Second Prologue - The Zero Age

   
   Red Jesus Text: On | Off    Paragraph Numbers: On | Off
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend by emailSend by email

SECOND PROLOGUE

THE ZERO AGE

Before the Times of Havona

An Exploration of Past Eternity

Existential Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis

If we are going to study the master universe it would be a sound idea to start as far back as we can go. There are things that happened on Paradise in preparation for the master universe. The master creation develops through six major divisions of time; these are the six universe ages. (We are now living in the second of these ages.) The First Age is the age of Havona, the central universe. This divine creation is the eternal core of perfection around which the rest of the master universe is slowly revolving, and is slowly expanding into the vastness of all outer space.

§ 1. Before the times of havona

Eternity “dawns” with eternal Havona already in existence. Prior to the “times” of eternal Havona there can be no Factual Reality – but we can still have Valid Concept. And this is an important distinction: concept may be useful and valid without being factual; when we apply time-space language to pre-time-space reality we can never grasp actual fact but we can still hope to have a relatively valid concept.

For example: in our system of counting, the number “one” is the first real number. Nevertheless, our arithmetic recognizes that behind the reality of the number “one” is the concept of “zero”. Zero is really not a factual reality, but it certainly is a valid concept and our mathematics would do very badly without it.

The First Universe Age is the first factual age, but behind it is the concept of a Zero Age, and age before the times of (eternal) Havona. The Papers make use of this Zero Concept without actually using the term, “Zero Age.” They speak of “the dawn of eternity,” a hypothetical state of affairs prior to the appearance of the Infinite Spirit and the central universe. It is this state of affairs that we propose to call the Zero Age. (Thinking about the Zero Age is something like thinking about the zero mark on a twelve-inch ruler. We do not actually measure anything with this mark, but it does show where the first inch starts.)

Source relationships in eternity. When we try to think about “origins” in past eternity we are in real trouble. For example, God is the Father of an Eternal Son who is just as “old” as God! This can be very confusing, even disconcerting. Suppose we forget all about “eternity” and use some comfortable “time language.” If we do this we will discover there are three basic and distinct “source relationships” to be found among the eternal realities – the Three Persons of Deity, the Paradise Isle, and the central universe:

(a) If the Infinite Spirit and the central universe are eternal, then it logically follows that –

(b) The Eternal Son and the Isle of Paradise are more eternal – eternaler – because they were both in existence when the Spirit and Havona appeared. And, if the Son and Paradise are eternaler, then –

(c) The Universal Father is most eternal – eternalest – because he is the Father of the Son and, at the same time, the Source of Paradise.

This line of reasoning helps us think of at least three stages of development inside of eternity – eternal, eternaler, and eternalest. Suppose we start with the “oldest” of these. Let us go back (or in) just as far as we can possibly go in concept, and then move forward (or outward) step by step, toward the First Universe Age, Havona, and factual reality.

§ 2. an exploration of past eternity

When we go back as far as we can in our thinking about God, we find we are trying to imagine what God would have been like before he became the Father of the Eternal Son. This is a pre-Father concept of God. (It is not a factual reality, but it is a valid concept.) What was it like when God was all alone – before he had made any plans about creating anything? If we can think that far back then we may be able to start at the very heart of the Zero Ago, and from there work our way outward toward factual reality.

(1) Static Deity. We are going to have to use a few rather uncommon words in this study – words like “static.” We cannot avoid these words, but we can define them as we go along:

Static is, in part, defined (in Webster) as: “ . . . resting; quiescent; not moving, active, or exerting force of any kind; stable.”

At the heart of the Zero Age we find quietness, absolute stability; nothing is moving. Here God is all-sufficient unto himself. He lives within himself; he is self-contained. He has an inside, but no outside; a within, but no beyond; an eternal present, but neither past nor future. He is self-existent. God is!

Now, here is a point we should bear in mind: What we have just been considering is not something (theoretical) that existed a long time ago and then stopped; it is just as true today as it was way back in the depths of past-eternity, and it will go right on being true for all future-eternity. This means we must think in a larger way about God – he can be static at the same time he is being everything else. He does all these many things at the same time, and keeps on doing them all the time. He does not have to go from one thing to another.

(2) Potential Deity. Now we are taking our first step away from the depths of the Zero Age toward factual reality. And again, a definition is in order – the definition of the word “potential”:

Potential is, in part, defined (in Webster) as follows: “Existing in possibility, not in actuality; becoming as distinguished from being; possible, or in the making as opposed to actual or realized; latent . . .”

At this point, we are thinking of God after he has made a plan. He has done nothing about it as yet, but he is planning to do something. God has now purposed to do something, and that “something” accordingly becomes a possibility; it be­comes a potential. We are, at this point, thinking about God after he has decided to express his will; he is self-willed Deity. Potentials have come into existence and Deity has become Potential.

Perhaps we can better understand Potential Deity if we make a picture of it. Suppose we go back and think of Static Deity as a circle with a dot in the center. Now, let us squeeze the circle around the middle until we have something that looks like an hour-glass. Let the dot be in the center of one of the lobes of the hour-glass. Now, pull the two lobes of the hour-glass completely apart, and we have two circles; one of them has a dot in it. The circle-with-the-dot we will call Deity; it has moved away from the other circle because God decided to do this. The other circle never moved; it is named not-deity, or non-deity. It does not have will; it can respond, but does not start anything. When God moves away from this non-deity circle, he changes what he moves. God thus has qualified the circle-with-the-dot. At this point, we have used a word that has more than one meaning in English – the word “quali­fied.” We should define it:

Qualified is, in part, defined (in Webster) as follows: (1) “Competent; fit.” (2) “Having complied with conditions . . .” (3) “Limited or modified in some way . . .”

It is in the last sense, “limited or modified in some way,” that we are using the word “qualified.” What God is doing to the circle-with-the-dot is to limit it, to modify it in some manner, in contrast to the circle left behind which is not modified or qualified in any manner.

STAGES IN THE TRANSITION OF

REALITY FROM STATIC, TO POTENTIAL,

TO ASSOCIATIVE

Stages in the transition of reality from static, to potential, to associative


What is left behind has not changed, has not moved, is not qualified – hence is un-qualified. Since all of this is happening on the absolute level we will name the circle-which-is-left-behind, the Unqualified Absolute. This the Absolute that is not qualified – that is not modified.

That which has moved (the circle-with-the-dot) is modified, is qualified, is changed. It is Deity as well as Absolute, so we will call it the Qualified Absolute – later to be called the Deity Absolute.

Let us not forget that we are studying Potential Deity. We have studied the development of two realities: the Qualified (Deity) Absolute and the Unqualified Absolute. We should think of them as limitless reservoirs. They contain all God’s plans for the future, and he will draw on them as he makes his plans become real – as he actualizes his plans. If these plans have to do with things, with physical matter and not-personal materializations, God will draw upon the Unqualified Absolute; if these plans have to do with spirit, personal beings, and the like, then he will draw upon the Qualified (Deity) Absolute.

(3) Associative Deity. Now we are taking our next step toward the outer edge of the Zero Age and factual reality. Again a definition is in order:

Associative is defined (in Webster) as: “Tending to, inducting, or characterized by association.”

Perhaps the first associative act we should note is the association of the two Absolutes – Qualified and Unqualified. It comes about something like this: since both of them come from the same original (static) Reality, they are related, and the relationship between them is quite real. We could put it this way: when the One becomes Two, then we have – One and Another. The word “and” is also a reality, and it universally links together the two Absolutes that contain all of God’s plans for the future. Since this “linking-up action” is universal, it has been named the “Universal Absolute.” The Universal Absolute links the other two together like the middle link in a three-link chain. A good way to try to visualize the three Absolutes would be to draw three circles so that the middle one cuts a little way into the outer two; this makes a chain with three links. (See facing illustration.)

This linking-up of three Absolutes is one of the associative relationships of eternity. We should now consider another such relationship; this is a new relationship which God enters into, and through which he becomes the Universal Father.

The pre-Father becomes the Father. Up to now, we have really been thinking of God as if he were a pre-Father. (Conceptually, we have been thinking of him as pre-God as well as pre-Father.) As we have been thinking of him, God is the Absolute Person; as the Absolute Person, he is imprisoned by all the limitations of being absolute. He fills all of Deity – the Qualified (Deity) Absolute. He is all of Deity. There is no Deity outside of him; there is no “room” for action or maneuver. So, God sets out to produce some “room.” What he does is separate himself from all Deity, just as he separated himself from all Reality when he moved the Qualified Absolute away from the Unqualified Absolute.

How does God do this? He does it by separating himself from the Absolute Person. When he separates himself from the Absolute Person, three things happen:

(a) In removing himself from the Absolute Person, God causes this being to exist separate and apart from himself. He thus becomes the cause and the source of the Absolute Person.

(b) If God is the “cause” and the “source” of something, and if that something is a person, then God is the father of that person; therefore, if he can be the father of the Absolute Person then God can be the father of any and all persons, and thus be becomes the “Universal Father.”

(c) If God becomes the “father” of the Absolute Person, this makes that Absolute Person the Original Son of God; but he is nonetheless the Absolute Person for becoming the Son of God. It is customary to speak of this Original Son as the “Eternal” Son, because all of this is happening in eternity.

This is the beginning of the divine fraternity of the eternal Persons of Deity which is soon to be completed by the appearance of the Third Person – the Infinite Spirit.

§ 3. existential thesis, antithesis, and synthesis

We have used four unusual words in the caption to this section; they will be bear defining before we go on with the study:

Existential is a word especially used in the Papers. It means something eternal, without a beginning or an ending. There is no time at which it did not exist. An existential being has full knowledge before any experience. God is existential. Hence the word “existential” is used as the opposite of–

Experiential. This word designates beings and things that have origins. It also designates all beings that can grow by experience. Even some existential realities can have experiential growth to higher levels. Other realities are wholly experiential; man is wholly experiential in his growth.

Now, for the other three terms which are borrowed from the philosopher Hegel, who made much of them. We will use them several times in our study:

Thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, are, in part, defined (in Webster) as follows: “With Hegel (thesis is) the proposition or conception representing the first . . . stage of developing thought, contrasting with the second stage, or antithesis which negates the thesis, and with the third stage, or synthesis in which . . . thesis and antithesis are brought together.”

Thesis, then, is a proposition, a statement, a presentation. Antithesis (which would be better understood if it were written “anti-thesis”) is something that is different from, contrastive to, and stimulative of, the thesis – but not necessarily antagonistic to the thesis. Synthesis is the bringing together of the two into a mutually expanded and harmonious whole. This is a three-step process, and we will see it develop more than once in our study of the master universe.

Thesis, antithesis, and synthesis of Potential Reality. We have seen this three-step process in operation, but we did not apply our new terms to it. When God moved the Qualified Absolute away from Total Infinity he expressed himself in this movement thus constituting this (Qualified) Absolute the first expression of his will-to-action – his first thesis. That which remained behind was unmoved and not-qualified, and thus became the antithesis of what God had purposed. The Qualified (Deity) Absolute appears to be God’s first potential thesis; the residual Absolute, the Unqualified Absolute, appears to be the first potential antithesis. When the two are linked together (united) by the Universal Absolute, this constitutes the first synthesis.

Thesis and antithesis of Actual Reality. Let us go back to the “time” when God is separating himself from the Absolute Person, and is becoming the Father of that Absolute Person – who thereby becomes his Original Son; at this same time, God the Father constructs the Absolute Machine – the Isle of Paradise. He apparently builds it for the same reason that we build machines, to do something (relatively) mechanical and repetitive. The Isle of Paradise is designed to be the physical center and controller of the physical universes. The Eternal Son is the spiritual center and controller of the spiritual creation. The Son is personal and spiritual; he is the (actual) Deity thesis. Paradise is neither personal nor spiritual; it is the (actual) non-deity antithesis of the Son. Here we have a situation that is quite like the one involving the Absolutes, the main difference being that the Absolutes are potential while the Son and Paradise are actual. We have seen that God synthesized the two Absolutes in, and by, the Universal Absolute. If we did not know better, we might expect that he would do the same thing with the Son and Paradise. But God is not mechanical, and this did not happen. The unpredictable happened!

Thesis upon thesis of Deity Reality. God does not synthesize Paradise and the Son, the actuality of the not-spiritual and the spiritual. What he does is unify all (actual) Deity Reality, starting with himself and the Son. In so uniting, the Father-Son produces a Third Being who will forever be the perfect expression, not of either one, but both – the Conjoined Action of the Father-Son. This is the origin of the God of Action, the Infinite Spirit. In a way, this is a superim­position of thesis upon thesis. If the Son is now the (actual) Deity thesis, then the Father has become the pre-thesis of Deity, and the Spirit appears as the conjoint thesis of (actual) Deity. Their union (in the Trinity) expresses the undivided thesis of existential and actual Deity.

The non-synthesis of Actual Reality. If we had not been told about this, we might have expected that God would have synthesized the spirit Son with non-spirit Paradise. This would have produced a balanced situation. Actuals (Eternal Son, Paradise, and Infinite Spirit) would have been synthesized just like Potentials (Unqualified Absolute, Universal Absolute, and Deity [Qualified] Absolute). We could not have foretold that God would unite himself with the Son, in the Spirit, and as the Trinity. (This produces an artistic asymmetry that stands in contrast to a mathematical, or a mechanical, symmetrical balance. It is the difference between putting a dot in the exact center of a rectangle, and locating it somewhat off-center. God as an artist, evidently takes precedence of God as an engineer.)

When God does unify a part of Actual Reality, he causes this association to include Deity only. He does not synthesize all Actual Reality, he limits this unifica­tion to Actual Deity Reality. God leaves Paradise out. Since Paradise is left out of this existential synthesis, it presents a problem for all of God’s later-appearing associates and subordinates of experiential status. (See Appendix XXII., § 2. Why does Power-Personality Synthesis Take Place?)

And now, at last, we have reached the “dawn” of eternity at the close of the Zero Age, and the beginning of factual reality in the First Age of the master universe – the age of Havona.

(For general references to the Papers in support of this Prologue, see Appendix I., Master Universe Antecedents.)

Foundation Info

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Urantia Foundation, 533 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Tel: +1-773-525-3319; Fax: +1-773-525-7739
© Urantia Foundation. All rights reserved