Information compiled by GraceWatcher
One evening I found myself in the spiritual section of a book store just looking around when as I reached for a book on a rather high shelf another book fell. It landed in my hands. It just was handed to me by some power greater than me. Of course the book was Urantia, I found it to be very helpful to me then and I have recently started reading it again. I send you only the peace of God.
I found the Urantia Book in a bookstore in Knoxville, Tennessee I had heard of this two-thousand page mind stretching explanation of God, the universes, the life and times of Jesus Christ and man’s relation to it all. Once I got beyond the guilt of reading something that didn’t glorify the Baptist Church and it’s teachings, I experienced a peace that truly surpasses all understanding.
It had been a long and lonely journey trying to make sense out of a world filled with hate, anger, greed and lust. And I had spent decades groveling in the middle of it all, wallowing in a pit of despair, defeated in attitude, believing all the while, that if there were a God, he would surely strike me down, the very minute I asked for his forgiveness. I should have listened to that small voice inside of me. There I was, too afraid to pray, to confused to understand that all I needed for salvation was a faint flicker of faith. Furthermore, I had no clue that inside me there lived a fragment of the eternal Father and, He loved me because I was special, unique in creation, and would not be duplicated in all of eternity.
My life is enriched by the teaching of the Urantia Book which, while not a part of our Church’s theology, fills my daily meditation and study as I continue to understand God’s plan for me as an individual. I am a Son of God, I am at peace. I will be with him in eternity. Reading The Urantia Book can have a profound effect on a person’s life, representing a classic and even total paradigm shift for most people. The book provides new and loving perspectives on the human condition and allows the reader to look upon themselves, and humanity as a whole, with sympathetic understanding and even forgiveness, in much the way a loving parent looks upon a little child. This new and higher point of reference is often healing, calming and revivifying. The message of the book acts as a balm for the chaos and confusion of modern life, restoring to the reader sublime hope and sincere faith.
I have been reading The Urantia Book for a few years now. I keep reading it because I do not comprehend the difficult part of it especially all the things that explains about God The Father. The more I read it, my mind expands with it. Until I firmly believe in every thing it is revealing. Our Father is really not out there unreachable and unfathomable. He is trully inside us and it is just the way we are made that is truly great. For in this very low origin of ours, we are all capable to travel out there in the never ending journey until we feel the real love of the Father. Then it is not yet over. We are just starting to prove that we can also be like Him and on and on on and on to infinity. I can not finish this story for I have just begun. For love does not end. It is infinite.
I was overwhelmed as I glanced at this book- I have not yet read all the papers, but only a few. Every word of those I read, was logical and acceptable to my intelligence, though my limited brain could not comprehend the vast knowledge it presented, with one reading. No one in this part of the world, to my knowledge, has known the existence of this marvelous revelation of truth, yet. I wonder whether there could be similar ones like me who could be in fellowship to study this book and enhance our lives by true knowledge under the ever-loving presence of the UNIVERSAL FATHER, guidance of Jesus Christ and the hosts of the spiritual worlds.
The Urantia Book teaches that God knows, loves and supports each of us individually. For instance, my mind was opening as the shackles of dogmatic religious beliefs were thrown off. Searching for truth, I drifted through so-called "metaphysics" and New Age concepts. Fortunately I discovered meditation that revealed unknown facets of mind. In retrospect, I believe a sincere prayer for guidance was implicit in my yearning for truth. That prayer was answered unexpectedly, profoundly and in a life-changing manner.
One day divine love visited me. While meditating, asking for and visualizing healing for others, I felt a strange “force” seize my body. There was a sensation of floating up and away, presumably having an “out-of-body” experience. My uneasiness was calmed by a soft quiet voice that said, “Be still.” I waited. Soon a commanding voice announced, "I am the Lord your God, listen to my voice and I will show you a way to help many people." My mind state was total awe and reverence. After a pause the voice said, "Go." Waiting for more direction I listened. When none came, I asked within, "Go where?" But no answer came. Years later the answer did become clear.
After that experience I felt somewhat like the prodigal son who asked to his misdeeds forgiven and was welcomed back joyously by a forgiving Father. Indeed I too learned forgiveness, but there were more lessons in store for me to learn. The Urantia Book teaches: the “greatest affliction is never to have been afflicted; mortals only learn wisdom by experiencing tribulation.” The invaluable lessons for me to learn came through health challenges.
The joyful truths of The Urantia Book are a striking contrast to the oppressive and fearful fundamentalist teachings about a wrathful and punishing God. Learning its truth is progressively changing me, a “recovering fundamentalist.”
The Urantia Book reveals Jesus taught that the will of God can be done in any honorable occupation. In retrospect, my belief is that the instances mentioned above were opportunities to do my Father’s will. The Book also tells of the power of a “spiritual fulcrum" that multiplies the effects of human efforts many times over, when intended to do God’s will. “The act is ours, the consequences God’s.” The fact that our research results saved thousands of lives, I believe, is evidence of the action of that spiritual lever. We had "partnered with God," as described in The Book. Such partnering happened because our sole intent was to save lives, to serve patients’ needs, not ourselves. The Urantia Book teaches that all selfless service is love, for it is “doing the Father’s will.”
The Urantia Book reveals that a spirit fragment, "the divine voice," is in everyone’s mind. The riveting message, "listen to my voice," heard in meditation years before may have come through the spiritual fragment of the Father in my mind. But direct messages from that spirit are rare, often not audible and can come in a variety of ways. For example, one message that came to me was an invitation, another was an intuitive insight and in another case it was the recognition of a fortuitous opportunity.
Without being aware, I was learning the lesson of duty by responding to the urging to “Go,” to act on each opportunity. True spiritual faith involves action, Jesus taught. Thus, “Go” meant assertive action, dedication, focus, time and effort, use of skills, teamwork, etc. I want believe the admonition "Go" is being heeded. Now retired, my time is spent drafting a book manuscript entitled, "The Only Game in Town," which implies: the only rational choice we have is: do our Father's will here, now and in eternity. All else is illusion, deviance and ultimate nonexistence.
Finally, I am profoundly grateful for being guided to The Urantia Book. Having studied The Book for almost 20 years, my life has been changed radically. My “dark night is ending,” but it will not end until my mind been transformed completely by the spirit of God. In the interim, teachings in The Urantia Book about God’s love, faith, service and peace are releasing me from persistent vestiges of guilt, wrath and fear learned long ago.
This is my story, one of thousands that can be told. I hope The Urantia Book gives you knowledge, trust and peace. I believe The Book can change you too, as it is reforming me. Peace ever be with you. The Urantia Book was logical, internally consistent, intellectually stimulating, and every reading seemed to amplify my depth of understanding. There was however one major drawback to reading it. With the increase in understanding came a commensurate increase in self-expectation. It has taken some time to come to grips with these newfound responsibilities to the brotherhood of man and a God who accepts the consequences of my actions. The Urantia Book changed my life from complete confidence in self to complete confidence in God.
The Urantia Book may be the most powerful evidence
ever that there is intelligent life in the Universe. The Urantia Book boldly
claims to be a revelation of truth to our world from the headquarters of the
Superuniverse. A revelation in book form, it is intended to help guide humankind
into the next era of evolutionary progress. The Urantia Book provides a deeper
appreciation and understanding of our own planetary family, as well as of our
place in the cosmic family of freewill intelligent beings. It reveals as never
before an infinite circle of creation, at the center of which reigns our
beneficent and loving Creator.
In addition, The Urantia Book presents anew the Life and Teachings of Jesus, and reveals our beloved redeemer as the pivotal connection to us as mortal universe citizens. This restated and detailed elaboration of the life of Jesus is a vital element of the revelation of The Urantia Book. Jesus - Son of God and son of man - was, and still is, our closest approach to God. The Urantia Book boldly states: Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.
The Urantia Book contains religion, history,
science, and philosophy, and includes the life and teachings of Jesus. It
defines religion as the sublime and personal relationship between the individual
and the Creator. The Urantia Book simply states, "In its true essence, religion
is a faith-trust in the goodness of God.
The book asserts that one of the highest religious concepts that a person can grasp is the simple "fact of the fatherhood of God, coupled with the resultant truth of the sonship-brotherhood of men.
No organized religion based on the teachings of The Urantia Book exists at this time, and many who believe in the book feel it is neither necessary nor desirable to create one.
Each of the world's major religions once began as cult. A "cult" is characterized by a group of people who adhere to a standardized and ecclesiastically sanctioned belief system, leaving no room for personal beliefs or for interpretation. Often, such a belief system embraces some regiment of uncontestable theology, some indispensable method to garner one's salvation into heaven. Usually, there is a charismatic leader who is recognized as the final authority on nearly all matters of living, sometimes even to the mundane.
None of the above characteristics applies to readers of The Urantia Book. The Urantia Book has no official interpretation, and it actually encourages the free exploration of its concepts, allowing readers to discover for themselves the meaning and value of its teachings.
One could just as easily wonder why any person
should strive to learn and know more. Why send a child to college when a high
school education is sufficient to survive in the world? The Creator put the
propensity in each of us that we might constantly strive to better our
civilization and ourselves. A better question might be, "Why wouldn't God reveal
more to us, especially as we are able to understand and know more?"
Any good parent or teacher would do this. Children cannot reach the fulfillment of their personal dreams and potential without the periodic help, wisdom and guidance of more experienced adults. Neither can humankind reach its objectives nor can we live up to our true potential without some form of periodic wisdom and guidance from above.
When considering the epic struggle of humanity to reach our own often-stated goal of "peace on earth, and goodwill among men," one source of religious truth and knowledge can hardly be adequate. This is even more evident considering the great diversity that exists in humanity. If humans needed only one source of information, then human history would not be punctuated with great religious, scientific, and philosophic teachers. Jesus would not have come to offer a "new testament" if the "old testament" alone were adequate. It was he who promised a response for those who would seek, ask, and knock. Why would he have stated this great truth if no new answer or discovery were ever forthcoming?
The Urantia Book can actually clarify and enhance many of the vague and difficult concepts of the Bible as well as other sacred texts. The Bible, like all literature, is subject to interpretation and The Urantia Book can help tremendously with this because it fills in many of the gaps. For example: The Bible does not explain the one-time existence of the many different types of dinosaurs, nor the long geophysical evolution of this planet. It does not explain the long evolution of the human species nor the many civilizations that have existed on this world. It does not explain how Cain, if he were a child of the first humans on earth, could find a wife in "The Land of Nod." It never mentions what happened to Joseph, the father of Jesus, nor does it give any detail regarding the diversity of material and spiritual life that exists in the cosmos. Although The Bible is a wonderful repository of spiritual truths recorded over the ages, it is by no means an end of God's instruction to humankind, and neither, for that matter, is The Urantia Book.
The teachings of The Urantia Book are certainly new in many respects, and in a sense its presence here bears witness to a new age on earth. However, the book is also a reiteration of a message that is anything but new to mankind. The proclamation that every human being is a member of the family of God and that each person can come to realize this fact by faith and through grace is surely not "New Age." The book exquisitely weaves the past with the present and the future to give us a wholistic vision of our existence. The Urantia Book is truly unprecedented, and is nearly impossible to label. I want to encourage and assist individuals in developing a personal faith relationship with our Heavenly Father by sharing the supernal teachings of Jesus in The Urantia Book with them and nurturing them as believers.
An Introduction to the Urantia Book
The Urantia Book (sometimes called The Urantia
Papers or The Fifth Epochal Revelation) is a spiritual and philosophical book
that discusses God, Jesus, science, cosmology, religion, history and destiny. It
originated in Chicago, Illinois, USA, sometime between 1926 and 1955, but its
authorship is unclear. There has been much debate and speculation on how the
papers were produced.
The writers introduce the word Urantia as the name of the planet Earth and state their intent is to "present enlarged concepts and advanced truth" in an "endeavor to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception." Among many other topics, it expounds on the origin and meaning of life, describes humankind's place in the universe, discusses the relationship between God and people, and presents a detailed biography of Jesus.
The Urantia Foundation first published The Urantia Book in 1955 in English. The organization has translated it into twelve other languages, with new translations in process.
Nature of God
God in The Urantia Book is the creator and upholder of all reality—an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, infinite, and eternal spirit personality. God is the "First Source and Center" of all reality, including spirit and material energy, though of an absolute nature where spirit and matter are distinguishable "only in name."
The most fundamental teaching about God in the book is that he is a loving Father, with whom all may have a personal relationship. "The face which the Infinite turns toward all universe personalities is the face of a Father, the Universal Father of love." Even during the development of numerous other themes in The Urantia Book, God as a loving Father is emphasized as the central, unifying attitude of God toward his creation.
From Paper 2, "The Nature of God":
God is inherently kind, naturally compassionate, and everlastingly merciful. And never is it necessary that any influence be brought to bear upon the Father to call forth his loving-kindness. The creature's need is wholly sufficient to insure the full flow of the Father's tender mercies and his saving grace. Since God knows all about his children, it is easy for him to forgive. The better man understands his neighbor, the easier it will be to forgive him, even to love him.
God is said to be a mystery though because of the infinite scope of his perfection and his attributes. From Paper 1, "The Universal Father":
God is not hiding from any of his creatures. He is unapproachable to so many orders of beings only because he "dwells in a light which no material creature can approach." The immensity and grandeur of the divine personality is beyond the grasp of the unperfected mind of evolutionary mortals. Today, and as you are, you must discern the invisible Maker through his manifold and diverse creation, as well as through the revelation and ministration of his Sons and their numerous subordinates.
God according to the book is one Deity who functions on a range of different levels of reality, both personal and impersonal. God is taught to exist in a Trinity of three perfectly individualized persons who are co-equal: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. These persons are referred to by additional titles in the book, primarily as the "Universal Father", "Eternal Son", and "Infinite Spirit". While stating that the concept of one God in three persons is difficult to fully understand, the book says that the idea "in no manner violates the truth of the divine unity. The three personalities of Paradise Deity are, in all universe reality reactions and in all creature relations, as one".
The Father, Son, and Spirit are considered "existential" persons of Deity, those in existence from the eternal past to the eternal future—without beginning or end. In addition, three persons of Deity are described who are "experiential", or incomplete and in the process of actualizing: God the Supreme, God the Ultimate, and God the Absolute. Of these three, God the Supreme, or "the Supreme Being", is given the most explanation, as the person of Deity evolving in time and space to unify finite reality and the infinite. The persons of God the Ultimate and God the Absolute are considered to be remote from the possibility of comprehension and are covered on a limited basis.
Many types of celestial beings are enumerated in the book, and one of particular note is a joint "offspring" of the Universal Father and Eternal Son called a "Creator Son". A divine Creator Son is considered the full representation of the Universal Father and Eternal Son that is possible to people. Jesus of Nazareth is identified as a Creator Son who incarnated on Earth and whose life and teachings are portrayed as the fullest revelation of the personality and attitude of God ever given to humanity.
Paper 196, the final paper, states:
To "follow Jesus" means to personally share his religious faith and to enter into the spirit of the Master's life of unselfish service for man. One of the most important things in human living is to find out what Jesus believed, to discover his ideals, and to strive for the achievement of his exalted life purpose. Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.
God and the individual
God is described as the Father of each individual, and through the direct gift of a fragment of his eternal spirit, called a Thought Adjuster, is said to be able to guide the individual toward an increased understanding of him. The Thought Adjuster is also called a "Mystery Monitor," "inner voice," "divine spark," and "pilot light". The concept is in certain ways comparable to the Hindu atman, the ancient Egyptian ka, and the Quaker inner light. From philosophy, it is similar to what Socrates' described as his "daimonion". In relation to biblical traditions, the Thought Adjuster is described by the book as the meaning behind the phrases "being made in God's image" and the "kingdom of God is within you".
From Paper 108, "Mission and Ministry of Thought Adjusters":
The Adjuster is the mark of divinity, the presence of God. The "image of God" does not refer to physical likeness nor to the circumscribed limitations of material creature endowment but rather to the gift of the spirit presence of the Universal Father in the supernal bestowal of the Thought Adjusters upon the humble creatures of the universes.
According to The Urantia Book, each normal-minded person receives one such fragment at the time of his or her first independent moral decision, on average around the age of five years and ten months. The Adjuster then serves noncoercively as a divine partner for the rest of life, and to the extent that a person consents with their free will to want to find God, it leads the person toward more mature, spiritualized thinking. Through the practice of learning how to follow the inner leadings of the Adjuster — choose "God's will" — the individual progresses to greater God consciousness and spiritual growth.
A person's Thought Adjuster is described as distinct from either the soul or the conscience. In The Urantia Book's teachings, the degree to which a human mind chooses to accept its Adjuster's guidance becomes the degree to which a person's soul "grows" and becomes a reality that can then survive death. The soul is in essence an embryonic spiritual development, one parental factor being the divine Adjuster and the other being the human will.
The book many times links the biblical New Testament teachings of becoming like a little child in attitude of trust and sincerity as being the stance each person should have toward God. It says the attitude of open-minded teachability facilitates spiritual growth in liaison with the work of the Thought Adjuster and invariably leads a person to love and serve other people. It also says, "But you yourself are mostly unconscious of this inner ministry. You are quite incapable of distinguishing the product of your own material intellect from that of the conjoint activities of your soul and the Adjuster". The book is strongly fideistic and teaches that neither science nor logic will ever be able to prove or disprove the existence of God, arguing that faith is necessary to become conscious of God's presence in human experience, the Thought Adjuster.
From Paper 101, "The Real Nature of Religion":
Religious experience, being essentially spiritual, can never be fully understood by the material mind; hence the function of theology, the psychology of religion. The essential doctrine of the human realization of God creates a paradox in finite comprehension. It is well-nigh impossible for human logic and finite reason to harmonize the concept of divine immanence, God within and a part of every individual, with the idea of God's transcendence, the divine domination of the universe of universes. These two essential concepts of Deity must be unified in the faith-grasp of the concept of the transcendence of a personal God and in the realization of the indwelling presence of a fragment of that God in order to justify intelligent worship and validate the hope of personality survival. The difficulties and paradoxes of religion are inherent in the fact that the realities of religion are utterly beyond the mortal capacity for intellectual comprehension.
Persistently embracing sin is the same as rejecting the leadings of the Adjuster, the same as rejecting the will of God. Constant selfishness and sinful choosing lead eventually to iniquity and full identification with unrighteousness, and since unrighteousness is unreal, it results in the eventual annihilation of the individual's identity. Personalities like this become "as if they never were". The book says that "in the last analysis, such sin-identified individuals have destroyed themselves by becoming wholly unreal through their embrace of iniquity". The concepts of Hell and reincarnation are not taught.
From Paper 5, "God's Relation to the Individual":
The great God makes direct contact with mortal man and gives a part of his infinite and eternal and incomprehensible self to live and dwell within him. God has embarked upon the eternal adventure with man. If you yield to the leadings of the spiritual forces in you and around you, you cannot fail to attain the high destiny established by a loving God as the universe goal of his ascendant creatures from the evolutionary worlds of space.
The book says that a person ultimately is destined to fuse with his or her divine fragment and become one inseparable entity with it, if the person chooses to accept the Adjuster's leadings and become self-identified with it. The act of fusion is the moment when a human personality has successfully and unalterably won eternal life, described as typically taking place in the afterlife, but also a possibility during earthly life. The result during human life is a "fusion flash", with the material body consumed in a fiery light and the soul "translated" to the afterlife. The Hebrew prophet Elijah being taken to heaven without death in "chariots of fire" is said to be a rare example in recorded history of a person who attained fusion. Once fused with his or her fragment of God, a person continues as an ascending citizen in the universe and travels through numerous worlds on a long, adventurous pilgrimage of growth and learning that eventually leads to God and Paradise. Mortals who reach this stage are called "finaliters." The book goes on to discuss the potential destinies of these "glorified mortals".
The Urantia Book places much emphasis on the idea that all individuals have the same opportunity to come to know God, and it says nothing can hinder a human being's spiritual progression if he or she is sincerely motivated to be spirit led. People are to actively work to understand each other and to seek to live in love and peace, being of help to one another. The practice of the "religion of Jesus" is to love God the Father with a person's whole being, thereby learning to love each person the way Jesus loves people; that is, recognizing others as brothers and sisters and being of unselfish service to one another.
The Urantia Book presents a detailed cosmological perspective on the universe and humankind's relation to it. It teaches that the universe is vastly older than current scientific theories state, and that the universe is the product of intelligent and purposeful organization.
The term "universe" is used to denote a number of different scales of organization, possibly because the book was written at a time when galaxies outside of the Milky Way were still called "island universes". A superuniverse is roughly the size of a galaxy or group of galaxies. A local universe is a sub-unit comprising approximately 10 million inhabited worlds when fully developed and accounts for 0.001% of the size of a superuniverse. The modern dictionary definition of universe — all existing matter and space taken as a whole — is referred to as the "master universe". When the term "universe" is used alone, the type usually can be inferred from the context.
The visualization of the cosmos presented from the center outward is:
* The Isle of Paradise — "the most gigantic organized body of cosmic reality in all the master universe".
* The Sacred Spheres of Paradise — twenty-one enormous worlds, three circuits of seven worlds each — the Worlds of the Father, the Worlds of the Son, and the Worlds of the Spirit orbiting in three processions on the inner margin of space.
* Havona — one billion (1,000,000,000) perfect worlds across seven circuits, with "upwards of thirty-five million worlds" in the first or inner circuit, "over two hundred and forty-five million worlds" in the seventh or "outermost" circuit, and "proportional numbers" of worlds in the intervening circuits.
* Surrounding these are "dark gravity bodies" that "completely encircle and enshroud Havona" and whose "multitudinous bodies" are "divided into two equal elliptical circuits by a unique space intrusion." The Isle of Paradise, the twenty-one Sacred Spheres, the one billion worlds of Havona, and the orbiting dark gravity bodies taken as a whole are interchangeably referred to as the "central universe," the "divine universe," and the "Paradise-Havona system".
* The central universe is surrounded by a "relatively quiet midspace zone" of lessened motion and undisclosed diameter.
* Beyond the midspace zone, seven superuniverses swing around the central universe and have an approximate diameter of 400,000 - 500,000 light-years. These contain the evolutionary worlds of time and space. The seven superuniverses are then immediately surrounded by another midspace zone "which varies in width but averages 400,000 light-years". One of the stated purposes of the cosmos is to provide worlds where intelligent life may be created or evolved from primitive life. Each of the seven superuniverses, when fully developed, would have approximately one trillion inhabited worlds. Each divisional level has "architectural worlds," including a headquarters sphere, which are worlds made to order and are independently lighted and heated for the celestial and other life of those spheres. They are created to be administrative and educational worlds and are said to be at the approximate, and sometimes exact, gravity center of their regions of inhabited worlds and physical systems. A detailed organization of superuniverses is provided. Briefly, levels of organization are:
o Individual inhabited worlds such as Urantia (Earth);
o Local systems — 1,000 inhabited worlds;
o Constellations — 100 local systems;
o Local universes — 100 constellations;
o Minor sectors — 100 local universes;
o Major sectors — 100 minor sectors;
o Superuniverses — 10 major sectors.
* Beyond are enormous, uninhabited "outer space levels". The first outer space level is estimated to be fifty million light-years in diameter and surrounded by a midspace zone of approximately the same diameter.
* The second, third, and fourth outer space levels surround each previous level with greater and greater magnitude and each is separated by a midspace zone of about the same magnitude as the previous space level.
* From Appendix 3, Section 3 in "Sadler, William S., Jr., Appendices to A Study of The Master Universe", the authors of The Urantia Book "postulate an additional and unrevealed creation" beyond this, "a possible never-beginning, never-ending universe of infinity".
The book describes alternative explanations to current hypotheses in science regarding the universe's origin, and suggests sources of error in current astronomical observations. For example, the concept of "space respiration" — that all of space itself undergoes "two-billion-year expansion-contraction cycles"— is claimed to be part of the explanation for astronomic redshift. The Urantia Book says we are currently almost half way through an expansion cycle.
The Urantia Book states that the cosmology in the papers will be in need of revision as new discoveries emerge in science, and that its presentations are not meant to be a substitute for science.
History and future of the world
Urantia is considered one inhabited sphere among millions of others in the universe. The book's extensive teachings about the history of the world include its physical development billions of years ago from cataclysmic meteor captures, the gradual changes in conditions that allowed life to develop, and the long ages of organic evolution that started with microscopic marine life and led to plant and animal life in the oceans, later on land. The emergence of humans is presented as having occurred about a million years ago from a branch of superior primates originating from a lemur ancestor.
The Urantia Book says "this story is graphically told within the fossil pages of the vast 'stone book' of world record ... the pages of this gigantic biogeologic record unfailingly tell the truth if you but acquire skill in their interpretation". Unlike current scientific views, evolution is said to be orderly and controlled. Primordial life is taught to have been intelligently planned, implanted, and monitored by "Life Carriers," instead of arising spontaneously. The book says that "mortal man is not an evolutionary accident", and that the purpose of evolution on a planet such as Urantia is to produce creatures of "will dignity" that can develop spiritual natures and survive material existence, going on to have eternal spiritual careers.
The Urantia Book teaches not only biological evolution, but that human society and spiritual understandings evolve by slow progression, subject both to periods of rapid improvement and the possibility of retrogression. Progress is said to follow a divine plan that includes periodic gifts of revelation and ministry by heavenly teachers, which eventually will lead to an ideal world status of "light and life" in the far distant future.
Though there is the ideal and divine plan, it is said to be fostered and administered by various orders of celestial beings who are less than perfect. Through mistakes or deliberate rebellion, the plan can be wrecked, requiring long spans of time to recoup lost progress. Urantia is said to be a markedly "dark and confused" planet that is "greatly retarded in all phases of intellectual progress and spiritual attainment" compared to more typical inhabited worlds, due to an unusually severe history of rebellion and default by its spiritual supervisors.
Comparison to Christianity
Of all current major world religions, Christianity is the one most similar to The Urantia Book's teachings. However, there are numerous and significant differences between The Urantia Book and commonly accepted Christian beliefs.
Jesus is held in high regard by The Urantia Book, as he is in the New Testament of the Bible. More than one third of the content of the book (Part IV), is devoted to a narrative of his life and teachings. The narrative is said to be a restatement of Jesus' life and teachings based on a gathering of "superior concepts" from over two thousand individuals who have lived since his times, as well as "superhuman" and "superplanetary sources of information".
The following are attributed to Jesus, as in the Bible:
* He was a Son of God incarnate, born to Mary and Joseph.
* He was God in man, both human and divine.
* He lived a perfect life.
* He revealed God to man as "the way, the truth, and the life".
* He performed many of the miracles described in the Bible, such as the resurrection of Lazarus, the turning of water into wine, the feeding of the five thousand, and numerous healings of the blind, diseased, and infirm.
* He taught twelve apostles, most of whom went on to spread his teachings.
* He was crucified, and on the third day after his death, rose from the dead.
* He will return to our world again some day.
The Urantia Book shares the following general concepts with most Christian faiths:
* God is the creator of all reality.
* God is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, infinite, and eternal.
* God is described as a loving personality – "God is love".
* God is a single deity that exists in a Trinity of three persons.
* God has a vast "heavenly host".
* Believers who have a personal relationship with God are "born of the spirit".
* Those having faith in God survive death.
* Angels and divine personalities exist and are sent to guard and minister to people throughout their lives.
Some differences with Christianity include:
* Jesus' crucifixion is not considered an atonement for the sins of humanity. The crucifixion is taught to be an outcome of the fears of religious leaders of the day, who regarded his teachings as a threat to their positions of authority.
* God is never wrathful or angry. He is a personality entirely motivated by Father-like love.
* Jesus is the human incarnation of "Michael of Nebadon," one of more than 700,000 "Paradise Sons" of God, or "Creator Sons." Jesus is not considered the second person of the Trinity as he is in Christianity. The book refers to the Eternal Son as the second person of the Trinity.
* Jesus was born on earth through natural means of conception instead of a virgin birth.
* Jesus did not walk on water or perform some of the miracles that are attributed to him in the Bible.
* Jesus commissioned twelve women (and later more) as religious teachers, who traveled about with him and his apostles on their preaching missions.
* Jesus rose from the dead in a "more glorified form", reflective of a transitional state between material and spiritual existence known as "morontia". As with all mortals, his physical body was subject to decomposition, but celestial beings removed his body from the tomb for the dissolution of his remains through a process of "accelerated time".
* The book states that Jesus may return to the world many times. This contrasts with traditional Christian eschatology, in which Jesus returns only once.
Comparison to Buddhism
The Urantia Book considers Buddhism one of the "great international, interracial faiths" and says it "has shown an adaptability to the mores of many peoples that has been equaled only by Christianity".
Gautama Siddhartha is called a real prophet whose doctrines were revolutionary and amazing for their time. He is credited with being one of the seven outstanding teachers in human history in the matter of combining contemporaneous systems of ethical and religious teachings, a group that includes Moses, Laozi, and the Apostle Paul.
The teaching that a divine nature — the Buddha-nature — resides in all people, and that through their own endeavors people can attain a realization of this inner divinity, is cited as one of the clearest presentations of the concept of the Thought Adjuster to be found in non-revelatory religion.
The book says Gautama's experience was tragic, however, in that he was an "orphan prophet" whose philosophy failed early on to envision the reality of a spiritual God.
Despite this, the book states: "Buddhism is a living, growing religion today because it succeeds in conserving many of the highest moral values of its adherents. It promotes calmness and self-control, augments serenity and happiness, and does much to prevent sorrow and mourning. Those who believe this philosophy live better lives than many who do not."
Comparison to other world religions
Numerous facets of the book are recognizable in other world religions. There are commonalities with Islam, Taoism, Mormonism, Judaism, Hinduism, Shinto, and Confucianism, and several other religions throughout recorded history. The authors of The Urantia Book encourage the study of all religions to take "the best" from each.
Paper 131, "The World's Religions", discusses more in-depth those facets of some of the world's religions that have commonalities with the "religion of Jesus," but there are also numerous other references to the world's various religions throughout Part III, "The History of Urantia," beginning with Paper 86, "Early Evolution of Religion".
Consideration as literature
The Urantia Book has been enjoyed by some as a form of science fiction, historical fiction, or fantasy. The Urantia Book is noted for its high level of internal consistency and an advanced writing style. Skeptic Martin Gardner, in a book otherwise highly critical of The Urantia Book, writes that it is "highly imaginative" and that the "cosmology outrivals in fantasy the cosmology of any science-fiction work known to me".
Parts I, II, and III are chiefly written in expository language. The papers are informational, matter-of-fact, and instructional. Part IV of the book is written as a biography of Jesus' life, and some feel it is a rich narrative with well-developed characters, high attention to detail, woven sub-plots, and realistic dialogue. Considered as literature, Part IV is favorably compared to other retellings of Jesus' life, such as The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by José Saramago and Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock. Martin Gardner considers Part IV to be an especially "well-written, impressive work", and says, "Either it is accurate in its history, coming directly from higher beings in position to know, or it is a work of fertile imagination by someone who knew the New Testament by heart and who was also steeped in knowledge of the times when Jesus lived."