GOD AND THE UNIVERSE
609. God is Love and Peace. God it Truth. God is Omniscience. God is without beginning and without end. God is uncreated and uncreating, yet the Source, the Causeless Cause. God is pure Essence, and cannot be said to be anywhere or in any place.
God is infinite; and as terms are finite, the nature of God cannot 301 be expressed in terms, but as man desires to express God in some way, he calls God “Love” and “Truth,” because these are the highest things he knows. Life is eternal; so man, in order to express God’s infinity, calls God “Life.” But these things in themselves are not God. God is the Source of all, and all things that are, are mirrors reflecting His Glory.
But while God does not create, the first principle of God, Love, is the creative principle. Love is an outpour from God, and is pure spirit. It is one aspect of the Logos, the Holy Spirit. It is the immediate cause of the laws which govern nature, the endless verities of nature which science has uncovered. In brief, it is Divine Law and a Manifestation of God. This Manifestation of God is active, creative, spiritual. It reflects the positive aspect of God.
There is another Manifestation of God which is characterized by passivity, quiescence, inactivity. In itself it is without creative power. It reflects the negative aspect of God. This Manifestation is matter.
Matter, reflecting the negative aspect of God, is self-existent, eternal, and fills all space. Spirit, flowing out from God, permeates all matter. This spirit, Love, reflecting the positive and active aspect of God, impresses its nature upon the atoms and elements. By its power they are attracted to each other under certain ordered relations, and thus, uniting and continuing to unite, give birth to worlds and systems of worlds. The same laws working under developed conditions bring into existence living beings. Spirit is the life of the form, and the form is shaped by the spirit. The evolution of life and form proceeds hand in hand. The powers of spirit are evolved by the experiences of the form, and the plasticity of the matter of the form is developed by the activity of the spirit. Working up through the mineral and vegetable kingdoms, sense-perception is reached in the animal, and the perfection of form is attained in man.
610. The forms or bodies of component parts, infinite in variety, which in the course of evolution spirit builds as the vehicles of its expression, are, because of the instability of matter, subject to dissolution. As they disappear, others are built following the same patterns, carrying on the characteristics of each.
611. Sense-perception gives rise to desire, desire to will, will to action, and action again to sense-perception. This chain ever repeats 302 itself, and so the powers of thought, memory, reason, and the emotional capacities are evolved in spirit. These power and capacities of spirit, expressed in individual human beings, constitute human characters.
Through these successive evolutionary steps, spirit develops characters having Divine attributes. The positive, creative aspect of God is reflect in the them. Individuality is derived from expression in individual form. Self-consciousness accompanies individualised character, and the being thus endowed has the potentiality of rising to the knowledge of God.
Characters inspired by the universal human spirit continue in lines of specific developing types, as did species in the vegetable and animal kingdoms.
612. Similar types recur again and again, but without a continuing individual life from one human being to another. This recurrence may be likened to that of the seasons. Spring, summer, autumn and winter return in succession, each season the counterpart of the like season in the previous year — the same yet not the same. So flower and fruits come this year from like seed or from the same bush or tree as those of last year, each in the line of succession of its kind, the same in essence, but differing in substance.
613. In the latter case the power which causes the seed to rot in the ground and a new growth to spring from it, or in the bush or tree to put forth again leaves and fruit, is the power of the Spirit, the active aspect of God as Life.
614. So in the case of man. Life is eternal, but the individual human consciousness is not inherently so. It can only gain immortality by uniting with the pure Divine Essence. This union man may reach by a pure life and love for God and his fellow men.
615. When in the course of evolution the stage of thought and reason has been reached, the human mind acts as a mirror reflecting the glory of God.
The face of nature is illumined, the grass, the stones, the hills and valleys shine; but they shine not of themselves, but because they reflect the rays of the sun. It is the sun which shines. In the same way, our minds reflect God. Those who live thinking good thoughts, doing good deeds, and with love in their hearts — the minds of these become ever clearer, reflecting more and more perfectly the love of God, while the minds of those who live in ignorance 303 and desire are clouded and obscured, and give forth His light but meagrely.
A stone reflects but slightly the rays of the sun; but if a mirror be held up, though it be small, the whole of the sun will be reflected in it, because the mirror is clear and bright. Just so it is with the minds of men and the Sun of Reality. The great Masters and Teachers so purified their minds by the love of God and of men that they became like polished mirrors, reflecting faithfully the Glory of God.
Abbias Effendi, His Life and Teachings, by Myron H. Phelps, pp. 153-157.
(Compilations, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 300)