I. What Is The First Cause Of The Universe?: Although every creation must have a creator God is the Creator but not the Cause of the universe. A cause implies a dependency with its effects. Since God is unchangeable God cannot be a cause. As Baha’u’llah explains, it is the “Word of God which is the Cause of the entire creation, while all else besides His Word are but the creatures and the effects thereof.”(Tablets, p 140)
Baha’u’llah said that “Once in an age the Mighty God sent a Soul to earth endowed with the power of the Great Ether and that such a Soul had all power and was able to do anything.”
II. What Is The Reality Of Ether?: In 1887, physicists Michelson and Morley tried to measure the difference in the speed of light while the point of measurement moved towards the sun in the morning as well as away from the sun in the evening. This experiment assumed that if space was filled with ether, the measurements should indicate a higher speed of light as the earth moved through the ether towards the sun as well as a lower speed of light as the earth moved through the ether away from the sun. But no change in the velocity of light was ever observed! Later, Einstein declared the speed of light is constant regardless of the velocity of the observer. He also proposed that ether does not exist. Abdu’l-Baha, however, explained that ether does exist as an intellectual reality but is not measurable. He stated that ether is known through the forces it exerts such as electromagnetic radiation. The all-pervading ether is a spiritual reality filled with an infinity of attributes that give rise to particles and energy and whatever else is born. Ether is a spiritual manifestation of the Word of God that is the basic substance and potential generator of all created things, both material and spiritual. It is an eternal reality that is spiritual in nature and corresponds to the constituent substance of all things including that of the human spirit
“The substance and primary matter of contingent beings is the ethereal power which is invisible and only known through its effects, such as electricity, heat and light – these are vibrations of that power, and this is established and proven in natural philosophy and is known as the ethereal substance. This ethereal substance is itself both the active force and the recipient; in other words, it is the sign of the Primal Will in the phenomenal world… ” (translated from the Writings by Keven Brown, p 28)
III .What Are The Attributes Of Creation?: “What is the origin of this world? `Ether’, `he replied. For all these beings take their rise from the ether and return into the ether. Ether is older than these, ether is their rest.” (Upanishads, vol. 1)
The Creator creates through the Word of God the existence of creatures that manifest Its attributes. The Word of God possesses all of the attributes of God, where each is of infinite capacity. Ether, an intellectual substance, can also be thought of as consisting of all the attributes of God, where each is infinite in potentiality.
There is a possible equating of the Word of God with ether. However, as Baha’u’llah says in His Tablet of Wisdom, the Word of God “is higher and far superior to that which the senses can perceive, for It is sanctified from any property or substance. It transcendeth the limitations of known elements and is exalted above all the essential and recognized substances. It became manifest without any syllable or sound and is none but the Command of God which pervadeth all created things. It hath never been withheld from the world of being…”
“Brahman [The Word of God] is that from which the origin, subsistence and dissolution of this world proceed . . . an omniscient, omnipotent cause.” Further, “the world originates from Brahman by thought. He wished, may I be many.” (Taitt. Upanishad 2,6) Then, “Brahman emanates the world from Itself by thought and enters into it as the Self of all – It is omnipresent”.
Causes are always changed by their effects, as the Upanishads state: “Mind, impelled by Brahma’s desire to create, performs the work of creation by modifying itself, thence ether is produced… Om means ether (akasa) and that ether is the origin of all things may still sound to us more physical than metaphysical; still the description given ether or akasa shows that more is meant by it than physical ether and that ether is in fact one of the earlier and less perfect names of the Infinite, of Brahman, the Universal Self.” (Upanishads vol. 1)
“Let every Brahamana, concentrating his mind, fully recognize in the Self all things, both the real and the unreal, for he who recognizes the universe in the Self, does not give his heart to unrighteousness…The universe rests on the Self; for the Self produces the connection of these embodied (spirits) with actions.” (Hindu, Laws of Manu)
“How resplendent the luminaries of knowledge that shine in an atom and how vast the oceans of wisdom that surge within a drop! To a supreme degree is this true of man who among all created things hath been invested with the robe of such gifts and hath been singled out for the glory of such distinction. For in him are potentially revealed all the attributes and names of God to a degree that no other created being hath excelled or surpassed. All these names and attributes are applicable to him. (Gleanings, p 177)
“He therefore who meditates on Om, meditates on the spirit in man as identical with the spirit in nature…but that meditation on Om alone, or that knowledge of what is meant by Om alone can procure true salvation or true immortality. Thus the pupil is led on step by step to what is the highest object of the Upanishads, viz. the recognition of the self in man as identical with the Highest Self or Brahman.” (Upanishads, vol. 1)
IV.What Is Primary Matter?: Plato stated all contingent things consist of both primordial matter, the primary substance of the universe and a subtle counterpart, the form or fashioner which fashions the primary substance into specific observable things. (Plato, pp 456-472)
At the very beginning of fashioning God created “formless” primary matter within which God’s attributes fashioned this “formless” matter into individual beings according to their appointed capacities. All are made either as spiritual beings abiding with God or as beings moving in time and place.
V.What Fashioned Creation?: “It is the command of Him who always covers this world, the Knower, the Time of time, Who assumes qualities and all knowledge. It is at His command that this work (creation) unfolds itself, which is called earth, water, fire, air and ether; He Who after He has done that work and rested again has brought together one essence (the Self) with the other (matter) with one, two, three, or eight, with time also and with the subtile qualities of the mind..” (Upanishads, vol. 2, Svetasvatara-Upanishad),
Baha’u’llah said that two principles are inherent in the Word of God, the active force and its recipient. He states:”The world of existence came into being through the heat generated from the interaction between the active force and that which is its recipient. These two are the same yet they are different…Such as communicate the generating influence [the collective attributes of God as the Fashioner] and such as receive Its impact [primary matter] are indeed created through the irresistible Word of God..” (Tablets, pp 140-2)
To put all this in perspective, `Abdu’l-Baha discusses the three levels of existence: “The first emanation from God is the Bounty of the Kingdom which emanates and is reflected in the reality of the creatures like the light which emanates from the sun and is resplendent in creatures; and this bounty [the Word of God] which is the light is reflected in infinite forms in the reality of all things and specifies and individualizes itself according to the capacity, the worthiness and the intrinsic value of things.” (Some Answered Questions, p, 295)
At every instant contingent beings including the fundamental particles of the universe and spiritual realities such as the soul are recreated through the Eternal Word of God. As `Abdu’l-Baha says on this, “All things are subject to transformation and change save only the cause of existence Itself.”(Selections, p 157)
VI How Is The Universe Expanding?: According to the standard Big-Bang theory the universe started in a moment of nearly infinite temperature and density some fifteen billion years ago. Then the universe was infinitely or near infinitely hot; it exploded and has been expanding ever since the “beginning” of the latest Big Bang.
VII. What Happened Before The Last Big Bang?: Imagine the pre-Big-Bang universe as featureless, timeless, without attributes or forms. No time, no space, no contingent spirits except those formed in previous cycles and no particles existed! Such entities without forms or attributes are primary matter. “He created Himself – at that time there was no other. He consulted Himself for advice and what He did came to pass. At that time there were no Akashic records, no nether regions, nor the three worlds. At that time only the Formless Lord Himself existed – there was no creation. As it pleased Him so did He act; without Him there was no other.” (Shri Guru Granth Sahib, Section 9)
“In the Primal Void the Infinite Lord assumed His Power. He Himself is unattached, infinite and incomparable. He Himself exercised His Creative Power and he gazes upon his creation; from the Primal Void He formed the Void. From this Primal Void He fashioned air and water. He created the universe and the king in the fortress of the body. Your light pervades fire, water and souls; Your Power rests in the Primal Void. From this Primal Void Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva issued forth. This Primal Void is pervasive throughout all the ages…From this Primal Void the earth and the Akashic Ethers were created. He supports them without any visible support by exercising His True Power.” (Shri Guru Granth Sahib, Section 28.)
At the very beginning once the attributes and forms are united with this primary matter the resulting union starts to explode into an ethereal world of rapidly expanding space, time and whirling vortices of ether that began to evolve into the present day universe.
VIII. Why Strings Versus Points?: In classical descriptions of natural forces, mathematical infinities arose from point particles getting too close to other particles. Unpleasant mathematical infinities arise as spatial regions are shrunk to zero. If particles are not considered as points but are extended like tiny strings the problem of infinities goes away. It has been recognized that theories in which the most elementary objects are “strings” rather than points make sense and avoid erroneous infinities.
With respect to lines or strings, Baha’u’llah alluded to the process of creation in terms of lines: “Know then, that God, praised and glorified be He, took a line, split it lengthwise into two, rotated the one about the other, and so made from them the universe. The line, however, formeth only from the point when you move it. Conceive ye then our meaning” (unpublished Tablet, provisionally translated by Keven Brown; see references). In a sense, nature denies the existence of a point. As an attempted point starts to exist from pre-space, an infinitesimal elapse in time also forms. Since space and time are interconnected, the point moves in space-time forming an infinitesimal line.
A string possesses an infinite number of modes of vibrations just like the harmonics of a violin string. The energy of each different mode corresponds to different elementary particles. Most string vibrations will have unobservable high energies but others include lower energies and attributes of known elementary particles. Such strings would have a greater dynamical behavior especially if these one-dimensional strings could wiggle as well as move about.
In one string theory concept strings occupy eleven dimensions but the extra dimensions are micro-compacted to extremely small sizes. These extra dimensions manifest themselves as some internal properties of particles. The excitement roused by string theory is that it explains how forces and particles interact. This theory might unite space, time, matter and forces into one unified theory.
These strings can be either open with two free ends or closed into loops like rings. The more promising approach is to regard them as closed. The diameter of a string loop or ring is estimated at the Planck quantum length of 10-33 cm. The mathematical string moves and rotates in ordinary space but also vibrates in other space dimensions. These vibrations produce energy and angular momentum and, as Einstein hypothesized, energy has mass.
Imagine now that ethereal matter has whirling motions like the air or water in such familiar vortices as tornadoes or the little whirlpools at the bottom of a draining sink. A possible model of a fundamental particle is then a vibration mode of a tiny loop or invisible vortex ring rapidly rotating and vibrating at different frequencies.
Imagine billions upon billions of such vortex patterns whirling and curling in all directions in the ether. Ether and ethereal rings have attributes of elasticity, density, pressure, mobility, etc. Sensible matter is not the rings but the combined modes of rapid vibrations of the ethereal rings that generate energy, matter and electromagnetic waves. The ether which is around us is the same as the ether which is within us. And the ether which is within us includes the ether within our heart.
The meaning of the term heart used in Baha’i Writings indicates a state of human consciousness that is beyond ordinary feelings, beyond thought. It is within the soul and is not the physical heart. When this spiritual heart is purified it’s capable of reflecting the Word of God. In a state of union with the Word of God new purposes can develop in our soul. This may mean new insights into the universe in our quest for knowledge from which we can possibly discover new relationships in or about the universe.
Usually science with a given code of scientific methodology can be done without using the heart. This means that the scientific method never in itself is self-sufficient. It may reduce an otherwise open mind which should constitute a pure heart that could reflect the reality inherent in the truth of whatever we are investigating.
This same state of mind Buddha dealt with as He defined the conditions of mindfulness necessary for meditation. “He who delights in subduing thoughts, he who meditates on impurities of things, he who is ever full of mindfulness, – It is he who will make an end of suffering and destroy the Mara’s [The Tempter’s] bond…. The meditative one who walks this path is released from the bonds of Mara.” (Dhammapada – Sayings of the Buddha, tr. J. Richards))
The Upanishads State: “Ether in the heart (as Brahma) is omnipresent and unchanging…. In the ether everything is born.. As large as this ether is also large is that ether within the heart… what is called ether (Akasa) is the revealer of all forms and names. These forms and names are contained in Brahma, the Immortal, the Self…. He who understands all and who knows all, He to whom all this glory in the world belongs, the Self, is placed in the ether in the heavenly city of Brahma (the heart). He assumes the nature of mind and becomes the guide of the body of the senses. He is the beginning, producing the causes which unite (the soul and the body) and being above the three kinds of time (past, present, future). He is seen as without parts after we have first worshipped that adorable God who has many forms and who is the true source (of all things) as dwelling in our own mind.” (Upanishads, vol.2)
“He who thus vows his soul to the Supreme Soul, quitting sin, passes unhindered to the endless bliss of unity with Brahma. He … sees the Life-Soul resident in all things living and all living things in that Life-Soul contained.” (Hindu, Bhagavad Gita (Edwin Arnold translator)
IX.How Is Ether Related To The Human Spirit?: All religions state that man is made in the image of God. We incorporate all the names and attributes of God. In His Tablet of Wisdom Baha’u’llah infers that ether bears the closest likeness to the human spirit. Referring to Socrates, Baha’u’llah states: “He it is who perceived a unique, a tempered, and a pervasive nature in things, bearing the closest likeness to the human spirit, and he discovered this nature to be distinct from the substance of things in their refined form. He hath a special pronouncement on this weighty theme. Wert thou to ask from the worldly wise of this generation about this exposition, thou wouldst witness their incapacity to grasp it.”(Tablets, p 146)
The human soul has all the attributes of God but with finite capacities for each while ether has all of the attributes of God each with unlimited capacity. The Blessed Lord Krishna said: “I am the Self, seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings….I am the transcendental Om…. There is no being – moving or unmoving – that can exist without Me.”
The human soul that animates the human body becomes an attractor for human attributes in the ether. `Abdu’l-Baha illuminates: “As the spirit of man is the cause of the life of the body…these members, these elements, this composition, which is found in the organism of man, are an attraction and a magnet for the spirit: :it is certain that the spirit will appear in it.”
Ether may be thought of as continuous in the sense that it exists everywhere. Just as the flow of air creates pressure or suction forces, similarly the flow of ether creates electric, magnetic, light, heat, and gravity forces that are transmitted from one place to another.
X. What Are Quantum Realities?: In 1900,physicist Max Planck proved energy is absorbed and emitted in discrete amounts called quanta. This started quantum theory. Einstein interpreted Planck’s hypothesis saying that light waves consist of quanta of energy he called photons. Thus began notions that waves have quanta associated with them. Erwin Schrodinger transformed classical equations of particle motion into a wave equation relating position, momentum, time and energy of a material particle as a probabilistic theory. In his model all dynamical variables have probabilistic values. His quantum theory restricts how precisely one can specify position versus momentum and time versus energy. These restrictions correspond to the famous Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. (Notes)
XI.What Happened At The Beginning?: Quantum Physics can resolve the dilemma of a Big-Bang for which some think there may have been no “before”. What occurs from moment to moment cannot be predicted with certainty. Only probabilities can be given.
Let us imagine a universe within the first second of its history. Before the universe began there was no time, no space, no matter and no concept of “before.” Only the initial primary matter existed. Then the Word of God caused this primary matter to be joined with the eternal attributes of God.
Physicists say matter and energy that we observe or measure today initially occupied a volume smaller than the dimensions of an atom! [But before the union of the active force with primary matter everything was initially spiritual!] Matter and energy were caused by the creation of extremely superheated ether vortices. The temperature that was generated by the heat of reaction of the active force (the attributes of God) on the passive recipient (primary matter) was enormous, about 1032 degrees Kelvin. Consequently primary matter was individualized into billions upon billions of ethereal vortices sweeping out into the newly formed space and time attributes. Secondary components, perhaps sequentially, were formed out of these spinning loops of extremely hot ethereal plasma (like the element Plato called fire). When the extremely hot furnace of ether exploded the energy imparted to ethereal matter was so great that this escaping and whirling ether formed a gaseous matter (the element Plato called air) that was full of particles like electrons, positrons and neutrinos inside this plasma “hot soup.”
These fundamental particles smashed into each other with energies like 1019 Giga electron volts (GeV) or a trillion times the energy of the biggest particle collider than a physicist can imagine building. Gravity roared in as a powerful but little understood influence at this microscopic scale. While space was expanding the particles presence tended to reverse this expansion at rates inversely proportional to the square of the distances between masses.Gravitation forces started a “tug of war” with the forces of expansion of the spaces between masses.
After this beginning the expansion would cool this super-hot anarchy of colliding matter. As the universe cooled further the collisions became less violent and began to coagulate into protons, neutrons and other heavier particles. (These were like the first liquid state elements that Plato equated with “water.”) Earlier, such a union would have come apart in the violent collisions.
As universal cooling continued, collisions became gentler.After three minutes, temperatures had fallen enough to allow protons and neutrons to combine into stable nuclei. This is called the nucleosynthesis period.This corresponded to the first solid state (that Plato called the “earth” element), all of which began to rule the growth and formation of our baby universe. Atoms (nuclei plus electrons) didn’t form until the temperature fell enough to permit electrons to organize themselves around nuclei. The correct temperature for this occurred about 300,000 years later! Before that time no atoms existed. Since we know a lot about nuclear physics we can determine the relative abundances of the chemical elements that did form. Initial nuclei were nuclei of very light elements. Heavier elements required slower “cooking” in the stars.
Nuclear reactions in stars produced elements whose nuclei were tightly bound and these elements included carbon, oxygen and calcium. Once neutral atoms formed photons could move freely and that is why the microwave photon information arrived so late. This nucleosynthesis theory and resulting microwave photons were confirmed by measurements.
When faith is activated in man through man’s belief in the Manifestation of God he becomes potentially connected to all of reality. The reality of all things is spiritually present within us. Reality resonates in our soul. As we then resonate with all things we may come to understand these realities more deeply. We can discover that the world in which we live is alive! “All things are living!” Spirit and life exist according to the requirements of whatever stage they are in. So why not enjoy the company of nature in a dialogue rather than conquer it and appropriate it for our own purpose?
XII. What Is The Mind-Body Connection?: Since ether has the same substance as the human soul our spiritual soul and attributes we usually associate with matter come from the same source. The soul indeed animates the body. The mind can manifest suggestions or commands to the body either voluntarily or automatically. Manifestation is a major capability of our spiritual soul. As far as present ideas are concerned, we can consider those spiritual realities emerging from the mind such as ideas, thoughts and information. The mind and the heart are faculties of the soul. The soul employs the mind and heart as it deals with information and responses to it.
For thought processes there is active information serving as a link between our two [material and spiritual] sides (The age-old mind-body issue). What is proposed is that there are not two processes; it is suggested that both are essentially united as one overall faculty.
The mind-body issue has stumped experts over the ages as to how this mind-body boundary is crossed. Before the “crossing,” our thoughts and conscious decisions originate in our etheric soul. Karl Popper, the philosopher, suggested that consciousness was a manifestation of some kind of force field in the brain! Popper emphasized that many attributes of the “mind” were also attributes of forces. [But the mind is incorporeal yet is capable of being influenced by matter and of influencing matter.] Nevertheless, Popper proposed that the mind is a three-layered structure. The neurons with their action potentials represent the bottom layer that interacts directly with the body. The next layer, the electromagnetic wave fields (produced by neural activities) represent the unconscious part of our mind. [But the mind is really part of the soul that initiates electromagnetic waves that can produce automatic neural activities that function as a unconscious field.] And in the last layer, that is, the conscious mind, our conscious mental intensities and our conscious experiences are capable of interacting through electromagnetic patterns with these unconscious electromagnetic force fields.
These concepts resonate strongly with the idea emphasized by Baha’u’llah about Socrates statement that the soul has the same substance as the ether in which electromagnetic waves persist. Consequently thinking and decision-making manifest ethereal waves, which are basically electromagnetic waves that interact with the “unconscious electromagnetic fields” of our neural activities.
Some of the laws of physics and some of the attributes of matter might be applied to spirit, ether and the human soul. For example, since ether is of the same substance as the human soul we can apply some of the attributes of ether as a medium for the propagation of electromagnetic waves. Some attributes of the ether are elasticity, density, permeability, pressure, etc. Such attributes provide an exciting opportunity to investigate ether, the human soul and other spiritual entities.
The future unfolding of knowledge will be of things that we have not previously known. Baha’u’llah states, “In the days to come ye will verily behold things of which ye have never heard before. Thus hath it been decreed in the Tablets of God, and none can comprehend it except them whose sight is sharp.” (Gleanings, p 142)
We are participants in the creative unfoldment of God’s Primal Will so that humanity could be connected with its inner reality. There is no more beautiful experience than when our participation in Reality goes beyond its accustomed limits. In such times reality takes on new glory or splendor. This becomes an exhilarating experience of the human soul. This experience of oneness with the Eternal some call ecstasy. This heightening sense of realization exposes us to life as it really is.
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