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Old 05-17-2017, 07:00 AM   #1
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Is the virginal conception of Jesus also a metaphor?

Baha'u'llah and Abdul Baha have made it clear that some events described in the Gospels about the life of JesusChrist are spiritual in nature and should not be interpreted as literal, as some Christians have done in the past, bringing irrationality (superstition) to religion.

For example, resurrection of Christ was spiritual, not physical.
The Second Coming of Christ is not about literally Jesus of Nazareth descending from the atmosphere surrounded by angels with trumpets, but about the spiritual Christ manifested in Baha'u'llah in the most recent dispensation.
There are more details that right now I don't remember.
Perhaps the miracles also have a lot of symbolic meaning and did not happen literally. For example, Jesus walking over the waters of the lake, Jesus turning water into wine, etc.

I have felt so happy and so thankful for Baha'u'llah to have put these conceptions in the right place.

But then, my question is, does Baha'u'llah endorse the virginal conception of Jesus of Nazareth? If so, why? Shouldn't this also be interpreted as a spiritual or symbolic event, as it contradicts all we know about genetics and reproduction of our physical body?
 
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:24 AM   #2
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Virgin Birth?

But then, my question is, does Baha'u'llah endorse the virginal conception of Jesus of Nazareth? If so, why? Shouldn't this also be interpreted as a spiritual or symbolic event, as it contradicts all we know about genetics and reproduction of our physical body?[/QUOTE]

Yeah, I agree. The "virgin birth" seems to me to be in line with:

. "And no man ascended up to heaven but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man, which is in heaven."

. in the sense that His "Father" is in heaven, and His mother is on earth, but even as he had a physical, mortal mother on earth, for the purpose of delivering His biological, physical, and mortal body, He also had a physical father as that counterpart.

. But people want tricks and miracles, and by golly, they're gonna have them!!
. I've read portions of a book by Dennis Ronald MacDonald (seriously, that's his name), whom I had the good pleasure to have sat in on a cals in Loma Linda University with. where he draws convincing evidence that several of the "miracle" stories of Jesus are actually taken from Homer's Illyad and Odyssey.

. Feeding the 5,000 is straight out of Homer, as is Jesus casting the demons into the pigs and the monster man in the cave. He said it wasn't plagiarism, that people were raised on Homer, and if you're gonna have a superhero, you were expected to cast him in the light of these epic stories.

. Kinda like a country song. You've gotta have a dog, a train, some whiskey, and a cheating wife. Otherwise, its not a country song.

. So seperating the true Jesus from the inserted myths is tricky, and if you claim someone is the Messiah, then by golly, He's gotta be born of a virgin...
 
Old 05-17-2017, 12:21 PM   #3
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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This discussion on Baha'i Library Forum was informative - Virgin birth - Baha'i Library Forum

Regards Tony
 
Old 05-17-2017, 04:03 PM   #4
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Au contraire, the ideal country song must involve the death of a beloved and religion. Therefore the ultimate song would be entitled "Mom drowned in the pool at Lourdes"

Last edited by AidanK; 05-17-2017 at 04:05 PM.
 
Old 05-18-2017, 08:18 AM   #5
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Thank you, dale ramsdell and tony.

When we read Abdul'Bahá stance on the story of Adam and Eve, The Master makes clear his rationale. I am using bold font to highlights some words:
If we take this story in its apparent meaning, according to the interpretation of the masses, it is indeed extraordinary. The intelligence cannot accept it, affirm it, or imagine it; for such arrangements, such details, such speeches and reproaches are far from being those of an intelligent man, how much less of the Divinity—that Divinity Who has organized this infinite universe in the most perfect form, and its innumerable inhabitants with absolute system, strength and perfection.

We must reflect a little: if the literal meaning of this story were attributed to a wise man, certainly all would logically deny that this arrangement, this invention, could have emanated from an intelligent being. Therefore, this story of Adam and Eve who ate from the tree, and their expulsion from Paradise, must be thought of simply as a symbol. It contains divine mysteries and universal meanings, and it is capable of marvelous explanations. Only those who are initiated into mysteries, and those who are near the Court of the All-Powerful, are aware of these secrets. Hence these verses of the Bible have numerous meanings.


(Some Answered Questions, Abdul'Bahá)
The universe is the manifestation of Gods character, will, an love. That is why the universe is perfect the way it is.
Even when we find epidemics, tsunamis, supernovas and blackholes, the universe is perfect because it is what exists.

Abdul'Bahá, in His quote above, invites us to reflect. He asks us to think in logical terms. Can we imagine a God acting against his own perfect Laws that keep the Universe organized as it is?

I cannot imagine Adam and Eve story as a literal event, on the same grounds that I cannot imagine the body of Jesus being the result of a cloned cell of Mary for no purpose whatsover, as such miracle was not witnessed by anyone.

Maybe in the future God will manifest the reality and true meaning of this and other so called miracles.
In the meantime, it is good to know that it is not one of the cornerstones of the Faith, so we can live with it.

Last edited by camachoe; 05-18-2017 at 08:27 AM.
 
Old 05-18-2017, 08:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
... I cannot imagine the body of Jesus being the result of a cloned cell of Mary for no purpose whatsover, as such miracle was not witnessed by anyone.
On second thoughts, there is one person, one single person who did witness this miracle taking place: Virgin Mary herself.
She is the only person who KNEW that she indeed had not had sexual intecourse with any man and that what happened in her womb was unexplained.

So, and just out of a personal speculation, this "miracle" (or I should say "unexplained, unusual event") may have been important for Virgin Mary to learn something about God. Something she really needed ni her circumstances.
It could have been the need of more faith, perseverance, strength, confidence...

And since it was a miracle prepared for her, its importance for humanity as a whole, specially in this dispensation, is marginal.

Last edited by camachoe; 05-18-2017 at 08:39 AM.
 
Old 05-18-2017, 11:36 AM   #7
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Big bang

Quote:
Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
On second thoughts, there is one person, one single person who did witness this miracle taking place: Virgin Mary herself.
She is the only person who KNEW that she indeed had not had sexual intecourse with any man and that what happened in her womb was unexplained.i

So, and just out of a personal speculation, this "miracle" (or I should say "unexplained, unusual event") may have been important for Virgin Mary to learn something about God. Something she really needed ni her circumstances.
It could have been the need of more faith, perseverance, strength, confidence...

And since it was a miracle prepared for her, its importance for humanity as a whole, specially in this dispensation, is marginal.
Well, there is the reality that before the formation of earth, all potential life existed in it, prior to any "father/mother" pairs, which were eventually manifested in molecular/biological form. So these critters had no mother/father except the universe itself.

Then, as Abdul Baha points out, if the miracle of Jesus having no father is important, what about Adam, with no father or mother. Melchisadek was said to without father or mother also.
 
Old 05-18-2017, 01:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dale ramsdell View Post
Melchisadek was said to without father or mother also.
Yeah, this may be a good example of figurative speech to reveal spiritual realities.

Of course Melchisedek had a father and a mother... it is just that his geneaology was unknown. He did not desdend from a Levitic tribe, or from any known tribe for that matter. He could not claim a "right" to priesthood because of his ethnicity.

So what Paul tries to say is that genealogy is not as important, because God can choose whoever he wants for his purpose.

By the same token, Jesus of Nazareth having no father may be hiding a higher spiritual reality... something to be revealed in the future, who knows.
On a marginal note, it is curious that the genealogy presented in the Gospels is written to prove that he descended from King David through Joseph and not necessarily through Mary.

Last edited by camachoe; 05-18-2017 at 01:11 PM.
 
Old 05-27-2017, 03:38 PM   #9
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Story telling species

Quote:
Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
Yeah, this may be a good example of figurative speech to reveal spiritual realities.

Of course Melchisedek had a father and a mother... it is just that his geneaology was unknown. He did not desdend from a Levitic tribe, or from any known tribe for that matter. He could not claim a "right" to priesthood because of his ethnicity.

So what Paul tries to say is that genealogy is not as important, because God can choose whoever he wants for his purpose.

By the same token, Jesus of Nazareth having no father may be hiding a higher spiritual reality... something to be revealed in the future, who knows.
On a marginal note, it is curious that the genealogy presented in the Gospels is written to prove that he descended from King David through Joseph and not necessarily through Mary.
. Humans are a "story-telling species", and we cannot assume that the Jewish people were not story-tellers, myth-makers, like Every Other Culture on Earth... We must allow for the "human story-telling factor" when reading the Bible, as all other books. To do otherwise, would be naive.

.
. "And no man ascended up to heaven but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man, which is in heaven."

. So if this verse is an accurate representation of the words of Jesus, then clearly, what is at issue is His spiritual reality, not His physical identity.
. How the story of Mary was recorded, how word for word accurate it was, who knows if she even said it, is the problem of human communication, how often repeated, embellished, by whom? and finally recorded in the Gospels many decades after the fact.

. This is the problem with Buddhism. I've read that several hundred years passed before His Writings were written down, and Abdul Baha states that the teachings of Buddha were lost, or partially so, indicating that what is attributed to Him may not be the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

. People are people. Thank God, Allah, and Wakan Tanka that we have the actual Writings of Baha'u'llah in His own Hand-Writing, and from the pen of Abdul Baha, and a few others who served as amanuensis - all preserved in the Archives of the World Center.

. Jesus says: "My sheep know My voice." The important stuff rings true. Fables and myths which contradict reason are unimportant, in my mind, for it is "The verses" which are the proofs of the Manifestations, and not the stories surrounding Them, which may or may not be accurate.
 
Old 05-29-2017, 11:57 AM   #10
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I agree, dale ramsdell.


Journalism is a very recent development in human history.
The mission of a prophet is not to be a journalist: describing how the events really happened. For a prophet (as for a grandma at the fireplace) stories are means to awake the soul and change behaviour.
 
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