On the nature of the soul.

I was reading the latest issue of Discover magazine tonight, which had an article called “The God Experiments”. (Sorry, you have to be a subscriber to read the whole article.) They highlight different attempts at researching religion and religious experiences through science (mostly attempts by scientists to debunk religion, which seems like a waste of time to me, but whatever). Suffice to say that some of the ways they have of doing this are kind of wacky (like electromagnetic stimulation of the brain and other experiments/research).

Tonight I couldn’t sleep, and as I browsed Ocean I found the following references to the nature of the soul, which reminded me of this article. I’m continually fascinated by science and religion (having been raised in a simultaneously religious/scientific household). And I am always surprised to see how much religion bothers scientists, and vice versa. 🙂

Be it known that to know the reality or essence of the soul of man is impossible, for in order to know a thing, one must comprehend it, and since a thing cannot comprehend itself, to know one’s self in substance or essence is impossible. As the comprehender cannot be comprehended, man cannot know himself in reality or essence. In order to obtain knowledge of any reality, or soul of man, the student must study the manifestations, qualities, names and characteristics of man. This much can be stated, that the reality of man is a pure and unknown essence constituting a depository, emanating from the light of the Ancient Entity — God.

(Compilations, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 405)

Thou hast asked Me concerning the nature of the soul. Know, verily, that the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel. It is the first among all created things to declare the excellence of its Creator, the first to recognize His glory, to cleave to His truth, and to bow down in adoration before Him. If it be faithful to God, it will reflect His light, and will, eventually, return unto Him. If it fail, however, in its allegiance to its Creator, it will become a victim to self and passion, and will, in the end, sink in their depths.

(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 158)

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