Separate Publishing Part IV of The Urantia BookSome Philosophic Considerations and Implications
October 2, 1999
The recent publication of Part IV of The Urantia Book by a long-time reader, Harry McMullan, has brought us to yet another crossroad in the still early days of this revelation on our planet. Much of the discourse about this action and its consequences has been a replication of our historic ways of dealing with such issues: anger, threats, legal and political hair-splitting, the taking of sides with regard to Urantia Foundation's exercise of its trust responsibilities, and the attempt to minimize this fragmentation of the book either as a simple political disagreement or an action that can only be evaluated by how it turns out (letting the end justify the means).
I personally believe that this issue goes far beyond these human concerns to the very heart of the revelation and the work it is intended to do on our planet. Indeed, it may be that in just 45 human years (and what must be seconds of universe time), an action has been taken that might well disable our ability to cooperate with and be of service to the revelators and our planetary supervisors. Here is the thinking that has led me to this conclusion:
1. An Orvonton Divine Counselor, chief of the corps of superuniverse personalities assigned to portray on Urantia the truth concerning the Paradise Deities and universe of universes, states what appears to be the purpose of The Urantia Book in just the second paragraph of the Foreword: "It is exceedingly difficult to present enlarged concepts and advanced truth, in our endeavor to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception, when we are restricted to the use of a circumscribed language of the realm." (p. 3:2)
Later in the Foreword, this Divine Counselor reiterates the difficulty of this assignment balanced by the universe and personal context into which this new information will be given: "We are fully cognizant of the difficulties of our assignment; we recognize the impossibility of fully translating the language of the concepts of divinity and eternity into the symbols of the language of the finite concepts of the mortal mind. But we know that there dwells within the human mind a fragment of God, and that there sojourns with the human soul the Spirit of Truth; and we further know that these spirit forces conspire to enable material man to grasp the reality of spiritual values and to comprehend the philosophy of universe meanings. But even more certainly we know that these spirits of the Divine Presence are able to assist man in the spiritual appropriation of all truth contributory to the enhancement of the ever-progressing reality of personal religious experience--God-consciousness." (p. 17:2)
Clearly, the intent of the revelators, who surely know the evolutionary status of the peoples on our planet better than we humans know it, was/is to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception by presenting enlarged concepts and advanced truth, no matter how difficult that job appeared to be both in terms of communication to and understanding by its intended recipients. Their confidence in the book's ability to do its work was derived from their knowledge of our constituent makeup. That we are indwelt by a fragment of God, have the Spirit of Truth sojourning with our souls, and that both of which "...spirit forces conspire to enable us to grasp the reality of spiritual values and comprehend the philosophy of universe meanings." Indeed, they are certain that these spirits are fully able to assist in our progressing religious experience-God-consciousness.
Is it not simply human arrogance for any of us to presume to know better than the revelators, or the chief of the Divine Counselors given this assignment, what the peoples of our world need and can handle with regard to this revelation? God himself and our Michael Son sent their spirits to indwell us, a fact which enables "mankind" to deal with this revelation. In my view, we do the purposes of the revelation harm, show disrespect for the revelatory corps and their work, and underestimate the Father's design of "mankind" by presuming that our fellows on the planet will not be aided as appropriate with this revelation-by doing something the revelators chose not to do: fragmenting it into smaller parts to enable apparently easier digestion by our fellows.
2. We are told in The Urantia Book that whole personality function and soul growth takes place in response to self-conscious, moral decisions facilitated both by faith (qualitative) and by psychic circle/personality progression resulting in the realization both of cosmic citizenship and duty to the Supreme (quantitative). I would argue that Part IV of The Urantia Book, the fourth revelation, focuses on the qualitative side of soul growth and that Parts I-III focus on the quantitative side, and in fact, contain the essence of the fifth epochal revelation. Development in both areas is required "to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception" and to stimulate human beings to that greater evolutionary achievement which is consistent with the universe plans for our planet.
Why would any one of us, once having experienced the power of the revelation in its entirety, consciously decide on behalf of our fellows that only part of the revelation is required for them? Does that mean that we do not believe that the revelators knew what they were doing in choosing concepts for revelation to us that would facilitate the fullness of soul growth? Knowing what we know, would we deprive our own children of the opportunity to grow both the qualitative and quantitative sides of their souls? If not, why would we do that to others on the planet. While it might be argued that faith development alone is good (and it is), I suspect that this is a case of the good being the enemy of the best.
3. Some of our fellows have argued that it is okay to publish Part IV by itself because "it really contains all of the revelation anyway." Others have chosen to justify publication of Part IV separately because "...Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it." (p. 2090:5) Both of these justifications, if carried to their logical conclusion, suggest that Part IV is, in fact, all of the revelation needed. Not only do these arguments contradict the intent of the revelators in word (see above) and in deed (to wit, the supervised publication of The Urantia Book as a single document), another risk exists as well: that those of us in this reader/believer community will implicitly or explicitly communicate to others that the entire revelation is not necessary.
I would contend that Part IV, while a re-statement of the fourth revelation, does not contain the fifth epochal revelation. Part IV does not expand our understanding to the Central Universe and Paradise; Part IV does not provide a conceptual basis for comprehension of the Supreme and our duty to the Supreme; Part IV does not provide insight into personality reality, qualitative and quantitative soul growth, self-conscious, moral decision-making, cosmic consciousness; Part IV does not provide the conceptual portrayal of the Absolutes, the genesis of finite reality, and/or the pre-existence of the human we know as Jesus as the Michael Son of Nebadon, etc.
While knowing "the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it" is of greatest value of all human knowledge, how does it compare to a combination of human and divinely revealed knowledge of Jesus/Michael's religious life and how he lived it? Does knowing that the Michael Son is the being we used to think of as the Eternal Son not enhance our understanding of God and the universe in which we live? Do we not gain insight into Jesus' life here when we know that he has come to complete his required seven creature-life bestowals and attain supreme sovereignty as a Master Son? Might this not be a valuable piece of knowledge that can facilitate our own growth toward eventual supremacy? Does not this revealed knowledge so expand the comprehension of Jesus that his very existence and his religious life transcend the human conception of him-Christianity-thereby making him fully accessible to peoples of all human religions?
In the Foreword the Divine Counselor tells us that: "Successive planetary revelations of divine truth invariably embrace the highest existing concepts of spiritual values as a part of the new and enhanced co-ordination of planetary knowledge." (p. 17:1) What this affirms is that while the fifth epochal revelation contains the highest existing concepts from the fourth revelation, the reverse is surely not true. In addition to his certainty that divinely-aided "man" would be able to come to grips with this new revelation, this Divine Counselor also tells us that we can be certain that new revelation is built both on the fact and the highest content of past revelation. Why would we not then choose to present and affirm the greater knowing that the lesser is contained therein?
If we are uncomfortable with the whole revelation, or if we conclude that some of our fellows cannot or will not deal with it in its fullness, we, as human beings, can offer it piecemeal in personal interpretation or in secondary works filtered through our own experience and understanding. In that way, inevitable dilution from fragmentation will be the result of limited, human evolutionary understanding, and not suggest that the revelators themselves intended it to be presented it in partial, fragmented form-which they clearly did not. If the source is kept whole, it can remain the reliable well from which all peoples drink to enhance their own spiritual experience, understanding, and soul growth-now and into the future.
Finally, it is my sense that division and fragmentation, whether of our community or of The Urantia Book, are attributes of the lower road that leads away from the unity and Divinity of God that we are challenged to seek and actualize in our lives. Though our community has existed only for the equivalent of half a human lifetime, we have evidenced an energetic determination to replicate the example of 2,000 years of Christianity by fragmenting our revelation, institutionalizing partial understanding and belief into sectarian divisions, and then fighting about it. Do we really want to have it said about us what is said about those students of the fourth revelation: "It is just because the gospel of Jesus was so many-sided that within a few centuries students of the records of his teachings became divided up into so many cults and sects. This pitiful subdivision of Christian believers results from failure to discern in the Master's manifold teachings the divine oneness of his matchless life. But someday the true believers in Jesus will not be thus spiritually divided in their attitude before unbelievers. Always we may have diversity of intellectual comprehension and interpretations, even varying degrees of socialization, but lack of spiritual brotherhood is both inexcusable and reprehensible." (p. 1866:3)
To find the oneness expressed in this revelation and to enable our fellows to do so, it must be dealt with in its multi-faceted entirety, in the context of living, spiritual brotherhood. I am convinced that we simply cannot be of service to this revelation and to the dawning of the fifth epoch of growth on our planet if we, notwithstanding the sincerity of our motivations, do not align ourselves with the intentions and plans of our planetary supervisors. We simply cannot understand these plans and intentions if this sense of spiritual brotherhood is pushed from our minds by anger, disrespect for others, hatred, fear, competition, the desire to harm others (who are as sincere as we are), prejudice and pride. This is a crossroad that demands us to take the higher road and seek first to understand the long-term consequences of our choices and their impact not only those who will come after us, but on those higher beings responsible for our planet's welfare as well. We all know how difficult it is to interest others in The Urantia Book. But that is a poor reason indeed to break apart what higher beings have assembled with the certainty that we (humans on this planet) can deal with it. We need to see the world as it really is and not just project our own deficiencies onto it and respond to that.
The fifth epochal revelation to our world has only just begun. From a universe perspective, it is only seconds old-far to young for us to whom it has been given to break it apart. Some have argued that it is na´ve in our technological age to prevent its fragmentation (the change is in time and ease only; it could always be broken apart). Though this observation may be correct factually, it is wrong in truth. Each of us can choose which of these we will exemplify in our lives and our actions-the fact that it is easy to fragment or the truth that its power resides in its fullness. Only we, as reader/believers of The Urantia Book, can actualize commitment to the integrity of the revelation as a whole and establish that commitment as one of the basic cultural and ethical tenets of our community. In that way, we will become living tools to keep the text whole and "inviolate" for future generations and will thereby stand apart from those non-reader/believers who will welcome its fragmentation into pieces far easier to marginalize.
Whether you agree or disagree with the rationale above, I am hopeful at the least that we will stimulate a higher order of discourse in our communitythat is reflective of our unified dedication to stand for principles not only from The Urantia Book itself, but which we can discern are consistent with those that guide our planetary supervisors and the revelators. To do anything else, in my mind, is "inexcusable and reprehensible."