21. According to the doctrine of the Church, the demons were created good, and have become bad through their disobedience are “fallen angels;” they were placed by God at the top of the ladder, and they have fallen from that elevation. According to Spiritism, they are imperfect spirits who will grow better in the course of time; they are still at the foot of the ladder, but they will reach the top sooner or later.
Those who, through their carelessness, their obstinacy, or their perversity, remain longer in the lower ranks, incur the penalty of their persistence in evil, for the habit of wrong- doing renders their return to goodness all the more difficult; but there comes a time when they grow weary of the misery of such an existence and of the suffering which is its consequence; they begin to compare their own existence with that of the good spirits, they understand that it is in their own interest to return to the path of rectitude, and they endeavor to become better; but they do this of their own free will, and without being constrained to do so. They are placed under the law of progress by the fact of their being capable of progressing, but they are not compelled to progress in spite of themselves. God furnishes them unceasingly with the means of progressing; but they are free to use or not use the means thus furnished. If progress were obligatory, there would be no merit in progressing, and God wills that each should have the merit of his or her actions; God does not place any one of them on the front rank as a matter of privilege, but that highest rank is open to all, and no one reaches it otherwise than through his or her own efforts. The highest angels have won their grade, like all others, and have traveled up to their present elevation by the same road.