The Mystery of Divinity:
Traditional Views in Comparison to those in Some Answered Questions

By James Thomas

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #95
Bosch Bahá'í­ School: Santa Cruz, California, USA
May 19–23, 2010
(see list of papers from #95)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 12, pages 329-351
© 2011, ‘Irfán Colloquia

    In the normal course of events we share an endless chain of ideas with the use of definitive terms in efforts to get our points across whether metaphorical or real. And we do this with great confidence in our own understanding of such terms. Even the parameters of uncertainty can be described with clarity in terms of probability when dealing with a myriad of statistical information ranging from human affairs to nuclear physics. Yet in matters of the spirit we often do not have a clue as to what the words such as soul, God, heaven and others that we use so frequently really mean. Generally they are described in a most superfluous manner in order to at least have some kind of transitory grasp of their relationship. Such a term is Divinity, one that truly relates to a realm of deep mystery. This paper approaches an understanding of this subject in four stages: [1] Sources of knowledge relating to divinity are reviewed with reference to the Greco-Roman, Medieval and modern periods; [2] Applications of meanings provided by these sources are evaluated in terms of current understanding; [3] Societal impacts of such applications are examined; [4] New thoughts and proofs are introduced in light of the writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá'.

    A conclusion is drawn that infers a new paradigm of spiritual evolution, and suggests a possible platform for philosophical dissertation regarding religious influence on secular matters in the modern world.

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