What is the relationship between spiritual and earthly love?
Answer: If by earthly
love, the question implies the love between sexes, the spiritual
element should form an integral part of earthly love. In fact, viewed
in the light of the immortality of the soul, and the union of a married
couple that will continue beyond death, the spiritual element becomes
the eternal bond that seals the earthly love. If no spiritual element
exists in the relationship, if it be based only on physical attraction,
union will dissolve at death, for the physical is temporary.
In the Bahá’í teachings, all existing forms of love, including earthly
love, have their origin in the fountainhead of the Love of God.
‘Abdu’Bahá (Servant of Glory) (1844-1921), the son and successor of the
Prophet-Founder Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), gave a statement on the four
kinds of love. “Love is only of the four kinds that I have explained.
(a) The love of God towards the identity of God. Christ has said God is
Love. (b) The love of God for His children -- for His servants. (c) The
love of man for God and (d) the love of man for man. These four kinds
of love originate from God. These are rays from the Sun of Reality;
these are the Breathings of the Holy Spirit; these are the Signs of the
Reality (Paris Talks, p. 181). The phrase “man for man” is generic
here, and means love between human beings, and does not refer, of
course, to the male gender exclusively.
Consequently, the highest from of earthly love, which touches on the
divine, occurs when lovers find the beauty of God mutually reflected in
the soul. This relationship has been explained by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as
follows: “Each sees in the other the Beauty of God reflected in the
soul, and finding this point of similarity, they are attracted to one
another in love”(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 180).
He also cautions us about infatuation—the appearance that is only a
mirage. “But the love which sometimes exists between friends is not
(true) love, because it is subject to transmutation; this is merely
fascination...This is not love, it is merely acquaintanceship; it is
subject to change” (Paris Talks, p. 180). -