In his writings Baha’u’llah affirms many ancient truths, sheds light on age-old questions, and opens new vistas of understanding. Through them, he infuses a fresh spirit into the religion of God and provides guidance for the individual and for humanity as a whole.
In the next several essays in this continuing series, let’s review some of Baha’u’llah’s basic teachings about spiritual reality. It should be emphasized at the outset that this is only a summary. The purpose here is to touch upon the fundamentals as a means of encouraging further personal investigation.
Baha’u’llah taught that there is only one God. He stated that “God in His Essence and in His own Self hath ever been unseen, inaccessible, and unknowable.” – Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 118. The Baha’i teachings describe God as neither male nor female, although the limitations and conventions of our language and many others have led us to refer to Him in the masculine. The Baha’i writings say God is personal, meaning that He is conscious and rational and has a will and a purpose. Although He is not a person, He is also not some mindless force, as some people believe.
The Baha’i teachings say that God is eternal, omniscient, almighty, and omnipresent. He is not the same as His creation, but distinct and transcendent. He is infinitely exalted above human conception:
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. “No vision taketh in Him, but He taketh in all vision; He is the Subtle, the All-Perceiving.” – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp. 46-47.
Baha’is view God as the Creator of all things. His creation is infinite, has always existed, and will always continue to exist:
As to thy question concerning the origin of creation. Know assuredly that God’s creation hath existed from eternity, and will continue to exist forever. Its beginning hath had no beginning, and its end knoweth no end. – ibid, p. 150.
Know thou of a truth that the worlds of God are countless in their number, and infinite in their range. None can reckon or comprehend them except God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. – ibid, pp. 151-152.
God has imbued all of creation with the signs of His attributes:
Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth is a direct evidence of the revelation within it of the attributes and names of God, inasmuch as within every atom are enshrined the signs that bear eloquent testimony to the revelation of that Most Great Light. Methinks, but for the potency of that revelation, no being could ever exist. How resplendent the luminaries of knowledge that shine in an atom, and how vast the oceans of wisdom that surge within a drop! To a supreme degree is this true of man, who, among all created things, hath been invested with the robe of such gifts, and hath been singled out for the glory of such distinction. For in him are potentially revealed all the attributes and names of God to a degree that no other created being hath excelled or surpassed. – ibid, p. 177.