Resurrection of Divine Wisdom
A Study of the Ontology of Greek Philosophical Theology and Jewish Theology in the Context of Wisdom Revelation and its Realization in the Bahá'i Religion
By Michael McCarron
Presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #2 (English)
Bahá'í National Center: Wilmette, Illinois, US
March 25-27, 1994.
Presented Sunday, 11:30-12:15
in the Lawh-i-Hikmat Bahá'u'lláh posits that the sages (philosophers) of Greece gained their wisdom from the teachers of the east, such as the prophets, both minor and major, of Israel. In addition, the claim is made that all knowledge comes from God, including natural laws in a purposive theological manner. In the following paper I shall be examining the development of philosophy from the first philosopher as named by Bahá'u'lláh - Hermes through the Hellenistic, Early Christian and Islamic Middle Ages up to the revelation of Bahá'u'lláh in terms of wisdom revelation; that is, the revealing of a divinely ordained ordering system, a book of laws for humanity regarding spiritual matters, as well, a system of governance and a natural ordinance system In the physical universe.
To start, the cosmogonies of ancient Israel, Egypt and Mesopotamia all include the concept of the word as the progenitor and prime mover in the creative act. Bahá'u'lláh also comments to this effect. It is the word of God, or gods, depending upon the mythos one is referring to, that acts as a system of order. What is order in the Hebraic sense, this is Wisdom, in Hebrew "chokma," divinely revealed and prophesied and relied on in the salvation and eschatological expectations of the Israeli peoples, wisdom has as its correlation in Greece with what is known as order or way (Dike). The discussion includes a discourse on the Christian syncretism of Jewish theology and Greek philosophy where Jesus Christ becomes the logos and his kerygma is brought forth as wisdom flowing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Additionally, an examination of wisdom and order in other cultures besides the civilizations of Greece and Israel is presented whereas order is known in the Chinese, Indian, Persian and Egyptian lands with their different applications and minor derivations in function; however, in essence they remain the same as our concept of order. The revelation, if we may call it as such, of order in Greece is brought forth through the Logos (reason, word). Likewise, in the metaphysical paradigm of Israel, wisdom is revealed through a type of intermediary, sometimes an angel, a manifestation of God, or in our focus that of the Kabhod YHWH or Glory of God. And in eschatological terminology, according to the Jewish sect of the Hellenistic Age--the Essenes--it is the Kabhod YHWH who will bring the new Divine Wisdom in the station of the Messiah.
In the Lawh-i-Hikmat Bahá'u'lláh posits that it is the Divine Messenger of God that brings this wisdom and knowledge to humankind. I correlate this concept with the logos of Greek philosophy and Israeli theology, as well, Islamic (Sufí) teaching on the Primal Man who reappears to relate new teachings to mankind in a successive manner.
My conclusions in the study are that Bahá'u'lláh is speaking In the station of the Primal Man and Glory of God and, in fact, in eschatological terms He brings forth the new Wisdom and establishes a new Order for the maintenance of the created cosmos. Also, that the assertions of Bahá'u'lláh as recorded in the Lawh-i-Hikmat. that Greek philosophy owes its origination in the religious traditions of the east and that these teachings of wisdom are brought to us through the intercession of divine prophets has historical validity and doctrinal agreement in the cosmologies of eastern religions.
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