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Let us consider why the Creator might think it a good idea to create anything at all, let alone a group of beings as perplexing and troublesome as we human beings on planet Earth seem to be.
The Great Being saith: O well-beloved ones! The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.
These are, after all, the very same beings who seem presently incapable of self-governance and appear to be bent on the contamination of the minimal planetary resources necessary for their own survival.
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Possibly the best place to begin this process of examining the rationale behind the creation of human beings is to understand what Baha’u’llah interprets the term “huri” to mean, because it is through appreciation of the symbolic sense of this term that we encounter one of the most cogent statements about the divine purpose for our creation.
Huri, an Arabic term employed by Muhammad, designates the “pure ones,” the heavenly maidens that will be the reward of those who enter paradise. If taken (and mistaken) literally, the term would seem to designate virginal maidens who become literally unveiled in a physical “heaven.”
However, as explained by Baha’u’llah, the term huri was intended by Muhammad as a symbolic allusion to spiritual and intellectual mysteries that become “unveiled” or unconcealed as a reward for the faithful. Accordingly, Abdu’l-Baha observed in J.E. Esselmont’s book Baha’u’llah and the New Era that “… mysteries of which man is heedless in this earthly world, those he will discover in the heavenly world, and there will he be informed of the secret of truth ….”
This explanation about the Baha’i concept of “mysteries” as concealed wisdom is extremely important.
Those mysteries, Baha’u’llah explained, find their utmost degree of development in the human soul:
How resplendent the luminaries of knowledge that shine in an atom, and how vast the oceans of wisdom that surge within a drop! To a supreme degree is this true of man, who, among all created things, hath been invested with the robe of such gifts, and hath been singled out for the glory of such distinction.
For in him are potentially revealed all the attributes and names of God to a degree that no other created being hath excelled or surpassed. All these names and attributes are applicable to him. Even as He hath said: ‘Man is My mystery, and I am his mystery.‘
Some of that concealed wisdom and mystery the Creator deposits in our souls, and our duty involves uncovering and understanding it. When asked to define that huri, Baha’u’llah said:
Verily I say, the human soul is, in its essence, one of the signs of God, a mystery among His mysteries. It is one of the mighty signs of the Almighty, the harbinger that proclaimeth the reality of all the worlds of God. Within it lieth concealed that which the world is now utterly incapable of apprehending.
Know, verily, that the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel. It is the first among all created things to declare the excellence of its Creator, the first to recognize His glory, to cleave to His truth, and to bow down in adoration before Him. If it be faithful to God, it will reflect His light, and will, eventually, return unto Him. If it fail, however, in its allegiance to its Creator, it will become a victim to self and passion, and will, in the end, sink in their depths.
It has become customary among the followers of some religions to regard these kinds of spiritual “mysteries” as matters of faith, as concepts that, because they are “spiritual,” defy or transcend logical explanation or the laws of cause and effect. The Baha’i writings, on the other hand, state that the laws applicable to one aspect of reality are also applicable to the other. In other words, there is nothing in creation, whether an existent being or a sequence of events, without logical explanation or comprehension. As a result Baha’is believe firmly in the agreement of science and religion, one of their Faith’s primary principles.
Consequently, instead of adoring “mysteries” or considering them beyond logical reflection and study, the Baha’i writings exhort us to employ our mental and spiritual faculties, together with the assistance provided by the techniques for study and meditative inquiry taught and demonstrated to us by the prophets and manifestations, to solve these huris rather than merely to worship or adore them.
We are encouraged, in other words, to remove the “veiled” meaning, instead of becoming entranced by the veil itself.
This series of essays is adapted from John Hatcher’s book The Face of God Among Us, with the permission of the author and the publisher. To purchase the entire book, please click here.