Evolution in Some Answered Questions, Part 1

Jul 2019
5
USA
Hi, this is my first time posting in this forum, so I'm not sure how well this is going to go. I have some questions about the meaning of some passages in SAQ. Since my questions are many and long, I'm splitting this discussion up. Question 1:

What is the meaning of all of chapter 46? Does the meaning change between the Persian version and the English version? Could there be an error in the translation? I ask because chapter 46 appears to be stating the opposite of what is in chapters 47-51. I have read the footnotes and the introduction, and they did not elucidate things enough. E.g. what is meant by "species"? The footnote states that it is not the biological term, but the word is used in the sense of "kind" or "archetype"... so what do those words mean in the context of SAQ?

The reason I ask is because, after reading chapter 46 several times, the chapter seems to say that without man in its full development and intellect, the world would be imperfect, which would be inconceivable. But in subsequent chapters it states that man has been developing gradually and only now has reached its full intellectual potential.

I feel like something got translated into English a bit off. If someone could help me figure this out, that'd be awesome.
 
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Jul 2019
5
USA
Or never mind. I'll figure it out on my own. This is probably just opening up a can of worms. I would delete my post but it looks like that is not an option... so IGNORE... carry along...
 
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Sep 2010
4,602
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
Good to see you here. I have not been around much lately, also a few regulars also seem quite at this time.

All the best, Regards Tony
 

Jcc

Mar 2013
594
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
Or never mind. I'll figure it out on my own. This is probably just opening up a can of worms. I would delete my post but it looks like that is not an option... so IGNORE... carry along...
Hi, your questions are very pertinent and clear, and I am sure you will find a resolution with further study. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject.

As indicated in the notes, chapter 46 discusses the need for a humanity in creation for it to be complete, that is mankind as an archetype. In the mind of God there is no time or space, so for existence, the physical evolution of planet earth started 4 billion years ago and it took up to just a few hundred thousand years ago for humanity in its current form to appear. That doesn’t mean that the world was imperfect prior to modern man’s appearance, because it was always destined to appear, it was just a matter of time, and to God there is no limitation of time. For that matter, how to we define the world? The planet Earth, or the whole Universe? On Earth, humanity only recently appeared, but in the whole Universe, Baha’u’llah tells us that there are countless planets with sentient beings, and the apex of life on each planet is the human kingdom. We have no idea what physical form they may take, but spiritually they are like us, with a soul and spirit, drawn to God, aided by the Holy Spirit. There are also Manifestations that appear to them to cause their spiritual and social development. So, even if one planet is temporarily without the human kingdom manifested, others have it so Creation as a whole is not lacking.

Remember that ‘Abdu’l-Baha was also always clear that there is no contradiction between scientific and religious truth. The fact that the human body is genetically related to other primates, mammals, vertebrates, and eventually all life is pretty convincing proof that it is the result of evolution from common ancestors with the animals. That does not contradict the reality of the human kingdom as an archetype completely distinct from the animal kingdom. We share virtually all aspects of our physical bodies with the animals, but our spirit is completely distinct from that of animals, and that is how I understand what Abdu’l-Baha is saying.
 
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