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.
DRAFT OF AS YET UNPUBLISHED PAPER.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 'Abdu'l-Baha. 'Abdu'l-Baha on Divine Philosophy. Compiled by Isabel Fraser Chamberlain. Boston, MA: Tudor Press, 1918. ------Foundations of World Unity. Wilmette, IL: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1945. ------Promulgation of Universal Peace. Compiled by Howard MacNutt. Wilmette, IL.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 2nd edn., 1982. ------Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha. Translated by a Committee at the Baha'i World Centre and by Marzieh Gail. Haifa: Baha'i World Centre, 1978. ------Some Answered Questions. Compiled and translated by Laura Clifford Barney. Wilmette, IL.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 5th edn., 1981. Baha'u'llah. Baha'u'llah. Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah. Trans. Shoghi Effendi. Wilmette, IL.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 2nd ed., 1983. ------The Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah. Wilmette, IL.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1990. Balyuzi, H.M. 'Abdu'l-Baha. The Centre of the Covenant of Baha'u'llah. Oxford: George Ronald, 1971. The Bible. King James Version. Encarta Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation, 1994. Funk & Wagnall's Corporation. "Galileo" & "Exobiology", 1994. Shoghi Effendi. Citadel of Faith. Wilmette, IL.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1980. ------Light of Divine Guidance. Vol. II. Letters from the Guardian [Shoghi Effendi] of the Baha'i Faith to individual believers, groups and Baha'i communities in Germany and Austria. Hofheim-Langenhain, Germany: National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Germany, Baha'i Verlag, 1985. ------World Order of Baha'u'llah. Rev. edn. Wilmette, IL.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1965. Helen Hornby. Lights of Guidance. New Delhi: Baha'i Publishing 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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