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For example in The Book of God is wide open, and His Word is summoning mankind unto Him.

No more than a mere handful, however, hath been found willing to cleave to His Cause, …

Baha’u’llah did not vocalise his text, so he leaves it to the reader to choose, or rather, he requires the Persian reader to hold both possible meanings in his mind as he continues to read.

Elsewhere in Baha’u’llah’s writings, the meaning of ‘original state’ comes to the fore.

This physics supposes that all things are composed of four elements: earth, fire, water and air, of which only the dry element, earth, is a solid.

240), this does not mean that the transformed and perfected individual becomes “a perfect man” in the Sufi sense, or a Manifestation of God. Not every Bahai will agree with these thoughts, as is evident from the comments to this post, but they are a useful indication of trends in thinking in the community.

A literalist mind-set makes a complete hash of reading any scripture.

This is a problem in all religious communities today, as modernity has given such a high status to the hard sciences and their way of describing the world that many people have never learned to read literary language as literature. 362-3) And if the touchstone is metaphorical, the copper and gold must also be metaphorical. The previous context is the “mystic transformation” of certain “blessed souls,” and the point being made is that this can happen gradually, over a lifetime, or, with the help of the elixir it can happen in a moment.

The text the enquirer asked about is in Baha’u’llah’s “It is evident that nothing short of this mystic transformation could cause such spirit and behaviour, so utterly unlike their previous habits and manners, to be made manifest in the world of being. Such is the potency of the Divine Elixir, which, swift as the twinkling of an eye, transmuteth the souls of men! And then he argues, who is to say that somebody is not the real gold (just because he was something less than that previously), when the Touchstone is at hand and the Touchstone says “he’s real gold”?

For instance, consider the substance of copper (محاس / nahas). He whom God shall manifest is like a touchstone, discriminating between pure gold and all beside. and if he believes in the splendour (Bahá) of him who was the First to believe, then that Name becomes confirmed for him in Heaven … There are more indications that the transformation of copper to gold is being used simply as a metaphor.

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