The Genesis, Miracles and Premonition According to Spiritism (La Genèse, les Miracles et les Preditions selon le Spiritisme in the original French) was the last book published (1868) by Allan Kardec, just before his death. It tries to reconcile science and religion and develops a series of important scientific and philosophical topics, relating them to Spiritism.
It is divided into three parts, each apparently unrelated to the others:
The final chapter ("The Time is at Hand") is not related to either of the three parts.
Kardec argues that Spiritism is a "third revelation", the first being that of God to Moses and the second, the coming of Christ). This first chapter is a thorough rationalisation of the Spiritist theory and an attempt to justify it in face of harsh criticism:
The Spiritist view of God.
Good and evil are seen as inherent to human nature because they are both manifestations of our pursuit of perfection. "Good" things come from the use of intellect while "bad" things come from the prevalence of instinct.
Argues that scientific advancement is ultimately a human attempt to understand God and that the conflict between religion and science exists because most religions have surrendered to the will of power while science is blind to the spirituality of man. Approves a harmony of science and religion.
Explains that the (mis)conceptions about the world originated from the scarcity of information available to man in the past and that, as science advances, our worldview will change dramatically, affected by it.
An essay, attributed to the spirit of Galileo and signed by "C.F." (probably Camille Flammarion) presents a description of the universe as understood at the time. Contains some interesting insights which were either original or very novel:
Attempts to reconcile the then recent science of geology with legends from the Bible and from other ancient peoples. Accepts the flood as fact and ignores ice ages, attributing phenomena that are now known to have been caused by the later as evidences of the former.
Challenges, debunks or doubts many other oddball theories that circulated among occultists of the time. An entire section is dedicated to explain that the Earth does not have a "soul".
Describes cataclysms that affected life overall, failing to mention any that were not already known at the time.
Describes how life on Earth could have formed. This chapter is particularly sore for Spiritists because it actually accepts spontaneous generation as fact: a phenomenon that took place every day (which was according to mainstream scientific thinking of that time, only to be displaced decades later by the work of Louis Pasteur).
Explains how spirits were (and are) created and to what purpose.
The second part explains what a miracle is and discusses under which conditions it should happen.
After describing what a miracle should be (both according to the popular conception and the theology of Christianity, Kardec argues (with the Spirits on his side) that such a thing does not and cannot exist:
Regarding miraculous cures, Kardec wisely states that these, if frequent enough, would have been a hindrance to the development of mankind. If people could be miraculously cured man would not pursue knowledge. Therefore, as man is steadily progressing towards more and more knowledge, Kardec infers that these miracles are rare indeed (as they are not affecting the march of scientific progress). This reasoning is used as an explanation for the observed scarcity of true miracles. Finally, Kardec argues that most people claiming to work miraculous cures are charlatans.
According to contemporary science, there was a third nature, besides matter and energy, that was both immaterial, undetectable and capable of acting upon both matter and energy; as energy is capable of acting on matter and matter, of affecting energy. Such third kind was the basis for most religious theories and this theory was the bond that still allowed science and religion to have some common ground. In this chapter, Kardec explains "fluids" according to Spiritism and uses them to explain how spiritual phenomena worked.
Why and how did Jesus work wonders. This chapter states that most of the "miracles" narrated by the Gospels were either natural phenomena or manifestations of spirits.
The third and shortest part deals with the possibility of foretelling the future, its possible consequences for mankind, and why God would allow it to happen.
What is and what is the purpose of.
This chapter looks quite sketchy, merely presenting the predictions picked from the gospels without much elaboration on their purpose or interpretation.
The final chapter, one of the last things Kardec published in life, is in itself a prophecy about the future of Spiritism, containing the following claims:
The book suggests a large amount of research effort on the part of Kardec and is generally considered the best written of his books, despite being dated in a number of places, especially where it accepts as final truth the established scientific knowledge of its time.
Spiritists tend to regard The Genesis as the most complex of Kardec's works, and the one most demanding from the reader. Its popularity is a matter of dispute, as some publishers do not include it in their catalogs.
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