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Religion Library: Baha'i

Afterlife and Salvation

Written by: Moojan Momen

The Baha'i scriptures assert that there is life after death; indeed the whole purpose of human life in this world is a preparation for that life. Human beings have only one lifetime on this earth and the purpose of this life is to acquire spiritual virtues in preparation for the next life, which is a purely spiritual life, and so these spiritual virtues will only fully come into their own in that next life.

The Baha'i scriptures teach that human life in this world is like that of the embryo in the womb, which is developing arms, legs, eyes, and ears that are of little use in that world of the uterus. It is only when it dies to that world and is born into this world that it is able to use these organs fully. Similarly, human beings are instructed by the Manifestations of God to develop certain virtues. Humans cannot entirely understand the reason for this now but if they were to fail to develop these virtues, they would be born into the next world handicapped, just as an embryo that fails to develop arms or legs or eyes is handicapped when it is born into this world.

Life after Death

In the beginning of his human life man was embryonic in the world of the matrix. There he received capacity and endowment for the reality of human existence. The forces and powers necessary for this world were bestowed upon him in that limited condition. In this world he needed eyes; he received them potentially in the other. He needed ears; he obtained them there in readiness and preparation for his new existence. The powers requisite in this world were conferred upon him in the world of the matrix so that when he entered this realm of real existence he not only possessed all necessary functions and powers but found provision for his material sustenance awaiting him.

Therefore, in this world he must prepare himself for the life beyond. That which he needs in the world of the Kingdom must be obtained here. Just as he prepared himself in the world of the matrix by acquiring forces necessary in this sphere of existence, so, likewise, the indispensable forces of the divine existence must be potentially attained in this world.

What is he in need of in the Kingdom which transcends the life and limitation of this mortal sphere? That world beyond is a world of sanctity and radiance; therefore, it is  necessary that in this world he should acquire these divine attributes. In that world there is need of spirituality, faith, assurance, the knowledge and love of God. These he must attain in this world so that after his ascension from the earthly to the heavenly Kingdom he shall find  all that is needful in that eternal life ready for him.

 

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