Ultimate Questions

The great questions of life will vary from one individual to another, but often include whether the universe was deliberately created, and whether there is a deity of some sort; what the purpose of creation might be; whether there is a spiritual aspect to man, and whether the spirit survives after death; why there is evil in the world, and why innocents suffer; and why life has been confined to one planet when there are incalculable billions of galaxies.

On every one of these questions the Bahá’í Faith offers at least a partial answer, although proper answers to these sort of questions are beyond the scope of this brief overview. The universe was created by an Unknowable Essence, which knew its love for us, and therefore created us. Each human has a soul, which learns through experience, including through suffering. Evil does not exist as an independent force, it is the absence of good, in the same way that darkness is merely the absence of light. Without “evil” good could not be recognised. Bahá’u’lláh explicitly states that there is life on other planets.

Bahá’u’lláh attempts to show humanity the futility of trying to describe the Ultimate Reality: “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 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.” Instead, titles which exalt his attributes are used, such as the Omniscient, the Almighty and the Ever-Forgiving.

The individual is in essence spiritual in nature, and only when living in the spirit is he truly happy. The soul associates with the body at the point of conception, and through the matrix of life it acquires virtues, so that when the body ceases to function, the soul continues to progress, through the next world(s). After death, souls recognise other souls which they have known in this world.

Although it is impossible for the finite mind to fully grasp the infinite, the transcendent, this is one of the supreme privileges and challenges for the human being, and is in itself one of the many things which the entire human race has in common.

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