In this article I would like to introduce a new theory that perhaps could explain the concept of physical creation and status of manifestations of God in respect to it. Although, it is very difficult to associate physical proofs to it, but like any other explanation for creation that man can think of, it can be considered but not absolutely ascertained. My ideas in this regard have flourished due to collecting material from our holy Scriptures in this regard and other articles that have dwelled on unified concepts that consider the creation as a whole. I hope that I can describe it as clear as possible.
In a non-Bahá'í environment the scientists can only look at the physical world and then conceptualise the physical world that they think they see. However, in an environment that the concept of God and His Manifestations are fully accepted, the whole creation can take a new look and totally different shape. In this article I propose a new theory that can combine current physical observations of the universe and the Bahá'í concepts in regard to existence of worlds of God and spirituality of man. A derivative of this concept is a new notion in regard to status of Universal House of Justice and its infallibility. In addition, It can provide an acceptable reason for the so called problem of 'men only membership on Universal House of Justice'.
Before I go further, I like to stress that if this concept is not taken fully or not looked at with total impartiality, there is a danger that one could say it produces a situation where man (as masculine) is superior to woman in human spices. But if it is taken in its full form then this problem can not arise and the concept of equality of man and woman would not interfere in it. In this article analogous situations are used to let the reader grasp the individual notions in a better way. This article is divided into a number of segments so that the final notion can be presented to the reader in an smooth and logical way.
The present observation of our universe suggest that we live in a physical identity that is expanding in its dimensions and could have had a beginning which is so termed as "Big Bang". please note that I called it an identity and not a universe, this is because I like to introduce a picture of a universe which encompasses the Bahá'í concept of Worlds of God in a latter stage. This identity is believed to go through either a cyclic situation of expansion and contraction or through an everlasting expansion. What is very clear for the time being is that objects such as galaxies are receding from each other and the involved distances are so vast that they have to be measured in concepts of light years. In recent studies of the distribution of objects in universe, the idea that they are not distributed randomly and that the universe has distinctive shape is immerging. What ever the form, today's science is producing proofs in this respect and has the potential of discovering a unified law that governs this identity.
However, all this scientific work can only provide physical evidences and proofs that are limited to this identity and can not cover concepts such as God, the spirituality of man (a creation which is within this identity), life after death and so on. If a theory is devised that clearly combines this physical world and relates it to spiritual worlds of God then we may have a better understanding of our existence. In deed, The whole thing could be like the concept of electromagnetic waves, where we see only a band (i.e. from ultra violet light to infra red section). It could be that like electromagnetic waves in which infinite wavelengths are possible on each end of the bands, this physical universe is a band in the spectrum of Worlds of God and as man progresses in these Worlds it moves from one band to another, each with its own and totally different characteristics to the others. In the next section I like to bring the concept of seed into this argument.
If one looks at the individual parts that constitute the whole of this physical creation, one thing is clear, that identities such as man and other evolving things even nature itself are going through cycles of composition and decomposition. In the period of composition they evolve from a seed into an identity (in case of life the seed is an individual cell). Although, the seed does not look like the object itself, at its full developed state, but it has inherent potentials to become the object itself. An example is a seed that produces an apple tree, that seed is always an apple seed not an orange seed that turns into a beautiful apple tree (i.e. in short an orange seed can not transmute into an apple seed and vis versa). Perhaps in the course of time, the seed will change characteristics which would make it totally different to its past origin but yet it is fulfilling its original propose (i.e. reproduction).
In Bahá'í Faith, we believe in the existence of a substance so called ether which in Arabic-Persian languages it is termed "Maday-i-Asyrieh" meaning a substance with atraction powers, we believe that this substance is a prerequisite to existence of God's creation. Yet science today has not come with such an identity in physical sense. I believe that the nature of this substance is not physical in the sense that we know it. It must have characteristics that can not be measured in a physical sense. However, when a combination of these identical substances appear in relation to each other then physical realities come into form. I would like to go further by saying that this substance does not have physical characteristic at all but an spiritual one. When it is in a combination state it manifests physical characteristics which can be attributed to that combined form (i.e. an atom or sub-atomic particles). Now if we consider that one of these so called ether substances to have in it the full potentiality of this physical world of existence, then we can say that the seed has been defined for the physical existence. Perhaps like an apple seed the ether seed also developed by multiplying into different constituents that shape our present universe.
A universe that is developed or is developing from a single seed that had the full inherent potentials of this physical existence within it, is more aligned with the present knowledge of man in regard to the formation of our universe (i.e. current Big Bang theory). Now a universe that is defined in this manner will be in all aspects an orderly one and purposeful in it origin and in its development. Like any other developing organism this universe will flourish and produce numerous fruits. This concept can be analogous to development of an apple tree where the seed in swanned in the soil and is watered until it blossoms and starts growing into a young tree, which in time develops into a fully grown tree, which at an end, produces fruits as sweet as an apple. In like manner, it can be considered that the world of existence has appeared as a result of such development in seed like ether substance which is nourished by inherent spiritual characteristics and directly as a result of the Will of God. This tree of universe will develop in all aspects in an orderly manner. It will take nourishment from an spiritual source and in its fullness of time produce fruits of diverse qualities and perhaps man himself is the ultimate fruit that will develop behind the imagination of our present times.
An interesting aspect of such development is the nature of the formation of the original seed. this formation and the related concept of "active force and recipient" are discussed in the next section.
As it was stated before, individual identities in the world of creation go through cycles of reproduction. By interaction of these identities with each other a seed is formed, which in turn develops into an alike identity. Abdul'Baha has stated this concept very clearly in Some Answered Questions. This physical world is created in a form that each constituent has an opposite counter part. As an example man has been created in the form of a male and a female identities. In like manner, this is true in the kingdom of animals, vegetables and even in objects. In the world of creation two opposite forces are always in interaction and this interaction produces reproduction. If we go back to the concept of original creation, we can consider that as a result of interaction of the word of God and His love for creation this creation has been produced. I would like to state that this interaction is an inherent property of the concept, from God's level down to the minute identities in the world as a whole, whether in this physical world or in other Worlds of God. Perhaps it will become more clear as we go through these different level of existences, starting with God, Himself.
As a result of interaction of God's Word and His Love for creation all existences have come into reality. In Bahá'í Faith we believe this concept of levels to be in the form of God, Holy Spirit then Manifestations of God, followed by world of mankind and then kingdoms of animals, vegetables, and finally minerals. In these levels, there is always interaction and this interaction is between the two opposite counter parts. In this situation, we have one identity which play the role of active force and the other which acts as the recipient. Resultant to the interaction of these identities a third identity comes into form. As a result of interaction between God, being the active force and Holy Spirit being the recipient, the Word of God comes into being. Now these identities can take the form of active force in respect to a lower level or the role of recipient in respect to a level higher. In this manner, The Holy Spirit is an active force in respect to the Manifestations of God, which take the role of recipient and as a result of their interaction the concept of revelation is formed. In a level lower, the Manifestation of God takes the role of active force and the humanity the role of recipient and as a result of this interaction the concept of religion, order, harmony and civilisation is formed among Mankind. An interesting fact is that man (human beings) is at an important boundary of this structure. He has the physical body and yet an spiritual soul which together constitute the highest creation in the physical world. Similarly, in the levels lower than Mankind the identity at level above act as the active force.
In the Bahá'í Faith we believe that the Worlds of God are all connected to each other in some kind of manner, but, yet all have boundaries or conditions attached to them. As an example, a baby in the womb of the mother is connected to this world but yet is limited in the sense that the birth must occur before it can come to this world. Likewise, man must die before he can enter into the World of souls or Abha- Kingdom. Once the baby is in this World it would not go back into the womb again and likewise, once we depart we would not come back. These restrictions are so called the boundaries that bond the worlds and separate them from each other. I like to state that God also acts in this manner Himself. He has an spiritual form, it only manifests Himself into this physical world by the way of His Manifestations. He is only following rules that He has created Himself. He can not appear in any other form except the form that He comes, because we can only grasp this condition and none other. This is a limit that is inherent in the conditions of our level in the spectrum of creation as a whole. As a consequence of this, He (or the Holy Spirit) being the active force must as a prerequisite to the above concept appear in the physical world to the highest level of the physical world which can only be a form of man (as masculine) a recipient in this respect (note: man being the active force in the reproduction sense to the woman that performs the recipient role in the physical world). This interaction is solely for improvement of the state of the physical world and must occur in this manner. Once this interaction occurs, order, harmony and improvement of society as a whole can come into reality. In the next section I will elaborate on this concept.
In the history of mankind as we know it, there have been major steps that have shaped the direction in which civilisation has moved. These steps are in conjunction with the appearances of the Manifestations of God. From known records humanity has been guided by these Manifestations of God, starting with Adam in the adamic cycle and followed by Moses, Christ, Mohammad, the Bab, and now Bahá'u'lláh, the first Manifestation of the cycle of Baha. surely as our Scriptures suggest there will be other Manifestations to come as time elapses and there have been Manifestations prior to the Adamic Cycle which no records have remained. To date, these Manifestations have all been in the form of a man (masculine). The fact that they have been all in the form of male individuals can not be an accidental event. It must bear some reason.
Many concepts have been postulated to this effect but yet, in my opinion none can be strong enough such that they can be considered purposeful. I do not like to go into the different existing reasons or concepts as the intention is not to dispute them but to present a new concept that seems to have more sound bases in the pattern of the whole creation. What seems very clear is that up to date the Manifestations have been in the form of male individuals and I think this pattern will always continue in this manner because the equality of man and woman does not come into play and it is a fact of creation. The purpose of manifestations is to interact with humanity in the sense that a resultant identity which is an improved civilisation can come into being. The male individual in this respect is only acting as a recipient to the World of God (i.e. a feminine role). The female identity in the physical world can not be considered as a recipient in this interaction as it does not have the required state for this interaction. If it is considered as a recipient then the continuity in these levels are broken.
Let me restate that this concept is in no wise suggestive that the female identity has a inferior position or the male identity is superior to the female identity. It only suggests that they have a role to play in the purpose of creation. They take these forms to initiate the interaction in order to cause the consequential formation of the third identity. I must stress that the concept can only be taken as the whole otherwise the concept is not understood. Hence, if someone raises this question of superiority and inferiority, I must consider that they have not understood the concept of the roles of the active force and the recipient in these interactions. In the next section I like to move this concept further and suggest the notion that it also encompasses the institution of our beloved Universal House of Justice.
In the past religions, we encounter the existence of certain followers of the Manifestations that have taken an important role in the formation and development of that faith. In Bahá'í Faith we consider them to be inspired by the Manifestation Himself and guided to play such a role. Such examples are; the lesser Prophets in duration of the Faith of Moses, the twelve disciples of Christ, and in Islam the twelve Imams that are considered to be inspired by each of those manifestations. Yet, these Holy Beings were also in the form of male individuals too. These luminaries were in the recipient state in respect to the manifestation Himself which now was an active force in the interaction from the spiritual world. It is well clear that as a consequence of the role that these individuals played, the development of each of those Faiths have take distinctive shape and direction in this physical world.
In Bahá'í Faith, likewise, the Master (Abdul'Baha) and the Guardian played such a role. It was also willed that the future Guardians to be the sons of the Guardian. However, The course of history was to be such that no Guardians would remain and The Universal House of Justice to be the supreme body of the Faith. As we all know the Universal House of Justice must be considered to be infallible in all its decisions and actions. This infallibility can only come about if the House is considered to be inspired by our beloved Manifestation of God, Bahá'u'lláh. This body for its span of existence will be inspired by Bahá'u'lláh in all times. This body as a consequence of this interaction will take the role of recipient in delivering its potential's. The result of this interaction will be the unity of the Faith for all times. The body of the House as a single identity will always be in a role of recipient to the level of Manifestation of God and an active force to the level of humanity. It will move humanity which takes a recipient position in its interaction with the House into fruitful directions and develop humanity towards its ultimate goal of a Golden Civilisation. In the next section, I will discuss in detail the role of Universal House of Justice and take this concept further in relation to its membership of men only.
As it was stated in the previous section, this spectrum of active force and its recipient can be seen in all levels of creation. Bahá'u'lláh has in this age provided a medium in which the flow of inspiration can be made continuous. The existence of a single body in which inspiration can be directed to the physical world would enable mankind to leap into such heights of development that as yet can not be imagined. This body of individuals is in a state of recipient in respect to the World of God and its interaction with the active force i.e. the Manifestation of God will allow the birth of a new civilisation and will lead to the maturity of human kind as a whole.
This interaction is happening at a level in which the boundary of spiritual world and our physical world occurs. As a result, the body which comprises this recipient agent must be by default an active agent in the physical world which means that the individuals constituting the body must be male individuals. As the interaction is between a spiritual world and a physical world, the agent must act as recipient to a level above and be active force to a level below. When an interaction is at the boundary of the spiritual world, the recipient can only be the one that is the active force in the physical sense, because the interaction is to cause some kind of reproduction or manifestation of some kind of physical progress.
This concept must not be misunderstood by the fact that men and women are equal in the Site of God. In Bahá'í Faith, the right of women to be equal to men encompasses all aspect of our social and environmental existence in the physical world. Yet, in this physical world man has been made in a form which plays as an active force and women as a recipient, with the result of their physical interaction being the reproduction process, where a child can be born into the physical world. These are roles that each of these identities have to play and have no bearing on their equality in the Site of God or their opportunities in the physical world. In addition, This concept should not be considered to impair or unbalance the spiritual progress of the female individuals of the society. As in the Site of God, men and women have equal rights and opportunities to progress their soul and human attributes to outmost perfection. If male individuals are selected to be as recipients in an spiritual interaction, then they are merely playing their function and has nothing to do with notion of superiority.
It seems very logical to have a physical world which in its origin was a seed like identity that possessed all possible potentials of development into the universe as we know it. This model can be seen in diverse forms in nature and is replicated in all level of created identities. The concept of a seed like ether which its development was initiated in a time in distant past to us and a tree like development which is in every aspect orderly and with significant purpose has more bearing to our existence than the postulation that the world of existence happens to be here as a result of a Big Bang and a chaotic explosion in a massive dimension with an unknown origin. It is more logical to assume that man, an identity that has spiritual and physical nature to it, lives in a Universe that encompasses not only this plane of physical existence but in a plane that constitutes many Worlds of God.
As there are boundaries to these different plans of existence then it is logical to consider a concept of active force and its recipient for reproduction or developmental purposes. The concept of active force and its recipient can be applied to all levels of creation from God, Himself to the ultimate identities in the world of existence.
It seems likely that this concept also applies to a governing body such as the Universal House of Justice which is empowered to deliver spiritual direction to the world of humanity. In this respect, if this body is considered to be infallible and recipient of the guidances of the Manifestation of God Himself, then it must be a body that can act as recipient to the spiritual world and be an active force to the world of humanity. In addition, the individuals that constitute this body must as a prerequisite of creation to be male individuals which act as an active force in the physical creation. It must be beared in mind that this body at all times is a recipient in nature to the World of God and an active force to the world of mankind and as a consequence of its interaction the world of humanity will be directed towards a more civilised and mature state.