The prophecies of Baha'u'llah made it clear that world had ended; that in the
new heavens and new earth of His revelation, scientific knowledge and invention
would dart forward with jackrabbit speed.
Beginning at once,
He said, humanity would
'behold things of which ye have never heard before' including 'the knowledge of
the most marvelous sciences'- hitherto unimaginable discoveries that would
shrink the globe to a veritable village.
These advances (though exposing humankind to catastrophic danger)
would provide a material framework for the infinitely more glorious spiritual
revolution to follow, a revolution destined to usher in the millennial paradise
in scriptures of old.
Western scientists of Baha'u'llah's day believed that transmutation- the
changing of one chemical element into another- was theoretically impossible.
explained that they were mistaken. He wrote that copper (for example) could
become gold or vice versa:
'Every mineral can be make to acquire the density, form and substance of each
and every other mineral.' Only decades later did physicists realize that
elemental atoms are not, as they once thought the smallest irreducible building
blocks of matter.
Atoms are composed of still smaller particles that can be separated and
recombined, the result being that any element can indeed change into any other.
Unfortunately, transmutation (as Baha'u'llah also foresaw) is far from an
It has opened the door to global holocaust by virtue of its link with nuclear
Baha'i teachings state that 'in the beginning matter was one', giving rise to
elements which became differentiated only 'after a very long time' into their
present complex forms.
This teaching seemed, at the time, irreconcilable with known facts; but its
truth became apparent by the middle of the twentieth century.
Physicists now realize that all matter begins as hydrogen gas which, collecting
slowly in suns and stars, cooks under enormous pressure for thousands of
millions of years.
The resulting nuclear reactions combine the original atoms of hydrogen into
heavier and ever- more-complex elements.
These elements eventually render the star unstable, triggering (if it is
sufficiently massive) a 'supernova' explosion, which welds vast quantities of
starstuff into still heavier elements
and flings them into space as gas.
The constant repetition of this process throughout the universe provides the
raw material for suns and planets such as our own.