Posted by Brett Zamir (18.104.22.168) on August 30, 2002 at 11:24:50:
In Reply to: The Exact Meanings? posted by Munir A. Qureshi on August 29, 2002 at 12:06:37:
Your questions are of course most welcome here.
As I recall there are several passages from the Qur'an indicating the same theme.
The Baha'i Writings indicate that Satan has no power independent from God, and that Satan is a metaphor of our own selfish nature. The nonexistence of evil (as a positive force) is described at http://www.bahai-library.org/writings/abdulbaha/saq/74.html . Satan as a metaphor is touched upon by http://www.bahai-library.org/writings/abdulbaha/saq/30.html . However, though it is only a metaphor for our selfish nature, this does not mean that the warnings in the Holy Scriptures against being influenced by this nature are not important, nor that being in a hell-fire of remoteness from God should not concern us. Our selfish promptings and the rationales we use to justify them can do us great harm. The Baha'i Writings do recognize that evil (like cold) is a reality, although as the passage you quoted itself shows, it has no independent reality.
Baha'u'llah even goes so far, in the Tablet of Ishraqat, for example, to state that those who accept a belief in a literal Devil have made the grave mistake of joining partners with God.
Therefore, I believe we can interpret the verse you have quoted as meaning that man will succumb to his selfish nature and desires, unless the divine Power enters His life, particularly as evident through His Holy Manifestation and Their Writings and educational influence. See Chapters 3 and/or 84 of Some Answered Questions for a proof on the need for such an educator to develop worthy qualities in man. (on-line at http://www.bahai-library.org/writings/abdulbaha/saq/03.html and http://www.bahai-library.org/writings/abdulbaha/saq/84.html )
You may wish to read Chapter 32 of Some Answered Questions (short), since it discusses the meaning of "chosen." It is available at:
Despite what the above says, other Baha'i Writings do indicate, that although our faith is a bounty from God, God does determine His bounty to some degree based on our own striving for Him:
"Love Me that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee." (Baha'u'llah, Hidden Words, Arabic, no. 5)
Some may have misinterpreted the phrase "Chosen of God". For example, some Jews may believe that this means that those of Jewish ancestry are all chosen and the rest are deprived. "Chosen" in the case of Israel particularly refers to the fact that God was so bountiful to send many Prophets to Israel for which the people had an opportunity to derive benefit. However, this does not mean God only delivers His summons to only one people. Rather, His grace embraces all, particularly in this universal Revelation of God. As the chapter quoted above implies, "chosen" deals more with being imbued with faith and spiritual qualities, than to any predetermined favor of God (though we can only develop such qualities by God's grace). I'd recommend reading Some Answered Questions, if you have the opportunity, since it is likely to cover other similar topics of interest.
best wishes to you,
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