Allan Kardec

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Chapter XI


Spiritual Principle – Union of Spiritual Principle with Matter – Hypothesis upon the Origin of Human Bodies – Incarnation of Spirits - Reincarnation – Emigration and Immigration of Spirits – The Adamic Race – Doctrine of Fallen Angels.

Spiritual Principle

1. The existence of the spiritual principle is a fact needing no more demonstration than does the existence of the material principle. It is sort of axiomatic truth; it affirms itself by its effects as matter by those which are peculiar to it.

According to the maxim, “all effects have a cause; all intellectual effects must have an intelligent cause.” There is no one who would not see a difference between the mechanical effect of a bell agitated by the wind and the movement of this same bell destined to give a signal, a notice, attesting by that a thought, an intention. Now, as it can occur to no one to attribute the thought to a bell, one concludes that it is moved by an intelligence to which it serves as an instrument of manifestation.

For the same reason no one thinks of attributing thought to the body of a deceased man. If a living man thinks, it is because there exists something in him that is not destroyed by his death. The difference between him and the simple bell is that the intelligence that makes the bell ring is outside of it, whereas that which makes a man act comes from within.

2. The spiritual principle is the corollary of the existence of God. Without this principle God would forever remain unrevealed to man; for one could not conceive sovereign intelligence reigning eternally over only animal matter, or a terrestrial monarch reigning throughout his life only over stones. As one cannot admit God to be without the essential elements of divinity, justice, and goodness, these qualities would be useless if exercised only over matter.

3. On the other hand, one would not be able to conceive of a God sovereignly just and good creating intelligent and sensible beings, in order to condemn them to nothingness after a few years of suffering without compensation, enjoying a view of an indefinite succession of beings who are born without having demanded the gift of life, who are endowed with the power of thought only to learn pain, and are destroyed after an ephemeral existence.

Without the survival of the thinking being, the sufferings of life would be on the part of God cruelty without object. This is why materialism and atheism are consequences of one another. Denying the cause, one cannot admit the effect; denying the effect, one cannot admit the cause. Consequently materialism is not reasonable.

4. The idea of the perpetuity of the spiritual principle is innate in man. It is present in him through intuition and aspiration; he comprehends that there alone is compensation for the ills of life. That is why there always have been and always will be more spiritualists than materialists, more theists than atheists.

To the intuitive idea and to the power of reason Spiritism comes to add the sanction of facts - the material proof of the existence of a spiritual being, of its survival, immortality and individuality. It points directly to and defines that which was vague and abstruse in this thought. It shows us the intelligent being acting outside of matter either during or after the life of the body.

5. The spiritual and vital principle are by no means one and the same thing!
Commencing always with the observation of facts, if the vital principle were inseparable from the intelligent principle, there would be some sense in confounding them. But, as we see some beings who live without thinking, like plants - beings animated with organic life, who give no manifestation of thought; as there are produced in living beings active movements independent of the act of the will; as during sleep organic life is in all its activity, whilst intellectual life does not manifest itself by any exterior sign - we are induced to conclude that organic life resides in a principle inherent in matter, independent of the spiritual life which is inherent in Spirit. Consequently, as matter possesses vitality independent of Spirit, it is evident that this double vitality reposes upon two different principles (Chap. X, n° 16 to 19).

6. Does the spiritual principle have its source in the universal cosmic element? Can it be only a transformation of it? A mode of existence of this element, like light, heat, electricity, etc?

If it were thus, the spiritual principle would submit to the vicissitudes of matter. It would be extinguished by disintegration, as is the vital principle. An intelligent being would have a momentary existence, like unto the body; and at death it would be annihilated, or return into the universal whole, which is the doctrine of the materialists.

The properties sui generis which are found in the spiritual principle prove that it has an independent existence of its own; but, if it had its origin in matter, it would not have these properties. Consequently, as intelligence and thought cannot be attributes of matter, one arrives at the conclusion that the material and spiritual elements are the two constituent principles of the universe. The individualized spiritual element constitutes the beings called Spirits, as the individualized material element constitutes the different organic and inorganic bodies of nature.

7. Admitting there is a spiritual being, and its source found to be outside of matter, what is its origin? From whence does it come?

Here the means of investigation absolutely fail, as in all matters relating to the beginning of things. Man can ascertain only that which is material. Upon all else he can establish only hypothesis. Whether this knowledge is beyond the compass of his present intelligence or whether it is useless or inconvenient for him to possess it now, God does not give it to him even by revelation.

That which God reveals to him by his messengers, besides that which man is able to deduce for himself from the principle of sovereign justice, which is one of the essential attributes of divinity, is that all have the same starting-point; that all are created simple and ignorant, with an equal aptitude to progress by their individual activity; that all will attain the degree of perfection compatible with the creature by their personal efforts; that all, being children of the same Father, are objects of an equal solicitude; that there is no one more favored, or better endowed than another, or excused from the labor which would be imposed upon others in order to attain the end.

8. In the same way as God has created material worlds during all time, he has equally created spiritual beings for the same length of time; without this, the material worlds would have been useless. One could rather conceive of spiritual beings without material worlds, than the latter without spiritual beings. Material worlds must furnish to spiritual beings the elements of activity for the development of their intelligence.

9. Progress is the normal condition of spiritual beings and relative perfection the object to which they must attain. Now, as God has always created, and is always creating, there must be some spirits who have reached the highest point of the ladder of progress.

Before this world was created, worlds had succeeded to worlds, and, when sprang forth from the chaos the elements which form this globe, space was peopled with spiritual beings in all degrees of advancement, from those who were just born into life to those who through countless ages had ranked among the pure Spirits, commonly called angels.

Union of Spiritual Principle with Matter

10. Matter being the object of the work of the spirit for the development of his faculties, it is necessary that it should be able to act upon matter; that is why man has come to inhabit it as the woodcutter lives in the forest. The former being at the same time the object and instrument of the labor, God, instead of uniting him to the rigid stone, created for his use organized flexible bodies, capable of receiving all the impulsions of his will, and of lending themselves to all his movements.

The body is then at the same time the envelope and the instrument of the Spirit; and, as the latter acquires new aptitudes, it is reinvested with an appropriate envelope for the new kind of work which it must accomplish, as a workman is given finer utensils for his work as he becomes capable of performing more difficult tasks.

11. In order to be more exact, it is necessary to say that it is the spirit itself which fashions its envelope, and appropriates it to its new needs. It brings it toward perfection, develops and completes the organism by measure as it experiences the need of manifesting new qualities. In a word, it makes him in accordance with his intelligence. God furnishes the materials for the work; it is up to the Spirit to put it to functioning. Thus advanced races have an organism or, one might say, utensils of a more refined order than the primitive races. Thus is explained the special seal which the Spirit imprints on the expression of the face and manner (Chap. VIII, n°7: The Spirit of the Earth).

12. As soon as the spirit is born into self-conscious life, it must for its advancement make use of its faculties, which are at first in a rudimentary state. That is why it is invested with a material envelope, appropriate to its state of intellectual infancy - an envelope which it quits in order to be reinvested with another suited to its enlarged forces. Now, as from all time worlds have existed, and as these worlds have given birth to organized bodies proper to be receptacle of Spirits, from all time Spirits have found what their degree of advancement was, and the necessary elements for their material life.

13. Bodies being exclusively material are subject to the vicissitudes of matter. After having for some time operated, it becomes disorganized and decomposed. The vital principle, no longer finding an element for its activity, is extinguished, and the body dies. The Spirit, for whom the body deprived of life is henceforth useless, leaves it as one moves away from a ruined house, or throws an article of wearing apparel aside, after it is no longer serviceable.

14. The body is then simply an envelope to receive the Spirit; consequently, its origin and the materials of which it is composed matters little. Let the body of man be a special creation or not, it is certainly formed from the same elements as that of animals, animated by the same vital principle, and one might say heated by the same fire, as it is lighted by the same luminary, subject to the same vicissitudes and to the same needs; this is a point upon which there can be no controversy.

Considering only matter and abstracting the Spirit, man has nothing which distinguishes him from the animal; but there is an immediate change of aspect when the distinction between the habitation and the inhabitant is made.

A great lord under his own roof, or dressed in the garments of a peasant, is a great lord. He is always the same man; it is not by his vestment that a man is elevated above the brute, and made a unique being, it is by his Spirit.

Hypothesis upon the Origin of Human Bodies

15. From the similitude which exists between the body of man and that of the monkey certain physiologists have contended that the former was only a transformation of the latter. In that there is nothing impossible, although, if it is so, the dignity of man will naturally suffer. Bodies of monkeys may have served very well for the vestment of the first human Spirits necessarily undeveloped, who have been incarnated upon the Earth, these garments being more appropriate to their needs and for the exercise of their faculties than the bodies of any other animal. Instead of a special robe having been made for the Spirit, it may have been dressed in the skin of the monkey without ceasing to be a human Spirit, as man is sometimes dressed in animal skins without losing his manhood.

It is well understood that this is only an hypothesis which is not based upon principle, but only given to show that such an origin of the body is not prejudicial to the Spirit, which is the principal being, and that similitude of the body of man to that of the monkey does not imply equality between their respective Spirits.

16. By admitting this hypothesis, one can say that, under the influence of and by the effect of the intellectual activity of its new inhabitant, the envelope has been modified, embellished in details, yet preserving the general form as a whole (n° 11). The improved bodies by procreating themselves have reproduced themselves in improved conditions, like grafted trees. They have given birth to a new species, which has been gradually removed from the primitive type according as the Spirit has progressed. The spirit of the monkey, which has not been annihilated, has continued to bring about bodies of monkeys for its use like wild fruit reproduced from wild fruit; and the human Spirit has produced bodies of men varying from the first established form. The trunk has become divided, forked. It has produced a sprout and this sprout has become an independent trunk.

As there are no sudden transitions in nature, it is probable that the first men appearing on Earth have differed little from monkeys in exterior form, and probably no more in intelligence. There are still in our day savages who, by the length of their arms and feet, and the formation of their heads, have so many ways like a monkey, that a hairy covering only is missing to complete the resemble.

Incarnation of Spirits

17. Spiritism teaches us the mode of union between Spirit and matter through incarnation.

The Spirit, due to its spiritual essence is an unlimited abstract being, which can have no direct action upon matter. An intermediary is necessary to it. This intermediary is the fluidic envelope which makes in some sort an integral part of the Spirit, a semi-material envelope, connecting matter with spirit by its ethereal nature. Like all matter, it is drawn from the universal cosmic fluid, which is submitted by this circumstance to a special modification. This envelope, designated perispirit, from an abstract being, makes of the spirit a concrete, defined being, seized by thought. It renders it apt to act over tangible matter the same as all imponderable fluids, which every one knows are the most potent forces.

The perispiritual fluid is, then, the bond between spirit and matter. During its union with the body it is the vehicle for transmitting thought to different parts of the organism, which acts under the impulsion of will; it also transmits to the spirit the sensation caused by external agents. Its conducting wires are the nerves which are used, as in telegraphing, when the electric fluid has metallic wire for conductor.

18. When the spirit must incarnate in a human body in process of formation, a fluidic connection, which is none other than an expansion of the perispirit, attaches it to the germ toward which it finds itself attracted by an irresistible force from the moment of conception. By measure, as the germ unfolds, the connection shortens. Under the influence of the vital material principle of the germ, the perispirit, which possesses certain properties of matter, is united molecule by molecule with the forming body; whence one can say that the Spirit, through the perispirit, takes root in the germ, like a plant in the Earth. When the germ is entirely developed, the union is complete, and then it is born into outward life.

By contrary effect this union of the perispirit and flesh, which was accomplished under influence of the vital principle of the germ, when the principle ceases to act in consequence of the decay of the body, death is the result. The union which was only maintained by an active force ceases when the force ceases to act; then the perispirit detaches itself molecule by molecule, as it was united, and the Spirit is rendered free. It is then not the departure of the Spirit which causes the death of the body, but the death of the body which causes the departure of the Spirit.

Therefore, instants after death the integration of the spirit is complete; in fact, its faculties acquire a greater perspicuity, whereas the principle of life is extinguished in the body. This is by itself an evident proof that the vital principle and the spiritual principle are two different things.

19. Spiritism teaches us by the fact that it introduces to our observation the phenomena accompanying this separation. It is sometimes rapid, easy, gentle, and insensible. At other times it is very slow, laborious, horribly painful, according to the moral state of the spirit, and can endure for months.

20. A particular phenomenon equally signalized by observation always accompanies the incarnation of the Spirit. As soon as the latter is seized by the connecting fluid which joins it to the germ, trouble comes to it. This trouble increases by measure as the connection is shortened, and in the last moments the Spirit loses all consciousness of itself, in a way rendering it never a conscious witness of its birth. At the moment when the infant breathes, the Spirit begins to recover it faculties, which are developed according as the organs which must serve for their manifestation are formed and consolidated.

21. But at the same time the Spirit recovers its consciousness, it loses the remembrance of its past without losing the faculties, qualities, and aptitudes of anterior existences, aptitudes which momentarily remained in a latent state, and which, in resuming their activity, come to aid it, and make it more and better than it was before. It gives new birth to anterior work; it is for it a new starting point, a new ladder to climb, a new field of endeavor. Here again is manifested the goodness of the Creator; for the remembrance of a past often painful or humiliating, adding itself to the bitterness of a new existence, would trouble and detain man. He remembers only that which he has learned, because that is useful to him. If sometimes he preserves a vague recollection of past events, it is like the remembrance of a fugitive dream. He is then a new man, however ancient his Spirit may be; he marches over new fields aided by that which he has acquired. When he re-enters the spiritual life, his past is unrolled before his eyes, and he judges if he has well or ill employed his time.

22. There is no destruction of continuity in spirit-life, notwithstanding forgetfulness of a past. The Spirit is always his individual self before, during and after incarnation; incarnation being only a special phase of his existence. This forgetfulness has only place during the life of exterior relations. During sleep, the spirit partially disengages itself from fleshly bonds, is rendered free, and in spiritual life remembers itself. Its spiritual sight is not then so much obscured by matter.

23. Regarding humanity at the lowest rung of the intellectual ladder with the most undeveloped savages, one wonders if this is not the starting-point of the human soul.

According to the opinion of some spiritualist philosophers, the intelligent principle, distinct from the material, is individualized and elaborated by passing through the different degrees of animal life. It is there that the soul tries life and first develops its faculties by exercise; this would be, so to say, its time of incubation. Arrived at the degree of development comporting with this state, it receives special faculties, which constitute the human soul; there would thus be a spiritual affiliation, as there is a corporeal one.

This system, founded upon the grand law of unity, which presides in all creation, has much to commend it. It is agreeable to the justice and goodness of the Creator. It gives an issue, an object, a destiny to animals which are no more disinherited beings, but find in the future reserved to them a compensation for their sufferings. That which constitutes spiritual man is not his origin, but the special attributes with which he is endowed at his entrance into humanity, attributes which transform and make of him a distinct being, as the delicious fruit is distinct from the bitter root whence it sprang. Because he had passed through the experience of animality, man would be no less a man. He would be no more an animal than the fruit is a root, as the wise man not the fetus by which he has made his debut into the world.

But this system raises numerous questions, for which there is no more an opportunity of discussing whys and wherefores than of examining the different hypothesis which have been made on this subject. Without then searching again for the origin of the soul, and the vicissitudes through which it has been able to pass, we take it at entrance into humanity, at the point where, endowed with moral sense and free will, it commences to realize the responsibility of its acts.

24. The necessity for the incarnated spirit to provide for the nourishment of the body, for its security and well-being, the constraint of applying its faculties in research, in exercising and developing them, renders its union with matter useful for its advancement; that is why incarnation is a necessity. Besides, by the intelligent work it accomplishes to its profit over matter, it aids in the transformation and material progress of the globe it inhabits; thus, by progressing itself, it concurs with the work of the Creator, of whom it is the agent.

25. But the incarnation of the spirit is neither constant nor perpetual; it is only transitory. In leaving a body it does not take another instantaneously. During a greater or less considerable lapse of time, it lives the spiritual life, which is its normal life, in such a way that the sum of the time passed in the different incarnations is small, compared to that it passes in the free spiritual state.

In the interval between incarnations the spirit progresses in this sense, that he puts to profit for his advancement the knowledge and experience acquired during material life. He examines that which he has done during his terrestrial sojourn, passes in review that which he has learned, recognizes his faults, arranges his plans, forms resolutions with which he expects to guide himself in a new existence by striving to do better. Thus each existence is a step in advance in the way of progress, a sort of school of application.

26. Incarnation is not then normally a punishment for the spirit, as some have thought it, but an inherent condition and a means of progress (“Heaven and Hell,” by Allan Kardec, chap. III, from item n° 8 on).

By measure, as the spirit progresses morally, he dematerializes himself; that is to say, that preserving himself from the influence of matter, he purifies himself, his life becomes spiritualized, his faculties and perceptions are extended, his happiness is by reason of accomplished progress. But, as he acts by virtue of his free will, he can, by negligence or bad desire, hold up his advancement. He prolongs, therefore, the duration of his material incarnations, which become then for him a punishment, since by his own fault he remains in the inferior ranks, obliged to recommence the same task. It depends then upon the spirit to abridge by its work of self-purification the duration of the period of its incarnations.

27. The material progress of a globe follows the moral progress of its inhabitants. Now, as the creation of worlds and spirits is incessant, as the latter progress with greater or less rapidity by reason of their free will, the result is, that there are some worlds of considerable antiquity, at different degrees of spiritual and physical advancement, where incarnation is more or less material, and where, consequently, the work for the spirit is more or less rude. At this point of view the Earth is one of the least advanced. Peopled by spirits relatively inferior, corporeal life is more painful than on many other worlds. On some planets things are still less developed. There life is more painful still than upon this Earth; and for the inhabitants of such worlds this Earth would be relatively a happy world.

28. When the spirits have acquired over a world the degree of progress comporting with the state of that world, they quit it in order to dwell upon another more advanced, where they acquire new knowledge, and so on in succession until incarnation, in a material body, being no longer of use to them, they live exclusively in the spiritual life, where they still progress in other ways and by other means. Arrived at the culminant point of progress, they enjoy supreme felicity. Admitted into the counsels of the Almighty, they have his thought, and become his messengers, his ministers for the government of worlds, having under their charge spirits of various degrees of advancement.

Thus all spirits, incarnated or discarnated, of whatever degree of the hierarchy to which they belong, from the lowest to the highest, have their attributions in the great mechanism of the universe. All are useful to the whole; at the same time they are useful to themselves. To the least advanced is incumbent a material task, a simple maneuver, at first unconscious, then gradually intelligent. Everywhere there is activity in the spiritual world; nowhere is there useless idleness.

The collective body of Spirits is, in a manner, the soul of the universe; it is the spiritual element which acts over all and through all, under the impulsion of the divine thought. Without this element, there is only inert matter, without object, without intelligence, without other motor power than material forces, which leave a crowd of insoluble problems. By the action of the individual spiritual element, all has an object, a reason for being; all explains itself; that is why, without spirituality, one is hurled against insurmountable difficulties.

29. When the Earth is found in climatic condition suited to the existence of the human species, spirits come to be incarnated there. Where did they come from? Whether these spirits may have been created at such moments or whether they may have come completely formed from space, from other worlds, or from the Earth itself, their presence on it, occurring from a certain epoch is a fact, as before them there existed only animals. They were covered with bodies suitable to their special needs and aptitudes, which physiologically pertained to animalism. Under their influence, and by the exercise of their faculties, their bodies were modified and perfected. This is what observation has proved. Leaving aside the question of origin, unsolved till now, and considering the Spirit, not at his point of origin but at the moment the first germs of free will and moral sense were manifested, we see him carrying out his humanitarian role, without concerning ourselves with the ambient in which he spent his infancy or his incubation period. Despite the analogy of his physical garment with those of the animals, due to his intellectual and moral faculties, which characterize his spirit, we will know how to differentiate him from the animal, just as we can distinguish a rustic man from a civilized when they are both wearing the same garments.

30. Although, the first who came must have been very undeveloped, and were therefore enveloped in very imperfect bodies, there must have been between them appreciable difference in character and aptitude. Similar spirits are naturally grouped by analogy and sympathy. The Earth has thus been peopled with different categories of spirits, more or less desirous of or rebellious against progress. Bodies receiving the imprint of the character of the spirit, and these bodies reproducing themselves by reason of their respective type, the result are different races physically and morally (n° 11). Similar spirits, continuing to incarnate themselves by preference among their own kind, have perpetuated a distinctive moral and physical character among races and nations, who do not lose them except by the fusion and progress of spirits. (“Revue Spirite,” July, 1860, p. 198: Phrenology and Physiognomy.”)

31. One can compare the spirits who have come to people the Earth to troops of emigrants of diverse origin who came to establish themselves on a virgin soil. They find there wood and stone with which to make habitations, and each one gives to his own a special seal, according to the degree of his knowledge and ingenuity. They group themselves by reason of analogy, of origin, and taste. These groups end in time by forming tribes, then nations, each having its own customs and characters.

32. Progress has not then been uniform among all the human species. The most intelligent races have naturally advanced before others, without counting Spirits newly born into the spiritual life who, having come to incarnate themselves on Earth among the first arrivals, render the differences in progress more sensible. It would be impossible, indeed, to give the same antiquity of creation to savages, scarcely distinct from monkeys, as to the Chinese, and still less to civilized Europeans.

These spirits of savages however belong also to humanity. They will attain some day the level of their elders; but this will certainly not be in the bodies of the same physical race, improper to certain intellectual and moral development. When the instrument will no more be en rapport with their development, they will emigrate from this place, in order to incarnate themselves in one of a superior character, and so on in succession until they have conquered all the terrestrial grades; after which they will quit the Earth to pass into worlds more and more advanced. (“Revue Spirite,” April, 1862, p. 97: “Perfection of the Black Race”).


33. The principle of reincarnation is the natural consequence of the law of progress. Without reincarnation, how is it possible to explain the difference which exists between the present social state of the world and that of barbarous times? If souls have been created at the same time as bodies, those which are born today are all as new, all as primitive, as those who lived a thousand years ago. Let us add, that there is not between them any connection, no necessary relation; that they are completely independent of one another. Why, then, should the souls of today be better endowed by God than their predecessors? Why have they better comprehension, purer instincts, gentler manners? Why have they knowledge of certain things without having learned them? We defy anyone to dispute reincarnation without at least admitting that God created souls of diverse qualities, some superior to others, according to time and place - a proposition irreconcilable with sovereign justice (Chap. II, n° 19).

Say, to the contrary, that souls of today have already lived in remote times, that they have been barbarous as their age, but that have progressed; that to each new existence they carry the acquisition of anterior existences; that consequently the souls of civilized times are not which have been created superior, but which have perfected themselves with time, and will have the only plausible explanation of the cause of social progress. (“The Spirits’ Book,” Chaps. IV and V).

34. Some people think that the different existences of the soul are accomplished by going from world to world, and not in one same world where each Spirit appears only once.

This doctrine would be admissible if all the inhabitants of the Earth were on the same intellectual and moral level. They would then be able to progress only by going to another world, and their reincarnation on this Earth would be useless. Now God does nothing uselessly. One finds all degrees of intelligence and morality, from the wildness of the animal to that of the most civilized people; it offers a vast field to progress. One would ask why the savage should have to seek elsewhere the degree above him, when he can find it beside him, and soon, from stage to stage in this world of human progress? Why should he go to another world for stages of progress which he can find in this, as there are different degrees of advancement not only between nation and nation, but in the same nation and in the same family? If it were thus, God would have done a useless thing in placing ignorance and knowledge side by side, barbarism and civilization, good and evil, as neighbors; while it is precisely this contact which makes the backward ones advance.

There is then no more necessity for souls to change worlds at each reincarnation, than there is for a student to change colleges in going from class to class. Far from being an incentive to progress, it would retard it; for the spirit would be deprived of the examples offered him by those of superior degree, and of the possibility of repairing wrongs he has done in the same place, and in respect to the persons whom he has injured - a possibility which is for him the most powerful means for moral advancement. After a short cohabitation spirits would disperse, and become strangers to one another. The ties of family and friendship, not having time to consolidate, would be broken.

To the moral inconvenience, one would also add a material one. The nature of the elements, the organic laws, and the conditions of their existence vary according to their worlds. On this aspect there are no two that are perfectly identical. Our strivings in physics, chemistry, anatomy, medicine, botanic, etc. would serve no purpose in other worlds, although what we have learned is never lost. In addition to enhancing the intellect, the ideas acquired from such knowledge helps us to foster new concepts. (Chapter VI, from item n° 61 on). If the spirit were to make only one appearance, frequently of a short duration, in the same world, at every migration he would find himself in conditions entirely different. Each time there would be a new knowledge to acquire, and new forces according to laws unknown to him. All this, before he has the time to elaborate upon familiar elements; of studying them, or being able to exercise them. The constant changes would be an obstacle to progress. The spirit should, then, remain in the same world, until he has acquired in that world the sum of knowledge and the degree of perfection that such a world encompasses (n° 31).

That the spirits leave a world when they can acquire nothing more upon it for one more advanced, must be a truth, and is so without doubt. If they leave before having thoroughly graduated from one stage to another, it is without doubt, in individual cases which God weighs in his wisdom.

All has an object in creation, else God would neither be prudent nor wise. Now, if the Earth were the theatre for only one incarnation of each soul, of what use would it be for children who die in infancy to come to pass only a few months, sometimes hours, during which they acquire nothing? – the same of idiots and fools. A theory is only good when it solves all the questions it raises. The question of premature deaths has been a stumbling block for all doctrines, except for the Spiritist Doctrine, which alone solves it rationally.

For those to whom is furnished a normal career on Earth there is a real advantage when finding themselves again occupants of the same place in order to continue there something they have left undone, often in the same family, or in contact with the same persons, in order to repair the evil they have done, or to submit to the law of retaliation.

Emigration and Immigration of Spirits

35. In the interval between their material existences, spirits live in an erratic state, and compose the ambient spiritual population of the globe. By deaths and births those two populations are mingled. There is then daily emigration from the material to spiritual world, and immigrations from the spiritual into the material world. This is the normal state of existence.

36. At certain epochs regulated by divine wisdom, these emigrations and immigrations take place en masse in consequence of great revolutions, causing great numbers of human beings to change worlds, which are soon replaced by equivalent incarnations. It is then necessary to consider destructive scourges and cataclysms as collective arrival and departures - providential means of renewing the material population of the globe by replenishing it by the introduction of new and purer spiritual elements. If in these catastrophes there is a great destruction of bodies, they are only torn vestments; but no spirit perishes. They only change place. Instead of departing alone, they go in numbers, which is the whole difference from the ordinary. By one cause or another they must inevitably depart sooner or later.

The rapid and almost instantaneous renovations which take place in the spiritual element of the population, in consequence of destructive scourges, hasten social progress. Without emigrations and immigrations, which from time to time give a violent impulsion, it would march very slowly.

It is remarkable that all great calamities which decimate populations are always followed by an era of marked spiritual, intellectual and physical progress in the social state of the nations in which they occur. Their object is to produce a great change in the spiritual, which is the normal and active, population of the globe.

37. The transfusion, which takes place between the incarnated and spiritual population of the same globe, operates in the same way between different worlds, either individually in normal conditions or by masses in special circumstances. There are then collective emigrations and immigrations from one world to another. From there it results in the introduction into the population of the globe of entirely new elements, new races of spirits coming to mingle with existing races, constituting new races of men. Now, as spirits never lose anything they have once acquired, they carry with them intelligence and intuition of the knowledge they possess. They impress, consequently, their character on the corporeal race they came to animate. There is no need of new bodies created for especial use. Since the corporeal species exist, they find them ready to receive them; they are simply new inhabitants. In arriving upon the Earth, they are at first a part of its spiritual population; then incarnate themselves like others.

The Adamic Race

38. The Adamic race, according to the teachings of the spirits, is due to one of these great immigrations, where one of these great colonies of spirits came from another sphere, which has given birth to the race symbolized in the person of Adam, and for this reason named Adamic. When they arrived, the Earth had been peopled from time immemorial, as America had been when Europeans reached it shores.

The Adamic race, more advanced than those which had preceded it upon the Earth, is indeed the most intelligent. It is that race which has pushed all other races forward. Genesis shows us it from its debut to be industrious, apt in all the arts and sciences, without having passed through an intellectual infancy, which is not the experience of primitive races. This accords with the opinions of spirits that it had already progressed upon other worlds, all proves that it did not originate, and is not ancient, upon the Earth; and nothing opposes itself to the idea that it might have only been here since a few thousand years, which would be in contradiction neither to geological facts nor to anthropological observations, but would tend to the contrary to confirm them.

39. The doctrine which proceeds from the idea of human beings of one individuality alone six thousand years old is not admissible in the present state of knowledge. The principal considerations which contradict it are drawn from physical and moral order.

From a physiological point of view, certain races present particular characteristics, which do not allow of a common origin being assigned to them. There are differences which are evidently not produced by climate variations, since white people who are born in a land of black people do not become black. The heat of the sun broils and burns the skin, but has never transformed a white man into a black man, flattened the nose, changed the form of the features of the face, or rendered the hair crimped and woolly, from that which was naturally long and silky. One knows today that the color of the black race is produced by a peculiar tissue under the skin, appertaining to the species.

It is necessary then to consider the Black, Mongolian, and Caucasian races as having each its own particular origin, and of having been born successively or simultaneously upon different parts of the globe; and their mingling has produced mixed secondary races. The physiological characters of primitive races are the evident indications that they are the result of special types. The same considerations apply then to man, as well as to animals, as to the plurality of origins (chap. X, from item 2 on).

40. Adam and his descendents are represented in Genesis as men essentially intelligent, since from the second generation they have built cities, cultivated the Earth, and worked with metals. Their progress in the arts and sciences was at all times rapid and constant. We cannot, therefore, conclude that a race so numerous could have proceeded, thus highly gifted, from a people of most rudimentary intelligence who were still in the days of simple animality, and at the same time have lost all trace of their descent, so that they had not even a traditional memory of their ancestors. A difference so radical in intellectual abilities, and also in moral development, proves, with no small degree of evidence, that this race had a distinct origin.

41. Independently of geologic facts, the proof of the existence of man upon the Earth before the epoch fixed by Genesis is drawn from the population of the globe.

Without alluding to Chinese chronology, which carries men back, it is said, thirty thousand years, more authentic documents declare that Egypt, India, and other countries were populous and in a flourishing condition at least three thousand years B.C., consequently only one thousand year after the creation of the first man, according to biblical chronology. These documents, as well as recent observations, leave no room for doubt in our minds today that there were inhabitants at a remote period on both hemispheres, and that relations existed between America and ancient Egypt. From this we are forced to conclude that America was already peopled at that epoch. It would be folly to admit that in one thousand years the posterity of a single man could cover so large a portion of the Earth for such amazing fecundity is contrary to all the laws of anthropology. *

* The universal Exposition of 1867 presented antiquities from Mexico, which left no doubt of the relationship the people of that country had with the ancient Egyptians. During the Exposition, on a note he posted at a Mexican temple, Leon Mechedin expressed himself as follows:

“It is not convenient to publish, before the appropriate time, the discoveries concerning the history of man, made during the recent scientific expedition of Mexico. However, nothing impedes that the public learns, at once, that the exploration revealed the existence of a great number of cities erased by the passage of time, but that, with the aid of a pickax and fire we can extract from its burial shroud. All around, the excavations discovered there are three layers of civilizations which give the American world a fabulous antiquity.”

This is how, each day, science comes to deny the facts of a doctrine which limits to 6000 years the appearance of man on earth, making him appear to descend from a single origin or trunk.

42. The impossibility of such multiplication is made still more evident, if we admit with Genesis that the deluge destroyed the entire human race, with the exception of Noah and his immediate family, which was not numerous in the year of the world 1656, or 2348 B.C. It cannot thus, in reality, be true that the present population of the globe dates only from Noah, or from about this time. According to the Hebrew records, they had established themselves in Egypt 612 years after the deluge. It cannot be that this powerful empire could have been peopled in so short a time, besides other countries, in less than six centuries by the sole descendents of Noah; such a supposition is decidedly inadmissible.

Let us, moreover, observe that the Egyptians received the Hebrews as strangers. It would be contrary to reason to suppose that they had lost all remembrance of their common origin and of their reunion; for we know that at that time they religiously kept records and monuments of their history.

Exact logic, corroborated by stern facts, clearly shows in the most unequivocal manner that men have existed on Earth through an indefinitely long period of time - certainly that the origin of the race is greatly anterior to the epoch assigned by Genesis. It is the same with the doctrine of the diversity of primitive sources. In order to demonstrate the impossibility of a proposition being a correct one, it must be shown that a contrary proposition is demonstrable. If geology discovers authentic traces of the presence of man before the great deluge period the demonstration becomes still more absolute.

Doctrine of Fallen Angels and of Paradise Lost *

* When, in the Revue of January, 1862, we published an article on the interpretation of the doctrine of fallen angels, we presented this theory only as an hypothesis, having in its support found no higher authority than controvertible personal opinion. From that time till the present we have lacked the necessary materials out of which to construct an absolute affirmative proposition. We gave this title to that essay for the sake of provoking research, fully determined either to abandon or modify the theory if necessity should rise. Today this theory has been submitted to the trial of universal control. Not only has it been endorsed by a great majority of spiritists as most rational and most in accord with the sovereign justice of God, but has been directly confirmed by the greater part of the instructions given by the Spirits on this subject. It is identical with that which explains the origin of the Adamic race.

43. Worlds advance physically by the transformations of matter, and morally by the purification of the spirits who inhabit them. Goodness can only be realized in the predominance of good over evil, and the predominance of good results from the moral progress made by spirits. Intellectual progress will not suffice, because with knowledge it is possible to work harm.
At the time then when a world has reached one of its transformation crises which mark the stages of its ascent in the hierarchy, changes of a marked character take place among its incarnated and discarnated inhabitants, causing extensive emigrations and immigrations (n° 34 and 35). Those who, notwithstanding their intelligence and knowledge, have continued in evil their revolt against God and his laws, would be henceforth obstacles in the path of further moral progress, a permanent source of trouble, disturbing the tranquility and well-being of the virtuous. For this reason are they sent forth into less advanced worlds - worlds in which they can utilize their intelligence and the results of their acquired knowledge in furthering the advancement of those among whom they are called to live, at the same time expiating in a series of laborious existences, by hard work, their past faults and their willful obstinacy.

How will it fare with them among colonies so strange to them, tribes still in barbaric infancy? Will not such surroundings make the lives of these exiled angels or spirits lives of expiation indeed? And the world from which they have been sent forth, will it not appear to them a lost paradise? Was it not to them a delightful place in comparison to that where they are banished for centuries, until they have merited deliverance from it? The vague intuitive remembrance they preserve is to them like a distant mirage, which recalls to them what they have lost by their fault.

44. But, while the wicked have departed from the world they inhabited, they are replaced by higher spirits, who have come, perhaps, from a less advanced world that their merits have allowed them to leave, and for which their new abode is a recompense. The spiritual population being thus renewed and purged of its lower elements at the end of an age, the moral state of the world is improved.

These changes are sometimes partial; i.e., limited to a people, to a race. At other times they are general when a period of renovation for the globe has arrived.

45. The Adamic race has all the characteristics of a proscribed race. The spirits forming part of it have been exiled upon the already peopled Earth, but peopled by primitive men yet in ignorance, to whom their mission was to effect their progress by carrying among them the light of a developed intelligence. Is it not indeed the place that this race has filled until now? Their intellectual superiority proves that the world from which they came was more advanced than this Earth; but that world entering upon a new phase of progress, these spirit, by their obstinacy not placing themselves at the required heights, would have been a hindrance to the providential march of events. That is why they were expelled; while others who have merited them have taken their places.

By placing this race upon this Earth of trial and suffering, God was just in saying to it: “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food.” In his mercy he promised to send them a Savior; i.e., he who will enlighten them concerning the route from a state of misery, from this hell, to angelic felicity. This Savior he has sent to them in the person of Christ, who has taught the law of love and charity which was unknown to them, and who becomes to them the veritable anchor of salvation.

It is equally with a view to the advancement of humanity in a determined sense that some superior spirits who have not all the qualities of Christ incarnate from time to time on Earth, in order to accomplish definite missions which aid in their own advancement, if they fulfill them according to the will of the Creator.

46. Without reincarnation the mission of Christ, as well as the promise made by God, would be useless. Let us suppose that the soul of man is created at the birth of his body and that it only once appears, and then disappears from the Earth. There is no relation between those who have come from Adam to Jesus, neither between those who have been born since; they are all strangers to one another. The promise of a Savior made by God could not only apply to the descendents of Adam if their souls were not yet created. In order that the mission of Christ should fulfill the divine word, it was necessary that it should be applied to the same souls. If these are new souls, they cannot be stained with the fault of the first father, who is only the material and not the spiritual parent; otherwise God must have created souls stained with sin they could not have committed. The common doctrine of original sin implies the necessity of a connection between the souls living on Earth in the days of Christ and those of the time of Adam, and consequently of reincarnation.

Suppose that all these souls formed a part of the colony who came to Earth in the days of Adam, and that they were stained with the sin which had expelled them from a brighter world, and you will find a rational interpretation of original sin, each individual’s own sin, and not the result of the fall of another, whom he has never known. Say that these spirits are reborn in different parts of the Earth into corporeal life, that they may progress and purify themselves; that Christ came to enlighten these same souls not only with reference to their past, but also with a view to their ulterior lives; and then only do you endow his mission with an object acceptable to reason.

47. A familiar example striking by its analogy will cause the principles just exposed to be better understood.

May 24, 1861, the frigate “Iphigenia” conducted to New Caledonia a company composed of two hundred and ninety-one men. The commander of the colony addressed them on their arrival an order couched in these words:

“At your entrance into this distant land, you already comprehend that work which is expected of you.

By the example of our brave soldiers of the marine service, serving under your eyes, you will aid us to carry with glare in the midst of the savage tribes of New Caledonia the torch of civilization. Is it not a beautiful and noble mission to which I call you? You will fulfill it worthily.

Listen to the voice and counsels of your leaders. I am at their head. Let my words be well understood.

The choice of your commander of your officers, of your under officers and corporals, is a sure guaranty of all the efforts which will be put forth to make of you excellent soldiers. I say more, to elevate you to the height of good citizens, and to transform you into honorable colonists, if you but desire it.

Your discipline is strict; it has to be so. Placed in our hands it will be firm and inflexible - you know it well – but also just and paternal. It shall know how to discover all error, vice, and degradation.

Here then are men expelled for their bad conduct from a civilized country, and sent for punishment among barbaric people. What says the chief to them? – “You have broken the laws of your country - you have caused trouble and scandal, and they have exiled you from it. They sent you here; but you can retrieve your past. You can by labor create for yourselves here an honorable position, and become honest citizens. You have a beautiful mission to fulfill here - that of carrying civilization among these savage tribes. The discipline will be severe but just; and we shall know how to distinguish those who will conduct themselves well. Your destiny is in your own hands; you can improve it if you so desire, for you have your free will.”

For these men thus thrown upon the bosom of barbarism, is not the mother country a paradise lost to them by their rebellion against its laws? In this distant land are they not fallen angels? The language of the chief, is it not that which God makes spirits exiled upon the Earth to hear? You have disobeyed my laws; and it is for that offence that I have banished you from a world in which you could live happily and in peace. Here you will be condemned to work; but you will be able by your good conduct to merit your pardon, and re-enter the country you have forfeited by your sin – i.e., heaven.

48. At first the idea of a downfall would appear contradictory to that of the non- retrograde movements of the spirit; but it is necessary to consider that it carried them toward a return to the primitive state. The spirit, although in an inferior position, loses nothing he has once acquired. His moral and intellectual development remains, whatever may be the condition in which he finds himself. He is in the position of a man of the world condemned to the convicts’ prison by his misdeeds. Certainly, he has fallen in a social sense; but the fall makes him neither imbecile nor ignorant.

49. Does anyone believe that the men sent to New Caledonia are to be suddenly transformed into models of virtue? That they will all at once abjure their past errors? One cannot know humanity if he supposed that. For the same reason the spirits of the Adamic race, once transplanted upon the soil of exile, have not been instantaneously despoiled of pride and depraved instincts; for a long time they have preserved the tendencies of their origin, the remains of the old leaven. Now, is this not original sin?

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