I would like to know what are Bab and Baha’u’llah teachings on Hell and Satan ?
As far as I recall, the Baha’i Faith teaches that heaven and hell are spiritual conditions characterised by the nearness or distance of an individual soul from God in this life and in the afterlife.
On Satan, they do not believe in a literal devil rather ‘Satan’ is seen as a metaphor or image for man’s lower ‘animal’ nature or instincts, which is/are at odds with his higher spiritual nature.
Evil in the Baha’i Faith, as in Catholicism, is understood as not actually existing but rather being the “absence of good”.
I believe that Abdu’l-Baha addresses many of these issues in Some Answered Questions in quite a succinct manner.
These teachings seem to be incompatible to the teaching of Jesus about Hell and Satan.
So far as I can tell, there is no hell, there is no ultimate punishment other than being pushed a bit back on the cosmic scale. If you do enough good and believe the right things your rewarded with a higher place in the celestial kingdom.
The concept of “Hell” does exist in the Baha’i Writings, but unlike popular religious understanding, it is not a place, rather it is a condition, as brother Vouthon has already kindly pointed out
The concepts of heaven and hell must start from a foundation, according to the Baha’i Writings, that God is the Creator, and creates only good.
We must not assume that “goodness” is what we, as human beings deem as being good or bad, for goodness is a “relative” term.
To an ant, it has no concept of human joy and happiness. It’s joy is received from much more humble degrees of existence than what we would consider good.
To an ant, heaven may be described as sufficient food and a shelter for survival.
Some human beings may consider the “heaven” of an ant as hell. Who wants to survive off scraps of food from the floor and live in an underground tunnel, right?
So everything is “relative”. This is critical in terms of study of the cosmos and creation and extending to the human condition and our spiritual condition.
Light is good.
Darkness is bad
The source of light is the sun
The source of good is the Sun of Truth, God.
The source of darkness? There isn’t one…its just the “lack of” light…
The source of bad/evil? There isn’t one…it’s just “lack of good”…
The human soul expresses divine attributes. These attributes are love, kindness, respect, courtesy, faith, righteousness etc etc.
The human soul, if not fully turned towards God and His grace, will also manifest these attributes "to a lesser degree"
So anger is an expression of a lesser degree of love, so much so, that love cannot be seen at all in the soul of that person, at that moment. That’s why Christianity teaches that we should love the person but not the sin.
The same can be said with all the attributes of the soul. These attributes/perfections are acquired and adorn the soul with increasing lustre, but it is a process that must be “worked on”. Through the grace of God, prayer, and the confirmations that are showered upon us with our efforts to perfect ourselves on a daily basis we polish these gems/attributes/perfections to radiate through our person more brightly.
As we reflect these attributes more and more perfectly, we are said to be in heaven, and closer towards that Divine Reality which we all yearn for eterenally.
"The rewards of this life are the virtues and perfections which adorn the reality of man. For example, he was dark and becomes luminous; he was ignorant and becomes wise; he was neglectful and becomes vigilant; he was asleep and becomes awakened; he was dead and becomes living; he was blind and becomes a seer; he was deaf and becomes a hearer; he was earthly and becomes heavenly; he was material and becomes spiritual. Through these rewards he gains spiritual birth and becomes a new creature. He becomes the manifestation of the verse in the Gospel where it is said of the disciples that they “were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” —that is to say, they were delivered from the animal characteristics and qualities which are the characteristics of human nature, and they became qualified with the divine characteristics, which are the bounty of God. This is the meaning of the second birth. For such people there is no greater torture than being veiled from God, and no more severe punishment than sensual vices, dark qualities, lowness of nature, engrossment in carnal desires. When they are delivered through the light of faith from the darkness of these vices, and become illuminated with the radiance of the sun of reality, and ennobled with all the virtues, they esteem this the greatest reward, and they know it to be the true paradise. In the same way they consider that the spiritual punishment—that is to say, the torture and punishment of existence—is to be subjected to the world of nature; to be veiled from God; to be brutal and ignorant; to fall into carnal lusts; to be absorbed in animal frailties; to be characterized with dark qualities, such as falsehood, tyranny, cruelty, attachment to the affairs of the world, and being immersed in satanic ideas. For them, these are the greatest punishments and tortures.
Likewise, the rewards of the other world are the eternal life which is clearly mentioned in all the Holy Books, the divine perfections, the eternal bounties and everlasting felicity. The rewards of the other world are the perfections and the peace obtained in the spiritual worlds after leaving this world, while the rewards of this life are the real luminous perfections which are realized in this world, and which are the cause of eternal life, for they are the very progress of existence. It is like the man who passes from the embryonic world to the state of maturity and becomes the manifestation of these words: “Blessed, therefore, be God, the most excellent of Makers.” The rewards of the other world are peace, the spiritual graces, the various spiritual gifts in the Kingdom of God, the gaining of the desires of the heart and the soul, and the meeting of God in the world of eternity. In the same way the punishments of the other world—that is to say, the torments of the other world—consist in being deprived of the special divine blessings and the absolute bounties, and falling into the lowest degrees of existence. He who is deprived of these divine favors, although he continues after death, is considered as dead by the people of truth."
Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, Pg 224-225
“The reality underlying this question is that the evil spirit, Satan or whatever is interpreted as evil, refers to the lower nature in man. This baser nature is symbolized in various ways. In man there are two expressions: One is the expression of nature; the other, the expression of the spiritual realm. The world of nature is defective. Look at it clearly, casting aside all superstition and imagination. If you should leave a man uneducated and barbarous in the wilds of Africa, would there be any doubt about his remaining ignorant? God has never created an evil spirit; all such ideas and nomenclature are symbols expressing the mere human or earthly nature of man. It is an essential condition of the soil of earth that thorns, weeds and fruitless trees may grow from it. Relatively speaking, this is evil; it is simply the lower state and baser product of nature.”
`Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 294-295