“God the Ultimate implies the attained realization of the synthesized absonite-superpersonal, time-space-transcended, and eventuated-experiential values, coordinated on final creative levels of Deity reality.”
Supposedly communicated to humans from aliens/angels between the 1920s to 1950s, the Urantia Book (or Urantia Papers) uses a lot of unnecessary jargon, so it’s difficult to understand. At over 2,000 pages, it’s also very repetitious. They could have easily cut out 1,000 pages or so without losing anything. It’s also filled with (then current) scientific information, which also serves to make it even more boring. I initially read this hoping it was a wholly unique religion, but it turns out to be just a modified form of Christianity (it’s filled with quotes from the Bible).
It’s divided into four main sections. First we’re told at length how perfect God is. Then, we’re told about the corporate hierarchy and structure of the cosmos. Next, we’re given a history of Earth (er… I mean Urantia). Finally, the book finishes up with a retelling of the Jesus story.
It’s written in a very jumbled way. Terms, persons, and events are referred to in the beginning of the book as if you’re supposed to know what they are, but you have to wait until later in the book for them to be defined or explained.
There’s a mixture of good and bad commonsense advice like you’d find in any self-help book or wisdom literature. The authors consider philosophy to be superior to science for some reason. This book sometimes tells us things such as the word “salary” is derived from the word “salt”. Thanks aliens, but if you’re going to go out of your way to give us a message, tell us something we don’t already know.
The Corporate Bureaucracy of the Cosmos
“The plans, policies, and administrative acts of the local universe are formed and executed by this Son, who, in conjunction with his Spirit associate, delegates executive power to Gabriel and jurisdictional authority to the Constellation Fathers, System Sovereigns, and Planetary Princes.”
A large portion of the book is dedicated to describing the bureaucratic hierarchy of the cosmos and all the different job titles. We learn such useful tidbits such as Master Spirit Number Four is the Master Spirit responsible for determining influence regarding Father-Son policies and procedures in the councils of the Seven Master Spirits.
The cosmic government has three branches (executive, deliberative, and judicial) much like the United States government. The symbol for the Trinity government of all creation is three azure blue concentric circles on a white background. Lucifer’s banner, by the way, is white with one red circle with a black solid circle in the center.
There is no female aspect to the trinity at the top of the org chart (the Spirit is compared to a mother at one point, but seems to actually be a male). Mothers do get mentioned further down the corporate ladder, but overall, women are largely absent. This is a man’s universe after all.
We are told God is energy in one place, God is love in another. We’re told light without heat is a nonspiritual manifestation of the Deities. It also goes into the difference between the Father, Son, and Infinite Spirit. They’re mainly the same, but one difference is that the Infinite Spirit possesses the amazing power of antigravity and is able to slow down energy to the point of materialization. So, there’s that.
The Structure of the Universe
“The absolute perfection of the infinite God would cause him to suffer the awful limitations of unqualified finality of perfectness were it not a fact that the Universal Father directly participates in the personality struggle of every imperfect soul in the wide universe.”
The planet on which we live is Urantia. Our system is Satania. Our constellation is Norlatiadek. Our local universe is called Nebadon (the creation of a Creator Son named Michael who incarnated as Jesus of Nazareth.). And of course, Nebadon is located inside Orvonton, the seventh superuniverse. The nearest neighboring universes, by the way, are: Avalon, Henselon, Sanselon, Portalon, Wolvering, Fanoving, and Alvoring.
Except for Henselon, Nebadon has had more Sons of the Lanonandek rebel than any other local universe, so we’re kind of the bad boys of the cosmos.
Although Michael’s headquarters is officially located on Salvington, the capital of Nebadon, he spends a lot of time away. So Gabriel handles things while he’s gone.
The headquarters of the superuniverse is Uversa. The central universe is called Havona. Havona’s not a time creation, but rather eternal existence. The first of all mortals to attain Havona is Grandfanda, who hailed from planet 341 of system 84 in constellation 62 of local universe 1,131 situated in superuniverse number one. The first of the Graduate Guides, in case you need to know that, is Malvorian. Also, Servital number 842,842,682,846,782 of Havona is named Sudna, just, you know, FYI.
“When ascenders attain the postulated seventh stage of spirit existence, they will therein experience the realization of a new meaning-value of the absoluteness and infinity of the triodities as such is revealed on absolute levels in the Supreme Being, who is experiencible.”
Paradise is apparently ellipsoid rather than being spherical as you’d expect, being one sixth longer in the north-south diameter than in the east-west diameter. The Trinity dominates the personal or upper plane while the Unqualified Absolute the nether or impersonal plane. It’s composed of a materialization of stationary systems of reality called absolutum which is neither dead nor alive. Space originates just below nether Paradise while time originates just above upper Paradise. Part of Paradise operates as a gigantic heart whose pulsations direct currents to the outermost borders of physical space.
One Paradise-Havona day is just seven minutes, three and one-eighth seconds less than one thousand years of Earth’s (sorry I mean Urantia’s) present Leap-year calendar.
We each have direct access to God via our indwelling Mystery Monitors and Thought Adjusters, which is basically your own conscious. When your material personality unites with your spirit Adjuster (which is a part of God), it creates an immortal soul.
After death, we will go through “just 570” separate morontia (the intermediate stage between material and spiritual) changes. The first things we’ll learn on the mansion worlds will be the languages of Satania and Nebadon. There are different races in heaven each with its distinct social tendencies. Humans who didn’t get to have sex in mortal life get to experience it when they ascend to the system capitals.
There are seven heavens: the seven mansion worlds, Jerusem, Edentia and its satellites, Salvington and the surrounding educational spheres, Uversa, Havona, and Paradise.
We’re told headquarter worlds have a light about the intensity of Urantia sunlight when the sun is shining overhead at ten o’clock in the morning, but we’re not told what part of the world or what time of the year, so that doesn’t really help us picture the intensity of this light, now does it?
Celestial Orders of Beings
Rather than being male and female, seraphim are negative and positive, and most assignments require two angels. Angles don’t really have wings, but rather energy insulators or friction shields.
Did you know that in the last periodic report to Uversa, the Paradise records indicated that there were 21,001,624,821 Trinity Teacher Sons in service? Also, we have in our superuniverse about one and a quarter million High Son Assistants (why not give us the specific number as they did for the Trinity Teacher Sons?). “While they can impart to you the lore of the universe concerning their one idea or ideal, it is well-nigh pathetic to observe them seeking knowledge and information on hosts of other subjects, even from the ascending mortals.”
Obedience to hierarchy is usually a virtue and at one point, “sin” is used as a synonym for rebellion. However, a group known as Mighty Messengers are put through a test in which they have to disobey their superiors:
“They are a class of perfected mortals who have been rebellion tested or otherwise equally proved as to their personal loyalty; all have passed through some definite test of universe allegiance. At some time in their Paradise ascent they stood firm and loyal in the face of the disloyalty of their superiors, and some did actively and loyally function in the places of such unfaithful leaders.”
There’s an order called Solitary Messengers who must work alone because when in transit, if two or more are in close proximity, they are “thrown out of liaison with the higher circulating forces. They are ‘short circuited’ as you might describe it in illustrative symbols.”
Like the Talmud, this book provides relative speeds of different orders of angels: “The limit of velocity for most nonenseraphimed beings is 186,280 miles of your world per second of your time; the midway creatures and certain others can, often do, attain double velocity–372,560 miles per second–while the seraphim and others can traverse space at triple velocity, about 558,840 miles per second.” Also, “Solitary Messengers can go in very short order, not independently of time and space as do the Gravity Messengers, but nearly so.”
There’s living barometers known as frandalanks. The frandalanks that register time in addition to quantitative and qualitative energy presence are called chronoldeks. Also, there’s this: “Material sons vary in height from eight to ten feet, and their bodies glow with the brilliance of radiant light of a violet hue.”
Fungi are “a retrograde movement in evolution, being plants which have lost their chlorophyll-making ability and have become more or less parasitic. The majority of disease-causing bacteria and their auxiliary virus bodies really belong to this group of renegade parasitic fungi.”
Some of the scientific information contained in this book was current at the time it was written, however I suspect much of it was speculative even then. I’ve at least never heard of the three stages of gravity presented herein.
In the pregravity stage called segregata, force appears. In the gravity stages called ultimata, force becomes energy. In the postgravity stages called triata, energy-matter discloses response to the control of linear gravity. Apparently, personality is responsive to gravity and we learn that mind gravity can operate independently of material and spiritual gravity.
In addition to atoms and electrons, we learn there are also ultimatons, whatever they are. The maximum temperature is upwards of 35,000,000 degrees, but there is no absolute zero. A dekamillennium is 10,000 standard years which is about 50,000 of our years. The decimal system, we are told, is inherent in the physical universe. And here I thought humans used the decimal system because we just happened to have ten fingers.
Binary stars are caused by suns getting too big and splitting apart. “Calcium possesses an individuality and a longevity excelling all of the more common forms of matter.” This is why “remnants of solar calcium literally ride the light beams.” The sodium atom is also capable of light and energy locomotion, by the by.
Our solar system is said to have ten planets. (I guess the aliens haven’t heard that Pluto got a demotion.) I was initially impressed when it said eagles, ducks, pigeons, and ostriches all descended from dinosaurs, but then later it said placental mammals descended from a little reptilian dinosaur with a comparatively large brain, so less impressed there. Overall, I’d say the aliens have a poor grasp of how evolution works. As another example, it says “Mice reproduce much more rapidly than elephants, yet elephants evolve more rapidly than mice.”
They also employ the fine tuning argument to prove God’s existence. Did you know there are “fifty thousand facts of physics and chemistry” which refute the theory that we came about by chance? Well, there you go. That settles it.
Why Earth Is So Evil
We’re told “your small and insignificant planet is of local universe concern simply because it is the mortal home world of Jesus of Nazareth.” Ours is the only planet in the universe visited by a creator son. Most planets would welcome him, but we didn’t because we’re more evil than normal.
Urantia (Earth) is more conflict prone than normal. Regular worlds advance through education rather than conflict. The divine plan was for us to be more spirit responsive, but the plan failed. Why are we so wicked? Well, that depends on which section of the book you’re reading.
In one place, we’re told our planet sucks because we were an experiment. In another place, the reason given is our Adam didn’t adhere to the original plan which means our spirit of brotherhood is lacking. Another reason Earth is evil is because our father Michael was slow to condemn us. He should have destroyed us, but he just couldn’t because we’re his children. All you parents of evil kids out there can understand this. Like Michael, you know the right thing to do is kill your child, but you just can’t bring yourself to do it.
Another reason we’re so evil is that our Planetary Prince, Caligastia, rebelled along with our System Sovereign Lucifer. Lucifer “maintained that all government should be limited to the local planets and their voluntary confederation into the local systems.” He also wanted the right of secession. So apparently, it’s evil to want liberty and state rights. (Although, at another point, Lucifer’s sin was said to be impatience.) References to the Lucifer Rebellion in the early part of the book had me looking forward to when it would finally be described, but I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up. It turned out to be just as boring as the rest of the book.
By the way, we haven’t progressed musically as much as our neighboring planets because Adam and Eve didn’t survive. What we consider music isn’t real music, you see.
There’s a list of 28 statements of human philosophy which correspond to moronita mota. They’re written in an obscure way, but they basically boil down to this:
1. Being spiritual is better than being smart.
2. Don’t be held back by fear.
3. We can’t exceed our built in limitations.
4. Don’t be held back by fear.
5. Strength comes from adversity.
6. The privledged few shouldn’t be selfish.
7. There are no accidents. Also, God helps those who help themselves.
8. Strength comes from adversity.
9. Strength comes from action.
10. Being righteous is good.
11. Strength comes from action.
12. Strength comes from adversity.
13. Strength comes from adversity.
14. Only give advice when asked.
15. Stupid people like to pretend they’re smart, but they aren’t.
16. Strength comes from adversity.
17. Strength comes from action.
18. Impatience and anger are bad.
19. Don’t be held back by fear.
20. Find meaning in routine.
21. The goal of art should be spirituality.
22. Intentions speak louder than actions.
23. Death made us aware of death.
24. Strength comes from action.
25. Strength comes from action.
26. You should give advice to others.
27. Be an individual.
28. The more you argue that something is true, the less true it becomes.
There are also seven commandments condensed from the Biblical ten (don’t kill, don’t steal, etc.) One of the commandments is “You shall not doubt that faith is the only requirement for eternal salvation” which, when you think about it, makes the other six commandments moot. Just saying.
In recounting the history of “Urantia”, we’re told a version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. The prehumans were chiefly concerned with food, then once food wasn’t an issue, we went on to worry about other things.
Our early ancestors apparently enjoyed the companionship of “enormous birds able to carry one or two average-sized men for a nonstop flight of over five hundred miles.” On some planets, these birds are intelligent enough to speak many words. Unfortunately, as you may have noticed, they are now extinct on our own planet.
Rather than evolution being a slow, gradual thing, primates apparently just gave birth to humans one day. The first two humans were twins named Andon and Fonta and childbirth was not painful back then.
We learn that Neanderthals were “deathly afraid of clouds” and there used to be giants. People have different colored skin today because our ancestors’ skins “manifested a unique tendency to turn various colors upon exposure to sunlight.”
Property inheritance is called a “distinct social advance”. (Doesn’t this promote laziness, which is condemned elsewhere?) There’s also a definate anti-Communist theme to this book. (Although the writers don’t seem to know what Communism is since they claim Communists have kings at one point.)
This book mostly focuses on Christianity, although it does name check other religions at times. I was impressed that they acknowledged Judaism’s debt to Zoroastrianism and Aknatan.
The writers tell us that the doctrines of early Christianity are based on the religious experiences of three people: Philo of Alexandria, Jesus of Nazareth, and Paul of Tarsus. I was surprised to see Philo listed there since he’s a Jew whose contribution to the formation of Christianity has largely been forgotten today.
A few mistakes in the Bible are pointed out as well. We’re told the four beasts of the Book of Revelation aren’t hideous, but are actually of unparalleled beauty and exquisite form. Also, while the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was a figure of speech, the Tree of Life was not a myth.
“The more backward humans are usually employed as laborers by the more progressive races. This accounts for the origin of slavery on the planets during the early ages.”
And then there’s the racism. After reading about a thousand pages of this nonsense (what can I say? I’m a masochist), I was shocked when racism suddenly popped up out of nowhere.
We’re told some races are superior to others: “the red man stands far above the indigo–black–race.” The first humans were the Eskimos. They prefer cold climate today because they came about during an ice age. The races are described as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and indigo. Some of them have merged together, some are now extinct. Here’s a few more fun quotes:
“It is neither tenderness nor altruism to bestow futile sympathy upon degenerated human beings, unsalvable abnormal and inferior mortals.”
“The selective elimination of inferior human strains” will “tend to eradicate many mortal inequalities.”
“The weak and the inferior have always contended for equal rights.”
When interracial matings “take place between the lower or inferior strata, creativity is diminished, as is shown by the present-day peoples of southern India.”
“Most worlds seriously address themselves to the tasks of race purification, something which the Urantia peoples have not even yet seriously undertaken.”
Mercifully, we now get to the end: a really long section retelling the story of Jesus. We’re told the Bible got a few things wrong and left other things out. The story supplies specific dates such as “Just before noon on sunday, January 12, a.d. 27”.
We’re told “Joseph was a black-eyed brunet; Mary, a brown-eyed well-nigh blond type”. We get the story of how Mary and Joseph met (Joseph was employed by Mary’s father to build an addition to his house. When Mary brought Joseph a cup of water during a noontime meal, their courtship began.) Joseph was not an old man as in Catholic tradition, rather the reason he’s absent in Jesus’s later life is because he died in a tragic accident.
Jesus doesn’t really perform miracles. Rather than raising a young man from the dead, he simply realizes a young man who appears to be dead is really still alive. When he tells the disciples where to cast their nets to catch fish, it wasn’t a miracle, Jesus just happened to know where the fish were. The resurrection of Jesus/Michael was spiritual rather than physical in nature, so Jesus didn’t have nail marks in his hands after he was resurrected like the gospel story says.
As in Mormonism, Jesus espouses the idea of revelation not being situated in a particular time and place, but continuing even to today. I liked when Jesus pointed out a problem with the golden rule: If a man wants to have sex with someone, and does to them what he wants them to do to him, that’s actually a sin.
According to this book, the key to world peace is global regulation of money and trade, plus use of a global language and a global religion. Oh, and eugenics.
If you thought this review was boring and hard to get through, just try reading the book. (Actually, your life would probably be better if you didn’t.) I don’t even know why I read it. Glutton for punishment, I guess.