A Conundrum for the Hardcore Fundamentalists
Some of our Urantia Book fundamentalists firmly believe in the absolute truth of everything in the book's textual material--much like Christian fundamentalists believe in the divine dictatorship theory for the Bible. And this despite the warnings given by the Revelators concerning their mandate:
"Any cosmology presented as a part of revealed religion is destined to be outgrown in a very short time. Accordingly, future students of such a revelation are tempted to discard any element of genuine religious truth it may contain because they discover errors on the face of the associated cosmologies therein presented." And "many of our statements regarding the physical sciences will stand in need of revision in consequence of additional scientific developments and new discoveries. These new developments we even now foresee, but we are forbidden to include such humanly undiscovered facts in the revelatory records. Let it be made clear that revelations are not necessarily inspired. The cosmology of these revelations is not inspired." (1109)
There is only a small gap between rigid fundamentalism and rabid fanaticism, a fact made evident by the ongoing atrocities performed in the name of God in places such as Palestine and Israel. Nothing can be more detrimental to religious and spiritual progress on Urantia than fanatical fundamentalism of any sort.
If the divine dictatorship principle is to be applied to The Urantia Book, what explanation can be given to potential new readers regarding the obvious errors that will be evident to almost any person with even a high school education in science? One example only will be given, but there are many more. The book states:
"In Orvonton it has never been possible naturally to assemble over one hundred orbital electrons in one atomic system. When one hundred and one have been artificially introduced into the orbital field, the result has always been the well-nigh instantaneous disruption of the central proton with the wild dispersion of the electrons and other liberated energies." (478)
For the word proton in this paragraph, read nucleus. The nuclei of all atoms, other than hydrogen, consist of both protons and neutrons with the neutrons often outnumbering the protons. The neutron was not discovered until 1932. The original for Paper 42 possibly existed well before that time. Electrons and protons had been known from much earlier times. Perhaps the original said "central protons" and a correction was overlooked when the Paper was updated after 1932.
There are two bothersome words in this paragraph, the first being naturally, the second, instantaneous. Element 100 is Fermium. It was first detected in the debris of a hydrogen bomb explosion in 1952. Its most stable isotope has a half life of 80 days. It would be expected to occur naturally at some stage during the life time of many stars--and perhaps on planets as a result of the activity of fissionable materials.
Element 101, the first with more than 100 orbital electrons, is Mendelevium. Mendelevium 256 was first produced in 1955 by bombarding an isotope of element 99, Einsteinium 253, with alpha particles accelerated in a cyclotron. It had a half life of 1.3 hours. Presumably this was thought not to conform with the original description in the first edition of The Urantia Book as "instantaneous disruption," so well- meaning, but misguided, self-appointed protectors of the book assumed the authority to add the words "well-nigh" in later printings. However, this minor "correction" proved inadequate when Mendelevium 258 was discovered and shown to have a half-life of 54 days. Calling this an "instantaneous disruption" seems to be stretching the English language somewhat.
I have no really satisfactory explanation for the incorrect statement in the book that elements with more than 100 orbital electrons disrupt instantaneously. Perhaps the Mighty Messenger who was responsible for the Paper made the error, or perhaps the message was mangled during transmission. Human hands had to touch it somewhere--and Jesus told Nathaniel:
"Mark you well my words, Nathaniel, nothing which human nature has touched can be regarded as infallible. Through the mind of man divine truth may indeed shine forth, but always of relative purity and partial divinity. The creature may crave infallibility, but only the Creators possess it. " (1774)
Mighty Messengers do not have "Creator" status, hence are fallible, as are all human beings. Some readers may be disturbed to know that the book really does contain the errors that other readers expected to find. Perhaps they will take heart from our current "Cosmic Reflections" article--for the book also contains "prophetic" scientific material that would be inexplicable if it had solely human authorship.