Answer: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (1844-1921),
the son and successor of the Prophet-Founder, Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892),
gave a succinct answer to this question. He explained that just as we
potentially receive the powers and capacities needed for survival in
this world in the pre-natal matrix, so too must we acquire the capacity
here to live well after death. I quote his illuminating answer at
“Therefore in this world he must prepare himself for the life beyond.
That which he needs in the world of the Kingdom must be obtained here.
Just as he prepared himself in the world of the matrix by acquiring
forces necessary in this sphere of existence, so likewise the
indispensable forces of the divine existence must be potentially
attained in this world.
What is he in need of in the Kingdom which transcends the life and
limitation of this mortal sphere? That world beyond is a world of
sanctity and radiance; therefore it is necessary that in this world he
should acquire these divine attributes. In that world there is need of
spirituality, faith, assurance, the knowledge and love of God. These he
must attain in this world so that after his ascension from the earthly
to the heavenly Kingdom he shall find all that is needful in that life
eternal ready for him.
That divine world is manifestly a world of lights; therefore man has
need of illumination here. That is a world of love; the love of God is
essential. It is a world of perfections; virtues or perfections must be
acquired. That world is vivified by the breaths of the Holy Spirit; in
this world we must seek them. That is the Kingdom of life everlasting;
it must be attained during this vanishing existence.
By what means can man acquire these things? How shall he obtain these
merciful gifts and powers? First, through the knowledge of God. Second,
through the love of God. Third, through faith. Fourth, through
philanthropic deeds. Fifth, through self-sacrifice. Sixth, through
severance from this world. Seventh, through sanctity and holiness.
Unless he acquires these forces and attains to these requirements he
will surely be deprived of the life that is eternal” (Foundations of
World Unity, p. 63). -