Is mankind progressing spiritually? Is God unfolding new mysteries through new messengers?
There is a belief system that claims there is ‘Progressive Revelation’. That God has revealed Himself progressively through various messengers and prophets throughout the centuries, and each human civilisation has progressed more than the last one, like a child growing up into adulthood who needs higher levels of teaching.
I bring this subject up from conversations with my husband relating to his experience of the Baha’i belief system and it’s followers, and our meeting with a Baha’i married couple not so long ago.
This claim of ‘progressive revelation’ would say that Christ Jesus brought one level of revelation, that Mohammed came with another level of revelation, and so on, as mankind supposedly progressed. But do we see any evidence of the human race being better, stronger, higher levels of morality? If we watch the news or even take notice of happenings in our own cities and neighbourhoods, can we find evidence of wiser species of humans walking round? Have wars ceased because societies have become much kinder, more humble, more ethical?
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
Of course, there has been a progression of knowledge in terms of technological advances, scientific discoveries and so on, but basic human behaviour has not changed or evolved since the time of Adam & Eve’s fall from grace. History shows us that human nature continues to be fallen – anger, pride, lust, wanting power… and will continue to be so when a person does not accept God’s provision of salvation in Christ to transform them. Wars, murders, exploitation of the poor, drug addiction, sexual immorality, the list goes on… so how can some people say that humanity has progressed?
The Baha’i faith was founded in the mid-19th century B.C in Persia, by Siyyid Ali Mohammad, a Shi’ite Muslim, who proclaimed that he was the Bab (“the Gate”), a special sort of interpreter of the Quran with special religious insight and prophetic abilities. The government and the Shi’ite Islamic leadership opposed him and he was executed. One of his disciples, Mirza Hoseyn Ali Nuri, known as ‘Baha’u’llah’, spread the Bab’s teachings which evolved into the Baha’i faith. Baha’i faith teaches that ‘God’ is utterly transcendent and unknowable but that this God’s manifestation comes through the Bab and Baha’u’llah, and also through other religious messengers in history, including Abraham, Moses, the Buddha, Krishna, and Muhammad.
See www.patheos.com/Library/Bahai. Hence ‘progressive revelation’ and also their belief in the unity of religions.
The Bahāʾi Faith underwent a rapid expansion beginning in the 1960s, and by the late 20th century it had more than 150 national spiritual assemblies (national governing bodies) and about 20,000 local spiritual assemblies. Their headquarters is in Haifa, Israel. It also has significant influence within the United Nations.
So, returning to the question of so-called progressive revelation and what the Holy Bible tells us, there is a lot to be questioned about the seeming validity of God manifesting in the various religions/beliefs and where they are heading toward. For example, we are told in the Bible:-
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
So He became as much superior to the angels as the name He has inherited is superior to theirs. (Hebrews 1 v1-4)
Sounds like we really don’t need any more ‘revelation’ from yet another religion or ideology, when God has in these last days spoken to us by the unique Son of God. However, any influential belief system which includes the Christian faith as one of a line of successive revelations can actually be quite dangerous spiritually. Baha’i gives a message of tolerance of all religions because of believing that each one had a relevant message for that particular time period, but it is actually quite anti-Christ in it’s nature.
We are told in God’s Word:-
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)
If the Lord Jesus Christ is the same from eternity past into eternity future, then His revelation will not change. His promises will not change. His purpose will not change. His plan of salvation will not change.