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Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

  • Author:
  • J. E. Esslemont

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 edition
  • Pages:
  • 286
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Pages 201-202

The Agnosticism

The Bahá’í teaching is at one with science and philosophy in declaring the essential nature of God to be entirely beyond 202 human comprehension. As emphatically as Thomas Huxley and Herbert Spencer teach that the nature of the Great First Cause is unknowable, does Bahá’u’lláh teach that “God comprehends all; He cannot be comprehended.” To knowledge of the Divine essence “the way is barred and road is impassable,” for how can the finite comprehend the Infinite; how can a drop contain the ocean or a mote dancing in the sunbeam embrace the universe? Yet the whole universe is eloquent of God. In each drop of water are hidden oceans of meaning, and in each mote is concealed a whole universe of significances, reaching far beyond the ken of the most learned scientist. The chemist and physicist pursuing their researches into the nature of matter have passed from masses to molecules, from molecules to atoms, from atoms to electrons and ether, but at every step the difficulties of the research increase till the most profound intellect can penetrate no farther, and can but bow in silent awe before the unknown Infinite which remains ever shrouded in inscrutable mystery.
Flower in the crannied wall, I pluck you out of the crannies.
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand, Little flower—but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is.—TENNYSON.
If the flower in the crannied wall, if even a single atom of matter, present mysteries which the most profound intellect cannot solve, how is it possible for man to comprehend the universe? How dare he pretend to define or describe the Infinite cause of all things? All theological speculations about the nature of God’s essence are thus swept aside as foolish and futile.