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God, Faith, and Immortality

A Baha'i Interpretation

In the Bahá'í view, the purpose of this life on earth is for each individual to develop the spiritual and moral qualities that lie at the core of his or her nature. Bahá'u'lláh referred to the human being as a "mine rich in gems of inestimable value." These "gems" or qualities can be "mined" or developed only when a person turns to God. But while this awesome task must remain the responsibility of the individual, humanity has received continual guidance from a loving Creator on how to accomplish it. The Bahá'í conceptions of human nature and the soul, then, are essentially positive, as are Bahá'í views on the purpose of life and life after death.

Bahá'ís believe that there is only one God, the Creator of the universe. Throughout history, God has revealed Himself to humanity through a series of divine Messengers, each of Whom has founded a great religion. The Messengers have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. This succession of divine Teachers reflects a single historic "plan of God" for educating humanity about the Creator and for cultivating the spiritual, intellectual, and moral capacities of the race. The goal has been to develop the innate noble characteristics of every human being, and to prepare the way for an advancing global civilization. Knowledge of God's will for humanity in the modern age, Bahá'ís believe, was revealed just over one hundred years ago by Bahá'u'lláh, Who is the latest of these divine Messengers.

He, She or It?

Like previous Messengers of God, Bahá'u'lláh used the masculine pronoun when referring to the Creator. To have done anything else would have violated all conventions of Arabic -- the principal language in which Bahá'u'lláh wrote.

Bahá'u'lláh stated explicitly, however, that God is beyond any comparison to human form or gender. Accordingly, the issue of whether to refer to God as "He," "She," or "It" does not arise in Bahá'í discussions.



Baha'i Holy Places & Pilgrimage
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