September 23, 2022

Life After Life

by Interfaith

As at the time of death, the real and eternal self of man, his soul, abandons its physical garment to soar in the realms of God, we may compare the body to a vehicle which has been used for the journey through earthly life and no longer needed once the destination has been reached.

Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 201

The Matter of death and life after death has always been interesting for people. whether we believe in the existance of some kind of eternal substance in us or not, we will think about what the “end” will look like.

The Baha’i religion, like all other religions, tells us that this worldly material life is just a means to get to that eternal one. it is not the end; it is just the begining.
There’s a substance in us humans that will survive the death of the physical body. that substance called “human soul” is something that does not exist in lower realms like the realm of minerals or animals. that human soul is the cause of our free will and the power of thinking and the cause of all human inventions. With all those benefits that come with having a human soul also comes the matter of being judged by a higher consciousness for what we have done in our lives; whether we have gotten closer to Reality or have we stepped far from it.

While the concepts of heaven and hell are very much talked about and known among all the believers of different religions, the Baha’i religion gives a new definition to these ancient concepts. The main point to remember is this:

Heaven and hell are conditions within our own beings.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 519

So, we do not wait to go to a place called heaven where all things are good or go to a place called hell with burning fire and bioling water being poured on souls. Next world is the world of spirit, not the world of materiality, BUT imagination is also a spiritual thing. and the tourture of hell or the reward of heaven can very well look like burning fire or green gardens IF that is how we imagine them. the next world being spiritual means anything we imagine can appear in front of us at that very moment whereas the material reality of this world does not let that happen easily. Thus, while we do not reject the possibility of being in a frightening atmosphere or a beautiful one in the next world, we believe that the reality of those places is spiritual, not physical.
Another important factor about the baha’i concept of heaven and hell is:

Think ye of love and good fellowship as the delights of heaven, think ye of hostility and hatred as the torments of hell.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 244

In other words, interestingly, those ideas and behaviors and conducts that couse pain and war in this world are the same -symbolically speaking- hell fire that will burn us in the next world. We may believe that the reward and punishment of the next world is physical like this world, but no physical pain , as an example, can be as bad and as never ending as regret and sorrow.

Furthermore, whereas some religions believe in a physical resurrection after death, we do not. Life after death, as we believe and I mentioned, is all spiritual. though, after going there we will still be who we are here; we will have hands and foot and head and hair and everything because we’ll have our ethereal bodies.

In addition to that, we believe that human progression is a never ending process. All humans are created to finally reach their full potential and find the Truth and be with Him. but it takes time for each of us differently. So, in the next world, we’ll still progress, some slower, some faster, towards getting better and better. all roads lead to Him at the end.

So, these are the main points for the begining. I do not wish to make it too long and thus make it boring  I’d be glad to know everyone’s idea on the subject.

(Discussion in ‘Baha’i‘ started by mrym 19/09/2022)

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