Science now supports Bahá’í view of evolution


Photo courtesy of Médiathèque Baha’ie Francophone at

Science is catching up with Bahá’í teachings on evolution. Way to go, science!

It is the Bahá’í view, expressed as long ago as 1912 by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during His visit to the West, that humans did not descend from the apes, but rather evolved over time along a separate evolutionary line. ‘Abdul-Bahá’s explanation is recorded in The Promulgation of Universal Peace during His talk at an open forum in San Francisco, California on October 10, 1912, pp. 355 – 361. He did not expressly say this in so many words, but it is unavoidably implied in His talk, a few lines of which are quoted here:

The materialistic philosophers of the West declare that man belongs to the animal kingdom, whereas the philosophers of the East — such as Plato, Aristotle and the Persians — divide the world of existence or phenomena of life into two general categories or kingdoms: one the animal kingdom, or world of nature, the other the human kingdom, or world of reason.

Man is distinguished above the animals through his reason.


… the philosophers of the West have certain syllogisms, or demonstrations, whereby they endeavor to prove that man had his origin in the animal kingdom; that although he is now a vertebrate, he originally lived in the sea; from thence he was transferred to the land and became vertebrate; that gradually his feet and hands appeared in his anatomical development; then he began to walk upon all fours, after which he attained to human stature, walking erect. They find that his anatomy has undergone successive changes, finally assuming human form, and that these intermediate forms or changes are like links connected. Between man and the ape, however, there is one link missing, and to the present time scientists have not been able to discover it. Therefore, the greatest proof of this western theory of human evolution is anatomical, reasoning that there are certain vestiges of organs found in man which are peculiar to the ape and lower animals, and setting forth the conclusion that man at some time in his upward progression has possessed these organs which are no longer functioning but appear now as mere rudiments and vestiges.


The philosophers of the Orient in reply to those of the western world say: Let us suppose that the human anatomy was primordially different from its present form, that it was gradually transformed from one stage to another until it attained its present likeness, that at one time it was similar to a fish, later an invertebrate and finally human. This anatomical evolution or progression does not alter or affect the statement that the development of man was always human in type and biological in progression. … we may acknowledge the fact that at one time man was an inmate of the sea, at another period an invertebrate, then a vertebrate and finally a human being standing erect. Though we admit these changes, we cannot say man is an animal. In each one of these stages are signs and evidences of his human existence and destination. Proof of this lies in the fact that in the embryo man still resembles a worm. This embryo still progresses from one state to another, assuming different forms until that which was potential in it — namely, the human image — appears. Therefore, in the protoplasm, man is man. Conservation of species demands it.


The significance is this: that the world of humanity is distinct from the animal kingdom. This is the teaching of the philosophers of the Orient. They have a proof for it. The proof is that the animals are captives of nature. All existence and phenomena of the lower kingdoms are captives of nature; the mighty sun, the numberless stars, the kingdoms of the vegetable and mineral, none of these can deviate one hair’s breadth from the limitation of nature’s laws. They are, as it were, arrested by nature’s hands. But man breaks the laws of nature and makes them subservient to his uses. … If this power were not supernatural and extraordinary, man’s accomplishments would not have been possible.

It is clear that He is stating that man is not part of the animal kingdom, i.e., that man did not descend from the apes.

The New Science

The journal Science has just presented a story about the discovery of a hominid named “Ardi” that lived 4.4 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia. Study of this new find has resulted in the conclusion that apes and humans evolved from some very ancient common ancestor, but that each evolved separately along independent evolutionary lines.

Several on-line newspapers currently have articles on this find. The original source is Science magazine, which is at

This noteworthy scientific discovery demonstrates the reality that science and religion are fundamentally compatible, and that Bahá’u’lláh is God’s Manifestation to humankind in this age.

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