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Eternal Quest for God:
An Introduction to the Divine Philosophy of Abdu'l-Baha

by Julio Savi

Oxford: George Ronald, 1989
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

Savi, Julio
The eternal quest for God: an introduction to the divine philosophy of `Abdu'l-Bahá.
I. Bahá'ísm. Abd al Bahá ibn Bahá All ah, 1844-1921.
I. Title II. Nell'universo sulle tracce di Dio. English 297'.8963

ISBN 0-85398-295-3

Printed in Great Britain by
Billing and Sons Ltd, Worcester
By the same author
Nell'universo sulle tracce di Dio
(EDITRICE NÚR, ROME, 1988)
Bahíyyih Khánum, Ancella di Bahá
(CASA EDITRICE BAHÁ'Í, ROME, 1983)



To my father
Umberto Savi
with love and gratitude


I am especially grateful to Continental Counselor
Dr. Leo Niederreiter
without whose loving encouragement
this book would have not been written



            Contents

Introduction

1. THE WAYS OF THE SEARCH: TOWARDS A PHILOSOPHY OF REALITY
      The criteria of knowledge
                  Sense perception
                  Intellect
                  Insight
                  The Holy Writings
      The research method
            Which truth?      
      Thought and action
      Natural philosophy and divine philosophy
      The unity of religion and science
      Towards a philosophy of reality
      A conclusion and a preamble

2. THE BEGINNING OF ALL THINGS
      God is unknowable
            Differentiation of stages
            God's all-inclusiveness
            Human limitations
            Human incapacity to know the essence of things
            Limitations of human understanding
      Rational proofs of Divinity
            Cosmological proofs
                  On the grounds of movement and principle of efficient cause
                  On the grounds of the different degrees of perfection
      Teleological proofs
      The perception of the indwelling Spirit

3. THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE IN SEARCH OF GOD
      Creation
            The world of God
            The world of the Kingdom
            God's transcendence and pre-existence
            God and His creatures
            Different degrees in the world of existence
            The world of the Kingdom
            Pre-existence of the world of the Kingdom
            The world of the Kingdom and spirit
            Degrees of the spirit
      The world of creation
            Relation between the world of the Kingdom and the world of creation
      Nature and the Will of God
      Distinctive features of the world of creation
      The atom
      Evolution
      The creative plan of God
      General features of the creative plan of God
      Evolution in the world of creation
      Evolution in the four kingdoms of the world of creation
      Evolution according to Plotinus, in the Bahá'í texts
      Evolution as an educative process
            Evolution in the different planes of the world of existence
      Limitations of some modern concepts of evolution

4. THE WONDERS OF EVOLUTION
      The origin of the universe
      Evolution in the mineral kingdom
      Living systems
      Animals
            Qualities of the animals
            Sense perception
            Memory
            Learning
            Voluntary movements
            Natural emotions
      Animal's limitations

5. MAN: THE FRUIT OF PHYSICAL EVOLUTION
      His animal nature
      His human nature
      His divine nature
      Human greatness and limitations
      His evolution and his divine nature

6. THE PERFECT MAN: THE MANIFESTATION OF GOD
      The Manifestations of God in the history of mankind
      Their threefold reality
            Material
            Human
            Divine
      The Essence of God and the Manifestations of God
      Their names
      Relations between the Manifestations of God
            The station of unity
            The station of distinction
      Their purposes
      Their proofs
      Denial

7. STRIVING TOWARDS PERFECTION: DYNAMICS OF HUMAN TRANSFORMATION
      The method
      Prerequisites of human transformation
            Voluntary submission to the will of God
            Purity
            Endeavour
            Directions of human endeavour
            The special meaning of the Revealed Word
            Serving mankind
            Means of entrance into the Kingdom
            Qualifications of the enlightened souls
      Obstacles to human transformation
            Self or self-centredness
            Estrangement
            Malice
            Envy
            Backbiting
            Exceeding in words
      Meanings of sorrow and sacrifice
            Meanings of sorrow
                  An instrument of human perfection
                  An instrument of self-knowledge
                  An instrument of detachment from the world of creation
            Meanings of sacrifice
                  Conquering the natal self
                  Self-sacrifice for a universal cause
                  Attaining the qualities of the world of the Kingdom
      Human transformation as spiritual progress
      Spirituality as love in action
      The second birth

8. THE SOUL: THE REALITY OF MAN
      Rational proofs of its existence and immortality
            Proofs of its existence
                  Human rational faculty
                  Inner perception
                  Human inner reality
            Metaphysical proofs of its immortality
                  On the grounds of movement
                  On the grounds of the soul defined as substance
                  On the grounds of the soul being simple as substance
                  On the grounds of the presence of truth within the soul
                  On the grounds of its natural aspiration for immortality
                  On the grounds of the idea of mortality
            Moral proofs of its immortality
                  As a requirement of human moral life
                  On the grounds of consensus gentium
            What is the soul?
      Its individuality
      Its dual nature
      The oneness of the spirit
      Soul and body
      Its bounties or powers
      The soul as coordinator and motor of the body
            Knowledge
                  Sense perception
                  `Reasonable perception' or `intellection '
                  `Inner perception or insight' or `intuitive knowledge
                  Self-consciousness
            Love
                  The capacity of feeling joy and pain
                  The power of love
                  Love and knowledge
                  Love and courage
                  The growth of love
      Will
      Action
      The dynamics of the choice
            The soul as the mirror of human choices
                  Spiritual knowledge
                  Spiritual feelings
                  Spiritual deeds
                  Spiritual words
      The journey of the soul

9. HUMAN EVOLUTION
      Individual evolution
      Material evolution
      Intellectual evolution
      Spiritual evolution
      Human education
            Material education
            Intellectual education
            Spiritual education
      Evolution of mankind
            Material evolution
            Intellectual evolution
            Spiritual evolution
            Contemporaneousness of material, intellectual and spiritual evolutionary processes
            Discontinuity of evolutionary processes
            Social evolution

10. THE WORLD OF THE KINGDOM
      The world of the Kingdom within the creatures
      The world of the Kingdom within man
      The world of the Kingdom within society
      The world of the Kingdom as the world beyond
            It transcends time and space
            Metaphors of the world of the Kingdom in the Bahá'í texts
            Qualities of the world of the Kingdom
            Human souls in the world of the Kingdom
            Relations between this world and the other
            Relations between human souls in the world of the Kingdom
      Relationship between human souls in this world and in the other

11. GOD: THE BEGINNING AND THE END OF ALL THINGS
      The knowledge of God
      God within human hearts
      God within the universe
      God in His Manifestations

A CONCLUSION

BIBLIOGRAPHY


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