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?