The Eternal Quest for God: Chapter 4
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The Wonders of Evolution

The concepts of creation, the atomic structure of the universe and the meaning and patterns of its never-ending transformations provide a wide-ranging foundation for other detailed explanations produced in the Bahá'í texts. These explanations, mostly offered in that metaphorical language which is typical of revelation, shed light on the entire course of the history of the universe, in other words the process of its evolution.

The origin of the universe

If the world of creation as a whole had no beginning and will have no end, if it is infinite, as well as its phenomena, is there any sense in discussing an origin of the universe? In the light of those statements, the origin of the universe seems rather a station than a precise time -- a concept that has already been explained in Chapter 3. Here, we intend to present other Bahá'í concepts on this difficult topic and to compare them with modern scientific theories.

Bahá'u'lláh writes: `The world of existence came into being through the heat generated from the interaction between the active force and that which is its recipient... Such as communicate the generating influence and such as receive its impact are indeed created through the irresistible Word of God...'.[1] The explanation of this statement set forth by Bahá'u'lláh in His Tablet of Wisdom will require the extensive study and meditation of future Bahá'í scholars, who are more likely to be successful in their efforts than we can today, as their understanding of the Bahá'í Revelation becomes wider and deeper. We take the liberty of writing but a few remarks about it.

It seems that through this general statement the origin of any created reality may be explained: an `active force'1 communicates `the generating influence'l (for example a sperm fertilizes an ovum); a `heat' is generated (an energy is released through the fusion of the two gametes); a process of transformation is thus set in motion in the zygote, wherefore a new being will be formed (embryogenesis). If this statement is viewed as referred to the origin of the universe, the following could be one of its explanations: from the world of the Kingdom (`the irresistible Word of God'1) the spirit (`the active force') and the original matter, composed of elemental atoms (`its recipient'), emanate; `the generating influence' of the spirit sets in motion the atoms composing the original matter, so that the evolutionary process starts.

This concept is somehow reminiscent of the big bang or great deflagration theory. According to this theory, which -- as Melchiorri says -- `is but a rough approximation of what must have really happened at the beginning of time',[2] there has been for the universe a beginning when anything we see today was originated. At the beginning existed a primal nucleus -- the proto-universe. It was composed of a proto-matter, and it supposedly had a diameter fifty times bigger than the diameter of the solar system, a density equal to 100 million times the density of water and extremely high temperatures, about 100 billion kelvin degrees. These physical characteristics -- the great density as well as the very high temperatures -- caused an very fast initial expansion, almost a conflagration, which, according to this theory should be considered as point zero in the scale of time. Such a tremendous phenomenon had two immediate effects: a gradual decrease of temperature, which one second after that explosion was ten billion kelvin degrees, a hundred seconds after, one billion kelvin degrees and so on; and a steady increase of the length of the radius of that huge globe.

The big bang occurred about fifteen billion years ago: immediately after, those transformations began through which such chemical elements as are known today were originated. The galaxies and the stars, as units in the structures of the universe and the galaxies respectively, were originated only three to four billion years ago.

This theory does not explain what was in existence before the proto-universe, nor whence and how it was originated, nor why it originally had those physical features; nor do the natural sciences and their methods seem fit to give answers to such questions.

Other scientists, through their mathematical processing of formulas describing proposed patterns of the universe, mathematically deduced that a condition must have existed whereby all the components of the universe were concentrated in a single geometrical point. Such an initial stage of `mathematical singleness' is viewed as the beginning of the entire universe, `a physical condition of extremely high density which cannot be described and should be viewed as beginning or creation...'.[3]

This deduction agrees with the following words uttered by `Abdu'l-Bahá: `... there is no doubt that in the beginning the origin was one: the origin of all numbers is one and not two. Then it is evident that in the beginning matter was one...'.[4]

According to the Bahá'í teachings, therefore, the initial stage of creation is the stage of the `original matter'. That matter is uniform, but not motionless, because the generating influence of the spirit (the Word or the Command of God) already pervades it, attracting it -- by the power of love -- towards motion, and guiding it -- by the light of the intellect -- towards a gradual perfecting process which enables it to acquire the growing capacities of reflecting and expressing the divine bounties of the spirit, continuously released from the world of the Kingdom. Thus the spirit increasingly appears in the original matter, as the original matter becomes specialized through the transformations it undergoes. The original matter may be viewed as the seed of the present universe: it potentially contains in itself all those things which today are actually in existence, as well as all those which will come into existence in the future. The history of the universe is but the succession of those material events through which the potentialities of that seed appeared in act. The original matter is somehow reminiscent of the proto-universe hypothesized in the big bang theory, out of which was created everything which exists today, or of the previously mentioned primal `mathematical singleness'.

Evolution in the mineral kingdom

`Abdu'l-Bahá further explains the origin of the universe in the statement that: `... that one matter appeared in different aspects in each element. Thus various forms were produced, and these various aspects as they were produced became permanent, and each element was specialized. But this permanence was not definite, and did not attain realization and perfect existence until after a very long time'.[5]

This is the first stage in the evolution of the universe, a stage which scientists have studied and continue to study with the greatest attention. In the very instant of the initial big bang or big bangs, none of the systems of energy and matter we see today was in existence. However, the earliest particles -- supposedly adrons (protons, neutrons and mesons) -- appeared within a fraction of a second. Modern scientists can prove through demonstrations based on radioactivity that in our galaxy chemical elements began to be produced very early on (between one hundred and one million years after the initial big bang). At that time the earliest atomic nuclei were formed through a process called nucleosynthesis which may be considered one of the earliest stages in the evolution of matter. The earliest nuclei to be formed were those of hydrogen and helium; in fact the former -- being formed of a single proton -- are the simplest known nuclei, whereas the latter are formed of two protons. It took billions of years for all the elements of the Mendeléev Table to come into existence. This theory agrees with a previously mentioned statement by `Abdu'l-Bahá, that the specialization of the elements took `a very long time'.

Another aspect of evolution in the mineral kingdom is the evolution of the terrestrial globe in particular and of all celestial bodies in general. `Abdu'l-Bahá says in this regard: `As each globe has a beginning, necessarily it has an end...', and particularly `the earth hath not always existed'.[6] Such concepts are confirmed also by modern scientists, who are studying with great attention the evolutionary processes of the stars.

A question arises: how is it possible to understand `Abdu'l-Bahá's statement that man `has existed from all eternity', when He says as well that `the earth hath not always existed'?[7] An explanation may be once again found in the following previously mentioned general concept: `All beings, whether large or small, were created perfect and complete from the first, but their perfections appear in them by degrees'; and therefore, `Similarly, the terrestrial globe from the beginning was created with all its elements, substances, minerals, atoms and organisms; but these only appeared by degrees: first the mineral, then the plant, afterward the animal, and finally man. But from the first these kind and species existed, but were undeveloped in the terrestrial globe, and then appeared only gradually.'[8]

Living systems

As to what happened to the elements once they were formed and how all other creatures appeared, `Abdu'l-Bahá says: `Then these elements became composed, and organized and combined in infinite forms; or rather from the composition and combination of these elements innumerable beings appeared.'[9] In an early stage the elemental atoms combined so that they formed the smallest particles -- supposedly quarks and leptons. Afterwards, quarks and leptons combined and formed neutrons, protons etc. These, in their turn, combined and formed nuclei. Nuclei and electrons formed the elements. Those forces which keep the elemental particles together are called by scientists strong nuclear interactions. Elements, in their turn, are kept together by chemical affinity, whereby they combine and, as the evolutionary process develops, form chemical compounds characterized by a growing complexity.

Among those chemical elements which were formed through the combination of quarks and leptons, hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen, as well as sulphur and phosphates, are of an extraordinary importance. They provide a substratum for those which traditional chemists would define as organic substances -- organic, because they form those which were once called living organisms and today are more precisely termed living systems.

In the past the idea prevailed that the mineral kingdom on the one hand and the animal and vegetable kingdoms on the other were composed of totally different elements. Thus mineral, or inorganic, and vegetable and animal, or organic, substances were considered different from each other. However, today it is demonstrated that inorganic and organic substances differ from each other not because of the elements which compose them -- which are the same -- but because of the different properties taken on by those same components in the different kingdoms. These concepts agree with the following explanation by `Abdu'l-Bahá: `... this perfection 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.'[10] In other words, in the course of time -- by virtue of the universal laws infused in the world of creation by the ordaining command of the Word of God, the elements bonded in such a way that matter, because of the qualities and quantities of its components and because of their appropriate mingling, the mode of their composition and their reciprocal influences, became specialized, until the power of growth, typical of the vegetable kingdom, first appeared in it, followed in due time by the power of sense perception, typical of the animal kingdom.

In the light of these concepts, we may well agree with modern scientists who say that `there is no extramaterial, nor mystical element in vital chemism' and that living systems are `portions of matter which have a particular structure and organization, and as such are endowed with peculiar properties which, for the time being, may still be qualified as "vital" in the strict sense of the word'. After all, it is true that the composing elements of the so called living matter may be found -- identical -- also in the mineral world. The difference between so called living and inert matter is that `in living matter chemical components have a particular structure, arrangement and distribution'. What is not true is that evolution, from the original matter of the proto-universe to man, is `the fruit of trivial attempts of blind chance, which was merely assisted by time':[11] `the universe is not created through the fortuitous concurrences of atoms; it is created by the good law which decrees that the tree brings forth certain definite fruits'.[12] And moreover `The transformation depends upon divine bounty. The mineral progresses in its own world. But from the mineral to the vegetable it progresses only by divine bounty. Also transformation from the vegetable to the animal is God's plan. Of itself the transformation cannot take place...'.[13]

According to modern materialists, the whole evolutionary process occurred by virtue of the essential properties of matter and the casual meetings of subatomical particles which -- owing to the extremely long times (billions of years) and the tremendous number of possibilities -- brought the present universal order out of the initial chaos. It is something like unexpectedly winning a lottery. These concepts are undoubtedly at odds with the second thermodynamic law or principle of Carnot: `order is improbable and disorder is probable'.[14] However, apart from this fact, this concept cannot be proved or falsified in the Popperian sense of the word. It is just a theory, upheld by its defenders because they believe in it in the light of their own personal experiences and general ideas, which make it credible and acceptable according to their judgement. Indeed their acceptance of such a theory is an act of faith.

According to the Bahá'í teachings, however, original matter, composed of elemental atoms, is -- we repeat it -- only the phenomenal expression of a metaphysical reality: the world of the Kingdom which, through the agency of the spirit, animates, moves and guides it in a never-ending process of transformation. Through that process original matter is enabled to express with growing perfection in the physical level the qualities of that same metaphysical reality which moves it. The motion of elemental atoms is a phenomenal expression of the dynamism of the spirit, and the affinity which keeps atoms together is a phenomenal expression of the spiritual reality of love. Motion and affinity originate the evolutionary processes, giving birth to infinite growing beings, which are strictly interdependent -- inasmuch as they are part of the same organic universe. As these endless beings develop, they express in the universe an order and a harmony which are the physical manifestations of the order and the harmony of that same metaphysical world of the Kingdom, which -- through the agency of the spirit -- incessantly moves and guides them. The great complexity of the phenomena of the world of creation prevents us from understanding all the existing interactions, from grasping all the rules of the game, rational as they are and expressive, in their rationality, of a Supreme Reason which sanctioned them, and of a human reason which has the capacity to perceive -- in the laws of nature -- the traces left by that Supreme Reason in the world of creation. Man, through his reason, understands the conditions of nature and, reproducing them, can also reproduce its phenomena. And supposing that the day comes when he learns how to shape in his laboratories a living system, he will undoubtedly do it according to a method that God Himself introduced into the world and that he has merely been able to grasp and reproduce.[15] God creates, man knows His creation; God creates the law, man discovers it through his reason and avails himself of it for his own purposes. But whereas the world of creation as a whole is as infinite and perfect as the Reason which shaped it, man is finite and limited in his understanding. Therefore he sometimes causes catastrophes, like the sorcerer's apprentice, through his senseless exploitation of his own discoveries. These concepts, like materialistic concepts, can neither be proved nor falsified; they are acceptable to anyone who considers them the most plausible assumption in the light of his own personal experiences and general ideas, in other words through an act of faith.

But perhaps, in the light of our previous arguments, it will be easier to rid the word faith of that stigma of superstition with which it has been branded up to now in the eyes of most people. Superstition is a blind faith, conflicting with things proved through sense perception, intellect and common sense . Not so a faith in an abstract conception, which in its abstraction cannot be proved or falsified in the Popperian sense of the word, but which nevertheless can be checked in the light of sensible and intellectual experience, of common sense and of its results in human life. Such a faith is a `conscious knowledge', a certitude, because it agrees with an objectively observed reality, known through such criteria of knowledge as God Himself has bestowed upon man: sense perception, intellect, insight, Holy Writings.

The evolution of the elements up to the appearance of the earliest so called living systems has been thoroughly investigated, but many questions remain as yet unanswered. The big bang occurred fifteen billion years ago. Chemical evolution, from nucleosynthesis to the appearance of the chemical elements of the Mendeléev Table, continued over billions of years. The earth was formed five billion years ago. The earliest living systems -- bacteria, blue-green algae, preceded by the so-called pre-biotic systems, i.e. hydrocarbons, cyanide and their by products -- appeared 3.5 billion years ago. `Abdu'l-Bahá says: `... life on this earth is very ancient. It is not one hundred thousand or two hundred thousand, or one million or two million years old; it is very ancient, and the ancient record and traces are entirely obliterated.'[16] It is not yet clear how all these things happened. But from that moment -- 3.5 billion years ago -- began the biological evolution of living systems, which culminated in the appearance of man.


Animals appeared on the earth about 800 million years ago. Since that time, the evolution of the animal kingdom has progressed from primal euchariotic cells to pongides through geological ages, producing many classes, subclasses, orders and species. In their eagerness to understand this evolutionary process, scientists have made much thorough research in the fields of comparative anatomy and embryology, both directly, on living animals, and indirectly, on fossil remains of extinct species, and have come to many interesting conclusions. Among these is the assumption -- which many scientists uphold -- that mankind is the highest animal species. The Bahá'í texts agree with most of the results of scientific Al researches on evolution, but they do not accept the theory which considers man as a member of the highest animal species.

Bahá'í texts in fact distinguish between `the world of nature', on the one hand, whose greatest representative is the animal, and the `world of reason',[17] on the other, whose representative is man. They state moreover that these two worlds are fundamentally different from each other, so that they can be viewed as belonging to two totally different planes of existence.

`Abdu'l-Bahá says: `... the highest type of creation below man is the animal, which is superior to all degrees of life except man.'[18] These words about the animals will be better understood, once the qualities of the animals, as they are recorded in the Bahá'í texts, have been studied. The nature of the difference between man and animals, and the reasons why they are viewed as belonging to two separate kingdoms of the world of being will thus become apparent.

Qualities of the animals

Sense perception. This power, enabling animals to know sensible reality through the agency of their senses, is `the lowest degree of perception'.[19] Moreover, `in the animal world there is the sense of feeling':[20] `the feelings are one and the same, writes `Abdu'l-Bahá, whether ye inflict pain on man or on beast. There is no difference here whatever.'[21]

Memory.22 Animals have memory, says `Abdu'l-Bahá, even stronger than man. Animals remember previous sensorial experiences. This capacity is indispensable both for those genetically programmed behaviours we call instincts, and for their better adaptation to the environment, in view of enhancing the possibilities of survival.

Learning. It is well known that animals have the capacity of learning. For one thing they can learn from man, who often trains them in easy tasks. `Abdu'l-Bahá says: `... we observe that animals which have undergone training in their sphere of limitation will progress and advance unmistakably, become more beautiful in appearance and increase in intelligence', and -- an excel-lent horseman as He was -- He adds: `... how intelligent and knowing the Arabian horse has become through training, even how polite this horse has become through education.'[23] Moreover, animals can learn simple operations even by themselves, without any help from human beings. Recent studies on animal behaviour, made by zoologists and ethologists, have proved that animals have learnt certain behaviours in the course of their evolution, which have become permanent in that species through cultural transference, i.e. not on account of genes, but by virtue of teaching and learning processes. As early as 1960 Jane van Lawick-Goodall studied chimpanzees in Gombe Stream (Western Tanzania) Reserve. She observed how chimpanzees know how to shape wood rods (usually a twig is chosen and pruned) and to use them so that they may seize termites -- their choicest food -- inside termitaries. Whenever one of these rough utensils becomes useless (for instance because its tip bends) they try to repair it, breaking off the bent part. Moreover, they prepare primitive plugs using chewed leaves, and then they use them as instruments to draw water from hollows where it could not be otherwise reached.[24] Less evolved animals, as well, adopt and learn new behaviours. Many animals invent new techniques as an adaptation to changes in their environment. For example, in the American National Parks, grizzlies have learnt how to pierce tourists's tins as to be able to eat the food inside.[25] In Japan's Koshima Islet, experimenters threw potatoes into the sea in front of macacoes. The macacoes jumped into the sea, picked them up and ate them. That was an occasion for the macacoes to taste salty potatoes, and they must have liked them better that way, for since then the monkeys always plunge their potatoes into the salty sea-water before eating them.[26] In Great Britain seagulls acquired the habit of dropping the shells they have plucked out of the sea on the hard asphalt of a new coast road, with the clear intention of breaking them, so that their content could be more easily eaten. This new habit of the seagulls caused traffic difficulties: the asphalt, covered by molluscs, became slippery for the cars.

Voluntary movements.27 Thanks to their instincts and memory of previous sensorial experiences, animals can voluntarily move about with a view to survival, self-preservation, reproduction and the gratification of other instincts.

Natural emotions. Animals are genetically programmed in respect of certain so-called instinctive behaviours, which are attended by emotions: rage, fear, affinity, etc. Such emotions and behaviours are intended for the survival of the individuals and the preservation of the species. In this light should also be viewed certain kinds of `elemental attraction... and selective affinity' which are very similar to such a feeling as is usually called love -- for instance, couple bonds, parental bonds, group solidarity, attachment to human trainers, and last but not least such altruistic behaviours as the sacrifice of life for the sake of the offspring or species survival. This is, says `Abdu'l-Bahá, `love manifest in the degree of the animal kingdom'.[28]

Being possessed of all these capacities, animals are undoubtedly possessed of a sort of abstract activity and reality, which might be well defined as mental. Nevertheless such primordial ideality is curtailed because of the most typical animal features.

Animal limitations
  1. Animals `have no power of abstract reasoning and intellectual ideals', remarks `Abdu'l-Bahá; and elsewhere He adds that the animal `cannot apprehend ideal realities...' That is to say, `the animal in its creation is a captive of the senses';[29]
  2. Moreover, the animal has not `the powers of ideation and conscious reflection which belong to man';[30]
  3. `The animal... makes no distinction between man and itself,'[31] because it is not possessed of any self- conscious-ness, or possessed of any consciousness of its own body. The most `clever' chimpanzee, in front of a mirror, does not recognize itself in the image reflected in the mirror.
  4. Animals `have no touch with the spiritual world and are without conception of God or the Holy Spirit'; they are `utterly lacking spiritual susceptibilities, ignorant of divine religion and without knowledge of the Kingdom of God'; `they have no knowledge of the Divine Prophets and Holy Books'; nor are they `capable of apprehending the divine teachings';[32]
  5. Animals are deprived of the `meditative faculty';[33]
  6. `They are deprived of that degree of intellect which can reason and discriminate between right and wrong, justice and injustice.'[34] Therefore animals have not the capacity of distinguishing between good and evil, of establishing standards of values, but they react instinctively to each situation according to the peremptory requirements of individual survival and the preservation of species.
  7. `... the animal is a captive of nature...' and `... acts in accordance with the requirements of nature, follows its own instincts and desires. Whatever its impulses and proclivities may be, it has the liberty to gratify them; yet it is a captive of nature. It cannot deviate in the least degree from the road nature has established.'[35]

These limitations have far-reaching consequences upon the life and development of animals.

  1. Their possibilities of progress are within the limits of the physical realms: `Manifestly, the animal has been created for the life of this world. Its highest virtue is to express excellence in the material plane of existence. The animal is perfect when its body is healthy and its physical senses are whole', therefore `The world of nature is the kingdom of the animal. In its natural condition and plane of limitation the animal is perfect.'[36] But this same natural perfection is a great limitation as well: `... century by century and age by age man's intelligence grows and become keener, that of the animals remain the same';[37] And in fact, `Man is progressive and nature is stationary.'[38]

  2. Inasmuch as the animal is wholly unconscious of spiritual life, it `has attained the fullest degree of physical felicity... This is the honor of the animal kingdom.'[39] As such, the animal is `the embodiment of liberty and its symbol':[40] it is free in the gratification of its instincts. However, this same freedom is, in another respect, captivity: the servitude to those same instincts, or, in other words, to natural laws. `In the world of nature we behold the living organisms in a ceaseless struggle for existence. Everywhere we are confronted by evidences of the physical survival of the fittest...'. Their ceaseless struggle for existence, `their ignorance, sensuality and unbridled instincts and passions', and their accompanying succession of sorrows, cruelty, oppressions, deception, tyranny, ruthless-ness and deprivation of `spiritual enjoyment', are manifest evidences that `the world of nature' (where the animal is the king) `is inherently defective in cause and outcome'[41] when it is compared to the human world of reason with all its possibilities and potentialities.

From all these remarks on the nature of animals, it is clear that the fundamental difference between men and animals, that quid whose presence enabled man to evolve throughout the ages and whose absence kept animals stationary in their natural -- and totally different from human -- sphere, is not where it has mostly been looked for up to now. Animals too are possessed of a certain degree of intelligence and will, of a certain capacity of invention, of memory and of a limited capacity of material progress, of emotions and affinities. It is not these qualities that we should investigate, in order to find a typically human quid. According to the Bahá'í teachings, this quid is man's capacity of becoming conscious of the reality of the superior world of the Kingdom and of mirroring forth its qualities in his individual as well as his social life: it is his soul.[42]

End notes:

[1] Tablets, p.140.

[2] F.Melchiorri and B. Olivo Melchiorri, `Cosmologia del Big Bang', in Scienza e Tecnica 80-82, p.35. `A theory formulated in the fifties by Russian physicist George G. Gamov in three short papers, almost three notes, published by Physical Review, the most prestigious American journal of Physics.' (ibid.) Today, however, a series of successive big bangs, rather than a single big bang, is hypothesized.

[3] L. Gratton, `Cosmologia', in Enciclopedia della Scienza e della Tecnica, IV, p.338.

[4] Some Answered Questions, p.181.

[5] ibid.

[6] pp.181, 151.

[7] ibid. pp.195, 151.

[8] ibid. p.199.

[9] ibid. p.181.

[10] ibid. p.178.

[11] A. Delaunay, `Vita', in Enciclopedia della Scienza e della Tecnica, XII, p.673.

[12] Divine Philosophy, p.136.

[13] See above pp.60-1, nos (vii) and (viii).

[14] See W.S.Hatcher, `The Unity of Religion and Science' in World Order, IX, no.3, p.22.

[15] ibid.

[16] Some Answered Questions, p.549.

[17] Promulgation, p.357.

[18] ibid. p.303.

[19] Some Answered Questions, p.217.

[20] `Tablet to Dr. A. Forel' in Bahá'í World, XV, p.38.

[21] Selections, p.159.

22 `Abdu'l-Bahá says: `Briefly, in the powers which animals and men have in common, the animal is often the more powerful. For example, let us take the power of memory. If you carry a pigeon from here to a distant country, and there set it free, it will return, for it remembers the way. Take a dog from here to the centre of Asia, set him free and he will come back here and never once lose the road.' (`Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p.187.)

`Abdu'l-Bahá says: `Man has memory; nature is without it.' (Promulgation, p.17. See also ibid. pp.81, 360.) This statement seems contradictory to the statement whereby the animal, which belongs to the world of nature, has memory. In this regard Shoghi Effendi wrote through his secretary: `... when He says nature is devoid of memory He means memory as we have it, not the strange memory of inherited habits animals so strikingly possess.' (quoted in Arohanui, p.85.)

[23] Promulgation, p.77.

[24] See J. Van Lavick-Goodall, `The Behaviour of Free-Living Chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream Reserve', in Animal Behaviour Monographs, 1, part 3, 1968.

[25] See M. Jahoda, `Uomini e orsi. Ma è possibile convivere?' in Airone, LI, p.71.

[26] See M. Kavai, `Newly acquired precultural behaviour in the natural troops of Japanese Monkeys of Koshima islet', in Primates, 1965, VI, pp.1-30.

27 `Abdu'l-Bahá says: `... there are no voluntary movements except those of animals and, above all, those of man.' (Some Answered Questions, p.3.) Elsewhere He says: `The animal, in addition to existence and growth, hath the capacity of moving about, and the use of the faculties of the senses.' (Paris Talks, p.25.)

[28] Promulgation, p.255.

[29] ibid. pp.311, 357.

[30] Ibid. pp.172-3.

[31] ibid. p.311.

[32] ibid. pp.311, 177, 311, 61.

[33] `Abdu'l-Bahá says: `You cannot apply the name "man" to any being void of this faculty of meditation; without it he would be a mere animal, lower than the beasts.' (Paris Talks, p.175.)

[34] Promulgation, p.352.

[35] ibid. pp.40, 177.

[36] ibid. pp.303, 311.

[37] Paris Talks, p.72.

[38] Promulgation, p.51.

[39] ibid. p.166.

[40] Gleanings, p.335.

[41] Promulgation, pp.400, 185. `Abdu'l-Bahá says: `His [man's] life is intended to be a life of spiritual enjoyment to which the animal can never attain. This enjoyment depends upon the acquisition of heavenly virtues.' (Promulgation, p.185.)

[42] `Abdu'l-Bahá writes: `A human being is distinguished from an animal in a number of ways. First of all he is made in the image of God, in the likeness of the Supernal Light, even as the Torah says, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness".' (Selections, p.140.)

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