Life On Other Planets
Writing in the last century,
Bahá'u'lláh, the Founder of the Bahá'íFaith, categorically stated that there is
life on other planets:
"Know thou that every fixed star hath
its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can
"Verily I say, the creation of God
embraceth worlds besides this world, and creatures apart from these creatures."
Not only this, but God has provided
guidance for these life-forms:
"O people! I swear by the one true
God! ... 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."
Bahá'u'lláh argued that many
scientists of the time were too earth-centred in their thinking, and He
encouraged people to move beyond their traditional ideas:
"Thou hast, moreover, asked Me
concerning the nature of the celestial spheres... 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."
"As to thy question concerning the
worlds of God. Know thou of a truth that the worlds of God are countless in
their number, and infinite in their range. None can reckon or comprehend them
except God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise."
Travel to Other Planets
Bahá'u'lláh's son, Abdu'l-Bahá,
visited the West in order to spread His father's teachings. In 1913 He gave a
talk in Paris about the great technological and scientific strides which were
being made at the time. During the talk he stated that it was time to start
making efforts towards reaching other planets. He also spoke of: "...the
construction of railroads from the earth to the heavens, or means of
transportation with the rapidity of rising lightning from the globe of the earth
to the globe of the sun..."
Bahá'u'lláh also foresaw rapid
technological developments which would make possible things of which few had
"Strange and astonishing things exist
in the earth but they are hidden from the minds and the understanding of men.
These things are capable of changing the whole atmosphere of the earth and their
contamination would prove lethal. Great God! We have observed an amazing
thing. Lightning or a force similar to it is controlled by an operator and
moveth at his command. Immeasurably exalted is the Lord of Power Who hath laid
bare that which He purposed through the potency of His weighty and invincible
As popular science fiction programmes
have shown, a number of problems within human society need to be addressed
before humanity is ready to encounter other beings in the universe.
It is inconceivable that humanity
could explore deep space, and hope to meet other life forms, as a divided
Bahá'u'lláh's teachings are designed
to unite the planet and bring humanity to maturity. Bahá'ís believe that
religion progresses through the ages. The basic truths are always the same, but
the definition of who is our neighbour constantly expands. Initially perhaps it
was someone from the same family, then village, tribe and nation. Now it is
becoming increasingly obvious that "the earth is but one country and mankind its
citizens". This needs to become a reality before we are ready for contact with
creatures from other planets.
Successive religions have brought to
humanity those teachings and concepts for which the world was ready. Each
religion has built on the one before, expanding the ideas of its predecessor,
and establishing new social laws according to the stage of development which the
planet had reached. Bahá'u'lláh laid out a system of administration which is
designed for planetary government, and states that "All men have been created to
carry forward an ever-advancing civilisation."
This world system must be based on
the principle of justice. Applied to economics this would ensure a more
equitable distribution of the earth's resources. Applied to society it means
that every person is seen as of equal value, with a contribution to make to the
global civilisation. Prejudices of class, colour and creed must be set aside as
primitive and morally wrong. The masculine and feminine qualities within
humanity need to be properly balanced and used. Scientific and technological
progress must be guided by moral principles.
As communication would be a prime
concern in any contact with other life forms, the human race needs to agree on a
planetary language and a common script. Each nation in the worldwide federation
would wish to keep its own language and culture, but the planetary language
would be used for world communication.
The Inner Frontier
The idea of the parallel universe is
one much-loved by science fiction writers. The Bahá'íteachings clearly state
that sentient beings have souls, and that at the time of death these pass from
one plane of existence to another. The material reality is closely connected to
the spiritual reality, even though we are not always aware of it. The next world
is all around us, in the same way that this world surrounds a child in the womb.
Bahá'ís believe that a soul's purpose
is to develop sufficiently to be ready for the next world, and that all
existence is a training ground from which we can learn about God and ourselves.
The planes of existence are limitless
and allow for infinite progress:
"For in this universe of God, which
appears in the most complete perfection, beauty and grandeur, the luminous stars
of the material universe are innumerable! Then we must reflect how limitless
and infinite are the spiritual worlds, which are the essential foundation."
However far we travel, and however
many wonders we encounter, it is our own spirituality which ensures our
happiness and that of others. Once we realise our own place in the universe, and
the importance of following God's teachings for today, we will be ready to
explore new worlds and seek out new civilisations.
"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
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