Chapter Sixteen:
Supernatural in Man

Man continues to search for supernatural powers in the outside world but remains unaware of those that are latent within his own being. The Bahá’í Writings tell us that man has qualities in him that are not found in nature. He is capable of perception, intelligence, memory, conscious reflection and susceptibility. Through these qualities he rules over all that is there in the domain of nature, including the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms. Like all other things in nature, man is not bound by its limitations.

In the proportion that the human body is weak, the spirit of man is strong. It controls natural phenomena. In reality, the spirit of man "is a supernatural power which transcends all contingent beings."1

The origin of the stupendous progress that man has made in the field of science and technology, lies in man’s supernatural powers through which he discovers new and beautiful things. This process is the very foundation of the evolution of human civilization.2 Man, while living upon the earth, discovers the stars and their satellites. He travels underground, finds metals in the depths of the earth and unlocks the secrets of geological ages. He can cross the abysses of interstellar space and discover the motion of inconceivably distant suns. How wonderful it is!3

The Bahá’í Writings indicate that the virtue of science in man exalts his station beyond that of an animal. Science is the by product of the human intellect which "is a bestowal of God; it is not material; it is divine." ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains, "All the powers and attributes of man are human and hereditary in origin—outcomes of nature’s processes—except the intellect, which is supernatural. Through intellectual and intelligent inquiry science is the discoverer of all things. It unites present and past, reveals the history of bygone nations and events, and confers upon man today the essence of all human knowledge and attainment throughout the ages."4

He points out that materialists find it difficult to accept this fact: "Not withstanding the gift of this supernatural power, it is most amazing that materialists still consider themselves within the bonds and captivity of nature. The truth is that God has endowed man with virtues, powers and ideal faculties of which nature is entirely bereft and by which man is elevated, distinguished and superior."5

If man’s intellectual power were not supernatural and extraordinary, many accomplishments of the twentieth century would not have been possible. The supernatural power in man "discovers the realities of things and possesses the power of idealization or intellection. It is capable of discovering scientific laws, and science we know is not a tangible reality. Science exists in the mind of man as an ideal reality. The mind itself, reason itself, is an ideal reality and not tangible."6

Interestingly, science has been described in the Bahá’í Writings as "an effulgence of the Sun of Reality, the power of investigating and discovering the verities of the universe, the means by which man finds a pathway to God."7 Science is described as being of two kinds: material and spiritual. "Material science is the investigation of natural phenomena; divine science is the discovery and realization of spiritual verities. The world of humanity must acquire both.…Material and spiritual science(s) are the two wings of human uplift and attainment. Both are necessary—one the natural, the other supernatural; one material, the other divine. By the divine we mean the discovery of the mysteries of God, the comprehension of spiritual realities, the wisdom of God, inner significances of the heavenly religions and foundation of the law."8

No matter how perfect is man’s health and physical powers, he must use his intellectual or spiritual powers to rise above the level of an animal. Research and investigation must continue along both spiritual and scientific lines to develop all the inner and outer human virtues.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá says, "In the same proportion that the body of man is developing, the spirit of man must be strengthened; and just as his outer perceptions have been quickened, his inner intellectual powers must be sensitized so that he need not rely wholly upon tradition and human precedent. In divine questions we must not depend entirely upon the heritage of tradition and former human experience; nay, rather, we must exercise reason, analyze and logically examine the facts presented so that confidence will be inspired and faith attained."9

A cycle of radiance, an age of mercy dawns when divine Manifestations or Prophets appear in the world. Everything is renewed. This is the second birth mentioned in the heavenly Books. Its accomplishment is through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Consider this present century of radiance, and compare it with the past centuries. Minds, hearts and all human forces are reformed, perfections are quickened, sciences, discoveries and investigations are stimulated afresh, and everything appertaining to the virtues of the human world is revitalized.

The resuscitation or rebirth of the spirit of man is through the science of the love of God. In this century, Bahá’u’lláh has appeared and so resuscitated spirits that they have manifested powers more than human. Thousands of His followers have given their lives; and while under the sword, shedding their blood, they have proclaimed, "Ya Bahá’u’l-Abha!" Such resuscitation is impossible except through a heavenly potency.10



1. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 264.

2. ibid., p. 17-18.

3. ibid., p. 264.

4. ibid., p. 49.

5. ibid., p. 51.

6. ibid., p. 360.

7. ibid., p. 49.

8. ibid., p. 138.

9. ibid., p. 327.

10. ibid., p. 277.