A Bahá'í Glossary
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Progressive Revelation
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The concept that Divine Revelation is not final, but continuing.
The concept of progressive revelation is founded on the belief that all the Greater Prophets of the past were Manifestations of God who appeared in different ages with teachings appropriate to the needs of the time: 'in every Dispensation', writes Bahá'u'lláh, 'the light of Divine Revelation hath been vouchsafed unto men in direct proportion to their spiritual capacity.'35 Each succeeding Revelation is greater than the one that preceded it, as the capacity of the people to comprehend increases. With each dispensation social evolution has advanced, as the scope of man's sense of loyalty to a group has become wider — from the family to the clan, tribe, city-state, nation and ultimately to the recognition of the oneness of mankind, the distinguishing feature of the revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. Bahá'ís believe the great religions of the past were all 'different stages in the eternal history and constant evolution of one religion, Divine and indivisible,'36 and that in not less than a thousand years, another prophet will appear, to bring further divine guidance to mankind. Concerning future Manifestations, 'Abdu'l-Bahá said, 'in so far as their relation to the source of their inspiration is concerned they are under the shadow of the Ancient Beauty [Bahá'u'llah]. In their relation, however, to the age in which they appear, each and every one of them "doeth whatsoever He willeth".'37
[BD 186-187]
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