Some Answered Questions

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Some Answered Questions is a book that was first published in 1908. It contains questions related to religion, philosophy and science, asked to `Abdu'l-Bahá by Laura Clifford Barney, during several of her visits to Haifa between 1904 and 1906, and `Abdu'l-Bahá's answers to these questions. [1] `Abdu'l-Bahá was the son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and was appointed by him as his successor and interpreter of his words. [2]

`Abdul-Bahá Son of Baháulláh and leader of the Baháí Faith

`Abdu’l-Bahá', born `Abbás, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh and served as head of the Bahá'í Faith from 1892 until 1921. `Abdu’l-Bahá was later canonized as the last of three "central figures" of the religion, along with Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb, and his writings and authenticated talks are regarded as a source of Bahá'í sacred literature.

Laura Clifford Barney American Baháí teacher and philanthropist

Laura Clifford Barney (1879–1974), married name Laura Dreyfus-Barney became a leading American Bahá'í teacher and philanthropist.

Haifa Place in Israel

Haifa is the third-largest city in Israel – after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv– with a population of 281,087 in 2017. The city of Haifa forms part of the Haifa metropolitan area, the second- or third-most populous metropolitan area in Israel. It is home to the Bahá'í World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a destination for Bahá'í pilgrims.

Contents

Topics covered include the Prophets of God, human evolution, immortality of the soul, the relationship between the soul and the body, reincarnation and Christian subjects. [3]

Reincarnation concept of rebirth in some religions and cultures

Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that an aspect of a living being starts a new life in a different physical body or form after each biological death. It is also called rebirth or transmigration, and is a part of the Saṃsāra doctrine of cyclic existence. It is a central tenet of all major Indian religions, namely Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. The idea of reincarnation is found in many ancient cultures, and a belief in rebirth/metempsychosis was held by Greek historic figures, such as Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato. It is also a common belief of various ancient and modern religions such as Spiritism, Theosophy, and Eckankar, and as an esoteric belief in many streams of Orthodox Judaism. It is found as well in many tribal societies around the world, in places such as Australia, East Asia, Siberia, and South America.

History

'Abdu'l-Bahá's answers were first written down in Persian by a secretary, and afterwards revised twice by 'Abdu'l-Bahá. In 1908, three first editions were published: The Persian text by E.J. Brill in The Netherlands; the English translation of Laura Clifford Barney by Regan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. in London; and a French edition translated by Hippolyte Dreyfus  [ fr ], published by Ernest Leroux in Paris. [3]

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

A new English translation revised by a committee at the Bahá'í World Centre was published in 2014 and made available in early 2015.

Baháí World Centre

The Bahá'í World Centre is the name given to the spiritual and administrative centre of the Bahá'í Faith. The World Centre consists of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh near Acre, Israel, the Shrine of the Báb and its gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, and various other buildings in the area including the Arc buildings.

Overview

The book is divided into five parts:

I. On the Influence of the Prophets in the Evolution of Humanity

Part one covers topics such as the one universal law that governs nature, rational and spiritual proofs of the existence of God, [4] Manifestations of God [5] (Abraham, [6] Moses, [7] Christ, [8] Muhammad, [9] (includes His wives and battles), the Báb, [10] and Bahá'u'lláh), [11] and Biblical prophecies from chapters 8, 9 and 12 of the Book of Daniel (see Day-year principle), [12] chapter 11 of the Book of Isaiah and chapters 11 and 12 of the Book of Revelation. [13] [14] [15]

Nature The phenomena of the physical world, and life in general

Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, or material world or universe. "Nature" can refer to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science. Although humans are part of nature, human activity is often understood as a separate category from other natural phenomena.

God in the Baháí Faith

The Bahá'í view of God is essentially monotheistic. God is the imperishable, uncreated being who is the source of all existence. He is described as "a personal God, unknowable, inaccessible, the source of all Revelation, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent and almighty". Though transcendent and inaccessible directly, his image is reflected in his creation. The purpose of creation is for the created to have the capacity to know and love its creator. God communicates his will and purpose to humanity through intermediaries, known as Manifestations of God, who are the prophets and messengers that have founded religions from prehistoric times up to the present day.

The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are appearances of the Divine Spirit or Holy Spirit in a series of personages, and as such, they perfectly reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization through the agency of that same Spirit. In the Baha'i Faith, it is believed that the Manifestations of God are the only channel for humanity to know about God because contact with the Spirit is what transforms the heart and mind, creating a living relationship between the soul and God. They act as perfect mirrors reflecting the attributes of God into the physical world. Bahá'í teachings hold that the motive force in all human development is due to the coming of the Manifestations of God. The Manifestations of God are directly linked with the Bahá'í concept of progressive revelation.

II. Some Christian Subjects

Part two consists of subjects of Christian interest, such as the significance of symbolism ("intelligible realities and their expression through sensible forms" [16] ), an examination and breakdown of various verses from the Bible, the story of Adam and Eve, [17] the birth of Christ, the greatness of Christ, [8] baptism, [18] miracles, [19] the Eucharist, Peter and the Papacy, the resurrection of Christ, [20] the Holy Spirit, the second coming of Christ, the Day of Judgement, the Trinity, sin, [21] blasphemy, [22] and predestination. [23]

Allegory figure of speech

As a literary device, an allegory is a metaphor in which a character, place or event is used to deliver a broader message about real-world issues and occurrences. Allegory has occurred widely throughout history in all forms of art, largely because it can readily illustrate or convey complex ideas and concepts in ways that are comprehensible or striking to its viewers, readers, or listeners.

In philosophy, intelligibility is what can be comprehended by the human mind in contrast to sense perception. The intelligible method is thought thinking itself, or the human mind reflecting on itself. Plato referred to the intelligible realm of mathematics, forms, first principles, logical deduction, and the dialectical method. The intelligible realm of thought thinking about thought does not necessarily require any visual images, sensual impressions, and material causes for the contents of mind. Descartes referred to this method of thought thinking about itself, without the possible illusions of the senses. Kant made similar claims about a priori knowledge. A priori knowledge is claimed to be independent of the content of experience.

Bible collection of sacred books in Judaism and Christianity

The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Rastafarians.

III. On the Powers and Conditions of the Manifestations of God

Part three speaks about topics such as the five aspects of spirit, [24] the stations, power and influence of the Manifestations of God, universal cycles, [25] the two classes of Prophets, [26] God's rebukes to the Prophets [27] and infallibility. [28]

IV. On the Origin, Powers and Conditions of Man

The fourth part includes a commentary on the theory of evolution, [29] [30] the origin of the universe, [31] the difference between man and animal, the origin of man, the difference between the soul, mind, and spirit, [32] human nature, [33] the origin of the spirit and mind of man, the relationship between the spirit and the body, the relationship between God and man (emanationism), [34] the physical and intellectual powers of man, the differences of character in men, [33] the degree of knowledge man possesses and the knowledge the Manifestations of God possess, man's knowledge of God, the immortality of the spirit, the state and progress of the spirit after death, [32] fate, [23] the influence of the stars, [35] free will, [36] visions, dreams [37] and communication with spirits, [38] and spiritual and physical healing. [39]

V. Miscellaneous Subjects

Part five goes into topics such as the nonexistence of evil, [40] two kinds of torment, [41] the justice and mercy of God, the punishment of criminals, strikes, reality, pre-existence, reincarnation, [42] pantheism ('Unity of Existence'), [43] four kinds of comprehension, [44] and ethics. [45] [46]

See also

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References

  1. Smith, Peter (2000). "Some Answered Questions". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 325. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  2. Tai-Seale, Thomas (1992). Thy Kingdom Come: A Biblical Introduction to the Bahá'í Faith. US: Kalimat Press. pp. 194–195. ISBN   0933770936.
  3. 1 2 Foreword to the 2014 edition of Some Answered Questions.
  4. Smith, Peter (2000). "God". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 164–165. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  5. Smith, Peter (2000). "manifestations of God". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 231. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  6. Smith, Peter (2000). "Abraham". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 22. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  7. Smith, Peter (2000). "Moses". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 251. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  8. 1 2 Smith, Peter (2000). "Jesus". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 214. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  9. Smith, Peter (2000). "Muhammad". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 251. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  10. Smith, Peter (2000). "Báb". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 55–61. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  11. Smith, Peter (2000). "Bahá'u'lláh". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 73–86. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  12. Riggs, Robert (1998). I, Daniel .
  13. Sours, Michael (1996). Understanding Biblical Prophecy. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN   9781851681112.
  14. Tai-Seale, Thomas (1992). Thy Kingdom Come: A Biblical Introduction to the Bahá'í Faith. US: Kalimat Press. ISBN   0933770936.
  15. Able, John (2011). Apocalypse Secrets: Baha'i Interpretation of the Book of Revelation .
  16. Lepain, Jean-Marc (2015) [2002]. The Archeology of the Kingdom of God . pp. 246-270.
  17. Smith, Peter (2000). "Adam". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 23. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  18. Smith, Peter (2000). "baptism". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 90. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  19. Smith, Peter (2000). "miracles". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 249. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  20. Smith, Peter (2000). "resurrection". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 293. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  21. Smith, Peter (2000). "sin". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 322–323. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  22. Momen, Moojan (2009). "Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: Chapter 31 of Some Answered Questions". Irfan Colloquia. 10. Wilmette, IL: Irfan Colloquia. pp. 275–294.
  23. 1 2 Smith, Peter (2000). "fate". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 157. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  24. Smith, Peter (2000). "metaphysics". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 245–246. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  25. Smith, Peter (2000). "time". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 338–339. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  26. Smith, Peter (2000). "prophets". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 279. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  27. Hemmat, Amrollah (2008). Adam's Wish: Unknown Poetry of Tahirih. Baha'i Publishing Trust. pp. 23–24. ISBN   1-890688-36-3.
  28. Smith, Peter (2000). "infallibility". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 196–197. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  29. Smith, Peter (2000). "evolution". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 136. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  30. Brown, Keven, ed. (2001). "Evolution and Bahá'í Belief: 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Response to Nineteenth-Century Darwinism". Studies in the Bábí and Bahá'í Religions. 12. Los Angeles, US: Kalimat Press. pp. 179–180.
  31. Smith, Peter (2000). "creation". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 116. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  32. 1 2 Smith, Peter (2000). "soul". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 325–326. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  33. 1 2 Smith, Peter (2000). "evolution". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 186. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  34. Taherzadeh, Adib (1987). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 4: Mazra'ih & Bahji 1877-92. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. pp. 41–42. ISBN   0-85398-270-8.
  35. Smith, Peter (2000). "astrology". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 52. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  36. Smith, Peter (2000). "free will". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 160. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  37. Smith, Peter (2000). "dreams and visions". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 125. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  38. Smith, Peter (2000). "psychic powers". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 279–280. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  39. Smith, Peter (2000). "health and healing". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 178–180. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  40. Smith, Peter (2000). "evil". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 135. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  41. Smith, Peter (2000). "suffering". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 328. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  42. Smith, Peter (2000). "reincarnation". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 289. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  43. Brown, Keven (2001). "'Abdu'l-Bahá's Response to the Doctrine of the Unity of Existence". Journal of Bahá'í Studies. 11:3-4. Ottawa, CA: Association for Bahá'í Studies. pp. 1–29.
  44. Smith, Peter (2000). "knowledge". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 221. ISBN   1-85168-184-1.
  45. Schaefer, Udo (2007). Bahá'í Ethics in Light of Scripture, Volume 1 - Doctrinal Fundamentals. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN   0-85398-505-7.
  46. Schaefer, Udo (2009). Bahá'í Ethics in Light of Scripture, Volume 2 - Virtues and Divine Commandments. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN   978-0-85398-518-1.

Further reading