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O SON OF MAN!
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. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 4.
In this striking passage from Baha’u’llah’s Hidden Words, God calls on every human being to contemplate their creation, just as He did in the Torah in Genesis 1, verse 26:
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.
Origin stories – the tales of the creation of the human race, common to every tribe and people and faith – resonate down through history, telling the tale of our beginnings and helping us form our vision of ourselves, our psychological and spiritual self-image.
These seminal stories also answer our children’s biggest and most profound questions – who are we, and where did we come from?
Every holy book from all of the great Faiths has an origin story that tells us how humanity began. And each culture throughout history has its own oral origin traditions and creation myths, carefully passed down from past generations.
In this Hidden Word, Baha’u’llah very specifically tells us that our creation grew directly out of God’s love. Baha’u’llah confirms that love – the great Mystery of the universe – led to our birth as a species, and fuels our constant human quest for beauty, self-knowledge and a deeper understanding of our inner spiritual reality. The Baha’i teachings say that God’s creation of humanity developed purely out of love – not out of a doctrine of fate or ancestral, original sin. For Baha’is, every baby’s birth expresses love, nobility and purity, and every adult’s true purpose centers around the giving of love to others. In fact, Baha’u’llah clearly says that God’s entire creation came about so our inherent love could find its Beloved:
Having created the world and all that liveth and moveth therein, He, through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will, chose to confer upon man the unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him — a capacity that must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation… – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 64.
This theme of love — both the love of God for humanity and our innate, reciprocal, inborn love for the spiritual and the mystical — flows through many passages of The Hidden Words. Often Baha’u’llah writes about love using traditional Sufi modes of expression, with the language of romantic passion and the great attraction of human hearts as metaphors for the love between God and creation. Symbolizing true human love bordering on the divine, this deep poetic meaning gives us a way to begin to comprehend and understand the purpose of the Prophets, the Messengers of God, the Founders of the world’s great Faiths:
Thus it is that through the rise of these Luminaries of God the world is made new, the waters of everlasting life stream forth, the billows of loving-kindness surge, the clouds of grace are gathered, and the breeze of bounty bloweth upon all created things. It is the warmth that these Luminaries of God generate, and the undying fires they kindle, which cause the light of the love of God to burn fiercely in the heart of humanity. – Baha’u’llah, The Book of Certitude, p. 32.
If God has “engraved on thee Mine image,” as Baha’u’llah tells us in this Hidden Word, then that image is love. And if love, deeply engraved in our souls at our creation, makes us who we are, then the expression of love to others can fulfill our deepest inner purpose and make us whole. If love, as the Baha’i writings say, forms the fundamental principle of God’s purpose for humanity, then our duty involves internalizing that love of God for each of us, and passing it on:
Ye were created to show love one to another and not perversity and rancor. Take pride not in love for yourselves but in love for your fellow-creatures. Glory not in love for your country, but in love for all mankind. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 138.
Love for others and for God, the Baha’i writings tell us, is the first sign of faith. This Hidden Word reveals one of the central principles and most important teachings of Baha’u’llah — that we must all strive throughout the human world to diffuse the light of love.
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