Re: Duane Troxel's "Exotheology"


This is an archived post from the old bulletin board. For new posts, see the forum.

Posted by Jonah on September 05, 2000 at 15:34:27:

In Reply to: Duane Troxel's "Exotheology" posted by Andrew on September 02, 2000 at 22:52:00:

Hi. Here's the file. If anyone would be able to format this for online posting, I'd post it promptly. Basically, It needs italics, blockquotes, to have the endnotes turned into normal embedded footnotes, centering, and the like.

-Jonah


DRAFT OF AS YET UNPUBLISHED PAPER.
DONATED TO THE RESEARCH OFFICE OF THE BAHA'I WORLD CENTRE ALONG
WITH RESEARCHED QUOTATIONS AND THEIR SOURCES.

THIS PAPER HAS PASSED REVIEW BY THE LITERATURE REVIEW OFFICE (Dr.
Rob Stockman) IN WILMETTE, IL. IN AUG. 1996.

    INTELLIGENT LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE AND EXOTHEOLOGY IN
          CHRISTIANITY AND THE BAHA'I WRITINGS                   
                          by
                    Duane K. Troxel

[Abstract:  This article discusses theological statements of the
possibility of extraterrestrial life (ETI) in the universe in
Christianity and the Baha'i Revelation.  The persecutions of
Giordano Bruno and Galileo are used to disclose the dogma of the
Catholic Church concerning ETI.  Quotations from the Baha'i
Writings are given to disclose the exotheology of the Baha'i
Revelation.  Contains Endnotes and Bibliography.  Total words:
4681.]

Know thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every
planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute.  -
Baha'u'llah, Gleanings 

I[t] must be confessed in other realms there are Still other
worlds, other breeds of men... -Lucretius (99-55 BC), On the
Nature of Things

I have ... the strong belief ... that there are inhabitants in
other worlds - Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), Critique of Pure Reason

Fascination with the possibility of intelligent lifeforms on
other planets has lasted over two millennia, and perhaps much
longer.  Philosophy, science, religion and literature all contain
strong statements of belief about such a possibility.  It is a
profoundly interesting question because it raises issues about
the origins of life and our place in the physical and spiritual
universe.  It also has inspired a new discipline: exotheology. 
Exotheology is the examination of theological issues as they
pertain to Extraterrestrial Intelligence (ETI).  Traditional
Christian theology and the Baha'i Revelation disclose fascinating
observations on exotheology.

In Western Christendom the Inquisition burned the Dominican monk
Giordano Bruno at the stake in Rome in 1600 for insisting on a
heliocentric (sun-centered) rather than a geocentric (earth-
centered) universe.  Bruno took matters a step further by
insisting the universe was populated by ETIs. Brun said,
"Innumerable suns exist; innumerable earths revolve about these
suns in a manner similar to the way the seven planets revolve
around our sun.  Living being inhabit these worlds." (Drake, Is
Anyone Out There? Page 65)

"If one accepted the view that the universe is infinite, which
Bruno believed was unavoidable, then its being peopled by a
limited, and therefore "imperfect," population of intelligent
beings was to Bruno incompatible with the infinite goodness or
perfection attributed to God and His works. Thus, he said,
"infinite perfection is far better presented in innumerable
individuals than in those which are numbered and finite." He
therefore concluded that there must be an infinite number of
morally imperfect beings, inhabiting the infinitude of worlds."
(We Are Not Alone Page 15)

The Catholic Church made a public declaration of its theological
position on extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) when it clashed
with Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) over the movement of the earth
some 350 years ago.  Galileo exhibited the first telescope in
1609.  With it he visually confirmed the 100-year old Copernican
(heliocentric) hypothesis that the earth revolves around the sun. 
Galileo's view ran counter to 1300-year old Church dogma which
had already adopted the Ptolemaic (geocentric) system.  In the
Ptolemaic system planets--as well as the sun--circle a fixed
Earth.  

The disagreement did not come down to a choice between two
competing scientific views.  It was instead Galileo's scientific
challenge to a theologically-fixed notion of reality sanctioned
by the Church.  Catholic theologians argued their case against
Galileo on the grounds that the Copernican system (which he
supported) contradicted what was construed to be the last refuge
of literal inerrancy, The Bible.  As 'proof' of Galileo's error
theologians of the Church offered in evidence the first verse of
the 93rd Psalm, which says in part: 'the world also is
stablished, that it cannot be moved.'  Another citation came from
Joshua where God had 'delivered up the Amorites' to the children
of Israel and commanded the sun to stand still 'And the sun stood
still, and the moon stayed,...' (10:13) And again, 'The sun and
moon stood still in their habitation...'. (Habbakuk 3:11) (A
History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom
128) (See Endnote #1)

Officers of the Church argued that Galileo's ""pretended
discovery vitiates the whole Christian plan of salvation. ... It
upsets the whole basis of theology. If the earth is a planet, and
only one among several planets, it cannot be that any such great
things have been done specially for it as the Christian doctrine
teaches.  If there are other planets, since God makes nothing in
vain, they must be inhabited; but how can their inhabitants be
descended from Adam?  How can they trace back their origin to
Noah's Ark?  How can they have been redeemed by the Savior?""
(Warfare 3.:2) (See Endnote #2)

Under the threat of torture, death and excommunication Galileo
recanted his support for the Copernican System. (See Endnote #3) 
He died under house arrest in 1642.  The view of an earth-
centered universe prevailed in official Church doctrine for the
next 350 years--up to 1992--when Pope John Paul II finally
acknowledged the Vatican's error in the matter of Galileo's
trial. ("Galileo" Microsoft, Encarta, 1994) 

So for over 350 years virtually all of Western Christendom held
to an implied denial of the possibility of other worlds inhabited
by ETIs.  During those 350 years science made impressive
astronomical discoveries, notably the finding that there are
billions of stars in our own galaxy--the Milky Way--and perhaps
billions of galaxies in the universe.  Mathematical probabilities
suggested to some a high likelihood of intelligent life having
appeared elsewhere. (See Endnote #4)

In 1960 astronomer Francis Drake began searching the heavens with
a radio telescope in hopes of receiving messages from intelligent
beings outside our solar system.  The search for ETI has been
expanded tremendously and continued to the present.  Though there
have been some "hits" thus far there have been no independently
confirmed transmissions received. (See Endnote #5)

A science that has accompanied space exploration is exobiology. 
Exobiology, is the study of the conditions necessary to support
the independent development of extraterrestrial life. Direct
proof has not yet been found of life anywhere in the universe
other than on the earth, although the recent press conference on
the results of a two and one-half year study of a Martian
meteorite leaves open the possibility of science confirming
extraterrestrial life in our time--but extraterrestrial life that
existed millions of years ago and only unicellular life at that.

It has only been in the past year that astronomers have confirmed
the existence of planets outside our own solar system. (Time
Magazine, 5 February 1996) For many in the scientific community
the debate rages over whether or not life arises spontaneously
when the conditions are right or whether it is transmitted
through space in some way.

The Baha'i Writings contain many statements that implicitly and
explicitly point to the existence of not only extraterrestrial
lifeforms but to EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE (ETI) as well.

It should be pointed out here that while the Baha'i teachings
expressly support the notion of the agreement of science with
religion and vice versa, it is also believed that statements in
Baha'i sacred literature are--to Baha'is--statements of reality,
whether they apply to spiritual law or natural law.  Baha'u'llah
said, "Say:  O leaders of religion!  Weigh not the Book of God
with such standards and sciences as are current  amongst you, for
the Book itself is the unerring Balance established amongst men."
(The Kitab-i-Aqdas 56)

Implicitly, a clear logical deduction of the existence of ETI can
be drawn from statements of 'Abdu'l-Baha.  Briefly the argument
runs thus, God has always existed. Manifestations have always
existed (presumably for the spiritual education of souls). Man is
phenomenal on this Earth.  There was a time when the Earth did
not exist.  There was never a time when man did not exist. 
Logical deduction: There was a time when the Earth did not exist.
During that time man existed somewhere else in the universe.

"...[T]he reality of Divinity is without a beginning, creation is
also without a beginning." (SFTW A-B 61)  "[T]he coming of the
Manifestations of God are not circumscribed by time." (FWU 53) 
"...[A]s God is creator, eternal and ancient, there were always
creatures and subjects existing and provided for." (FWU 101) 
"...[T]he human soul has existed on the earth for prolonged times
and ages, yet it is phenomenal." (SAQ 151)  "...[T]he earth has
not always existed,...". (SAQ 152) "...[T]he universe is not
limited to this terrestrial globe." (SAQ 152) "...[I]t cannot be
said there was a time when man was not." (SAQ 196)  "...[I]t
cannot be imagined that the worlds of existence, whether the
stars or this earth...were without man!" (SAQ 197)

Another indirect statement comes from Baha'u'llah in the "Hidden
Words": "Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient
eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I
created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to
thee My beauty."  This clearly implies the existence of man as
correlated with "ancient eternity" of God's existence.  Or we can
quote from "Gleanings" when and argue that God's title "the Lord
of Men" implies the existence of men somewhere at all times! (GL
150)

Let's examine some more explicit statements of extraterrestrial
lifeforms.  Baha'u'llah says in Gleanings, "Know thou that every
fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet its own
creatures, whose number no man can compute." Shoghi Effendi was
asked about this quotation in 1937:

"Regarding the passage on p. 163 of the 'Gleanings'; the
creatures which Baha'u'llah states to be found in every planet
cannot be considered to be necessarily similar or different from
human beings on this earth. Baha'u'llah does not specifically
state whether such creatures are like or unlike us. He simply
refers to the fact that there are creatures in every planet. It
remains for science to discover one day the exact nature of these
creatures." (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to
an individual believer, February 9, 1937) (Lights of Guidance 
478)

What is unclear in Shoghi Effendi's response is whether or not
these "creatures" are sentient.  Do they possess souls or are
they simply some form of animal or other type of life?

The "Tablets of Baha'u'llah" reveal an equally ambiguous passage: 
"Verily I say, the creation of God embraceth worlds besides this
world, and creatures apart from these creatures." (188)

Shoghi Effendi did make one unequivocal statement of ETI in the
authorized Writings when he said, "'Abdu'l-Baha stated there are
other worlds than ours which are inhabited by beings capable of
knowing God." (Light of Divine Guidance, Vol. 2, 82)  "Worlds" is
plural meaning more than one, other than our own.  That means
there are at least two more distinct civilizations that are
evolving on other planets.

The most explicit statements about ETI come from "Divine
Philosophy" a book of statements allegedly made by 'Abdu'l-Baha
and published by Isabel Fraser Chamberlain.  While this book
(long out of print) may not be wholly authentic the statements
are quite provocative when taken together with those already
cited.

"The earth has its inhabitants, the water and the air contain
many living beings and all the elements have their nature
spirits, then how is it possible to conceive that these
stupendous stellar bodies are not inhabited? Verily, they are
peopled, but let it be known that the dwellers accord with the
elements of their respective spheres.  These living beings do not
have states of consciousness like unto those who live on the
surface of this globe; the power of adaptation and environment
moulds their bodies and states of consciousness, just as our
bodies and minds are suited to our planet." (114)

It would seem from the foregoing quotation that other sentient
extraterrestrial lifeforms might or might not look like us.  What
is most intriguing in the quotation just cited is this line: "the
power of adaptation and environment moulds their bodies and
states of consciousness, just as our bodies and minds are suited
to our planet."  Their "states of consciousness" or "minds" could
be different from ours.  Shoghi Effendi said that "man lives in a
three dimensional plane of consciousness." (Lights, #1575)  Does
that imply that ETIs might have different mental capabilities
than we do?  Possibly.  Might they also have different
awarenesses of their environment than we do?  Possibly.  For
example, electromagnetic radiation which comes from the sun
ranges from radio waves to x-rays.  Within this spectrum is light
energy ranging from infrared to ultraviolet, with visible light
being between infrared and ultraviolet.  The human eye is capable
of seeing only that tiny portion of electromagnetic radiation
known as visible light on Planet Earth.  We need special
technology (infrared film or night vision cameras) to record the
infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum before it can be
seen by us.  Might such extraterrestrial beings literally be able
to "see" things that our unaided vision is incapable of
perceiving?

The Baha'i Writings make it clear that all self-conscious beings
are made in God's image.  'Abdu'l-Baha said, "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 saith, 'Let us make man in our image,
after our likeness.' [Genesis 1:26]  This divine image betokeneth
all the qualities of perfection whose lights, emanating from the
Sun of Truth, illumine the realities of men.  And among the
greatest of these attributes of perfection are wisdom and
knowledge." (Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, 140) 
Humans potentially possess the ability to manifest the qualities
and attributes of God.

The role of the Manifestations of God must be taken into account
in the evolution of ETI. It is safe to say that the cosmic model
of spiritual and social evolution is based upon Progressive
Revelation.  Progressive Revelation is a process in which a
Perfect Man appears bearing a Revelation from God.  As a result
of the Manifestation of Perfect Men mankind is raise up
spiritually and socially. These Manifestations have appeared in
cycles.  Shoghi Effendi identified nine Earth-based
Manifestations Whose lives resulted in "nine great world
religions." (Lights, #1374)  Including the Bab and Baha'u'llah,
the other seven are Sabean (whose Founder's name is unknown),
Krishna (Hindu), Moses (Judaism) Zoroaster (Zoroastrian), Buddha
(Buddhist), Christ (Christianity) and Muhammad (Islam). (Lights,
#1373 & #1694)  That there were many more is testified to the
Writings.  'Abdu'l-Baha said:

"...[T]here have been many holy Manifestations of God.  One
thousand years ago, two hundred thousand years ago, one million
years ago, the bounty of God was flowing, the radiance of God was
shining, the dominion of God was existing." (Promulgation of
Universal Peace, 463)

Further, "All that we can say is that this terrestrial globe at
one time did not exist, and at its beginning man did not appear
upon it.  But from the beginning which has no beginning, to the
end which has no end, a Perfect Manifestation always exists. 
This Man of Whom we speak is not every man; we mean the Perfect
Man. For the noblest part of the tree is the fruit, which is the
reason of its existence. If the tree had no fruit, it would have
no meaning.  Therefore, it cannot be imagined that the worlds of
existence, whether the stars or this earth, were once inhabited
by the donkey, cow, mouse and cat, and that they were without
man! (Some Answered Questions, 196-197)   One might reasonably
deduce from these quotations that sentient beings on other
planets have evolved in a different time frame and have different
capabilities than us; or less possibly, be at nearly the same
evolutionary state that we are.  The evolutionary state of Planet
Earth is planetary unity. In the World Order of Baha'u'llah
Shoghi Effendi tells us that the Revelation of Baha'u'llah will
take us to planetary unity: 

...[T]he founding of a world civilization and culture--all of
which must synchronize with the initial stages in the unfoldment
of the Golden Age of the Baha'i Era--should, by their very
nature, be regarded, as far as this planetary life is concerned,
as the furthermost limits in the organization of human society,
though man, as an individual, will, nay must indeed as a result
of such a consummation, continue indefinitely to progress and
develop. (Page 163)

The Baha'i Writings state categorically that while Baha'u'llah's
Dispensation (Revelation) will endure for at least one thousand
years, He inaugurates a new cycle that will last 500,000 years.
(World Order of Baha'u'llah, 132; Citadel of Faith, 5)  It
naturally raises the question: "What comes after the achievement
of planetary unity...inter-planetary unity?"

...[W]e cannot say definitely that His Revelation will be inter-
planetary in scope. We can only say that such a thing may be
possible. What Baha'u'llah means by His appearance in 'other
worlds' He has not defined, as we could not visualize them in our
present state, hence He was indefinite, and we cannot say whether
He meant other planets or not..." (From a letter written on
behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, December 24,
1941; Lights, #1555)

Nevertheless, Shoghi Effendi does not limit the Revelation of
Baha'u'llah to our star system alone.  In answer to a letter from
a Baha'i written in 1938 he wrote:

"As to your question whether the power of Baha'u'llah extends
over our solar system and to higher worlds; while the Revelation
of Baha'u'llah, it should be noted, is primarily for this planet,
yet the spirit animating it is all-embracing, and the scope
therefore cannot be restricted or defined." (Lights, #1594)

Thus it would seem that--unless Baha'u'llah was somehow able to
simultaneously appear on two or more separate planets at the same
time--sentient beings on other planets have a sequence of
Manifestations unique to that planet. This being the case, makes
one wonder--if these other civilizations are not more backward
than us--then just how far ahead of us might they be?

Whether or not they are ahead or behind we do know that 'Abdu'l-
Baha encouraged the exploration of other planets.  Hand of the
Cause H.M. Balyuzi reports that "...['Abdu'l-Baha] had been
speaking of the great technological and scientific strides of the
age; it would be meet, He said, if ways and means of reaching
other planets were now devised." ('Abdu'l-Baha by H.M. Balyuzi,
377)

What we can glean from this brief review--apart of the
fascinating prospects arising from eventual contact with ETIs
from other star systems--is the remarkable flexibility of Baha'i
exotheology.

Other religious systems have interpreted their Revelations in
ways that have fixed theological doctrine rather inflexibly. 
Discovery of extrasolar sentient lifeforms will require a
significant recasting of traditional dogma before the majority of
faithful Catholics--for example--can fit such a conception within
its worldview.  Consider the Catholic doctrines of Original Sin,
Incarnation, Atonement and Resurrection in the light of ETI.
There will need to be a considerable shift in the existing
Catholic exotheological paradigm to accommodate such an
understanding.

Taking just the theological notion of the Incarnation as an
example: "The existence of extra-terrestrial intelligences would
have a profound impact on religion, shattering completely the
traditional perspective on God's relationship with man. The
difficulties are particularly acute for Christianity, which
postulates that Jesus Christ was God incarnate whose mission was
to provide salvation for man on Earth. The prospect of a host of
'alien Christs' systematically visiting every inhabited planet in
the physical form of the local creatures has a rather absurd
aspect. Yet how otherwise are the aliens to be saved?" (Paul
Davies, "God and the New Physics" qtd. in "The Gods Have Landed")

Such convoluted revisionist ploys to make traditional theology
fit with modern scientific findings will not happen in the Baha'i
Revelation because of its teaching of the fundamental agreement
of science with religion (theology).  Indeed, Baha'i exotheology
already contains strong statements of ETI existence as well as a
cosmic model (Progressive Revelation) to explain the process of
the spiritual education of extrasolar souls.

Regardless of nature of ETI Baha'u'llah reminds us all (ETIs and
Earthlings) are bound by the same spiritual law:

O SON OF MAN! Wert thou to speed through the immensity of space
and traverse the expanse of heaven, yet thou wouldst find no rest
save in submission to Our command and humbleness before Our Face.
(Arabic Hidden Words, #40)

                      Endnotes

1. Biblically-speaking, a counter-argument in support for ETI
might be found in John 10:16: 'And other sheep I have, which are
not of this fold' or John 14:2: 'In my Father's house are many
mansions: if it were not so, I would  have told you. I go to
prepare a place for you.'   2 Lest anyone should image that
Protestants held a more liberal view on the Earth's movement,
Andrew Dickson White reports:

"All branches of the Protestant Church - Lutheran, Calvinist,
Anglican - vied with each other in denouncing the Copernican
doctrine as contrary to Scripture;  and, at a later period, the
Puritans showed the same tendency. Said Martin Luther:  "People
gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the
earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the
moon.  Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new
system, which of all systems is of course the very best.  This
fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy;  but
sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand
still, and not the earth." "(Warfare, 3:1)

3. In 1616 Pope Paul V ordered that Galileo be brought before the
Inquisition and confronted by the Grand Inquisitor, the Jesuit
cardinal Robert Bellarmine.  Galileo, knowing that his scientific
view was a heretical one in the eyes of the Church■and therefore
punishable by excommunication and death■reversed himself.

""I, Galileo, being in my seventieth year, being a prisoner and
on my knees, and before your Eminences, having before my eyes the
Holy Gospel, which I touch with my hands, abjure, curse, and
detest the error and heresy of the movement of the earth."" (A
History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom by
Andrew Dickson White 1896; 1965, p. 3:3)

Galileo preserved his life and went on with his research.  In
1632 he published a book on tides which again gave strong support
to the Copernican System.  He was again summoned to Rome and
again stood before the Inquisition.  (Cardinal Bellarmine was
dead by then.) Though Galileo presented two licenses permitting
him to publish his book, he was convicted of having violated the
terms of the 1616 Inquisition which had forbade him to ever speak
or write of the Copernican System as valid.  He again recanted
his "heresy" and was sentenced to life imprisonment which was
quickly commuted to permanent house arrest.  He died under house
arrest in 1642.  In 1979 Pope John Paul II appointed a papal
commission to review Galileo's case.

Finally, in October 1992, the Vatican admitted its 360 year old
error, thereby opening a theological door to the possibility of
ETI in the universe. ("Galileo" Microsoft, Encarta, 1994.)

4. Drake's Equation estimating the probability of intelligent
extraterrestrial lifeforms just in our galaxy capable of
communicating over interstellar distances.  The formula and
explanation follows:

The Formula:       N = R* fp ne fl fi fc L.

The explanation of the formula and its seven factors is as
follows:

Where: N = Number of communicating civilizations (N).  N varies
with the values assigned to each of the seven factors.      
Factor 1: R = Rate of starbirths (R*).  Life requires a home
planet, which in turn requires a home star. Over the lifetime of
the galaxy, the average number of stars formed each year is 10.  
   Factor 2: fp = Number of stars with planets.  What portion of
stars will go on to form planets?  Astronomers estimate that
planets form around all stars, thus setting f  at 1.      Factor
3: ne = Planets with life-supporting environments.  What
percentage of planetary systems include a habitable world?  Drake
believed all systems should be able to produce one and set this
number at 1.  So every solar system should have been able to
produce one inhabited world.      Factor 4: fl = Planets with
life.  Of habitable worlds, how many actually produce life?  Many
specialists believe life begins fairly easily (as it did on
Earth) and should emerge on all habitable planets, making fl = 
1.      Factor 5: fi = Intelligent life.  Of  life-bearing
planets, only a small fraction will have intelligent life. 
Assumption is that intelligence has a 1 in 10 chance of emerging,
making  fi = 1.      Factor 6: fc = Communicating societies. 
Even intelligent life may not develop radio or may not wish to
contact others.  If one out of ten alien intelligences is able
and willing to communicate, fc is 1.      Factor 7: L =
Civilization life span.  How long a civilization lasts after
developing radio is uncertain, given the risk of catastrophes
such as nuclear war.  At a 1961 conference L was set to from
1,000 to 1,000,000,000 years.  One scientist has pointed out that
though we may wish to insert values for each of the seven factors
we have the problem of not even being able to make a
"guesstimate" for some of them.  For example "we still have
insufficient information about the presence of planets, and even
less about the number that are" located the proper distance of
their respective suns. (Life Search, Time-Life Books, 90-91)

5. Ninety-eight percent of its data is simply noise and various
forms of interference.  The other two percent--although not
necessarily signals from 'others' are good extraterrestrial
candidates.  Sagan and Horowitz published the data of 5 years of
searching and 2 years of followup in The Astrophysical Journal in
1993.  "After three surveys of the sky" there are "11 "events."" 
These 11 satisfy all but one of the criteria to acknowledged as
genuinely alien signals: Verifiability.  He said, "We've never
been able to find any of them again.  We look back at that part
of the ky three minutes later and there's nothing there.  We look
again the following day: nothing.  Examine it a year later, or
seven years later, and still there's nothing.  It seems unlikely
that every signal we get from alien civilizations would turn
itself off a couple minutes after we begin listening, and never
repeat."  (Pale Blue Dot 359)

                     Bibliography

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Balyuzi, H.M.  'Abdu'l-Baha. The Centre of the Covenant of
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         Trust, 3rd edn., 1994.

James R. Lewis, Ed.  The Gods Have Landed.  Albany: State
         University of New York Press, 1995.

Life Search.  Time-Life Books, 1989.

Gary Matthews.  The Challenge of Baha'u'llah.  Oxford: George
         Ronald, 1993.

Carl Sagan.  Pale Blue Dot.  New York: Random House, 1994.

Walter Sullivan.  We Are Not Alone.  New York: Penguin Group
        (PLUME), 1994 rev. ed.

Andrew Dickson White.  A History of the Warfare of Science with
        Theology in Christendom.  1896; 1965. 


SOME QUOTATIONS THAT HAVE RELEVANCE TO EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE

Through His potency the Trees of Divine Revelation have yielded
their fruits, every one of which hath been sent down in the form
of a Prophet, bearing a Message to God's creatures in each of the
worlds whose number God, alone, in His all-encompassing
knowledge, can reckon.   (ADJ Page 80)

When we contemplate this vast machinery of omnipresent power,
perceive this illimitable space and its innumerable worlds it
will become evident to us that the lifetime of this infinite
creation is more than six thousand years; nay, it is very, very
ancient. (FWU  108)

The world of Divinity presupposes creation, presupposes
recipients of bounty, presupposes the existence of worlds.  No
Divinity can be conceived as separate from creation, for
otherwise it would be like imagining an empire without a people. 
A king must needs have a kingdom, must needs have an army and
subjects.  Is it possible to be a king and have no country, no
army, no subjects?  This is an absurdity.  If we say that there
was a time when there was no country, no army and no subjects,
how then could there have been a king and ruler?  For these
things are essential to a king. Consequently, just as the reality
of Divinity never had a beginning--that is, God has ever been a
Creator, God has ever been a Provider, God has ever been a
Quickener, God has ever been a Bestower--so there never has been
a time when the attributes of God have not had expression.  The
sun is the sun because of its rays, because of its heat.  Were we
to conceive of a time when there was a sun without heat and
light, it would imply that there had been no sun at all and that
it became the sun afterward.  So, likewise, if we say there was a
time when God had no creation or created beings, a time when
there were no recipients of His bounties and that His names and
attributes had not been manifested, this would be equivalent to a
complete denial of Divinity, for it would mean that Divinity is
accidental.  To explain it still more clearly, if we think that
fifty thousand years ago or one hundred thousand years ago there
was no creation, that there were then no worlds, no human beings,
no animals, this thought of ours would mean that previous to that
period there was no Divinity.  If we should say that there was a
time when there was a king but there were no subjects, no army,
no country for him to rule over, it would really be asserting
that there was a time when no king existed and that the king is
accidental.  It is, therefore, evident that inasmuch as the
reality of Divinity is without a beginning, creation is also
without a beginning.  This is as clear as the sun.  When we
contemplate this vast machinery of omnipresent power, perceive
this illimitable space and its innumerable worlds, it will become
evident to us that the lifetime of this infinite creation is more
than six thousand years; nay, it is very, very ancient.
Notwithstanding this, we read in Genesis in the Old Testament
that the lifetime of creation is but six thousand years.  This
has an inner meaning and significance; it is not to be taken
literally.  For instance, it is said in the Old Testament that
certain things were created in the first day.  The narrative
shows that at that time the sun was not yet created.  How could
we conceive of a day if no sun existed in the heavens?  For the
day depends upon the light of the sun.  Inasmuch as the sun had
not been made, how could the first day be realized?  Therefore,
these statements have significances other than literal. To be
brief: Our purpose is to show that the divine sovereignty, the
Kingdom of God, is an ancient sovereignty, that it is not an
accidental sovereignty, just as a kingdom presupposes the
existence of subjects, of an army, of a country; for otherwise
the state of dominion, authority and kingdom cannot be conceived
of.  Therefore, if we should imagine that the creation is
accidental, we would be forced to admit that the Creator is
accidental, whereas the divine bounty is ever flowing, and the
rays of the Sun of Truth are continuously shining.  No cessation
is possible to the divine bounty, just as no cessation is
possible to the rays of the sun.  This is clear and obvious. Thus
there have been many holy Manifestations of God.  One thousand
years ago, two hundred thousand years ago, one million years ago,
the bounty of God was flowing, the radiance of God was shining,
the dominion of God was existing. Why do these holy
Manifestations of God appear? What is the wisdom and purpose of
Their coming?  What is the outcome of Their mission?  It is
evident that human personality appears in two aspects: the image
or likeness of God, and the aspect of Satan.  The human reality
stands between these two: the divine and the satanic.  It is
manifest that beyond this material body, man is endowed with
another reality, which is the world of exemplars constituting the
heavenly body of man.   (Prmlgtn Unvrsl Peace  462- 464)

 Existence is of two kinds:  one is the existence of God which is
beyond the comprehension of man.  He, the invisible, the lofty
and the incomprehensible, is preceded by no cause but rather is
the Originator of the cause of causes. He, the Ancient, hath had
no beginning and is the all-independent. The second kind of
existence is the human existence.  It is a common existence,
comprehensible to the human mind, is not ancient, is dependent
and hath a cause to it.  The mortal substance does not become
eternal and vice-versa; the human kind does not become a Creator
and vice-versa.  The transformation of the innate substance is
impossible. (SFTW A-B  61)

 The sciences of today are bridges to reality; if then they lead
not to reality, naught remains but fruitless illusion.  By the
one true God!  If learning be not a means of access to Him, the
Most Manifest, it is nothing but evident loss. (SFTW A-B  110)

 If one were to travel through the deserts of Central Asia he
would observe how many cities, once great and prosperous like
Paris and London, are now demolished and razed to the ground. 
From the Caspian Sea to the River Oxus there stretch wild and
desolate plains, deserts, wildernesses and valleys.  For two days
and two nights the Russian railway traverseth the ruined cities
and uninhabited villages of that wasteland.  Formerly that plain
bore the fruit of the finest civilizations of the past.  Tokens
of development and refinement were apparent all around, arts and
sciences were well protected and promoted, professions and
industries flourished, commerce and agriculture had reached a
high stage of efficiency, and the foundations of government and
statesmanship were laid on a strong and solid basis.  Today that
vast stretch of land hath become mostly the shelter and asylum of
Turkoman tribes, and an arena for the display of wild beasts. 
The ancient cities of that plain, such as Gurgan, Nissa, Abyord
and Shahristan, famous throughout the world for their arts,
sciences, culture, industry, and well known for their wealth,
greatness, prosperity and distinction, have given way to a
wilderness wherein no voice is heard save the roaring of wild
beasts and where bloodthirsty wolves roam at will.   (SFTW A-B 
288-289)

 In this mortal world every important matter hath an end; and
every remarkable achievement a termination; none having permanent
existence.  For instance, consider how the important achievements
of the ancient world have been totally exterminated and not a
trace remaineth therefrom save the great Cause of the Kingdom of
God, which hath no beginning and will have no end.   (SFTW A-B 
311)

 The philosophers of the ancients, the thinkers of the Middle
Ages and the scientists of this and the former centuries have all
agreed upon the fact that the best and the most ideal region for
the habitation of man is the temperate zone, for in this belt the
intellects and thoughts rise to the highest stage of maturity,
and the capability and ability of civilization manifest
themselves in full efflorescence. When you read history
critically and with a penetrating eye, it becomes evident that
the majority of the famous men have been born, reared and have
done their work in the temperate zone, while very very few have
appeared from the torrid and frigid zones. (TDP  65)

|p1  Question.--What is the real explanation of the cycles which
occur in the world of existence?  |p2  Answer.--Each one of the
luminous bodies in this limitless firmament has a cycle of
revolution which is of a different duration, and every one
revolves in its own orbit, and again begins a new cycle.  So the
earth, every three hundred and sixty-five days, five hours,
forty-eight minutes and a fraction, completes a revolution; and
then it begins a new cycle--that is to say, the first cycle is
again renewed.  In the same way, for the whole universe, whether
for the heavens of for men, there are cycles of great events, of
important facts and occurrences.  When a cycle is ended, a new
cycle begins; and the old one, on account of the great events
which take place, is completely forgotten, and not a trace or
record of it will remain.  As you see, we have no records of
twenty thousand years ago, although we have before proved by
argument that 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 records
and traces are entirely obliterated.  (SAQ  160)

 God is eternal and ancient; not a new God.  His sovereignty is
of old, not recent; not merely existent these five or six
thousand years.  This infinite universe is from everlasting.  The
sovereignty, power, names and attributes of God are eternal,
ancient.  His names presuppose creation and predicate His
existence and will.  We say God is creator.  This name creator
appears when we connote creation.  We say God is the provider. 
This name presupposes and proves the existence of the provided. 
God is love.  This name proves the existence of the beloved.  In
the same way God is mercy, God is justice, God is life, etc.,
etc.  Therefore as God is creator, eternal and ancient, there
were always creatures and subjects existing and provided for. 
There is no doubt that divine sovereignty is eternal. Sovereignty
necessitates subjects, ministers, trustees and others subordinate
to sovereignty.  Could there be a king without country, subjects
and armies?  If we conceive of a time when there were no
creatures, no servants, no subjects of divine lordship we
dethrone God and predicate a time when God was not.  It would be
as if He had been recently appointed and man had given these
names to Him.  The divine sovereignty is ancient, eternal.  God
from everlasting was love, justice, power, creator, provider, the
omniscient, the bountiful. |p2  As the divine entity is eternal,
the divine attributes are co-existent, co-eternal.  The divine
bestowals are therefore without beginning, without end.  God is
infinite; the works of God are infinite; the bestowals of God are
infinite.   (FWU  102)

 Baha'u'llah says, "The universe hath neither beginning nor
ending."  He has set aside the elaborate theories and exhaustive
opinions of scientists and material philosophers by the simple
statement, "There is no beginning, no ending."   (Prmlgtn Unvrsl
Peace  220)

Therefore, if we should imagine that the creation is accidental,
we would be forced to admit that the Creator is accidental,
whereas the divine bounty is ever flowing, and the rays of the
Sun of Truth are continuously shining.  No cessation is possible
to the divine bounty, just as no cessation is possible to the
rays of the sun.  This is clear and obvious. Thus there have been
many holy Manifestations of God.  One thousand years ago, two
hundred thousand years ago, one million years ago, the bounty of
God was flowing, the radiance of God was shining, the dominion of
God was existing.  (Prmlgtn Unvrsl Peace  463)

   The Spiritual Meetings, which are organized in this cycle of
God and this divine century, have never had their simile or
likeness in bygone cycles.  (TAB Vol. I  10)

 Though Pythagoras, and Plato during the latter part of his life,
adopted the theory that the annual movement of the sun around the
zodiac does not proceed from the sun, but rather from the
movement of the earth around the sun, this theory had been
entirely forgotten, and the Ptolemaic system was accepted by all
mathematicians.  But there are some verses revealed in the Qur'an
contrary to the theory of the Ptolemaic system.  One of them is
"The sun moves in a fixed place," which shows the fixity of the
sun, and its movement around an axis.  Again, in another verse,
"And each star moves in its own heaven."  Thus is explained the
movement of the sun, of the moon, of the earth, and of other
bodies.  When the Qur'an appeared, all the mathematicians
ridiculed these statements and attributed the theory to
ignorance.  Even the doctors of Islam, when they saw that these
verses were contrary to the accepted Ptolemaic system, were
obliged to explain them away.  |p3   It was not until after the
fifteenth century of the Christian era, nearly nine hundred years
after Muhammad, that a famous astronomer made new observations
and important discoveries by the aid of the telescope, which he
had invented.  The rotation of the earth, the fixity of the sun,
and also its movement around an axis, were discovered.  It became
evident that the verses of the Qur'an agreed with existing facts,
and that the Ptolemaic system was imaginary.  |p2  In short, many
Oriental peoples have been reared for thirteen centuries under
the shadow of the religion of Muhammad.  During the Middle Ages,
while Europe was in the lowest depths of barbarism, the Arab
peoples were superior to the other nations of the earth in
learning, in the arts, mathematics, civilization, government and
other sciences.  The Enlightener and Educator of these Arab
tribes, and the Founder of the civilization and perfections of
humanity among these different races, was an illiterate Man,
Muhammad.  (SAQ  23-24)

this limitless universe is like the human body, all the members
of which are connected and linked with one another with the
greatest strength.  How much the organs, the members and the
parts of the body of man are intermingled and connected for
mutual aid and help, and how much they influence one another!  In
the same way, the parts of this infinite universe have their
members and elements connected with one another, and influence
one another spiritually and materially.  (SAQ  245-246)

 The second is the station of the rational soul, which is the
human reality.  This also is phenomenal, and the Holy
Manifestations share it with all mankind.  |p4 Know that,
although the human soul has existed on the earth for prolonged
times and ages, yet it is phenomenal.  As it is a divine sign,
when once it has come into existence, it is eternal.  The spirit
of man has a beginning, but it has no end; it continues
eternally.  In the same way the species existing on this earth
are phenomenal, for it is established that there was a time when
these species did not exist on the surface of the earth. 
Moreover, the earth has not always existed, but the world of
existence has always been, for the universe is not limited to
this terrestrial globe.  The meaning of this is that, although
human souls are phenomenal, they are nevertheless immortal,
everlasting and perpetual; for the world of things is the world
of imperfection in comparison with that of man, and the world of
man is the world of perfection in comparison with that of things.

When imperfections reach the station of perfection, they become
eternal.  This is an example of which you must comprehend the
meaning.  (SAQ  151-152)

The reflection of the divine perfections appears in the reality
of man, so he is the representative of God, the messenger of God.

If man did not exist, the universe would be without result, for
the object of existence is the appearance of the perfections of
God. 
Therefore, it cannot be said there was a time when man was not. 
All that we can say is that this terrestrial globe at one time
did not exist, and at its beginning man did not appear upon it. 
But from the beginning which has no beginning, to the end which
has no end, a Perfect Manifestation always exists.  This Man of
Whom we speak is not every man; we mean the Perfect Man.  For the
noblest part of the tree is the fruit, which is the reason of its
existence. If the tree had no fruit, it would have no meaning. 
Therefore, it cannot be imagined that the worlds of existence,
whether the stars or this earth, were once inhabited by the
donkey, cow, mouse and cat, and that they were without man!  This
supposition is false and meaningless.  The word of God is clear
as the sun.  This is a spiritual proof, but one which we cannot
at the beginning put forth for the benefit of the materialists.  
(SAQ  196-197)

 In the beginning of his formation the mind and spirit also
existed, but they were hidden; later they were manifested.  In
the womb of the world mind and spirit also existed in the embryo,
but they were concealed; afterward they appeared. So it is that
in the seed the tree exists, but it is hidden and concealed; when
it develops and grows, the complete tree appears.  In the same
way the growth and development of all beings is gradual; this is
the universal divine organization and the natural system.  The
seed does not at once become a tree; the embryo does not at once
become a man; the mineral does not suddenly become a stone.  No,
they grow and develop gradually and attain the limit of
perfection.  (SAQ  198-199)

 Some people believe that the divinity of God had a beginning.
They say that before this particular beginning man had no
knowledge of the divinity of God.  With this principle they have
limited the operation of the influences of God. |p6  For example,
they think there was a time when man did not exist, and that
there will be a time in the future when man will not exist. Such
a theory circumscribes the power of God, because how can we
understand the divinity of God except through scientifically
understanding the manifestations of the attributes of God? |p1 
How can we understand the nature of fire except from its heat,
its light?  Were not heat and light in this fire, naturally we
could not say that the fire existed. |p2  Thus, if there was a
time when God did not manifest His qualities, then there was no
God, because the attributes of God presuppose the creation of
phenomena.  For example, by present consideration we say that God
is the creator.  Then there must always have been a creation -
since the quality of creator cannot be limited to the moment when
some man or men realize this attribute.  The attributes that we
discover one by one - these attributes themselves necessarily
anticipated our discovery of them.  Therefore, God has no
beginning and no ending; nor is His creation limited ever as to
degree.  Limitations of time and degree pertain to things
created, never to the creation as a whole. They pertain to the
forms of things, not to their realities.  The effulgence of God
cannot be suspended.  The sovereignty of God cannot be
interrupted. |p3  As long as the sovereignty of God is
immemorial, therefore the creation of our world throughout
infinity is presupposed.  When we look at the reality of this
subject, we see that the bounties of God are infinite, without
beginning and without end. (FWU  52-53)

 God's graces and bounties are without limit, and the coming of
the Manifestations of God are not circumscribed by time. (FWU 
53)

 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.  |p2  As the perfection 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 the
different beings--then, since man was produced ten or a hundred
thousand years ago 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 as 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 method, and if
they are affected by the same influence of other beings, exactly
the same man will exist.  For example, if after a hundred
thousand years there is oil, fire, 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.  (SAQ  179)

 Know that, although the human soul has existed on the earth for
prolonged times and ages, yet it is phenomenal.  As it is a
divine sign, when once it has come into existence, it is eternal.

The spirit of man has a beginning, but it has no end; it
continues eternally.  In the same way the species existing on
this earth are phenomenal, for it is established that there was a
time when these species did not exist on the surface of the
earth.  Moreover, the earth has not always existed, but the world
of existence has always been, for the universe is not limited to
this terrestrial globe.  The meaning of this is that, although
human souls are phenomenal, they are nevertheless immortal,
everlasting and perpetual; for the world of things is the world
of imperfection in comparison with that of man, and the world of
man is the world of perfection in comparison with that of things.

When imperfections reach the station of perfection, they become
eternal.  This is an example of which you must comprehend the
meaning.  (SAQ  151-152)

 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.  (SAQ  177)

 Therefore, it cannot be said there was a time when man was not. 
All that we can say is that this terrestrial globe at one time
did not exist, and at its beginning man did not appear upon it. 
But from the beginning which has no beginning, to the end which
has no end, a Perfect Manifestation always exists.  This Man of
Whom we speak is not every man; we mean the Perfect Man.  (SAQ 
196)

 But from the beginning of man's  existence he is a distinct
species. ... admitting that the  traces of organs which have
disappeared actually exist [in  the human body], this is not a
proof of the impermanence  and the non-originality of the
species.  At the most it proves  that the form, and fashion, and
the organs of man have  progressed.  Man was always a distinct
species, a man, not  an animal. -- Some Answered Questions, pp.
211, 212,  213, 214. (Baha-&-New Era 1980  207)

For the teachings of His Highness BAHA'O'LLAH are the keys to all
the doors. Every hidden secret will become discovered and every
hidden mystery will become manifest and apparent.*** (TAB Vol.
III  692)

 The
learned men, that have fixed at several thousand years the life
of this earth, have failed, throughout the long period of their
observation, to consider either the number or the age of the
other planets. Consider, moreover, the manifold divergencies that
have resulted from the theories propounded by these men. Know
thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet
its own creatures, whose number no man can compute. (GLEANINGS 
163)

 Mention hath been made in certain books of a deluge which caused
all that existed on earth, historical records as well as other
things, to be destroyed. Moreover, many cataclysms have occurred
which have effaced the traces of many events. Furthermore, among
existing historical records differences are to be found, and each
of the various peoples of the world hath its own account of the
age of the earth and of its history. Some trace their history as
far back as eight thousand years, others as far as twelve
thousand years. To any one that hath read the book of Juk it is
clear and evident how much the accounts given by the various
books have differed. |p3  Please God thou wilt turn thine eyes
towards the Most Great Revelation, and entirely disregard these
conflicting tales and traditions. (GLEANINGS  174- 175)

O SON OF MAN! Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient
eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I
created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to
thee My beauty.
O SON OF MAN! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee.
Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy
soul with the spirit of life. (BWF  156)

 This latter world hath neither beginning nor end. It would be
true if thou wert to contend that this same world is, as decreed
by the All-Glorious and Almighty God, within thy proper self and
is wrapped up within thee. It would equally be true to maintain
that thy spirit, having transcended the limitations of sleep and
having stripped itself of all earthly attachment, hath, by the
act of God, been made to traverse a realm which lieth hidden in
the innermost reality of this world. Verily I say, the creation
of God embraceth worlds besides this world, and creatures apart
from these creatures. In each of these worlds He hath ordained
things which none can search except Himself, the All-Searching,
the All-Wise. Do thou meditate on that which We have revealed
unto thee, that thou mayest discover the purpose of God, thy
Lord, and the Lord of all worlds. In these words the mysteries of
Divine Wisdom have been treasured. We have refrained from
dwelling upon this theme owing to the sorrow that hath
encompassed Us from the actions of them that have been created
through Our words, if ye be of them that will hearken unto Our
Voice. (Tblts of Baha'u'llah  187- 188)

 Know thou, moreover, that the people aforetime have produced
things which the contemporary men of knowledge have been unable
to produce.  (Tblts of Baha'u'llah  150)

 Yes, it may be that one of the parts of the universe, one of the
globes, for example, may come into existence, or may be
disintegrated, but the other endless globes are still existing;
the universe would not be disordered nor destroyed; on the
contrary, existence is eternal and perpetual. As each globe has a
beginning, necessarily it has an end, because every composition,
collective or particular, must of necessity be decomposed; the
only difference is that some are quickly decomposed, and others
more slowly, but it is impossible that a composed thing should
not eventually be decomposed. |p3  It is necessary, therefore,
that we should know what each of the important existences was in
the beginning--for 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, and 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.
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. 
(BWF 296-298)

In like manner the mind proveth the existenCe of an unseen
Reality that embraceth all beings, and that existeth and
revealeth itself in all stages, the essence whereof is beyond the
grasp of the mind. (BWF  338)

 Know assuredly that God's creation hath existed from eternity,
and will continue to exist forever.  Its beginning hath had no
beginning, and its end knoweth no end. His name, the Creator,
presupposeth a creation, even as His title, the Lord of Men, must
involve the existence of a servant. (GLEANINGS  150)

Though all the dwellers of heaven and earth unite to glorify the
least of Thy signs, wherein and whereby Thou hast revealed
Thyself, yet would they fail, how much more to praise Thy holy
Word, the creator of all Thy tokens.   (BP  122)

O Thou kind Lord! Thou hast created all humanity from the same
stock.  (BP  101)

 Some people believe that the divinity of God had a beginning.
They say that before this particular beginning man had no
knowledge of the divinity of God.  With this principle they have
limited the operation of the influences of God. |p6  For example,
they think there was a time when man did not exist, and that
there will be a time in the future when man will not exist. Such
a theory circumscribes the power of God, because how can we
understand the divinity of God except through scientifically
understanding the manifestations of the attributes of God? (FWU 
52-53)

No. 7  No. But 'Abdu'l-Baha stated there are other worlds than
ours which are inhabited by beings capable of knowing God. (Lght
Dvn Gdnc Vol 2  82)

And it is your Lord that knoweth best all beings that are in the 
heavens and on earth:  (AY Ali trans. Quran Surih 17:55)

Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come
to (God) Most Gracious as a servant. (AY Ali trans. Quran Surih
19:93)

And when the Garden is brought near--
14   (Then) shall each soul know what it has put forward.
15   So verily I call to witness the planets--that recede,
16   Go straight, or hide; (AY Ali trans. Quran Surih 81:13-16)

It is He Who created the Night and the Day, and the sun and the
moon: all (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded
course. (AY Ali Quran Surih 21:33)

"Regarding your questions: There is no record in history, or in
the teachings, of a Prophet similar in Station to Baha'u'llah,
having lived 500,000 years ago. There will, however, be one
similar to Him in greatness after the lapse of 500,000 years, but
we cannot say definitely that His Revelation will be
inter-planetary in scope. We can only say that such a thing may
be possible. What Baha'u'llah means by His appearance in 'other
worlds' He has not defined, as we could not visualize them in our
present state, hence He was indefinite, and we cannot say whether
He meant other planets or not..." (From a letter written on
behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, December 24,
1941) (Lights of Guidance  472.)

"Regarding the passage on p. 163 of the 'Gleanings'; the
creatures which Baha'u'llah states to be found in every planet
cannot be considered to be necessarily similar or different from
human beings on this earth. Baha'u'llah does not specifically
state whether such creatures are like or unlike us. He simply
refers to the fact that there are creatures in every planet. It
remains for science to discover one day the exact nature of these
creatures." (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to
an individual believer, February 9, 1937) (Lights of Guidance 
478.)

   "As to your question whether the power of Baha'u'llah extends
over our solar system and to higher worlds: while the Revelation
of Baha'u'llah, it should be noted, is primarily for this planet,
yet the spirit animating it is all-embracing, and the scope
therefore cannot be restricted or defined." (From a letter
written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, July
14, 1938) (Lights of Guidance  481.)

He had been speaking of the great technological and scientific
strides of the age; it would be meet, He said, if ways and means
of reaching other planets were now devised. ('Abdu'l-Baha by HM
Balyuzi Pg 377)

Today, man is possessed of such power that he  can travel in
space and may soon reach other planets. On the  other hand, such
achievements if not coupled with spiritual  progress will bring
in their wake man's destruction upon  this earth. (Rev Baha V. 1
Taherzadeh 120)

I also understand that 'Abdu'l-Baha's "Tablet of the Universe"
contains important statements on this topic.  



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