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Throughout all creation, in all the kingdoms, this law is written: that love and affinity are the cause of life, and discord and separation are the cause of death. - Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 207.
Love and affinity cause life, Abdu’l-Baha says. Scientifically, how could that be?
What if the strong force, the powerful energy that bonds every atom in the universe together, the molecular source of all life, represents in the physical world what the profound energy of love represents in the spiritual world? Or what if, as strange as it might sound, the two forces are the same force? What if love literally holds the universe together?
If you’ve ever been in love, you know how strong that force can be.
Love, as the songs all say, makes you crazy. When you feel the powerful pull of love in your heart, you’ll do just about anything to follow it. You’ll go through any hardship or overcome any obstacle so that love can grow and flourish. You’ll transcend the rational, leave all your logical concerns behind and do whatever it takes just to be with your beloved.
When our hearts and souls feel the strong force of love, we can’t help ourselves—we have to respond.
Maybe the electrons and protons in the heart of every atom feel the same way. The known laws of physics—at least the ones we understand--suggest that each atom should immediately fly apart, flinging its components out into space. That’s because the nucleus of every atom (with a single exception: hydrogen) contains more than one proton, those positively-charged particles that normally instantly repel other positively-charged particles. Instead, the strong force holds those protons and electrons tightly together, with an extreme bond, making material existence possible.
A little more than seventy years ago science began to teach us, with terrible results, what happens when we forcibly separate that bond by “splitting the atom.” We unleash the incredible, discordant power of the strong force and produce a nuclear explosion, the most destructive force known to humanity. In this case, we can take Abdu’l-Baha’s words literally: “discord and separation are the cause of death.”
This strong force fascinated Einstein in the pursuit of his ultimately un-realized “unified field theory,” and it continues to compel physicists today. Science agrees that no more powerful affinity exists, but we don’t fully understand the mechanisms that make it work.
Kind of like love.
When we’re in love, we know the feeling, and all we can do is surrender to it. Understanding how it works becomes much less important than recognizing its reality.
So if our small human expressions of love have so much personal power, can we imagine the enormous combined power of a more universal love?
Can we conceptualize and recognize what love might mean to a Supreme Being? The Baha’i teachings give us a clue:
Know thou of a certainty that Love is the secret of God's holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings. Love is heaven's kindly light, the Holy Spirit's eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul. Love is the cause of God's revelation unto man, the vital bond inherent, in accordance with the divine creation, in the realities of things. Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next. Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul. Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the divers elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms. Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe. Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization in this mortal world, and the shedder of imperishable glory upon every high-aiming race and nation. - Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 26.
“Love is… the vital bond inherent… in the realities of things,” Abdu’l-Baha writes, “the unique power that bindeth together the divers elements of this material world.”