Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Paragraph 107

The traditions and sayings that bear direct reference to Our theme are divers and manifold; We have refrained from quoting them for the sake of brevity. Nay, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth is a direct evidence of the revelation within it of the attributes and names of God, inasmuch as within every atom are enshrined the signs that bear eloquent testimony to the revelation of that most great Light. Methinks, but for the potency of that revelation, no being could ever exist. How resplendent the luminaries of knowledge that shine in an atom, and how vast the oceans of wisdom that surge within a drop! To a supreme degree is this true of man, who, among all created things, hath been invested with the robe of such gifts, and hath been singled out for the glory of such distinction. For in him are potentially revealed all the attributes and names of God to a degree that no other created being hath excelled or surpassed. All these names and attributes are applicable to him. Even as He hath said: “Man is My mystery, and I am his mystery.” Manifold are the verses that have been repeatedly revealed in all the heavenly Books and the holy Scriptures, expressive of this most subtle and lofty theme. Even as He hath revealed: “We will surely show them Our signs in the world and within themselves.” Again He saith: “And also in your own selves: will ye not then behold the signs of God?” And yet again He revealeth: “And be ye not like those who forget God, and whom He hath therefore caused to forget their own selves.” In this connection, He Who is the eternal King—may the souls of all that dwell within the mystic Tabernacle be a sacrifice unto Him—hath spoken: “He hath known God who hath known himself.”

Maybe it's just us, but we find this study so much easier by breaking the book up into these various sections. It almost makes each section sort of... bite size. We can wrap our minds around it, and then look at the overall structure of the book as a whole. Hopefully this makes it easier for you, too, dear Reader.

Anyways, here we are at paragraph four of nine that deals with the theme of how we can only know God through His Manifestations.

Here we see that everything in creation shows a sign of God, but humanity, at the pinnacle of this creation, shows all the signs of God within. Soon, like in just a couple of paragraphs, Baha'u'llah will explain that just as humanity is at the apex of creation in this regard, the Manifestations are at the apex of humanity. But for now, let's look at what He says here.

Everything in creation shows an attribute of God, has concealed within it some aspect of our divine Creator from which we can learn. A tree, to use a very basic example, demonstrates bounty through the fruits it gives us. God is the Most Bounteous, and an apple tree shows bounty.

In terms of people, we show all the various attributes of God, but of course, we don't show them in the capital. If God is the All-Bountiful, we, like the tree, can show some bounty. If God is the All-Knowing, we have some knowledge. Whatever God shows in the capital, we are in the lower case. We talked about this a little bit way back when we started this whole study, back when we looked at the Invocation before paragraph 1.

Here, though, Baha'u'llah makes an interesting point. He says that "within every atom are enshrined the signs that bear eloquent testimony to the revelation of that most great Light." Let's look at that for a moment. We are immediately reminded of nuclear- and astro-physics. We know that one of the attributes of God is that of unity and absolute one-ness. What better example do we have than the sun, where hydrogen atoms fuse together to produce helium, and a whole lot of light and energy. And in fact, this process continues up the periodic table producing all the heavier elements in existence. In a very literal sense, "but for the potency of that revelation, no being could ever exist." Without the nuclear furnaces contained within the stars, none of the heavier elements would have been created. Carbon, oxygen, calcium: they all come from the heart of the stars, or sometimes from their fiery death. It is through this process that most of the elements that make up the more complex molecules of life found their beginning.

Looking even deeper, there are still more questions to examine. Why, for example, is knowledge contained within an atom? Why is wisdom found within that tiny drop of water? To best answer those questions, we would need to explore the Writings even more, seeking out other references to both knowledge and wisdom. And really, we could write volumes on just those two terms alone, but we won't, at least not here. This is just to remind us of how far we can go into the Writings, if we wish. And besides, these are actually fairly facile questions. The real questions begin when we start to ask about how we apply them in our daily lives.

After all, another word that is used here is "potential". All these things lie in potential within each and every one of us. It is up to us to refine and develop these potential attributes and help them become actual.

Now, it is worth remembering that the whole purpose of this book is to help us recognize the Manifestation of God for today. And here, Baha'u'llah is placing this purpose within the context of all of creation. Everything shows a single attribute of God, but humanity has the potential to show all the attributes of God. Now we need to strive to show forth all those attributes to the best of ability, to be worthy of so great a favor.

Remember, Baha'u'llah, in the Hidden Words, says, "Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting."

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