Eventually, all souls will "return" to God. All souls come from God, and all return unto Him. Some faster than others. Some more painfully than others. But all souls eventually return to God.
A Bahá'í View of Jesus and Salvation
Jesus is recognized as a Manifestation of God and the WORD of God incarnate.
The Faith holds as true....
*Jesus was born of a literal virgin and the Holy Spirit.
*Jesus performed literal miracles.
*Jesus was the "Son of God".
*Jesus was the Messiah that the Jews expected to come.
*Jesus offerred Himself as a sacrifice for the sins and iniquities of all mankind.
However, Bahá'ís and Christians will disagree on the following....
*Christians believe that Jesus arose in the same body that He was crucified in (His physical body).
Bahá'ís believe that Jesus arose in His "ethereal body" and that His physical body was taken from the tomb and buried under the Wall of Jersualem. The Ethereal Body lasts for 49 days after death, and resembles the physical body at the time of death (including wounds or scars). Indeed, in the ancient Gospel of Peter (believed by the earliest Christians to be inspired of God and written by Peter), two angels take the physical body of Jesus out of the tomb just hours before Mary Magdalene and the apostles arrive to find the tomb empty. What they do with His physical body, the Gospel of Peter does not inform us.
The Bardo Body resembles the physical body at death and lasts for 49 days. It is also called the "Astral Body" the "Spiritual Body" the "Ethereal Body" and the "Subtle Body". It can only be seen in visions. It has some physical properties, but it is not a physical body.
*Christians believe that Jesus arose in His physical body, and ascended into Heaven from the top of the Mount of Olives, and will return in that same physical body for His Second Coming; this time descending upon the Mount of Olives.
*Bahá'ís believe that the Ascension was not a physical event, but a "vision" that the disciples had; a vision that contains divine mysteries. They saw (in vision--not physically) Jesus ascend into a "cloud". This means, Jesus will come in a "cloud"; meaning a new body and new name. By "cloud" is not meant a literal "cloud" in the sky, but a new body that "obscures" His true idenity; just as a cloud in the sky obscures the Sun. In other words, Jesus will NOT return in the same physical body born of Mary; but His Soul (the WORD of God) will return in a new body, born of a new woman, with a new name.
*Christians believe that when Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, nobody comes to the Father but by me!" He meant that one had to be a Christian in order to be "saved" from burning in Hell-fire for all eternity.
*Bahá'ís believe that when ANY of the Manifestation of God say "I am the Way" they are speaking the Truth! Because They are "ONE"! All of Them are from God! All of the Manifestations of God said "I am the Way" or something like unto it. And it is true for Them All!
By "salvation" Christians mean this...
By "salvation" Bahá'ís mean this....
If one confesses with one's mouth, and believes in one's heart, that Jesus is their Lord, and His blood covers their sins, they will be "saved" from burning in Hell-fire for all eternity. But, at death, they will immediately go to the Presence of the LORD; which is a massive Heavenly Choir, with genderless Angels singing songs of praise to God and the Lamb for all eternity; only occassionally looking down and viewing the Damned screaming in Hell-fire for all eternity.
If one walks the Path of Holiness, and reaches an "exaled state" of spirituality in this life, the Holy Spirit will "transform" their human soul into an angelic soul. Then, at death, they will enter the Spiritual Kingdom: which consists of the following Realms:
HEY-HOOT (Realm of the Essence of God)
++++++++The Impassible Barrier+++++++++++
LAW-HOOT (Realm of the Names/Attributes of God)
JAW-BAW-ROOT (Realm of the Immortals)
MAW-LAW-KOOT (Realm of the Angels)
*********The Passible Barrier************
NAW-SOOT (Realm of the Mortals)
Our physical dimension is Nawsoot; the Realm of the Mortals (i.e. physical beings subject to death).
The Four Spiritual Kingdoms are "Heaven" and the one Physical Kingdom is "Hell".
In other words:
"GOD" (Heyhoot or "The Divine Essence")
__________THE IMPASSIBLE BARRIER__________
"HEAVEN" (Lawhoot, Jawbawroot, Mawlawkoot or "The Spiritual Realms")
_____BARZAKH (A barrier that can be passed if one is born again)_____
"HELL" (Nawsoot or "The Material/Physical Realm")
Nawsoot is the Realm we now exist in; where the Sun burns and wares out our skin, and where we experience pain, sorrow, injustice, opression, disease, aging, and death. It is the Material/Physical Realm.
Human souls can go to Mawlawkoot (to become Angels), or Jawbawroot (to become Immortals). Another name for Jawbawroot is "Paradise".
Divine Souls (Prophets and Chosen Ones) belong to Lawhoot (The Most High Paradise). They go to Nawsoot not as puishment, but as Teachers and Guides.
Only the Essence of God (ALLAH) exists in Heyhoot. In the Faith, God is not a Person, but a Dimension (Mind) that will forever remain a mystery to created minds. No human soul nor any Divine Soul can ever reach Heyhoot. Only the Divine Essence exists in that Realm.
Below the Spiritual Kingdom (Heaven) is the Material Kingdom (Hell); which consists of the material suns and the planets that revolve around those suns. These are the planets where the Sun burns our skin. This is the meaning of "Hell-fire" in the Bible and Qu'ran.
****The Impassible Barrier****
HEAVEN (lawhoot, Jawbawroot, Mawlawkoot)
****The Passible Barrier****
Heyhoot=Realm of the Essence of GOD (ALLAH)
Lawhoot=Realm of the Prophets (Names of God)
Jawbawroot=Realm of the Immortals
Mawlawkoot=Realm of the Angels
Nawsoot=Realm of the Mortals
We exist now in NAW-SOOT (Realm of the Mortals). In this Realm we experience pain, sorrow, separation of loved ones, injustice, aging, and death! We are burning in Hell-fire now! The Sun burns and wares out of skin, and we "die" from its effects. The "demons" are wicked men (and sometimes women) who afflict us with pain and injustice.
Salvation means to "escape" from the Realm of Mortals, and, at death, enter into the Spiritual Kingdom (Heaven) either in Mawlawkoot (Realm of the Angels) or Jawbawroot (Realm of the Immortals).
The Realm of the Immortals (Jawbawroot) is also called "Paradise".
SALVATION BY WORKS OR BY GRACE?
It is true that we are saved by the Grace of God! Bahá'u'lláh wrote:"There can be no doubt whatever that if for one moment the tide of His mercy and grace were to be withheld from the world, it would completely perish. For this reason, from the beginning that hath no beginning the portals of Divine mercy have been flung open to the face of all created things, and the clouds of Truth will continue to the end that hath no end to rain on the soil of human capacity, reality and personality their favors and bounties. Such hath been God's method continued from everlasting to everlasting." (Gleanings p.69)We cannot "save" ourselves! But...how does not "receive" the Grace of God?
a) By saying the Sinner's Prayer?
b) By receiving the Body and Blood of Christ via the hands of a Roman Catholic priest?
c) By "keeping the commandments" of the Greek Orthodox church, Russian Orthodox Church, the Mormon Church, or some other church?
d) By "publishing" (going door-to-door) selling The Watchtower magazine at least 16 hours per month?
How does one "attain" the Grace of God?
The answer is....
THE PATH OF HOLINESS (THE WAY)
We believe that we are "saved" if we become "born again". To become "born again" we must walk the Path of Holiness. In the Faith, the Path of Holiness consists of Nine beliefs and practices:
1) Belief in God and the Afterlife
2) Belief in Bahá'u'lláh
3) Fasting during the daylight hours during the 18-day month of 'Ala.
4) Meditation on a Verse of God every day.
5) Chanting the Zikr (Remembrance of God) one time per day (saying "Allah'u'Abha" 95 times)
6) Ceasing work on the 9 Holy Days (if possible)
7) Good thoughts, good words, good deeds
8) Praying the Daily Obligatory Prayer
9) Living the life (i.e. obeying the Law of God to the best of one's ability on a daily basis)
Any Path of Holiness, authored by any Manifestation of God, can lead a soul to Eternal Life; not just the Bahá'í Path of Holiness. For example, the Buddha came to teach the "Noble 8-Fold Path". If followed correctly, that Path of Holiness can transform the soul from "human" to "angelic". Also, the Roman Catholic Church offers a "Path of Holiness" that can transform the soul. The Bahá'í Path of Holiness is merely the most "correct" Path, but not the only Path that can cause a Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The Path of Holiness is also called "THE WAY". It is not any human organization. It is simply the Divine Method of becoming "born again"; which is the Holy Spirit transforming our "human" soul into an "angelic" soul. That is how we are "saved".
Bahá'u'lláh wrote:"O Son of Glory!WHAT DOES "SALVATION" MEAN?
Be swift in the path of hooliness, and eventer the heaven of communion with Me. Cleanse thy heart with the burnish of the Spirit, and hasten to the court of the Most High." (Hidden Words No. 8)
To be "saved" means to escape Nawsoot (the Physical Realm) and be "born" into the Spiritual Realms. It means that the Holy Spirit "transforms" our soul from "Hell-condition" into "Heaven-condition".
Those who call themselves "Bahá'ís" but who ignore the Path of Holiness, or any part of it, are not truly Bahá'ís but are MOON-NAW-FEEK -KOON (Hypocrites).
The Bahá'í Faith is not just about creating a better society. It is not just about establishing the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. It is about that, but it is also about transforming the soul from a selfish human soul into an unselfish angelic soul. Once the Holy Spirit does this, this is called the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" or "The Baptism of the Fire of the Love of God". A person who is truly "born again" doesn't return to NAW-SOOT (Realm of the Mortals) at death, but enters into the Spiritual Kingdom (Heaven).
A human soul that is not "born again" on this planet, must go to another planet where the Sun burns the skin, and to again experience pain, sorrow, separation of loved ones, injustice, disease, aging, and death. This is called "Burning in Hell". But, again, that soul will have another opportunity for "salvation"; if they choose to truly follow a Manifestation of God, walking His Path of Holiness, and becoming "born again" (transforming the soul from human to angelic), and then entering the Spiritual Kingdom at death.
There is no "reincarnation" for human souls upon this material planet! But, the Prophets and Chosen Ones do not have "human" souls. Their Souls are Divine. This is why Melchizedek, the King of Salem in the time of Abraham, is called "one like unto the Son of God". The Prophets and Chosen Ones "return". We human souls do not. If we are not "born again" in this life, we must go to another material planet to experience another death (the second death). But, on that planet, we will again be given the opportunity to repent and follow THE WAY.
ALL SOULS RETURN TO GOD
Fudamentalist Christians believe all those who are not Fundamentalist Christians shall burn in Hell for all eternity (see right); screaming and crying for mercy, but never receiving any.
Fundamentalist Muslims believe the same thing: all who do not accept Islaam (i.e. Fudamentalist Islaam) shall burn in Hell-fire for all eternity; screaming and crying for mercy, but never receiving any.
Bahá'ís believe differently.
There is no eternal unending "Hell" where the Damned scream and cry for mercy for all eternity but never receive any! This is a false tradition of men; a misinterpretation of what the Bible and Quran actual says. Nowhere in the Bibles is Hell mentioned as being "eternal" or "unending". The words used in the original Greek are AEON and AEONIAN. The word AEON means "age" and can refer to the age of the Cosmos, or the age of a city or the age of a tree or the age of a man or the age of a butterfly; depending upon the context in which it is used.
The Greek word for "forever" or "unending" is AIDIOS, and is never used in the Bible in reference to Hell.
In the Qur'an (khoor-rawn), the Holy Book of Islaam, which Bahá'ís accept as the Infallible Word of God, it says:“They will long to leave the Fire, but never will they leave there from; and theirs will be a lasting torment.” (Quran 5:37)The Bahá'í interpretation is: the Wicked will endure the Fire for as long as the Cosmos lasts except as the Lord wills. In other words, we shall dwell in "The Fire" until we conform our own "will" to the Will of God. The Manifestations of God are sent to reveal the Will of God for our Age (Dispensation). If we obey that Will, we shall no longer dwell in "The Fire".
“And they will never leave of the Fire.” (Quran 2:167)
“Surely, those who disbelieve and did wrong; God will not forgive them, nor will He guide them to any way except the way of Hell, to dwell therein forever.” (Quran 4:168-169)
“Surely, God has cursed the disbelievers, and has prepared for them a flaming Fire wherein they will abide for ever.” (Quran 33:64)
“And whosoever disobeys God and His Messenger, then surely, for him is the fire of Hell, he shall dwell therein forever.” (Quran 72:23)
"Those who are wretched shall be in the Fire: There will be for them therein (nothing but) the heaving of sighs and sobs: They will dwell therein for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure, except as thy Lord willeth: for thy Lord is the (sure) accomplisher of what He planneth. And those who are blessed shall be in the Garden: They will dwell therein so long for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure, except as thy Lord willeth: a gift without break. (Quran 11:106-108)
Unbelievers will dwell in "The Fire" as long as the Cosmos endures, but eventually all Souls will become Believers. The Cosmos will not last for eternity. Even the "heavens and the Earth" have an expiration date.
The Holy Qur'an (khoor-rawn) declares that the Unbelievers shall dwell in Hell-fire "forever". This is true.
Can an Unbeliever become a Believer while burning in Hell? If so...then that Soul is no longer an "Unbeliever" and no longer needs to burn in Hell.
If "Hell" refers to Naw-Soot (the Physical Realm), then we are all Unbelievers "burning in Hell". But, if we become true Believers (Mo'men), we shall, when we die, escape "Hell-fire" and go to the Spiritual Kingdoms; which is called "Heaven".
Muslims believe that the Unbelievers (non-muslims) will burn in Hell for all eternity.
Bahá'ís believe that the Unbelievers (those who reject ALL the Manifestations of God) shall "burn in Hell" until they become Believers.
We also believe that all Souls will eventually become "Believers"; if not on this planet, then on some material world many billions of years from today.
HOW SALVATION IS OBTAINED
We are NOT "saved" by reciting the Sinner's Prayer, nor by partaking of the Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church, nor by water-baptism, nor by keeping temple-rites or various laws and ordinances. We are "saved" as Jesus said:"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven." —Matthew 7:21We are "saved" by "doing" the Will of God.
We are "saved" in no other way.
Who is the "Father" of Jesus?
The Father of Jesus is the Holy Spirit, Who became a Man in Iran in 1817 named Mirza Husein-Ali Nuri ("Prince Beauty Exalted of Light"). He became known as BAHÁ'U'LLÁH, ("The Glory of God") Who wrote:"Lo! The Father is come, and that which ye were promised in the Kingdom is fulfilled." (Proclaimation of Bahá'u'lláh, pp.84-85)