God, Man, and Supreme
Chapter Five—The Universal Father
The expressed personality of God as Father is a highly potent concept that has come to mankind through revelation. Science may postulate a First Cause and philosophy may suggest the idea of a Universal Unity, but only revelation can affirm the validity of the personality concept of God. Only by attempting to comprehend the revealed personality of God can a person begin to understand the true unity of God. We can begin to understand how God can be primal, changeless, all-powerful, and perfect, and concomitantly be author of an ever-changing and evolving universe of imperfections because we maintain as a truth of our own personal experience our own identity of personality and unity of will. Our personal identity, a gift of the Father of personality himself, remains unified in spite of apparent changes in ourselves and in our world.
The Universal Father takes exclusive possession of the reality of freewill personality. He also presides over the realms of pre-energy, pre-mind, and pre-spirit—that is to say that before there was the distinction between matter, mind, and spirit, there was the First Source and Center. The First Source and Center, as unqualified infinity, transcends all distinctions of mind, matter, and spirit. Whether it be of mind, matter, or spirit, the Universal Father is the primal source and center of all reality. As the First Source and Center of all things, the Father "unqualifiedly transcends all mind, all matter, and all spirit." [1:7.7 (31.7)]
The First Source and Center forever remains unified and indivisible. Yet, we know from our experience of getting to know the Father in our daily lives that he is intimately present - he is present in our hearts, he touches us through our souls. The truth that God imparts a transcendent and unmoved overcontrol of the universe of universes, and yet can be immanently found within and a part of each individual person, is a profound mystery of the highest order. Nevertheless, we intuitively know this to be true. Our maturing faith reassures us that God, who is the First Source and Center of all reality, is also our divine and loving and omnipresent parent. We know we can pray to and worship God the Father. We know that we can share our lives with him, we know that we can unerringly seek his will in all things, and we know that he is always there in our greatest moments of need to comfort and reinforce us. We know this from personal experience.
Notwithstanding that God is an eternal power, a majestic presence, a transcendent ideal, and a glorious spirit, though he is all these and infinitely more, nonetheless, he is truly and everlastingly a perfect Creator personality, a person who can "know and be known," who can "love and be loved," and one who can befriend us; while you can be known, as other humans have been known, as the friend of God. He is a real spirit and a spiritual reality. [1:5.8 (28.5)]
The Urantia Book very clearly states that the First Source and Center has never revealed himself by name. However, considering that we are a planet of sex creatures and that we have good reason to believe that we are children of this personal Creator, the chosen term Father is a very expressive and appropriate name for God.
The First Source and Universe Center has never revealed himself by name, only by nature. If we believe that we are the children of this Creator, it is only natural that we should eventually call him Father. But this is the name of our own choosing, and it grows out of the recognition of our personal relationship with the First Source and Center. [1:1.1 (22.4)]
When you have once become truly God-conscious, after you really discover the majestic Creator and begin to experience the realization of the indwelling presence of the divine controller, then, in accordance with your enlightment and in accordance with the manner and method by which the divine Sons reveal God, you will find a name for the Universal Father which will be adequately expressive of your concept of the First Great Source and Center. [1:1.3 (22.6)]
The totality of God's creation is made manifest through the creative acts of his unfettered will. God unfailingly directs his free will ministry of universal justice and mercy throughout his temporal creation without any conflict with his divine and eternal nature. This freewill ministry is not only guided by the Father's infinite intellect and his absolute rule of sovereign power, it is also manifested in accordance with his boundless love.
And all this steadfastness of conduct and uniformity of action is personal, conscious, and highly volitional, for the great God is not a helpless slave to his own perfection and infinity. God is not a self-acting automatic force; he is not a slavish law-bound power. God is neither a mathematical equation nor a chemical formula. He is a freewill and primal personality. He is the Universal Father, a being surcharged with personality and the universal fount of all creature personality. [12:7.6 (381.1)]
Although the Father can and does act independently and in accordance with the mandates of his own choosing, he prefers to delegate the exercise of his free will mandates to his Sons and their subordinate personalities. The Creator Sons of the local universes exercise a free will that is much more distinctly active and divine, and these creative prerogatives are well-nigh ultimate (if not absolute) in their scope and impact. The Father's volitional self-limitation is absolute and infinitely perfect, and it is in complete harmony with the personal sentiments of his eternal nature.
The all-wise Father possesses infinite universe insight and divine knowledge in the implementation of his creative free will. God's creative prerogatives are infinite and absolutely self-determined, "there are no limits to his universe reactions save those which are self-imposed, and his freewill acts are conditioned only by those divine qualities and perfect attributes which inherently characterize his eternal nature." [4:4.3 (58.8)]
God as Father is that aspect of infinite Deity that is experientially real to mortal beings as a personal reality. Still, we should strive to understand the term Father in its largest possible sense - we should strive to transcend the human concept of the divine Father as he becomes known during the course of our mortal existence in order to reach a higher level of comprehension of that same God who is expansive beyond the Father concept. We are told that the word God itself cannot adequately be conveyed to finite creatures in its full capacity to represent the infinite concept of existential Deity. Beyond the designation of Father, the best that can be achieved for giving us a flavor of the essential nature of infinite Deity is theorized in the hypothetical concept of the I AM.
When we speak of the Father, we mean God as he is understandable by his creatures both high and low, but there is much more of Deity which is not comprehensible to universe creatures. God, your Father and my Father, is that phase of the Infinite which we perceive in our personalities as an actual experiential reality, but the I AM ever remains as our hypothesis of all that we feel is unknowable of the First Source and Center. And even that hypothesis probably falls far short of the unfathomed infinity of original reality. [105:1.6 (1153.3)]
The Urantia Book proceeds to elucidate many revealing reality functions that ultimately rely on this expanded concept of the Father-I AM as the essential and primal source and center of functional unity. These cosmic aspects of the Universal Father encompass both personal/spiritual and nonpersonal/material Deity functions.
Reality Functions of the Original I AM [104:4.1 (1147.11)]
- The First Universal Father-Source
- Absolute Center
- Primal Cause
- Universal Controller
- Limitless Energizer
- Original Unity
- Unqualified Upholder
- First Person of Deity
- Essence of Infinity
Non-Father Capacities of the Original I AM [104:2.6 (1146.2)]
In our attempts to try to understand the all-inclusive concept of the Father-I AM, we search for a comprehensible beginning of reality. Within this static infinity of the infinite of prereality, there can be no differentiation of something from nothing; there are no acting causes and no responding effects. There is no differentiation between what is and what can be, because there is no distinction between actual reality and potential reality. When and how does it all begin, how does objective reality first manifest itself from the incomprehensible void of infinity and the boundless and formless swell of eternity? From the starting point of this origin, we want to understand the cause-and-effect sequences of reality events that follow, and we want to understand their interrelated association with themselves and the source relationships to the primordial state of their monothetic prereality.
The starting point for conceptualizing the primal beginning of reality is to first accept the premise that within this featureless void of infinite eternity, there is still the possibility for free will. Assuming this premise of primality, we are introduced to the hypothesis of the volitional I AM. If the I AM is volitional, then there must be a first freewill acting-cause of volition and there must be a first repercussional-reaction of response. This first volitional expression of the I AM within the eternal continuum of The Infinity repercusses in the self-differentiation of the freewill acts of The Infinite One from responding reactions of The Infinitude.
This Infinite One removes itself from The Infinitude and this act presents an unfathomable reality-tension differential that can only be maintained through the eternal freewill agency of the Original I AM. Thus is reality presented in the triune relationship of the infinitely dynamic and qualified Deity of The Infinite One (the Qualified [Deity] Absolute) with the infinitely static and unqualified Deity response of The Infinitude (the Unqualified Absolute), both united by the unifying co-ordination of the Universal Absolute.
This is the primal concept of original reality: The Father initiates and maintains Reality. The primal differentials of reality are the deified and the undeified — the Deity Absolute and the Unqualified Absolute. The primal relationship is the tension between them. This Father-initiated divinity-tension is perfectly resolved by, and eternalizes as, the Universal Absolute. [0:4.5 (7.1)]
This triune association of the Deity, the Unqualified, and the Universal Absolutes represents the triodity of the Absolutes of potentiality. The primacy of their potentiality supersedes, transcends, and supervenes all subsequent reality manifestation. In addition, it should be remembered that the Father-I AM forever remains the First Source and Center of all Absolutes. The First Source and Center is unqualifiedly primal in relation to total reality. All things and beings, relativities or finalities, are directly or indirectly dependent on the primacy of the First Source and Center. The Father-I AM is limited or conditioned (qualified) only by his own volition.
The Primal Domains of The First Source and Center
- Deified and Undeified
- Personal and Impersonal
- Actual and Potential
- Finite and Infinite
Reality differentially actualizes on diverse universe levels originating in and by the infinite volition of the Father-I AM.
Differential Reality Levels
- UNDEIFIED REALITY—ranges from the nonpersonal energy domains to the very presence of the Unqualified Absolute.
- DEIFIED REALITY—embraces all Deity potentials encompassing the domain of that which is personalizable to the very presence of the Deity Absolute.
- INTERASSOCIATED REALITY—the vast domain of interassociated reality, potential and actualizing, embraced within the realms of the Universal Absolute.
The I AM breaks free from his eternity confinement by the exercise of his absolute free will, thus achieving Deity liberation from the fetters of unqualified infinity. This primal act of first volitional expression, of absolute free will, repercusses in an infinity that is now dynamic, and this produces a coordinated divinity-tension in conjunction with the static infinity of the original and unqualified absolute. This act of inherent and eternal free will initiates the genesis and generation of all derivative reality. The I AM, as the stasis or self-relationship of infinity, as the eternal fact and universal truth of infinite reality, as the unity of unqualified infinity, upholds this divinity-tension by his eternal act of free will. Total infinitude undergoes subsequent segmentation and qualification in such a manner that the eternal repleteness of infinity becomes reconcilable with the derivative time-growth of the evolving universes and with the incompleteness of the experiential inhabitants therein.
Through this relationship of the original I AM to his free-will act of eternity, the I AM becomes discernible as personality. By this eternity act of absolute free will, the I AM is revealed as the primal expression of self-willed and personal God, as the Father-I AM. He reveals himself as the divine Father of all personality. Through this primal free-will act, the original Father-I AM creates room within all-encompassing infinity for finite creatures to co-exist. At the level of absolute Deity, personality implies identity, self-consciousness, self-will, and possibility for self-revelation. It is by virtue of these characteristics that the Universal Father, the First Person of Deity, is revealed. The possibility for fellowship with other and equal personalities is thus enacted.
The absolute proof of the revelation of God as Universal Father forever rests in the absolute person of his Eternal Son, the Second Person of Deity. This eternal relationship of Father and Son provides the room for all of us to partake of the Father. Even though the perfect divinity of the Father is characterized by an all-pervading unity of Being, the indivisibility of his personality does not interfere with his capacity to be a Father to other self-willed personalities, divine or human. The truth that the I AM is Father to the Eternal Son brings into being the personality relationships of all actualized beings.
The absolute personality of the Son makes absolute the fact of God's fatherhood and establishes the potential sonship of all personalities. This relationship establishes the personality of the Infinite and consummates its spiritual revelation in the personality of the Original Son. [105:2.5 (1154.4)]
The I AM is one with the Eternal Son because the divine nature that each possesses is eternal. The Son shares with the Father his divine character of Deity, for they are forever and inseparably one personal unity of universe presence. In addition, it is by virtue of this mutual omnipresence that all creation rests upon the everywhere-active presence of the divine spirit of the Eternal Son. The spirit of the Father is eternally resident in the spirit of his Son, but the Son alone perfectly personalizes the Father's love and mercy. To the universes of creation, the Son is the living revelation of his loving Father.
As God is love, so the Son is mercy. The Son cannot love more than the Father, but he can show mercy to creatures in one additional way, for he not only is a primal creator like the Father, but he is also the Eternal Son of that same Father, thereby sharing in the sonship experience of all other sons of the Universal Father. [6:3.1 (75.6)]
Personality is largely liberated from the fetters of antecedent causation because there is associated with personality an essential sovereignty of free will. Mortal man's inner self is thus liberated from the fetters of absolute dependence on antecedent causation and the fetters of causation response, at least as this pertains to the freewill choosing of eternal destiny. Man is provided with absolute sovereignty of mortal free will as it regards the growth of his immortal self, the survival of his eternal soul. The Father-I AM achieves the realization of personalization as the Universal Father by becoming the Eternal Father of the Original Son simultaneously with becoming the Eternal Source of the Isle of Paradise. The Universal Father presents an infinite portrayal of his spirit personality in the absolute person of his Eternal Son. At the same time, he reveals the full infinity potential of his nonpersonal self and actualizes this as nonpersonal and nonspiritual Paradise.
The Infinite Spirit is the Conjoint Actor and is the Third Person of Deity. He comes into being by the trinitizing act of the Universal Father and the Eternal Son, and this occurs in the presence of Paradise. The Universal Father realitizes all expressions of spirit in the absolute person of the Eternal Son, and he further realizes the expansion of reality by means of the activity of the Isle of Paradise. Throughout the universe of universes, the mind endowments of the Infinite Spirit work to correlate the spiritual expressions of the Eternal Son with the material levels of creation. This mind ministry is responsive to the spirit realities of Deity, and it is also physically directive of the material repercussions of Deity originating from the Isle of Paradise. The functional mind of the Infinite Spirit is infinite in potential and universal in bestowal. The dual expressions of spiritual and material realities are not inherently interactive. They require the indispensable presence of mind as the inevitable channel of intercourse and communion.
The Conjoint Actor integrates the divine spirituality of the personal Son with the immutable energies of the Paradise pattern. This arrangement completes the Father's liberation from the bonds of centralized perfection. The Universal Father bestows absoluteness of personality upon the Son, and in co-ordination with the Son, brings about the final personalization of the Conjoint Actor. This critical interdependence of the three divine personalities with regard to the totality of absolute Deity function allows the Father to finally and fully escape from the fetters of absolute personality causation.
With the differentiation of the Son from the Father and in the presence of Paradise, the Infinite Spirit and the central universe of Havona are brought into existence. The Infinite Spirit personalizes as an unlimited spirit presence co-ordinated with absolute mind and is endowed with unique prerogatives of energy manipulation. With the appearance of the coexistent personal Deities of the Son and the Spirit, The Father escapes as a personality from otherwise inevitable diffusion throughout the potentials of total Deity, and now begins the consummational adventure for Deity actualization on the experiential divinity levels of Supremacy, Ultimacy, and Absoluteness.
Therefore is divine creativity unfailingly characterized by unity, and this unity is the outward reflection of the absolute oneness of the duality of the Father-Son and of the Trinity of the Father-Son-Spirit. [105:2.7 (1154.6)]
God is primal reality in the spirit world; God is the source of truth in the mind spheres; God overshadows all throughout the material realms. To all created intelligences God is a personality, and to the universe of universes he is the First Source and Center of eternal reality. God is neither manlike nor machinelike. The First Father is universal spirit, eternal truth, infinite reality, and father personality. [1:2.1 (23.4)]
As the First Source and Center, the Paradise Father functions as a physical controller in the material universe of universes. The Paradise Father utilizes the patterns of the Eternal Isle of Paradise while exercising cosmic overcontrol of the physical level throughout the universe of universes. As the Universal Father, he possesses exclusive control over the personality gravity circuit, but by the nature of his infinite primacy he can act over all three of the other absolute gravity circuits in the Master Universe. The will of the Father is carried out in spirit, with minds, and on matter.
Absolute Gravity Circuits in the Master Universe
- The Personality Gravity of the Universal Father.
- The Spirit Gravity of the Eternal Son.
- The Mind Gravity of the Conjoint Actor.
- The Cosmic Gravity of the Isle of Paradise.
The personalization of God as Father has an immediate appeal to the parental instincts of humanity; that phase of the infinite God that we have come to know as Father is experientially real and personally meaningful to us in our life experiences as members within the human family—both as children and as parents.
First and last — eternally — the infinite God is a Father. Of all the possible titles by which he might appropriately be known, I have been instructed to portray the God of all creation as the Universal Father. [4:4.5 (59.1)]
At the level of Deity, personality implies identity, self-consciousness, self-will, and possibility for self-revelation. It is by virtue of these characteristics that the Universal Father is revealed, that the possibility for fellowship with other and equal personalities is enacted. Even though the perfect unity of the Father is characterized by an all-pervading unity of Being, the indivisibility of his personality does not interfere with his capacity to be a Father to other self-willed personalities, divine or human. We discover that "in the worshipful experience of the personal contact of every worshiping personality throughout the master universe, God is one; and that unified and personal Deity is our Paradise parent, God the Father, the bestower, conservator, and Father of all personalities from mortal man on the inhabited worlds to the Eternal Son on the central Isle of Light." [56:4.5 (640.4)]
As we begin our lives as mortal children on an inhabited material world, we acquire our first impression of the universe from the maternal care of our earthly mother. We eventually derive our first conception of the Universal Father from the qualities possessed by our earthly father. These profound and personal insights into God's Fatherhood allow us to better understand what human fatherhood truly is because we will have learned that the divine truth of God as Father precedes and grounds the human comprehension of fatherhood.
If we truly wish to discover the personal nature of the Universal Father, who better to turn to for enlightenment than his bestowed Son to this world. Jesus' primary mission for living out his life on this world as a human mortal was to reveal this selfsame Father to mankind. He carried out this exquisite achievement by actually living his life as the personal manifestation of the perfect love of the Father. It was the very life of Jesus, and not necessarily his teachings, that best revealed the Father's divine character and loving personality.
Jesus never gave his apostles a systematic lesson concerning the personality and attributes of the Father in heaven. He never asked men to believe in his Father; he took it for granted they did. Jesus never belittled himself by offering arguments in proof of the reality of the Father. His teaching regarding the Father all centered in the declaration that he and the Father are one; that he who has seen the Son has seen the Father; that the Father, like the Son, knows all things; that only the Son really knows the Father, and he to whom the Son will reveal him; that he who knows the Son knows also the Father; and that the Father sent him into the world to reveal their combined natures and to show forth their conjoint work. He never made other pronouncements about his Father except to the woman of Samaria at Jacob's well, when he declared, "God is spirit." [169:4.2 (1855.3)]
When speaking to his followers, Jesus would always refer to the concept of Deity as either God or Father. For the purposes of describing the transcendent and abstract nature of infinite Deity, Jesus would apply the word God. If he made any reference to Deity that touched upon the personal nature of God, he would choose the term Father—this was the appropriate term for Jesus that best described his own personal experience with the First Source and Center. Jesus expanded the traditional concept of God as Father by exalting and elevating this tradition to include the sublime experience that God personally reveals himself to every mortal willing to become a child of this Father of love.
The God of universes rules the far-flung creation, but it is the Father in heaven who sends forth his spirit to dwell within your minds. [169:4.12 (1857.3)]
Jesus exhorted his apostles to listen to his teachings regarding the Father with a spiritual ear. God the Father is a spiritual being—he is the fatherhead of the spiritual kingdom and is an infinite and eternal spirit and they, the apostles, are spiritual children in the spirit family of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is a divine family with the Universal Father as the "universally recognized and unreservedly worshiped center and head of this far-flung brotherhood of intelligent beings." [149:6.8 (1676.2)] This spiritual kingdom begins with and centers in "the dual concept of the truth of the fatherhood of God and the correlated fact of the brotherhood of man." [170:2.1 (1859.11)] Between God and man, there exists a truly intimate and living relationship that is based on real Father-child affection. This Creator-creature relationship is a uniquely real experience in cosmic sociology. Even the child Jesus knew this as an experiential fact—he affirmed this truth to his earthly father Joseph when he gave testimony that "the heavenly Father cannot love his children less than you love me." [125:0.6 (1378.1)]
As a human father loves his children with the truest and most real affection, the Universal Father can do no less. We are incapable of comprehending his infinite love and sympathy for his spiritually immature and erring children, but we can discover with the certainty of experience that "the Universal Father loves and forever seeks the welfare of his created sons and daughters." [2:5.9 (40.1)] This love is assured by the supernal fact that this same Father actually sends a fragment of himself to live in the minds of his children.
A part of every father lives in the child. The father enjoys priority and superiority of understanding in all matters connected with the child-parent relationship. The parent is able to view the immaturity of the child in the light of the more advanced parental maturity, the riper experience of the older partner. With the earthly child and the heavenly Father, the divine parent possesses infinity and divinity of sympathy and capacity for loving understanding. [174:1.3 (1898.3)]
Special importance should be attributed to the fact that the very last sentence contained within The Urantia Book makes special reference to the fatherly nature of God—the very last thought continued within this, the fifth and most recent epochal revelation to mankind, makes it clearly understood that.
When all is said and done, the Father idea is still the highest human concept of God. [196:3.34 (2076.3)]
In all your contemplation of universal phenomena, make certain that you take into consideration the interrelation of physical, intellectual, and spiritual energies, and that due allowance is made for the unexpected phenomena attendant upon their unification by personality and for the unpredictable phenomena resulting from the actions and reactions of experiential Deity and the Absolutes. [12:6.4 (136.2)]
The divine gift of personality is bestowed upon a mind-endowed mortal mechanism as an exclusive gift of the Paradise Father. Personality is one of the greatest mysteries in all existence. The concepts of personality and Deity are very similar in origin, function, and reach of their characterization. The endowment of personality originates at the most primal and original level of the Father-I AM. Before the divergence of the two absolutes of the spiritual Eternal Son and the material Isle of Paradise, there is the original personality of the Universal Father. It is at this primal level of deified reality that all personality derives.
God the Father bestows personality as a quality and value in cosmic reality upon living energy systems of matter, mind, and spirit. Personality is the unifier of the associated factors of individuality, the living and associative energies of body, mind, and spirit. Personality is the creative and unifying presence that coordinates mind with spirit, and subjugates energy-matter through mind. The possession of personality endows man with the unity of selfhood, spiritual self-consciousness, and the potential for God-consciousness. Most importantly, personality endows man with the personal dignity of free will. Personality is contactable, self-distributive, and sharing. Personalities may be similar according to a given series, type, order, or pattern, but they are never identical. Personality is always recognizable even if the vehicle of its identity changes in form, mind or spirit characteristics. If we have ever once known a person, we will always be able to recognize and identify such a person no matter how much they may have otherwise changed.
In and of itself, personality does not possess identity, but it does act to unify the differential components of spirit, mind, and matter as these characterize the experiential individuality of an ascending mortal. The great mystery is that while this unified identity of personal being is ever changing and transforming, the unifying personality itself remains unchanged. However, it is this non-changing quality of personality that will always and forever allow someone like me to be ever recognizable as being the same unchanging me. That personality of mine that blew out the birthday candles on my sixth birthday is the same personality that is writing this book many years later. My personality will remain unchanged when I breathe my last breath in this world of mortal flesh, and it will be once again the same when I reconsciousize on the first mansion world of my survival. In fact, the archangels will faithfully confirm that this same unchanging personality of mine has returned at my resurrection to re-unify my new morontia body. As to where my personality goes during the interim between my death and new awakening, no one knows.
As a more simplified example, personality is like the color red—there are red roses, red balloons, and red dresses, but there are no examples of red alone. There must be a red "something". Personality, like the color red, must be embodied in a pattern of mind, spirit, and matter in order to be recognizable. The pattern may undergo numerous changes and transformations, but the unifying personality remains unchanged.
The circumstances of my unified being are always changing—my physical body may age or my new resurrected body may be completely different, but it will still be me. I may be wiser and more experienced and the circumstances of my life may have changed dramatically, but my innermost being is still unmoved.