Care for Environment: The Bahá’í faith

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For Bahá’ís the goal of existence is to carry forward an ever-advancing civilisation. Such a civilisation can only be built on an earth that can sustain itself. The Bahá’í commitment to the environment is fundamental to our Faith.


Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise.”

With those words, Bahá’u’lláh, Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, outlines the essential relationship between man and the environment: that the grandeur and diversity of the natural world are purposeful reflections of the majesty and bounty of God. For Bahá’ís, there follows an implicit understanding that nature is to be respected and protected, as a divine trust for which we are answerable.

A century ago, Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed that humanity has entered a new age. Promised by all the religious Messengers of the past, this new epoch will ultimately bring peace and enlightenment for humanity. To reach that point, however, humankind must first recognise its fundamental unity as well as the unity of God and of religion. Until there is a general recognition of this wholeness and interdependence, humanity’s problems will only worsen.

“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established,” Bahá’u’lláh wrote. “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”

For Bahá’ís the goal of existence is to carry forward an ever-advancing civilisation. Such a civilisation can only be built on an earth that can sustain itself. The Bahá’í commitment to the environment is fundamental to our Faith. — The Bahá’í Faith Statement on Nature: Presented in October 1987, when the Bahá’í Faith became the sixth religion to join the Network on Conservation and Religion.

The founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), is regarded by his followers as the most recent in the line of God’s messengers that includes Abraham, Moses, the Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus, and Muhammad. At the heart of Bahá’í belief is the conviction that humankind is a single people with a common destiny.

The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens. — Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 167.

Blessed is the spot, and the house, and the place, and the city, and the heart, and the mountain, and the refuge, and the cave, and the valley, and the land, and the sea, and the island, and the meadow where mention of God hath been made, and His praise glorified. — Bahá’í Prayers, title page.

Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise. — Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 142.

By nature is meant those inherent properties and necessary relations derived from the realities of things. And these realities of things, though in the utmost diversity, are yet intimately connected one with the other. — Bahá’í World Faith, p. 340.

Families in Bangui, Central African Republic,
Families in Bangui, Central African Republic, gather to commemorate the birth of the Báb. Courtesy of Bahá’í World News Service.

Liken the world of existence to the temple of man. All the limbs and organs of the human body assist each other; therefore life continues. Likewise, among the parts of existence there is a wonderful connection and interchange of forces, which is the cause of the life of the world and the continuation of these countless phenomena. — ‘Abdú’l-Bahá, Star of the West 6 (17), pp. 138-139 and Compilation on Social and Economic Development, no. 47.

Look not upon the creatures of God except with the eye of kindliness and of mercy, for Our living providence hath pervaded all created things, and Our grace encompassed the earth and the heavens. — Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’ulláh, XIV, p. 33.

 

Santiago Bahá í Temple in Chile
Santiago Bahá í Temple in Chile. Courtesy of Bahá’í World News Service.

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