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O Son of Spirit! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbour. Ponder this in thy heart, how it behoveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, pp. 3-4.

“Justice” is another name for “Wednesday.” In the Baha’i Calendar, every Wednesday offers us a time to reflect on justice as a both a “Name of God” and as an ideal human character trait as well.

Before taking a look at the ideal of justice, let’s recap and reconsider the dynamic relationship between the “names and attributes” of God and their connection to the human world.

We call discourse about God theology. In theological parlance, “anthropomorphism” means projecting human qualities onto God. When this happens, instead of humanity being made in the image of God, God is “made” in the image of man. Even though God is always above and beyond the furthest reaches of human abstraction, anthropomorphism tries to connect the human world to the realm of the divine. But obviously God is not human, just as humans are not gods

Now let’s turn anthropomorphism on its head, and coin a new term: “theomorphism.” Let’s provisionally define “theomorphism” as projecting the attributes of God onto humanity. Theomorphism, in the name of man, bridges the realm of the divine to the human world. How does this work?

Take the divine attribute of justice. As stated at the beginning of this article, “Justice” (‘Idāl, in Persian) is the Baha’i name for Wednesday. Justice is a “name” of God. What do we mean by “name”?

just-king

By “name,” I mean fame or reputation. God is just, as we might think of a “just king.” (Yes, there are still a few monarchs in the world today.) In its ideal sense, as it pertains to you and I, a given “Name” also means the power to do good and to exemplify quality of character.

“God is Just” is a theological statement—we understand “God is Just” in the absolute sense. Every act of God reflects absolute justice. Any human action that may qualify as “just” we understand in a relative sense. With this ideal in mind, may it be said of you or I: “He (or she) is just.” Now put the two statements together, side-by-side: “God is Just.” And: “He (or she) is just.”

Now, let’s take the liberty of compounding these two statements, to read something like this: “As God is just, may you (and I) likewise be just.” That’s the whole point of reflecting, meditating on, and then trying to actively manifest a “Name of God.” That’s the purpose and intent of “theomorphism.”

Now let’s reflect on Baha’u’llah’s Hidden Word given in the opening quote above, with nine brief personal reflections on its meaning:

  1. “O Son of Spirit!” This is a reminder that our inner reality is spiritual in nature. In the Baha’i teachings, spirit is consciousness. The divine spirit, or spirit of God, is typically referred to as the “Holy Spirit.” A person’s spirit or consciousness is awakened by the influence of the Holy Spirit in this life. The primary purpose of life is to develop one’s spiritual awareness and capacity.
  1. “The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice…” Here, the quality of “Justice” is singled out as paramount, of the highest importance. Therefore, we should pay close attention to it by reflecting on justice and internalizing justice as part and parcel of our consciousness—and of our character, quality of mind and contribution to life and society.
  1. “…turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me.” Here, justice is expressed as a precondition for attracting divine favor or confirmation. Aspiring to be just is an essential prerequisite for becoming more godly, and therefore drawing closer to God. God is not far from us—how far or close we are to God depends mostly on us.
  1. “…and neglect it not that I may confide in thee.” Justice is a way of seeing, discerning, and understanding. To see with the “eye of justice” is to look through the lens of equity and fairness—by clarity of insight, undistorted by the astigmatism of bias and selfishness.
  1. “By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others…” To see with the eye of justice means reflecting on matters both dispassionately and compassionately, to see things as they are—and as they should be.
  1. “…and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbour.” Justice is the measure, or standard, of independent judgment, a requisite for deciding and acting with equity, fairness, and benevolence.
  1. “Ponder this in thy heart, how it behoveth thee to be.” Acting justly, equitably and fairly is how we should be. That’s a lot easier said than done. Justice takes a lifetime to develop and perfect. To be just, one has to continually “ponder” on justice as it applies to any given situation or predicament.
  1. “Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness.” Justice is God’s gift to you and I. Justice, in turn, is the gift we give to others.
  1. “Set it then before thine eyes.” Justice should be at the center of our attention. Because it is paramount, Justice should be at the forefront of our consciousness.

So, when you wake up on Wednesday, why not drink your cup of coffee, or tea, or your glass of orange juice, and read and reflect on this profound Hidden Word? Commit it to memory, if you like. Then think about it during the day, and see if you have an opportunity to transform this godly attribute of justice into goodly actions.

3 Comments

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  • Jun 24, 2016
    I love this article for multiple reasons. The concept of theomorphism is creative and provides a new way to think about God. The analysis of the Hidden Word was very helpful to me. Finally, the article's overall theme is to transform words into deeds by asking us to reflect every Wednesday on justice and put it into practice. Great article. Thank you.
  • rodney Richards
    May 27, 2016
    Nicely done Christopher, nicely done. Love Theomorphism, as that is the true reality here, not the other way round. To think God could be like Man is a sobering concept when we think deeply of it, depressing even.