A Crossroads of Science and Religion

By Enoch N. Tanyi

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #48
Center for Bahá'í Studies: Acuto, Italy
July 10–13, 2003
(see list of papers from #48)

    There are two belief systems of pantheism. One school of thought, that of the ancient philosophers and Súfís, and their followers, believes that 'God is not a separate being, but is either the entire natural order or an aspect of the entire natural order.'1 In other words, the universe is a manifestation of God.2 The second school of thought, that of the Prophets, maintains that God is single and alone, and that the creation of God emanates from, and does not manifest God.3

    Even though God is not a part of His creation, and every human being has not a spark of the reality of God within him,4 'Upon the inmost reality of each and every created thing He hath shed the light of one of His names, '5
    In explaining the concept of the Prophets, 'Abdu'l-Bahá employs the concept of biogeochemistry6, also termed nutrient recycling7. This concept of the movement of atoms throughout the forms and organisms in the universe8, which 'Abdu'l-Bahá terms 'the true explanation of pantheism'9 implies the conservation of matter and energy.10 Thus, a link is established between pantheism, a religious concept, and the science of ecology, chemistry, and physics.

    In brief, therefore, the universe emanates from God, Who is single and separate from His creation, but throughout His material kingdoms, there is a continuous movement of atoms and this movement of atoms explains the epigram: All things are involved in all things.11 The phrase 'All things', of course, precludes the Pre-existent Being.
    The singleness of God has a number of implications: [1] Because the world of humanity emanates from one God, it can be said that this world of humanity is one.12

    [2] The singleness of God refutes one of the erroneous meanings of the expression 'joining partners with God.'13

    [3] The singleness of God implies that His Will and that of His Manifestations are identical14 even though there are cases when the Manifestation of God has been unaware of the Will of God (e.g. Bahá'u'lláh's decision to flee to the mountains of Kurdistan and never to return to Baghdád ).15

    [4] The oneness of God also means that, in essence, God has only one attribute.16

    [5] The singleness of God is an attribute found in each of His creatures.17 The singleness and uniqueness of God, which is reflected in each of His creatures18, ensures that His worlds and creatures are infinite in range and number.19 & 20 This is the theological basis for the concept of diversity and biodiversity.

    The fact that atoms are transferred through all the forms and organisms of the universe implies inter-planetary transfer of atoms. This leads to the formulation and suggestion of the theory of inter-planetary transfer of atoms.


    1. Popkin, Richard H., and Avrum Stroll. 1969. Philosohpy Made Simple, p. 163.

    2. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 294-5.

    3. Ibid.

    4. Mahmúd's Diary, p. 199.

    5. Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings, p. 65, section xxvii.

    6. Odum, Eugene P. Ecology. Modern Biology Series, 2nd edn., p. 90.

    7. Kumar, H. D. 1990. Modern Concepts of Ecology, 2nd edn., p. 9.

    8. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 284-6.

    9. Ibid., p. 286.

    10. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 52.

    11. An ancient Arab saying cited by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Ibid.

    12. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 286.

    13. Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings, p. 166, section lxxxiv.

    14. Ibid., p. 167. Cf. The Meaning of the Glorious Qur'an, Sura 4: 150 (Marmaduke Pickthall's translation).

    15. Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet to Salman. Untranslated. Referred to in p.6 of a memorandum dated 01 April 2001 from the Research Department to this writer.

    16. Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings, p. 187, section xciii.

    17. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 283.

    18. Ibid, & 'Abdu'l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 285.

    19. Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings, pp. 151-2, section lxxix

    20. Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings, p. 152.

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