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Date: Wed,16 Jan 2013
Submitter:E Rossi

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THE SCIENTIFIC NOTE IN GENESIS (according to Spiritist Teachings).

THE history of the origin of nearly all ancient nations is mingled with that of their religion: that is
why their first books have been religious works; and as all religions are allied to the spirit of things,
which is allied to that of humanity, they have founded upon the arrangement and formation of the
universe explanations limited by the knowledge of the times, and the founders of their systems. The
result is, that the first religious books have been the first scientific treatises, as they have also been
the only code of civil laws. Religion was then a powerful rein in government. The people bent willingly under the invisible power by the name of which they were subjugated, and from whom the
government was said to have received and to hold its power. If they would not obey their equals,
they would bend to this power.
In order to give greater force to religion, it was necessary to present it as absolute, infallible, and
immutable, without which it would have lost its ascendancy over beings well-nigh brutal and scarcely endowed with reason. It was not necessary that it should be discussed, any more than were the orders of a sovereign. With this condition of the human mind, the principle of blind belief and passive obedience had its origin and utility. The veneration they had for sacred books, nearly always looked upon as revelations from heaven or as inspired by divinity, forbade all criticism. In primitive times, means of observation being very imperfect, the first theories upon the system of the universe were stained with grave errors; but, if opportunities for investigation had been as complete as they are today, men would not have known how to take advantage of them. They could only be the fruit of successive developments, and repeated studies of the laws of nature. By measure, as man has
advanced in the knowledge of these laws, he has penetrated the mysteries of nature, and rectified
ideas which he had conceived concerning the origin of things. It is the same as learning and defining
the correlative movements of the hands of a clock. It is necessary to know the laws controlling its
mechanism; that is, to appreciate the nature of its works, and calculate the power of its agitating
forces. To comprehend the mechanism it is necessary to be familiar with all the laws which set in
motion the complex whole.
Man has been impotent to solve the problem of creation until science has given him the key to it.
It has been necessary that astronomy should open the doors of boundless space, and permit him to
gaze into its infinite depths, that by the power of calculation he could determine with rigorous
precision the movement, the position, the volume, the nature, and the role of the celestial bodies;
that natural philosophy should reveal to him the laws of gravitation, of heat, of light, and of
electricity, the power of these agents over entire nature, and the cause of the innumerable
phenomena which result from it; that chemistry should teach of the transformations of metal, and
mineralogy of the materials which form the surface of the globe; that geology should teach man to
read in terrestrial beds the gradual formation of this same globe; and that botany, zoology,
palaeontology, anthropology, should come to initiate him into the science of the affiliation and
succession of organized beings. By the aid of archaeology he has been able to trace the progress of
humanity through the ages. All sciences, in a word, complete one another: they carry their
indispensable contingent for the knowledge of the history of the world. Without them man would
have for his guide only his first hypotheses.
Before man was in possession of these means of investigation, all commentators on Genesis
whose reason rebelled at material impossibilities, continued to revolve in the same circle of ideas,
with no power to depart from them. Science has come to the rescue by attacking the old edifice of
belief, opening a way whereby the whole aspect has changed entirely. Once the conducting thread is
found, the difficulties are promptly met. In place of an imaginary Genesis, we have a positive, and in
some respects an experimental, Genesis. The field of the universe is extended into the infinite. We
behold the earth and the stars form themselves gradually in obedience to the eternal and immutable
law, which testifies far more fully to the grandeur of the Deity than a miraculous creation suddenly
originating from nothing by a sudden act of divinity after ages of inaction.
Since it is impossible to comprehend Genesis without the help of science, one can say most
truthfully that it is she who has been elected to constitute the true Genesis according to the laws of
nature. Have we reached in this nineteenth century a sufficient power of scientific attainment to
solve all the difficulties of the problem of Genesis? No, assuredly not; but one thing is certain, that all the principal errors are destroyed, and the most essential foundation laid for undeniable principles.
The yet uncertain points are, properly speaking, only minute portions, which, whatever the future
may bring forth, cannot impair the whole. Notwithstanding all the resources of which it has been able to avail itself, there is an important element still wanting, without which the work can never be
complete. Of all ancient histories of the creation of the world and the human race, that which approaches nearest to modern scientific revelation, notwithstanding the errors which it contains, - some of the latter being now distinctly point out by the finger of science, - is incontestably that of Moses. Some of these errors are such more in appearance than in reality, as they spring from false interpretation of certain words, whose primitive signification is lost as they pass from language language by means of translation into different tongues, or whose meaning is changed with the customs of the nations, particularly the allegorical form peculiar to the Oriental style, of which the literal sense was taken, to the exclusion of the spiritual. The Bible contains statements that our reason, which has been
developed by science, will not allow us to accept; and also others which seem strange and repugnant
to us, because connected with customs which are not ours. But, notwithstanding this, it would be
wrong not to recognize the grand and beautiful thoughts which it contains. Allegory holds a
conspicuous place in it, and under its veil conceals sublime truths, which appear, if one seeks for
them, in the foundations of the ideas contained in them. Why has this veil not been sooner lifted? On one side it has been for the want of light which science and a healthy philosophy alone could give, and, on the other, the belief in the absolute immutability of a creed, consequent upon a too blind respect for the letter, to which reason bent blindly, fearing that science might not accord with the lattice-work of beliefs which were built upon their literal sense.
On account of the antiquity of these beliefs, it has been feared, that, if the first ring of the chain
should be broken, all the meshes of the network would at length separate. Commentators, therefore, have shut their eyes when doubts arose; but we cannot evade danger by shutting our eyes to it.
When a building totters, is it not more prudent to immediately replace defective stones by good ones, rather than to wait out of respect for the age of the edifice until there is no remedy for the evil other than its reconstruction from the foundation? In pursuing our investigations, even into the bowels of the earth, and into the blue depths of the sky above us, science has demonstrated in an undeniable
manner the errors of the Mosaic Genesis take in its literal sense, and the material impossibility of
things having taken place literally as they are there represented to have done. It has thus given
severe shocks to some ancient doctrines. The orthodox faith is disturbed: it believes that its very
cornerstone is removed by the adoption of these new ideas. But which is most likely to be right,
Science marching prudently and progressively over the solid ground of figures and observation,
without affirming any thing before the proof of it is at hand, or History written at an epoch when
means of observation were absolutely lucking? Should we believe the person who affirms that two
and two make five, and refuses to verify it, or he who says two and two make four, and proves it?

But then it is objected, if the Bible is a divine revelation from God, how can it contain mistakes?
While, if it be not a divine revelation, then has it no authority? Religious beliefs may thus be
destroyed for want of a foundation. It must be one thing or the other; either Science is wrong, or
Theology is right. If Theology is right, then an opinion contrary to hers cannot be a true one. There is
no revelation superior to the authority of facts. If God, who is truth, could seduce men from the path
of rectitude either knowingly or unconsciously, he would no more be God. If, then, facts contradict
the words which are attributed to him, the logical conclusion is, that he has not pronounced them, or
that they have been misconstrued. If Religion suffers in some respects by these contradictions, the
wrong must not be ascribed to Science, which cannot agree with unreasonable statements, but to
men for having prematurely founded absolute dogmas, which have been made a question of life and
death, upon hypotheses susceptible of being overthrown by experience. We must resign ourselves to
the sacrifice of some things, whether we desire to or not; we cannot do otherwise. As the world
progresses, the will of a few persons cannot arrest it in its onward march. The wiser way is to follow
it, and accommodate ourselves to the new state of things, rather than to cling to old beliefs which
are crumbling to pieces, at the risk of falling with them. Were it desirable to impose silence upon
Science out of respect to texts of Scripture regarded as sacred, it would be as impossible to do so as
to stop the movement of the earth. No religious systems have ever gained any thing by sustaining
manifest errors. The mission of Science is to discover the laws of nature. Now, as these laws are the
work of God, they cannot be contrary to religions founded upon truth. Religion accomplishes its
mission by means of these same principles; and, as a natural consequence, human intelligence is
developed, which is also a divine work, advancing only with the permission of God by virtue of
progressive laws which he has established. To hurl anathemas at progress, calling it a hindrance to
religion, is to go contrary to the will of God. There is scarcely any thing so useless; for all the
anathemas in the world will not hinder Science in her progressive work of bringing truth to light. If
Religion refuses to accompany Science, she is left alone. Stationary religions can alone dread
scientific discoveries. Scientific truths are only destructive to the systems of those who allow
themselves to be distanced by progressive ideas by wrapping themselves in the absolutism of old
beliefs. These persons have such a narrow idea of divinity, that they do not comprehend that to
assimilate themselves with the laws of nature revealed by Science is to glorify God in his works; but
in their blindness they prefer to do homage to the spirit of evil.
A religion which would be in no one point contradictory to the laws of nature would have nothing
to fear from progress, and would be invulnerable. Genesis comprises two divisions, - the history ofthe formation of the material world, and that of humanity in its dual (corporal and spiritual) principle.
Science is limited in its researches by laws which rule mater. In dealing with man it has ever studied
only his bodily envelope. And concerning this it has been enabled to give an account with
incontestable precision of the principle parts of the mechanism of the universe and of the human
organism. This important point attained, it has been further able to complete the Genesis of Moses,
and to rectify the defective parts of it. But the history of man, considered as a spiritual being, is
attached to a special order of ideas, which is not, properly speaking, in the domain of science, and
which the latter, for this reason, has not made the subject of its investigations. It belongs more
particularly to philosophy, which has formulated upon this point only contradictory systems, from
genuine spirituality to the denial of the spiritual principle, and even God, without other foundation
than the personal ideas of human authors. It has thus left the question undecided for want of
sufficient light to answer it. This, however, is the most important question for man; for it is the
problem of his past and future; that of the material world touches it only indirectly. It is the most
important of all knowledge to learn of man's origin, - what becomes of him, if he has lived before, if
he will continue to live on forever, and what end is in store for him .
Upon all these questions science is mute. Philosophy gives opinions only, and these often
diametrically opposed to each other; but at least she permits such questions to be discussed, which
induces many people to range themselves on her side in preference to that of dogmatic theology,
which allows of no discussion on the subject. All religions are in accord with each other in the
acknowledgment of such first principles as the existence of the soul, at the same time not
demonstrating it. They agree neither in belief concerning its origin, its past history, or its future
destiny, and above all, in that which is the most essential, the conditions upon which its future
happiness depends. The greater part of them accept pictures of the future imposed on them by the
belief of their adepts, which can be supported only by blind faith, unable to endure a serious
examination; the destiny which they accord to the soul being allied in their dogmas to ideas of the
material world, and the mechanism of the universe universally entertained in primitive times,
irreconcilable with the actual state of knowledge. Being able to lose only by examination and
discussion, their devotees deem it better to proscribe both.
From these different faiths touching the future of man, doubts and incredulity arises. It is not
possible that it should be otherwise. Every religion pretending to possess in exclusive measure all the
truth, without making sufficiently powerful assertions to convince the majority, has left man in
indecision regarding it. However, incredulity leaves a painful void. Man regards with anxiety the
unknown future upon which he must sooner or later enter. The idea of nonentity chills him. His
conscience says to him, that beyond the present there is something for him; but what? His developed
reason forbids him any longer to accept the histories which have quieted his early days, which have
put conscience to sleep by his taking the allegory for a reality. What is the meaning of this allegory?
Science has torn away the corner of the veil; but she has not revealed that which it is most
important for man to know. He interrogates her, but in vain; she answers nothing in a convincing
way to calm his apprehensions. He finds everywhere affirmation hurling itself against negation,
without more positive proofs on one side than on the other. Incertitude concerning things of the
future life has made many men reject the duties of the material life with a kind of frenzy. Such is the
inevitable effect in transitional epochs. The edifice of the past is crumbling away, and that of the
future is not yet constructed. Man is like a lad who has lost the innocent belief of his earliest years,
and has not yet obtained the knowledge of a riper age; he has only vague aspirations, which he
knows not how to define. If the spiritual question regarding man has remained till our day in a
theoretical condition, it is because direct means of observation have failed to establish the material
theory of the world, and the field has remained open to the varying conceptions of the human mind;
while man has not know the laws which rule matter, and has not been able to apply the experimental method, he has erred from system to system concerning the mechanism of the universe and the formation of the earth. It has been in the moral as in the physical order of things; in the attempt to establish ideas, men have failed in the essential element, - the knowledge of the laws of the spiritual principle.
This knowledge was reserved for our epoch, as the discovery of the laws of matter has been the
work of the last two centuries. Until now the study of the spiritual principle (the study of
metaphysics) has been purely speculative and theoretic. In Spiritism it is all experimental. By the aid
of the mediumistic faculty, more developed in our day, - far more generalized and better studied, -
man is found possessed of a new instrument of observation. Mediumship has been for the spiritual
world that which the telescope has been for the astral, and the microscope for the world of
infinitesimal. It has allowed exploration of it, study, and one might say vision, of its connection with
the corporeal world, - of the distinction in the living man between the intelligent and the material
being; for they can now be seen to act separately. On in relation with the inhabitants of the
spirit-world, one has been able to follow the soul in its ascending march, in its migrations, in its
transformations. At length the study of the spiritual element is mad practical; this was wanting to all
preceding commentators on Genesis; thus their inability to comprehend it, and to rectify its errors.
The spiritual and material worlds, being in constant contact, are inseparable from each other. Both have their part to play in Genesis. Without the knowledge of laws which rule the former, it is as
impossible to create a complete Genesis as it would be for a sculptor to give life to a statue. At this
day only, though neither material nor spiritual science has said its last word, man possesses the two
necessary elements to throw light upon this immense problem. These two keys re necessary in order
to arrive at even an approximate solution. As to the perfect solution, it may never be given to man to find it upon the earth, as there are some things which must ever appear to us as secrets with God.
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