Justice is the unifying force expressed in every dimension of reality. The purpose of justice is to maintain unity. The Baha’i writings affirm, “Justice is a powerful force. It is… the standard-bearer of love and bounty… The purpose of justice is the appearance of unity among men.”

Everything – consciousness, religion, and justice, too – evolves toward wholeness and unity. Our understanding of, and ability to carry out, justice increases and expands with each and every social advance we take toward oneness. As our circles of unity become wider and wider, the effects of justice carried out become deeper and deeper.

For many centuries now, we have lived with a punitive system of justice, which created the need for restorative justice. But when we have evolved our consciousness to a level of maturity, we will be able to live under a unitive system of justice, which will be designed to maintain unity, since it will be built upon the standard of compassion, respect, and equity for all human beings.

Recognizing justice as a force for unity requires seeing through the eye of oneness. Shifting our consciousness this way lets us see the whole first, rather than give preference to any of its parts. Love and justice added together results in unity right away, rather than needing to restore another injustice later on. Justice as a force for unity is the greatest need of our time because world unity is necessary for our very survival.

There is a hidden wholeness to all of existence that a system of global justice has to take into account. The 1993 Declaration of the Parliament of the World’s Religions made this clear: “We are interdependent… opening our hearts to one another, we must sink our narrow differences for the cause of world community… We commit ourselves to a culture of non-violence, respect, justice, and peace. We must strive for a just social and economic order, in which everyone has an equal chance to reach full potential as a human being. Let no one be deceived, there is no global justice without truthfulness and humanness.”

I would only add to this, there is no global justice without the recognition of the oneness of humanity. Carrying out global justice today based upon this oneness and interdependence will actually help achieve the purpose of justice: establishing unity in diversity, the most practical need of our time.