Reality, Soul and
the Worlds of God
II. Three Conditions of Existence in Reality
E. The Lesser World, Servitude, Creation: The Kingdom of the Emanation of God
5. Matter and Spirit
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
….human knowledge is of two kinds. One is the knowledge of things perceptible to the senses….The other kind of human knowledge is intellectual—that is to say, it is a reality of the intellect; it has no outward form and no place and is not perceptible to the senses.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 16: “Outward Forms and Symbols Must be Used to Convey Intellectual Conceptions”, p. 83)
….the world of things is the world of imperfection in comparison with that of man, and the world of man is the world of perfection in comparison with that of things. When imperfections reach the station of perfection, they become eternal.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 38: “The Three Stations of the Divine Manifestations”, p. 152)
Know that beings are of two kinds: material and spiritual, those perceptible to the senses and those intellectual.
Things which are sensible are those which are perceived by the five exterior senses; thus those outward existences which the eyes see are called sensible. Intellectual things are those which have no outward existence but are conceptions of the mind. For example, mind itself is an intellectual thing which has no outward existence. All man’s characteristics and qualities form an intellectual existence and are not sensible.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 74: “The Nonexistence of Evil”, p. 263)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
The spiritual world is like unto the phenomenal world. They are the exact counterpart of each other. Whatever objects appear in this world of existence are the outer pictures of the world of heaven. When we look upon the phenomenal world, we perceive that it is divided into four seasons; one is the season of spring, another the season of summer, another autumn and then these three seasons are followed by winter. When the season of spring appears in the arena of existence, the whole world is rejuvenated and finds new life. The soul-refreshing breeze is wafted from every direction; the soul-quickening bounty is everywhere; the cloud of mercy showers down its rain, and the sun shines upon everything. Day by day we perceive that the signs of vegetation are all about us. Wonderful flowers, hyacinths and roses perfume the nostrils. The trees are full of leaves and blossoms, and the blossoms are followed by fruit. The spring and summer are followed by autumn and winter. The flowers wither and are no more; the leaves turn gray and life has gone. Then comes another springtime; the former springtime is renewed; again a new life stirs within everything.
The appearances of the Manifestations of God are the divine springtime. When Christ appeared in this world, it was like the vernal bounty; the outpouring descended; the effulgences of the Merciful encircled all things; the human world found new life. Even the physical world partook of it. The divine perfections were upraised; souls were trained in the school of heaven so that all grades of human existence received life and light. Then by degrees these fragrances of heaven were discontinued; the season of winter came upon the world; the beauties of spring vanished; the excellences and perfections passed away; the lights and quickening were no longer evident; the phenomenal world and its materialities conquered everything; the spiritualities of life were lost; the world of existence became life unto a lifeless body; there was no trace of the spring left.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Promulgation of Universal Peace, “13 April 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Morten, 141 East Twenty-first Street, New York, Notes by Esther Foster”, p. 10)
The worlds of God are in perfect harmony and correspondence one with another. Each world in this limitless universe is, as it were, a mirror reflecting the history and nature of all the rest. The physical universe is, likewise, in perfect correspondence with the spiritual or divine realm. The world of matter is an outer expression or facsimile of the inner kingdom of spirit.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Promulgation of Universal Peace, “17 August 1912, Talk at Green Acre, Eliot, Maine, Notes by Edna McKinney”, p. 270)