The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

Scriptures both ancient and modern tell us that since God is spirit, He deputizes human teachers to—as Christ and Baha’u’llah put it—manifest His ”names,” His qualities or attributes, to humanity:

Know thou that God—exalted and glorified be He—doth in no wise manifest His inmost Essence and Reality. From time immemorial He hath been veiled in the eternity of His Essence and concealed in the infinitude of His own Being. And when He purposed to manifest His beauty in the kingdom of names and to reveal His glory in the realm of attributes, He brought forth His Prophets from the invisible plane to the visible … – Baha’u’llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 35.

Thousands of years ago, Krishna explained this role: “For I am the abode of Brahman (God), the never-failing fountain of everlasting life. The law of righteousness is my law; and my joy is infinite joy.” – Bhagavad Gita 14: 27.

The Torah stresses the uniqueness of this messenger’s relationship with God:

Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings (riddles); And he sees the form of the Lord. – Numbers 12:6-8.

”Thus,” explained Buddha, “the Tathagata (Righteous One) knows the straight path that leads to a union with Brahman (God). He knows it as one who has entered the world of Brahman and been born in it. There can be no doubt in the Tathagata.” – Digha-nikaya 9:35.

Christ referred back to the Torah when he said:

It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. – John 6:45-46.

What then, do these teachers tell us about this Being they claim to represent?

Krishna spoke to this at length in the Bhagavad Gita, first addressing the unknowable nature of the Supreme Spirit:

But beyond this creation, visible and invisible, there is an invisible, higher, Eternal; and when all things pass away this remains for ever and ever. This invisible is called the Everlasting and is the highest End supreme. Those who reach Him never return. This is My supreme abode. This Spirit Supreme, Arjuna, is attained by an ever-living love. In Him all things have their life, and from Him all things have come. – Bhagavad Gita 8:20-22.

Then, he speaks to that Being’s relationship with the universe: 

All the visible universe comes from my invisible Being. All beings have their rest in me, but I have not My rest in them, And in truth they rest not in Me. Consider my sacred mystery: I am the source of all beings, I support them all, but I rest not in them. — Bhagavad Gita 9:4

As a writer, I totally ”get” what Krishna means. I may not understand God directly, but I understand what it is to be in and yet not in my creations. Here’s the Big Idea: I am in the books I write and the characters I create, but not in my entirety. They are reflections of my intellect; without me, they would not exist, but I am not bound by the laws of the universe I created for them. Why would we imagine God is bound by the laws of his created universe?

I think this is a fundamental error that we make when we think of God as a being like us, who is bound by the laws of physics. It causes some very intelligent people to ask simplistic questions such as, ”Who created God?” or ”Can God create a rock He can’t lift?”

That’s like one of the characters in my books asking ”Who wrote the Author?” or ”Can the Author write about an imaginary rock that she can’t lift?” The questions are meaningless because I was not created in the same way they were. Their lives are bound by the word count of the book, while mine is not. I existed before them and I will exist after I put the last period on their story.

The questions are also meaningless because they arise from assumptions about the dimension in which the Creator/author operates. Even in the dimension of my imaginary worlds with their imaginary rocks, the concept of physically lifting a material object has no meaning, because the world in which my characters operate is an intellectual reality, not a material one.

I understand what it means for the characters and worlds I create to exist as an intellectual reality before they exist in the material world. This is something else scripture has affirmed repeatedly: the intellectual and spiritual reality preceded the material one, and not the other way around.

As Baha’u’llah expressed it:

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. – The Hidden Words, p. 4.

5 Comments

characters remaining
  • Robert Green
    Feb 28, 2019
    this physical world as a shadow of reality is also manifested in the writings of Plato as he describes in "the allegory of the cave." Wikipedia explains briefly, "The Allegory of the Cave, or Plato's Cave, was presented by the Greek philosopher Plato in his work Republic (514a–520a) to compare "the effect of education (παιδεία) and the lack of it on our nature"."
  • Grant Hindin Miller
    Feb 26, 2019
    Love this, Maya, clear and cogent, thank you.
    • May 01, 2019
      Thank you, Grant. And I just wanted to say that I love your rendition of the Hidden Words "Humble Thyself". My husband Jeff and I performed it for the morning devotions at a recent Weekend Institute on the Dawnbreakers up in Northern California.
  • Mark David Vinzens
    Feb 24, 2019
    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. – The Hidden Words, p. 4. In a sacred tradition Allah told Prophet Muhammad, “I was a secret treasure and I wished to be known, so I created creation.” the same idea
    • Mar 21, 2019
      I think of these passages whenever I begin writing a story.:)