God, Man and Supreme
by Stuart R. Kerr, III
This book is dedicated to Bill Sadler, Jr., because we all need heroes.
I also wish to thank and acknowledge the support and concerted effort put forth by David Kantor and Sage Waitts in making this work available to readers everywhere.
I am continually trying to understand my life, but the natural processes of life always seem to be in a state of uncontrolled flux. With the focus of my day-to-day activities being in constant transition, efforts to bring long-term meaning and cohesion into my life are challenging, to say the least. The one area of my life that I can hold onto with some degree of consistency is my personal religious faith. This faith sees beyond that which my eyes perceive—it brings about a comprehensible insight that my mind alone fails to attain. This faith is firmly grounded in my personal experience of God as a loving Father. It speaks to my soul. Its reassuring growth has been so steady and gradual that I consider it the most stable and enduring aspect of my mortal being.
My faith has been inspired primarily by my personal experiences of living in the Father's love. It has been little influenced by church dogma or formal religious training. As my spiritual Father and I have concertedly worked together in establishing better communion through my prayer and worship, and as I have striven with ever greater effort to understand and act in accordance with my Father's will, I have come to better recognize him and his loving personal nature. I have also been greatly influence by the many life-enhancing graces that he has brought into my life, so much so that I have developed an unshakeable trust in his ever present beneficence.
My faith represents who I am, and even who I am becoming. Its growth gives shape to my truer self. It is so very personal and so intimately connected with my gradually evolving being that it establishes itself as a stabilizing balance for this slow-growth transformation of personal identity. For me, faith is vibrant and living—it energizes the quality of my personal experiences, providing as it does profound insights into the goodness and joy of both the inner and outer life. It also helps to unify and make more cohesively comprehensible my many developing belief systems. I find that the comprehensible truths provided by my faith enhance my life-reality viewpoint.
My personal faith provides a common ground that brings greater meaning and value to all of my life experiences. This kind of living faith brings about a state of being that can be felt and experienced, even if such a faith is difficult to describe. As each of us is supremely unique as individual persons, our personalized faiths are equally unique and individualized. Because of this, I find it difficult to effectively verbalize my faith, though I believe there is great value in attempting to give testimony of one's faith to one's fellows. In spite of the daunting challenge and the obvious limitations that entail giving voice to my personal faith, I am courageously compelled to give voice to the inexpressible, to express that which cannot be given words, to give a testimony to "my articles of faith".
As I perceive it, life is purposed. Against all contrary appearances, I see the panorama of God's creation as being guided by supreme intelligence and as being imbued with a benign and loving spirit. The created universe is, for me, ultimately sane and friendly, and at its very heart beats the exquisitely profound and driving power of love. Although I recognize that there is great pain and suffering in the world, I still find it exceedingly more satisfying to accept the idea that creation is divinely designed and lovingly directed than to try to rationalize an otherwise haphazard and accidental universe where bad things automatically happen.
My sometime great difficulty in coming to terms with such apparent discrepancies against this positive view of life is, I believe, due in large part to my presently imperfect, though hopefully perfecting, and finite nature. My grasp of ideas and my search for ideals are conditioned by my relatively short allotted life span, so I can see things with a viewpoint that is only as expansive as the pathway on which I have traveled. If I could but transcend this finite and mortal frame, I am sure that I would begin to understand that which my imperfect and mortal mind cannot currently comprehend. I am increasingly confident that all of today's confusion, pain, and suffering will sometime be seen in a new light, a divine light that will give forth to a new comprehension. I courageously trust that the divine wisdom behind the true purpose and plan of creation will surely be worthy of my greatest praise, joy, and appreciation.
The Vicissitudes of Life
I am witness to many mindless acts of anger and hatred, and I cannot understand the apathetic indifference of some of my brothers and sisters to heartless cruelty and wanton immorality. We have all suffered. We have all experienced what we thought to be unbearable pain. We have all at one time or another fallen victim to seemingly overwhelming difficulties and obstacles. Yet, these experiences are becoming increasingly constrained in their painful impact on my sensibilities. The soothing passage of time brings spiritual healing and renewed hope. As I grow in age and wisdom, as I develop a more courageous and tenacious faith, I become witness to the diminishing effects that these events of human misfortune and injustice have on my growing appreciation for life—I maintain a stronger trust in the goodness of the overall scheme of things. Most human misfortunes and disappointments are transient afflictions. Life is filled with struggle and hardship, but it is from these circumstances of life that such virtues as wisdom and courage arise. Even with their many rippling repercussions in the ongoing flow of human events, these unfortunate acts of time and circumstance appear to be rooted in the transient unreal—they do not seem of themselves to be capable of surviving very long with the full permanency of their original impact. They seem to go counterflow against the "cosmic stream" of time. Increasingly, I find that many of the fruits of their circumstance such as discovered courage and renewed faith are laying a growing foundation for a more hopeful future.
The inconsistencies and imperfections that I perceive in this purposed world are an essential part of the human life experience. The pathway of life is beset with overwhelming challenges and obstacles, and each of us is a part of the "dance". No one is excluded. Our lives provide manifold opportunities for comforting the suffering and healing the affirmed, for inspiring the renewal of hope and exhibiting courageous resolve. I realize that the life experience offers an ideal arena for personal growth. The apparent inconsistencies and imperfections of this often all-too-real world serve only to bolster the unfolding and progressive goodness in this divinely willed creation. I have been given the freewill choice to participate in making the progression of goodness a supreme reality. My efforts in this regard effect reciprocal changes in both myself and in the world around me.
My faith leads me to trust in those meanings and values that I have learned to hold dear in my life. These life-affirming realities are surely destined to flourish, whereas those "un-realities" that I revile are, I am finding, vacuous and fleeting—they are ultimately unworthy of survival and permanence. I am discovering that they are slowly and surely losing their depth of impact on my innermost sensibilities. I place my trust in the victory of divine goodness and light over the soul-deadening darkness of evil.
The Creative Father
Behind this veil of creation, I perceive a true and personal Creator, a loving God and Father. For me, this trustworthy Creator displays the attributes of both purposive will and loving personality. This personal God is the primal source of all those realities that I am continuously finding as having a major impact on every experiencing moment of my life. As I continually harmonize the essence of my own evolving personal identity, I perceive spiritual goodness, intelligible truth, and harmonious beauty with ever-greater acuity. I am beginning to see that I am personally real only by virtue of my being centered in the original personality of the eternal being of God, the beneficent Creator of infinitely free and loving will. He desires that I become perfect even as he is perfect.
The Love of the Father
I have great hope and expectation that this Creator is dearly and intimately concerned with my life—with me! As a true parent loves the child, I have trusting faith that I am also loved and cherished by this personal God. His love utterly transcends and outshines even the very best of any humanly parental love. I do not see how even mortal death could ever possibly put an end to this relationship between the Creator and myself.
Who can possibly have the power to interfere with this relationship, when it is the Father himself who reaches out for me! I take increasing comfort in my faith that death is transitory and not final. Human mortality is showing itself to be merely a scaffold to some next stage in the revealing of God's love for me. The hope and promise for continuing opportunities to grow in God's love overwhelms and inspires me.
The Love for One Another
The love that I am experiencing more and more in my life seems to know of no limits or qualifications. This boundless love unfailingly shines from within with increasing clarity and power. As I increasingly recognize and identify with this divine love, I am led to better understand the true connection of my life with all other God seeking individuals.
I am not only experiencing this God of love from within, but I am also discovering with continued and dedicated application this same God of love within all other God seeking individuals. As I am motivated in life by the assurance of the Fatherhood of God, I am equally inspired by the recognition of the true Brotherhood of Man.
This literary work of mine is the progressive result of over 30-years of dedicated study of some of the world's most exciting works of philosophy and theology. By far, the most inspiring of these studies is contained within an impressive collection of revelatory papers that make up The Urantia Book. Its 196 "papers" comprise over 2000 pages of the most cohesively consistent presentation of philosophy, theology, cosmology, and world history I have ever come upon. These collected papers are purportedly presented to its readers under the collective authority of a widely diversified group of celestial personalities.
The basic theology contained within The Urantia Book (Urantia being the celestial name of our world) is primarily Trinitarian in structure (i.e., it gives observance to the eternal Deity union of the three divine persons of the Trinity—the Universal Father, the Eternal Son, and the Infinite Spirit). It is also Jesusonian in inspiration (i.e., it recognizes the divine personality of our Creator Son of God, "maker of heaven and earth," as having incarnated on our world in the human nature of Jesus of Nazareth). The Urantia Book inspired me to write this, my own book, in the effort to share some of the many insights that have presented themselves to me during my studies.
The Urantia Book was given to me as a gift from my mother in 1974 for my twenty-first birthday. This was the year that I had finally made my peace with my loving spiritual Father. In view of my newly accepted spiritual sonship, I asked my newfound Father for only one thing. I asked him if it would be at all possible to be granted some insight as to his real creative purpose and plan, not only for me individually, but also for the whole scheme of things. I added that I was not making this a condition for my faith and allegiance—he had that unconditionally. I asked only whether or not it was his will that I patiently wait until I passed over from this mortal plane of existence into the next resurrected existence for being granted some level of comprehension. Within 6-months of this petition, my mother called me by phone and said that she was mailing me a copy of something called The Urantia Book. My mother had herself just been given the book by a casual acquaintance, and, while familiarizing herself with its contents, realized that in my own active searching I would likely find value in it. I read the book cover to cover within the first four months after receiving it. Needless to say, it has opened my eyes to the wonders of God's creation and this inspiration has changed my life forever.
The revealed theology of The Urantia Book, for me, has not been of just practical utilization—it has elucidated the intellectual content of my faith. It has helped to unveil the essential truths about God that have been inaccessible to my resources of reason alone. It has provided a source of revelation on the ultimate values by which I live and on the divine truths on which I establish my faith.
Our world is in dire need of a spiritual infusion. We are struggling to counterbalance our runaway advances in mechanized technology with evolutionary advances in ethics, morality, and spiritual awareness, but these efforts are sadly lagging behind. There are practices still prevalent in the world that are not only repellent to a God-conscious mind, they are also directly counter to our loving Father's purpose and plan for this world. I believe the "cancer" of world terrorism, especially when it is rationalized as being the will of God, is a particular abomination that mankind must eliminate. We, as a God-conscious and civilized people, must firmly establish that our Father in heaven loves each and every one of his earthly children. This divine love clearly dictates that the loving will of our Paradise Father is violated when the innocents of his worldly flock are slaughtered. This truth is a cornerstone of his loving nature, and it must become an unquestioned cornerstone of our cosmic mindset in order for us to take the next evolutional step towards light and life.
The Urantia Book carries within it inspired conceptual seeds that will inspire our world and help us achieve our spiritual destiny. This is, I believe, the real revelatory objective of this book. The Urantia Book contains within its covers a massive wealth of inspired thinking and expression. The world yearns for universal concepts and elevated frameworks of reality perception that will propel it away from a state of animalistic barbarism and towards a more unified and spiritually productive reality perspective. The Urantia Book provides a massive supply of potent kernels of stimulating thought, and these are all contained within an expository structure of literary context that makes it very relevant for our world and our times. Jesus changed the world mindset of his day with the transforming influence of his living gospel, and this transforming influence is still fully operative in our world today. The Urantia Book is beginning to infuse its influence into our world's spiritually evolving infrastructure.
The Urantia Book is a revelation for our time. I believe that God has entrusted us, the lowest of his personality endowed creatures, with the gift of participating in and contributing to the unfolding of his divine purpose and plan for this world. The Urantia Book is part of this continual unfolding. It is a further revelation of his invested trust in us. The message of this epochal world revelation pours forth from the purified waters of the celestial springs of divine wisdom, and I believe that any and all contact with its excellent savor can only sweeten everything it touches.
The three core sections of my book take us on a path that starts with God, transitions to Man, and finalizes in the Supreme. This organizational pattern of origin, existence, and destiny follows in spirit the same progressive trend set forth throughout the first three (of four total) sections of The Urantia Book (the fourth section takes up over one third of The Urantia Book and covers the life and teachings of Jesus.).
The first five papers presented in The Urantia Book begin by revealing God as the Universal Father. They describe his divine nature and attributes, and they probe the unfathomable depths of his far-reaching relations to the whole of his universe creation as well as to each and every personal being contained therein. It is here that we are introduced to God as the personal source of our very being, as the final consummation of our dreams and hopes—as our Father in Paradise and in our hearts.
The Universal Father is the acme of divine personality; he is the origin and destiny of personality throughout all creation. God is both infinite and personal; he is an infinite personality. The Father is truly a personality, notwithstanding that the infinity of his person places him forever beyond the full comprehension of material and finite beings. [1:5.1 (27.3)]
God the Father is the bestower and the conservator of every personality. And the Paradise Father is likewise the destiny of all those finite personalities who wholeheartedly choose to do the divine will, those who love God and long to be like him. [5:6.1 (70.2)]
The Urantia Book tells us that God the Father has seven major purposes for the grand scale of his universe. Each one of these purposes finds its greatest expression in one of the seven component superuniverse creations that comprise the whole of his grand universe creation. These seven purposes cover a great deal of ground and involve all aspects of God's creation. As the mortal children of the Father, we are directly involved in one of these magnificent purposes.
In accordance with the mandates of the Father's purpose providing for "the progressive ascension and perfection attainment of evolutionary mortals," we are the beneficiaries of his "superb survival plan of bringing God down to man and then, by a sublime sort of partnership, carrying man up to God and on to eternity of service and divinity of attainment." [UB 77:9:12 (867:3)]
The Urantia Book broadly reveals the "changeless purpose" and "everlasting plan" of the Father's great undertaking as it "progressively unfolds in the phenomena of the evolving universes with their manifold groups of living beings." [UB 7:0:1 (81:1)] Supporting the Father's ascension plan of perfection attainment for the living creatures of time and space, the spirit of the Eternal Son coordinates with the spirit of the Paradise Father in this grand endeavor. As the third person of Deity, the Infinite Spirit pledges his entire divine ministry sufficient for executing this united and eternal purpose. The Infinite Spirit dedicates all "to the stupendous plan of exalting surviving will creatures to the divine heights of Paradise perfection," ministering to the joint mandates of the all-loving Father and the all-merciful Son for "drawing to themselves all truth-loving souls on all the worlds of time and space." [UB 8:3:5 (93:7)]
The Father and his Son are as one in the formulation and prosecution of this gigantic attainment plan for advancing the material beings of time to the perfection of eternity. This project for the spiritual elevation of the ascendant souls of space is a joint creation of the Father and the Son, and they are, with the co-operation of the Infinite Spirit, engaged in associative execution of their divine purpose. [7:4.2 (85.3)]
The stage of universal space is set for the manifold and never-ending panorama of the creative unfolding of the purpose of the Universal Father through the personality of the Eternal Son and by the execution of the God of Action, the executive agency for the reality performances of the Father-Son creator partnership. [8:1.3 (90.7)]
This amazing plan of God is unfolding in accordance with the eternal purposes of the Universal Father. This divine plan is destined to prevail. The eternally wise and loving purpose of the Universal Father will assuredly triumph.
There is a great and glorious purpose in the march of the universes through space. All of your mortal struggling is not in vain. We are all part of an immense plan, a gigantic enterprise, and it is the vastness of the undertaking that renders it impossible to see very much of it at any one time and during any one life. We are all a part of an eternal project which the Gods are supervising and outworking. The whole marvelous and universal mechanism moves on majestically through space to the music of the meter of the infinite thought and the eternal purpose of the First Great Source and Center. [32:5.1 (364.3)]
There is in the mind of God a plan which embraces every creature of all his vast domains, and this plan is an eternal purpose of boundless opportunity, unlimited progress, and endless life. And the infinite treasures of such a matchless career are yours for the striving! [32:5.7 (365.3)]
The final papers of the third section of The Urantia Book provide us with a vision of the glorious fulfillment and final destiny of the Father's vast creative enterprise. This vision is manifesting itself in the divine person of the Supreme Being. The Supreme Being is God actualizing in time and space. He is evolutionary God. He is God, not as existential sovereign ruling over his creation from boundless eternity and with infinite power, but rather he is experiential God as he is progressively realized over time and throughout space. The Supreme Being has a beginning in time. In fact, his origin begins with the very inception of time itself. Nevertheless, the evolution of his becoming real and contactable as a person of experiential Deity will coincide with the finalization of the Father's plan to bring his grand creation to a final stage of light and life. This will be the cosmic culmination of the Father's purpose and plan (at least on the Deity level of Supremacy) achieved in time and manifested throughout the space of his grand universe. This is the destiny of the Father's grand creation—the achievement of light and life and the final emergence of the Supreme Being.
By thus ordaining the experience-evolution of the Supreme, the Father has made it possible for finite creatures to exist in the universes and, by experiential progression, sometime to attain the divinity of Supremacy. [115:7.2 (1266.3)]
The emergence of the Supreme Being will signal the final victory of spirit over matter through the mediation of applied mind. He will emerge by virtue of the cumulative free-will decisions and actions of all volitional personalities participating in the grand creation of the Father's universe. The Supreme Being represents the final synthesis of personality and power in a perfectly unified universe. His emergence will glorify the infinite love and wisdom that the Father has progressively revealed to his finite, though perfecting children in time and space.
There is good reason for studying the origin, nature, and destiny of God's purpose and plan in the order that it is presented in The Urantia Book (and in the same order that I follow in my own book.) We are told that there is good reason for initiating any presentation of this revelatory magnitude in this manner. The primal volitional act of creation by the Universal Father establishes destiny. He is the First Source and Center of all reality; he is the origin and destiny of all personal beings throughout the universe of universes; he is the inceptor, realizer, and consummator of his creation; "in him all things consist."
In such a far-flung universe of universes there is always great danger of succumbing to the error of the circumscribed viewpoint, to the evil inherent in a segmentalized conception of reality and divinity.
For example: The human mind would ordinarily crave to approach the cosmic philosophy portrayed in these revelations by proceeding from the simple and the finite to the complex and the infinite, from human origins to divine destinies. But that path does not lead to spiritual wisdom. Such a procedure is the easiest path to a certain form of genetic knowledge, but at best it can only reveal man’s origin; it reveals little or nothing about his divine destiny. [19:1.4,5 (215.1,2)]
The comprehension of the origin, function, and destiny of universe reality affords us as God's children to view more clearly our present status and circumstance. Only the contemplation of divine causes can provide insight into final effects, and this insight will have a profound impact on how we interpret our values, our meanings, and our factual existence.
It is not enough that the ascending mortal should know something of the relations of Deity to the genesis and manifestations of cosmic reality; he should also comprehend something of the relationships existing between himself and the numerous levels of existential and experiential realities, of potential and actual realities. Man’s terrestrial orientation, his cosmic insight, and his spiritual directionization are all enhanced by a better comprehension of universe realities and their techniques of interassociation, integration, and unification. [106:0.1 (1162.1)]
The inspired word of the Judeo-Christian Bible is written in very human language. The society and culture into which its translation to sacred text took place inexorably conditioned this language. The ancient patriarchal traditions that influenced the Bible's origins have served to place their own cultural character and social mores into the gender-conditioned language of this scripture, especially as this language is applied to describing the personal aspects of God and Deity. This resulting gender-conditioned language permeates present-day Judeo-Christian theology. This language is prevalent throughout both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. The revelators of The Urantia Book carry many of these language traditions into their own vocabulary, but they do so with one very important distinction. As we will see, their use of gender-descriptive terminology for aspects of personal Deity very often adds a whole new level of connotative distinction, a distinction carrying with it functional meanings that transcend the level of simple human gender. In much the same way, I too attempt in these writings to follow much of this same established pattern.
The concept of a personal God is expansive beyond our finite capabilities to characterize him. Because of our remoteness from the absolute level of consciousness, our finite level of comprehension cannot capture his infinite nature – human language will always prove incapable of fully discovering the inscrutable mystery of the Godhead. Our human language is utterly inadequate for fulfilling this task. From our experiential, finite perspective, we can only perceive the existential, eternity reality of God as a time-space conditioned relativity. Our circumscribed viewpoint, our inability to grasp the concept of unqualified eternity, must be supplemented by the revealed eternity viewpoint.
There is inherent risk in our attempts to reduce the essential nature of God to our finite level of human comprehension. God is ultimately beyond all attempts to categorize him. If we use our understanding of gendered terms to describe God's personal nature, if we use these terms for ascribing to God the human qualities that we understand as masculine and feminine character traits, we are in danger of metaphorically putting the cart before the horse. Rather, we are better served by realizing that the essential nature of humanity is fundamentally dependent upon God as the true First Source and Center of all realities, and that the qualities of gender we know as masculinity and femininity are ultimately derived from God as a personal being and as our spiritual Father.
By deriving gender relationships from higher functional and cosmic patterns, we may begin to understand how men and women are truly complemental to one another by creative design. If we truly wish to discover the quintessential nature that characterizes the mortal estate, we must first seek for insights into the expansive nature of God that conceptually transcend the level of the finite material mind. If we wish to discover the underlying purpose and design of such a personal God that gives rise to the male and female derivation of human gender, we can aspire to this elevated conceptual grasp because we are assured by faith that a fragment of this same personal God actually indwells our minds. God partners with us to spiritually elevate our thoughts and desires—he incessantly inspires us to rise above the mortal estate, to courageously enter into the spiritual kingdom of heaven, and he himself is the very scaffolding that enables us to achieve this very goal.
The presenters of the papers contained within The Urantia Book have resisted following a revelatory path that completely divorces itself from the traditional language and symbolism as embodied by Judeo-Christian theological conventions. However, in so doing, they have resourcefully decided to infuse this human terminology with new and transcendent functional meanings. By means of theologic compromise and strategic concessions to established norms of terminology, they have maintained a necessary and vital tie to the past.
On this world of mortal habitation, gender characteristics have shaped the conceptual imagery central to religious language—this custom directly affects the way in which men and women experience their respective existences. For example, the Judeo-Christian tradition has elevated the concept of an exclusively male, patriarchal representation of God as the sole Creator of the heavens. This tradition has permeated present-day theology, bringing about a corresponding lack of feminine imagery for such divine applications as prayer and worship. Western religion tends to designate God with masculine titles far more than it ever uses feminine titles. Using masculine terms like "He" or "Father" to refer to God has evolved to its present usage as a natural extension of a religion born of a society where men were the traditional ruling class, educators, and leaders. Today, however, we are beginning to realize that if you think of God only as Father, you have an inadequate notion of God.
Historically, certain enlightened individuals have come to believe that the Bible itself was not necessarily the primary source of women's oppression. The real problem was more directly attributed to the cultural bias of male translators and interpreters. Subsequent efforts therefore concentrated on reinterpreting the Bible. This approach opened up the possibility for providing a focus on the human element in biblical texts, on questions of authorship and historical development, and on literary aspects of the Bible. It was believed that the Bible should be investigated like any other historical document and then interpreted based on the evidence.
The revelators of The Urantia Book plainly acknowledge that every divine revelation of truth strives for an appropriate and adequate symbolism within which to frame new and expanding ideas, ideals, and loyalties.
We are fully cognizant of the difficulties of our assignment; we recognize the impossibility of fully translating the language of the concepts of divinity and eternity into the symbols of the language of the finite concepts of the mortal mind. [0:12.13 (17.2)]
This developing symbolism must co-evolve with the practiced enhancement of religious living and spiritual experience that is generated by this potent infusion of revelation. Unfortunately, the social impact of a major new revelation is often compromised by having to make costly concessions to the established norms and practices of the preceding religious and moral establishment. Even such a divine revelation as is presented in The Urantia Book must necessarily submit "to the graduated control of evolution." [UB 89:9:3 (984:2)]
The Urantia Book itself poses a theological compromise by supporting a continuity of male-gender-oriented language in its presentation of the elevated concepts of God's eternal purpose for creation and the perfecting harmony within this cosmic arena of time and space. Acknowledging this, we can be relatively assured that this approach was permitted "for the sake of the safe transit of moral values from one epoch to another ... all the while seeking to translate from one generation to another the imperishable values of the old and passing forms into the new and therefore less stabilized patterns of thought and conduct." [UB 114:6:7 (1255:6)]
Revelation is evolutionary but always progressive. Down through the ages of a world’s history, the revelations of religion are ever-expanding and successively more enlightening. It is the mission of revelation to sort and censor the successive religions of evolution. But if revelation is to exalt and upstep the religions of evolution, then must such divine visitations portray teachings which are not too far removed from the thought and reactions of the age in which they are presented. Thus must and does revelation always keep in touch with evolution. Always must the religion of revelation be limited by man’s capacity of receptivity. [92:4.1 (1007.1)]
Humankind is involved in an age-long struggle to elevate the planetary status of its mortal dwelling. This effort requires constant struggles, appraisals, and readjustments that are necessary for a smooth transition from the "sheltered bays of established tradition" to the "high seas of evolutionary destiny." A key function of an established religion during these trying times is to provide a critical degree of stabilizing tradition and religious guidance.
In the times of Melchizedek's dealings with Abraham regarding the reinforcement of the concept of one God as universal Deity, "there was always the tendency for the new doctrine to become absorbed into the older body of religious teaching and magical practice. A new revelation is always contaminated by the older evolutionary techniques." [UB 93:7:4 (1022:2)] This awareness, though, should not necessarily motivate us to completely disregard established conventions and beliefs—too radical a break with cultural and religious tradition supplies its own dangers and pitfalls. There always lurks the recognized threat of subsequent cultural breakdown that accompanies each "transition from the established methods of the past to those new and better, but untried, procedures of the future." [UB 81:6:41 (911:6)]
Other examples are presented in The Urantia Book to illustrate the process by which a new theology inevitably yields, in some degree, to an older and more established religious tradition in order to salvage its higher values of moral thought and spiritual insight. In the life and teachings of Jesus, we are taught that we are the children of God, and this acknowledgment thereby establishes the ultimate reality of the brotherhood of man. Over time, this revelation became subtly couched within the concept of the kingdom of heaven as a concession to those listeners of Jesus' message who were immobilized in their thought by their limited understanding of divine purposes and relationships. These potential followers could more easily understand the idea of God and his universe in terms of a heavenly kingdom—many of them lived out their lives under the auspices of a temporal king. The truth that Jesus revealed remains truth, but the imagery that he used to convey this truth was colored by the time and place of ancient Israel. At that time, the idea of the kingdom was the best vehicle of expression to convey the maximum of the truth. Nevertheless, it was a necessary concession/compromise because there was some sacrifice of intended meaning. I do not think that Jesus really wanted to imply that the Father was king, but this idea carried much of the intended truth.
At the time Jesus lived on earth and taught in the flesh, the people of Urantia knew mostly of kings and emperors in the governments of the nations, and the Jews had long contemplated the coming of the kingdom of God. For these and other reasons, the Master thought best to designate the spiritual brotherhood of man as the kingdom of heaven and the spirit head of this brotherhood as the Father in heaven. [169:4.1 (1855.2)]
Jesus himself could not fully escape the persistent expectations for the coming Messiah that occupied the thoughts and aspirations of his followers. The core of Jesus' mission was integrally influenced by his compromise to acknowledge for himself the title of the Son of Man.
In the course of this year Jesus found a passage in the so-called Book of Enoch which influenced him in the later adoption of the term “Son of Man” as a designation for his bestowal mission on Urantia. He had thoroughly considered the idea of the Jewish Messiah and was firmly convinced that he was not to be that Messiah. He longed to help his father’s people, but he never expected to lead Jewish armies in overthrowing the foreign domination of Palestine. He knew he would never sit on the throne of David at Jerusalem. Neither did he believe that his mission was that of a spiritual deliverer or moral teacher solely to the Jewish people. In no sense, therefore, could his life mission be the fulfillment of the intense longings and supposed Messianic prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures; at least, not as the Jews understood these predictions of the prophets. Likewise he was certain he was never to appear as the Son of Man depicted by the Prophet Daniel. [126:3.6 (1390.1)]
The writer of this so-called Book of Enoch went on to tell about this Son of Man, describing the work he would do on earth and explaining that this Son of Man, before coming down on this earth to bring salvation to mankind, had walked through the courts of heavenly glory with his Father, the Father of all; and that he had turned his back upon all this grandeur and glory to come down on earth to proclaim salvation to needy mortals. As Jesus would read these passages (well understanding that much of the Eastern mysticism which had become admixed with these teachings was erroneous), he responded in his heart and recognized in his mind that of all the Messianic predictions of the Hebrew scriptures and of all the theories about the Jewish deliverer, none was so near the truth as this story tucked away in this only partially accredited Book of Enoch; and he then and there decided to adopt as his inaugural title “the Son of Man.” And this he did when he subsequently began his public work. [126:3.8 (1390.3)]
This theological concession eventually helped to bring about the unfortunate submersion of the religion of Jesus into a religion about Jesus, a religion that embodies the "mystic conception of the person of Jesus as the Redeemer-Creator and spiritual head of a socialized religious community. In this way a formal and institutional church became the substitute for the individually spirit-led brotherhood of the kingdom." [UB 170:5:9 (1864:9)]
Even Jesus' apostles found it both necessary and prudent to offer concessions to the followers of John the Baptist, under the leadership of Abner, as the price for continued unity. By accepting the practice of baptism into their mutual ministry to the common people, the apostles were able to secure the good will and devoted efforts of these fervent followers of the Baptist. This concession was relatively minor considering the extensive sacrifices made by the followers of John the Baptist.
Always does the socialized religion of a new revelation pay the price of compromise with the established forms and usages of the preceding religion which it seeks to salvage. Baptism was the price which the followers of Jesus paid in order to carry with them, as a socialized religious group, the followers of John the Baptist. John’s followers, in joining Jesus’ followers, gave up just about everything except water baptism. [144:7.1 (1626.2)]
We should try to gain insights into these reported accounts of theological compromises and concessions that have influenced attempts at revealing higher levels of thought and more progressive ideals for living the perfecting life. If we are successful, we may be in a position to be more appreciative of the decision by the revelators of the papers within The Urantia Book to choose our traditional conventions of gender-oriented terminology in their attempts to explain functional personality relationships—both divine and temporal. They purposefully chose to do so to make the complicated intricacies regarding the portrayal of these relationships more effectively understandable to a planet of sex creatures.
In our attempt to comprehend the revelatory disclosures contained within The Urantia Book, we are admonished to recognize the conceptual forest before we attempt to distinguish between the individual and derivative trees. God's eternal purpose for his creation, which includes men and women as integral participants, is presented in The Urantia Book by beginning with the nature of God himself first and foremost. The subsequent papers proceed from this apex of revealed divinity to progressively more derivative revealment into the experiential levels of reality that progressively rely more and more on God as their existential ground. The Urantia Book is purposely structured to reveal the foundation of God's existential basis, and then to proceed from this existential foundation to progressively more derivative and dependent relationships.