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Old 06-13-2016, 05:30 AM   #1
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Why is it Our Purpose to Know God and to Worship Him?

I daily read in the short obligatory prayer that:
Quote:
I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee.
Whenever I have brought up the question of worshiping God, I have been told that it would not profit God in the least if I worship him, it is only for my own benefit that I worship God and bow down before His Majesty. I absolutely agree that God is in no need of my worship and prayers. But why has He created me in such a way that I am in need of worshiping Him if I want to succeed?

The question that I had like to ask is: why has God made it that way that it would benefit me if I worship Him and know Him?

This is a question that frequently comes up when I am having a discussion with a non-Baha'i and I never have a truly satisfactory answer.

Last edited by arcane; 06-13-2016 at 05:33 AM.
 
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Old 06-13-2016, 07:22 AM   #2
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God is unknowable in His essence; there is only one way to know Him in His most perfect Light and that is through knowing His Messenger in each time. so we can change the question to "why do we have to know the messenger of the time?" we have to know Him because it is only by knowing Him and His commands that we can find the best way to live our lives both in its physical and spiritual sense. knowing the Messenger of God for each time which is the same as knowing God in that age means we have the best way to deal with all kinds of problems and also means we have the best and most complete knowledge of human nature. psychology, archaeology, and no other "logy"s can give us perfect answers. the perfect answer for all our problems in in knowing God. so we know God in order to be able to live better and use our capacities as much as possible.
 
Old 06-13-2016, 08:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
God is unknowable in His essence; there is only one way to know Him in His most perfect Light and that is through knowing His Messenger in each time. so we can change the question to "why do we have to know the messenger of the time?" we have to know Him because it is only by knowing Him and His commands that we can find the best way to live our lives both in its physical and spiritual sense. knowing the Messenger of God for each time which is the same as knowing God in that age means we have the best way to deal with all kinds of problems and also means we have the best and most complete knowledge of human nature. psychology, archaeology, and no other "logy"s can give us perfect answers. the perfect answer for all our problems in in knowing God. so we know God in order to be able to live better and use our capacities as much as possible.
Dear Maryamr,

You have beautifully elucidated the importance and benefits of recognizing God (or the Messenger of time as you have put it), but I looking for something else. The question I am asking is that why has God ordained it that way that it benefits me if I bow before Him? Why has God ordained it in the way that for my personal benefit I have to prostrate before God? Clearly, God does not benefit in the least if I prostrate before Him, but if I do it with true intentions it will benefit me in countless ways. For example it will make my spirit come nearer to God, which is the purpose of life: to come close to God. What I am asking is that why Has God made it that way? Why bow before Him if we want to succeed?

This is question that I have faced often.

Regards
 
Old 06-13-2016, 09:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcane View Post
Dear Maryamr,

You have beautifully elucidated the importance and benefits of recognizing God (or the Messenger of time as you have put it), but I looking for something else. The question I am asking is that why has God ordained it that way that it benefits me if I bow before Him? Why has God ordained it in the way that for my personal benefit I have to prostrate before God? Clearly, God does not benefit in the least if I prostrate before Him, but if I do it with true intentions it will benefit me in countless ways. For example it will make my spirit come nearer to God, which is the purpose of life: to come close to God. What I am asking is that why Has God made it that way? Why bow before Him if we want to succeed?

This is question that I have faced often.

Regards
I think because there are only two ways.
Either we bow to our worldly desires, or we bow and obey the Messenger of God. We cannot have it both way. Water and fire do not stay togather.
 
Old 06-13-2016, 09:24 AM   #5
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Dear Arcane,
How is it possible for us to know WHY God does anything...He doeth as He willeth. We only know what we know about God, through his Messengers. God is unknowable, so how can we answer your question? This is the basis of Faith, our hearts recognize the truth and we do not need definitive proofs to accept that truth. It is free will to accept or not what God's Messengers offer us. I do not think you will find an answer to this question.

Loving regards,
Becky
 
Old 06-13-2016, 09:24 AM   #6
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you're welcome dear friend Arcane
bowing in front of God and prostrating in front of Him for us humans means complete submission to His will and His commands. we cannot bow down in front of the world and our worldly desires and expect to reach the Truth. it is only through complete detachment from the world and complete submission and bowing to God (and His messenger) that we can know the truth and benefit ourselves. if you only want to know why "bowing" (as if God is a person) then I should say that bowing is kind of artistic way of talking
 
Old 06-13-2016, 02:25 PM   #7
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We can never know the mind of God therefore the need to know Him and to worship Him should be accepted as His gift to us
 
Old 06-13-2016, 03:11 PM   #8
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Abright star a guiding light

Quote:
Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
God is unknowable in His essence; there is only one way to know Him in His most perfect Light and that is through knowing His Messenger in each time. so we can change the question to "why do we have to know the messenger of the time?" we have to know Him because it is only by knowing Him and His commands that we can find the best way to live our lives both in its physical and spiritual sense. knowing the Messenger of God for each time which is the same as knowing God in that age means we have the best way to deal with all kinds of problems and also means we have the best and most complete knowledge of human nature. psychology, archaeology, and no other "logy"s can give us perfect answers. the perfect answer for all our problems in in knowing God. so we know God in order to be able to live better and use our capacities as much as possible.
There are those among us who show great wisdom, those who guide others to the right path. You are such a one. I am most honored to call you friend. May your life be long and rewarding, may God bless your days.
bill
 
Old 06-13-2016, 08:14 PM   #9
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Arcane asked:
Quote:
"I daily read in the short obligatory prayer that:

'I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee.'
Whenever I have brought up the question of worshiping God, I have been told that it would not profit God in the least if I worship him, it is only for my own benefit that I worship God and bow down before His Majesty. I absolutely agree that God is in no need of my worship and prayers. But why has He created me in such a way that I am in need of worshiping Him if I want to succeed?

The question that I had like to ask is: why has God made it that way that it would benefit me if I worship Him and know Him?

This is a question that frequently comes up when I am having a discussion with a non-Baha'i and I never have a truly satisfactory answer.

The question that I had like to ask is: why has God made it that way that it would benefit me if I worship Him and know Him?

This is a question that frequently comes up when I am having a discussion with a non-Baha'i and I never have a truly satisfactory answer."
Arcane,

As you continue to seek those answers, consider these words of Baha'u'llah from the Arabic 'Hidden Words':

4. 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."

5. O SON OF BEING!
Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.

29. O SON OF BOUNTY!
Out of the wastes of nothingness, with the clay of My command I made thee to appear, and have ordained for thy training every atom in existence and the essence of all created things. Thus, ere thou didst issue from thy mother's womb, I destined for thee two founts of gleaming milk, eyes to watch over thee, and hearts to love thee. Out of My loving-kindness, 'neath the shade of My mercy I nurtured thee, and guarded thee by the essence of My grace and favor. And My purpose in all this was that thou mightest attain My everlasting dominion and become worthy of My invisible bestowals. . . .


LR
 
Old 06-14-2016, 06:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlinkeyBill View Post
There are those among us who show great wisdom, those who guide others to the right path. You are such a one. I am most honored to call you friend. May your life be long and rewarding, may God bless your days.
bill
thanks a million dear Bill
only an awakened soul and a beautiful heart sees people and things as beautiful. I, too, am honored to be friends with such an awakened and beautiful soul as you are May you always live in light and love.
 
Old 06-15-2016, 01:24 AM   #11
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I am thankful to all the dear friends for their insights. May God bless you all!

I have learned two things:

a) We can't understand the mind of God. How can I comprehend with complete certainty as to why God made things the way they are. As we all know, the essence of God is incomprehensible.
b) God is not a person so when we bow and prostrate before God it shouldn't be seen as prostrating in front of a person. God is everywhere. So it but logical to conclude that the prostration is symbolic and signifies (among many things) the absolute submission to the Will of God.
 
Old 04-27-2017, 02:18 PM   #12
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I found this quote from Baha'u'llah Epistle to the Son of Wolf:

"We beseech Him—exalted be He—to aid every one to become the essence of truthfulness, and to draw nigh unto Him."

As science has revealed, the universe's physical laws are fine tuned to make it habitable for the emergence of sentient beings like us, with a soul that can reach out to appreciate Reality... Truthfulness.

In other words, nature itself shows how God created us with the gift of a mind that can reach back to Him and, in doing so, find the purpose of our existence. If we do not counteract our own nature, we are sooner or later "drawn nigh unto Him" .

I am no human until I realize I exist in God, and live a meaningful live in consequence.

Last edited by camachoe; 04-27-2017 at 02:20 PM.
 
Old 04-28-2017, 04:18 AM   #13
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The flower's purpose...

Quote:
Originally Posted by arcane View Post
I am thankful to all the dear friends for their insights. May God bless you all!

I have learned two things:

a) We can't understand the mind of God. How can I comprehend with complete certainty as to why God made things the way they are. As we all know, the essence of God is incomprehensible.
b) God is not a person so when we bow and prostrate before God it shouldn't be seen as prostrating in front of a person. God is everywhere. So it but logical to conclude that the prostration is symbolic and signifies (among many things) the absolute submission to the Will of God.
... The flower's purpose is to seek the sun and to extend its leaves to receive its sunlight. Thus will it bloom and flower into its fulness, releasing its perfume into the breezes, attracting the other creatures, bees, to transform its pollen into honey.
... So, too, we seek the Sun of Reality, bowing the leaves of our bodies in attractship and submission, humbling ourselves before him, attracting blessings from the Supreme Concourse, teaching the Cause of God.
... Thus the flower has fulfilled its purpose. Thus have we also fulfilled our purpose, to know and worship the One Who has created us and the flower.
 
Old 04-28-2017, 10:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dale ramsdell View Post
... The flower's purpose is to seek the sun and to extend its leaves to receive its sunlight. Thus will it bloom and flower into its fulness, releasing its perfume into the breezes, attracting the other creatures, bees, to transform its pollen into honey.
... So, too, we seek the sun of reality, bowing the leaves of our bodies in attractship and submission, humbling ourselves before him, attracting blessings from the supreme concourse, teaching the cause of god.
... Thus the flower has fulfilled its purpose. Thus have we also fulfilled our purpose, to know and worship the one who has created us and the flower.


beautiful!
 
Old 04-28-2017, 10:34 AM   #15
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Truly beautiful! Thank you, dale
 
Old 05-08-2017, 09:35 PM   #16
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Arcane,

It seems that you may have misstated the case, however I'm not sure how you intended it and perhaps I haven't understood you correctly. Sorry if I have, but from what I have understood, this is how I see it as a slight error that is worth sorting out.

While it may be your purpose / intention to know God (and I hope it is) it may be that it is not the purpose or intention you have for yourself. In actuality, the statement in the prayer discloses the divine purpose/intention for the creation of man and does not necessarily suppose that this is the purpose/intention of the individual for his or her self. Perhaps the intention/ purpose of a great many men is something other than knowing God (forget about worshiping), but nevertheless, the divine purpose in our creation is that we know him and worship him.

Why is that is his intention/ purpose for us? In my opinion, because he loves us as his children (therefore created us) and to know him and worship him is what leads to our greatest good and is best for us.

Cheers
 
Old 05-09-2017, 12:03 AM   #17
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Who knows? Maybe we have a key role in God's plan to co-govern and perpetuate Existence.

All our approaches to God's Will or Purpose are limited by the fact of our intrinsic limitations in the understanding of the nature of God.
We also don't have but a very limited approximation to what it means to KNOW Him and to WORKSHIP Him.

In the Islamic Perisa in which Baha'u'llah grew, submission to authority (including God's authority) was a key cultural trait. Islam, in the end, means submission. Still many people see "workshipping" as a the act of a man/woman bowing into an authority that could, at any time, punish or destroy him/her, but who is merciful enough as to forgive him/her.

To me, to workship God entails love and loyalty to the Sun of Reality, not blind and fearful obedience to a king.
Behaving rationally is the evidence of love and loyalty for Truthfulness.

The human being was endowed with the gift of a rational mind. So it is as if the purpose of God would have been to make humans behave rationally, discover the Universe, and eventually, co-govern the universe with God. We are already co-governing with God on this Earth in many realms. Or in other sense, God is governing THROUGH us.
 
Old 05-09-2017, 04:57 PM   #18
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Camachoe,

I agree completely that we must use the power of the rational mind that God gave us, as well as the power of the human spirit, which Abdul-Baha called the rational soul. The two are meant to work together.

We have a unique place in creation, if we fulfill our potentialities, as the highest level of material existence and a bridge to spiritual existence. If you want to describe it as co-governing, there is some truth to that, although it could also be described in different terms. One of the paradoxes of our existence is that to be worthy of leadership we must be completely humble and recognize our own lowliness as a humble servant of God.

Some Christians believe that they will be co-rulers along with Christ, and quote the Gospel of Luke, 22:29-30 "And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

But, just prior to that, in verse 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves."

Last edited by Jcc; 05-09-2017 at 05:45 PM.
 
Old 05-12-2017, 11:42 AM   #19
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This is a deep and inspiring reflection, Jc
It helped me very much... Thank you!
 
Old 05-14-2017, 02:52 AM   #20
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If one may, he would like to answer the original question with his own small selection of quotes. This first is perhaps the closest to your question:

Far, far from Thy glory be what mortal man can affirm of Thee, or attribute unto Thee, or the praise with which he can glorify Thee! Whatever duty Thou hast prescribed unto Thy servants of extolling to the utmost Thy majesty and glory is but a token of Thy grace unto them, that they may be enabled to ascend unto the station conferred upon their own inmost being, the station of the knowledge of their own selves.
Gleanings, p. 4

Verily I say, the human soul is, in its essence, one of the signs of God, a mystery among His mysteries. It is one of the mighty signs of the Almighty, the harbinger that proclaimeth the reality of all the worlds of God. Within it lieth concealed that which the world is now utterly incapable of apprehending.
Gleanings, p. 160

And this quote, which is perhaps the most expressive and comprehensive of this small selection:

Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth is a direct evidence of the revelation within it of the attributes and names of God, inasmuch as within every atom are enshrined the signs that bear eloquent testimony to the revelation of that Most Great Light. Methinks, but for the potency of that revelation, no being could ever exist. 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. Even as He hath said: “Man is My mystery, and I am his mystery.” Manifold are the verses that have been repeatedly revealed in all the Heavenly Books and the Holy Scriptures, expressive of this most subtle and lofty theme. Even as He hath revealed: “We will surely show them Our signs in the world and within themselves.” Again He saith: “And also in your own selves: will ye not, then, behold the signs of God?” And yet again He revealeth: “And be ye not like those who forget God, and whom He hath therefore caused to forget their own selves.” In this connection, He Who is the eternal King—may the souls of all that dwell within the mystic Tabernacle be a sacrifice unto Him—hath spoken: “He hath known God who hath known himself.”

...From that which hath been said it becometh evident that all things, in their inmost reality, testify to the revelation of the names and attributes of God within them. Each according to its capacity, indicateth, and is expressive of, the knowledge of God. So potent and universal is this revelation, that it hath encompassed all things visible and invisible. Thus hath He revealed: “Hath aught else save Thee a power of revelation which is not possessed by Thee, that it could have manifested Thee? Blind is the eye which doth not perceive Thee.” Likewise hath the eternal King spoken: “No thing have I perceived, except that I perceived God within it, God before it, or God after it.” Also in the tradition of Kumayl it is written: “Behold, a light hath shone forth out of the morn of eternity, and lo, its waves have penetrated the inmost reality of all men.” Man, the noblest and most perfect of all created things, excelleth them all in the intensity of this revelation, and is a fuller expression of its glory. And of all men, the most accomplished, the most distinguished, and the most excellent are the Manifestations of the Sun of Truth. Nay, all else besides these Manifestations, live by the operation of Their Will, and move and have their being through the outpourings of Their grace.

Gleanings, p. 177

It would appear to this self if we do not know Him and worship Him (see first quote), then rather than progressing we will stagnate. We must ask - what is the purpose of our life? It is to gain and advance in spiritual virtues. If we fail, it is not only our life on this earth that will suffer, but the affects will abide with us for all of eternity. The "possessions of the spirit are forever, "whereas possession of earthly things will cease at the time of death." (Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 77) If one does not come to know God, which is the knowledge of one's self, then what is that one going to learn instead? If the knowledge and worship of God is life, then not knowing Him and worshiping Him is death.

So what is the purpose of knowing and loving God?

Life.

With warmest greetings

Romane
 
Old 05-14-2017, 12:46 PM   #21
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Thank you Romane it is a great answer to reflect upon.

Good to see you back here.

Lots of Love your way dear friend. Regards Tony
 
Old 05-16-2017, 08:08 AM   #22
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Those quotes from Gleanings that Romane has brought to us have inspired me and conforted me so much!

I cannot thank you enough for sharing all these at this Forum. Diving into the Scriptures on my own, without orientation is so hard as the Holy Texts are so profuse in topics and meanings.

Look: from what I read in Baha'u'llah and Abdul'baha writings, both a pantheistic and theistic view of God are conceivable within the Faith.
No debate around this would be fruitful or relevant in the end of the day, as the true nature of God (and hence, of man's soul) is inscrutable.

Anyway, even for people like me who are strong skeptics of the theistic position, the deep spiritual connection with that God that is "within, before and after" everything that exists, is enough to feel compelled about learning more about the Bahai Faith.
 
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