A holistic view of creation tells us there has never been a time when humanity has been without a connection to and guidance from the Creator.
History makes this evident with its continuous line of spiritual teachers, shamans, visionaries, and prophets throughout our long evolution. The release of spiritual energies, essential in our past and future alike, is always needed to transform human hearts, shape new social institutions, and expand circles of unity.
That continuous line of spiritual teachers proves that divine guidance is progressive and never-ending, the ultimate source of inspiration for both the advancement of consciousness and an ever-advancing civilization. Over the millennia, humanity has achieved successive levels of unity, from family to tribe to village to city-state to nation. We are now faced with the goal of achieving unity on the global scale.
Our conscious evolution across these expanding levels of unity has benefitted from the significant influence of the major prophets: Krishna, Abraham, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and Baha’u’llah, founder of the Baha’i Faith in the mid-19th century. Together, those great teachers have changed the course of human life over the last four thousand years, bringing a leap of consciousness with each new spiritual epoch they initiated.
Viewing religion as one evolving knowledge system with many branches, rather than as separate and independent entities, aligns with the view of reality as one indivisible whole. This view also sees divine truth as one, all the while coming from the same Source—though relative, progressive, and unfolding gradually.
This concept resolves the long-standing paradox in the comparative study of religions: How could there be one Creator and so many religions? This does not seem to be an issue, however, for the founders of those religions. The messengers of the one Creator accepted the prophets before them and acknowledged that others would follow.
Krishna, a founder of Hinduism, expressed the continuity of divine revelation this way:
Whenever dharma declines and the purpose of life is forgotten, I manifest myself on earth. I am born in every age to protect the good, to destroy evil, and to reestablish dharma. – The Bhagavad Gita, translated by E. Easwaran, Nilgiri Press, p. 119.
In the Bible it is written:
And thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. – Isaiah, 62:2.
Buddha taught that Brahman is continually manifested in the world:
I am not the first Buddha who came upon earth, nor shall I be the last. In due time another Buddha will arise in the world, a Holy One, a supremely enlightened One … He will reveal to you the same eternal truths … such as I now proclaim. – The Gospel of Buddha, Paul Carus, p. 217.
Christ had a similar view of the progressive nature of revelation:
I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now … when the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth … and he will show you things to come. – John 16:12.
Muhammad as well looked ahead to the “day unto which mankind shall be gathered together” as “a time appointed,” adding, “To each age its Book.” – Qur’an, 11:105; 13:39.
Baha’u’llah, the most recent in this line of messengers, referred to all the prophets of God, the religions they have founded, and how they all fit together, in this way:
These principles and laws, these firmly-established and mighty systems, have proceeded from one Source and are the rays of one Light. That they differ one from another is to be attributed to the varying requirements of the ages in which they were promulgated. – Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp. 287-288.
The paradox of many religions and one Creator can be seen holistically in this light. The world’s religions are not separate entities, but rather one knowledge system that renews and rebuilds a tired and weary world, expanding its awareness and level of unity with each spiritual epoch.
The Baha’i revelation has as its primary purpose the transformation of society into a global community based on a consciousness of the oneness of humanity. In a few millennia, with each new revelation, humanity has seen its unity expand to now encompass an emerging global consciousness.