Posted by Nick Stone on May 27, 2101 at 04:50:07:
In Reply to: Re: Baha'u'llah can't be a prophet of God. posted by David on May 27, 2101 at 02:10:21:
The purpose of the Manifestation of God is not to indulge in lessons of history. Throughout time, Messengers of God have not spoken about science, or if they have, they have given scientific understandings which were correct in the spirit of the age. Religion is progressive. In the Bible it speaks of the Earth being created in 7 days and so on. If you take it literally, this is of course not true. But no doubt this 7 day explanation is a simpler version of the truth, as the people of several thousand years ago could not have understood the process in terms of the Big Bang and so on.
Mohammad spoke about the origins of man coming from clot of blood. Again, by the standards of modern science, this is not really wholly correct, but it is more true than what the people believed at the time.
Baha'u'llah has also made a few statements pertaining to science and history as you have observed. Baha'u'llah's mission however, is to provide the blueprint for the raising of a new race of men, to establish world peace and the advancement of civilisation. He does not need to release new scientific and historical information into society, as He knows that in the course of time, these things will be developed as mankind finds the need. Both He and 'Abdu'l-Baha spoke of the power of the atom and the tremendous damage this discovery could make. Rather aptly, 'Abdu'l-Baha was speaking to the Japanese ambassador at the time...
Part of the problem is that at the time of the advent of any Manifestation or prophet, the people are entrenched in the scientific beliefs of their time. No doubt Jesus could have informed the people of his time that the earth revolved around the sun, and saved them all that bother they had in the Middle Ages with people like Galileo. But such information was not required for the purposes of His divine mission on earth. The fact that Jesus did not say this, did not mean He did not Himself know it, or could have known it if God had given Him that information. In addition, to engage in scientific discourse would result in Manifestations of God having to argue against the prevailing scientific understandings of the time. This would provide a further unneeded barrier between Himself and the people. The people should recognise the Manifestation on the grounds of His teachings and the perfect life He leads, not on the grounds that He is challenging the scientific status quo.
It may be in these examples that Baha'u'llah wanted to make a specific spiritual point using these examples from history. Now the exact dates for the purpose of His point might not have been necessary. Baha'u'llah may have been fully aware of the correct dates, but rather than go through a long period of justifying the correct dates which may have entailed going against the scientific or historical consensus of His day, He simply used them. Otherwise people would have ignored the main spiritual point of His argument and concentrated upon the falsity of the historical points to say that Baha'u'llah was a false prophet.
The Manifestation of God is not independent of God. If He is omnipotent, it is because God gives Him that power. I don't know whether He is omnipotent at all times. For example, Jesus was tempted by the Devil when He was in the desert. He suffered and cried out to God when He was being crucified. Jesus said that only God knew when the exact date of the Second Coming would be. So there I guess if God provided Jesus with the information, then Jesus had the potential to be omniscient, even if He did not have access to all information at all times, no doubt He always had access to information that He required for the purposes of His mission.
Mohammad was illiterate, but he did not actually write the Koran, He recited the verses as they came to Him, and His followers wrote them down. The fact that He was illiterate still counts though, because of the beauty and power of the book itself. You say Baha'u'llah didn't know the dates. If this is true, it is only because God did not provide Him with that information or because Baha'u'llah wanted to make a point about something else, rather than focus on historical details.
You mentioned about the Manifestation not being able to know the essence of God - this does not mean that the Manifestation automatically knows everything else. My opinion on this subject is that He has the potential to know whatever is needed for the purposes of His mission. I can't corroborate that statement with a quote, it is my belief. Maybe some other Baha'is reading this can help me out or argue against me.
Dave, when I examine the proofs of Baha'u'llah's mission, I do sometimes come across things I don't understand, but when I have such a large body of evidence suggesting to me that Baha'u'llah is indeed who He says He is, one small historical discrepancy isn't going to make me change my mind. When I think how much Baha'u'llah does know that is correct, when I think of His perfect life and His perfect teachings for humanity, I conclude that it is more than likely that I am lacking in understanding to comprehend why there is a mistake, than that Baha'u'llah is a false prophet.
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