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Proofs of the Existence of God
4. What proof have we of the existence of God?
"The axiom which you apply in all your scientific researches, 'There is no effect without a cause.' Search out the cause of whatever is not the work of man, and reason will furnish the answer to your question."
To assure ourselves of the existence of God, we have only to look abroad on the works of creation. The universe exists, therefore it has a cause. To doubt the existence of God is to doubt that every effect has a cause, and to assume that something can have been made by nothing.
5. What is to be inferred from the intuition of the existence of God which may be said to be the common property of the human mind?
"That God exists; for whence could the human mind derive this intuition if it had no real basis? The inference to be drawn from the fact of this intuition is a corollary of the axiom 'There is no effect without a cause.'"
6. May not our seemingly intuitive sense of the existence of God be the result of education and of acquired ideas?
"If such were the case, how should this intuitive sense be possessed by your savages?"
If the intuition of the existence of a Supreme Being were only the result of education, it would not be universal, and would only exist, like all other acquired knowledge, in the minds of those who had received the special education to which it would be due.
7. Is the first cause of the formation of things to be found in the essential properties of matter?
"If such were the case, what would be the cause of those properties? There must always be a first cause."
To attribute the first formation of things to the essential properties of matter, would be to take the effect for the cause, for those properties are themselves an effect, which must have a cause.
8. What is to be thought of the opinion that attributes the first formation of things to a fortuitous combination of matter, in other words, to chance?
"Another absurdity! Who that is possessed of common sense can regard chance as an intelligent agent? And, besides, what is chance? Nothing."
The harmony which regulates the mechanism of the universe can only result from combinations adopted in view of predetermined ends, and thus, by its very nature, reveals the existence of an Intelligent Power. To attribute the first formation of things to chance is nonsense for chance cannot produce the results of intelligence. If chance could be intelligent, it would cease to be chance.
9. What proof have we that the first cause of all things is a Supreme Intelligence, superior to all other intelligences?
"You have a proverb which says, 'The workman is known by his work.' Look around you, and, from the quality of the work, infer that of the workman."
We judge of the power of an intelligence by its works as no human being could create that which is produced by nature, it is evident that the first cause must be an Intelligence superior to man. Whatever may be the prodigies accomplished by human intelligence, that intelligence itself must have a cause and the greater the results achieved by it, the greater must be the cause of which it is the effect. It is this Supreme Intelligence that is the first cause of all things, whatever the name by which mankind may designate it.
35. Is universal space infinite or limited?
"Infinite. Suppose the existence of boundaries, what would there be beyond them? This consideration confounds human reason; and nevertheless your reason itself tells you that it cannot be otherwise. It is thus with the idea of infinity, under whatever aspect you consider it. The idea of infinity cannot be comprehended in your narrow sphere."
If we imagine a limit to space, no matter how far off our thought may place this limit, our reason tells us that there must still be something beyond it and so on, step by step, until we arrive at the idea of infinity; for the "something beyond," the existence of which is recognized by our thought as necessity, were it only an absolute void, would still be space.
36. Does an absolute void exist in any part of space?
"No there is no void. What appears like a void to you is occupied by matter in a state in which it escapes the action of your senses and of your instruments."
17. Is it given to mankind to know the first principle of things?
"No. There are things that cannot be understood by man in this world."
18. Will man ever be able to penetrate the mystery of things now hidden from him?
"The veil will be raised for him in proportion as he accomplishes his purification; but, in order to understand certain things, he would need faculties which he does not yet possess."
19. Cannot man, through scientific investigation, penetrate some of the secrets of nature?
"The faculty of scientific research has been given to him as a means by which he may advance in every direction; but he cannot overstep the limits of his present possibilities."
The farther man advances in the study of the mysteries around him, the greater should be his admiration of the power and wisdom of the Creator. But, partly through pride, partly through weakness, his intellect itself often renders him the sport of illusion. He heaps systems upon systems; and every day shows him how many errors he has mistaken for truths, how many truths he has repelled as errors. Ail this should be a lesson for his pride.
20. Is man permitted to receive communications of a higher order in regard to matters which, not being within the scope of his senses, are beyond the pale of scientific investigation?
"Yes. When God judges such revelations to be useful, He reveals to man what science is incompetent to teach him."
It is through communications of this higher order that man is enabled, within certain limits, to obtain a knowledge of his past and of his future destiny.
585. WHAT do you think of the division of the natural world into three reigns, the mineral, vegetable, and animal, to which some naturalists add a fourth class, namely, the human species; or that other division of the world into two classes, namely, the organic and the inorganic? Which of these divisions is to be preferred?
"They are all good; as to which is best, that depends on your point of view. From the point of view of matter, there are only inorganic and organic beings; from the moral point of view, there are evidently four degrees."
These four degrees are, in fact, distinguished by well-marked characteristics, although their extremes seem to blend into each other. Inert matter, which constitutes the mineral reign, possesses only mechanical force; plants, composed of inert matter, are endowed with vitality animals, composed of inert matter, and endowed with vitality, have also a sort of instinctive intelligence, limited in its scope, but giving them the consciousness of their existence and of their individuality man, possessing all that is found in plants and animals, is raised above all the other classes by special intelligence, without fixed limits, which gives him the consciousness of his future, the perception of extra-material things, and the knowledge of God.
586. Are plants conscious of their existence?
"No; they do not think; they have only organic life."
587. Do plants feel sensations? Do they suffer when they are mutilated?
"Plants receive the physical impressions which act upon matter, but they have no perceptions; consequently they do not feel pain."
588. Is the force which attracts plants towards each other independent of their will?
"Yes; for they do not think. It is a mechanical force of matter that acts upon matter; they could not resist it."
589. Some plants, as, for instance, the mimosa and the dionea, have movements which give evidence of their possessing great sensitiveness, and, in some cases, a sort of will, as in the case of the latter, whose lobes seize the fly that lights on it, in order to suck its juices, and even seem to set a snare for it, in order to kill it. Are these plants endowed with the faculty of thought? Have they a will, and do they form in intermediate class between the vegetable and animal natures? Are they points of transition from the one to the other?
"Everything in nature is transition, from the very fact that everything is different, and that everything, nevertheless, is linked together. Plants do not think, and have consequently no will. The oyster that opens its shell, and all the zoophytes, do not think; they have only a blind natural instinct."
The human organism furnishes us with examples of similar movements that take place without any participation of the will, as in the organs of digestion and circulation the pylorus closes itself at the contact of certain substances, as though to refuse them passage. It must be the same with the sensitive plant, the movements of which do not necessarily imply perception, and, still less, will.
590. Is there not, in plants, an instinct of self-preservation which leads them to seek what may be useful to them, and to avoid what would do them harm?
"You may call it, if you will, a sort of instinct: that depends on the extension you give to the word; but it is purely mechanical. When, in chemical operations, you see two bodies unite together, it is because they suit one another, that is to say, there is an affinity between them; but you do not call that instinct."
591. In worlds of higher degree, are the plants, like the other beings, of a more perfect nature?
"Everything in those worlds is more perfect; but the plants are always plants, as the animals are always animals, and as the men are always men."
592. If we compare man with the animals in reference to intelligence, it seems difficult to draw a line of demarcation between them; for some animals are, in this respect, notoriously superior to some men. Is it possible to establish such a line of demarcation with any precision?
"Your philosophers are far from being agreed upon this point. Some of them will have it that man is an animal; others are equally sure that the animal is a man. They are all wrong. Man is a being apart, who sometimes sinks himself very low, or who may raise himself very high. As regards his physical nature, man is like the animals, and less well provided for than many of them; for nature has given to them all that man is obliged to invent with the aid of his intelligence for his needs and his preservation. His body is subject to destruction, like that of the animals; but his spirit has a destiny that he alone can understand, because he alone is completely free. Poor human beings who debase yourselves below the brutes! do you not know how to distinguish yourselves from them? Recognize the superiority of man by his possessing the notion of the existence of God."
593. Can the animals be said to act only from instinct?
"That, again, is a mere theory. It is very true that instinct predominates in the greater number of animals; but do you not see some of them act with a determinate will? This is intelligence, but of narrow range."
It is impossible to deny that some animals give evidence of possessing, besides instinct, the power of performing compound acts which denote the will to act in a determinate direction, and according to circumstances. Consequently, there is in them a sort of intelligence, but the exercise of which is mainly concentrated on the means of satisfying their physical needs, and providing for their own preservation. There is, among them, no progress, no amelioration no matter what the art that we admire in their labors, what they formerly did, that they do today neither better nor worse, according to constant forms and unvarying proportions. The young bird isolated from the rest of its species nonetheless builds its nest on the same model, without having been taught. If some of the animals are susceptible of a certain amount of education, their intellectual development, always restricted within narrow limits, is due to the action of man upon a flexible nature, for they themselves have no power of progressing but that artificial development is ephemeral and purely individual, for the animal, when left again to himself, speedily returns within the limits traced out for it by nature.
594. Have animals a language?
"If you mean a language formed of words and syllables, no; but if you mean a method of communication among themselves, yes. They say much more to one another than you suppose; but their language is limited, like their ideas, to their bodily wants."
-- There are animals who have no voice; have they no language?
"They understand one another by other means. Have men no other method of communicating with one another than by speech? And the dumb, what do you say of them? The animals, being endowed with the life of relation, have means of giving one another information, and of expressing the sensations they feel. Do you suppose that fishes have no understanding among themselves? Man has not the exclusive privilege of language; but that of the animals is instinctive and limited to the scope of their wants and ideas, while that of man is perfectible, and lends itself to all the conceptions of his intelligence."
It is evident that fishes, emigrating in masses, like the swallows that follow the guide that leads them, must have the means of giving one another information, of arriving at a common understanding, and of concerting measures of general interest. It may be that they are gifted with a sense of vision sufficiently acute to allow of their distinguishing signs made by them to one another, or the water may serve them as a vehicle for the transmission of certain vibrations. It is evident that they must have some means, whatever these may be, of comprehending one another, like all other animals that have no voice, and that nevertheless perform actions in common. Should it, then, be deemed strange that spirits are able to communicate among themselves without having recourse to articulate speech? (282.)
595. Have animals free-will in regard to their actions?
"They are not the mere machines you suppose them to be; but their freedom of action is limited to their wants, and cannot be compared to that of man. Being far inferior to him, they have not the same duties. Their freedom is restricted to the acts of their material life."
596. Whence comes the aptitude of certain animals to mutate human speech, and why is this aptitude found among birds, rather, for instance, than among apes, whose conformation has so more analogy to that of man?
"That aptitude results from a particular conformation of the vocal organs, seconded by the instinct of imitation. The ape imitates man's gestures; some birds imitate his voice."
597. Since the animals have an intelligence which gives them a certain degree of freedom of action, is there, in them, a principle independent of matter?
"Yes; and that survives their body."
1. In the beginning was The "Word",
and The Word was God.
2. He was in the beginning with God.
3. All things were made through Him,
and without Him nothing was made that was made.
4. In Him was LIFE,
and the LIFE was the LIGHT of Men
5. And the LIGHT shines in the Darkness,
and the darkness did Not comprehend it.
Allan Kardec in 1865.
He was already in his early 50s when he became interested in the wildly popular phenomenon of spirit-tapping. At the time, strange phenomena attributed to the action of spirits were reported in many different places, most notably in the U.S. and France, attracting the attention of high society. The first such phenomena were at best frivolous and entertaining, featuring objects that moved or "tapped" under what was said to be spirit control. In some cases, this was alleged to be a type of communication: the supposed spirits answered questions by controlling the movements of objects so as to pick out letters to form words, or simply indicate "yes" or "no."
Originally posted by Shadow Herder
I figured with all the self righteous people here that someone will try to debunk or cast a cloud over this thread.
I am humbly surprised.
4. In Him (God???) was LIFE,
and the "LIFE" was the "LIGHT" of Men.