Some Comments on the Foreword to the Urantia Book

   
   Red Jesus Text: On | Off    Paragraph Numbers: On | Off
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

The Foreword discusses just five topics. It discusses number one, Deity, in three sections, one two, three. Second, it discusses reality. What is real? Again, in three sections, four, five, and six. It discusses, third, experiential Deity, in four sections, seven, eight, nine, and ten. Gosh, I can't count in these Roman numerals. Fourth, it discusses the three absolutes, in section eleven. And fifth, the Trinities, in section twelve. And of course you have the Acknowledgment. When you come right down to it, that isn't a whole lot of material. The catch is, it's rather complex. Deity, reality, experiential Deity– which is really a subdivision of the discussion of Deity, the three Absolutes–which is an extension of the discussion of reality, and the Trinities–which is a summation of the discussion of Deity. Really, all they're talking about here is Deity and reality, in one form or another. Just two things.

I want to tell you something. This is, in my life, a very historic occasion, and one of very deep gratification because in my entire experience with this blue book, this is the first time any group of human beings has ever asked to have the Forward discussed. I have taught the Foreword under various stages of compression. I've used a kind of intellectual alamite gun to force it down people. I've done a strip-tease with the Foreword. I've made it ridiculously simple. And I've always had a captive audience. But you folks actually asked to talk about the Foreword. Well, all I can say is–in terms of the Bible: "This hour has come." I'd like to do this, if I may. Would you let me try to give you a feeling for the Foreword first, and would you hold detailed questions until we've just taken an overview of the Foreword? I would like to try to communicate to you my feeling for the intent which is behind the Foreword.

The Foreword starts out with an apology. It says that our language isn't very good. And indeed, it isn't. It says we want to help you understand. You see, the secondary purpose of the Urantia Book is the illumination of the human mind. It's primary purpose is the salvation of human souls. The book makes an intellectual appeal, because the book is in English. Therefore, it's got to enter our consciousness through mind. The Foreword tips its hat in two paragraphs to the human desire to start from man and proceed to God. You'll recall in one of the papers where they first talk about Trinity Teacher Sons, they tell why they wrote the book the way they did, starting from God and proceeding outward and downward to man.

They point out that if you start from man and go to God, this might be a certain way of grasping facts, but the truth would elude you. You don't start with consequences, you start with causes, you start with sources. So they start this book talking about God– but there are two paragraphs here (that start on Page 1 at the bottom) in which very quickly they accede to the human yearning to start from the simple and proceed to the complex. In the last two paragraphs on Page 1, they very quickly start with our world and go right into Paradise. Then they add a few comments:

"Your world, Urantia, is one of many similar inhabited planets which comprise the local universe of Nebadon. This universe, together with similar creations, makes up the superuniverse of Orvonton, from whose capital, Uversa, our commission hails. Orvonton is one of the seven evolutionary superuniverses of time and space which circle the never-beginning, never-ending creation of divine perfection–the central universe of Havona. At the heart of this eternal and central universe is the stationary Isle of Paradise, the geographic center of infinity and the dwelling place of the eternal God."(1)

Now, I submit that's quite a paragraph, isn't it? In just eight or nine lines of type, they start here and take you swiftly into the center of all things. This is their concession to the human desire to start from the simple and go into the complex. I think it's very significant that the Foreword starts with a discussion of Deity and divinity. Deity they define as a word which is larger than the word God, because God means a personal aspect of Deity. Deity can be other than personal as well as personal. The first half of Section 1 in the Foreword is nothing more nor less than a discussion of how Deity functions. They give us seven levels on which Deity functions. These levels vary from the quiet to the active. They encompass all of the known, comprehensible functions of Deity: Deity can be very quiet. Deity can also plan, and that means that there is a potential, a plan which will be fulfilled, a plan that will be consummated. Deity can be fraternal, as in the case of Father, Son, and Spirit. Deity creates and spreads itself out over creation. Deity engages in creativity in time as well as instantaneous creativity– because evolution is simply creativity in time.

Evolution simply means that creatures go in partnership with Deity. When a Seraphim is created, she has nothing to say about her status. She simply is born as a full- grown Seraphim. But human beings have everything to say about their status as Finaliters. The evolutionary process is no different from the creative process except the act of creation is slowed down, broken into many stages and steps, and the creature has the possibility of going into partnership with the Creator, of being a co-creator of himself as he is to be. I think of the creative and the evolutionary aspects of Deity as the outgoing aspects of Deity. I think of the Supreme and the Ultimate aspects of Deity as the ingathering of the consequences of creation and evolution. When all finite creativity– when all finite evolution is summed up–it consolidates in Supreme Deity.

This a concept that's quite new in The Urantia Book. It's quite foreign to orthodox Christian theology. This concept is not wholly foreign to Western philosophy. The concept of a finite God is encountered in Western philosophy. But usually, when you encounter that concept, it is to the exclusion of an Infinite God. Only in this book do I find the two concepts associated. In the evolutionary Supreme Being, the Universal Father who inhabits eternity and pervades infinity is escaping from the terrible limitation of absoluteness. Through the Supreme Being, the Universal Father vicariously can have the experience of having an origin, of having a time of growth, of knowing what it is to struggle. How could an infinite God know struggle except through a finite expression of that infinite God? You see God's love–his purpose, his energies–broadside throughout the finite level in creation and evolution. Then consider a bringing back together of all those things--and that is the Supreme function of Deity. In the same sense, on the superfinite levels, we have the Ultimate function of Deity, because what the Supreme is to the finite, the Ultimate is to the superfinite, to the absonite. (Not absolute, but more than finite.)

This section goes on to discuss briefly what is finite, what is absonite, what is absolute. I think the simplest way of looking at it is to consider time and space. If we're in time and space, we're finite. Those beings who are above time and space, but understand time and space–deal with it–are absonite. An absolute being is timeless and spaceless. I can think of a practical illustration there. Jesus' personalized Thought Adjuster is a timeless being, a timeless entity. You'll recall that when the Master put the command of all celestial forces into the keeping of his personalized Adjuster, this Adjuster warned him. He said, "Now, I'll make sure you don't move about the planet, I understand space, but I want to warn you, if you want to do something that merely means an abridgement of time, I can't help you there, because I'm not conscious of time." This Thought Adjuster does not transcend time, this Thought Adjuster is timeless. Time has no meaning to the Thought Adjuster.

This section goes on to discuss divinity. It points out that there are many different kinds of divinity, qualities of divinity, but that the one thing which is characteristic of divinity is that it is the cement that holds all the acts of Deity together. If something is related to Deity in any way, shape, or form, it manifests qualities of divinity. Elsewhere in the papers the comprehensible elements of divinity are defined as truth, beauty, goodness. We are told that these are unified in living personalities as love, mercy, ministry. Elsewhere, we're told that God is love. We're told that mercy is love applied, and that ministry is mercy in action. An effort is made in the second half of this first section to open up our thinking in terms of the quality of divinity, and for the first time you encounter the permutation of three.

There's seven different aspects of divinity portrayed here, and if you'll stop and consider, this is the same pattern you encounter in the Seven Master Spirits. They point out that divinity may be perfect, relative, or imperfect. Then they let these associate, and you wind up with seven different possible combinations. I think if you think of three in relation to seven, you'll find this pattern more than once:

  1. Perfect in all respects, imperfect in none.
  2. Perfect in some respects, relative in other respects, imperfect in none
  3. Perfect, relative, and imperfect all in association.
  4. Absolute perfection in some respects, imperfection in all others.
  5. Relative perfection in all aspects, imperfect in none.
  6. Relative and imperfect in association, imperfection in all aspects.
  7. I would say in human beings, you have an association of the perfect and the imperfect.

The Thought Adjuster would disclose perfection of divinity, and a human being would be a rather completely imperfect entity, wouldn't he? You would have Alpha and Omega associated in man. (2) Having discussed Deity and divinity, this Foreword then goes on to talk about God. When we consider God, we are considering an aspect of Deity, the personal qualities of Deity. How can we best understand that Deity can be other than personal? Well, the Universal Father is the Lord of gravity as well as the source of love. To use the word God loosely now, God has a different attitude toward the physical universe as compared with his sons and daughters in time and space. God could hardly love a spiral nebula, could he?

A spiral nebula is not a person. God's laws of gravity, of motion, of mass would apply to the spiral nebula. God's attitude of love would characterize his relationship to man. When I think of Deity and I want to name the Deity of God, I use the term the First

Source and Center. I do not worship the First Source and Center. I worship that facet of the First Source and Center which is turned toward me, and this is God–more particularly, the Universal Father. I cannot worship that which I cannot comprehend or love. I cannot love the source of gravity. I can well love the Father of personality.

Even God, though, has its aspects. God functions on more than one level. We are not told how God functions in terms of absolute perfection, but we are told how he functions in terms of relative divinity expression. We're told that he functions prepersonally, personally, and superpersonally. When he acts in these three relationships, he acts in a different way. Pre-personally, he fragments. He produces Father fragments. Our relationship to these Father fragments has to do with just one class of them. They're called Thought Adjusters. They live in us as potential partners for the eternal journey. When he creates, he produces Sons, even as Jesus. Then he functions superpersonally. This is beyond personality. The prepersonal would be before personality.

The personal we understand. But then he also functions beyond personality. Here he neither fragments nor creates, he eventuates. The best thinking I can offer you on the word eventuate is this: An eventuated being, to me, is a being whose existence is inherently a consequence of a plan. I can illustrate this very simply. The Universal Father does not create the brotherhood of creatures. He eventuates it, in a sense. Simply by being the Father of each creature, brotherhood is inherent in the relationship of all creatures. I think we're stretching the word eventuate, but it's a good illustration. God does not create universal brotherhood. Universal brotherhood eventuates out of the fact of God's universal Fatherhood. You cannot have one without the other. (Don't make that go on all fours!) The word God has more than one meaning in these papers. The word God is used with seven different meanings. We are familiar with the first three–God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. We're not familiar with God the Supreme. This is the emerging Deity of the finite level of existence. This is evolutionary Deity. This is God in time, not God in eternity. This is God in space, not God in infinity.

God the Supreme is not an infinite Deity. God the Supreme is a consequence of the acts of infinite Deity. God the Sevenfold is an association of Deity. Our encounter with God the Sevenfold is in the bestowal of Jesus–a very real encounter! When Jesus said, "He who has seen me has seen the Father," he spoke as God and for God, and this is the truest illustration that we can apprehend concerning the function of God the Sevenfold. God the Sevenfold is God anywhere in time and space. God in action, in the imperfect, evolutionary domains.

To us, the only God that we can comprehend is in the human bestowal of Jesus, and this is God the Sevenfold in action. God reaching out from Paradise to fellowship any creature at any level of existence– even mortal creatures at the lowest level of existence. What God the Supreme is to the finite level, God the Ultimate is to the superfinite, the absonite, level–that level which is like the ham in a sandwich. If the lower piece of bread is finite, and the upper piece of bread is absolute and infinite, then the ham would be absonite, transcendental, separating the finite from the absolute. God the Absolute would be the final expression of Deity. God the Absolute would be the final experiential, or comprehensible expression of the Father, as the Eternal Son is the existential expression of the Father. Existential, meaning, "that which comes into being by the inherent acts of God." Experiential, meaning, "that which creatures have had a hand in, hence could understand."

If God the Absolute could ever, ever appear in fact and in completion, then through God the Absolute we might understand God the Father as infinite. This tells me that God the Absolute will never complete his growth, because we will never understand. The Father is infinite. We'll merely grow in that understanding. The third section deals with the First Source and Center. I'm intrigued with the fact that they speak of the First, Second, and Third Sources and Centers, but there are only two sections in these papers which use those captions. They discuss the First Source and Center, and then I believe over in Paper 8, they discuss the Third Source and Center. You see, God the Father and God the Spirit are quite alike, and they're both quite different from God the Son. The Father and the Spirit are personal, as is the Son, but they're also everything else besides being personal. They have many other-than-personal characteristics. The Son is personal and only personal. That's why the Son can't fragment himself, as both the Father and the Spirit can.

You can't fragment a personality, and the Son can find nothing in his Deity to fragment, because there's nothing in his Deity which is not personal. He is the full, personal expression of God. The Father and the Spirit are also personal, but they are also much that is other than personal, hence they can fragment themselves. You have Father fragments, and you have Spirit fragments. Son fragments, you will recall, come from the Creator Sons, not from the Eternal Son. Son-fused mortals derive their spirit endowment not from the Eternal Son, but from the Creator Son of their local universe. In this third section, we are for the first time introduced to the Seven Absolutes of Infinity. We're told about the relationship which the First Source and Center has to these seven Absolutes. I think the easiest way to think about these seven Absolutes is to think of them in terms of matter, mind, and spirit.

The Second Source and Center is the source of spirit. The Third Source and Center is the source of mind--not that there's not also spiritual ministry there. The Paradise Source and Center, the Eternal Isle, is the source of all things material, and the controller of all things material. The easiest way to think of these three Absolutes is as the reservoirs out of which the matter, the mind, and the spirit of the evolving present and the unexpressed future are coming. From the Unqualified Absolute come the evolving universes. From the Deity Absolute come the spirit beings which are being created and will be created. From the Universal Absolute perchance they draw upon for mind. I'm not so sure about the last one, but I'm pretty sure about the first two.

But I think it's a good convenient way of looking at this. Example: When a Local Universe Mother Spirit creates Seraphim, they appear in–what is it?–unit formation, a hundred and some odd thousand of them? It's a large number of Seraphim. They don't come from nothing. They come from something. When a cloud appears in the sky, that cloud does not come from nothing, that cloud was there in the form of invisible water vapor before a change in temperature made it visible. These Seraphim that were created were potential in the universe before the Creative Spirit, by her creative action, transformed them from a potential to an actual. The unborn of the next generation are potential in the germ plasm of the present generation of living human beings. If they weren't potential, they jolly well couldn't ever become actual, could they? This section makes an unqualified statement: There are seven Absolutes of infinity, but the First Source and Center is primal in relation to total reality. This is not polytheism we're studying; this is monotheism.

There's only one Infinite Being. Others share his infinity and his absoluteness, but none takes precedence over the First Source and Center. God, the Universal Father, is the personality of the First Source and Center. Then they discuss how God is related to the universe, and we see that God is not directly related to the universe, except in one aspect: God is related to creation, to the universes, through his six associated Absolutes, except in one particular: He is the direct Father of every personality in existence. All personalities derive that quality of being from the Universal Father, and they are linked to the Father by the personality circuit. The other six Absolutes do not participate with the Father in this bestowal of personality, with one minor exception: The Infinite Spirit, the Third Source and Center, has the Father's proxy. He's the Father's attorney, in fact, and he can act for the Father. But again, this is the delegation of creative power.

This section goes on to talk about reality. They point out the maximum reality which we can understand is a finite God. Let's face it. We want God to have a beginning, don't we? A beginningless God is really beyond our comprehension. The only reason we accept an unbeginning God is because it's ridiculous to have a beginning–because if he has a beginning, who's his Father, who's his grandfather, who's his great-grandfather? We have the choice between an uncaused cause or an endless series. Do you see that? And the endless series of course is ridiculous. The Greeks tried it. Back of Zeus they had Cronus, and back of him they had someone else; but eventually, you give up, and you simply start with the uncaused cause. This section goes on to point out that conceptually we need a beginning, and though there never was a beginning, they're going to give us one in concept.

They warn us this is not a reality. To God, to Deity, prior to any self-distribution, they give the name the I AM. And, they say, this is a philosophic concept. This is not a reality. The most helpful thing I can suggest to you to deal with this is this: We use the number zero in all of our mathematics, but you have never seen nothing, have you? You can see one of nothing, or one and a half, or two, but you've never seen a zero of anything, have you? Yet, we think in terms of zero. It's a most convenient concept in mathematics. Zero is a valid concept, but zero is not a factual reality, only a concept of reality. Are you with me?

The term I AM is just as valuable a thinking tool as the term zero. But neither are factual. Nevertheless, they qualify. They say, "Now, look. The I AM may be a theoretical concept and a philosophical concession, but the Infinite is not. The Universal Father is the Infinite." I think of the term First Source and Center as this: When you get down to the level of the Seven Absolutes, and you want to isolate out the Infinite, it is the First Source and Center. This is the Infinite as manifest on the level of the Seven Absolutes. Just as when you want to say, "What is the personality of the First Source and Center?" the answer is, "God." What name do we give to that personality, the Universal Father? That is the name of our choosing. How could he have a name?

He's nameless. In shorthand here, they tell you how the I AM distributed himself. They simply tell you–and these are valid concepts, but these are not factual realities–they simply say, I'm going to use the word God to describe pre-God, because it's a simpler way of telling the story. They simply say that God separated himself from total reality, and if he hadn't done that, there would have been no room in which anything could take place, because how could you squeeze something in where God filled all things? God, as it were, contracted himself–and he can do this because he has will–what he contracted himself into is the essence of Deity, at the heart of which is will. What he left behind is the essence of non-Deity, non-will.

One of the greatest criticisms I ever read of the book of Genesis was written by a Zoroastrian theologian about 250 A.D. It's in the Pehlevi texts. This Zoroastrian, in criticizing Genesis, says, "God was not alone, because when God commanded, `Let there be light,' in order for that command to have effect, there must also have been present an obeyer of commands." I borrow that term from the old Zoroastrian theologian. The Unqualified Absolute is the "obeyer of commands." When Deity takes snuff, the Unqualified Absolute sneezes. Now, when God separates himself from that which is not Deity, he still links himself to that which is not Deity. This linkage is the function of the Universal Absolute, the conjoiner of the Deity Absolute from the non-Deity Absolute. And I think three links linked together is an excellent symbol for that relationship.

God still fills all Deity. I think of God as contracting within Deity, while at the same time he expands to continue to fill all Deity. I think of God as separating himself from the Son, of conjoining himself with the Son, of constituting the Trinity, as a thing that happens simultaneously. So that instead of one of these circles–you know, the three circles–just being full of God, this circle is now a triconcentric circle. It is full of the Trinity. In so doing, God achieves companionship. He separates himself from absolute personality, and in so doing, he becomes the Father of the absolute person, who thereby becomes his Son. And if he can become Father of the absolute person, he can become Father of any person. He ceases to be the absolute person, but becomes the Universal Father of the absolute person and of all other persons.

At the same time that he does this–when he expresses himself absolutely as a person–he expresses himself absolutely as a non-person, and this is the origin of the Isle of Paradise. Or, to anthropomorphize it, Paradise is the absolute machine which God built for the same reason that men build machines–to perform repetitive acts. The physical governing of the physical universes is a repetitive act, and God devised a flawless machine to do this job for him. Why should he personally attend to it when a machine, an absolute machine, can do the job? They tell us, in Section IV, that reality is not all spirit. These papers make some startling statements! They say, for example, that God is spirit, but Paradise is not. They point out that our direction Godward is spiritward, so that as we consider matter, mind, and spirit, the spiritual is the more real to us because our growth towards reality follows a spiritual route.

This is truth. This is not, however, fact. Energy, physical energy, is just as real as spiritual energy, but it doesn't have as much meaning or as much value to human beings. They point out here that reality can be Deified or not Deified. This planet is hardly Deified reality, is it? But Finaliters have partaken of divinity and are a creature part of Deified reality. They go on to point out that things may be either actual or potential. We are actual people. Children yet unborn are potential people, are they not? Of course, you can have something in between. A good illustration of something that is neither actual nor potential: the brotherhood of man. Is it unreal? No. No, you can't say that. Is it real? Well, read any newspaper and you can determine that it's not really here, is it? It is a becoming reality, isn't it? It's in the grey area, the zone of becoming. Are human beings real? Yes and no. Until they've fused with their Thought Adjusters, they are not truly real in the universe, are they? We're simply becoming citizens of the universe. Is a child an adult? Well, no. And yet he's not not an adult, is he? He's a becoming adult, isn't he? Or have you coped with teenagers?

This section closes with a discussion of not spirit reality. It discusses the Isle of Paradise, where they point out that Paradise is an absolute reality derived from Deity, but it is not Deity. I think the best way of looking at Paradise is: it is the absolute machine which God built. We can understand that, because we build machines to do jobs. Somewhere in here–it's not in this particular context–it says Paradise is not conscious as man could ever understand the meaning of such a term. Paradise, in some way, is a knowing reality. Paradise is not mindless, but it does not have mind as we could ever understand the meaning of that word.

You should think of Paradise in two ways:

  1. Paradise is a place, the dwelling place of God at the center of all things. It is our final destination in our quest for God. On Paradise, we will find God, and– figuratively speaking–we shall stand before him, face to face.
  2. Paradise also has a function in the universe. As the Son draws all things spiritual, as the Third Person draws all things intellectual, so Paradise draws all things material. Paradise is the central governing power of the material universe of universes.

Section 5 talks about personality reality, and it points out that personality comes from God, and that all reality that is linked with personality is associable. Prepersonal fragments, superpersonal beings are all contactable and associable with personality and personal beings. This is a part of Deity reality in contrast to the not personal which can never be associated with the personal. Man has no fellowship with a rock, but man can have fellowship with an Adjuster, a Seraphim, or a Transcendentaler–given enough time to have contact with Transcendentalers. (They would be super personal beings). They sum up, at the end of this section, the functioning entity of a human being: body, mind, spirit, and soul.

The body, our life mechanism. The mind which we think with and confuse ourselves with. The spirit which invades the mind, just as the sperm invades the womb. The soul is the embryo that comes into origin as a result of that cosmic conception. The human mind is the material womb of the soul. The spirit that comes from the Father is the invader, and when that invasion takes place–in about the fifth year of mortal life– something new begins to grow. This is the embryonic soul that evolves within the womb of the mind. This is the soul that has the capacity to survive death.

They point out that personality is none of these things. That personality is not matter, not mind, not spirit. Personality is a fourth reality in the cosmos. Personality is that which comes from God the Father–not the Son, not the Spirit (unless the Spirit acts for the Father). Then they define morontia, because the soul is morontia. The soul is neither matter nor spirit. The best definition I know of morontia is: it is a fabric the warp of which is physical, the woof of which is spiritual. One goes one way and one the other.

Audience: The warp goes lengthwise; the woof crosses the warp. I'm looking at it–I wouldn't be that smart. Or you might say that matter and spirit will not mix.

They don't ordinarily, any more than oil and water will mix. But in the presence of soap, oil and water will emulsify. Morontia is an emulsification of the oil of matter and the water of spirit. Section VI (3) deals with–in a sense is a continuation of their discussion of–Paradise. As they have talked about personality realities in Section V (4), they talk about nonpersonal realities in Section VI. They try to define some terms that they're going to use in talking about the physical–the material–level of cosmic reality. They talk about force, energy, and power. These are stages in the emergence of what we would recognize as physical reality. Force is the beginning. Energy is a stage of emerging. Power is a stage of having emerged. This ties in with their later discussion (5) starting with space potency, going on down through primordial force, puissant energy (6), gravity energy, and universe power.

In terms of liquid water–this is good symbolization!–when you look up into the sky, and you don't see the water vapor up there at all–all you see is the blue sky and the sun shining–you might say that this would be like force. When it turns cold, and you see the clouds form–this would be like emergent energy. When it starts to rain–you've got universe power. You can feel the wetness. Does that help? Force would be intangible. Energy, you know–you'd sense it, but you wouldn't get your hands on it until it rained, and then you could feel it.

They point out that mind (7) always means somebody is doing something. There's administration if there's mind. Mind never is generated out of matter. Mind is put into matter. They talk about pattern (8), which is a very interesting bit of discussion here. They point out that pattern is a very real thing, but it's hard to put your hands on. We're very unhappy if we have unfortunate patterns. We call that being homely, being ugly. The whole beauty industry is built up around the improvement of the human pattern. Our forms are patterns. The spiral nebula is a pattern. A triangle is a pattern. The reason that these patterns appear is because the universe is full of energy–material, spiritual, mindal. And the universe has personality in it, and personalities are always trying to order the manifestation of energy.

So patterns are always appearing. Elsewhere in the papers they speak of the forms of ascenders as being patterns which become increasingly responsive to the purpose and action of the inner personality. I've long suspected that one of the main reasons we'll have for trying to grow in grace on the mansion worlds is, if we are ugly on the inside, we will jolly well look ugly on the outside–and the only Helena Rubenstein you can visit is the housecleaning of your own soul. When you begin to be good on the inside, you will begin to look beautiful on the outside. This is even true on earth. As the hand of experience writes on your face, the blank pages take on the aspect of your personality. I put it in my words: "We can't avoid wrinkles, but we have a choice as to which kind–the frowning kind or the smiling kind." You can choose which kind of wrinkles that you want to wind up with. The next four sections of the Foreword (9) are a discussion of experiential Deity, and here they use the word experiential in contrast to the word existential.

Let's see what the word experience means. It means something that you learn by living through, and because of this, you grow in wisdom, you grow in judgement, you grow in capacity. This is utterly foreign to the nature of God, isn't it? How could God grow by any technique? God is infinite. How could God learn anything? God foresees. How could anything take the Father by surprise? Nothing could. God is beyond experience, isn't he? His nature shuts him off from all things experiential directly. He might experience vicariously, in Thought Adjusters, but never directly. And as it is with the Father, so it is with the Son, and the Spirit. These beings are existential Deities. They are beyond experience. They are without beginning or ending of days.

The Father's infinity could hardly increase, could it? If he starts out as infinite, what can be added to him? Now, the Supreme Being, the Sevenfold, the Ultimate, and God the Absolute are experiential Deities. Leave God the Sevenfold for the moment. The Universal Father is engaged in augmenting Deity. Having started with three, he is adding three. All of these expressions of Deity are experiential. They have origin, historic origins. They have beginnings. They know growth. They know setbacks, if you please. As the Supreme Being is growing in time and space, I would say the Lucifer rebellion is like a cancer taking place within the Supreme. If you'll recall, they isolated the System of Satania, much as white leukocytes would wall off an infection in the human body. The Supreme Being is finite Deity, is growing Deity.

The Supreme Being compensates God for the lack of the experience of never having been finite. Through the Supreme, God can know what it would be like to have an origin and to grow. The Supreme Being compensates man for his inability really ever to understand an infinite God. We're told that God is the first truth and the last fact. We first feel God's love, and then we seek to understand him. That quest will never end. There are only two beings who understand God, and that's the Eternal Son and the Infinite Spirit. They can because they have infinite comprehension capacity. We will never understand God, but we will someday understand the Supreme Being, because he has an origin, he has a growth, he has a destiny, he can achieve completion–even as man has an origin, a growth, and can achieve the fulfillment of destiny in the Corps of the Finality. The Supreme Being is God as he can be understood by finite creatures.

The Supreme Being is not the personalization of the Universal Father, but the Supreme Being is the finite equivalent of the personalization of the Paradise Trinity. The Trinity is not a person. When we want to say what would the Trinity be like if the Trinity were a person and were finite, this is the Supreme Being. He who has seen the Supreme has seen the equivalent of the finite personalization of the Paradise Trinity. What we say about the Supreme Being in relation to the finite universe, we could say about God the Ultimate in relation to the Master Universe. This is the personification of the Trinity in relation to the Master Universe and as comprehensible by beings that are more than finite; and someday that will include us. The papers make this comparison between Jesus and the Supreme Being. As Jesus is the bridge over which man moves from the human level to the finding of God, so the Supreme Being someday will be the bridge over which finite creatures will move to those levels that lie beyond the finite of creature experience– the Absonite level. God the Absolute–they don't say much about God the Absolute.

I once paraphrased those two short paragraphs (10), and it took, as I recall, six typewritten pages to paraphrase them and break them down into what these compact words mean. These statements about God the Absolute are like anchovies–the flavor is packed in very tight. You don't eat anchovies in large quantities. You can dilute these paragraphs with much, much English, and you still have intriguing concepts. The trouble with God the Absolute is that God the Absolute is both experiential and existential. The chances are that our dealings with God the Absolute lie on beyond the whole Master Universe. I can see an end to the Supreme; I can see destiny. I can see an end and destiny in the Ultimate, although it's almost incomprehensible. I can see only a beginning to God the Absolute. I can see no end.

Going back to God the Sevenfold and to the present days, if you look on page 11, you'll see that this is a Deity association. This is seven levels of Deity in action, and in time and space. I strongly suspect that God the Sevenfold will go on functioning after the present universe age in outer space–perhaps in slightly modified association, but in principle, this is God in action in time and space. These are the beings that we encounter on the Paradise Ascent, starting with Jesus, going up through the rulers of Orvonton, the Master Spirit of our superuniverse, and then successively the Spirit, the Son, and the Father. God the Sevenfold breaks down into three levels.

I would think of the Sevenfold in three principle subdivisions. One, two, and three are the Supreme Creators; they're so defined in the papers. They are not infinite, they're subinfinite. They're subabsolute. They're the folks who are out here working in time and space. These three Absolutes are, in a sense, the potentials out of which future things are drawn. But that's an oversimplification. These three Absolutes also function throughout all time and space, transcended time and space, et cetera.

Now, here's what makes their function very difficult to comprehend. Let's consider a child in a given situation. He looks at a green apple, he has hunger, and so he eats, without any thought of the consequences, of the bellyache. This is a stimulus and a response and a consequence without judgement, without foresight, without anything. An adult looks at the green apple. It looks succulent. The adult forecasts the consequences of eating green apples, and decides to pass it up, because the adult does not want the bellyache. The adult is not reacting to the stimulus of the present, is he? Yes, his salivary glands may react, and his mouth may water, but his reaction has to do with future time, does it not, and with the consequence of his act.

Michael, when he was here on earth as Jesus, lived a life from day to day, he looked ahead, he exhibited rare foresight. When he was pressed to do something prematurely, he said, "But this hour has not yet come." No one ever stampeded him. He was always looking ahead. He was reacting to consequences and to effects, just as the adult looks ahead, as compared with the child. These Absolutes react in a timeless fashion. When any Absolute reacts, this Absolute reacts in terms of the eternal past, the eternal present, and the eternal future.

Therefore, the reaction of an Absolute can never be understood within any frame this side of infinity. Does this make sense? The child couldn't understand why the adult wouldn't eat the green apple. The twelve did not understand why Jesus did not do certain things. The universe administrators are just as mystified by the actions and transactions of the three Absolutes. Nobody, this side of the Paradise Deities, I think, comprehends what these Absolutes are doing, because one of them mechanizes everything, another one activates everything, and a third one unifies mechanization and activation. They say, don't look upon these Absolutes as antecedent to God. They're not. Don't look upon these Absolutes as being independent of the Trinity.

They're not–although the Trinity deals with some of them only indirectly, and deals with one of them directly. When the Paradise Trinity functions, in a total sense, this is the function of the Deity Absolute, and through the Universal Absolute this causes responses in the Unqualified Absolute. The Unqualified Absolute mechanizes, the Deity Absolute activates, the Universal Absolute correlates these two, unifies these two. This Foreword closes with a discussion of the Trinities. (11) There are three of them. They point out that the Paradise Trinity is the existential Trinity. The other two are experiential Trinities. The Paradise Trinity has no origin. The other two Trinities have an historic origin, a time of coming into being, a time of coming into full function. The Trinities happen, I think, because of divinity. When God separates things, they've got to reunite in some way.

When he achieved threefold personalization as Father, Son, and Spirit, the Trinity became inevitable. This separation could exist only if there were a unification, because Deity is one. There could be a threefold personalization only if the three Deities were unified in some fashion. This sets a pattern which is followed as reality is expressed on the finite level. All those who participate in this finite expression and perfecting of the finite find themselves in essence reunified as a Trinity–as the First Experiential Trinity, the Trinity Ultimate.

Many beings are involved, but I visualize this as the union of the Deity of three groups of beings–the Supreme Creators, the Architects of the Master Universe, and the Supreme Being. This is not the union of over a million personalities, this is a union, again, of three Deities. All of the Supreme Creators add up to some form of Deity manifestation. This is a consequence of their success. It's not difficult for me to visualize the Deity expression of the Corps of the Architects of the Master Universe. And the union of these two with the Supreme Being–not as a person, but as Deity–constitutes the First Experiential Trinity, the Trinity Ultimate.

This is the Trinity which will supplement the acts of the Paradise Trinity in the exploration of the Master Universe. The consequence of the full development of the Master Universe is the formation of the Second Experiential Trinity, the Trinity Absolute. And the union of all three constitutes the Trinity of Trinities.

And that's what the Foreword means to me.

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