What is the purpose of life?

“O Son of Man! Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.” ~ Baha’u’llah

The Baha’i Faith teaches that the ultimate purpose of every human life is to develop a relationship with God. Baha’is believe that God created humanity so that His qualities could be revealed in the world of creation. Therefore, He created us to show us His love, His bounty, His Glory, His Mercy, and all of His other qualities. Baha’is believe that it is this love that God has for humanity that is the reason we exist. As the Baha’i Writings state, “O Son of Man! Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.” (Baha’u’llah, HW Arabic).

This love from God is meant to be returned by humanity. We are meant to return this affection and appreciate this bounty. The Baha’i Writings state, “O Son of Man! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life. (Baha’u’llah, HW Arabic).  Our Creator brought us into being in order to appreciate, love, and worship His existence. In one of the most important Baha’i prayers to be said every day, it says, “I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. I testify, at this moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth.” (Baha’u’llah, PM, p. 313). Therefore, Baha’is are reminded ourselves of the purpose of our creation—every day.

Baha’is believe that God is beyond our comprehension, therefore, we have to find Him through His qualities in His universe. The path to God is a unique and precious privilege we all embark on. He can be found through art, through direct service to others, through teaching children, through healing the sick, through traveling the world and experiencing the diversity of humanity. God’s majesty can be found in the ocean’s horizon, His mystery can be found in the starry night, and His love can be found in the nurturing of a parent for an infant. In another prayer, Baha’u’llah writes, “By Thy glory! Every time I lift up mine eyes unto Thy heaven, I call to mind Thy highness and Thy loftiness, and Thine incomparable glory and greatness; and every time I turn my gaze to Thine earth, I am made to recognize the evidences of Thy power and the tokens of Thy bounty. And when I behold the sea, I find that it speaketh to me of Thy majesty, and of the potency of Thy might, and of Thy sovereignty and Thy grandeur. And at whatever time I contemplate the mountains, I am led to discover the ensigns of Thy victory and the standards of Thine omnipotence.” (Baha’u’llah, PM, p. 272).

Baha’is believe their purpose during their lives is to manifest spiritual qualities in the world. They live out their lives trying to develop their own individual and unique mix of spiritual qualities. These qualities include kindness, compassion, insight, empathy, and others. They are all necessary for the next world. If we do not develop them in this plane of existence, we may never develop them. It is like an embryo in the womb of the mother. The embryo grows arms, legs, eyes, and ears for this world. It does not need these organs and appendages in the womb-world, but it definitely needs them to function properly in this world. These spiritual qualities in the next world are like these organs and appendages in this material world.

As it is written in the Baha’i Holy Writings, “When the human soul soareth out of this transient heap of dust and riseth into the world of God, then veils will fall away, and verities will come to light, and all things unknown before will be made clear, and hidden truths be understood… Consider how a being, in the world of the womb, was deaf of ear and blind of eye, and mute of tongue; how he was bereft of any perceptions at all. But once, out of that world of darkness, he passed into this world of light, then his eye saw, his ear heard, his tongue spoke. In the same way, once he hath hastened away from this mortal place into the Kingdom of God, then he will be born in the spirit; then the eye of his perception will open, the ear of his soul will hearken, and all the truths of which he was ignorant before will be made plain and clear. (Abdu’l-Baha, SWA p. 177)

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