Humanity’s spiritual, intellectual and moral capacities have been cultivated through the successive teachings of the Founders of the world’s religions—the Manifestations of God. Among Them are Krishna, Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad and, most recently, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh. Each religion originates with God and is suited to the age and place in which it is revealed. In essence, the religion of God is one and whose progressive revelation is unfolding.
Progressive revelation, a core teaching in the Baha’i Faith, suggests that religions are inherently one and that truth is revealed by God progressively through a series of divine Messengers. Each Revelation is tailored to suit the needs of the time, the place of their appearance and the capacity of humanity.
Throughout the ages, God has sent Divine Messengers known as Manifestations of God—among them:
The Bahá’í Faith
Bahá’u’lláh – The Divine Educator
In the middle of the 19th century, God summoned Bahá’u’lláh—meaning the “Glory of God”—to deliver a new Revelation to humanity. For four decades thousands of verses, letters and books flowed from His pen. In His Writings, He outlined a framework for the development of a global civilization which takes into account both the spiritual and material dimensions of human life.
God has not left segments of humanity alone and has sent Messengers to all people. Many of these earlier Messengers have been lost to time.
The Religion of Abraham
Abraham – The Father of Many
About -5000 B.C.
Among the great Prophets was Abraham, Who heralded the oneness of God and was banished from His native land. He founded a family and taught them the Oneness of God. From His lineage appeared Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, David and Solomon.
About -3200 B.C.
The Message of Krishna is the message of love. He was the great exponent of the Bhagavad Gita and the cultivator of new minds.
About -1330 B.C.
The exodus of Moses, His brother and His followers from the land of their birth, in response to the Divine summons. He was given the commandments of God that conferred new life upon the people of Israel and led them to attain the highest degree of civilization.
About -700 B.C.
In the sixth century B.C. Persia, Zoroaster awakened to His mission by a succession of seven visions. The flame ignited by Zoroaster enkindled the hearts of many, His teachings were promulgated through the Avesta and characterized by worship of a supreme God who requires good deeds for help in a cosmic struggle against the evil spirit.
Buddha – the Enlightened
About -500 B.C.
Buddha also established a new religion and renewed the conducts and morals of humanity. These principles reformed the Age and culture in which His message permeated. The founder of Buddhism was a precious Being Who established the unity of creation.
Jesus Christ – the Spirit of God
About 1 B.C.
Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew. He was single and unaided, alone and unique. He had no assistant. Through Christ, through the blessing of the New Testament of Jesus Christ, the Old Testament, the Torah, was translated into six hundred different tongues and spread throughout the world.
Muhammad – the Prophet of God
About 570 A.D.
Muḥammad appeared in the desert of Ḥijáz in the Arabian Peninsula. God called upon Muḥammad as a true Prophet, and gave Him the Revelation which He then recited to the divided tribes. These recitations were collected to form the Qur’án and guided the advancement of humanity.
The Bábi Faith
The Báb – Herald of the Bahá’í Faith
About 1844 A.D.
With His call for spiritual and moral reformation, and His attention to improving the position of women and the lot of the poor, the Báb’s prescription for spiritual renewal was revolutionary. At the same time, He founded a distinct, independent religion of His own, inspiring His followers to transform their lives and carry out great acts of heroism.
“The Revelation of God may be likened to the sun. No matter how innumerable its risings, there is but one sun, and upon it depends the life of all things.
True religion, like science, advances and evolves over time. From a Bahá’í perspective, evolution and renewal of religion occurs with the coming of a new Manifestation of God, sometimes called a Divine Educator or Messenger of God, approximately every 500 to 1,000 years. This process, by which God continuously provides the guidance necessary for humanity’s social and spiritual evolution, is known as “progressive revelation.”
Each Messenger restates essential and universal spiritual truths, while providing additional guidance suited to the needs of humanity at the time. In this era of global challenges, the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, the most recent Messenger of God, have the power to spiritually re-awaken and unite the peoples of the world. Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings contain the spiritual principles that will guide humanity to create justice and a universal, lasting peace—the great peace that has been promised by all the previous Manifestations of God.
“Through their appearance the Revelation of God is made manifest, and by their countenance the Beauty of God is revealed. Thus it is that the accents of God Himself have been heard uttered by these Manifestations of the Divine Being.
“Regard the world as the human body which, though at its creation whole and perfect, hath been afflicted, through various causes, with grave disorders and maladies. …That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith. This can in no wise be achieved except through the power of a skilled, an all-powerful and inspired Physician.”
Here are some other suggested paths of exploration:
“This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future.”