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Moral Laws

Moral Laws

Natural law, divine law, is comprised of the unchanging, eternal laws that govern the universe, both the laws of nature that govern our physical realm and which are studied by our scientific researchers, as well as the ethical laws, or rules for proper, moral action (the essence of which is contained in the instruction to love your neighbor and do for him what you'd wish for you). 


God's law is written in the conscience of each one of us, but over time, has been forgotten or misunderstood, which is why it must be revealed to us once again.  The sprits tell us that, one day, everyone will fully comprehend the law, for that is the destiny toward which progress is inevitably leading us.  (Read more about Divine Law and the knowledge and consequences of Good & Bad in Chapter XVI of "The Spirits' Book")


For the purposes of study, Kardec inquired (Q. 648 of "The Spirits' Book") about dividing the natural law into a number of parts, the names of which he suggested.  The Spirits answered that just as Moses divided the law into 10 parts, he too could create his own system, but added that his suggested division represented only another classification scheme; they also pointed out that the last "part" Kardec suggested, entitled Justice, Love, and Compassion is the most important and includes all the others.


The following is a summary of the answers given to questions regarding the moral laws, or the natural law, divided into parts according to Kardec's suggested classification, as found in chapters XVII-XXVI of "The Spirits' Book".  



 Law of Worship

Worship, the result of an unborn feeling or innate instinct, is the act of raising one's thoughts toward God.  True worship, that which is meaningful to God, is that which comes from the heart, and with sincerity and a genuine desire to do what is good and avoid the bad.  Prayer, an act of worship, serves to draw us closer to God, to give us strength, and to attract good spirits that can help us and others for whom we pray.  The practice of human sacrifice, an ancient custom based on a false idea of what would be acceptable to God, in reality, is contrary to natural law, for God can never be honored by useless destruction.

Law of Work

Life in the material realm creates the necessity for food, safety, and well-being that are acquired through labor and activities aimed at both self-preservation and intellectual development.  Work, meaning our engagement in activities that make us useful to others, in both the material and spiritual sense, is necessary to bring us out of our spiritual infancy.  The nature of work required depends on the abilities of the individual.  Rest is also a part of this law - it restores strength to the body and gives freedom to the mind.  The limit of work is the limit of the individual's level of strength.


Law of Reproduction

The force that leads living beings to seek out one another and reproduce is a natural instinct, without which the world would end.  God permits nothing useless to happen.  Nature has its own resources for the control of excessive population, though the harmony in these resources may not always be apparent in our limited perspective.  All human races will come and go, continuously mixing to produce new types appropriate to the evolutionary stage of the Spirits who populate them.  Sex is a divine invention as a means of reproduction, and it should not be confused with an act of sin; however, the abuse of sexuality is a transgression of the divine laws of equilibrium and has its consequences just like any other abuse.


Law of Preservation

To fulfill the plans that make up the designs of Providence, all beings must have the will to live.  Therefore, every living being possesses the instinct for self-preservation; in some, it's purely instinctive, and in others, it is subordinate to the reasoning capacity.  The natural resources of our planet Earth and our individual capacities of strength and perseverance are sufficient to provide us with what is essential to our survival and growth.  Excessive demands and the greedy waste of resources are what have created and continue to create conditions of scarcity and deprivation. The latter conditions serve as both expiations and/or trials for those who undergo them.  The sensible person knows the limits of their needs through intuition. Others learn by experience, through the consequence of their abuse.  The pursuit of material comfort is not contrary to the laws of life, except when it comes at the expense of someone else or when it unduly compromises one's physical and psychological health.


Law of Destruction

Destruction, along with instinctual preservation, is a natural part of life.  Designed to establish balance and maintain an equilibrium in nature (and ranging from nature's food chain to natural calamities), it allows for renewal and transformation on Earth.  The need for destruction on each planet exists in proportion to the planet's material level.  All forms of destruction beyond the limits of necessity violate God's laws and indicate the predominance of humanity's physical nature over its Spiritual one. (see "The Spirits' Book" for sub-items Natural Calamities, Wars, Murder, Cruelty, Duels, & Capital Punishment)

Social Law

Humans, unlike animals, have needs beyond ordinary physical wants and instincts beyond self-preservation.  God created humans to live in society, where they are destined to evolve through helping and sharing with each other, benefiting from their many different strengths and learning to love one another.  Family ties are the basis for life in society, and the loosening of such ties means a more deep-rooted selfishness and social ills.  A life of isolation with no contribution to society is one in which no progress is made.


Law of Progress

The progress of humanity (which is constant and never reverses) follows a master plan, whereby humans and societies must evolve both intellectually and morally.  It is a living force; human actions and laws may block it temporarily, but will always be eventually overthrown.  As humanity evolves, human law will also evolve to become more equitable and aligned with natural laws.  When a people fails to progress at a reasonable pace, a major shock- either physical or ethical- may befall them as a way of speeding their transformation (in the design of Providence).  Intellectual progress helps lead to ethical progress by making people more discerning and better at making choices.  The two great obstacles to ethical progress are pride and selfishness.  (see "The Spirits' Book" for for sub-items: Nations in Decline, Civilization, Progress of Human Law, The Contribution of the Spiritist Doctrine)


Law of Equality

Everyone is governed by the same natural laws, sharing the same fragility subject to the same sufferings. All Spirits are created equal. The variety of human talents and the differences in our moral and intellectual characters result from our stages in spiritual development, not from differences in creation. Men and women are equal before God in their understanding of good and bad and their ability to evolve. They complement one another through their differences in physical strength and emotional awareness. Special treatment of either is a violation of the law of justice. Social inequalities are of human construction and will decrease as humans evolve morally. Economic inequalities have different causes, and absolute equality is impossible given the diversity in human talent and character. What matters most is how we act given what we have, and societies do have the responsibility, not to create an absolute equality in the distribution of wealth, but to see that all its members are educated and given the opportunity to develop their ethical judgment. Earthly trials are found in both poverty (which tests our resignation) as well as in power, social status, and wealth (which tests our usage of such advantages with respect to others and our resistance to negative temptations).


Law of Liberty

Personal freedom is a natural right, but absolute freedom in our actions can not exist for we all need each other and two or more people together always have reciprocal rights and duties to respect. The absolute subjection of one human being to another (slavery in whatever form) is contrary to natural law and will disappear with progress. Also, the more developed one's reason, the more responsible one isfor such treatment of another. Abuse of position, skills, power, etc. by individuals, groups, and nations is never justified before God's law. It is only in thought that we can enjoy absolute liberty, wwhich may be temporarily hindered but never annihilated.  Even so, we area always responsible to God for our thoughts which carry their natural consequences. Freedom of conscience (a characteristic of true civilization and progress) arises naturally from freedom of thought and only God has the right to intervene in matters of conscience. To offend others whose beliefs are different shows a lack of compassion and is an infringement on others' freedom of thought. Gentleness and compassion, never force, should be used to convince.

Freedom of action (free will) develops with our freedom of thought and conscience, and it can be exercised according to our Spiritual evolution and present physical stage as humans. In humans, it also suffers the influence of matter (including the particular conditions of a given body) as well as some limits created by social status, though we are also held responsible for exhibiting the efforts to overcome them. Voluntary deprivation of reason (i.e. drunkenness and other self-induced conditions) are contrary to natural law.

There is no real "fate" as the term is commonly understood with the exception of the time of birth, death, and specific life events, including trials, both physical and ethical.  These events may be chosen by a spirit, before a given incarnation, or they may be chosen for him if his developmental states so requires.  In ethical trials, a Spirit always preserves its freedom to chose between good and bad. At times, if it is compatible with our life path, we can, through the strong merit of our will and actions, prevent certain foreordained events from happening. Most often, the future is hidden from our knowledge in order to allow for our freedom and ability to act in the present with initiative, and to make our own choices. Rarely, however, it may be revealed in order to expedite a particular end by influencing someone to act differently.


Law of Justice, Love, and Compassion

As humans, we are born with a natural notion of justice, which is the respect for others' rights, though often our worldly ambitions blur our true sense of justice.  These rights are determined by human law, based on present, yet evolving societal values which are not always consistent with true justice, and by natural law, the criterion for which is to wish for others what we would wish for ourselves.  Also, using this criterion, our consciousness of our own strengths and weaknesses will allow us to sense when to defer and show respect for those whose wisdom or virtues set them apart.  The most important among our natural rights is the right to life.  We do have the right to accumulate wealth and possessions, but this should be the result of honest work and a selfless stance towards life and family, and should be acquired without injury to others.

The true meaning of love in Jesus' teaching to "Love Thy Neighbor" means compassion for everyone, tolerance for the imperfections of others, and forgiveness of all offenses.  "Loving one's enemies" does not mean to feel an ardent and tender affection for those who have hurt or offended us, but rather to forgive them and return good for wrong-doing.  True charity refers to a compassionate and discrete assistance to those in need causing humiliation.

Motherly love, the drive to protect and provide for, is both an instinctive feeling, common to humans and animals, as well as a virtue obtained by humans when unselfish devotion is raised to such a rank.  Motherly love survives death and follows the life of the child from beyond the grave.  Its absence in an earthly relationship indicates the incarnation of a less evolved spirit, whose actions and attitudes constitute either a trial chosen for the child or a form of redemption for the actions of the child's spirit in a previous life.

 
Dandelion Leaves

Moral Laws

Natural law, divine law, is comprised of the unchanging, eternal laws that govern the universe, both the laws of nature that govern our physical realm and which are studied by our scientific researchers, as well as the ethical laws, or rules for proper, moral action (the essence of which is contained in the instruction to love your neighbor and do for him what you'd wish for you). 


God's law is written in the conscience of each one of us, but over time, has been forgotten or misunderstood, which is why it must be revealed to us once again.  The sprits tell us that, one day, everyone will fully comprehend the law, for that is the destiny toward which progress is inevitably leading us.  (Read more about Divine Law and the knowledge and consequences of Good & Bad in Chapter XVI of "The Spirits' Book")


For the purposes of study, Kardec inquired (Q. 648 of "The Spirits' Book") about dividing the natural law into a number of parts, the names of which he suggested.  The Spirits answered that just as Moses divided the law into 10 parts, he too could create his own system, but added that his suggested division represented only another classification scheme; they also pointed out that the last "part" Kardec suggested, entitled Justice, Love, and Compassion is the most important and includes all the others.


The following is a summary of the answers given to questions regarding the moral laws, or the natural law, divided into parts according to Kardec's suggested classification, as found in chapters XVII-XXVI of "The Spirits' Book".  



 Law of Worship

Worship, the result of an unborn feeling or innate instinct, is the act of raising one's thoughts toward God.  True worship, that which is meaningful to God, is that which comes from the heart, and with sincerity and a genuine desire to do what is good and avoid the bad.  Prayer, an act of worship, serves to draw us closer to God, to give us strength, and to attract good spirits that can help us and others for whom we pray.  The practice of human sacrifice, an ancient custom based on a false idea of what would be acceptable to God, in reality, is contrary to natural law, for God can never be honored by useless destruction.

 Law of Work

Life in the material realm creates the necessity for food, safety, and well-being that are acquired through labor and activities aimed at both self-preservation and intellectual development.  Work, meaning our engagement in activities that make us useful to others, in both the material and spiritual sense, is necessary to bring us out of our spiritual infancy.  The nature of work required depends on the abilities of the individual.  Rest is also a part of this law - it restores strength to the body and gives freedom to the mind.  The limit of work is the limit of the individual's level of strength.




Law of Reproduction

The force that leads living beings to seek out one another and reproduce is a natural instinct, without which the world would end.  God permits nothing useless to happen.  Nature has its own resources for the control of excessive population, though the harmony in these resources may not always be apparent in our limited perspective.  All human races will come and go, continuously mixing to produce new types appropriate to the evolutionary stage of the Spirits who populate them.  Sex is a divine invention as a means of reproduction, and it should not be confused with an act of sin; however, the abuse of sexuality is a transgression of the divine laws of equilibrium and has its consequences just like any other abuse.




 Law of Preservation

To fulfill the plans that make up the designs of Providence, all beings must have the will to live.  Therefore, every living being possesses the instinct for self-preservation; in some, it's purely instinctive, and in others, it is subordinate to the reasoning capacity.  The natural resources of our planet Earth and our individual capacities of strength and perseverance are sufficient to provide us with what is essential to our survival and growth.  Excessive demands and the greedy waste of resources are what have created and continue to create conditions of scarcity and deprivation. The latter conditions serve as both expiations and/or trials for those who undergo them.  The sensible person knows the limits of their needs through intuition. Others learn by experience, through the consequence of their abuse.  The pursuit of material comfort is not contrary to the laws of life, except when it comes at the expense of someone else or when it unduly compromises one's physical and psychological health.




 Law of Destruction

Destruction, along with instinctual preservation, is a natural part of life.  Designed to establish balance and maintain an equilibrium in nature (and ranging from nature's food chain to natural calamities), it allows for renewal and transformation on Earth.  The need for destruction on each planet exists in proportion to the planet's material level.  All forms of destruction beyond the limits of necessity violate God's laws and indicate the predominance of humanity's physical nature over its Spiritual one. (see "The Spirits' Book" for sub-items Natural Calamities, Wars, Murder, Cruelty, Duels, & Capital Punishment)




Social Law

Humans, unlike animals, have needs beyond ordinary physical wants and instincts beyond self-preservation.  God created humans to live in society, where they are destined to evolve through helping and sharing with each other, benefiting from their many different strengths and learning to love one another.  Family ties are the basis for life in society, and the loosening of such ties means a more deep-rooted selfishness and social ills.  A life of isolation with no contribution to society is one in which no progress is made.




 Law of Progress

The progress of humanity (which is constant and never reverses) follows a master plan, whereby humans and societies must evolve both intellectually and morally.  It is a living force; human actions and laws may block it temporarily, but will always be eventually overthrown.  As humanity evolves, human law will also evolve to become more equitable and aligned with natural laws.  When a people fails to progress at a reasonable pace, a major shock- either physical or ethical- may befall them as a way of speeding their transformation (in the design of Providence).  Intellectual progress helps lead to ethical progress by making people more discerning and better at making choices.  The two great obstacles to ethical progress are pride and selfishness.  (see "The Spirits' Book" for for sub-items: Nations in Decline, Civilization, Progress of Human Law, The Contribution of the Spiritist Doctrine)




 Law of Equality

Everyone is governed by the same natural laws, sharing the same fragility subject to the same sufferings. All Spirits are created equal. The variety of human talents and the differences in our moral and intellectual characters result from our stages in spiritual development, not from differences in creation. Men and women are equal before God in their understanding of good and bad and their ability to evolve. They complement one another through their differences in physical strength and emotional awareness. Special treatment of either is a violation of the law of justice. Social inequalities are of human construction and will decrease as humans evolve morally. Economic inequalities have different causes, and absolute equality is impossible given the diversity in human talent and character. What matters most is how we act given what we have, and societies do have the responsibility, not to create an absolute equality in the distribution of wealth, but to see that all its members are educated and given the opportunity to develop their ethical judgment. Earthly trials are found in both poverty (which tests our resignation) as well as in power, social status, and wealth (which tests our usage of such advantages with respect to others and our resistance to negative temptations).




 Law of Liberty

Personal freedom is a natural right, but absolute freedom in our actions can not exist for we all need each other and two or more people together always have reciprocal rights and duties to respect. The absolute subjection of one human being to another (slavery in whatever form) is contrary to natural law and will disappear with progress. Also, the more developed one's reason, the more responsible one isfor such treatment of another. Abuse of position, skills, power, etc. by individuals, groups, and nations is never justified before God's law. It is only in thought that we can enjoy absolute liberty, wwhich may be temporarily hindered but never annihilated.  Even so, we area always responsible to God for our thoughts which carry their natural consequences. Freedom of conscience (a characteristic of true civilization and progress) arises naturally from freedom of thought and only God has the right to intervene in matters of conscience. To offend others whose beliefs are different shows a lack of compassion and is an infringement on others' freedom of thought. Gentleness and compassion, never force, should be used to convince.

Freedom of action (free will) develops with our freedom of thought and conscience, and it can be exercised according to our Spiritual evolution and present physical stage as humans. In humans, it also suffers the influence of matter (including the particular conditions of a given body) as well as some limits created by social status, though we are also held responsible for exhibiting the efforts to overcome them. Voluntary deprivation of reason (i.e. drunkenness and other self-induced conditions) are contrary to natural law.

There is no real "fate" as the term is commonly understood with the exception of the time of birth, death, and specific life events, including trials, both physical and ethical.  These events may be chosen by a spirit, before a given incarnation, or they may be chosen for him if his developmental states so requires.  In ethical trials, a Spirit always preserves its freedom to chose between good and bad. At times, if it is compatible with our life path, we can, through the strong merit of our will and actions, prevent certain foreordained events from happening. Most often, the future is hidden from our knowledge in order to allow for our freedom and ability to act in the present with initiative, and to make our own choices. Rarely, however, it may be revealed in order to expedite a particular end by influencing someone to act differently.




 Law of Justice, Love, and Compassion

As humans, we are born with a natural notion of justice, which is the respect for others' rights, though often our worldly ambitions blur our true sense of justice.  These rights are determined by human law, based on present, yet evolving societal values which are not always consistent with true justice, and by natural law, the criterion for which is to wish for others what we would wish for ourselves.  Also, using this criterion, our consciousness of our own strengths and weaknesses will allow us to sense when to defer and show respect for those whose wisdom or virtues set them apart.  The most important among our natural rights is the right to life.  We do have the right to accumulate wealth and possessions, but this should be the result of honest work and a selfless stance towards life and family, and should be acquired without injury to others.

The true meaning of love in Jesus' teaching to "Love Thy Neighbor" means compassion for everyone, tolerance for the imperfections of others, and forgiveness of all offenses.  "Loving one's enemies" does not mean to feel an ardent and tender affection for those who have hurt or offended us, but rather to forgive them and return good for wrong-doing.  True charity refers to a compassionate and discrete assistance to those in need causing humiliation.

Motherly love, the drive to protect and provide for, is both an instinctive feeling, common to humans and animals, as well as a virtue obtained by humans when unselfish devotion is raised to such a rank.  Motherly love survives death and follows the life of the child from beyond the grave.  Its absence in an earthly relationship indicates the incarnation of a less evolved spirit, whose actions and attitudes constitute either a trial chosen for the child or a form of redemption for the actions of the child's spirit in a previous life.

Moral Laws