10 Nov Resurrection and The Hereafter: Part 16
The Gate of Wisdom, Grace, Mercy and Justice;the Manifestation of the Names of All-Wise,Generous, Just and Merciful.
Is it at all possible that the Glorious Possessor of all Dominion in this impermanent hospice of the world, in this transient place of testing, in this unstable showplace of the earth so manifest a wisdom, so evident a grace, so overwhelming a justice, so comprehensive a mercy, – is it at all possible that in His realm, in the worlds of the outer and inner dimensions of things, there should not exist permanent abodes with eternal inhabitants, everlasting stations with immortal residents, and that as a result all the truths of wisdom, grace, mercy and justice that we now see should decline into nothingness.
Again, is it at all possible that that All-Wise Being should choose man, among all His creation, to receive direct and universal address from Him, should make him a comprehensive mirror to Himself, should permit him to taste, weigh, and become acquainted with, all the contents of His treasuries of mercy, should make Himself known to him with all His Names, should love him and make Himself beloved of him – that He should do all this and then fail to despatch wretched man to that eternal realm, to invite him to that abode of permanent bliss and make him happy there?
Is it at all reasonable that He should impose on every being, even the seed, a task as heavy as a tree, mount in it instances of His wisdom as numerous as the flowers, and beneficial aspects as numerous as the fruits, but assign to that task, to those instances of His wisdom and those beneficial aspects, a purpose pertaining only to this world, one as small as a seed? That He should make that purpose nothing more than the life of this world, something less valuable than a grain of mustard-seed? That He should not make of beings seeds for the world of meaning and tillage for the realm of the hereafter, for them to yield there their true and worthy results? That He should permit such significant alternations to remain without purpose, to be empty and vain? That He should not turn their faces towards the world of meaning and the hereafter, so that they might there reveal their true purposes and fitting results?
Again, is it at all possible that by thus causing things to controvert their own nature He should present His own veracious Names, All-Wise, Generous, Just, Merciful, as being characterized by their opposites -God forbid!- that He should deny the true essences of all those beings that indicate His wisdom and generosity,His justice and mercy, that He should reject the testimony of all creatures, that He should negate the indications made by all things?
Can intelligence at all accept that God should impose on man and his senses duties as numerous as the hair on his head, but give him no more than an earthly reward, something no more valuable than a hair? That He should act meaninglessly, in a fashion contrary to His true justice and opposed to His true wisdom?
Again, is it at all possible that God Who proves and shows Himself to be a possessor of absolute wisdom, by attaching to every animate being, or even to every member like the tongue, indeed to every creature, instances of His wisdom and sources of benefit as numerous as the results and the fruits He has attached to a tree – is it at all possible that He should fail to bestow of Himself the greatest of all instances of His wisdom, the most significant of all sources of benefit, the most necessary of all results, that which makes His wisdom into wisdom, His blessings into blessings, His mercy into mercy, the source and aim of all of His wisdom, bounty, mercy and beneficence eternity, the meeting with Him in the hereafter and everlasting bliss?
Were He to abandon these, He would plunge all of His doings unto utter pointlessness and cause Himself to resemble a being who constructed a palace, each stone of which contained thousands of designs, in each corner of which thousands of adornments were to be found, and in each part of which thousands of precious household instruments and tools were provided, but failed to build a roof over it, so that everything rotted and was needlessly destroyed. No, by no means can this be true! From absolute goodness comes forth goodness, and from the Possessor of Absolute Beauty comes forth beauty. So too nothing devoid of purpose can emerge from the Possessor of Absolute Wisdom.
Whoever in his imagination embarks on the ship of history and sets sail for the past, will see dead stages, places, gatherings and worlds, as numerous as the years, and each like the stopping-place that is the world, the field of trial, the gathering of creation, that we now see. In form and quality they are different from each other, but they resemble each other with respect to their orderliness, their wondrousness and the fashion in which they display the power and wisdom of the Maker.
In those impermanent stopping-places, those transient fields, those fleeting gatherings, he will also see the orderly workings of so manifest a wisdom, the indications of so evident a beneficence, the signs of so imperious a justice, the fruits of so comprehensive a mercy, that he will know of a certainty unless totally devoid of perception that a more perfect wisdom that that which he beholds is inconceivable, that a beneficence more beauteous than that the signs of which he observes is impossible, that a justice more glorious than that the indications of which he sees cannot exist, and a mercy more comprehensive than that the fruits of which he sees is unimaginable.
If, to suppose the impossible, there were no permanent abodes, lofty mansions, everlasting stations and eternal abodes, with their eternal residents, God’s joyous servants, in the realm of that Eternal Monarch Who disposes all affairs and Who constantly is changing the hospice and its inmates, then it would be necessary to reject the true essences of wisdom, justice, beneficence and compassion, those four powerful and universal spiritual elements that are like light, air, water and earth, and to deny their existence, even though they are as apparent as that of the external elements. For it is plain that this impermanent world and its contents cannot be a complete manifestation of their true essences. If there is no other place, somewhere else, where they can be manifested fully, it then becomes necessary, with a lunacy like that of the man who denies the existence of the sun even though he sees its light filling the day to deny the wisdom that we can see in everything in front of our eyes; to deny the beneficence that we can observe in our own souls and in most other things; to deny the justice the signs of which appear so strongly; and to deny the compassion we see everywhere in operation. It follows in turn that we must regard as a foolish prankster, a treacherous tyrant, the one from whom proceed all the wise processes, the generous deeds and the merciful gifts we perceive in the universe. God forbid that this should be so; it is a totally impossible reversal of the truth. Even the foolish sophists, who denied the existence of everything and even that of their own selves, would not readily contemplate such a proposition.
In short: Considering the utter disparity between -on the one hand- this state of affairs which we see together with the universal fusions of life and the swift separations of death, the imposing gatherings and the rapid dispersions, the magnificent revolutions and the great manifestations, and -on the other hand- the petty fruits we see briefly attained in this transient world, the temporary and insignificant purposes of beings that pertain to this world, we conclude that the non-existence of the hereafter would mean attaching to a little stone wise purposes as great as a mountain, and to a great mountain, a purpose as petty as a small stone. No intelligence or wisdom can find this acceptable.
In other words, this lack of proportion between beings and these matters on the one hand, and their purposes pertaining to this world on the other, demonstrates with certainty that all beings have their faces turned to the world of meaning. It is there that they will yield their appropriate fruits, and their eyes are fixed on the Sacred Names. Their ultimate aims pertain to that world alone. While their substance is hidden beneath the soil of this world, their flowers will unfold in the World of Similitudes. Man sows and is sown in this world, in accordance with his capacity; the harvest is gathered in the hereafter.
If you look at the aspect of things that is turned towards the Divine Names and the hereafter you will see that each seed, a miracle of power, has an aim as vast as a tree. Each flower, which is like a word of Divine wisdom, has meanings as numerous as the flowers on a tree, and each fruit, a wonder of God’s workmanship and a poem dictated by His mercy, has wise purposes as numerous as the fruits of a tree. As for the fruit serving us as sustenance, it is merely one out of those many thousand wise purposes; it fulfils its purpose, expresses its meanings, and dies, being buried in our stomach. Since these transient beings yield eternal fruits in another place, leave there permanent forms of themselves, and express there everlasting meanings; since they engage in ceaseless glorification of the Maker; and since man becomes man by perceiving these aspects of things that are oriented to the hereafter, thus finding his way to eternity by means of the transient – since all of this is true, there must be some other purpose for all these beings that are cast around between life and death, that are first gathered and then dispersed.
There is no error in this comparison: the above-mentioned state of affairs resembles circumstances formed and arranged by way of imitation and representation. Brief gatherings and dispersions are arranged at great expense merely for the sake of taking pictures that can thereafter be shown in the cinema. So too, one of the reasons for our passage through individual and social life in this life, for a brief time, is to enable pictures to be taken and images formed, to enable the result of our deeds to be registered and recorded, for display on a day of accounting, for being shown at a vast gathering, and to yield the fruit of supreme happiness. The noble saying of the Prophet (Peace and blessing be upon him) “This world is the tillage for the hereafter,” indicates this meaning.
Since the world exists, and within this world wisdom, beneficence, compassion and justice also exist, with their numerous evidences, of a certainty the hereafter also exists, just as surely as does this world. Since one aspect of everything in this world is turned to that world and is proceeding toward it, to deny that world would be denying this world with all it contains. Just as the allotted hour and the grave await man, so too do Paradise and Hell, anxiously watching for his arrival.
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