Some Answered Questions
53: THE RELATION BETWEEN GOD AND THE CREATURE
Question.--What is the nature of the connection between
God and the creature--that is to say, between the Independent,
the Most High, and the other beings?
Answer.--The connection between God and the creatures
is that of the creator to the creation; it is like the connection
between the sun and the dark bodies of contingent
beings, and is the connection between the maker and the
things that he has made. The sun in its own essence is independent
of the bodies which it lights, for its light is in
itself and is free and independent of the terrestrial globe;
so the earth is under the influence of the sun and receives
its light, whereas the sun and its rays are entirely independent
of the earth. But if there were no sun, the earth and all
earthly beings could not exist.
The dependence of the creatures upon God is a dependence
of emanation--that is to say, creatures emanate
from God; they do not manifest Him.
The relation is that
of emanation and not that of manifestation. The light of
the sun emanates from the sun; it does not manifest it. The
appearance through emanation is like the appearance of
the rays from the luminary of the horizons of the
world--that is to say, the holy essence of the Sun of Truth
is not divided and does not descend to the condition of the
creatures. In the same way, the globe of the sun does not
become divided and does not descend to the earth. No, the
rays of the sun, which are its bounty, emanate from it and
illumine the dark bodies.
But the appearance through manifestation is the manifestation
of the branches, leaves, blossoms and fruit from
the seed; for the seed in its own essence becomes branches
and fruits, and its reality enters into the branches, the
leaves and fruits. This appearance through manifestation
would be for God, the Most High, simple imperfection;
and this is quite impossible, for the implication would be
that the Absolute Preexistent is qualified with phenomenal
attributes. But if this were so, pure independence
would become mere poverty, and true existence would
become nonexistence, and this is impossible.
Therefore, all creatures emanate from God--that is to
say, it is by God that all things are realized, and by Him
that all beings have attained to existence. The first thing
which emanated from God is that universal reality, which
the ancient philosophers termed the "First Mind," and
which the people of Bahá call the "First Will." This emanation,
in that which concerns its action in the world of
God, is not limited by time or place; it is without beginning
or end--beginning and end in relation to God are
one. The preexistence of God is the preexistence of essence,
and also preexistence of time, and the phenomenality
of contingency is essential and not temporal, as we
have already explained one day at table.
Though the "First Mind" is without beginning, it does
not become a sharer in the preexistence of God, for the
existence of the universal reality in relation to the existence
of God is nothingness, and it has not the power to
become an associate of God and like unto Him in preexistence.
This subject has been before explained.
The existence of living things signifies composition,
and their death, decomposition. But universal matter and
the elements do not become absolutely annihilated and destroyed.
No, their nonexistence is simply transformation.
For instance, when man is annihilated, he becomes dust;
but he does not become absolutely nonexistent. He still
exists in the shape of dust, but transformation has taken
place, and this composition is accidentally decomposed.
The annihilation of the other beings is the same, for existence
does not become absolute nonexistence, and absolute
nonexistence does not become existence.
1. [This subject, of emanation and manifestation, is more fully explained in the following chapter.]
2. [Cf. "Real Preexistence," p. 280.]