"Three Worlds", or "Three Conditions of Existence"

According to the Baha'i Writings, there are "three conditions of existence":

  1. Deity
  2. Prophethood, and
  3. Servitude.
"Know that the conditions of existence are limited to the conditions of servitude, of prophethood and of Deity,...."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, Chapter 62, p. 230, U.S. 1990 reprint pocket-size ed.)

These three conditions of existence are alternatively called the three worlds:

"The Prophets believe that there is the world of God, the world of the Kingdom, and the world of Creation: three things."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, Chapter 82, p. 295-296.)

A few select quotes are presented showing the relationships between the three conditions or worlds.

Deity or God:

"The Divine Reality, which is purified and sanctified from the understanding of human beings and which can never be imagined by the people of wisdom and of intelligence, is exempt from all conception. That Lordly Reality admits of no division; for division and multiplicity are properties of creatures which are contingent existences...."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, Chapter 27, p. 113.)
"From His retreat of glory His voice is ever proclaiming: 'Verily, I am God; there is none other God besides Me'...."
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, Selection XX, p. 49, U.S., 1990 pocket-size ed.)
"Know thou of a certainty that the Unseen can in no wise incarnate His Essence and reveal it unto men. He is, and hath ever been, immensely exalted beyond all that can either be recounted or perceived."


"Before appearing in the human form, the Word of God was in the utmost sanctity and glory, existing in perfect beauty and splendor in the height of its magnificence."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, Chapter 28, pp. 116-117.)
This Condition "is not limited by time or place," and "is without beginning or end,....it does not become a sharer in the preexistence of God...."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, Chapter 53, p. 203.)
"Were We to address Our theme by speaking in the language of the inmates of the Kingdom, We would say: 'In truth, God created that School ere He created heaven and earth, and We entered it before the letters B and E were joined and knit together.' Such is the language of Our servants in Our Kingdom...."
(Baha'u'llah, Kitab-i-Aqdas, para. 177, p. 84, 1992 blue hard-cover ed.)

Servitude or Creation:

These next four quotes reveal characteristics about this condition of servitude or world of creation, that the other two worlds are jointly involved in the making of it, that the purpose underlying the condition of servitude or world of creation is for man to come to know and love (worship) God, and that being of "service" is the highest form of worship.

"Shoghi Effendi, in letters written on his behalf, has explained the significance of the 'letters B and E'. They constitute the word 'Be', which, he states, 'means the creative Power of God Who through His command causes all things to come into being'...."
Kitab-i-Aqdas, note 188, p. 247.)
"...Thou didst, through a word of Thy mouth, bring creation into being and fashion the universe."
(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, Selection IV, p. 6, U.S., 1987 pocket-size ed.)
"Having created the world and all that liveth and moveth therein, He, through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will, chose to confer upon man the unique distinction to know and to love (God)....[which is] the generating impulse and primary purpose underlying the whole of creation...."
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, Selection XXVII, p. 65.)
"Thou (God) didst bring mankind into being to know Thee and to serve Thy Cause.... "
(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 111.)
"I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee."
(Baha'u'llah, "Short Obligatory Prayer.")
"Work done in the spirit of service is the highest form of worship...."
(Abdu'l-Baha on Divine Philosophy, p. 83, quoted in Compilation of Compilations, Vol. I, "Baha'i Education" #704, p. 313, Australia 1991 ed.)

The Baha'i Ringstone Symbol of the Greatest Name

The three worlds of God are represented on the Baha'i ringstone symbol. In Lawh-i-Ism-i A'zam (Tablet of the Greatest Name), Abdu'l-Baha described the ringstone symbol, stating that the three horizontal lines represent

  1. the World of God ('alam-i-haqq),
  2. the World of Command ('alam-i-amr), and
  3. the World of Creation ('alam-i-khalq).

Also, in a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi:

"The inscription upon the Baha'i ringstone is....symbolic of the three planes, representing the World of God, the World of Revelation and the World of Creation."
(28 February 1938, #909, p. 269, Lights of Guidance, 2nd Rev. Ed., 1988)

This concept of the three conditions of existence forms the basis for the work of the Foundation for the Investigation of Reality.

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Page last updated: July 22, 2004