Allan Kardec

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6. Although there are misfortunes in this life caused by Man himself, there are also others which seem to be completely strange to him and which touch him like fate. For example: the loss of a loved one or the bread winner of a family; accidents which no amount of foresight could have prevented; reverses in fortune which precautions and judicial counselling could not avoid; natural disasters; infirmities from birth, specially those which make work or the earning of a livelihood impossible, such as deformities, insanity, idiocy, etc.

Those who are born with restricting conditions like those mentioned, have done nothing in their present life to deserve such a sad fate, which they could not avoid and are totally impotent to change, which leaves them at the mercy of public commiseration. Why then are there these unhappy beings, when beside them, under the same roof, in the same family, are others who have been blessed in every way? In short, what can be said of children who die at a tender age and who, during their short life, knew only suffering? These are problems which as yet no philosophy has been able to find a solution for, anomalies which no religion has been able to justify and which appear to be a contradiction of goodness, justice and God's Divine Providence. If the hypothesis of the soul being created at the same time as the body and that of destiny being irrevocably determined after but a few instants upon Earth were to be verified, this would indeed be the case. If these creatures had just left the hands of the Creator, what had caused them to come into the world to face such misery? How could they have received any recompense or punishment seeing that they had been unable to practice either good or bad?

Nevertheless, by virtue of the axiom according to which every effect has a cause, these miseries are effects which have to have a cause, and if we admit that God is just, then that cause must also be just. Therefore as an effect is always preceeded by a cause, and if that cause is not to be found in the present life, then it follows it must come from before this life, that is to say from a preceding life. On the other hand, God, being unable to punish goodness that has been done or badness that has not been done, it follows that if we are being punished then wrong must have been committed. If that wrong is not of the present life then it must come from a past existence. This is an alternative that no one can avoid and where logic determines on which side God's justice lies.

Man is not always punished or completely punished in the present life, but he cannot escape the consequences of his faults indefinitely. The prospering of badness or evil is but temporary, for if he does not atone today then he will atone tomorrow. Likewise, he who suffers is atoning for his past. Misfortunes which appear at first sight to be undeserved have their reason to be. Those who find themselves in a state of suffering may always say: "Lord forgive me, for I have sinned."

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