Baha’u’llah says that God created human beings because God loves them. Having done that, God asks to be loved in return. God sends Baha’u’llah to deliver this message. In doing this, Baha’u’llah has two purposes. First, to teach each person how to make good on God’s offer and thereby achieve salvation, which is an eternal relationship with him. The second purpose is to transform the physical world and bring about a uniting of all human beings through their shared love for him. The second goal is what Baha’is often refer to as world unity, and in Christian terms can be described as creating the kingdom of God on earth.
The fact that there are two purposes to the divine message is due to the structure of the world of creation. Baha’u’llah says that creation was made for human beings, so that they can achieve the purposes God has set for them. God designed creation with two intersecting dimensions – a spiritual dimension and a material one – and human beings inhabit both of them. As a result, when human beings return God’s love, that decision impacts on both the spiritual and material worlds. Therefore, when a person takes up God’s offer and establishes a relationship with Baha’u’llah, the following happens. First, they awaken to their life in the spiritual world, thereby achieving the first goal. Second, they participate in transforming the material world, thereby furthering the second goal. From this, it becomes clear that the most important thing a person can do is return God’s love, for both purposes are achieved if someone does this.
All very well, but how does a person return God’s love? The answer is deceptively simple. A person does that using the part of themselves that experiences love, which is the heart. The human heart plays a pivotal role in creation. It sits right at the centre of the cosmic picture. It is the organ in which the key relationship between the lover and Baha’u’llah unfolds. Little wonder then that Baha’u’llah jealously guards the human heart, claiming it as his own property and tolerating no competition to it. He says that God has given everything in creation to human beings, except the heart. The human heart is his home, and the heart of a believer who responds to him with sincerity is his throne. In a sincere, believing heart, Baha’u’llah sits with his lover and looks over creation in what he sometimes describes as the greatest of all panoramas.
“Salman, tell the servants to come to the shore of the sea of pre-existence, so that they might become sanctified above all colors and arrive at the most pure and holy seat and the most great panorama.”Baha’u’llah: Commentary on a Verse of Rumi, paragraph 23, trans Juan Cole
References: Arabic hidden words nos 3-5 www.bahai.org/r/246296008; Persian hidden word no 27 www.bahai.org/r/326525665; Kitabii-Ahd (in Tablets of Baha’u’llah) www.bahai.org/r/975681273; Suriyi-Haykal (in Summons of the Lord of Hosts) paras 210-214.