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Religion

What if God Was One?

David Langness | Apr 15, 2015

PART 2 IN SERIES What If?

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

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David Langness | Apr 15, 2015

PART 2 IN SERIES What If?

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

What if you began to believe, deep in your soul, that the ultimate cause of all existence really does exist?

O Seekers for the Kingdom of God! Man all over the world is seeking for God. All that exists is God; but the Reality of Divinity is holy above all understanding. The pictures of Divinity that come to our mind are the product of our fancy; they exist in the realm of our imagination. They are not adequate to the Truth; truth in its essence cannot be put into words.

Divinity cannot be comprehended because it is comprehending.

Man, who has also a real existence, is comprehended by God; therefore, the Divinity which man can understand is partial; it is not complete. Divinity is actual Truth and real existence, and not any representation of it. Divinity itself contains All, and is not contained. – Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 22.

What if you came to the realization, that despite your growing inner belief in an ultimate cause and a creator, you couldn’t ever really know God?

To every discerning and illuminated heart it is evident that God, the unknowable Essence, the Divine Being, is immensely exalted beyond every human attribute, such as corporeal existence, ascent and descent, egress and regress. Far be it from His glory that human tongue should adequately recount His praise, or that human heart comprehend His fathomless mystery. He is, and hath ever been, veiled in the ancient eternity of His Essence, and will remain in His Reality everlastingly hidden from the sight of men. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp. 46-47.

In the Old Testament we read that God said, “Let us make man in Our own image.” In the Gospel, Christ said, “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.” In the Qur’an, God says, “Man is my Mystery and I am his.” Baha’u’llah writes that God says, “Thy heart is My home; purify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation.”

All these sacred words show us that man is made in God’s image: yet the Essence of God is incomprehensible to the human mind, for the finite understanding cannot be applied to this infinite Mystery. God contains all: He cannot be contained. That which contains is superior to that which is contained. The whole is greater than its parts. – Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, pp. 23-24.

What if you decided to try to comprehend God by understanding the Creator’s qualities and attributes?

The sovereignty, power, names and attributes of God are eternal, ancient. His names presuppose creation and predicate His existence and will. We say God is creator. This name creator appears when we connote creation. We say God is the provider. This name presupposes and proves the existence of the provided. God is love. This name proves the existence of the beloved. In the same way God is mercy, God is justice, God is life, etc., etc. Therefore as God is creator, eternal and ancient, there were always creatures and subjects existing and provided for. There is no doubt that divine sovereignty is eternal. Sovereignty necessitates subjects, ministers, trustees and others subordinate to sovereignty. Could there be a king without country, subjects and armies? – Abdu’l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 101.

What if you began to think of those names, qualities and attributes as the best way to understand the nature of reality?

Thinking-about-God…we speak of the names and attributes of the Divine Reality, and we praise Him by attributing to Him sight, hearing, power, life and knowledge. We affirm these names and attributes, not to prove the perfections of God, but to deny that He is capable of imperfections. When we look at the existing world, we see that ignorance is imperfection and knowledge is perfection; therefore, we say that the sanctified Essence of God is wisdom. Weakness is imperfection, and power is perfection; consequently, we say that the sanctified Essence of God is the acme of power. It is not that we can comprehend His knowledge, His sight, His power and life, for it is beyond our comprehension; for the essential names and attributes of God are identical with His Essence, and His Essence is above all comprehension. – Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 148.

What if you came to the conclusion that God, an unknowable essence, is one?

Praise be to God, the Mighty, the Supreme! Although forever veiled and hidden from His creatures, in His Infinite Essence unknown and unknowable, yet His Mercies are sure and His Bounties manifest. From cycle to cycle He has revealed Himself under the Names and attributes, according to the capacity and perception of His children. Whether He be known as Elohim, I Am That I Am, Jehovah, the Lord of Hosts, Abba, Father, Mamoud, the Praised One, or Abha, the Ineffable Splendor of God, He is ever the same in the hearts of the chosen. Holy above all Names, He yet reveals the Names for the Guidance of souls. He is the Creator of all, the Holy One of all peoples and all religions. He rules and illumines all the world of existence, the creation of His Word. He is the Self-subsistent Lord, Who abides in His own Essence, Single and Alone. He is “The Preexistent, the Cause of Causes, the Beginning before which there was no Beginning.” Verily, “the sight comprehendeth Him not, but He comprehendeth the Sight.” – Abdu’l-Baha, from a provisional translation of his Tablet to Louis Gregory.

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Comments

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  • Jul 31, 2016
    -
    When I talk about the oneness of God, I am sometimes surprised by people who agree (monotheism) but still disagree (the trinity). Thanks for showing me a way to explain it a little more clearly.
    • Mark Townsend
      Jul 31, 2016
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      We must explain that a triube relationship does exist, such as between sun, rays and image. They are not equal however.
  • Apr 16, 2015
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    It might have me thinking that I am more than my body and mind, and that 'more' could be an access to a greater portion of reality.
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