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From: Kamran Hakim Subject: Baha'i teachings on evolution of creation in the universe Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation From: hakim@bigq.enet.dec.com (Kamran Hakim) Message-ID: 31872@nntpd.lkg.dec.com Newsgroups: talk.origins "We have now come to the question of the modification of species and of organic development... inquiring whether man's descent is from the animal. This theory has found credence in the minds of some European philosophers, and it is now very difficult to make its falseness understood, but in the future it will become evident and clear, and the European philosophers will themselves realize its untruth.... When man looks at the beings with a penetrating regard, and attentively examine the condition of existences, and when he sees the state, the organization and the perfection [i.e. Perfection of design is intended here.] of the world, he will be convinced that in the possible world there is nothing more wonderful than that which already exists. For all existing beings, terrestrial and celestial, as well as this limitless space and all that is in it, have been created and organized, composed, arranged and perfected as they ought to be; the universe has no imperfection, so that if all beings became pure intelligence and reflected for ever and ever, it is impossible that they could imagine anything better than that which exists. If, however, the creation in the past had not been adorned with utmost perfection, then existence would have been imperfect and meaningless, and in this case creation would have been incomplete [i.e. The Universe was just as perfect in design a million years ago as it is today, irrespective of the fact that everything has evolved in this time frame.]. This question needs to be considered with the greatest attention and thought. ...the contingent world resembles in a general way the body of man. If this composition, organization, perfection, beauty and completeness which now exists in the human body were different, it would be absolute imperfection. Now if we imagine a time when man belonged to the animal world...that is to say, there would have been no man, and this chief member, which in the body of the world is like the brain and mind in man, would have been missing. The world would have been imperfect... thus...if there had been a time when man was in the animal kingdom [i.e. there was no mind], the perfection of existence would have been destroyed; for man is the greatest member of this world, and if the body was without this chief member, surely it would be imperfect." [Abdu'l-Baha is distinguishing human and animal at this point based on the presence of mind and its psychological implication in human existence and its absence in animal. Abdu'l-Baha makes two points: 1- He is identifying the creation of human mind as the completion and perfec- tion of God's creation, without which creation would have been imperfect and incomplete. He is elevating the existence of human among creation to the position of "chief member", "brain and mind" in human. 2- He is furthermore, concluding that mind is the distinguishing factor between man and animal without which human would be no different from animal. Furthermore, human mind, is the distinguishing factor between human and animal today, and has always been the distinguishing between human and animal.] "We consider man as the greatest member because, among the creatures, he is the sum of all existing perfections. When we speak of man, we mean the perfect one, the foremost individual in the world, who is the sum of spiritual and apparent perfections, and who is like the sun among the beings [i.e. Perhaps the most becoming example of a perfect human being, in regards to APPARENT and SPIRITUAL abilities is the Manifestation of God, after Whom we have been asked to model our lives and behaviors.]. Then imagine that at one time the sun did not exist, but that it was a planet; surely at such time the relations of existence would be disordered.....To a man who examines the world of existence what we have said is sufficient." [I'd like to clarify that while Abdu'l-Baha distinguishes the human mind as a sign of perfection in God's creation, implying that human mind must have always existed, He teaches that while mind has always existed, there was a time that human mind was in the stage of infancy, and human had evolve to a point in order to become capable of reflecting and manifesting this mental power. This point will be discussed in greater details in another posting.] "There is another more subtle proof: all these endless beings which inhibit the world, whether man, animal, vegetable, mineral -whatever they may be- are surely, each one of them composed of elements. There is no doubt that this perfection [i.e. of design] which is in all beings is caused by the creation of God from the composing elements, by their appropriate mingling and proportionate quantities, the mode of their composition, and the influence of other beings. For all beings are connected together like a chain; and reciprocal help, assistance and interaction belonging to the properties of things are the cause of the existence, development and growth of created beings. It is confirmed through evidences and proofs that every being universally acts upon other beings, either absolutely or through association. Finally, the perfection of each individual being -that is to say, the perfection which you now see in man or apart from him, with regard to their atoms, members or powers- is due to the composition of the elements, to their measure, to their balance, to the mode of their combination, and to mutual influence. When all these are gathered together, then man exists. As the perfection [i.e. in design] of man is entirely due to the composition of the atoms of the elements, to their measure, to the method of their combination, and to the mutual influence and action of different beings- then, since man was produced ten or a hundred thousand years ago [i.e. Abdu'l-Baha is using this number as an example only.] from these earthly elements with the same measure and balance, the same method of combination and mingling, and the same influence of the other beings, exactly the same man existed then or now. This is evident and not worth debating. A thousand million years hence, if these elements of man are gathered together and arranged in this special proportion, and if the elements are combined according to the same influence of other beings, exactly the same man will exist. For example, if after a hundred thousand years there is oil, a wick, a lamp and the lighter of the lamp-briefly if there are all the necessaries which now exist, exactly the same lamp will be obtained." Some Answered Questions, Abdu'l-Baha All comments inside [bracket] are my own comments. K. Hakim

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