The Fellowship Forum
AN ANALYSIS AND SYNTHESIS OF THE FOREWORD
By Jim O'Brien
Among the 196 papers that compose The Urantia Book, some are unquestionably difficult to understand, but none more so than the Foreword that introduces the book itself. For years I gave up the effort to understand the Foreword. Whatever its promises to "every mortal," it would have to await the great minds of the future as far as I was concerned, but it did bother me considerably. Science books I couldn't understand either, but this was something different, and I couldn't even get the first pages.
Since the book was always close by and usually within sight, it seemed to taunt me whenever I passed by, as if I was afraid to even try to understand it. Finally, I decided to pick it up once again with as much resolve as I could, and sat hour after hour going over the same sentence until it made some sense to me. The words began to take on meaning; then began the paragraph connections.
With the Foreword one can go through it countless times and always appreciate it more and more. Thus it has come to be a very dear companion to me for the past ten years or so. I would like to share a few insights with whoever is having difficulty coming to terms with the Foreword.
Who wrote the Foreword? There is no name as such given, merely a title--he calls himself a Divine Counselor. Who or what is a Divine Counselor? Divine Counselors are from Paradise and of origin in the Paradise Trinity itself. They "are the counsel of perfection." They "are the perfection of the divine counsel of the Paradise Trinity" (P. 217). It seems to me that what they are saying is that they are the personalization of that portion of the divine knowledge that has to do with perfection, or, in other words, with the complete unity of all things. Who better could we have than such a person to tell us about the coordination of total reality, as he says he will do in his topic sentence on page two? His conclusions could be nothing short of complete and replete--he will give us everything we need to know, and much more besides, concerning perfection and the divine plan to attain it.
The Foreword to The Urantia Book consists of three parts: First, the author states his intention; second, he fulfills his stated intention, and third, he reveals his sources, together with proposed techniques in reading the papers and the result to be hoped for.
1. The intention of the Divine Counselor, as stated on page one, is to clarify two sources of intellectual confusion: namely, concepts referring to God, divinity and deity; and secondly, the relationships existing between these realities. He will do this by making an introductory statement which will take the form of an outline of meanings, a method he deems wise, because the meanings will clarify the concepts, while the outline will show the relationships of these meanings. This statement should be used as a definitive guide, not as a finished treatise. The universe frame he will be covering--the parameters of his discussion--will be total reality, which he outlines and calls "the universe of universes."
2. In the next fifteen pages the Divine Counselor fulfills his intention. He begins by stating his topic (outline) sentence:
The universe of universes presents phenomena of deity activities on diverse levels of cosmic realities, mind meanings, and spirit values, but all of these ministrations--personal or otherwise--are divinely co-ordinated (P. 2).
His theme will be the unity of total reality. Deity acts in various ways and on different levels and with varied relationships regarding time and space. All reality is either things, meanings, or values, which are realized on the finite, absonite, or absolute level of existence, depending upon whether they are evolving in time and space, or are eventuating in a level of existence, hitherto unknown to us, called the absonite. This is a level where reality transcends time and space, but has a reference to time and space.
The Divine Counselor will take us to the originator of reality and show us genesis--beginning,--of reality; and from this point, the origin of reality, he will outline the history of reality (through the finite, absonite, and absolute levels of existence) and on to the destiny of reality. As all things began in the existential I AM, so they will end in some form of the I AM, realized experientially. This feat will be accomplished by the depletion of all absolute potentials by the complete unification of evolving Deity (Supreme Deity in time and space), and complete unification of eventuating Deity (Ultimate Deity in transcended time and space). These two, together with the Deity Absolute, will effect a personalization equivalent to the person of the Universal Father on the conceptual level of the I AM. Thus universe philosophers speculate.
3. The Divine Counselor is fully cognizant of the difficulties of this assignment. On the last page he offers some information on how he arrived at his sources (through the diligent study of concepts derived from human sources) and how to study the revealed concepts in the papers to follow (through reliance upon the indwelling presence of the author of all reality and the Spirit of Truth of his Son, who is the revealer of the Father). All this to the end that we may ever progress in the reality of personal religious experience--God-consciousness.
It would seem that the Father, back in eternity, inaugurated a policy of self-distribution (P. 108).
It would be inherent in his loving nature to do so. The story of creation is the history of his self-distribution to his mortal creatures.
He is making a universal image of himself as the I AM and originator of the Paradise Trinity. Yet it is far more than an image. When those particles of divinity return en masse to the Father-Infinite, it will be ourselves, not a possession of ours, but our very selves; possessed by reason of personality.
This unfathomable destiny, established in the eternity, is working itself out in three mighty stages:
1. The first is evolving in time and space and is the , first level of deity creature-identification. This is the part we are presently engaged in. The book calls it a great mobilization of forces as if to make a mighty onslaught upon the realms of the absonity that keep us from the absolute level. It was a tremendous power that caused the finite to escape the infinite and it will be the same power that causes the finite to re-enter the infinite.
2. The second phase can only really begin for mortals when the Supreme Being is completely unified. Until then we must help each other to attain that part of unification which is theirs. This will take place upon the eventuating fields of the absonite where the Ultimate Deity will be working out his career, transcending time and space, but looking back to it. We will be there as sons of the Supreme.
3. The third phase will be without reference to time and space, the preparation for which will be very, very lengthy, but no end to this third level can as yet be seen. The Father will have to reveal this to us when we get there, but it will probably have to do with the Adjuster, our personality and the Consummator of Universe Destiny, which perhaps we could speculate will be some aspect of the I AM.
Keeping in mind all that the Universal Father is doing for us, the word "kingdom" to describe his plan does not seem to be as well fitted as the word "family". Maybe in time he will give us another concept to picturize all he is doing
For now, "when all is said and done, the Father idea is still the highest human concept of God" (P. 2097). And God-consciousness, as we have described it earlier, "is equivalent to the integration of the self with the universe, and on its highest levels of spiritual reality" (P. 2097).
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