GENESIS: The Miracles and the Predictions According to Spiritism
By Allan Kardec Author of "The Spirits' Book," "The Mediums' Book," and "Heaven and Hell."
Translated By The Spirit-Guides of W. J. Colville [Colby & Rich, Publishers - 1883 - Boston - USA]
The spiritual doctrine is the result of the collective and concordant teachings of spirits. Science is called in to make the statements in Genesis agree with the laws of nature. God proves his greatness and power by the immutability of his laws, and not by their suspension. For God the past and the future are the present.
GOD – EXISTENCE OF GOD – THE DIVINE NATURE - PROVIDENCE
Existence of God
1. God being the first cause of all things, the starting-point of all, the pivot upon which the edifice of creation reposes, is the subject to be considered before any other. It is by elementary principle that one judges a cause by its effect, when ones sees not the cause. Science goes farther; it calculates the power of the cause by the power of the effect, and can even determine the nature of it. It is thus, for example, that astronomy has conceived of the existence of planets in ascertained regions in space, by the knowledge of laws which govern the heavenly bodies. Astronomers have sought for, and brought to the knowledge of men, planets that they can really say have been discovered before they have been seen.
2. In an order of more common facts, if one is plunged in a thick fog, by the light diffused around, he judges that the sun is in the horizon, although he sees it not. If a bird cleaving the air receives a deadly shot, one judges that a ball, sent by a skilful hand, struck it, although one may not have seen a thing before knowing that it exists? In every thing it is by observing effects that we arrive at the knowledge of causes.
3. Another principle, also elementary, and passed into an axiom by force of truth, is, that all intelligent effect must have an intelligent cause.
If one inquired who was the inventor of such an ingenious piece of mechanism, the architect of such a monument, the sculptor of such a statue, or the painter of such a picture, what would one think of him who should reply that it was done without the help of any one? When one sees a superior work of art or of industry, they say that that is probably the work of a man of genius, because it is evident that a high intelligence has presided at its conception. One judges, nevertheless, that a man has done it, because one knows that it is not above human capacity; but no one will say that it proceeded from the brain of an idiot or of an ignoramus, and still less that it is the work of an animal or the product of chance.
4. Everywhere one recognizes the presence of man by his works. If you should enter an unknown country, even were it a desert, and you should discover the least vestige of human labor, you would conclude that men inhabit it, or have done so in the past. The existence of the antediluvians is proved not only by human fossils, but also, with as much certitude, by the presence, in the soil of this epoch, of utensils made by man. A fragment of a vase, a carved stone, a weapon, a brick, will suffice to attest their presence. By the rudeness or by the perfection of the work one will recognize the degree of intelligence or of advancement of those who have accomplished it. If, then, finding yourself in a country inhabited exclusively by barbarians or savages, you should discover a statue worth of Phidias, you would not hesitate to say, that, savages being incapable of having made it, it must be the wore, of an intelligence superior to theirs.
5. In looking around one’s self upon the works of nature, observing the foresight, the wisdom, the harmony, which preside in all things, one recognizes that there is a power superior to the highest flights of human intelligence, since the greatest genius of the earth would not know how to create a blade of grass. Since human intelligence cannot produce them, it proves that they are the product of an intelligence superior to that of humanity. This harmony and wisdom, extending from the grain of sand and the little worm to the innumerable stars which move in space, we judge to be the product of an infinite intelligence, unless we say that effects are without cause.
6. To this some oppose the following argument:
Works said to be produced by nature are the product of material forces, which are agitated mechanically by following the laws of attraction and repulsion. Particles of inert bodies are aggregated and disintegrated by the power of these laws. Plants are born, sprout, grow, and multiply always in the same manner, each one of its kind, by virtue of these same laws; each subject being like that from which it sprung. The growth, florescence, fructification, and coloring are subordinate to some material cause, such as heat, electricity, light, humidity, etc. It is the same with animals. Even stars are formed by the attraction of particles, and move perpetually in their orbits by the effect of gravitation. This mechanical regularity in the employ of natural forces does not imply a free intelligence. Man moves his arms when he desires and as he desires; but he who would move them in the same manner from his birth to his death would be an automaton. Now, the organic forces of nature, considered as a whole, are, in some respects, automatic.
All that is true; but these forces are effects which must have a cause, and no one has pretended that they constitute divinity. They are material and mechanical; they are not intelligent of themselves, we all know, but they are set at work, distributed, and appropriated to the needs of every thing by an intelligence which is not that of man. The useful appropriation of these forces is an intelligent effect, which denotes an intelligent cause. A clock moves with an automatic regularity, and it is this regularity which constitutes its merit. The force which makes it act is material, and not intelligent; but what would this clock be if an intelligence had not combined, calculated, and distributed the employment of this force in order to make it move with precision? Because we cannot see intelligence, and because it is not in the mechanism of the clock, is it rational to conclude that it does not exist? One judges it by its effects.
The existence of the clock attests the existence of the clockmaker; the ingenuity of its mechanism is a proof of the intelligence and knowledge of its maker. When one sees one of these complicated clocks which mark the hour in the principal cities of the world, also the movement of the stars, which play airs, which seem, in a word, to speak to you in order to give you the knowledge of which you have need, has it ever occurred to any one to say, “There is a very intelligent clock”?
Thus it is in the mechanism of the universe; God shows himself not, but he makes affirmation of himself in his works.
7. The existence of God is, then, an acquired fact, not only by revelation, but by the material evidence of facts. The most barbarous people have not had a revelation; yet they instinctively believe in a superhuman power. The savages themselves do not escape logical consequences; they see things which are beyond human power, and they conclude that they are produced by a being superior to humanity.
The Divine Nature
8. It has not been permitted to man to sound the inmost nature of. Rash would be the man who would pretend to raise the veil which screens him from our view. That understanding which is only acquired by perfect purity of mind is wanting in us as yet. But if we cannot penetrate to his essence, his existence being given as premises, we can, by the power of reason, arrive at the knowledge of his necessary attributes; for, in seeing that which he cannot be without ceasing to be God, we judge by that what he must be.
Without the knowledge of the attributes of God, it would be impossible to comprehend the work of creation. It is the starting-point of all religious beliefs; and the fault of most religions is that they have made their dogmas the beacon-light to direct them. Those which have not attributed to God ALL power have made many gods; those which have not endowed him with sovereign goodness have made of him a jealous, angry, partial, and vindictive God.
9. God is supreme and sovereign intelligence. The intelligence of man is limited, since it can neither make nor comprehend all that exists; that of God, embracing infinity, must be infinite.
10. God is eternal; that is to say, he has had no beginning, and will have no end. If he had had a commencement, he must have sprung from nonentity. Now, nonentity, being nothing, can produce nothing; or, if he could have been created by another being anterior to himself, then this other being would be God. If one could suppose of him a commencement or an end, one would then be able to conceive a being having existed before him, or being able to exist after him, and thus one after the other even to infinitude.
11. God is unchangeable. If he were subject to change, the laws which govern the universe would not have any stability. God is immaterial; that is to say, his nature differs from all that which we call matter; otherwise he could not be immutable, for he would be subject to the transformations of matter.
12. God has not form appreciable to our senses; if he had, he would be matter. We say, the hand of God, the eye of God, the mouth of God, because men, knowing him only by themselves, take themselves as a term of comparison of all that which they comprehend not. Pictures representing God as an old man with a long beard, covered with a mantle, are ridiculous; they have the disadvantage of lowering the Supreme Being to the level of poor humanity. It is but one step from that to endow him with the passions of humanity, and to make of him a jealous and angry God.
13. God is all-powerful. If he had not supreme power, one could conceive of a being more powerful; thus from one to another, till one could find a being that no other could surpass in power, and it is the latter who would be god. If not all-powerful, he could not have made all things; and those which he would not have made would be the work of another God.
14. God is sovereignly just and good. Providential wisdom in divine laws is revealed in small as well as in great things, and this wisdom gives no room to doubt either his justice or his bounty. These two qualities comprise all the others. If one supposed them limited, if only on one point, one could conceive of a being who could possess them in a higher degree, and who would be superior.
The infinitude of a quality excludes the possibility of a contrary one which would lessen or annul it. A being infinitely good could not have the smallest particle of wickedness; a being infinitely bad could not have the smallest portion of goodness, - just as an object could not be absolutely black with the faintest shade of white, neither one absolutely white with the slightest spot of black.
God would not then be both good and bad; for, possessing neither one nor the other of these qualities in a supreme degree, he would not be God. All things would be submitted to caprice, and he would have stability in nothing. It is then only possible to be infinitely good or infinitely bad. If he were infinitely bad, he would do nothing good. Now, as his works testify of his wisdom, of his goodness, and of his solicitude for us, it is necessary to conclude, that, being unable to be at the same time good and bad without ceasing to be God, he must be infinitely good.
Sovereign bounty and goodness imply sovereign justice; for if he acted unjustly or with partiality in one instance, or in respect to any one of his creatures, he would not be severeignly just, and consequently not perfectly good.
15. God is infinitely perfect. It is impossible to conceive of a God without an infinitude of perfections, without which he could not be God; for one would always be able to think of a being possessing that which was wanting in him. In order that no one being may surpass him, it is necessary that he be infinite in all.
The attributes of God, being infinite, are neither susceptible of augmentation nor of diminution. Without that they would not be infinite, and God would not be perfect. If one could take away the least part of one of his attributes, he would have no more God, since it would be possible for a more perfect being to exist.
16. God is unique. The unity of God is the result of absolute infinitude of perfection. Another God could not exist except upon one condition, that of being equally infinite in all things; for, if there were between them the slightest difference, the one would be inferior to the other, subordinate to his power, and would not be God. If there were between them absolute equality, there would be for all eternity one same thought, one wish, one power; thus confounding their identity, and there would be in reality only one God. If each one had special attributes, the one would do that which the other would not, and then there would not be between them perfect equality, since neither one nor the other would have sovereign authority.
17. It is ignorance of the principle of the infinite perfection of God which has engendered polytheism, the worship of all people in early times. They attributed divinity to all power which seemed to them above humanity. Later, reason led them to join these diverse powers in one alone; then, as men have gradually comprehended the essence of the divine attributes, they have taken away from their creeds the beliefs which denied them.
18. After all, God cannot be God except on condition of not being surpassed in any thing by another being; for then the being who should surpass him in whatever it might be, were it only by a hair’s breadth, would be the true God; for it is necessary that God be infinite in all things.
It is thus that the existence of God being proved by his works, one arrives, by a simple logical deduction, to determine the attributes which characterize him.
19. God is then the Supreme and Sovereign Intelligence. He is unique, eternal, immutable, immaterial, allpowerful, sovereignly just and good, infinite in all his perfection, like no other.
Such is the base upon which the universal edifice reposes. It is the beacon-light whose rays illumine the entire universe, and which alone can guide man in the search for truth. In following it he will never go astray; and, if he is often led astray, it is for want of having followed the route which was indicated to him.
Such is the infallible criterion of all philosophical and religious doctrines. Man has a rigorously exact measure in the attributes of God with which to judge him; and he can say with certitude that all theory, all principle, all dogmas, all beliefs, all practices which are in contradiction to any one of these attributes, which should tend not necessarily to annul it, but simply to weaken it, cannot be of the truth.
In philosophy, in psychology, in ethics, in religion, there is no truth in that which departs one iota from the essential qualities of divinity. Perfect religion must be that of which no article of faith is in opposition with these qualities; all the dogmas must sustain the proof of this control without conflicting with it in any particular.
Source: Published Text in The Spiritist Messenger, n. 103, February 15th, 2009