Baha'u'llah, the Prophet founder of the Baha'i faith, states: "Exalted, immeasurably exalted, art Thou above the strivings of mortal man to unravel Thy mystery, to describe Thy glory, or even to hint at the nature of Thine essence. For whatever such strivings may accomplish, they never can hope to transcend the limitations imposed upon Thy creatures, inasmuch as these efforts are actuated by Thy decree, and are begotten of Thine invention. The loftiest sentiments which the holiest of saints can express in praise of Thee, and the deepest wisdom which the most learned of men can utter in their attempts to comprehend Thy nature, all revolve around that Center Which is wholly subject to Thy sovereignty, Which adoreth Thy Beauty, and is propelled through the movement of Thy Pen."
He further says that God can in no wise incarnate his essence and reveal it to men. He is immensely exalted beyond all that can either be recounted or perceived. From his retreat of glory his voice is ever proclaiming: "Verily, I am God; there is none other God besides Me, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise."
He manifests himself to men and sends down Them Who are the Daysprings of the signs of His Revelation. Through them he has caused all creation to testify that there is none other God except him, the Incomparable, the All-Informed, the All-Wise.
He who is everlastingly hidden from the eyes of men can never be known except through his Manifestations, and his Manifestations can adduce no greater proof of the truth of their mission than the proof of their own persons. They are known by different names at different times.
The Baha'is use the words "Manifestations of God."
The Most Holy Book of Baha'u'llah starts with this ordinance, that the first duty prescribed by God for his servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His Laws.
He represents the Godhead in the world of creation.
These sanctified Mirrors and Daysprings of the ancient glory are one and all the exponents on earth of him who is the central orb of the universe, its essence and ultimate purpose. From him proceed their knowledge and power; from him is derived their sovereignty.
Their existence is but a reflection of his perfect image, and their revelation a sign of his everlasting glory. They are the treasuries of divine knowledge, and the repositories of celestial wisdom. Through them is transmitted a grace that is infinite, and by them is revealed the light that can never fade. There is no distinction between them because they are all sent from the same source, bring the same message of peace and unity, and suffer the same tribulations.
The only way to the Divine Kingdom is through the Manifestations of God. In other words, the Manifestations of God are the liaison between the Divine Kingdom and the human kingdom. Our sole means of recognition of God is the recognition of his Manifestations.
They are the reason for the existence of several religions in the world. They are chosen from among the people by God to receive and convey to humankind his ordinances and principles. Whosoever abides by them prospers, and those who deny will perish.
Although the recognition of the Manifestations of God is considered to be the purpose of life, it is not the end; it must be followed by deeds in accordance with his laws and principles. Baha'u'llah says that everyone who reaches this most sublime station of recognition of God's Messenger ought to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world.
Recognition of the Manifestations of God and putting his principles and ordinances into practice are inseparable twin duties prescribed to every human being.
The Baha'is also believe that humankind has been created in the image of God. One can reach a level of detachment from the material world through abiding by the laws and ordinances revealed by his Manifestations to the extent that he sees nothing in him except God.
The Seven Valleys of Baha'u'llah expounds this notion: "Every man may testify, in himself, by himself, in the station of the Manifestation of his Lord, that verily there is no God save Him, and that every man may thereby win his way to the summit of realities, until none shall contemplate anything whatsoever but that he shall see God therein."