BAHAI THINKING V
View of the Bahá'í Gardens on Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel
The Sistine Chapel of the Universe did not paint itself. The Michelangelo of Michelangelo and all the geniuses, men, animals, things and galaxies is the creative Spirit that is called God and has a thousand other Names. The creation is an emanation of the Creator, just as a masterwork is the emanation of a master.
God is unimaginable and conceivable at the same time. By speaking of Him as a person is not to say that He is a person. He is the Creator of unique entities and individuals, the furthest reality, unborn, causeless, and uncreated, without form.
God is not framed by any image that man has conceived. Sunlight cannot be jailed in a cage. It makes no sense for any learned institution to decide that God has to be three-in-one. The sent cannot become the sender by a majority of votes of a Council. All conceptions of man end in deception. With each revelation religion opens new realms of understanding, and the mystery of God comes closer and closer to man's mind.
As the light is inseparable from the sun, so the creation is inseparable from God. The Big Bang cannot be the actual beginning of the worlds. Mathematics and theoretical physics prove that there are fields beyond the continuum of space and time that cannot be described other than symbolically. In the Netherlands a young scientist, winner of the highest science award of the country, is searching for that absolute Nothingness that must be the absolute Everything from which the Universe came.
There is a gradual synthesis occurring between physics and metaphysics. A leading scientist talks about “parallels between the modern physics and Eastern mysticism”. (Fritjof Capra) That which for many is still faith, seems to have been scientifically proven by others. Metaphysical propositions of yesterday will be found tomorrow in high school curricula. Mathematically. a creating Intelligence is far preferable to chaotic coincidences.
The higher reality, from which the universe originates, is a demonstrable fact through the discoveries of the relativity of space and time and man's perception nearly a century ago (Albert Einstein, 1905). In quantum physics, researchers have reached dimensions in which things no longer exist and are, at the same time, the very bricks of matter.
In 2004 the “Columbia Spectator” in New York headlined humorously: “Does God Exist? ‘Yes,’ Mathematician Says”. The Canadian mathematician, William S. Hatcher, had opened a new, intellectual path to God. He used the relational logic that runs in the background of data management systems and adapted it for metaphysical and ethical issues. Hatcher called his method “minimalist” because he limits himself to that which is plausible and experiential and does not pass the limits of human knowledge. Still with his computer he came to the conclusion that there is an indivisible, all-encompassing and timeless reality, which could be thought of as “God”.
Hatcher considers his philosophy as a way to connect the main streams of modern thinking, the relativism which is free of commitment (nothing is fixed) and the all-knowing materialism (everything can be explained). He pleas for recognition of the fact that all philosophers think in favored models. He himself considers it possible that an ultimate kind of knowledge exists that can only come from a source beyond mankind to mankind and that this has happened again by way of Bahá’u’lláh. This made Hatcher a Bahá'í.
From revelation it appears that God, at the end point of thought, also has a loving side with regard to the creation of man who is His most beloved. “Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee…”, Bahá'u'lláh reveals.
The Absolute bridges the gap with the relative and mortal mind by manifesting Himself in the plane of human conception. The Bahá'í teachings speak of a phased education by the great Revealers of Truth, suited to an ever-increasing level of understanding.
Through revelation man learns about the reason of his creation, and the mountainous path towards his celestial destination. He can also chose another direction than upwards, because there is no coercion in God’s Faith. But when a person shuts out his Maker, he shuts out the true nature of his own self. Without God it is difficult to conceive how the human spirit came into being, and what might be the meaning and the outcome of life. Curiosity, the stimulus of all search for an answer, is a legitimate motivation for the search for God, the ultimate truth, the reality behind events, things, and one’s own life.
While the individual is free to go his own way between high and low, the soul of the individual and the evolution of the humanity are completely dependent on God’s laws. His Will steers the world gradually into oneness in spirit. Unification of mankind through the expansion of the collective unconscious, the proposition which the mystic and scientist Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) offered a half a century ago, finds its highest confirmation in the earlier revelation of Bahá’u’lláh .
The power of mankind can slow this mental evolution, and set it on a path beset with disaster. In the end, though, mankind will come to where God wills it to be: in a pacified world in which the consciousness of solidarity will release unknown, creative power. The power which thus far, has been hidden in the realm of the unconscious, will, in the Great Peace, change the whole earth towards good.
Since the recent revelation of God an iconoclasm has raged through the sacred halls of the past. Cultures, powers and ideological systems are shaking and crumbling in an end of the world. The order of yesterday is pushed to the back of the world stage. Divine powers are setting up a new civilization. The conditions of the new millennium are pressing mankind towards more and more “humanness” on a planetary scale. These conditions are no coincidence, but the outcome of an intervention of the Creator in the spiritual evolution of mankind. In the mysterious depth of this unfolding stage of the world lies the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. “See, I make all things new."
Extracted from the Writings of the Bahá'í Faith
To every discerning and illuminated heart it is evident that God, the unknowable Essence, the Divine Being, is immensely exalted beyond every human attribute, such as corporeal existence, ascent and descent, egress and regress. Far be it from His glory that human tongue should adequately recount His praise, or that the human heart comprehend His fathomless mystery. He is, and hath ever been, veiled in the ancient eternity of His Essence, and will remain in His Reality everlastingly hidden from the sight of men.
The one true God hath everlastingly existed, and will everlastingly continue to exist. His creation, likewise, hath had no beginning, and will have no end. All that is created, however, is preceded by a cause. This fact, in itself, establisheth, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the unity of the Creator.
Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah
Differentiation of stages in the contingent plane is an obstacle to understanding. Minerals, plants and animals are bereft of the mental faculties of man that discover the realities of all things, but man himself comprehends all the stages beneath him. Every superior stage comprehends that which is inferior and discovers the reality thereof, but the inferior one is unaware of that which is superior and cannot comprehend it. Thus man cannot grasp the Essence of Divinity, but can, by his reasoning power, by observation, by his intuitive faculties and the revealing power of his faith, believe in God, and discover the bounties of His Grace. He becomes certain that though the Divine Essence is unseen of the eye, and the existence of the Deity is intangible, yet conclusive spiritual proofs assert the existence of that unseen Reality. The Divine Essence as it is in itself is however beyond all description.
'Abdu'l-Bahá, Tablet to August Forel
Within a compass of two hundred pages [Bahá'u'lláh unequivocally proclaims in the Book of Certitude] the existence and oneness of a personal God, unknowable, inaccessible, the source of all Revelation, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent and almighty; asserts the relativity of religious truth and the continuity of Divine Revelation; affirms the unity of the Prophets, the universality of their Message, the identity of their fundamental teachings, the sanctity of their scriptures, and the twofold character of their stations; denounces the blindness and perversity of the divines and doctors of every age; cites and elucidates the allegorical passages of the New Testament, the abstruse verses of the Qur’án, and the cryptic Muhammadan traditions which have bred those age-long misunderstandings, doubts and animosities that have sundered and kept apart the followers of the world’s leading religious systems; enumerates the essential prerequisites for the attainment by every true seeker of the object of his quest…
Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By