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As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter. – Max Planck
“I don’t believe in anything I can’t perceive,” a friend told me the other day.
“Really?” I asked him. “Not anything?”
This important subject came up during a deep discussion between my friend and I about the nature of belief and faith, sparked when we both read a wonderful novel named Lila. In the book, part of a trilogy of novels by the great American writer Marilynne Robinson, one of the main characters questions some of the dogmas of his faith. An aging Christian clergyman, he has come to doubt the existence of hell and its supposed punishments—but still believes in the numinous and mystical rewards of heaven.
My friend took the character’s doubts to heart when he read the book, and thought we should extend those doubts to whatever we can’t perceive with our five senses. Essentially, he was espousing the reductive materialistic philosophy—that nothing exists beyond matter. I thought he might be missing the point, so I asked him about radiation.
“It’s invisible, but it can kill you. Do you believe in radiation?”
“Of course,” he said.
“OK, do you believe in the penetrating influence of ideas?”
“Sure,” he said. “I wouldn’t read books if I didn’t.”
“Where do ideas come from, then?”
“The human mind.”
“You’re sure about that? Every idea we have, every artistic inspiration, every one of our thoughts?”
He considered that question for a while.
“No,” he said slowly. “Actually, I’m not so sure about that.”
“Me neither,” I agreed. “Everyone who has ever discovered anything, any artist looking for a creative impetus, has felt inspiration from some source outside themselves.”
“That’s true,” my friend said. Then I showed him this powerful passage from the Baha’i teachings:
Every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God is endowed with such potency as can instill new life into every human frame, if ye be of them that comprehend this truth. All the wondrous works ye behold in this world have been manifested through the operation of His supreme and most exalted Will, His wondrous and inflexible Purpose. Through the mere revelation of the word “Fashioner,” issuing forth from His lips and proclaiming His attribute to mankind, such power is released as can generate, through successive ages, all the manifold arts which the hands of man can produce. This, verily, is a certain truth. No sooner is this resplendent word uttered, than its animating energies, stirring within all created things, give birth to the means and instruments whereby such arts can be produced and perfected. All the wondrous achievements ye now witness are the direct consequences of the Revelation of this Name. In the days to come, ye will, verily, behold things of which ye have never heard before. Thus hath it been decreed in the Tablets of God, and none can comprehend it except them whose sight is sharp. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp. 141-142.
This essentially mystical concept—that all of humanity’s creative energies originally come from the animating influence of the Word of God—has enormous resonance with the modern science of quantum physics. The father of quantum physics, Max Planck, found that everything our senses perceive as real comes from the force of a “conscious and intelligent Mind,” which he called “the matrix of all matter.”
The power of the Word of God, from a Baha’i perspective, actually creates reality. It forms the generative force necessary to set new ideas into motion, much like the unknown force that “brings the particle of an atom to vibration,” as Planck put it. You can’t touch it, but you can certainly see it in the holy scriptures of all the great Faiths, and you can read it directly from the source in the Baha’i writings.
When you read the creative Word, try to understand it as more than mere words. Instead, try to see it as the underlying architecture of reality itself:
Every thing must needs have an origin and every building a builder. Verily, the Word of God is the Cause which hath preceded the contingent world — a world which is adorned with the splendours of the Ancient of Days, yet is being renewed and regenerated at all times. Immeasurably exalted is the God of Wisdom Who hath raised this sublime structure. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 141.
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