I figure you can't do bad things, and can't make anyone a victim, including yourself. But then again, your abilities to do good should be greatly expanded, so there should be as much free will in Heaven as there is on Earth.
I think that the Baha'i Faith teaching that there is no free will in the spiritual world it means we will no longer be able to choose between good and evil as we can do in this world, but that does not mean we won't be able to choose. I think that those souls who were selfish and attached to the material world pleasures in this life will be that way in the spiritual world, only there will be no way to fulfill their desires since there is nothing physical in the spiritual world, and that will be Hell for them. By contrast, those souls who love God and other people and do good deeds in this life will be that way in the spiritual world. But that does not mean souls cannot progress and improve their condition. I believe our souls progress along a new line after we enter the spiritual world but we can only progress with the spiritual qualities we brought with us. I just remembered this article where I read that.
A long article on death and dying is found in the Baha’i Library online. The part about death and dying starts on the middle of page 4. It is very informative since the writer was able to read the original writings of Baha’u’llah penned in Persian and Arabic, so he had an advantage over Baha’is who only speak English, since there are many Tablets of Baha’u’llah that have not been translated into English yet.
Death and Dying in the Bahá’í Faith
Below is a short excerpt from the long article. Since it says the challenge of life in this world continues in the world of spiritual reality to me that indicates that we must have something like free will, to meet the challenges.
"Death is regarded as the shedding away of the physical frame but no more, the real part of the person is the soul, which is indestructible. In this there is nothing new, but the Bahá’í thought added another dimension to this idea. The soul is the sum total of the personality it is the person himself; the physical body is pure matter with no real identity. The person, having left his material side behind, remains the same person, and he continues the life he conducted in the physical world. His heaven therefore is the continuation of the pure life that he conducted in the physical world, and his hell is the continuation of the immoral life, which he conducted on earth. The effort to come nearer to God in the physical world continues with coming near God in the heaven of the mystical paradise. Remoteness from God in the physical life means remoteness in the world to come.
The challenge of life in this world continues in the world of spiritual reality as well, only that in the latter the meeting of this challenge is easier because the person is free from physical needs.
Bahá’u’lláh explains that since the mystery of death has such fateful effects, it better remains unrevealed, but he confides that far from being an occasion for grief, death is an opportunity for joy. For the soul is freed from the material form just like the bird is freed when the cage is broken."
And I figure if we all know the truth regarding life's deepest questions and know God exists, pretty much everybody will want to draw into that light, even if they proclaimed atheism or anti-theism on Earth. There is going to be a temporary Hell however knowing just how wrong their beliefs were. Remember though, that this life is several years, whereas the afterlife is for eternity.
I do not believe that is what will happen. I mean I do not think that people who did not have that spiritual awareness in this life will suddenly have it when they die and enter the spiritual world, and sadly, they may never have it at all.
I think there will be something like purgatory where all souls go when they first enter the spiritual world. I have read this in a book entitled Private Dowding
and I believe it even though It does not say this in the Baha'i Writings.
I think it's possible to raise or lower your divinity after death, so some people that were close to God here on Earth might not be close to God in the afterlife, they might change their mind and distance themselves from Him.
Based upon the Bible and the Baha'i Writings, I don't believe we will be able to change our minds after we die and that is precisely why it is so important to 'get it right' in this life. This short excerpt from the Writings of Baha'u'llah indicates we won't have a second chance.
“He should forgive the sinful, and never despise his low estate, for none knoweth what his own end shall be. How often hath a sinner attained, at the hour of death, to the essence of faith, and, quaffing the immortal draught, hath taken his flight unto the Concourse on high! And how often hath a devout believer, at the hour of his soul’s ascension, been so changed as to fall into the nethermost fire!” Tablet of the True Seeker, p. 266
I do not think that one thing stays the same forever, even God, and people will fluctuate between being closer and further from God in the spiritual world as they agree or disagree with His decisions in that spiritual world... If there even is a spiritual world. I tend not to agree with the idea of a spiritual world, but it might be useful one day to tap into in order to find their energy and reassemble it for the physical, material world again.
No, I don't think that souls will stay the same forever. Baha'u'llah wrote that souls will continue to progress forever, and there is no retrogression.
This borders on Universalism, and I am so glad you aren't so tribalistic to think only Baha'is are going to Heaven. Are all people who follow God good people? No. Are all people who are atheists bad people? Again, no.
If people really did follow the teachings and laws of God they would be good people, whether they are atheists or believers.
No, atheists are not bad people but there are consequences for not believing in God in this earthly life, although I cannot say exactly what they are. Only God knows.
These are good conversations! It lets me think outside the box. Thank you!
Thanks to you too. It helps me to think it through, and there is always more to think about since nothing is written in marble. Baha'is do not believe in the Heaven and Hell dichotomy that some Christians believe in. That is much too simple, because nobody is either all good or all bad. This belief that all one has to do is believe that Jesus died for our sins and that is a ticket to Heaven is much too simple, and that is not even what Jesus said, it is a Christian doctrine.