A Closer Look at Baha'i
Rev. Bob Pardon


Any belief system with 5 million followers that professes to be the preeminent, universal religion for all time invites close scrutiny of its claims. This is precisely what the Baha'i faith declares. In just 150 years Baha'is have grown to more than 5 million worldwide in 233 countries and territories, with 1,700 Spiritual Assemblies in the United States alone.(1) Baha'u'llah's writings (the founder of the Baha'i Faith) have been translated into 802 languages.(2) Under friendly evangelistic strategies new growth is occurring at the rate of 5.5% a year worldwide.(3) By comparison, Christianity is expanding at a rate of 2.3% a year worldwide.

Perhaps no worldview is better suited to the tenor of our time. Leo Tolstoy described the Baha'i Faith as "the highest and purest form of religious teaching."(4) Arnold Toynbee predicted that it will be "the world religion of the future."(5) Then, J. K. Van Baalen has stated, the Baha'i Faith "is the unifying cult par excellence."(6) This is because its basic principles have an appeal to all people: "The Oneness of God and the Oneness of Religion; the Oneness of Humanity; Independent Investigation of Truth; Abolition of all Forms of Prejudice; Universal Peace; Universal Auxiliary Language; Universal Education; Equality for the Sexes; Spiritual Solution to Economic Problems; Religion Consistent with Science."(7) Who would not desire to live in a world governed by these principles?



A Brief History of the Baha'i Faith

It is a daunting task to find a consistent, clear picture of Baha'i origins. Baha'i historians and authorities have tended to rewrite the early years of the Faith that it might more effectively serve the cause.(8) What follows would be at variance with official Baha'i versions but consistent with source materials.

The roots of the Baha'i faith lie in the Shi'ite sect of Islam which was led by 12 successive Imams, descendants of Muhammad's son-in-law, Ali. The 12th Imam, as a child, withdrew from society to escape assassination, the inevitable fate of his predecessors. He was never seen again and an eschatological tradition developed that he would appear at the end of time. In the interim he would make contact with the faithful through "Gates," individuals through whom he would give his teachings. In 1844, Mirza Ali Muhammad (1819-1850), a follower of the Shi'ite sect, declared himself to be the "Gate," literally the "Bab" (pronounced Bob). However, he interpreted this in a broader context. He was not just a "Gate," or even the 12th Imam returned, but rather the "Gate" of God, a Major Manifestation of God Himself equal to the prophet Muhammad. For six years he gathered the faithful around him, proclaimed a new revelation, and the eventual appearance of the final Manifestation ("He-Whom-God-Will-Manifest") for this cycle of history. The growing influence of the Bab and his followers, Babis, alarmed the Muslim authorities, and after numerous armed conflicts the Bab was martyred in 1850 and his followers scattered.

Succession is always an important time of transition for any belief system. If problems are going to arise they develop at this point. Such was the case for the emerging Babi religion. The Bab had designated a successor to follow him before he died, not expecting the final Manifestation for at least 1500 years.(9) This successor was Mirza Yahya, the son of nobility and half brother to Mirza Husayn Ali, also a devoted follower of the Bab.(10) Both brothers were eventually driven into exile by the authorities. During that exile, Mirza Husayn Ali proclaimed himself to be "He-Whom-God-Will-Manifest," the Major Manifestation of God prophesied by the Bab. He also changed his name to Baha'u'llah, the "Glory of God," and proclaimed that the Bab was his forerunner.(11) Mirza Yahya strenuously opposed this and both sides appear to have been involved in assassination. This infighting forced the Persian Government to further exile the brothers to separate places at the far reaches of the Ottoman Empire. Mirza Yahya (called by the Bab, Subh-i-Ezel, "Morning of Eternity") was exiled to the Island of Cyprus, and Baha'u'llah to Akka in Israel. Subh-i-Ezel descended into obscurity, while Baha'u'llah became the greater. Thus, the original followers of the Bab who gave their allegiance to Baha'u'llah became known as Baha'is. A dynamic personality with great force of will, Baha'u'llah wrote over 100 volumes of Baha'i scripture, entertained dignitaries and maintained a large correspondence, while under virtual house arrest for decades.

The Baha'i Faith entered another troubled period of transition upon his death in 1892. His will designated his eldest son, Abdu'l Baha ("Slave of Baha"), as his successor in the cause of the Baha'i Faith.(12) But the extent of his authority in that position became a point of contention. There could not be another Manifestation for a 1000 years according to Baha'u'llah.(13) That being so, Abdu'l' Baha began to fashion himself as an extension of his father's Manifestation. However, this was not without the bitter resistance of his brother, Mirza Muhammad Ali, who believed Abdu'l Baha had gone too far. Abdu'l' Baha retaliated by "excommunicating" practically all his closest relatives and depriving them of their income from Baha'u'llah's estate.(14)

The Baha'i Faith became worldwide under Abdu'l' Baha's leadership, and his mission trips to the West. However, upon his death in 1921, the transition of power was once again very troubled. Shoghi Effendi, Abdu'l' Baha's grandson, was designated the successor, the First Guardian of the Faith. With this position "...his decisions were absolute and final and his words authoritative."(15) This brought him into conflict with other family members and he soon excommunicated his grandmother (Abdu'l Baha's wife), Abdu'l Baha's daughters, his descendants, his sons-in-law, then his own brothers and sisters, and last of all his own parents.(16) However, under Shoghi Effendi's administrative skills the Baha'i Faith continued to grow until his death in 1957. He left no designated successor and the Faith is now under the administration of the Universal House of Justice, a group of nine people who are elected democratically and oversee the Cause internationally.



Historical Critique

First, as stated in the beginning of this section, it is very difficult to get a reliable picture of the true origins of the Baha'i Faith. The earliest source materials of the Faith have been suppressed and denigrated.(17) One of the earliest and most important historical documents of the time, the Nuqtatu'l-Kaf, was written by the Babi, Mirza Jani. Jani personally knew the Bab and died for the Babi faith in 1852, thus, his history was completed after the martyrdom of the Bab and before his own death. It clearly states that the Bab declared Mirza Yahya as his successor and speaks very favorably of him while presenting Baha'u'llah in a favorable, though inferior position to his brother. Since that time the Baha'is have strenuously suppressed this fact.(18) With the passing of years they have published histories more favorable to their position.(19)

This proclivity to revise history has extended even to the revision of books officially published by the Baha'i Publishing Trust after the authors' death, and without any notation in the text.(20) One glaring example of this is an early version (1930) of John Esslemont's Baha'u'llah and the New Era. At the end of this book, Abdu'l Baha (the infallible guide) states that the Kingdom of God would be established on earth by 1957. This would be a period of universal language and peace. When the book was republished in 1970 this section was removed and something more innocuous inserted in its place.(21)

Second, one has to question the rigor of the Baha'i' principle the "independent investigation of truth." How could a Baha'i scholar vigorously pursue truth within an organization comprised of an infallible Center of the Covenant (Abdu'l Baha), an infallible Guardian (Shoghi Effendi), and now an infallible Universal House of Justice? When they have spoken on some topic, be it theological, historical or ethical, the discussion is finished.

Third, the Baha'i Faith is proclaimed as the religion for our time, and the most contemporary to our day. It is a religion that will last until the year 2866 according to Baha'u'llah.(22) However, is the world truly ready for the teachings of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, The Most Holy Book? This is considered Baha'u'llah's most important work. In it, the new order will be governed by a 19 day month, 19 month year, the washing of feet, cutting of nails, bathing once a week, a dowry, a proscribed hair length, etc. Will the world ever embrace Baha'u'llah and the Universal House of Justice as a world governing body?(23)

Fourth, if the history of the Baha'i Faith reveals anything it is that the ethical injunctions of love and tolerance were not very frequently applied at the highest levels. The bitterness, rancor, assassinations and lack of forgiveness amongst the very founders of this faith do not demonstrate the reality of its ethical teachings.(24)



Baha'i Theology

Baha'i theology, like Baha'i history, is very difficult to state concisely. This is due to various reasons: the Faith is new and there are hundreds of volumes of written material; symbolic meaning has been assigned to most historical facts and theological concepts; interpretation is in flux save where one of the authorities has spoken authoritatively.(25) However, in the broad sweep of doctrine many things can be said.



The Nature of God

The nature of God is completely unknowable. He is transcendent to the point of total inaccessibility. Abdu'l Baha states, "...the Reality of Divinity is hidden from all comprehension, and concealed from the minds of all men."(26) Baha'u'llah spoke of God as, "...the unknowable Essence,...immensely exalted beyond every human attribute...He is, and hath ever been, veiled in the ancient mystery of His Essence, and will remain in His Reality everlastingly hidden from the sight of men."(27)

So transcendent is God that while He is the creator of all things He is not their cause. He is the cause of only the Primal Will. However, the Primal Will has always existed as an eternal emanation from the Divine Essence (God). It is its own cause and is dependent upon God for its existence. It is from this Primal Will that the phenomenal world is an eternal effect, and it is the Primal Will that serves as the life force and speaks through the Divine Manifestations of history. The Bab points out that, "...this is so because there can be no connection between God and His creation, in the sense of the Divine Essence becoming a place of change."(28) God by definition is the static, changeless One, forever separated from relationship with His created order. The following chart is a graphic representation of this concept.

Critique of the Concept of God's Nature

First, philosophically this conception of God is fraught with all manner of problems, the greatest being incoherence.

Second, because the essence of God eternally emanates all that exists, the material universe is co-eternal with Him. If this is so it can be argued that He is not really separate from his creation. Baha'i scholars have admitted this tends towards Monism (All is One). However, their solution is, simply, to quote sections of Baha'i scripture that affirm that God is separate from the created order. In another approach a Baha'i scholar, paraphrasing Baha'u'llah, states, "...when set in the context of higher levels of truth, monism is shown to be inadequate and will be abandoned by the more advanced treader of the mystic path."(29) This is essentially an appeal to mysticism. However, in the Book of Genesis God is clearly separate from His creation. Being the Changeless One, eternally existent, He can create space and time without effecting His essence (Genesis 1:1; 5:2; Isaiah 40:28; 42:5; Ephesians 3:9).

Third, if the material universe is co-eternal with God this is philosophically and scientifically indefensible. Briefly stated, if there is no beginning to the universe then there has been an actual infinite number of past events in the history of the universe. It is logically impossible to have an actual infinite number of past events in time. (30)

Fourth, if God is utterly unknowable and incomprehensible, how can anything truly be known about Him? How can the Baha'i Faith tell humanity anything about God? Baha'u'llah paradoxically relates to a God who is not personal in any sense of the Word. Because He is totally inconceivable to finite human beings this precludes even His prophets and divine Manifestations from any knowledge of Him.(31) The Baha'i is left to say that the most we can know about His essence is that we are unable to have any knowledge of it.(32) By contrast the Christian knows much about God's essence (I John 4:8,16; Exodus 34:6-7; Romans 16:27).



Divine Manifestations

Standing at the very core of Baha'i theology is the lone figure of the Manifestation of God.(33) He is, by far, the most important figure and concept of the Baha'i Faith. He alone ties together for the Baha'i the vast sweep of humanity's religious quest. While there have been innumerable manifestations in times past, this great cycle of human history which began with Adam has been dominated by nine manifestations for whom we have historical knowledge. These are: Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Christ, Muhammad, the Bab, and Baha'u'llah. Baha'u'llah is the apex of all previous Manifestations, they being Prophets who prepared the way for him. Thus, he is the Universal Manifestation for this cycle of human history which will last 500,000 years. Other Manifestations will come but they will be governed by the revelation of Baha'u'llah (refer to chart in the back).

The nature of the Manifestation of God is not incarnation. As the transcendent God He can never incarnate His essence into a mere human body. Rather, His human Manifestation acts as a pure mirror to reflect the attributes of God into this temporal existence.(34) This is the major function of the Primal Will, as it is the Primal Will that is the transcendent life force animating the Manifestation. Thus, the unknowable God can only be known through the reflection of His attributes in the person of His Manifestation. However, this reflection is so pure and complete that Baha'u'llah states, "Were any of the all embracing Manifestations of God to declare: 'I am God,' He, verily, speaketh the truth..."(35)

These human embodiments of the attributes of God have from time to time appeared in history and have become the founders of the true religions. Though different in time and place they are all One in that they each perfectly reflect the same divine attributes.(36) However, each Manifestation is more perfect than the previous one. As Manifestations they serve as the metaphysical link between the unknowable essence of God and humanity, infallibly revealing true knowledge of Him. They have the authority to displace the teachings of the previous Manifestation and his dispensation, which have by this time become distorted and polluted.(37) Thus, Baha'i theology teaches the "relativity of truth;" that the teachings of any particular Manifestation are "absolute" only for his dispensation.(38)

Manifestations also function essentially as teachers. They are not Saviors in the Christian sense. This is because the Baha'i Faith views the human soul as essentially good. It is ignorance that has clouded the soul and separated man from God. The human soul is intended to achieve the perfection of its humanity. This is a process that is hopefully begun in this life by acknowledging the current Manifestation and then following his teachings. The process continues in the next life by "...the bounty and grace of the Lord..."(39) Thus, it is God's intended purpose that each person comes under the "shadow of the True Educator and is rightly trained...if he is deprived of this education, he becomes the...sum of animal vices, the source of all dark conditions."(40) But even this dark condition can change in the next life through prayer and repentance.

True Manifestations are identified by various criteria, the most important ones being: their very person is a self-validating truth,(41) their sinless state,(42) scripture ("a Book") is revealed through them,(43) etc.(44)



Critique of the Divine Manifestation

First, the infallible Center of the Covenant (Abdu'l Baha) and the infallible Guardian (Shoghi Effendi) are in disagreement as to who is and who is not a Manifestation. Abdu'l Baha states that Confucius was a Manifestation.(45) Shoghi Effendi states, "Confucius was not a Prophet (Manifestation)."(46) This is a dilemma when both are infallible.

Second, all the Manifestations have been declared to be sinless by the Baha'i Faith. However, upon close examination such a statement is absurd. Muhammad is told his sin will be forgiven by Allah (Sura 48:1-2). Also, in the Koran, Sura 4:3, it is forbidden for anyone to have more than four wives. The Muslim scholar and statesman Ali Dashti states that Muhammad had sixteen wives, two concubines, and four women who gave themselves to him sexually.(47)

Third, Baha'i theology is without any concept of sin and justice. If God is truly a Law-Giver than he must also be a God of justice, otherwise ethics mean nothing. The moral fabric of the universe is disturbed by immoral acts. It is inconceivable that a Ghengis Khan, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin or Pol Pot can be excused in the next life of their enormous moral atrocities by simply praying and having God forgive them without any satisfaction of His justice. The Baha'i Faith seeks to effect a moral transformation in man through recognition of the Manifestation. It seeks to make bad men good. Christianity seeks to make dead men live (John 10:10; Ephesians 2:1).

Fourth, Shoghi Effendi writes, "...the great religions of the world are divine in origin...they differ only in non-essential aspects of their doctrines."(48) If such is the case there should at least be agreement regarding their founders teachings on God. We look at only four of them:

Krishna -- polytheistic, God ultimately pantheistic.

Buddha -- agnostic, it does not matter whether God exists.

Muhammad -- intensely monotheistic.

Jesus Christ -- triune God, one divine essence, three centers of self-awareness.

Either the Manifestations contradict each other (which makes it impossible to decide between true and false Manifestations), or the nature of God is contradictory (which is a self-defeating conclusion creating absurdity), or the Baha'i Faith is false.

Fifth, it is logically incoherent to state infallibly that truth is relative as Baha'u'llah does.(49) This is a self-defeating statement because if it is absolute it cannot be true. And if it is relative then it is not absolutely binding. Thus it becomes a meaningless statement.



Jesus Christ

As we have seen, according to Baha'i theology it is impossible for God to incarnate Himself. Thus, it is impossible that Jesus could be God by nature. Baha'u'llah states, "Know thou of a certainty that the Unseen can in no wise incarnate His essence and reveal it unto men."(50) It is appropriate to say that Jesus Christ is God but not that God is Jesus Christ. Thus he is one of the many Manifestations that have been sent by God to assist humanity in its spiritual evolution.

Regarding his resurrection from the dead, according to Abdu'l Baha "...it is a spiritual and divine fact, and not material..." The "raising of the body of Christ" was actually the coming to life of Christ's teachings in the disciples. It was the restoration of their beliefs and conviction.(51) This is a critical Baha'i conception as a physical resurrection would elevate Jesus above the other Manifestations by virtue of his victory over death.

It follows then from these two concepts that Jesus Christ is not "the way, the truth, and the life" for all eternity. Rather, six hundred years after Christ, his dispensation was supplanted by Muhammad, and his "truth" was replaced by the teachings of the Koran.





Critique of the Baha'i Concept of Jesus Christ

First, Baha'i concepts in general about Christ are based upon the "revealed word" of Baha'u'llah. These interpretations are true because he has said so. This is circular reasoning. "I know Baha'u'llah's statement 'God cannot incarnate' is true because Baha'u'llah told me it is true." Obviously, such pronouncements are easy to make because there is no accountability, no way to objectively test such claims. It is analogous to saying fairies really do exist in a dimension parallel to ours that we have not yet discovered. Such statements, neither verifiable nor falsifiable, are of no value.

Second, the Baha'i understanding of the resurrection has become unhinged from history and the clear meaning of the original accounts. The tomb is interpreted symbolically as the "tomb of unbelief," Thomas seeing the risen Christ in John 20:28 is really only seeing the "believers willing to suffer for Christ," etc.(52)

The New Testament is an historical document that can be objectively tested regarding its reliability as can any other document of ancient antiquity. Again and again when such tests are applied, the New Testament emerges as one of the most historically accurate documents of ancient history.(53)

The clear teaching of the New Testament is that a physical resurrection occurred. John 2:19-21 states that he will raise his physical body. John 20:20; Luke 24:15, 39 are physical resurrection appearances. Acts 2:32; 17:31; I Corinthians 15:3-4 indicate that the apostles proclaimed a physically risen Savior. Only the most extreme "spiritualizing" of the clear intent of the text can render any other meaning.

Third, the Baha'i contention that Jesus is not the Savior for all eternity is based upon their misreading of the relevant texts. They come to these verses with a certain set of presuppositions (previously discussed) that act like a packet of red dye thrown into the laundry. Everything that comes out is colored red.

Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." The Baha'i contention is that this was only for his dispensation that ended with the coming of Muhammad. However, there is no indication in the text that this is time dependent. On the contrary this statement could only be made by him because of what he has uniquely done; died upon the cross. Humanity's problem is sin and in a just universe sin has to be addressed in some way. Just to offer forgiveness without addressing the issue is to merely sweep the problem under the rug.

Other verses relevant to the uniqueness of Christ and his work upon the cross are Acts 4:12; Matthew 28:19-20; Jude 3. The verse in Jude is particularly relevant to this unique revelation. Jude writes, "...I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." The intent of the Greek is "once for all time." In other words, there can never be another faith delivered to humanity. This Gospel of Jesus Christ is final in space and time.



Conclusion

Shoghi Effendi states that true Christianity was perverted during the first century when false concepts crept in and were crystallized into doctrine.(54) This assertion is without historical foundation. However, history does support the contention that official Baha'i histories do not square with reality. Suppressed source materials and the revision of deceased author's works are all too common within the Baha'i Faith. It is also a system that is not logically coherent regarding the nature of God, the co-eternity of the universe, differing Manifestations and the relativity of truth. 

Endnotes

 

1. The Baha'i World: 1992-1993 (Haifa, Israel: Baha'i World Centre, 1993), p. 311-314.

2. Ibid.

3. Patrick Johnstone, Operation World: The Day-by-Day Guide to Praying for the World (Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993) p. 23.

4. This quote was taken from John Butterworth, Cults and New Faiths (Elgin, Ill.: David C. Cook Publishing Co., 1981), p. 44.

5. Ibid.

6. J. K. Van Baalen, The Chaos of the Cults (Grand Rapids, MI.: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1975), p. 148.

7. These basic principles can be found in any of the official publications of the Baha'i Faith published by the Baha'i Publishing Trust.

8. E.G. Browne, eminent orientalist of the last century and the greatest historian of the origins of the Baha'i Faith, writes, "Of this much I am certain, that the more the Baha'i doctrine spreads, especially outside Persia, and most of all in Europe and America, the more the true history and nature of the original Babi movement is obscured and distorted." (Edward Granville Browne, Trans., Kitab-i-Nuqtatu'l-Kaf, Being the Earliest History of the Babis Compiled by Hajji Mirza Jani of Kashan Between the Years A.D. 1850 and 1852 [London: Luzac & Co., 1910], p. xxxv). There are three other significant histories of the Babi/Baha'i Faith that are important resource materials. These are: Edward Granville Browne, Trans., The New History (Tarikh-i-Jadid) of Mirza 'Ali Muhammed, The Bab, by Mirza Huseyn, of Hamadan, Composed A.D. 1880 (Amsterdam, Philo Press, 1975); Edward Granville Browne, Trans., Traveller's Narrative, Written to Illustrate the Episode of the Bab, Vol. II (London: C. J. Clay and Sons, 1891). It was later revealed that this was written in 1886 by Abdu'l Baha, son of Baha'u'llah. The last work reveals very extensive revisions that began with The New History. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By (Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1944).

9. William McElwee Miller, The Baha'i Faith: Its History and Teachings (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1984) p. 54.

10. E. G. Browne writes, "We now come to what is without doubt the most interesting and most important portion of Mirza Jani's history,...the account of the appearance of Mirza Yahya...as successor and viceregent to the Bab...This portion, needless to say has been entirely suppressed by the compilers of the New History, whose sympathies...where entirely with Baha (Baha'u'llah)..." This is taken from Browne's notes as recorded in his translation of the New History, p. 374.

11. This is the official understanding of the Bab's function that can be found in any history published by the Baha'i Faith from the Traveller's Narrative (1886) to the present.

12. Abdu'l Baha is the name he gave himself at the beginning of his administration. His given name was Abbas Effendi.

13. Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book (Haifa, Israel: Baha'i World Centre, 1992), p. 32.

14. Mirza Muhammad Ali was left in a state of abject poverty and designated as an arch enemy of the Faith, a "Covenant Breaker."

15. A quote that comes from the unpublished notes of Mr. Jelal Azal that appears in The Baha'i Faith: Its History and Teachings, p. 251.

16. Miller, p. 251.

17. Browne, Nuqtatu'l-Kaf, p. xxxiv.

18. It is absolutely amazing to what lengths Baha'i scholars will go to discredit Browne and his writings. See H. M. Balyuzi, Edward Granville Browne and the Baha'i Faith (London: George Ronald, 1970), and Moojan Momen, Ed., Selections From the Writings of E. G. Browne on the Babi and Baha'i Religions (Oxford: George Ronald, 1987).

19. The least reliable, but considered infallible and the most important history of the Faith, is God Passes By, written by Shoghi Effendi. Shoghi Effendi was the infallible Guardian of the Cause during his lifetime.

20. In John Ferraby, All Things Made New (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1957 and 1987 editions) numerous changes were made after the author's death. The most significant being that the position of Guardian of the Faith was to be passed on through the line of Shoghi Effendi. However, Shoghi Effendi died without naming a lineal descendant his successor. The same is changed in the following two works after the authors' deaths. George Townshend, Christ and Baha'u'llah (London: George Ronald, 1957 and 1984 editions), and Shoghi Effendi, Selected Writings of Shoghi Effendi: Guardian of the Baha'i Faith (Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1942 and 1975 editions).

21. Compare pages 287-289 (1930 edition) with pages 250-252 (1970 edition) of John Esslemont, Baha'u'llah and the New Era (New York: Baha'i Publishing Committee, 1930) and John Esslemont, Baha'u'llah and the New Era, An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith (Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1970).

22. Baha'u'llah, Aqdas, p. 32.

23. Miller, p. 356.

24. Ibid. pp. 183, 229. Miller further elaborates on this issue.

25. Symbolic terms and myths would include: life, death, resurrection of the dead, judgement day, heaven, hell, Satan, evil spirits, angels, creation of the world, Adam and Eve, the Exodus, Noah's Ark, Jonah and the Whale, trinity, second coming of Christ, etc. Dann J. May, "A Preliminary Survey of Hermeneutical Principles Found within the Baha'i Writings," Journal of Baha'i Studies, vol. 1, no. 3, 1989, p. 44.

26. Abdu'l Baha, Some Answered Questions (Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1994), p. 147.

27. Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah (Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1983), p. 46-47.

28. As quoted in Keven Brown, "A Baha'i Perspective on the Origin of Matter," Journal of Baha'i Studies, vol. 2, no. 3, 1990, p. 24.

29. Juan Ricardo Cole, The Concept of Manifestation in the Baha'i Writings (Toronto: The Association for Baha'i Studies, 1982), p. 8.

30. Craig and Moreland forcefully demonstrate that God's co-eternity with the universe is philosophically incoherent. See William Lane Craig, "Creatio ex nihilo," Process Theology, Ronald Nash, Ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1987), and J. P. Moreland, Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1987).

31. Baha'u'llah, Kitab-i-Iqan: The Book of Certitude, Shoghi Effendi, Trans. (Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1983), p. 99.

32. Cole, p. 3.

33. The Manifestation is also called by the following names in Baha'i Scripture: Prophet, Messenger, Prophet Endowed With Constancy, Word of God, Logos, Primal Point, Universal Intellect, etc.

34. Baha'u'llah, Iqan, p.103.

35. Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, p. 54.

36. The Baha'i Faith teaches that at first differences between the Manifestations seem real. However, as time goes on the true seeker will come to realize that unity underlies all of them. The apparent diversity amongst manifestations is only because of the different stations and missions they possess.

37. Baha'u'llah, Aqdas, pp. 4, 159; Iqan, pp. 71-72.

38. Compilation of Compilations, vol. 2, pp. 324-325. These volumes I assume were published by the Baha'i Publishing Trust. I have used here an MS-DOS search and retrieval computer program that contains both volumes one and two.

39. Abdu'l Baha, Some Answered, pp. 232, 240.

40. Ibid. p. 236.

41. Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, p. 49.

42. Abdu'l Baha, Some Answered, p. 195.

43. Baha'u'llah, Iqan, p. 216.

44. Ibid.

45. Abdu'l Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by Abdu'l Baha During His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912 (Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1982), p. 346. See also, Some Answered, p. 165.

46. Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance (Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1983), p. 369.

47. Robert Morey, The Islamic Invasion: Confronting the World's Fastest Growing Religion (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1992), pp. 85-87.

48. Shoghi Effendi, The Call to the Nations (Haifa, Israel: Baha'i World Centre, 1977), p. xi.

49. Ibid.

50. Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, p. 49.

51. Abdu'l Baha, Some Answered, p. 104.

52. Michael Sours, Preparing for a Baha'i/Christian Dialogue: Understanding Christian Beliefs (Oxford: One World Publications, Ltd., 1991) pp. 142-156.

53. Josh McDowell, compiler, Evidence That Demands a Verdict (San Bernadino, CA: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1972).

54. As quoted in Sours, Understanding Christian Beliefs, p. 74.

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