Paper 4. God's Relation to the Universe

   
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PAPER 4

GOD’S RELATION TO THE UNIVERSE

  1. The Universe Attitude of the Father
  2. God and Nature
  3. God’s Unchanging Character
  4. The Realization of God
  5. Erroneous Ideas of God

INTRODUCTION

I. REFERENCE: (54.1) 4:0.1 - “The Universal Father...”

COMMENT

1. God is executing an eternal purpose for the universe throughout all time.

2. A wise Creator created the universe in order to realize this eternal purpose.

3. Aside from Paradise Deities, probably no person or being in all creation really knows the nature of this eternal purpose.

4. Beings of post-eternity existence are not cognizant of future eternity.

5. Even perfect beings differ in opinions. We should be unafraid to hold diverse opinions respecting cosmic philosophy.

DISCUSSION OF GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE

1. The finite exists because of the eternal purpose. (1260.5) 115:1.4

2. Vast scope of the eternal purpose. (34.2) 2:1.3

3. Eternal purpose is a glorious plan. (364.3) 32:5.1

4. All things unfold according to the eternal purpose. (46.6) 3:2.2

5. The eternal purpose will triumph. (51.2) 3:5.3

6. Bible Texts.

Eph 3:11. “This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Isa 14:24. “‘As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.’”

Isa 14:26. “‘This is the purpose that is purposed concerning the whole earth.’”

Isa 46:11. “‘I have purposed, and I will do it.’”

Jer 4:28. “I have purposed: I have not relented nor will I turn back.”

II. REFERENCE: (54.2) 4:0.2 - “It is easy...”

COMMENT

1. The perfect universe of Havona could serve a multiple purpose:

A. The satisfaction of Deity nature.

B. The finishing school for the pilgrims of time on their way to Paradise.

C. A pattern creation for the universes of time and space.

2. There is nothing wrong with experiencing pleasure—enjoying satisfaction.

3. God is neither puritanical nor epicurian.

III. REFERENCE: (54.3) 4:0.3 - “The amazing plan...”

COMMENT

1. The chief concern of the finite universes at present seems to be:

A. Perfection of evolutionary mortals for Paradise ascension.

B. Admission of these ascenders to the Corps of the Finality.

C. Post-graduate training for some undisclosed future service.

2. But this scheme for educating and spiritualizing mortals is by no means the exclusive business of the universe intelligences.

3. There are many other fascinating pursuits which enlist the energies of the celestial hosts.

1. THE UNIVERSE ATTITUDE OF THE FATHER

IV. REFERENCE: (54.4) 4:1.1 - “For ages the inhabitants...”

COMMENT

1. There is such a thing as divine providence.

2. But providence is misunderstood. It is not childish and arbitrary.

3. God’s providence consists in the interlocking activities of celestial beings working in harmony with cosmic laws.

4. Providence works for the honor of God and the good of man. Note: The honor of God and man’s spiritual welfare are the same thing.

II. REFERENCE: (54.5) 4:1.2 - “Can you not advance...”

COMMENT

1. Progress is the watchword of the universe.

2. Throughout the ages providence has been working out the plan of progressive evolution.

3. Providence and evolution are not opposing forces.

4. Providence never opposes human progress, either temporal or spiritual.

5. Providence is always consistent with the divine nature of the Lawmaker.

DISCUSSION OF PROVIDENCE

1. Providence is the domain of the Conjoint Actor and the Supreme Being. (56.2) 4:1.10

2. Providence as a function.(1304.3) 118:10.1

3. Providence functions with regard to totals. (1304.7) 118:10.5

4. Wrong ideas about providence. (1305.4) 118:10.9

5. Spiritual insight may detect providence. (1306.8) 118:10.19

6. What providence really means. (1307.1) 118:10.20

7. Providence in the Bible.

The word does not occur in the Old Testament.

Gen 50:20. “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good.”

Hag 2:9. “‘And in this place I will give prosperity, says the Lord of Hosts.’”

Note: In the New Testament the word providence occurs once in the King James Version - Acts 24:2, but not in the Revised Version.

John 5:17. “But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is working still, and I am working.’”

Rom 8:28. “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”

III. REFERENCE: (55.1) 4:1.3 - “‘God is faithful...’”

COMMENT

These texts are found:

1 Cor 10:13. “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength.” This same thought is also found in Isa 49:7; 1 Cor 1:9; Heb 10:23.

Rom 7:12. “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.”

Ps 119:172. “My tongue will sing of thy word, for all thy commandments are right.”

Ps 36.5. “Thy steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, thy faithfulness to the clouds.”

Ps 119:89,90. “Forever, O Lord, thy word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Thy faithfulness endures to all generations; thou hast established the earth, and it stands fast.”

1 Peter 4:19. “Therefore let those who suffer...entrust their souls to a faithful creator.”

IV. REFERENCE: (55.2) 4:1.4 - “There is no limitation...”

COMMENT

1 There is no limitation to the forces which God will employ to uphold his purpose.

2. Again we have a group of scriptures.

Deut 33:27. “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

Ps 91:1. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Ps 121:4. “Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”

Rom 8:28. “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”

Ps 34:15. “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and his ears toward their cry.”

V. REFERENCE: (55.3) 4:1.5 - “God upholds...”

COMMENT

1. God upholds all things—material and spiritual.

Heb 1:3. “He reflects the glory of God...upholding the universe by his word of power.”

Ps 104:30. “When thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created.”

Ps 145:20. “The Lord preserves all who love him.”

Ps 121:7. “The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.”

2. The universe is stable—even in apparent instability. There is security in the presence of cataclysmic upheavals.

VI. REFERENCE: (55.4) 4:1.6 - “The Universal Father...”

COMMENT

1. God is not an absentee landlord. His presence prevents cosmic collapse.

2. God is reality. The divine reach extends around the circle of eternity.

3. The universe is not wound up like a clock—destined to run down.

4. The Father unceasingly pours forth energy, light, and life.

5. God is real—not figurative.

Job 26:7. “He stretches out the north over the void, and hangs the earth upon nothing.”

VII. REFERENCE: (55.5) 4:1.7 - “A being of my order...”

COMMENT

1. Much in the cosmos that appears haphazard to man appears constructive to higher beings.

2. To a Divine Counselor the cosmos may appear ultimate—to man at best only supreme.

3. But even a Divine Counselor does not understand everything that is

VIII. REFERENCE: (55.6) 4:1.8 - “I am entirely competent...”

COMMENT

1. The Divine Counselor fairly well understands the functioning of the Paradise Deities, but he has trouble with the performances of the Absolutes.

2. While the universe is not infinite, it seems to be permeated by infinity.

3. The Absolutes seem to:

A. Supersede matter.

B. Transcend mind.

C. Supervene spirit.

4. While English words can only partially convey cosmic meanings, let us examine these terms:

A. SUPERSEDE. To make void by superior power; to cause to be set aside. To replace. To displace. To supplant. To defer action.

B. TRANSCEND. To rise above or beyond the limits or powers of—to overpass. To excel; to outstrip. To go beyond the limits of knowledge or experience.

C. SUPERVENE. To happen as something additional—unlooked for. To occur without reference or relation to something else. To be added to. To occur otherwise than as an additive. To occur in a manner not antecedently predictable.

IX. REFERENCE: (56.1) 4:1.9 - “These Absolutes must be...”

COMMENT

1. Why primordials of force, concept, or spirit are unpredictable.

2. Presence of space potency and other super-ultimates explains why neither physicists nor philosophers can explain the cosmos.

X. REFERENCE: (56.2) 4:1.10 - “There is also...”

COMMENT

1. There is an organic unity in the cosmos—the living presence of the evolving Supreme.

2. This Immanence of the Projected Incomplete is Providence—the realm of the Supreme Being and the Conjoint Actor.

XI. REFERENCE: (56.3) 4:1.11 - “I am inclined...”

COMMENT

The variegated and confused medley of cosmic phenomena is so co-ordinated as to work for the glory of God and the good of men and angels.

XII. REFERENCE: (56.4) 4:1.12 - “But in the larger...”

COMMENT

The apparent “accidents” of the cosmos suggest the Infinite manipulating the Absolutes.

2. GOD AND NATURE

I. REFERENCE: (56.5) 4:2.1 - “Nature is...”

COMMENT

1. In a sense, nature is the physical habit of God.

2. God’s action in the material realms is qualified by the evolutionary patterns of local creations.

3. Thus are the plans of the Infinite limited by the plans of the finite.

4. God is a wise Father—he allows each Creator Son to work out—unfold—his own universe plans.

II. REFERENCE: (56.6) 4:2.2 - “Therefore, nature...”

COMMENT

1. The changeless background of nature is modified by the fluctuations of finite evolution.

2. God’s laws for our local universe are modified by the plans, defaults, and other prevailing circumstances.

III. REFERENCE: (56.7) 4:2.3 - “Nature is a...”

COMMENT

1. Nature is a time-space resultant of two cosmic factors:

A. The perfect rectitude of Paradise Deity.

B. The finitude of local universe creations:

(1) Experimental plans.

(2) Executive blunders.

(3) Insurrectionary errors.

(4) Incompleteness of development.

(5) Finite wisdom.

2. The majestic and perfect background of nature is qualified—even marred—by the mistakes and disloyalties of the finite creations.

3. Therefore is nature whimsical—stable underneath, but otherwise variegated and changeable.

IV. REFERENCE: (57.1) 4:2.4 - “Nature is the perfection...”

COMMENT

1. Nature is the perfection of Paradise divided by the evil and sin of unfinished universes. The quotient embraces both the perfect and the partial.

2. Progressive evolution augments the good and lessens the evil in nature.

V. REFERENCE: (57.2) 4:2.5 - “God is not...”

COMMENT

1. God is not personally present in nature.

2. Nature is a combination of evolutionary imperfections and Paradise laws of perfection.

3. Nature can never be a portrayal of the infinite God.

VI. REFERENCE: (57.3) 4:2.6 - “Nature, on your world...”

COMMENT

1. Nature is a qualification of the laws of perfection by the plans of evolutionary creation.

2. What a mistake to worship nature because it is in a limited sense pervaded by God.

3. Nature represents the present status of finite cosmic evolution.

VII. REFERENCE: (57.4) 4:2.7 - “The apparent defects...”

COMMENT

1. Cosmic defects are not indicative of corresponding defects in the character of God.

2. These defect-interruptions in the perfection-continuity enable finite man to glimpse divinity reality.

3. Finite mind can only discern perfection in nature by means of morontia mota or revelation.

VIII. REFERENCE: (57.5) 4:2.8 - “And nature is marred...”

COMMENT

1. The face of nature is marred and scarred by misthinking and rebellion.

2. Nature is not God—not an object of worship.

3. GOD’S UNCHANGING CHARACTER

I. REFERENCE: (57.6) 4:3.1 - “All too long...”

COMMENT

1. God is not manlike—he is never jealous of anyone.

2. But the Old Testament presents the picture of a jealous God. See the second commandment—Ex 20:5. “You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.” See also Ex 34:14. “For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

3. This concept of a jealous God was later exalted to a higher level. See Zech 1:14. “‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion.’”

4. Intending man to be the masterpiece of creation, God is jealous for him when he in any manner belittles himself.

II. REFERENCE: (57.7) 4:3.2 - “The eternal God...”

COMMENT

God is incapable of despicable wrath and anger. Such attitudes are foreign to the nature of God.

III. REFERENCE: (58.1) 4:3.3 - “Much, very much...”

COMMENT

Much of our misunderstanding of God is due to the distortions and perversions of the Lucifer rebellion.

IV. REFERENCE: (58.2) 4:3.4 - “God repents of nothing...”

COMMENT

1. God is all-wise; he never repents of anything. Divine foreknowledge directs his free will.

2. Man gains wisdom by trial and error—experience.

V. REFERENCE: (58.3) 4:3.5 - “The Universal Father...”

COMMENT

1. God does nothing that would cause sorrow or regret. But the wrongdoing of his creatures may cause divine sorrow.

2. When the Father fully provides for our spiritual attainment, our failure to grow in grace grieves the divine heart.

VI. REFERENCE: (58.4) 4:3.6 - “The infinite goodness...”

COMMENT

1. The finite mind can comprehend the infinite goodness of God only by contrastive comparison with evil (not sin).

2. Hence, the necessity for these comparisons of cosmic realities in the motions of space.

VII. REFERENCE: (58.5) 4:3.7 - “The character of God...”

COMMENT

God is so infinitely superhuman that his character can only be grasped as personalized in his divine Sons.

DISCUSSION OF GOD’S CHANGELESSNESS

1. The fact of God, the divine law, is changeless. (1126.2) 102:7.2

2. God and the universe are not identical—one is cause, the other effect. (1126.1) 102:7.1

3. Bible texts.

Mal 3:6. “‘For I the Lord do not change.’”

James 1:17. “Every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

Ps 33:4. “All his work is done in faithfulness.”

Ps 119:90. “Thy faithfulness endures to all generations.”

4. THE REALIZATION OF GOD

I. REFERENCE: (58.6) 4:4.1 - “God is the only...”

COMMENT

A word portrait of God.

II. REFERENCE: (58.7) 4:4.2 - “Since God is self-existent...”

COMMENT

1. God is self-existent, independent, and changeless. Mal 3:6. “For I the Lord do not change.”

2. Only on Paradise will we understand how God can encompass infinity and finitude at the same time.

3. God can thus modify his universe relationships because of his free will.

III. REFERENCE: (58.8) 4:4.3 - “God is the being...”

COMMENT

1. God is a being of unqualified self-determination.

2. God’s free will is conditioned by the prerogatives of his divine nature.

3. God’s free will is directed by infinite wisdom and divine foreknowledge.

4. God is related to the cosmos as a being of final goodness plus a free will of creative infinity.

IV. REFERENCE: (58.9) 4:4.4 - “The Father-Absolute is...”

COMMENT

1. The Father-Absolute is the creator of the central universe and all other Creators.

A. Father of Universes. Universal Father.

B. Father of Trinities.

C. Father of Creators.

D. Father of Paradise Sons.

E. Father of Fathers.

F. Father of Absolutes.

2. God shares much of his nature with others—but not his infinity of will.

3. Even Creator Sons do not possess all of God’s infinity.

4. To deny God the possibility of self-limitation would be to deny his absoluteness.

V. REFERENCE: (59.1) 4:4.5 - “God’s absoluteness pervades...”

COMMENT

1. God’s absoluteness pervades all seven levels of universe reality.

2. God as a father transcends God as a judge. (A person may be a citizen and a physician, but being a father and grandfather can transcend all these.)

3. First and last—eternally—God is a Father.

VI. REFERENCE: (59.2) 4:4.6 - “In God the Father...”

COMMENT

1. Love rather than power characterizes God’s relation to his universes.

2. God is a Father in the highest meaning of that term.

3. God is eternally motivated by the perfect idealism of divine love.

VII. REFERENCE: (59.3) 4:4.7 - “In science, God is...”

COMMENT

1. God is:

A. In science—the First Cause.

B. In religion—a loving Father.

C. In philosophy—the self-existent one.

2. It requires revelation to show to know God as a Father—God can be thus experienced.

3. But it does not require revelation to know God as a Father—God can be thus experienced.

VIII. REFERENCE: (59.4) 4:4.8 - “We crave the concept...”

COMMENT

We crave the concept of the Infinite, but we worship the God of experience—a personal Father.

IX. REFERENCE: (59.5) 4:4.9 - “The consciousness of...”

COMMENT

1. “Even if I cannot do this, there lives in me one who can.” The battle cry of human salvation.

2. And this is the victory—even our faith. 1 John 5:4. “And this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.”

5. ERRONEOUS IDEAS OF GOD

I. REFERENCE: (59.6) 4:5.1 - “Religious tradition is...”

COMMENT

Religious tradition fails in revealing God because primitive man was a mythmaker.

II. REFERENCE: (60.1) 4:5.2 - “One of the greatest...”

COMMENT

1. The great cause of confusion about God is the failure of the world’s sacred books to distinguish between the diverse personalities of Deity.

2. Many messages of subordinate personalities have been presented as coming from God.

3. Urantia religions still confuse the personalities of Deity.

III. REFERENCE: (60.2) 4:5.3 - “The people of Urantia...”

COMMENT

1. Many Urantians still entertain primitive concepts of God.

2. These whimsical and temperamental gods are not the rulers of the universe.

3. Modern man is beginning to recognize a universe of law and order.

IV. REFERENCE: (60.3) 4:5.4 - “The barbarous idea...”

COMMENT

1. The idea of winning God’s favor by sacrifices is puerile and primitive—unworthy of a scientific and enlightened age.

2. These ideas are repulsive to the celestial beings of our universe.

3. It is an affront to God to believe the atonement doctrine.

V. REFERENCE: (60.4) 4:5.5 - “The Hebrews believed...”

COMMENT

1. The Hebrews believed that “without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin.” Heb 9:22. “Under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

2. Man holds onto the pagan concept of blood atonement. But Moses at least made an end of human sacrifice.

VI. REFERENCE: (60.5) 4:5.6 - “The bestowal of...”

COMMENT

1. The bestowal of Jesus was not for the purpose of winning the favor of God.

2. Michael’s bestowal was the final act in earning the sovereignty of his universe.

3. What a travesty—to believe that God could only be appeased by the sight of his Son dying on the cross.

VII. REFERENCE: (60.6) 4:5.7 - “But the inhabitants...”

COMMENT

1. Urantians are finding deliverance from these superstitions about God.

2. These revelations portray God as revealed in the earth life of Jesus.

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