Except a man be born again


The need for Incarnation


25. Is incarnation a punishment and are guilty spirits bound to suffer them?


The passing of Spirits through corporeal life is necessary in order that they may fulfill by means of a material action the purpose to which God assigned them. This is necessary for their own good, as the activity which they are obliged to perform will help the development of their intelligence. Being just, God must distribute everything in equal parts to all His children; so it is established that everyone starts from the same point, with the same aptitudes, the same obligations to fulfill and having the same liberty to proceed. Any type of privilege would be an injustice. But for all Spirits incarnation is a transitory state. It is a task imposed by God at the beginning of life, as a primary experiment in the use of free-will. Those who discharge this task with zeal pass over the first steps of their initiation quickly, less painfully, and so are able to reap the fruits of their labour at an earlier date. Those who, on the contrary, make bad use of the liberty that God has granted them, delay their progress and according to the degree of obstinacy demonstrated, may prolong the need for reincarnating indefinitely, in which case it becomes a punishment. – SAINT LOUIS (Paris, 1859).



26. NOTE – A common comparison would make this difference more easily understandable. The scholar cannot reach superior studies in science if he has not passed through the series of classes which lead to that level. These classes, whatever may be the work demanded, are the means by which the student will reach his objective and are not a punishment inflicted upon him. If he is diligent he can shorten the path and consequently will encounter less thorns. However, this does not happen to the one who is negligent and lazy, which will oblige him to repeat certain lessons. It is not the work of the class which is the punishment, but the necessity to recommence the same work over again.



This is what happens to mankind on Earth. For the primitive Spirit, who is only at the beginning of his spiritual life, incarnation is the means by which he can develop his intelligence. Nevertheless, it is a punishment for an enlightened man, in whom a moral sense has been greatly developed, to be obliged to live over again the various phases of a corporeal life full of anguishes, when he could have arrived at the end of his need to stay in inferior and unhappy worlds. On the other hand, if he works actively towards his moral progress, he not only shortens the period of his material incarnations, but also may jump over the intermediate steps which separate him from the superior worlds.





Excerpt from Allan Kardec‘s “The Gospel According to Spiritism”, The Headquarters Publishing Co Ltd (London), 1987, page 53. Version found at Public Domain.  





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