Where did our life start?
“The soul of man comes into being at conception.”
——Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 536.
“The spirit of man has a beginning, but it has no end; it continues eternally.”
—— ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 151.
“The whole physical creation is perishable. These material bodies are composed of atoms; when these atoms begin to separate decomposition sets in, then comes what we call death. This composition of atoms, which constitutes the body or mortal elements of any created being, is temporary. When the power of attraction, which holds these atoms together, is withdrawn, the body, as such, ceases to exist. With the soul it is different. The soul is not a combination of elements, it is not composed of many atoms, it is of one indivisible substance and therefore eternal. It is entirely out of the order of the physical creation; it is immortal!”
——‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 90-91.
The relationship between the rational soul and body
“…the rational soul, meaning the human spirit, does not descend into the body — that is to say, it does not enter it, for descent and entrance are characteristics of bodies, and the rational soul is exempt from this. The spirit never entered this body, so in quitting it, it will not be in need of an abiding-place: no, the spirit is connected with the body, as this light is with this mirror. When the mirror is clear and perfect, the light of the lamp will be apparent in it, and when the mirror becomes covered with dust or breaks, the light will disappear.”
——‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp. 239-240
“The spirit does not need a body, but the body needs spirit, or it cannot live. The soul can live without a body, but the body without a soul dies.”
——‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 86-87.
What is true life?
Wert thou to attain to but a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge, thou wouldst readily realize that true life is not the life of the flesh but the life of the spirit. For the life of the flesh is common to both men and animals, whereas the life of the spirit is possessed only by the pure in heart who have quaffed from the ocean of faith and partaken of the fruit of certitude. This life knoweth no death, and this existence is crowned by immortality.
——Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán 120
My eternity is My creation, I have created it for thee. Make it the garment of thy temple. My unity is My handiwork; I have wrought it for thee; clothe thyself therewith, that thou mayest be to all eternity the revelation of My everlasting being.
——Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words 18-19
The purpose of Life?
When a soul has in it the life of the spirit, then does it bring forth good fruit and become a divine tree….
When the fruit of the tree appears and becomes ripe, then we know that the tree is perfect; if the tree bore no fruit it would be merely a useless growth, serving no purpose.
Some men’s lives are solely occupied with the things of this world; their minds are so circumscribed by exterior manners and traditional interests that they are blind to any other realm of existence, to the spiritual significance of all things. They think and dream of earthly fame, of material progress. Sensuous delights and comfortable surroundings bound their horizon, their highest ambitions center in successes of worldly conditions and circumstances. They curb not their lower propensities; they eat, drink, and sleep. Like the animal, they have no thought beyond their own physical wellbeing. It is true that these necessities must be dispatched. …. But the cares of the lower things of life should not be allowed to monopolize all the thoughts and aspirations of a human being. The heart’s ambitions should ascend to a more glorious goal, mental activity should rise to higher levels. Men should hold in their souls the vision of celestial perfection, and there prepare a dwelling place for the inexhaustible bounty of the divine spirit.
—— ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Reality of Man 14-15