Updated: Feb 26
Let's dive right in. Part One of Some Answered Questions by Abdu'l-Baha is labeled "ON THE INFLUENCE OF THE PROPHETS IN THE EVOLUTION OF HUMANITY." From that opening page, the stage has been set that the Prophets are linear and part of the development of humanity. The first chapter claims that nature is governed by one universal law. He speaks about nature having no intelligence, no will. If Nature has no intelligence or will, who has control of Nature? Who wills Nature to perform its functions? That is God. If we accept this, look at yesterday's definition of accept, then the wonders of Nature are understood as the power of God. This opening chapter is to prep the mind of non-believers to the universality of God. To set our intellectual foundation to receive what is coming. If we can start from a place of agreement, a place of commonality, and carry that spirit as we read more, we can come to see the oneness in God, religion and mankind.
I have the site linked above, but I think it would be helpful to have the first chapter down below too. As always, ask questions in the comment box below. This is a space for open discussion.
"Nature is that condition, that reality, which in appearance consists in life and death, or, in other words, in the composition and decomposition of all things. This Nature is subjected to an absolute organization, to determined laws, to a complete order and a finished design, from which it will never depart—to such a degree, indeed, that if you look carefully and with keen sight, from the smallest invisible atom up to such large bodies of the world of existence as the globe of the sun or the other great stars and luminous spheres, whether you regard their arrangement, their composition, their form or their movement, you will find that all are in the highest degree of organization and are under one law from which they will never depart. But when you look at Nature itself, you see that it has no intelligence, no will. For instance, the nature of fire is to burn; it burns without will or intelligence. The nature of water is fluidity; it flows without will or intelligence. The nature of the sun is radiance; it shines without will or intelligence. The nature of vapor is to ascend; it ascends without will or intelligence. Thus it is clear that the natural movements of all things are compelled; there are no voluntary movements except those of animals and, above all, those of man. Man is able to resist and to oppose Nature because he discovers the constitution of things, and through this he commands the forces of Nature; all the inventions he has made are due to his discovery of the constitution 4 of things. For example, he invented the telegraph, which is the means of communication between the East and the West. It is evident, then, that man rules over Nature. Now, when you behold in existence such organizations, arrangements and laws, can you say that all these are the effect of Nature, though Nature has neither intelligence nor perception? If not, it becomes evident that this Nature, which has neither perception nor intelligence, is in the grasp of Almighty God, Who is the Ruler of the world of Nature; whatever He wishes, He causes Nature to manifest. One of the things which has appeared in the world of existence, and which is one of the requirements of Nature, is human life. Considered from this point of view man is the branch; nature is the root. Then can the will and the intelligence, and the perfections which exist in the branch, be absent in the root? It is said that Nature in its own essence is in the grasp of the power of God, Who is the Eternal Almighty One: He holds Nature within accurate regulations and laws, and rules over it. 1 1. On the idea of God, cf. “The Divinity Can Only Be Comprehended through the Divine Manifestations,” p. 146; and “Man’s Knowledge of God,” p. 220. The reader will there see that the Bahá’í Faith has not an anthropomorphic conception of God, and that if it employs a customary terminology, it is careful to explain its symbolic meaning."