The Urantia Book Fellowship

Why Study Philosophy? Why Study Theology?
Perspectives from The Urantia Book

Steven Hecht

Truth is not a state so much as a process—the process of living. The Urantia Book teaches this. This insight is crucial for postmodern religion and its understanding of divinity: God—divinity—is not to be found in a body of belief or in a body of knowledge. God is not a state of being, even the highest state of being. God is beyond Being, The postmodern God is divinity in the process of finding God in the other person—in the call, the divine command in that other to serve the other, to find God. In The Urantia Book Jesus was able to describe this call as the kingdom of heaven, the will of God. Postmodern philosophy and The Urantia Book are able to say that the ability to hear that command has little to do with belief and everything to do with faith.


We can begin by asking: Why talk about philosophy? Why talk about theology? Why consider the history and significance of philosophy and theology for readers of The Urantia Book? Isn’t all this in the end a bunch of intellectual chatter? What is the point if we love one another and dedicate ourselves to serving the will of God in our lives?

We might start by considering that the word “philosophy” means love of wisdom. I’ll suggest to you that the wisdom of love is potentiated by the love of wisdom. Even the most humble among us can possess a non-intellectual but divinely-guided wisdom that will lead her into the secure embrace of the spirit of God. But we are told that “[i]ntellectual deficiency or educational poverty unavoidably handicaps higher religious attainment,” just as we are warned that these intellectual factors also become “handicapping and embarrassing” if they are overdeveloped. (102:3.1)

After all is said and done, the highest adjutant mind-spirit we are blessed with is the spirit of wisdom. The spirit of wisdom is “the spirit coordinator and articulator of the work of all the other” adjutant mind-spirits and represents “the inherent tendency of all moral creatures towards orderly and progressive evolutionary advancement.” (36:5.12) The love of wisdom—philosophy—constitutes one of the three aspects of our “reality response” to, and as, the cosmic mind, which the Universal Censor informs us is “the intellectual potential of the grand universe….The Master Spirits are the sevenfold source of the cosmic mind,” and this mind is “a subabsolute manifestation of the mind of the Third Source and Center” and is functionally related to the mind of the Supreme Being. (16:6.1,4) So philosophy—the love of wisdom—is a response to, and a manifestation of, divinity.

While reading Paper 16, Section 6 one particular sentence caught my eye. That sentence refers to the reality response in this way:  “It is this universal cosmic endowment of will creatures which saves them from becoming helpless victims of the implied a priori assumptions of science, philosophy, and religion.” I find this to be a remarkably liberating insight. It tells us that our cosmic mind, constituted by our three cosmic intuitions of causation, duty (which I call philosophy), and worship, gives humanity the permanent capability of transcending its static assumptions in science, philosophy, and religion! The revelators tell us that “[t]he experience of living never fails to develop these three cosmic intuitions; they are constitutive in the self-consciousness of reflective thinking.” Philosophy, theology, and religion are inherently progressive when informed by our highest adjutant  mind-spirit, the spirit of wisdom. This has crucial implications for how we relate to the truth and wisdom contained in this revelation. Are we supposed to study these truths in isolation, independent ofthe progressive evolution of intellectual inquiry on Urantia? If we study the teachings in isolation do we learn those teachings more effectively or less?

Continuing the paragraph in Paper 16, Section 6: “But it is sad to record that so few persons on Urantia take delight in cultivating these qualities of courageous and independent cosmic thinking.” Progress in the realms of philosophy and theology is never without the discomfort, conflict, and confusion associated with intellectual birth pangs. We are reminded many times how the human intellect often slothfully clings to the thought-patterns and religious practices that have provided comfort and security in the past. We are challenged to overcome this intellectual inertia because such a triumph can help to bring forth a new spiritual harvest in its wake.

Philosophy is founded in the intuition provided by the adjutant  spirit of wisdom. Philosophy exists so that the material and spiritual realms can be coordinated--with the help of revelation—by the human reality response of cosmic mind. While religion is the mother of philosophy, it is through philosophy (and art) that “the material-minded man is inveigled into the contemplation of the spiritual realities and universe values of eternal meanings.” (5.5; 5:4)


Now that the identification of human sources by Matthew Block has begun to place the revelation into the context of the evolution of Western philosophical and theological thought, it would be timely to broaden our understanding of that historical context. The understanding of that common history stimulates intellectual growth and gives us a platform to better actualize our individual and group religious destinies.

“Materialistic secularism,” “mechanistic naturalism,” “thoughtless secularism,” “humanism,” and “rationalistic speculations of a material cosmology” are some descriptors the revelators have attached to what is now known as the age of modernism. The roots of the age of modernism are usually traced to the period of neo-Scholasticism (which itself was greatly influenced by medieval Islamic philosophy) and the writings of Francis Bacon, both of which occurred late in the thirteenth century. Rationalistic metaphysics and all the trappings of secular humanism were well established by the seventeenth century, which saw the writings of Descartes. The beginning of the postmodernist age is usually considered to have occurred sometime during the first half of the twentieth century, which coincides with the presentation and publication of the Urantia Papers.

Contemporary commentators agree with this analysis presented in The Urantia Book: “In revolting against the almost total control of life by religious authority, and after attaining the liberation from such ecclesiastical tyranny, the secularists went on to institute a revolt against God himself, sometimes tacitly and sometimes openly.” (195:8.6)

The revelators call this the “great mistake of secularism,” nevertheless agreeing that western civilization simultaneously benefited by liberating itself from the imposition of a totalitarian theology supported by institutionalized Christianity. Both these aspects are represented in Nietzche’s famous battle cry of the late 19th century—“God is dead”—that helped to inspire postmodern philosophy by exposing the god of metaphysics. I use the word “totalitarian” not in its political sense, but as a philosophical term. The totalitarianism of speculative metaphysics and rationalistic theology is what has embraced and subjugated the living God during the age of modernism. Both the authors of The Urantia Book and postmodern religion rise in protest against this overreaching of metaphysical speculation.  

One thesis of this presentation is that postmodern philosophical theology—through the spirit of wisdom and the reality response of cosmic mind--is dedicated to exposing the a priori assumptions of rationalism while transforming and supplanting the god of modernism, which is the god of metaphysics, the god haunted and hounded by the cult of the scientific method. Postmodern philosophy provides certain insights and tools that theologians use to effect this transformation in understanding. A certain vanguard in postmodern philosophy no longer allows itself only secular a priori assumptions. This post-secular philosophy respectfully admits the theological. As Graham Ward describes the thought of Emmanuel Levinas, philosophy is now in a position to challenge the assumptions associated with the rationalism of humanism and the Enlightenment—the rationalism of the modern age. Ward describes the desire and the challenge of post-secular philosophy:

“It can witness and speak of not what is simply inexpressible, but of the saying in which what exceeds what can be said has happened. Levinas calls this mode of discourse prophecy but refuses to locate it in the confines of religious experience. Instead, prophecy is a way to testify not by presenting a theme called responsibility but by speaking in my responsibility to others. The need to theorize becomes not a mode of cognition but a requirement of responsibility in relation to others.” (Ward, 50)

The Urantia Book speaks in a similar vein when it tells us that revelation is compensation for the frailties of philosophy and when it says that “[f]aith most willingly carries wisdom along as far as reason can go and then goes on with wisdom to the full philosophic limit…[w]hen reason once recognizes right and wrong, it exhibits wisdom; when wisdom chooses between right and wrong, truth and error, it demonstrates spirit leading.” (103:9.7,10) Postmodern philosophical theology encourages each of us to take reason beyond itself into wisdom, and to bring the love of wisdom to the wisdom of love. It calls acting with the wisdom of love the locus and the hand of divinity on earth.

Quoting Ward, “the postmodern is a site for the questioning and rethinking of the modern.” (Ward, xxv) This time of questioning can bring us through and beyond the assumptions that have characterized the age of modernity. It is possible that the contemporary influences I am about to discuss will help seed a genuine global religious impulse that will be able to distinguish itself among the leading faith-traditions now associated with the major civilizations of the planet. While we are told that philosophy by itself cannot nourish faith, it can certainly serve to coordinate the realms of science and spirituality--the secular and the religious. That improved coordination will undoubtedly be a characteristic of the global religion of the fifth epoch.


We need to compare how pre-moderns understood the world around them with the understanding of the modern era now passing. In medieval times—before the Renaissance in the fifteenth century and before the Enlightenment in the eighteenth—people lived in a world or a cosmos that was, in its broadest sense, little different from the world of  Jesus’ contemporaries. It is hard for us to conceive, but that world was not observable in the modern sense. Graham Ward compares the premodern and the modern in his book, The Postmodern God, by saying that there were no objects “understood as discrete entities, objects for a possessive perception.” Before the “age of reason” the reality of things in the world was established because they participated in a divine order of creation, not because they gained an objective standing due to being measurable by humanly standardized laws of nature and human perceptive abilities.  As Ward says: “All was gifted and given; corporeality had to be understood theologically.” Material reality had no existence in and of itself; it could only be understood analogically as part of the whole of God’s creation. The world and everything in it did not stand apart from a human subject who was watching, measuring, or manipulating objects at eye’s distance and arm’s length; the pre-modern world, including the human race itself, was securely and wholly secure in God’s hands as beheld in his  eyes. It is very difficult for us to truly comprehend this difference in understanding and perceiving the world, since we are still ensconced in our own scientific, rational, and modern modes of perception and understanding.

The pre-modern era changed as the Renaissance dawned. Material reality gained autonomy from God at the same time the perceiving, knowing human subject did. The bywordof this knowing human subject—the cogito—was “I think, therefore I am.” The autonomy of human reason was granted in part by the new perceptual talents of perspectivism in art and in part by the scientific method, neither of which required participation in a divinely ordered chain of being.

It should be emphasized that the emergence of the objectified world, fit for manipulation and control by science and technology (which developed concomitantly with the rise of capitalism) could not have occurred without its mirror—the observing and controlling subject. The world was now an object for human investigation, epitomized by the scientific method, and the human being was now the subject who incessantly confronted the world before him with an analytical gaze from his eye and a measuring stick in his hand. The very world had changed, as had the humans in it: frombeing bathed together and sustained in the vitalizing light of a common creative God, the world now stood apart from humanity and humanity stood apart from God. God, slowly being squeezed out of the world and being replaced by human calculation, investigation, and control, now found himself placed within as a foundational metaphysical principle, useful in the systematic philosophies and theologies characteristic of modern rationalism—what The Urantia Book calls metaphysical speculation.

Graham Ward ably summarizes the transition from the pre-modern to the modern:

“The created order takes on an autonomy, governed by mathematical configurations and geometrical relations. It becomes a timeless construct, a machine to be interpreted according to the laws of mechanics. The world is not gifted and given, but an accumulation of entities owned or waiting to be owned, property to be arranged, labeled, evaluated (according to the market and demand) and exchanged. Increasingly throughout the seventeenth century, this autonomy of the world (and the autonomy of human observation and reasoning which creates and reflects it) had no need of spiritual properties; it was a self-sustaining, self-defining, immanent system. The secular was divorced from the sacred. Only as such could the world become an object of human knowledge—rather than a God-given mystery to be lived in and respected—subject to the investigations into the causal nexus of laws which determined and maintained its existence.” (p. xx)

The work of the 20th century German philosopher Martin Heidegger makes it abundantly clear that the locus of genuine divinity is not described by metaphysical-religious speculation, what he called “onto-theology.”Metaphysical speculation cannot confer a fuller reality upon a finite mortal existence that finds itself in its shadow, nor can it promote genuine communication with the divine. Heidegger’s thinking allowed philosophy to first seek the kingdom; it gave permission for postmodern theology and philosophy to attempt to replace the god of metaphysics with the God of Jesus’ kingdom of heaven.

Philosophy and revelation are both available to account for the shortcomings of metaphysical speculation and scientific knowledge; this is where postmodern philosophy and epochal revelation can join forces to first identify and then compensate for the failure of metaphysics and scientific thinking. The postmodern coordination of philosophy, theology, and revelation will help Urantians to better bridge the divide between spirit and matter, and in doing so may make the life of faith more accessible for mortals who desire it.


It is possible that the God we can now first come to know—now that the artificial god of metaphysics has died—is divinity that possesses “absolute perfection in no attribute, imperfection in all.” (F:I.13) I find it to be remarkable that genuine divinity can be described as being imperfect in all attributes and yet still bedivine. This divinity is found in the very imperfect strivings of our everyday lives with others. As humanity hopes to find—to renew--a living relationship with God, we may initially find ourselves with a God perfect in no aspects and imperfect in all—yet, still, the actual, livingGod. Perhaps this is where Urantia—specifically the West-- currently stands in its quest for God; divinity is beginning to express itself in new, exciting, yet familiar ways.

Postmodern theology speaks of the difference between deity primarily identified through vertical transcendence based on belief (as in metaphysics and rationalistic theologies) and divinity primarily found through the horizontal transcendence of faith-in-action. One point of this presentation is that a renewed relationship with the former—the belief in the God of Paradise—may now first depend on our performance in the spirit of Immanuel—God-is-with-us.

As Urantia Book readers we have been introduced to something resembling horizontal transcendence in the deity concept of the Supreme. The Supreme is genuine deity, and it is immanent deity: “From the finite standpoint, we actually live, move and have our being within the immanence of the Supreme.” (117:3.12) The notion of horizontal transcendence is illustrated in that God and humanity need each other (195:10.3), and that the Supreme depends on our contribution of “[t]he experience of love, joy, and service”. Inasmuch as we bestow these divine gifts on one another, so do we include—and reveal--the Supreme. “We evolve in him and he evolves in us.” (31:10.5) Or, as the postmodern philosopher Emmanuel Levinas has said,“Man would be the place through which transcendence passes.”

 “The fruits of the spirit are the substance of the Supreme as he is realizable in human experience.” (117:6.17) Postmodern religion wants to relocate transcendence from the vertical measure of belief to the horizontal measure of interpersonal exchange and human activity. Quoting Annette Aronowicz in her introduction to Levinas’ Nine Talmudic Readings:

“However, human activity reveals itself as pointing beyond itself. An act such as the protection of strangers, for instance, conceals within it a dimension of reality for the indication of which the use of the word ‘God’ comes to mind….it is through action, not through the fixing of the idea of God in our mind, that the wholly other, transcendent dimension is made accessible….it is the embodied truth—the truth in action—that conveys meaning….there is a fight against a merely abstract knowledge, a desire to penetrate reality through the concrete and particular, through the act.” (p.xxiii)

The “postmodern God” and the kingdom of God as presented in the fifth epochal revelation have much in common and can together help to instigate a fresh and unorthodox step in God-consciousness for our planet. Specifically, I will be discussing Jesus’ expression of the kingdom of heaven and the philosophical theology of Emmanuel Levinas, who is a postmodern Jewish philosopher and religionist. It is probably a mere coincidence that Emmanuel with an “E” means “God-is-with-us” (hyphenated as one word), as does Immanuel with an “I” in The Urantia Book. Nevertheless, divinity-among-us is the living God of the kingdom of heaven.


Let us briefly explore Jesus’ presentation of the kingdom of heaven as described in Paper 170. First, I would like to emphasize that his presentation was pluralistic in nature; “he discussed the subject from every viewpoint and endeavored to make clear the many different senses in which the term had been used.” The kingdom of God can be entered into in many different ways because itcan be all things to all people without ceasing to be the same kingdom. The kingdom of God is able to supercede even the foundational rule of logic (a=a and not b) without contradicting it. So I think we have to becareful about saying that the kingdom cannot be this because it is that, or that the kingdom cannot be that because it is this. For instance, the kingdom can have nothing to do with the Paradise Trinity for some people, although this same kingdom has everything to do with the God of Paradise for others.  There are many rooms in the Father’s house, many with separate doors.

The pluralism inherent in Jesus’  presentation of the kingdom needs to be distinguished from various confusions surrounding the idea. For instance: Jesus’ spiritual ideal of the individual’s awareness of the will of God was often confused because of his  followers’ socio-religious beliefs regarding a historical, cosmological, or theocratically based kingdom that arrives “with power”. This latter understanding of the kingdom can be described as the kingdom arriving “from the outside in,’ while Jesus desired to communicate a kingdom that arrives “from the inside out”.  The midwayer editor of Part IV describes this as Jesus’ “attempt to translate the concept of the kingdom of heaven into the ideal of doing the will of God….he earnestly sought to induce them to abandon the use of the term kingdom of God in favor of the more practical equivalent, the will of God, but he did not succeed.”

And so we are left, as were the apostles, with “a double viewpoint of the kingdom…[a] matter of personal experience then present in the hearts of true believers, and…[a] question of racial or world phenomena; that the kingdom was in the future, something to look forward to.” Jesus wanted to embrace yet also spiritualize the “outside-in” belief in an exterior kingdom by teaching about “the kingdom of God in heaven, the goal of mortal believers, the estate wherein love for God is perfected, and wherein the will of God is done more divinely.”

Here is the place in which the teaching of Jesus and postmodern religion can begin to fertilize one another. I quote the revelation: “Jesus taught that, by faith, the believer enters the kingdom now.” Postmodern religion—in my opinion—is well-positioned to open the kingdom from the inside-out—as Jesus taught--because postmodern religion is able to embrace faith before belief. The religions and philosophies of modernism were liable to place the rational capacities to know and believe ahead of supra-rational capacity of faith.

The revelation accounts for the crucial differences between belief and faith in this way:

“Belief has attained the level of faith when it motivates life and shapes the mode of living. The acceptance of a teaching as true is not faith; that is mere belief. Neither is certainty nor conviction faith…Faith is a living attribute of genuine personal religious experience...Belief is always limiting and binding; faith is expanding and releasing. Belief fixates, faith liberates. But living religious faith is more than the association of noble beliefs; it is more than an exalted system of philosophy…Beliefs may become group possessions, but faith must be personal.” (101:8.1-2)

These passages convey the difference between belief in a god ensconced in metaphysics and faith with a living God that is invisible to belief, even belief in the most illuminating of cosmologies. I am not saying that genuine faith cannot exist in tandem with cosmological beliefs, as I am sure such faith exists with such belief even in this room. I am saying that postmodern religion has its priorities correct when it attempts to prepare the way for the individual’s embrace with the God of faith before the cosmological God of belief can be safely re-introduced in this current era (through the text of The Urantia Book). For spiritual and historical reasons the God Jesus spoke to (his dear Father “Abba”) needs to re-appear as our God-consciousness and precede the global reception of the cosmological God (God on Paradise). Yes, of course this is one and the same God, but my understanding leads me to conclude that Urantia’s ability to believe in the cosmological God (and the universe geography associated with the ascension journey) has been temporarily usurped and tainted by the negative echoes of our God wounded and entrapped by metaphysical speculation.

In the postmodern age, the God “in here”—previously associated with the internal workings of the human subject of modernism—is about to undergo a radical shift of orientation. Postmodern religion, primarily through the work of Emmanuel Levinas, has begun to distinguish between vertical transcendence of the divine and horizontal transcendence of the divine. It is my contention that horizontal transcendence of God will need to be realized in faith in many more of our lives before the vertically transcendent God can genuinely reappear for belief. Historically speaking, the vertical transcendence of God has been associated with God in heaven, the God out there and the God up there. This is the god that was supported through reason, through metaphysics, through belief. This is the god of belief, the god-out-there that Nietzche told us died more than a century ago, and probably several centuries before that.  What I hope to do in the last part of this presentation is to describe the living God active in horizontal transcendence--Immanuel--God-is-with-us.

The God of horizontal transcendence in postmodernity can be understood as the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven. The revelation tells us that this righteousness must “exceed the righteousness of slavish works” because service to another is spontaneous and sincere and results from the individual’s metanoia—the transformational “change of mind” that builds the soul by accessing spirit. Emmanuel Levinas goes so far as to say that the call to serve our fellows is divinity in the face of the other, is the trace of the face of God. It is the divine imperative that precedes our choice to serve, and even allows the very freedom of our free choice. According to Levinas, the divine call to serve manifests as our subjectivity as well as any universal moral rules it chooses to observe. Levinas tells us that God is alive in our lives insofar as we respond responsibly to the command manifested in the needs of the other. God—divinity—is alive with us insofar as we set that command and our response in place of subjective desires and opinions, in place of standardized morality, in place of a god that is the conceptual product of rational and metaphysical speculation.

 The revelator tells us that “Jesus was never concerned with morals or ethics as such.” Our response to the divine command to serve another is what makes possible the evolution of our individual identities and what in-forms the development of our personality. This righteousness is not the free will of a reproducible subject assigned to the objectivity of moral rules or ethical systems; rather,this righteousness is outside and beyond the subject/object order of existence. By responding in service to the call of the other we recognize the divinity of that call, the divinity of the caller, and the divinity of our person in response: we recognize and perform God-is-with-us.

In serving one another we illuminate the mystery of our completely unique personality and manifest the infinite diversity, originality, and exclusiveness of the divine in each of us. In serving one another we perform God’s love and we see how that love is uniquely expressed through each of us. This righteousness is coming as a little child, the entering of the kingdom NOW, the “doing of the Father’s will without questioning,” the “hineni” of the Hebrew Bible. “Hineni” is the Hebrew phrase used by religious heroes and prophets when called by God. “Hineni” is said by Abraham in response to the divine call to sacrifice his son, and used by Jacob, and used by Moses when receiving the commandments at the burning bush. “Hineni” says “Here I am! Send me!” in response to the divine command to serve the will of God. The “I” that hears and obeys the command to serve partakes of the unknowable and now-known infinity that is both our source and evolutionary destiny. The “I” that hears and responds to the command to serve his neighbor is not the modern “I” we know as the subject, reproducible as any one of a number of knowledgeable subjects within the objectivity that subjectivity constructs and calls objective reality. The I that hears and responds is the only-begotten faith-son.

Quoting Susan Handelman from her book, fragments of Redemption:

“Levinas describes the ‘here I am’ as the ‘I possessed by the other,’ a figure of inspiration and obsession: ‘for the order of contemplation it is something simply demented,’ ‘a seed of folly, already a psychosis.’ Yet it is a ‘reason’ or ‘intelligibility’ beyond the cogito. Levinas is converting or translating the ‘I think’ of the rational Cartesian cogito (which founds modern philosophy) into the biblical ‘here I am’….” (p.266)

The Urantia Book’s description of the hineni is “that inward and spiritual fellowship with God the Father which so certainly and directly manifests itself as outward and loving service for man…a genuine personal experience which no man can contain within himself…”. (170:3.6)

There is nothing more consistent, nothing more insistent than the call of the other, the call of the divine, the kingdom of God. The call of the other, the will of God is to be put before all else because it is hearing this call, humbling one’s self, and responding to it that constitutes the kingdom. But, like living truth, the kingdom of God is not a place and not a state of being. It is only the call and the doing in response.

"To every one who has, more shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him who has not, even that which he has shall be taken away. You cannot stand still in the affairs of the eternal kingdom. My Father requires all his children to grow in grace and in a knowledge of the truth. You who know these truths must yield the increase of the fruits of the spirit and manifest a growing devotion to the unselfish service of your fellow servants. And remember that, inasmuch as you minister to one of the least of my brethren, you have done this service to me.” (176:3.5)

The God that calls us in the face of the other is the God that asks us to respond and say “hineni”—“Here I am. Send me.” So speaks the will of God, this builds the kingdom of heaven.  Speaking for myself, I am tired of applying to a God “up there” or “out there,” even if up there is Paradise itself. Along with truth seeking,the revelation says that sincerity is one of the “two things…essential to faith-entrance into the kingdom.” Levinas says: “The openness of the ego exposed to the other is the breakup or turning inside out of inwardness. Sincerity is the name of this extra-version.” (Ward, 67) I can wait to directly face the face of God; I can’t wait to serve the trace of that face—the face of my neighbor. Any God out there is too far away for me; any God placed in a cosmic plan or map is too far away for me. Any God that serves as the Alpha and Omega of a system of understanding is God-as-object; that very systematic understanding makes me the intellectual subject, the standardized knower where God is merely an object of understanding within that system.

Obviously, I can only speak for myself about the God I want to know in the here and now. But my understanding of the religious state of western civilization tells me that I am not alone, and that perhaps I speak for a silent majority of believers, agnostics, and atheists. Is the God supported by, and presented as, the capstone of a cosmology, a theology, or a metaphysic the same God that Jesus spoke to as Abba, is it the God that inspired the action of the good Samaritan? Yes, and no. This ambiguity is for better and worse. Being an optimist, I see the better. Perhaps a planetary awareness and belief in the cosmological creator in Paradise will arise subsequent to our positive response to the call of the divine, the trace of the face of God as the face of our neighbor. God-is-with-us--the divine encountered horizontally in our human relations on earth. We start here—in the realm of faith-action, of righteousness—and eventually find ourselves capable of shared beliefs about the cosmos we inhabit. We live on a quarantined planet, and this planetary path from living faith to knowledge to renewed belief may turn out to be a planetary phenomenon unique in Nebadon, I don’t know. I believe that postmodern religion encourages us on the path of faith before it opens the path of knowledge and belief based in a comprehensive metaphysics or cosmology. It is perhaps no coincidence that the FER gives us so much to know and believe in, yet insists that the mustard seed of faith is greater than all that. 

As believers in the fifth epochal revelation, we know that the journey to Paradise lies ahead of us. Is that ascension journey one that leads us “up and out,” or does it actually--more practically and more spiritually--really lead us “in and through” as we better learn to hear and respond to the needs of our neighbor? Aren’t we taught that we find God in Paradise only after we have consistently met the divine call in service to others for millions of years? The pre-personal divinity of the other that we hearken to in the living moment of service is the trace of that holy face of Paradise. That trace precedes any systematic or cosmological rendition of the source of all truth, beauty, and goodness, yet will spontaneously, dependably, and actually reveal that Paradise source through time and in eternity, in finitude and infinitude. A Melchizedek father tells us that reaching inward, towards the other in service is reaching for Paradise, is God-consciousness. (103:7.3)

Both revelation and postmodern theology remind us of “our inability to ground, our inability to determine origins. Postmodernism reminds us we are already too determined [by] ourselves; we can never exhaustively account for the conditions which make the world, time, knowledge, the human animal, language, possible.” (Ward, xxvi) That awareness may one day enable Urantians to receive the truths of cosmological revelation.

Postmodern theology, then, is comfortable with a “[t]heology—as discourse, as praxis—[that] proceeds groundlessly;” that is, theology that “cannot think its own origin; it seeks and desires among the consequences of that which always remains unthought.” The Urantia Book tells us that we are unable to construct a metaphysics that philosophically reconciles our origins in matter and spirit. That is why we need revelation. So postmodern theology and revelation say something similar, and both can open us to the horizontal transcendence that arrives as the faith-action of those who hear and obey the divine call. As this transcendence progresses on earth, cosmological revelation will soon become a matter of fact.

There are some, and Graham Ward is among them, who claim thatwe have not attained to the postmodern until we recover for our time the world before and beyond the secular. …In our time, a space is being cleared and a time is being announced that only theological discourse can provide with a logic. Post-secularism makes manifest how modernity hijacked for its own purposes the theological, the premodern. Simultaneously, it traces the outline of a theological worldview yet to be recovered. We are only just beginning to see what such a postmodern theology might look like.” (Ward, xlii) “The emergence of the postmodern has fostered post-secular thinking—thinking about other, alternative worlds. In the postmodern cultural climate, the theological voice can once more be heard.” (Ward,xxii)  

There will be a new voice for God, a voice with which we all can sing.

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