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When we think of love, the first thing that comes to mind for most of us is the popular conception of romantic love we see in stories and movies or experience in our own lives.
That makes sense because romantic or familial love, which can be a wonderful expression of love between individuals, is probably most common in our experience.
But in reality, this kind of love is limited to only those we know or like. However, in the Baha’i writings, Baha’u’llah opened our eyes to a beautiful vista of God’s love, deepening and broadening our understanding of the reality of this divine love as expressed in God’s creation.
In fact, the Baha’i teachings explain how that kind of heavenly love can, and will, bring about the unity of humankind.
Baha’is understand that love is a power, a spiritual force emanating from God. During a talk he gave in Maine in 1912, Abdu’l-Baha said, “… in the world of existence there is indeed no greater power than the power of love.” He wrote: “Love is heaven’s kindly light, the Holy Spirit’s eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul.”
This kind of divine love isn’t just a nice feeling. The Baha’i teachings say that divine love expresses itself throughout all creation as the power of attraction, which allows creation itself to come into being under the directing Will of God:
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.
Thinking of love in this more expansive way, we can see how God’s love underpins the very cause of the creation of the universe and, of course, of us.
Most importantly, this love prompts the purpose of God in sending His holy prophets, who bring their life-giving Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to humanity. In a talk he gave in Paris, Abdu’l-Baha described:
… the love that flows from God to man; it consists of the inexhaustible graces, the Divine effulgence and heavenly illumination. Through this love the world of being receives life. Through this love man is endowed with physical existence, until, through the breath of the Holy Spirit – this same love – he receives eternal life and becomes the image of the Living God. This love is the origin of all the love in the world of creation.
This love brings us the divine gifts of God’s knowledge and spirit, makes civilization, arts, and sciences possible, and creates the capacity necessary to establish humanity’s oneness.
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Suppose we reflect on these passages from the Baha’i teachings. In that case, we can see that the creative energies of God’s love, acting throughout creation, furnishes the motive power and attractive force that brings the physical universe into being. This influences the human heart and mind to develop spiritual qualities that transcend our base animal nature. Through the influence of this love, humanity can manifest the necessary attractive forces within human society to bring about unity, harmony, peace, and justice.
Just as the Earth would be barren, dark, and lifeless without the power, light, and heat of the sun, so would humanity be barren, dark, and lifeless without the power of the love of God.
So, we have to ask ourselves, do we want to turn the mirror of our being to the source of this Divine love? Baha’is believe that following the teachings of Baha’u’llah, the intermediary between God and humanity for this age will help us attain our life’s purpose. Therefore, we can align our purpose with this great law of love, transforming our lives into a cause of social good, well-being, and harmony.