake the effect for the cause.”
The soul acts through organs, and those organs are given life
by the vital fuid distributed among them, and more abundantly
in those that constitute the centers or foci of movement for
each organism. This explanation is no longer acceptable when
the term soul is used to signify a spirit that inhabits the body
during life and vacates it at death.
141. Is there any truth to the belief that the soul is outside the body and surrounds
“The soul is not locked inside the body like a bird in a cage. It
radiates in all directions, and manifests itself outside the body as light
radiates from a glass globe, or as sound emanates from a loudspeaker.
In this sense, the soul can be understood as being outside the body,
but it does not envelop the body. The soul has two envelopes: the perispirit,
which is its frst, innermost envelope, being light and subtle in
nature. The other is the body, which is crude, material, and heavy. The
soul is the center of both these envelopes, like a nut in its shell, as we
have already explained.”
142. What should we think of the theory that the soul of a child is completed
during each period of human life?
“There is only one spirit and it is whole in both children and
adults. The bodily organs, which serve as the instruments for manifestations
of the soul, are gradually developed and completed. Again, you
mistake the effect for the cause.”
143. Why do spirits have different defnitions for the term soul?
“All spirits are not equally enlightened in regard to these matters.
Some spirits are not so advanced intellectually; they are incapable of
digesting abstract concepts. They are like children in your world. Other
spirits are false scholars, and ineffectively use words to impose their
authority upon others. They also resemble many individuals in your
world. Even spirits who are truly enlightened may express themselves
in terms that on the surface appear to be different, but, at heart, they
actually mean the same thing. This is especially true in regard to matters
that your language fails to accurately express, and that can only be
conveyed through fgures and comparisons that you in turn misinterpret
144. What should we understand of the concept called the ‘soul of the world’?
“It is the universal principle of life and intelligence from which
individual spirits are born. People often use these terms without truly
knowing what they mean. The word soul is so variable that everyone
interprets it according to their own perceptions or ideas. Sometimes a
soul is attributed to the Earth, which must be understood as indicating
the collection of devoted spirits who give you proper guidance when
you listen to them, and who are God’s deputies in your world.”
145. How have so many philosophers, from both ancient and modern times,
discussed psychological questions for so long without arriving at the truth?
“Those persons were the predecessors of Spiritism. They have
paved the way for others. They were subject to errors and often mistook
their own ideas for true light because they were human beings,
but these same errors have served truth by showcasing the pros and
cons of the argument. Additionally, there are many truths among
these errors that a comparative study would reveal to you.”
146. Does the soul have a fxed center in the body?
“No, but it is said to reside in the head among people of great intellect
and prolifc thinkers, while it is said to reside in the heart of people
who are sentimental and possessive of a more humanitarian nature.”
a) What should we think of the opinion that the soul in some vital center?
“That is to say that the spirit may reside in this spot in your body
because it is where all sensations meet. However, those who place it in
what they consider the center of vitality mistake it for the vital fuid or
principle. In any case, the soul has a stronger presence in organs that
are moral and intellectual indicators.”
147. Why do anatomists, physiologists, and those who study natural sciences
generally accept materialism?
“Physiologists relate everything to their senses. Human pride fancies
knowing everything, and refuses to admit that there are things
that transcend human intelligence. Science itself even spawns arrogance,
since scientists think that nature can hide nothing from them.”
148. It is unfortunate that materialism is a consequence of scientifc studies
that should, quite the contrary show people the superiority of the Divine Intelligence
that governs the world. Should we conclude that those who embrace
those studies are dangerous?
“Materialism, rather than being a consequence of those studies, is
a false result arrived at by individuals who have drawn incorrect conclusions.
These conclusions cause errors in perception and distort practically
everything, including the best things. The idea of nothingness
perplexes them more than they let on, and those who proclaim their
materialistic convictions the loudest are more often than not, brash
rather than brave. Most materialists only cling to this belief because
they have nothing with which to fll the void. Throw a frm line to those
who only see a gaping void before them, and they will grasp it eagerly.”
It is an aberration of the intelligence that leads some to see
nothing in organic beings but the action of matter, and attribute
all the phenomena of existence to this action. They see
the human body as the action of an electrical machine. They
have studied the mechanism of life only in terms of the functioning
of the bodily organs. When they see this life terminated
by the splitting of a single thread, they see nothing but this
thread. They have looked to see whether anything remained,
and never having witnessed the soul departing from the body,
conclude that everything can be reduced to matter simply because
this machine has become nothing more to them than
an inert mass of fesh. To them, death is the extinction of all
thought. This is a very dreary perception, because then good
and evil would have no purpose, and every person would be
vindicated in thinking only of oneself. All thoughts and actions
would fall to the wayside in favor of material satisfaction, all
social ties would be broken, and the purest feelings would be
destroyed forever. Fortunately these ideas are only kept by the
few rather than the general population. Their extent may even
be limited to individual opinions, because they have not been
offcially established in any doctrine. A society founded on such
a basis would contain the poison for its own downfall, and its
members would tear each other apart like vicious beasts.
Human beings instinctively believe that things do not end
with this life. They are petrifed of oblivion. Regardless of how
strongly they attack the idea of a future life, very few do not refect
on what lies in store for them upon death. The thought of
permanently departing from life is horrifying. Who could honestly
view with complete apathy the prospect of being separated
from loved ones forever? Who could confdently stare down
the immense void of nothingness before them that will swallow
up all their faculties and hopes and calmly say to themselves,
“There is nothing after death and it will all be over. In a few
days no memory of me will remain in the minds of those who
survive me, and the Earth will bear no trace of my existence.
All the good that I have done will be forgotten by the ingrates whom I have helped. There is nothing to reward me for this, no
other prospect than my body being devoured by worms!”
Isn’t there something frightening and chilling in this picture?
Religion teaches us that our destiny could not be this bleak,
and reason confrms it. But this vague and indefnite future
does not satisfy our natural desire for proof. It is this lack of
proof that generates doubt.
We have a soul, but what is it? Does it have a form, an appearance
of any kind? Is it limited or undefned? Some say that it
is a breath of God, others, that it is a spark or even part of
the Great Whole, the principle of life and intelligence. What
does this teach us? What is the point of having a soul, if it just
disappears like a drop of water in the ocean? Isn’t this loss of
individuality equivalent to extinction for us? The soul is said to
be immaterial, but we perceive that which is immaterial as having
no defned proportions and therefore no reality. Religion
teaches that our happiness is contingent upon the good or bad
we have done. What is the nature of the happiness promised
to us in the bosom of God? Is it supreme happiness, eternal
contemplation, with no other purpose than singing the praises
of the Creator? Are the fames of Hell real or merely a fgure
of speech? The Church itself assumes the latter, but what is this
suffering? Where does it take place? In short, what will we do
and see in this other world that is awaiting us all?
It is maintained that no one has ever come back to give us an
account of that world. This simply is not true and the mission
of Spiritism is to enlighten us regarding this future, and enable
us, up to a certain point, to touch it and see it, not just through
reasoning, but via the substantiation of facts. Spirit communication
has eliminated the need for mere presumption or
probability that poets embellish with fictitious and allegorical
images, serving only to deceive us. It is a reality thrust before
us, and the beings that live in the spirit world to come and describe
their situations to us. They tell us what they are doing,
recount the details of their new life, and show us the inevitable
fate awaiting each of us according to our merits or wrongdoings.
Is this anti-religious? No, it is quite the opposite, since it
provides skeptics with faith, and inspires halfhearted believers
with renewed passions. Spiritism is a most powerful support of
religion and we should acknowledged it, God willing, for the
purpose of revitalizing our wavering beliefs and principles, plus
allowing it to lead us back onto the path of righteousness for
the sake of our future happiness.