Angels and Satan
The earth hath been shaken, and the mountains have passed away, and the angels have appeared, rank on rank, before Us.
Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 41
The imperfect members of society, the weak souls in humanity, follow their natural trend. Their lives and actions are in accord with their natural propensities; they are captives of physical susceptibilities; they are not in touch or in tune with the spiritual bounties. Man has two aspects: the physical, which is subject to nature, and the merciful or divine, which is connected with God. If the physical or natural disposition in him should overcome the heavenly and merciful, he is, then, the most degraded of animal beings; and if the divine and spiritual should triumph over the human and natural, he is, verily, an angel. The Prophets come into the world to guide and educate humanity so that the animal nature of man may disappear and the divinity of his powers become awakened. The divine aspect or spiritual nature consists of the breaths of the Holy Spirit. The second birth of which Jesus has spoken refers to the appearance of this heavenly nature in man. It is expressed in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and he who is baptized by the Holy Spirit is a véritable manifestation of divine mercy to mankind. Then he becomes just and kind to all humanity; he entertains prejudice and ill will toward none; he shuns no nation or people.
`Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 41
The spirit of truth is soaring on the supreme apex, like unto a bird, in order that it may discover a severed heart and alight therein and make its nest.
I hope that all the friends become manifestors of knowledge and the centers of merciful feelings. Each of them become like unto an angel and radiate heavenly deeds, thoughts and actions.
Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith, p. 409
The same is true with respect to animals: notice that when the animal is trained it becomes domestic, and also that man, if he is left without education, becomes bestial, and, moreover, if left under the rule of nature, becomes lower than an animal, whereas if he is educated he becomes an angel.
`Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 7
Through His (Christ's) death and teachings we have entered into His Kingdom. His essential teaching was the unity of mankind and the attainment of supreme human virtues through love. He came to establish the Kingdom of peace and everlasting life. Can you find in His words any justification for discord and enmity? The purpose of His life and the glory of His death were to set mankind free from the sins of strife, war and bloodshed. The great nations of the world boast that their laws and civilization are based upon the religion of Christ. Why then do they make war upon each other? The Kingdom of Christ cannot be upheld by destroying and disobeying it. The banners of His armies cannot lead the forces of Satan. Consider the sad picture of Italy carrying war into Tripoli. If you should announce that Italy was a barbarous nation and not Christian, this would be vehemently denied. But would Christ sanction what they are doing in Tripoli? Is this destruction of human life obedience to His laws and teachings? Where does He command it? Where does He consent to it? He was killed by His enemies; He did not kill. He even loved and prayed for those who hung Him on the cross. Therefore, these wars and cruelties, this bloodshed and sorrow are Antichrist, not Christ. These are the forces of death and Satan, not the hosts of the Supreme Concourse of heaven.
`Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 5-6
You have asked why it was necessary for the soul that was from God to make this journey back to God? Would you like to understand the reality of this question just as I teach it, or do you wish to hear it as the world teaches it? For if I should answer you according to the latter way, this would be but imitation and would not make the subject clear.
The reality underlying this question is that the evil spirit, Satan or whatever is interpreted as evil, refers to the lower nature in man. This baser nature is symbolized in various ways. In man there are two expressions: One is the expression of nature; the other, the expression of the spiritual realm. The world of nature is defective. Look at it clearly, casting aside all superstition and imagination. If you should leave a man uneducated and barbarous in the wilds of Africa, would there be any doubt about his remaining ignorant? God has never created an evil spirit; all such ideas and nomenclature are symbols expressing the mere human or earthly nature of man. It is an essential condition of the soil of earth that thorns, weeds and fruitless trees may grow from it. Relatively speaking, this is evil; it is simply the lower state and baser product of nature.
`Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 294-295
Baha'u'llah, in all the Tablets and Epistles, forbade the true and firm friends from associating and meeting the violators of the Covenant of His Holiness, the Bab, saying that no one should go near them because their breath is like the poison of the snake that kills instantly.
In the Hidden Words, He says: "Esteem the friendship of the just, but withhold both mind and hand from the company of the wicked."
Addressing one of the friends, He says: "It is clear to your honor that before long Satan, in the garb of man, will reach that land and will try to mislead the friends of the Divine Beauty through temptations which arouse the desires of self, and will cause them to follow the footsteps of Satan away from the right and glorious path, and prevent them from attaining the Blessed Shore of the King of Oneness. This is a hidden information of which we have informed the chosen ones lest they may be deprived of their praiseworthy station by associating with the embodiments of hatred. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all the friends of God to shun any person in whom they perceive the emanation of hatred for the Glorious Beauty of Abha, though he may quote all the Heavenly Utterances and cling to all the Books." He continues-- Glorious be His Name!--"Protect yourselves with utmost vigilance, lest you be entrapped in the snare of deception and fraud." This is the advice of the Pen of Destiny.
In another address, He says: "Therefore, to avoid these people will be the nearest path by which to attain the divine good pleasure; because their breath is infectious, like unto poison."
Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith, p. 430-431
O Muhammad! The Decree of thy Lord was fulfilled four years ago; and ever since the inception of the Cause of thy Lord I have warned thee to fear God and not to be of the ignorant. I dispatched a messenger unto thee with a truly resplendent Tablet, but the followers of the devil turned him away disdainfully and interposed themselves between him and thee. They expelled him from the land whereof thou art the undisputed sovereign. Thus hath the good of this world and of the next escaped thee, unless thou submit to the commandment ordained by God and be of them that are rightly guided.
The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 24
"My captivity is not My abasement: by My life, it is indeed a glory unto Me! But the abasement is the action of My friends who connect themselves with Us and follow the devil in their actions. Amongst them is he who taketh lust and turneth aside from what is commanded; and amongst them is he who followeth the truth in right guidance. As for those who commit sin and cling to the world they are assuredly not of the people of Baha."
Baha'u'llah, quoted by `Abdu'l-Baha, A Traveler's Narrative, p. 42
Praise be unto Thee, O my God, that we have wakened to the splendors of the light of Thy knowledge. Send down, then, upon us, O my Lord, what will enable us to dispense with any one but Thee, and will rid us of all attachment to aught except Thyself. Write down, moreover, for me, and for such as are dear to me, and for my kindred, man and woman alike, the good of this world and the world to come. Keep us safe, then, through Thine unfailing protection, O Thou the Beloved of the entire creation and the Desire of the whole universe, from them whom Thou hast made to be the manifestations of the Evil Whisperer, who whisper in men's breasts. Potent art Thou to do Thy pleasure. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.
Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, p. 233
The Nonexistence of Evil
The true explanation of this subject is very difficult. Know that beings are of two kinds: material and spiritual, those perceptible to the senses and those intellectual.
Things which are sensible are those which are perceived by the five exterior senses; thus those outward existences which the eyes see are called sensible. Intellectual things are those which have no outward existence but are conceptions of the mind. For example, mind itself is an intellectual thing which has no outward existence. All man's characteristics and qualities form an intellectual existence and are not sensible.
Briefly, the intellectual realities, such as all the qualities and admirable perfections of man, are purely good, and exist. Evil is simply their nonexistence. So ignorance is the want of knowledge; error is the want of guidance; forgetfulness is the want of memory; stupidity is the want of good sense. All these things have no real existence.
In the same way, the sensible realities are absolutely good, and evil is due to their nonexistence--that is to say, blindness is the want of sight, deafness is the want of hearing, poverty is the want of wealth, illness is the want of health, death is the want of life, and weakness is the want of strength.
Nevertheless a doubt occurs to the mind--that is, scorpions and serpents are poisonous. Are they good or evil, for they are existing beings? Yes, a scorpion is evil in relation to man; a serpent is evil in relation to man; but in relation to themselves they are not evil, for their poison is their weapon, and by their sting they defend themselves. But as the elements of their poison do not agree with our elements--that is to say, as there is antagonism between these different elements, therefore, this antagonism is evil; but in reality as regards themselves they are good.
The epitome of this discourse is that it is possible that one thing in relation to another may be evil, and at the same time within the limits of its proper being it may not be evil. Then it is proved that there is no evil in existence; all that God created He created good. This evil is nothingness; so death is the absence of life. When man no longer receives life, he dies. Darkness is the absence of light: when there is no light, there is darkness. Light is an existing thing, but darkness is nonexistent. Wealth is an existing thing, but poverty is nonexisting.
Then it is evident that all evils return to nonexistence. Good exists; evil is nonexistent.
`Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 263-264
The Evil One hath stirred up mischief in their hearts, and they are afflicted with a torment that none can avert.
Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 41