Does God predestine the many earthly lives of human beings?
When the Youngest had pledged to let themselves be bound to earthly bodies, had agreed to live as human beings, God gave them a certain time that they might prepare for the difficult task.
In this time, God made the plan and gave the laws for the existence of mankind in the time to come.
Then God became the Keeper.
And He saw that dwelling places lacked for the future human spirits, and He resolved to form a number of spiritual worlds for them.
By the Thought and from the Light, God planned and created six spiritual worlds, laying the first spherically about the ruined kingdom and the Earth and the others outside the first.
And God created these spheres in such manner that they brightened, through numerous shadings, from shimmering dawn to clear and beautiful Light. And He created within the spheres many dwellings, that none of His future children should be without a home.
And God determined that, while embodied upon the Earth, the human spirit should itself prepare for its next earthly lifetime by the effort of the free will to strive toward the Light and the good, and by the struggle of the free will against the Darkness and against evil.
And He so arranged that when the spirit was by death released from the physical body it was taken to that place, to that abode for which it had prepared itself by its deeds, prepared itself by that purity, by that wisdom and that love to which it had attained through the struggles and pains of its life on Earth.
And God arranged so that after each life lived on Earth the spirit might for a time stay in its abode to reflect upon the bygone life, to repent, to rest, to learn, and to prepare itself for the next journey.
Thus, should the human spirit, throughout the many earthly lifetimes, by struggle and victory, prepare itself and rise slowly from the faint dawn of the first spiritual sphere to the last abode of the final spiritual sphere in bright and beautiful Light. And there should the eldest of the Youngest, by you called Christ, receive the human spirit and in the name of the Father release it from the Earth that it might further journey along brighter ways.
When God had fashioned and arranged all this, He bade His Helpers gather the shadows. And the Helpers gathered all the shadows from the Earth and from the kingdom laid waste by Darkness.
And behold, there was a mighty host, legions upon legions.
And God bestowed upon each shadow a spark of His own flaming Being. And He took them all into His keeping, to a place He had prepared for them far from the Earth that in peace they might remain there until the divine radiance was become one with their bodies of shadow. And thus made living could they once more be bound to human bodies, to begin their journey towards the high goal.
From Question 6
When God had promised His remorseful children that He would take their spiritually and bodily malformed creatures into His care, and when all the Youngest had promised to help lead these out of Darkness, He then created habitats and dwellings, both for the Youngest and for the spirits of human beings, where they could abide whenever not incarnate on Earth.
Had the Youngest permanently dwelt in God’s Kingdom during the time they led mankind, it would have become quite difficult for them to subject themselves to the earthly order of time.
From the astral-material and the ethereal-astral Light that generates the material forms in the transcendental world, God fashioned six habitats, or spheres, which together with the kingdom created previously but ravaged by Darkness—that is, “Hell”— constituted seven worlds of astral Light that surrounded the earthly globe.
In order that all—the Youngest as well as the spirits of human beings—could have access to the Earth in future without having to pass through the Darkness of the ruined kingdom, God opened a pathway through the habitat of the Eldest by the power of His Will. He extended this pathway through all the spheres to the outermost and let it be pervaded by the Light. This provided a pathway, a passage of Light, directly to the Earth, so that all30 might readily journey back and forth.
The transcendental dwelling places are as visible and material to spiritual beings as everything on Earth is to humans. The higher the spirits advance in their struggle out of Darkness, the more rapid will be the ether-vibrations that produce the material from which these, their limited worlds, are formed. The more distant are the dwelling places from the Earth, the brighter, the more splendid, the more harmonious everything becomes—dwellings and nature alike, such as seas, rivers, lakes, lands, flowers, etc. As long as the spirit stays in the sphere it has reached by purification through its reincarnations—that is, earthly rebirths—its body moves about just as one moves about on Earth, that is, by walking, running, etc. However, the movements of the released spirit are quicker and easier, just as the thought is more lucid and more precise than when the spirit is bound to the heavy earthly body that imposes so many restrictions upon it.
Methods of transportation in the spheres are similar to those on Earth, but better, faster and more comfortable. All innovations and improvements that over time have been brought to humanity have first been tested in the spheres, before they have become a reality on Earth.
When the Youngest associate with inhabitants of the various Spheres and of the Earth and desire not to avail themselves of the Passage of Light, they exert the energy of their thought and will to transport their spirit-body by the ether that extends everywhere by virtue of the fourth dimension.
A further explanation of the fourth dimension cannot be given, because man as yet lacks the basis for an understanding of this concept.
The higher spheres are invisible to the inhabitants of the lower ones. The lower spheres are partly invisible to the inhabitants of the higher, and even the Youngest have only a moderately clear view of them, when, borne by the vibrations of the ether, they move from sphere to sphere, or from place to place within the different spheres.
The inhabitants of the lower spheres cannot on their own, either by thought and will or by the Passage of Light, ascend to worlds above their own sphere. They can descend only to the Earth31 or to the lower spheres in between, and only through the Passage of Light. However, within their home-sphere and the sphere of the Earth, they are able to move about by thought and will, but to a limited extent. They are thus unable to penetrate strong concentrations of Light or ethereal Light-radiations.
God’s Servants and the Youngest can move about everywhere by the power of their thought and will and therefore do not always use the Passage of Light. If they desire, they can even make their way through the Earth’s numerous accumulations of Darkness.
In the course of time, God has created a variety of animal figures for the enjoyment of human spirits, birds, horses, dogs, cats, etc.—so that they should not miss the purely earthly surroundings too much. However, these are not astral counterparts of earthly animals, but rather thought-forms not possessed of everlasting life. When the spheres have served their purpose as temporary habitations for the spirits, these animal figures, only temporarily contained in and by the Thought of God and therefore having no eternal life, will disappear. By the Will of God they are returned to the matter from which He fashioned them, dissolving and reverting to their original state—the Light-ether. But as long as the spheres exist, human spirits will always be able to find represented there the animals they most cherished during life on Earth. And since God creates these animal figures to conform exactly to their earthly prototypes, all will be able to find their favorite horse, dog, cat, bird, and so on.
In accounts that departed humans have conveyed to those on Earth about life in the spheres, it has often been said that the animals are endowed with everlasting life. This actually refers to the aforementioned thought-forms. However, there is some justification for such erroneous assertions by deceased relatives and friends since even the more advanced human spirits find it difficult to realize that these animals—apparently as alive as they themselves—are but endowed with temporary life. In a few instances where such messages have apparently been given by higher spirits, this erroneous information about the eternal life of animals must be ascribed to the Elder, who implanted these false thoughts while the communicating spirit was in contact with a medium. This has occurred quite often and cannot really be held against the mediums, since the Elder would of course avail himself of every opportunity to falsify any information given by the spirits of the Light.
But these and other false assertions could in time have been put right if the mediums or the séance leaders had on each occasion analyzed the various passages of every message and demanded verification that all was in exact agreement with the facts; for where the truth was demanded in the name of God, the Elder would have had to yield.
Through the eldest of the Youngest, God gives broad outlines for the human lives on Earth 32 and also determines their durations, all in accordance with that which can be allotted each individual on the basis of that person’s thoughts, actions and progress in the preceding incarnation, as well as all not yet atoned for from previous earthly lives. Before entering upon a fresh incarnation, the spirit is told how the forthcoming earthly life shall be lived, what demands will be made upon the spirit, and which deeds require atonement. Not until the spirit has pondered carefully what is to come, has understood why the new incarnation must take the exact form specified and has assented to same, will the incarnation proceed at the place and in the surroundings best suited to that particular purpose.
But since everything must come about voluntarily, and as the human spirits—especially the undeveloped ones—understand not always immediately the purpose of a new incarnation and therefore often refuse to undertake same, they must remain in their dwellings with no possibility of further progress open to them until they come to acknowledge and comprehend the advantages of a further incarnation. Once they so acknowledge, they can continue the temporarily interrupted journey toward the Paternal Home.
However, it is not left entirely to humans themselves to overcome all earthly difficulties. In order to render effective help, guardian spirits33 watch over them and try to influence their thoughts—that is, “stir their conscience”—so as to guide each individual into the ways of life given by God. But since humans are also endowed with a free will, just as are the Eldest and the Youngest, and since they seldom heed fully the admonitions of their conscience, incarnations often depart sadly from what was intended; and as individuals frequently take their own lives instead of awaiting the time and manner of death appointed by God, they often create much needless suffering for themselves.
One who commits suicide in a state of delirium (an unpremeditated action, that is) will be reincarnated immediately after an account of the earthly life just ended has been given. These immediate reincarnations, without time for rest and learning, are given by God partly as a continuation of the abruptly terminated life, and partly so that the individual can move beyond the spiritual sufferings recently endured on Earth. Even if the new incarnation should be of short duration, the spirit will be able to look back upon the mental or physical anguish of the previous earthly life with greater calm when it is again released. (Regarding premeditated suicide, see Speech of Christ, page 114).
A guardian spirit normally oversees many human individuals, sometimes several hundred, and is in direct thought-communication with all. The older the human spirit, the clearer and the more emphatically sounds the voice of conscience to the individual. The younger the human spirit, the denser the Darkness about it in human form, causing the voice of conscience to sound fainter and vaguer. Many people often hear two voices, the other constantly opposing the admonitions of the conscience to follow the ways of the Light and of truth. At present, 34 this argumentative voice is that of the individual’s own selfish and undeveloped spirit, giving its own opinions on the questions or situations under consideration; but clearly nothing is gained when man overrides the conscience and yields to the desire to do evil.
When at death the spirit is freed once more from its earthly body, the guardian spirit brings it in a state resembling sleep35 to the sphere and the dwelling that it departed upon its incarnation.
On reawakening, the spirit must meditate closely upon the earthly life just ended, must review all its thoughts and all actions—evil as well as good—and account for all the occasions when, in the human state, it opposed its conscience. God Himself poses those questions to which He requires more detailed answers by letting His voice sound to all spirits who have completed the rendering of their accounts.
God speaks through His thought, and by His will he transforms the vibrations produced by His thoughts into sound waves. God normally “speaks” to thousands of spirits at a time; but each individual hears only the questions addressed to that spirit alone, and the words sound as though God spoke in the earthly language used in the spirit’s latest incarnation. When all questions have been answered truthfully, the spirit is given once more into the care of its guardian for protection during the time of rest.
When the allotted time of rest36 is at an end, the spirit is transferred to a better abode or to a higher sphere, if deserving of same through its life on Earth. Otherwise it remains in its old abode, for however much the spirit has sinned in the human state it will never be relegated to a lower sphere or a poorer abode. In the world of Light there is only progress or for a time standstill, but never retrogression.
After the time of rest, whether the spirit is transferred elsewhere or remains in its dwelling, it receives instruction36 in the special matters that will be of use during the next incarnation.
In all the spheres are found numerous institutions of learning, corresponding to schools and universities of the Earth. All scientific and literary works that exist, or have existed on Earth are available there, reproduced in the earthly languages, except for the most primitive tongues. Each institution of learning has its own large libraries with pertinent laboratories and study halls. All public buildings, churches, assembly halls, universities, observatories, museums, etc., display great architectural beauty and are adorned with many works of sculpture. A number of these buildings have been designed and built by human spirits during their time of learning and thus were not created by the Thought and Will of God. They are made of the materials of the spheres, similar to the stone, wood and so forth on Earth.
From the moment that God began endowing the human souls with life, He created them as He did His first children, two by two, man and woman, so that when they had completed all the stages of their journeying and reached God’s Kingdom, they would belong eternally to one another. Each retains his or her individuality. They are two, yet as one, since one will always be a reflection of the other.
Wherever possible, the human male and female duals accompany each other in their existence on Earth as man and wife, brother and sister or otherwise closely related. But they do not always succeed in finding or understanding each other under earthly conditions.
Just as with His other children, God endows each human spirit with the characteristic of its spirit-body, but this is not seen in its full glory until the goal—God’s Kingdom—is reached.
A description in broad outline is hereby given of the bodily appearance of the spirits:
The spirit-body, like the human body, consists of an outer form enclosing various inner organs. The outer form has the appearance of the most beautiful human body, many times idealized, but without sexual organs. (The female spirit-body is softer and more rounded than that of the male, but the actual difference in the outward appearance of the male and female cannot be explained, since humans lack any basis for understanding this difference). The internal structure of the body only remotely resembles that of the earthly body. The physical digestive system consisting of the stomach, intestines, kidneys, etc., and all reproductive organs are absent, but the vascular and nervous systems are far more extensively and finely developed. By breathing in through the nose, the windpipe and lung-like organs, the body is supplied with the necessary ether currents, which then circulate through a finely and extensively ramified “vascular network” and back to the respiratory organs, where the currents are renewed. The vascular system is a double one. The network of vessels leading from the organ on the right side terminates on the left side, and vice versa. There are no arteries. If a spirit of the Light stays in or passes through accumulations of Darkness, a sensation is experienced similar to that of a human being breathing air of low oxygen content.
The spirit-body has no bone structure, but its consistency is entirely firm because of a strong musculature throughout the body.
Instead of the human brain, but in the same place, there is a nerve center from which an extremely fine network of nerves spreads from the head along the back and through the entire body. All the nerve-fibers lead back to the brain-center through a lesser center that corresponds most closely to the human heart and is found at approximately the same place; here the nerve-ends converge and lead through two cords, one on either side of the neck, back to the starting point, the brain-center.
If they so choose, beings in the transcendental world need not take nourishment.
Nourishment, if taken, consists mainly of fruits37 taken as is or prepared in various ways. It is taken by mouth (the tooth structure is similar to that of the human body), is distributed through a finely ramified tubular system to the entire body, and is then secreted imperceptibly through tiny pores of the skin by interaction between the tubular and vascular systems of the body and the surrounding ether of Light or of Darkness. The pores of the skin are not unlike the sweat pores of the human body, but much finer and all connected directly with the tubular and vascular systems.
The spirit-body as here described is alike for all spiritual beings; but because the human spirit in the transcendental world is always an exact copy (see pages 188-91) of the human embodiment of its previous incarnation, the spirit-body also contains duplicates of all the organs and so forth of the human body. In the transcendental world everything human remains completely latent—rests in a state of dormancy. On the other hand, for as long as the spirit is incarnated the organs of the spirit-body are at rest, since these can be used only when the spirit is released. But the nervous system of the spirit-body functions at all times, although to a lesser degree during life on Earth.
When the spirit has completed all its incarnations and is released from life on Earth, God removes by the power of His Will all the rudimentary organs that stem from its human existence, and the spirit-body then appears exactly as God gave it.
FOOTNOTES FOR COMMENTARY
30) However, the human spirits were only allowed to use this Passage of Light when accompanied by their guardian spirit, that is, with the permission of God.
31) Commentary to Ardor’s Account, pages 247-50.
32) Concluding Summary, pages 307-10.
33) Guardian angels.
34) When the sin-bound spirits walked the astral counterpart of the Earth (the Earth’s astral plane), this opposing voice often stemmed from these wicked beings, and in many cases also stemmed from the Elder, who in that way tried to lead humans astray. See also Ardor’s Account, page 29, Commentary to Ardor’s Account, pages 203-04, and Concluding Summary, pages 307-09.
35) Commentary to Ardor’s Account, page 204.
36 twice) See section in smaller type, page 185.
37) The spheres abound in flowering and fruit-bearing trees and plants unknown on Earth. According to laws given by God, the fruits and flowers develop without pollination and have a flavor and fragrance far superior to anything on Earth.