BAHAI THINKING VII
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In every human being lie gems hidden beyond imagination. The task of the individual is to mine these inexhaustible riches, to polish the mind and to develop qualities of inborn nobility of spirit, of “humanness” that adorn the world.
Bahá’u’lláh reveals that man is God's most beloved creation. In every person, the matter and the laws of the Universe find their highest expression. Therefore, there are more things between the outer and inner being of man than man can dream of. All children of the world are precious to their Maker. None of them is stained by mortal sin. "There is no other God but Thee, the God of love and tender mercy, the All-Glorious, the Ever-Forgiving." (From a Bahá'í prayer)
Current evolutionary thought says that man comes from the animal, even though the essence of man is not material and rises completely above the beast. The paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin was the first to say that “with the appearance of man on earth” a threshold was passed and “a new level of existence” had been reached. The coming of man was, according to Chardin, the real purpose of evolution, as “a flower” comes forth from fertilized earth.
According to the revelation of Bahá’u’lláh man is another kind of being than the animals. He outwardly comes from the upper stratum of the primates but inwardly has roots in realms beyond nature. Man is a spiritual being and evolved as a separate species from the beginning of the evolution of life on earth, essentially different from chimpanzee or bonobo.
The child developing in the womb of a woman is human from the moment of conception and, during pregnancy, does not actually pass through any zoological stages. Therefore man should not act like animals nor take their example as his own.
That which makes man “a new level of existence” is on the inside. Higher qualities such as consciousness, imagination, reason, creativity, and power over nature, love and immortality are “attributes of God”, as the Bahá'í Writings make clear.
The conscious soul carries the true identity of the person, and this soul is immortal. All the letters of the book of creation have been engraved in man. The mystic code of the human being cannot be deciphered; it is endlessly complex and far above the reach of biogenetics.
Because of his supernatural design man is the only fellow-creator of Creation. The potency of “humanness” must be activated by education and determination. Man can choose between dignity and inferiority. This freedom of spiritual choice is a distinctive feature of humankind and cannot be found in any other creature. But the improper use of free will cannot lead to glory. The highest expression of freedom lies in submission to the Laws that rule the path to man's eternal destination.
The discoveries of the last hundred and fifty years have brought forth technologies and systems of knowledge which have made life on earth freer, richer and more humane, but, where used in inappropriate ways, also much more dangerous. Even triggering calamities on a planetary scale are technically and politically within reach. The New Day into which mankind currently awakens requires an inner rebirth of man. Only God possesses the key to a resurrection of the human heart.
Intellect cannot penetrate the essence of being. Man's intellectual reach is limited by a brain that fills only the skull, not the Universe. When it comes to the deepest wisdom, man depends on the Messengers which God has sent to reveal unseen things. Bahá'u'lláh reveals how mankind can adapt to the challenges they face in the new world order He announced.
By independently using his faculty of reason, man can distinguish truth from falsehood. According to the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, God does not expect man to accept absurdities. Religious teachings should not bereave man of his birthright to investigate whatever comes to his searching mind. The individual should not accept truth second-hand. Man is personally responsible for what he allows into his head and heart.
Life has to be devoted to the wellbeing of the whole matrix of life. With every new revelation God raised the level of the prevailing norms. Bahá’u’lláh has explicidly enlarged the old commandment of love and justice to include all mankind. Love for the world is above patriotism. But the love of man for God is in the first place and means obedience to his humanizing Laws. Applying these Laws to thought and action cultivate citizens of the Earth, and make them shining gems, diamonds forever.
From the Holy Writings of the Bahá'í Faith
Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.
The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor.
My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.
Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words
God has created man after His own image and likeness. He has endowed him with a mighty power which is capable of discovering the mysteries of phenomena. Through its use man is able to arrive at ideal conclusions instead of being restricted to the mere plane of sense impressions. As he possesses sense endowment in common with the animals, it is evident that he is distinguished above them by his conscious power of penetrating abstract realities. He acquires divine wisdom; he searches out the mysteries of creation; he witnesses the radiance of omnipotence; he attains the second birth—that is to say, he is born out of the material world just as he is born of the mother; he attains to everlasting life; he draws nearer to God; his heart is replete with the love of God. This is the foundation of the world of humanity; this is the image and likeness of God; this is the reality of man; otherwise, he is an animal.
'Abdu'l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace