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Old 05-30-2017, 12:22 PM   #1
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Can prophets be wrong?

I would love to have your opinion on this.

As far as I have examined this with honesty, I say they can.
But I think we should also distinguish, within the concept of "prophet", the mirror (using the wonderful metaphor of Baha'u'llah) from the Light being reflected by the mirror.

As a mirror, prophets are subject to their culture and personal beliefs, some of which can be plain wrong. The Light, when reflected in all its glory, is perfect.

The metaphor, as all metaphors, has limitations. Mirrors are passive objects. Prophets, however, are people. They get angry. They are frightened. They have desires and passions. They misunderstand, miscalculate, exaggerate, underestimate.

After his birth, Baha'ullah was not taken to heaven, but was raised with other kids... in a given place, in a given time of history, by a given family. He did not descend suddenly from heaven in May 1963, in perfect maturity, upon the Garden of Rivdán to proclaim his message. Like Jesus in Nazareth, or Mohammed in Mecca, He was exposed to the religious beliefs of his time. He was not brainwashed by the angels, or protected from any influence within a glass sphere.

That is the way God accepted to manifest Himself to mankind. Not by making his Word appear suddently written on a rock, or a voice speaking loud from the sky, but through the works of a human mind... and let me stress this a bit... through the works of a particular human brain, influenced by particular genes, experiences, readings, levels of neurotrasmitters, family relationships, political events, widespread myths, etc.

This fact does not undermine the authority of a prophet, but rather make us profoundly grateful to the All-Knowing God that chooses fragile, tarnished mirrors to reflect his Light.

The same thing applies to God manifested in Nature and reflected in the mirror of scientists. As a Manifestation of God, the universe is pure and perfect. However, it is revelead to us by fallible observations made by imperfect scientists.

Any mistake in the messages from Newton, Einstein or Hawkings will not undermine our appreciation for their work. Far from it: it will deepen our gratitude and kindle our interest to know more and know better the God who speaks through nature.

I believe that the constant call that the Central Figures make for us to think and investigate truth (which requires an intimate work with the Holy Spirit), and their understanding of science as the second wing of the human soul, speaks loudly to the need of becoming ourselves mirrors of the Eternal Light.

Last edited by camachoe; 05-30-2017 at 12:31 PM.
 
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Old 05-30-2017, 12:45 PM   #2
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Dear camachoe,

You have touched upon one of those problems that one considers as a new Bahá'í, but then often shies away from, due to the enormity of the subject.

I've seen some interesting texts on the multiple voices of Bahá'u'lláh - that sometimes He speaks with the voice of God, sometimes with that of a Prophet and sometimes with the voice of a human. In His texts, one often can see a dialogue between those voices.

Finally, there are texts where God seems to rebuke a Prophet, especially Moses. I think it was Abdu'l-Bahá who explained that such criticism in reality is not a criticism of the Messenger of God, but of the people.

Best

from

gnat
 
Old 05-30-2017, 03:01 PM   #3
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Prophets like each other human beings have a fallen nature, but their sins in not so hefty, but sometimes Satan tempts them but they come back to God finally for example king David killed husband of Betsheba, but despise of his "great" unforgettable sin God came to him and forgot this horrible crime (this is point o view - Judaism and Christianity, but not islam and baha'i faith)

Last edited by Babism; 05-30-2017 at 03:04 PM.
 
Old 05-31-2017, 09:50 AM   #4
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There is a concept in Islam (I know because I was formerly a Muslim) which says that the Messengers of God are free from error, by God's will and the reason for it is that they must be the best examples for those who follow them, in all cases and under all conditions. If they are not flawless in all cases, they cannot be perfect examples, nor perfect Guides. Thus, I think Messengers of God are free from error. Yet, I may be wrong. I would be glad to know more
 
Old 05-31-2017, 05:12 PM   #5
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I think we need to consider what the mission and nature of the Prophet is to judge whether some particular saying is right or wrong. There are a lot assumptions people make that I think are mistaken, by which they try to judge the Prophet. For instance:

1. If the Prophet makes a reference to a past occurrence, and it is determine that what people used to believe about it is not factual according to modern research, you may be tempted to say the Prophet was wrong. But the Prophet was speaking to people at a certain time and place, and the purpose is never to teach material knowledge, but rather to transform the spirit. He will use examples based on what is common among the people at that time to teach a spiritual truth. Whether the historic statements are literally true or not is not relevant, and it would distract from the purpose to make statements about material knowledge that differ too much from what the people understand at the time.

2. People assume that the Prophet Himself is a "product of His environment" and influenced by current thought. As I understand it that is not true at all, He is receiving a Revelation from God that has the power to regenerate all of creation. Of course He is born and goes through a childhood that appears to most observers to be more or less following cultural norms, but those with spiritual insight will realize that He is completely, categorically different from others. Cultural customs are mostly followed for the reason stated above.

3. There may be statements made which are misunderstood, and the claim is made that the Prophet made a false statement, but that is only due to a misunderstanding of what was actually said. Often enemies of the faith try to spread misunderstandings.

4. In the case of prophecies about future events, it might be that they have not occurred yet, and will in the future. Prophecies tend to be symbolic and only understood when explained by a future Prophet.
 
Old 05-31-2017, 07:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
There is a concept in Islam (I know because I was formerly a Muslim) which says that the Messengers of God are free from error, by God's will and the reason for it is that they must be the best examples for those who follow them, in all cases and under all conditions. If they are not flawless in all cases, they cannot be perfect examples, nor perfect Guides. Thus, I think Messengers of God are free from error. Yet, I may be wrong. I would be glad to know more
Hi Maryamr.

When I remember a person who has been an example for me, I remember how she raised from her falls, and learned from her mistakes.

God is perfect and our journey towards God places us in the way to perfection. "Be perfect, as your Father is perfect" said Jesus... and no doubt that the Manifestations of God, inasmuch as they act as a mirror, reflect His Attributes in all his perfection. But I wouldn't can't expect a prophet to keep working as a mirror 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Well... that's what I think.

Maybe that's why Jesus said: "Why do you call me good? No one is good, except one: God" and Muhammed never claimed to be sinless, but as any mortal also asked for forgiveness (see this interesting webpage)

Last edited by camachoe; 05-31-2017 at 07:12 PM.
 
Old 05-31-2017, 07:21 PM   #7
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This topic and the posts on this thread reminded me of the following words of Baha'u'llah.

Baha’u’llah explains that the “Ancient of Days (God) . . . hath caused those luminous Gems of Holiness to appear out of the realm of the spirit, in the noble form of the human temple, and be made manifest unto all men, that they may impart unto the world the mysteries of the unchangeable Being, and tell of the subtleties of His imperishable Essence.” He explained that they “have evinced power as is born of God and such might as only the Eternal can reveal. . . . And since there can be no tie of direct intercourse to bind the one true God with His creation, and no resemblance whatever can exist between the transient and the Eternal, the contingent and the Absolute, He hath ordained that in every age and dispensation a pure and stainless Soul be made manifest in the kingdoms of earth and heaven. Unto this subtle, this mysterious and ethereal Being He hath assigned a twofold nature; the physical, pertaining to the world of matter, and the spiritual, which is born of the substance of God Himself. He hath, moreover, conferred upon Him a double station. The first station, which is related to His innermost reality, representeth Him as One Whose voice is the voice of God Himself. To this testifieth the tradition: "Manifold and mysterious is My relationship with God. I am He, Himself, and He is I, Myself, except that I am that I am, and He is that He is." And in like manner, the words: "Arise, O Muhammad, for lo, the Lover and the Beloved are joined together and made one in Thee." He similarly saith: "There is no distinction whatsoever between Thee and Them, except that They are Thy Servants." The second station is the human station, exemplified by the following verses: "I am but a man like you." "Say, praise be to my Lord! Am I more than a man, an apostle?" These Essences of Detachment, these resplendent Realities are the channels of God's all-pervasive grace. Led by the light of unfailing guidance, and invested with supreme sovereignty, They are commissioned to use the inspiration of Their words, the effusions of Their infallible grace and the sanctifying breeze of Their Revelation for the cleansing of every longing heart and receptive spirit from the dross and dust of earthly cares and limitations. Then, and only then, will the Trust of God, latent in the reality of man, emerge, as resplendent as the rising Orb of Divine Revelation, from behind the veil of concealment, and implant the ensign of its revealed glory upon the summits of men's hearts. (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, XXVII)

In one of Baha’u’llah’s last epistles (Epistle to the Son of the Wolf) He explains: “Men have failed to perceive Our purpose in the references We have made to Divinity and Godhood. . . . The Seal of the Prophets-may the souls of all else but Him be offered up for His sake-saith: ‘Manifold are Our relationships with God. At one time, We are He Himself, and He is We Ourself. At another He is that He is, and We are that We are.’ “ (p. 43)

Baha’u’llah further explains in that same epistle the meaning of the term “divinity” as it relates to Himself as the Manifestation of God. “This station is the station in which one dieth to himself and liveth to God. Divinity, whenever I mention it, indicateth my complete and absolute self-effacement. This is the station in which I have no control over mine own weal or woe nor over my life nor over my resurrection.” (p. 41)

Thank you for the opportunity to post.

-LR
 
Old 05-31-2017, 08:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcc View Post

2. People assume that the Prophet Himself is a "product of His environment" and influenced by current thought. As I understand it that is not true at all, He is receiving a Revelation from God that has the power to regenerate all of creation. Of course He is born and goes through a childhood that appears to most observers to be more or less following cultural norms, but those with spiritual insight will realize that He is completely, categorically different from others. Cultural customs are mostly followed for the reason stated above.
Hi Jcc:
Thank you very much for your insights.
I agree with all your points but I have a comment on this one.

Actually, saying that a human being is a "product of his environment" is as inaccurate as saying that we are independent from the environment. We and the things and people around us interact constantly and we affect them as we are affected by them. As Abdul'bahá says, everything that exist is connected with every other thing, through infinite interactions.

So even where we are not just the product of environment, we are influenced by it. Take language, for example.
Language is a huge cultural product, and is by definition limited, imperfect. How do you speak in behalf of God with a limited and imperfect set of words?
 
Old 05-31-2017, 09:22 PM   #9
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I don't have the quotes to back up what I'm about to say. Perhaps someone else who knows the Writings better could provide some.

It is my understanding that Baha'u'llah openly admits that his message is for the people of this day and age, according to our capacity for understanding. Therefore, it should be no surprise that the message seems to be limited to what we could grasp.

You could, of course, say that Baha'u'llah was a product of his environment, and his message was due to the interplay between the environment and his own thinking. I think the more devout among Baha'is would say, however, that God himself gave us a message that the world was just beginning to be ready for. How you see it all comes down to faith, I guess...
 
Old 06-01-2017, 12:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Scribe View Post
I don't have the quotes to back up what I'm about to say. Perhaps someone else who knows the Writings better could provide some.

It is my understanding that Baha'u'llah openly admits that his message is for the people of this day and age, according to our capacity for understanding. Therefore, it should be no surprise that the message seems to be limited to what we could grasp.

You could, of course, say that Baha'u'llah was a product of his environment, and his message was due to the interplay between the environment and his own thinking. I think the more devout among Baha'is would say, however, that God himself gave us a message that the world was just beginning to be ready for. How you see it all comes down to faith, I guess...
Yes, much of what Baha'u'llah Revealled is lost, as mankind was indeed not ready;

"After His return to Baghdád, the words of Bahá'u'lláh were revealed in great profusion. They were uttered in the presence of some of the believers but for the most part were not recorded. Nabíl-i-A'zam, the immortal chronicler of this Dispensation, has written that Bahá'u'lláh revealed the equivalent of the Qur'án within the space of a single day and night, and that He continued in this way for two whole years after His return from Kurdistán....."

Can you imagine the quantity of Words and advice that was given? I can not.

"....In addition, many Tablets were revealed which were either written in Bahá'u'lláh's own hand, or dictated to His amanuensis, Mírzá Áqá Ján. But a great portion of the papers on which they were inscribed, comprising hundreds of thousands of verses, were wiped clean with water and then thrown into the river at the direction of Bahá'u'lláh, Who asserted: 'None is to be found at this time worthy to hear these melodies'. The Revelation of Bah'u'llh, Volume 1, Chapter 5

Regards Tony
 
Old 06-01-2017, 05:22 PM   #11
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The Perfect Man

What is it, I wonder, that we expect from the Perfect Man?

Is He Superman? Able to fly like the fictional Jesus leaving earth and supposed to return? blah blah blah...

Is our test for Him that He should turn rocks into bread? And perform the trick of the day?

If not, we call Him imperfect, like ourselves. Why, the Bab couldn't even take a volley of bullets aimed at Him... etc. The bodies of the Manifestations are mortal, like ours, and subject to the same laws of physics.

The proof He is from God lies solely in His Revelations. "The verses are the proofs." Both Muhammad and the Bab say this.

If our unqualified eyes fail to see the Perfections in the Perfect Man, we must look within ourselves to discover the problem. There is an amazing story of a Persian who came to see Baha'u'llah for Himself, which I will post separately
 
Old 06-01-2017, 05:27 PM   #12
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Why Manifestations Appear in Human Form?

Why Manifestations Appear in Human Form?
Hadi Rahmani Shirazi
Translated by: Khazeh Fananapazir


. Janaab-i-Muhammad Quli Khan-i-Nakha’ee, was an influential and rich local man, who believed in Bahá’u’lláh, and lived in Khusef which is part of Birjand. As a result of his acceptance of the Faith, most of his relatives also became Baha'is.
This Janaab-i-Nakha’ee went on pilgrimage to Akka to attain the presence of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh.
. On his first and second visit to Baha'u'llah, he was accompanied by other pilgrims, but when he returned to the pilgrim house, he thought to himself that he had borne the hardships and difficulties of a long journey that had lasted six months, hoping to witness some extraordinary Divine events, but he saw in Bahá’u’lláh a man like others, speaking and giving instructions similar to other men. "There is perhaps nothing extraordinary or miraculous here," he thought.

. He was immersed in these thoughts when on the third day of their visit, one of the servants came and informed him that Baha’u’llah wanted to see him alone and unaccompanied. He immediately went to the presence of the Blessed Beauty and as he lifted the curtain and entered His room, he bowed and instantly saw the Blessed Beauty as an incredibly bright and dazzling Light. So intense was his experience of this Light that he fell to the floor and lost consciousness. All that he recalled is Bahá’u’lláh saying: "fee Amanil'lah" which means go in God’s safe keeping."

. The servants were able to drag him to the corridor and subsequently brought him to the pilgrim house. He could not eat or sleep for two days after that event and he was conscious of Bahá’u’lláh’s overwhelming Presence everywhere. He kept on telling the other pilgrims that He is here with us.

. His fellow pilgrims got tired of this and asked Abdu’l-Baha for help. After couple of days, the servant came back again and took him to Bahá’u’lláh’s presence. When he attained His presence, He poured forth loving kindness and gracious utterances and bade him to be seated.

. Then Bahá’u’lláh said: "Janaab-i-Muhammad Quli Khan! The Manifestations of the Divine Essence are forced to appear in human attire and clothes. If Their true Being, that which is behind the veil of concealment were to be revealed, then all humanity like your good self will lose consciousness and swoon away to the realm of the unconscious." Then Baha’u’llah went on: "Do you know how parrots are taught to speak?" I bowed and said: "I do not know".

. Baha’u’llah explained: "The parrot owners have a parrot within a cage. Then they bring a big mirror in front of the cage and a man hides himself behind the mirror and starts repeating words and phrases. The parrot sees that there is another parrot identical to itself talking in the cage (reflected in the mirror) and imagining that it is another parrot that is doing the talking it too starts mimicking and learns to speak. Now, if the person who is actually behind the mirror were to reveal himself from the start, then the parrot will never learn to speak. It is thus that the Manifestations of the Divine Being should come into the world in human form and attire so that They will not frighten mankind with Their awesome Being..."

. This man was utterly transformed and on his return from attaining Bahá’u’lláh’s presence to the end of his days, he was engaged in teaching others. He had attained such spiritual insight that he predicted the night of his own departure from this earthly realm.
 
Old 06-01-2017, 05:47 PM   #13
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“Such hath been God's method continued from everlasting to everlasting.”

(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, XXVII"

-LR
 
Old 06-03-2017, 11:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
Hi Maryamr.

When I remember a person who has been an example for me, I remember how she raised from her falls, and learned from her mistakes.

God is perfect and our journey towards God places us in the way to perfection. "Be perfect, as your Father is perfect" said Jesus... and no doubt that the Manifestations of God, inasmuch as they act as a mirror, reflect His Attributes in all his perfection. But I wouldn't can't expect a prophet to keep working as a mirror 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Well... that's what I think.

Maybe that's why Jesus said: "Why do you call me good? No one is good, except one: God" and Muhammed never claimed to be sinless, but as any mortal also asked for forgiveness (see this interesting webpage)

Quoting Abdulbaha:

"How often have the Prophets of God and His universal Manifestations confessed in Their prayers to Their sins and shortcomings! This is only to instruct other souls, to inspire and encourage them to be humble and submissive before God, and to acknowledge their own sins and shortcomings. For these holy Souls are sanctified above every sin and freed from every fault. For example, it is said in the Gospel that a man came to Christ and called Him “Good Master”. Christ answered, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”[125] Now, this did not mean—God forbid!—that Christ was a sinner, but rather His intention was to teach humility, lowliness, meekness, and modesty to the man He was addressing. These blessed Souls are light, and light cannot be united with darkness. They are life everlasting, and life cannot be gathered in with death. They are guidance, and guidance cannot be brought together with waywardness. They are the very essence of obedience, and obedience cannot join hands with rebellion.
In brief, our meaning is that the rebukes recorded in the Sacred Scriptures, though outwardly addressed to the Prophets—the Manifestations of God—are in reality intended for the people. Were you to peruse the Bible, this matter would become clear and evident."

Some Answered Questions


" in the Qur’án it is said to Muḥammad: “We have granted thee a manifest victory, that God may forgive thee thy past and future sins.”[124] Now, these words, though apparently addressed to Muḥammad, were in reality meant for all His people; and this proceeds from the consummate wisdom of God, as we said previously, so that hearts might not be troubled, perplexed, or dismayed." Abdulbaha
 
Old 06-04-2017, 08:27 AM   #15
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This is a GREAT quote InvestigatetheTruth provided us with; specially this part: (which is the clear answer to the main question) "these holy Souls are sanctified above every sin and freed from every fault. "

And now, as I was reading a prayer by Bahaullah (I do not know its title, nor its English equivalent) it says:

تا این که خلق فرمودی او را در بطن ام بر هیکل کرامت و بزرگی و به بهترین صورت او را زینت دادی و از عیون صافیه شیر دادی او را و با قدرت کامله حفظ فرمودی او را تا آن که بزرگ شد در جوار رحمت تو....

The translation is:
...Until You created Him in the womb of a mother, as the embodiment of dignity and greatness, and then adorned Him in the BEST POSSIBLE FORM, and gave Him milk from the pure eyes, and kept Him safe with utmost power, until He grew up besides Your mercy...

in this prayer, it is mentioned that the Manifestation is created and adorned in the "best possible form" which is clearly not the physical form but spiritual, and then He is specially kept safe and helped by God, as is said in the prayers.

I guess all these, + the quote from ABdul Baha is enough and clear evidence of the Perfection of the manifestations of God. Yes, they have physical bodies with limitations like all other humans. for example, they get sick, they catch cold, their eyes lose power, but these are not "spiritual" shortcomings.
 
Old 06-04-2017, 09:58 AM   #16
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By the way, can anyone tell me the name of the Persian prayer I mentioned above? I am very interested to read its English version.
 
Old 06-04-2017, 12:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryamr View Post

I guess all these, + the quote from ABdul Baha is enough and clear evidence of the Perfection of the manifestations of God. Yes, they have physical bodies with limitations like all other humans. for example, they get sick, they catch cold, their eyes lose power, but these are not "spiritual" shortcomings.
Dear friends

Thanks for your guidance on this. It has been very useful.

I probably shoudn't have departed from the original question I had in mind, that addressed the topic of mistakes/errors, not of sins.

A sin is a deliberate rejection/evasion from God, from the Source of Truth.
A mistake or error, the one I had in mind when I framed the question, is not deliberate. It entails no moral wrong. Thats why small children and animals are all innocent. They make mistakes, but they are pure and perfect in their own realm.

I agree with you now, mayrarm and friends, by Faith, that the Manifestation of God did not deliberately rejected or evaded God during their life. They did not commit sins. I thank you for the guidance you provided on this.

Now let me return to my original question:

We all agree that the Manifestations' bodies were limited. Neither Buddha, nor Jesus nor Mohammed had, for example, a perfect immune system or a perfect skin. We agree they all got sick, aged (or otherwise, did not resist physical harm) and died.

Now, isn't the brain part of the body?

Was not the brain cortex of the Manifestations of God s limited as their pancreas, heart or bones?
If so, the way they process information, or express thoughts, are limited by the natural capacity of their neurons to metabolize nutrients, synthesize neurotrasmitters, grow connections, resist damage and so forth.

The Manifestations of God learned things. Didn't they?
Learning things mean that they passed from a state of not knowing to a state of knowing. The process of learning entails exploring, trying, failing and trying again.

For example, in the process of learning Arabic or Turkish, it is natural to expect that His Blessed Beauty made mistakes until He commanded the new language. I an easily imagine that at the begining he sometimes used wrong words, then consulted, then corrected.

These mistakes are no moral wrongs. They are not sins.

A Manifestation of God could not have commanded all languages, or all math, or all biology, or all history, or the intimate details of the lives of every single human being who lived at their time, even if they had tried.

I think this concept is important as it stresses the need of investigation of truth. Truth cannot be passively drunk from reading the Scriptures (or reading scientific articles, for that matter). It requires investigation... this action demands humility, openness, persistence, intelligence. And, I guess, it is a life-long activity.
 
Old 06-04-2017, 01:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
Dear friends

Thanks for your guidance on this. It has been very useful.

I probably shoudn't have departed from the original question I had in mind, that addressed the topic of mistakes/errors, not of sins.

A sin is a deliberate rejection/evasion from God, from the Source of Truth.
A mistake or error, the one I had in mind when I framed the question, is not deliberate. It entails no moral wrong. Thats why small children and animals are all innocent. They make mistakes, but they are pure and perfect in their own realm.

I agree with you now, mayrarm and friends, by Faith, that the Manifestation of God did not deliberately rejected or evaded God during their life. They did not commit sins. I thank you for the guidance you provided on this.

Now let me return to my original question:

We all agree that the Manifestations' bodies were limited. Neither Buddha, nor Jesus nor Mohammed had, for example, a perfect immune system or a perfect skin. We agree they all got sick, aged (or otherwise, did not resist physical harm) and died.

Now, isn't the brain part of the body?

Was not the brain cortex of the Manifestations of God s limited as their pancreas, heart or bones?
If so, the way they process information, or express thoughts, are limited by the natural capacity of their neurons to metabolize nutrients, synthesize neurotrasmitters, grow connections, resist damage and so forth.

The Manifestations of God learned things. Didn't they?
Learning things mean that they passed from a state of not knowing to a state of knowing. The process of learning entails exploring, trying, failing and trying again.

For example, in the process of learning Arabic or Turkish, it is natural to expect that His Blessed Beauty made mistakes until He commanded the new language. I an easily imagine that at the begining he sometimes used wrong words, then consulted, then corrected.

These mistakes are no moral wrongs. They are not sins.

A Manifestation of God could not have commanded all languages, or all math, or all biology, or all history, or the intimate details of the lives of every single human being who lived at their time, even if they had tried.

I think this concept is important as it stresses the need of investigation of truth. Truth cannot be passively drunk from reading the Scriptures (or reading scientific articles, for that matter). It requires investigation... this action demands humility, openness, persistence, intelligence. And, I guess, it is a life-long activity.
I see that the Manifestations have access to all knowledge. They know all our thoughts.

In the Baha'i Writings there are passages that confirm this.

How that does come to them, we most likely can not know. It is a great topic though, but I am off to work. I will look later to see if links have been posted.

Regards Tony
 
Old 06-04-2017, 10:50 PM   #19
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dear Camachoe,

I do not know the exact reference to what I am going to say. but I am sure I have read it in scripture. The manifestation of God do not commit sins and DO NOT MAKE MISTAKES. The reason may be that their brain has the utmost capacity a human brain can have.
moreover, you have mentioned that "A Manifestation of God could not have commanded all languages, or all math, or all biology, or all history, or the intimate details of the lives of every single human being who lived at their time, even if they had tried."... but They could, They COULD if it was necessary or if They were asked for, or if They were commanded by God. that is how They perform miracles as well.

The reason is, on the contrary to what you think, Their knowledge does not come from the society They live in; but directly from God. Yes, They live in Their own special societies in the world, but They are unaffected by the understandings, teachings, and beliefs of Their society. look at this story (and still it is not one of the most amazing, but good enough):

On His(Abdul Baha) last afternoon in London, a reporter called to ask Him of his future plans, finding Him surrounded by a number of friends who had called to bid Him good-bye. When, in answer to this query, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told in perfect English of His intention to visit Paris and go from there to Alexandria, the press representative evinced surprise at his faultless pronunciation. Thereupon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá proceeded to march with a free stride up and down the flower-scented drawing room, His Oriental garb contrasting strangely with His modern surroundings; and, to the amusement of the assembly, uttered a string of elaborate English words, laughingly ending, “Very difficult English words I speak!” Then, a moment later, with the swift transition of one who knows both how to be grave and gay, He showed Himself terribly in earnest.

There are also accounts of the Messengers of God knowing the cure for the most uncurable diseases of their own times. or the fact that many of Them had never gone to any schools, but They could read, and many more of such things.
From the scientific perspective, maybe we can say that Their brains had a different capacity, and a different working frame from that of ordinary people. Maybe that is one reason They were chosen; Special Genes.
 
Old 06-05-2017, 08:30 AM   #20
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Here's my thoughts:

First of all, and a not totally serious answer, definitely yes. But here's my logic. Prophets gain their power, insight, and even their Will from God Himself. God is omnipotent. Therefore, God could cause, if he wanted to, a prophet to be incorrect. Now I personally think He would not do this, and probably has not done so, but omnipotence and the English language means that this is something that can happen.

A more serious answer:

It depends on how broadly we want to use the term "wrong".

And what type of Prophet we are talking about.

In Baha'i understanding, there are "Lesser Prophets" and "Greater Prophets". For a "Lesser Prophet", they can unquestionably be wrong. The Quran tells us this, as does the Bible, as the entire narrative of the Prophet Jonah is all about a prophet being wrong, repeatedly.

For Greater Prophets, the Baha'i teachings state that they have 'Iṣmah, translated most often as "infallibility" but more literally it is "guarded from error".

But a thought I had on this subject: What if a certain Revelation requires an amount of error in order to communicate it clearly?? What if do to humanity's lack of scientific advancement that certain errors in describing things were necessary for communicating a specific concept??

I have an example as well. 'Abdu'l-Baha, while not being a Greater Prophet, is believed to have had 'Iṣmah by Baha'is. In spite of this, observe below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 'Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Page 260
Again, according to natural philosophy it is an assured fact that single or simple elements are indestructible. As nature is indestructible, every simple element of nature is lasting and permanent. Death and annihilation affect only compounds and compositions. That is to say, compositions are destructible. When decomposition takes place, death occurs. For example, certain single elements have combined to make this flower. When this combination is disintegrated, this composition decomposed, the flower dies as an organism of the vegetable kingdom. But the single elements of which this flower is composed do not suffer death, for all single elements are permanent, everlasting and not subject to destruction. They are indestructible because they are single and not compound. Thus they cannot disintegrate nor become separated in their component atoms but are single, simple and, therefore, everlasting.
If an elementary substance is possessed of immortality, how can the human spirit or reality, which is wholly above combination and composition, be destroyed? Nay, rather, that spirit, which is all in all, is a unit and not a compound. Its destruction, therefore, is not possible. The spirit of man transcends the qualities and attributes of any natural element. It is greater in attributes than gold, silver or iron, which are single elements and indestructible. As they are free from destruction and qualified with permanence, how much more so is the human spirit free and immortal. How will that ever be destroyed? This is a subject of great importance. There are innumerable proofs in support of it. I hope we may continue it at another time.
In this above quote, 'Abdu'l-Baha was "wrong". I have put "wrong" in quotation marks here because, from certain perspectives or interpretations, others might consider him "correct".

In the above quote 'Abdu'l-Baha talks about the immortality of the soul, and explains that the soul cannot be destroyed. To give people an analogy he compares it to an atom, which also cannot be destroyed.

Except atoms can be destroyed, that fact being principle in how nuclear power and weaponry works. So in this 'Abdu'l-Baha is incorrect.

However, this has made me think that 'Abdu'l-Baha would have needed to be incorrect in order to communicate his point. At the time 'Abdu'l-Baha was speaking, people thought that atoms were indestructible. This was common knowledge at the time, and if 'Abdu'l-Baha had spoken otherwise he would have looked like a fool. Science has later proved that this is incorrect, and that atoms can be split. But at the time 'Abdu'l-Baha, this common knowledge, incorrect as it may have been, was a good basis for an analogy to the indestructible nature of the soul.

So was 'Abdu'l-Baha necessarily wrong in stating this falsehood, when he was using it to make a greater point?? Is, perhaps, 'Abdu'l-Baha's "error" here necessary for a messenger of the divine to speak "in the language" of the people of his time??

It really depends on your own perspective whether or not 'Abdu'l-Baha was wrong or right in this statement above. If you think any incorrect statement is wrong, then yes, those with 'Iṣmah can still be wrong. If you think that the overall point of the prophet's message is what is important, and that incidental, incorrect, common knowledge can still serve as adequate analogies to spiritual truths, then no, those with 'Iṣmah aren't necessarily capable of being wrong. But ultimately, it's the individual perspective that decides whether or not it is possible.

~~~

I similarly recall somewhere a quote from 'Abdu'l-Baha in answer to a question posed to him on the subject of some historical error that Baha'u'llah had apparently made in speaking once. 'Abdu'l-Baha's answer something to the effect that the people Baha'u'llah was speaking to believed this historical error as fact, and therefore, in order to better speak to them, it was necessary that Baha'u'llah's message be in agreement with their common knowledge historical beliefs, rather than with historical reality.

But I can't seem to find this source anywhere. Does anyone, perchance, know the location of this??
 
Old 06-05-2017, 10:07 AM   #21
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Walrus, I enjoyed your answer. thank you
 
Old 06-06-2017, 04:59 AM   #22
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I deeply thank to all contributing to the understanding of this sensitive and complex issue: maryamr, Walrus, Tony, Larry, Dale, everyone.

My personal take on this is that in all things that are really important for my spiritual growth, the Manifestations of God spoke the truth, and I must integrate their teachings into my daily life, along with the manifestation of God in nature (science), in the minds of people who love me (consultation) and my own mind. That is to me what matters.

Reviewing the list of Names of God in the Baha'i Faith, a list which makes me shake in love and awe, I believe that only God is the "All-Knowing", "Omniscient", "Source of Knowledge", "All-Wise", "All-Informed", and "Knower of All Things". Praise be to Him/Her forever.

Last edited by camachoe; 06-06-2017 at 05:05 AM.
 
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