Life, Death, and the Soul

RELATED DOCUMENTS
The Soul
The Human Soul
Heaven and hell: a Bahá'í view of life after death
According to Bahá'í teachings human nature is fundamentally spiritual. Although human beings exist on earth in physical bodies, the essential identity of each person is defined by an invisible, rational, and everlasting soul .

The soul animates the body and distinguishes human beings from the animals. It grows and develops only through the individual's relationship with God, as mediated by His Messengers. The relationship is fostered through prayer, knowledge of the scriptures revealed by these Teachers, love for God, moral self-discipline, and service to humanity. This process is what gives meaning to life.

Cultivation of life's spiritual side has several benefits. First, the individual increasingly develops those innate qualities that lie at the foundation of human happiness and social progress. Such qualities include faith, courage, love, compassion, trustworthiness and humility. As these qualities are increasingly manifest, society as a whole advances.

Another effect of spiritual development is alignment with God's will. This growing closer to God prepares the individual for the afterlife . The soul lives on after the body's death, embarking on a spiritual journey towards God through many "worlds" or planes of existence. Progress on this journey, in traditional terms, is likened to "heaven." If the soul fails to develop, one remains distant from God. This condition of remoteness from God can in some sense be understood as "hell." Thus, heaven and hell are regarded not as literal places but descriptions of one's spiritual progress toward the light of God.

General Information
The Bahá’í Faith
The international website of the Bahá’ís of the world.
The Life of Bahá’u’lláh
A photographic narrative about the life of the founder of the Bahá’í Faith.
Bahá’u’lláh
Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and a history of His life, His teachings, His station.
The Universal House of Justice
General information about the Universal House of Justice, selected statements and letters which have been written by it or prepared under its supervision.
Attaining the Dynamics of Growth
A global sampling of Bahá’í community life – devotional meetings, children and youth classes, study of sacred scripture, service projects, and fellowship.
Reference
Bahá'í Reference Library
The Bahá'í sacred writings available online.
Bahá'í Statement Library
Statements issued by the United Nations office of the Bahá'í International Community.
Bahá'í Media Bank
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One Country
The quarterly newsletter of the Bahá'í International Community, with in-depth features, book reviews and commentary.