SECOND GUESSING THE SPIRITUAL RENAISSANCE
Urantian Journal of The Urantia Brotherhood
" 'The persistent preaching of this gospel of the kingdom will some day bring to all nations a new and unbelievable liberation, intellectual freedom, and religious liberty.' " (1930:7) These words of the Master foretell the coming someday of a great spiritual renaissance, and they invite and enjoin us to assist in bringing about this enlightenment by proclaiming the Master's gospel of man's spiritual sonship with God. We might wonder whether we are not also invited to speculate about the sequence of events whereby this spiritual renaissance may come about by reviewing the information which has been newly given to us in The Urantia Book.
When we speculate about such matters, are we pursuing a unilateral and unjustified advance beyond the frontier of current knowledge, or are we participating in a trend of thought which is as common to universe citizenship as any other mode of thinking? I believe it is the latter. The Urantia Book is replete with the speculations of universe creatures from the superuniverse right down to the United Midwayers of Urantia. The midwayers tell us in Part IV how Jesus spent an enormous amount of time in communion and consultation with his Father. Jesus must have been then, as we are told he did at other times, working out a wise perspective of expectations as to just how he might expect the progress of the spiritual "kingdom" to proceed among mankind.
Jesus, of course, had the advantages of superhuman insight into such considerations, but we too have been afforded considerable superhuman-level perspectives on the expectations regarding Urantia's future. I believe that we are performing both justifiable and godly tasks when we seek to review and probe further the implications of the revelatory information which has been given to us.
The Human Contribution
Let us begin our consideration of the nature of the spiritual renaissance at the human level, as did Jesus. The Master said, " 'And this which your eyes now behold, this small beginning of twelve commonplace men, shall multiply and grow until eventually the whole earth shall be filled with the praise of my Father.' " (1569:5) The spiritual renaissance is envisioned primarily as a human event. The "persistent preaching" referred to in my opening quotation is prophesied to bring about a spiritual renaissance within a human context, within "all nations." Preaching is a spiritual activity carried on by humans, among humans, and for human beings. The midwayers tell us, "A new and fuller revelation of the religion of Jesus is destined to conquer an empire of materialistic secularism and to overthrow a world sway of mechanistic naturalism. Urantia is now quivering on the very brink of one of its most amazing and enthralling epochs of social readjustment, moral quickening, and spiritual enlightenment." (2082:8) The "empire of materialistic secularism" and the "world sway of mechanistic naturalism" are human situations and contexts. "Social readjustment" and "moral quickening" refer exclusively to the human level; only does "spiritual enlightenment" refer to a possible co-alliance of human and superhuman personalities and forces.
One consideration relevant to the contemplation of the spiritual renaissance is whether it shall come about as a manifestly human event, planned, promulgated, and responded to by humans working upon divine guidance and evolutionary wisdom within the human arena, or whether we may envision it as a consummated, conscious, cooperative effort participated in by both 'human and superhuman personalities.
One of my personal reactions to this question is that it might prove to be a more beautiful expression of human devotion if our prodigal planet were induced to return to or to renew its spiritual loyalty to the Father of all by means of the proliferation of spiritual concepts and ideals, the instrumentation of which were conducted by human beings acting upon their own divine guidance, initiative, and resourcefulness. This seems to be the sentiment of the midwayers as well who write, "What a transcendent service if, through this revelation, the Son of Man should be recovered from the tomb of traditional theology and be presented as the living Jesus to the church that bears his name, and to all other religions!" (*2090:3) Such a happening refers to an event relating people and the fifth epochal revelation as well as the fourth, but does not mention the function of superhuman personalities.
It is well to note that all progressive human activities are closely fostered and somewhat influenced by the ministry of the master seraphim of planetary supervision, by the seraphic guardians, by the Most Highs of Norlatiadek, by the midwayers, by the Father, the Paradise Trinity, and by numerous other personalities and forces revealed and unrevealed. A universe in which not a sparrow falls without divine knowledge thereof certainly displays the interrelationship of the human and the divine. Nevertheless, what I am referring to when I say that the spiritual renaissance can be envisioned as an event taking place within the human arena, is the fact that the vast majority of Urantia's inhabitants do not know of the personal influence or existence of most of the universe's spiritual ministers apart from the Father himself, and that a spiritual renaissance promulgated and pursued by human beings, without easily observable influence from other personalities, would be perceived by most people as a humanly sponsored spiritual movement.
Let us at this point define or attempt to sketch what we suppose the nature of a spiritual renaissance might be. I would say that in essence and as a minimum, a spiritual awakening worthy of the designation "renaissance" would imply the general awakening to at least the entertainment of the possibility of the validity of the twin concepts of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. The notion of One Deity and a worldwide spiritual brotherhood of mankind is the concept the recognition of which would constitute the sine qua non of a bonafide spiritual renaissance.
Possible Superhuman Influences
Now let's consider the possibilities for the appearance of a major new or returning bestowal personality. Our planet's sequence of bestowal Sons was disarranged from the universe pattern both by the emergency bestowal mission of Machiventa Melchizedek and by the appearance of Michael on his seventh bestowal mission as our bestowal Son prior to the appearance of an Avonal Son on a magisterial mission. Urantia could at the appropriate time be visited by such an Avonal Son. It is uncertain whether such a bestowal might occur before or after the appearance on our world of the Trinity Teacher Sons, whose arrival would signal the commencement of a new planetary epoch.
A Perfector of Wisdom tells us that the Trinity Sons even now visit your world for the purpose of formulating plans concerning their projected sojourn on your sphere. They will be due to appear on Urantia after its inhabitants have gained comparative deliverance from the shackles of animalism and from the fetters of materialism." (231:5) Such a statement does imply that the appearance of the Trinity Teacher Sons is not to be immediate on our planet, but it does not indicate whether or not such a bestowal may occur as a part of a general spiritual renaissance.
Next, there is the ever-present possibility of the return of Michael in his "second coming." Concerning the event, Jesus said, " 'But the times of the reappearing of the Son of Man are known only in the councils of Paradise; not even the angels of heaven know when this will occur.' " (1915:2)
The sequence of the sometime appearance of an Avonal Son, the Trinity Teacher Sons, or Michael is likewise not known. A Mighty Messenger relates, ". . we find Urantia out of step with its sister spheres in that your Jesus has promised to return. That promise he will certainly fulfill, but no one knows whether his second coming will precede or follow the appearances of Magisterial or Teacher Sons on Urantia." (598:4)
Next, there is the possibility of the anytime return of Machiventa Melchizedek as Vicegerent Planetary Prince of Urantia. Urantia's Seraphic Chief writes, "There is little likelihood that any marked change will be made in the government of Urantia during the present dispensation unless the vicegerent Planetary Prince should arrive to assume his titular responsibilities. It appears to certain of our associates that at some time in the near future the plan of sending one of the twenty-four counselors to Urantia to act as governor general will be superseded by the formal arrival of Machiventa Melchizedek with the vicegerent mandate of the sovereignty of Urantia. .. . Some believe that Machiventa will not come to take personal direction of Urantian affairs until the end of the current dispensation. Others hold that the vicegerent Prince may not come, as such, until Michael sometime returns to Urantia as he promised when still in the flesh. Still others, including this narrator, look for Melchizedek's appearance any day or hour." (1251:3,4)
To this we may add the possibility of the return of Adam and Eve. A Melchizedek of Nebadon writes, "We well understand how, by his triumph on Urantia, Michael became the successor of both Caligastia and Adam; how he became the planetary Prince of Peace and the second Adam. And now we behold the conferring upon this Melchizedek [Machiventa] of the title Vicegerent Planetary Prince of Urantia. Will he also be constituted Vicegerent Material Son of Urantia? Or is there a possibility that an unexpected and unprecedented event is to take place, the sometime return to the planet of Adam and Eve or certain of their progeny as representatives of Michael with the titles vicegerents of the second Adam of Urantia? And all these speculations associated with the certainty of future appearances of both Magisterial and Trinity Teacher Sons, in conjunction with the explicit promise of the Creator Son to return sometime, make Urantia a planet of future uncertainty and render it one of the most interesting and intriguing spheres in all the universe of Nebadon." (1025:3,4)
Concerning all these manifold possibilities, the Seraphic Chief of Urantia writes, "No one in the local universe seems to know when the unsettled status of the planetary administration will terminate. The Nebadon Melchizedeks are inclined to the opinion that little change will occur in the planetary government and administration until Michael's second personal arrival on Urantia. Undoubtedly at this time, if not before, sweeping changes will be effected in planetary management. But as to the nature of such modifications of world administration, no one seems to be able even to conjecture." (1259:1) A list of Urantia's unusual circumstances is provided by the Seraphic Chief:
1. The life modification status of Urantia.
2. The exigencies of the Lucifer rebellion.
3. The disruptions of the Adamic default.
4. The irregularities growing out of the fact that Urantia was one of the bestowal worlds of the Universe Sovereign. Michael of Nebadon is the Planetary Prince of Urantia.
5. The special function of the twenty-four planetary directors.
6. The location on the planet of an archangels' circuit.
7. The more recent designation of the onetime incarnated Machiventa Melchizedek as vicegerent Planetary Prince. (1250:4-10)
Another implication relevant to the possibilities surrounding the spiritual renaissance exists in the very repleteness of The Urantia Book itself. In Paper 52, "Planetary Mortal Epochs," we learn that higher and higher levels of universe administration and reality are revealed at the commencement of each of the planetary mortal epochs. The revelation of the complete cosmic plan, from Paradise through the outer space levels, is withheld until the inauguration of the final planetary epoch, the era of light and life. Nevertheless, our post Bestowal Son, pre-Magisterial Son Age planet has been given a revelation disclosing the existence and nature of total sub-absolute universe reality and beyond. This situation implies one of two possibilities: Either Urantia's fifth epochal revelation is designed to function as a spiritual guide through all of the ages which intervene between the present era and the inauguration of the age of light and life, or Urantia is preparing to take an unprecedented and substantial quantum leap forward in its spiritual and civilization achievement level.
Two other universe events, the adjudication of Lucifer and the re-encircuitment of our planet, could come simultaneously with a planetary spiritual awakening or just following it. What the likelihood of such events taking place may be is not discussed in The Urantia Book.
Proclaiming the New Revelation
The time of the occurrence of any of these events being unknown to us, let us return to the level of human awareness and activity. It is likely that we may have plenty of time both to develop and to implement techniques of sharing some of the good news and spiritual impetus of Jesus' gospel and possibly of the fifth epochal revelation before the manifest appearance of any superhuman personality occurs on our world. Such a program is suggested and called for by a Melchizedek of Nebadon: "All Urantia is waiting for the proclamation of the ennobling message of Michael, unencumbered by the accumulated doctrines and dogmas of nineteen centuries of contact with the religions of evolutionary origin. The hour is striking for presenting to Buddhism, to Christianity, to Hinduism, even to the peoples of all faiths, not the gospel about Jesus, but the living, spiritual reality of the gospel of Jesus." (1041:5)
The midwayers give us a similar admonition, "The time is ripe to witness the figurative resurrection of the human Jesus from his burial tomb amidst the theological traditions and the religious dogmas of nineteen centuries." (2090:3)
In regard to the human proclamation of the gospel of personal religion, Jesus said, " '. . you should understand that, when this gospel of the kingdom shall have been proclaimed to all the world for the salvation of all peoples, and when the fullness of the age has come to pass, the Father will send you another dispensational bestowal, or else the Son of Man will return to adjudge the age.' " (1915:2)
Concerning this project of proclaiming the religion of Jesus, the midwayers write, "Religion does need new leaders, spiritual men and women who will dare to depend solely on Jesus and his incomparable teachings. If Christianity persists in neglecting its spiritual mission while it continues to busy itself with social and material 4 problems, the spiritual renaissance must await the coming of these new teachers of Jesus' religion who will be exclusively devoted to the spiritual regeneration of men. And then will these spirit-born souls quickly supply the leadership and inspiration requisite for the social, moral, economic, and political reorganization of the world." (2082:10-2083:1) This pronouncement implies that a great worldwide transformation may be achieved independent of and prior to the manifest appearance or return of a bestowal personality.
With respect to world conditions, the midwayers write, "Although Jesus referred one phase of the kingdom to the future and did, on numerous occasions, intimate that such an event might appear as a part of a world crisis; and though he did likewise most certainly, on several occasions, definitely promise sometime to return to Urantia, it should be recorded that he never positively linked these two ideas together. He promised a new revelation of the kingdom on earth and at some future time. . . " (1863:13) What the nature of this "new revelation of the kingdom" may be is uncertain, but it does not explicitly refer to the appearance or reappearance of either Michael nor any other personality.
What the possible interrelationship of these three aspects of world circumstances -the preaching of the gospel, the possibility of a world crisis, and the appearance of superhuman personalities-may be is a matter of conjecture. However, I am of the opinion that the spiritual renaissance will take place primarily within the private and personal arena of the individual minds and hearts of people.
It is noteworthy that the greatest and most purely divine influence and source for ideas, ideals, and energy for the transformation of individuals and the subsequent reorganization of the world is found within the hearts of individual men: It is the planet's inhabitants' indwelling Thought Adjusters, those fragments of absolute divinity, of God himself. Could we but induce human minds to become attentive and responsive to such inner human guidance, I believe a true spiritual renaissance and a global transformation is possible independent of the manifest agency of bestowal personalities. Nevertheless, such a course of events may not be most divinely wise. Thus, we remain uncertain as to whether such personalities may play a part in Urantia's spiritual awakening.
Are there hints of wisdom for us, finding ourselves in such an uncertain situation, to be found in The Urantia Book? I believe that there are. First, we may recall the Master's oft repeated phrase, "My hour has not yet come." We should expect and accept that there is a divine will and order for the progress of the spiritual illumination of our world. The Master admonished his apostles, "Possess your souls in patience." And concerning the return of the Master, the midwayers counsel us, "The children of light are all destined to see him, and it is of no serious concern whether we go to him or whether he should chance first to come to us. Be you therefore ever ready to welcome him on earth as he stands ready to welcome you in heaven." (1919:5) And again the midwayers advise, "Neither make the fatal mistake, in looking for the age manifestation of the kingdom, of failing to effect its establishment within your own souls." (1863:12)
Thus, while we should appraise the revelatory information given to us respecting the human and superhuman possibilities for the spiritual renaissance, we should not allow such considerations so to preoccupy us as to generate an anxiety which would diminish our effectiveness as kingdom builders. Said Jesus, "Give no thought to those things which foster your anxiety, but at all times be concerned only with the doing of the Father's will." We are told that ". . uncertainty is the secret of contented continuity. . ." (438:2) and that "Uncertainty with security is the essence of the Paradise adventure. . ." (1223:3)
A Service of
The Urantia Book Fellowship