The Bahá’í writings state that each human being has a soul. It is this which provides humans with a unique capacity to recognise both God’s station and humanity’s relationship with its creator. Every human has a duty to recognise the Messenger of God for that Day, and to follow his teachings. Through this recognition, and through service to humanity, together with prayer, meditation and fasting, the soul becomes closer to God. The individual can never completely understand God, any more than a flower can understand the gardener, yet can understand his attributes, and move closer to him. This journey towards the divine is the subject of one of Bahá’u’lláh’s mystical works, “The Seven Valleys”.
The development of the soul, which is the real purpose of this life, is enhanced by understanding and acquiring such attributes as tolerance, compassion, trustworthiness and detachment. These will assist us in the next world, although we clearly do not yet understand how! Heaven and Hell are understood to be metaphors for the spiritual states of nearness to, or distance from, God. It must be emphasised that each soul is individual, as noted by Bahá’u’lláh in his saying, “Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration.” This reflects the unending variety between souls, as well as the infinite aspects of change through time.