Reality, Soul and
the Worlds of God
III. The Reality of the Soul – Understanding Your True Self
F. The Natures Attributed to Man and the Soul
2. The Intermediate or Human Nature
f. Evil as Part of the Divine Plan
[from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh:]
He Who is the Day Spring of Truth is, no doubt, fully capable of rescuing from such remoteness wayward souls and of causing them to draw nigh unto His court and attain His Presence. “If God had pleased He had surely made all men one people.” His purpose, however, is to enable the pure in spirit and the detached in heart to ascend, by virtue of their own innate powers, unto the shores of the Most Great Ocean, that thereby they who seek the Beauty of the All-Glorious may be distinguished and separated from the wayward and perverse.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection XXIX, p. 71)
If none be found to stray from Thy path, how, then, can the ensign of Thy mercy be unfurled, or the banner of Thy bountiful favor be hoisted? And if iniquity be not committed, what is it that can proclaim Thee to be the Concealer of men’s sins, the Ever-Forgiving, the Omniscient, the All-Wise?
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection CXLII, p. 310)
Indeed the actions of man himself breed a profusion of satanic power. For were men to abide by and observe the divine teachings, every trace of evil would be banished from the face of the earth. However, the widespread differences that exist among mankind and the prevalence of sedition, contention, conflict and the like are the primary factors which provoke the appearance of the satanic spirit. Yet the Holy Spirit hath ever shunned such matters. A world in which naught can be perceived save strife, quarrels and corruption is bound to become the seat of the throne, the very metropolis, of Satan.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, “Lawḥ-i-Maqsúd” or “Tablet of Maqsúd”, pp. 176-177)
Thou art He through Whom the ensign “Praiseworthy art Thou in Thy works” hath been lifted up, and the standard “Obeyed art Thou in Thy behest” hath been unfurled. Make known this Thy station, O my God, unto Thy servants, that they may be made aware that the excellence of all things is dependent upon Thy bidding and Thy word, and the virtue of every act is conditioned by Thy leave and the good-pleasure of Thy will, and may recognize that the reins of men’s doings are within the grasp of Thine acceptance and Thy commandment.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Prayers and Meditations, Selection XLVI, p. 68)
[from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
….as to the infinite Power that knoweth no limitations; limitation itself proveth the existence of the unlimited, for the limited is known through the unlimited, just as weakness itself proveth the existence of power, ignorance the existence of knowledge, poverty the existence of wealth. Without wealth there would be no poverty, without knowledge no ignorance, without light no darkness. Darkness itself is a proof of the existence of light for darkness is the absence of light.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Tablet to August Forel, p. 20)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
Through suffering he will attain to an eternal happiness which nothing can take from him….
To attain eternal happiness one must suffer. He who has reached the state of self-sacrifice has true joy. Temporal joy will vanish.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “Address by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at the Friends’ Meeting House, St. Martin’s Lane, London, W.C., Sunday, January 12th, 1913”, pp. 178-179)
….things are often known by their opposites. Were it not for darkness, light could not be sensed. Were it not for death, life could not be known. If ignorance did not exist, knowledge would not be a reality. It is necessary that each should exist in order that the other should have reality. Night and day must be in order that each may be distinguished. Night itself is an indication and evidence of day which follows, and day itself indicates the coming night. Unless night were a reality, there could not be day. Were it not for death, there could be no life. Things are known by their opposites.
Therefore, our weakness is an evidence that there is might; our ignorance proves the reality of knowledge; our need is an indication of supply and wealth.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “2 May 1912, Talk at Hotel Plaza, Chicago, Illinois, Notes by Henrietta C. Wagner”, pp. 82-83)
If there were no wrong, how would you recognize the right? If it were not for sin, how would you appreciate virtue? If evil deeds were unknown, how could you commend good actions? If sickness did not exist, how would you understand health? Evil is nonexistent; it is the absence of good. Sickness is the loss of health; poverty, the lack of riches. When wealth disappears, you are poor; you look within the treasure box but find nothing there. Without knowledge there is ignorance; therefore, ignorance is simply the lack of knowledge. Death is the absence of life. Therefore, on the one hand, we have existence; on the other, nonexistence, negation or absence of existence.
Briefly, the journey of the soul is necessary. The pathway of life is the road which leads to divine knowledge and attainment. Without training and guidance the soul could never progress beyond the conditions of its lower nature, which is ignorant and defective.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “29 August 1912, Talk at Home of Madame Morey, 34 Hillside Avenue, Malden, Massachusetts, Notes by Edna McKinney”, pp. 295-296)
[Compiler: For additional insight into the concept of evil as part of the Divine Plan, the reader may also want to study the “Fire Tablet” of Bahá’u’lláh in its entirety.]