9. Whether the chastisement of the guilty takes place in spirit-life or upon the Earth, and whatever its duration, it has always a term, more or less near, more or less distant. There are, therefore, for a spirit, only two alternatives, viz., temporary punishment, proportioned to the degree of culpability, and reward, proportioned to merit. Spiritism rejects the third alternative, viz., that of eternal damnation. It regards hell as a symbol of the severest forms of suffering endured by certain spirits, and of which the termination is unforeseen by them; but it regards Purgatory as a reality.
The word Purgatory suggests the idea of a circumscribed locality, and it is therefore more appropriately applied to Earth, considered as a place of expiation, than to the infinity of space in which suffering spirits undergo the expiations of the discarnate state; moreover, the earthly life is, by its very nature, a veritable expiation.
When human beings shall have grown better, they will furnish only good spirits to the invisible world; and these spirits, on incarnating themselves on Earth, will furnish only improved elements to the human race. Earth will then cease to be a world of expiation, and its human inhabitants will no longer have to endure the miseries that are the consequence of their present imperfection. This transformation is being effected at the present day; its accomplishment will raise the Earth to a higher rank in the hierarchy of worlds. (Vide “The Gospel According to Spiritism,” chap. III.)