Reality, Soul and
the Worlds of God
IV. The Workshop of Interacting Souls
[Compiler: “The Workshop of Interacting Souls” is a continuation of the “Life Path of the Soul
” in Section III. E., but emphasizing the macrocosmic repercussions and macrocosmic environment of souls’ lives interacting with each other.]
C. Time: A Dimension of God’s Purpose
1. The Reality and Context of Time
[from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh:]
Had the world in which thou didst find thyself in thy dream been identical with the world in which thou livest, it would have been necessary for the event occurring in that dream to have transpired in this world at the very moment of its occurrence. Were it so, you yourself would have borne witness unto it. This being not the case, however, it must necessarily follow that the world in which thou livest is different and apart from that which thou hast experienced in thy dream. This latter world hath neither beginning nor end.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, “Suríy-i-Vafá” or “Tablet to Vafá”, p. 187)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
There are two kinds of priorities: one is essential and is not preceded by a cause, but its existence is in itself, as, for example, the sun has light in itself, for its shining is not dependent on the light of other stars. This is called an essential light. But the light of the moon is received from the sun, for the moon is dependent on the sun for its light; therefore, the sun, with regard to light, is the cause, and the moon becomes the effect. The former is the ancient, the precedent, the antecedent, while the latter is the preceded and the last.
The second sort of preexistence is the preexistence of time, and that has no beginning. The Word of God is sanctified from time.1 The past, the present, the future, all, in relation to God, are equal. Yesterday, today, tomorrow do not exist in the sun.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 28: “Explanation of Verse Five, Chapter Seventeen, of the Gospel of St. John”, p. 116)
1(i.e., the Reality of Christ)
For God the end is the same thing as the beginning. So the reckoning of days, weeks, months and years, of yesterday and today, is connected with the terrestrial globe; but in the sun there is no such thing—there is neither yesterday, today nor tomorrow, neither months nor years: all are equal. In the same way the Word of God is purified from all these conditions and is exempt from the boundaries, the laws and the limits of the world of contingency.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 38: “The Three Stations of the Divine Manifestations”, p. 152)
To be limited to place is a property of bodies and not of spirits. Place and time surround the body, not the mind and spirit. Observe that the body of man is confined to a small place; it covers only two spans of earth. But the spirit and mind of man travel to all countries and regions—even through the limitless space of the heavens—surround all that exists, and make discoveries in the exalted spheres and infinite distances. This is because the spirit has no place; it is placeless; and for the spirit the earth and the heaven are as one since it makes discoveries in both. But the body is limited to a place and does not know that which is beyond it.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 67: “Eternal Life and Entrance into the Kingdom of God”, p. 241)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
Changes and transformations are not applicable to that eternal reality. Transformation from condition to condition is the attribute of contingent realities.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “9 June 1912, Talk at Unitarian Church, Fifteenth Street and Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Notes by Edna McKinney”, p. 174)
Every cause is followed by an effect and vice versa; there could be no effect without a cause preceding it. Sight is an effect; there is no doubt that behind that effect there is a cause. When we hear a discourse, there is a speaker. We could not hear words unless they proceeded from the tongue of a speaker. Motion without a mover or cause of motion is inconceivable.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “1 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. William Sutherland Maxwell, 716 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Canada, From Stenographic Notes”, pp. 307-308)
[Writings on Behalf of Shoghi Effendi):]
Time and space are physical things; God, the Creator, is not a “place” as we conceive of place in physical terms. God is the Infinite Essence, the Creator.
(on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, quoted in the compilation High Endeavors, Part V, Selection #90, “God—Nature of our Knowledge”, p. 70)