How Do We Get to Know God the Supreme?
How do we get to know God the Supreme? This is an important question because in seeking an answer we find our attention directed toward one of the most important questions in mortal life. That is the question of how we can live our lives so that we maximize our contribution to the emergence of a spiritual culture on our world. So an important part of our questioning will involve asking how we can work effectively with the Supreme.
The greatest majority of you are serious readers of The Urantia Book so I am assuming that everyone here has a fairly good sense of the Supreme. But I would like to start out by giving you some imagery to help in your thinking about the Supreme. We'll then consider the two primary modes of Supremacy -- the personal and the non-personal -- and they we will go over a list of some specific things we can do in our efforts to support the emerging Supreme.
Let me share with you a classic Urantia Book paragraph describing the Supreme:
"The Supreme is the divine channel through which flows the creative infinity of the triodities that crystallizes into the galactic panorama of space, against which takes place the magnificent personality drama of time: the spirit conquest of energy-matter through the mediation of mind." [117:3.2]
What a wonderful paragraph!
Some Imagery to Aid in Understanding the Supreme
One way to approach a sense of the Supreme is to understand the First Source and Center as our Universal Father, and the Supreme as our cosmic mother. Consider the following:
"If you truly desire to find God, you cannot help having born in your minds the consciousness of the Supreme. As God is your divine Father, so is the Supreme your divine Mother, in whom you are nurtured throughout your lives as universe creatures." [117:6.2]
"The morontia soul of an evolving mortal is really the son of the Adjuster action of the Universal Father and the child of the cosmic reaction of the Supreme Being, the Universal Mother." [117:6.5]
" In and through the experience of finaliter attainment the experiential mother qualities of the ascending self become tremendously affected by contact and infusion with the spirit presence of the Eternal Son and the mind presence of the Infinite Spirit. Then, throughout the realms of finaliter activity in the grand universe, there appears a new awakening of the latent mother potential of the Supreme, a new realization of experiential meanings, and a new synthesis of experiential values of the entire ascension career." [117:6.6]
"Such a magnificent universe self thus becomes the eternal finaliter son of the Paradise Father as well as the eternal universe child of the Mother Supreme, a universe self qualified to represent both the Father and Mother of universes and personalities in any activity or undertaking pertaining to the finite administration of created, creating, or evolving things and beings." [117:6.7]
A useful metaphor is life as a walk through a forest -- you can only see a short way ahead on the path -- this is the view toward the Supreme. But at any moment you can look straight up and see the blue sky -- this is the view toward the Universal Father. The direction in which we look to find the Father can be thought of as running perpendicular to the direction in which we seek an understanding of the Supreme.
Here are a couple of analogies taken from the book:
The Trinity is to God the Supreme, as the Adjuster is to evolving man.
Michael is to Nebadon, as the Supreme is to the finite cosmos. [117:6.3]
If we're willing to accept a little bit of distortion for the sake of seeking deeper understanding, we could also consider the Supreme to be the personality bestowed upon the attitude of the Paradise Trinity toward the finite.
But the best way, by far, to reach an understanding of the Supreme is to appreciate the fact that the Urantia Book's theology of the Supreme is nothing less than a theological development of Jesus' teachings about the kingdom of heaven.
If you take any of Jesus' comments about the kingdom and substitute the word "Supreme" for "kingdom of heaven", you will gain some important insights. Do this with the parables -- you end up with some beautiful imagery, such as;
"The Supreme is like a grain of mustard seed which a man sowed in his field. Now a mustard seed is the least of seeds, but when it is full grown, it becomes the greatest of all herbs and is like a tree so that the birds of heaven are able to come and rest in the branches thereof."
"The Supreme is also like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, and in this way it came about that all of the meal was leavened."
and, my favorite,
"The Supreme is like a net which was cast into the sea, and it gathered up every kind of fish. Now, when the net was filled, the fishermen drew it up on the beach, where they sat down and sorted out the fish, gathering the good into vessels while the bad they threw away."
So how do we get to know the Supreme?
In the present universe age it is hardly possible for mortals to have a direct relationship with the personality of the Supreme. But we can begin to know something of the nature of the Supreme, learn to work with it, and participate in those universe developments which will culminate in an intimately personal relationship with the Supreme in the far distant future.
In Paper 117 we find, "The Supreme is your universe home, and when you find him, it will be like returning home. He is your experiential parent, and even as in the experience of human beings, so has he grown in the experience of divine parenthood. He knows you because he is creaturelike as well as creatorlike." "From the finite standpoint, we actually live, move, and have our being within the immanence of the Supreme."
There are many approaches we could take in an effort to understand the nature of the Supreme in greater depth. For our present purposes we will consider two primary aspects of the growth of the Supreme.
The first is the evolution of the Supreme on non-personal levels of the cosmos. This involves mind, dominated by spirit, gaining control over the physical energies of the universes.
The second involves developments in the personal levels of the cosmos which are leading toward the spiritual integration of all personalities -- the actualization of the kingdom of heaven.
Two aspects of evolving Supremacy -- power and personality
Paper 116 notes that, "The creative synthesis of power and personality is . . . the very essence of the evolutionary growth of unity in the Supreme Being."
Non-personal levels: Ecology and the re-sacralization of the earth
It is relatively easy to imagine how we might get to know some of the personality aspects of Supremacy. After all, we are personalities and we all have experience with the process of getting to know other personalities.
Getting to know the power aspects of the Supreme presents more difficulty.
The biological systems and the ecosphere itself on our planet are expressions of some of the Creator Son's and the Life Carrier's actualization of some of the power potentials of the Supreme.
But there is more to this -- I think there is good reason to believe that much of reality is fractal. That is, patterns which we observe on one level are repeats or permutations of patterns on other levels -- we're told that Paradise is the absolute master pattern of universal material reality.
In our planet's ecosystem we can get a glimpse of the unity of power and personality which characterizes our Creator Son. The exquisite integration of physics, chemistry, and mind which we can see in the ecosystem indicates a mastery of technology and aesthetics which far transcends mortal capabilities and still exhibits something of its Paradise origin.
The book makes it clear that the entire cosmos is a living organism -- not a machine; a living organism in which each of us is a contributing part.
The Urantia Book's story of the Supreme gives us the ability to re-integrate the ecosystem and the material universe into our sacred stories about the cosmos.
It is not likely that we can solve our ecological problems simply by applying more science and more technology. Our science and technology have grown out of Christian attitudes toward humanity's relation to nature which are almost universally held by Christians and non-Christians alike.
It is interesting to note that the three great religions in the world today, each derived from epochal revelation, are virtually devoid of meaningful teachings related to the care of the ecosystem.
By destroying pagan animism, Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a manner which has had disastrous consequences.
It is in evolutionary religion that we find the most sensitivity to our place in the natural order of the earth and the ecosystem.
Urantia Book readers tend to elevate revealed religion to a high level of acceptability while viewing evolutionary religion as somehow "primitive" and something not worthy of serious attention. But it is in evolutionary religion that we find a sense of the sacredness of the earth, its natural processes, as well as the sacredness of the entire material cosmos. We shouldn't be too quick to discard these viewpoints.
In Paper 92, The Urantia Book says that evolutionary religion arose . . . through the ministry of the following influences operating within, and impinging upon . . . man: The spirit of worship, The spirit of wisdom, and the Holy Spirit of the Local Universe Mother Spirit. It goes on to say that,
"These influences are later augmented by Thought Adjusters, seraphim, and the Spirit of Truth, all of which accelerate the rate of religious development. These agencies have long functioned on Urantia, and they will continue here as long as this planet remains an inhabited sphere. Much of the potential of these divine agencies has never yet had opportunity for expression; much will be revealed in the ages to come as mortal religion ascends, level by level, toward the supernal heights of morontia value and spirit truth." [92:0.5]
The Urantia Book's discussion of the non-personal aspects of the Supreme provides a basis for developing a philospohy of living which re-integrates the care of the material cosmos with our sacred story about our spiritual destiny. Being co-creators with God also implies being co-caretakers of that which has been created.
Working to actualize material potentials is an integral part of the task of finding God -- of getting to know the nature of the Supreme.
Personality Aspects of Supremacy
It is going to be a little easier for us to gain insight into how we might get to better know the Supreme if we look at the personality aspects of the matter. In Paper 117 the book says that,
"Man can discover the Father in his heart, but he will have to search for the Supreme in the hearts of all other men..."
It's a personal universe
If someone were to ask me what I thought was the most important concept in The Urantia Book, my reply would be, "It's a personal universe
That is to say, personality is the primary, dominant reality in the cosmos. This is the opposite of what is generally believed in the world today.
Personality is generally viewed as a result of the process of biological evolution. The Urantia Book view is that biological evolution is a result of personality activity.
In the cosmology of The Urantia Book, the cosmos and everything in it comes into being as a result of creative interactions between personalities. The domains of time and space come into existence as a repercussion of interactions between the three members of the Paradise Trinity.
Virtually everything that you are today is a repercussion of your interactions with other personalities over the course of your lifetime -- it is a personal universe. As mortals, it is in this domain of personality interaction that we find our first traces of that which we refer to as "spiritual".
In our culture today when we speak of something being "personal" we usually mean, private, subjective. Even the term "personal experience" usually refers to something which is a unique and private experience.
I would like to suggest that the meaning implied in The Urantia Book is quite different from this. The meaning of the term "personal experience" as used in The Urantia Book almost always refers to experience which personality has with other personalities.
For example, take the quote:
"Religion is only an exalted humanism until it is made divine by the discovery of the reality of the presence of God in personal experience."
When you understand "personal experience" in this context to mean "experience with other personalities", this quote takes on a much greater degree of revelatory significance.
Or how about the phrase, "the personal-experience religion of spiritual origin". When we interpret this to mean experience with other persons, the horizons of what we understand to constitute religion suddenly expand.
The reality of a personal cosmos is first laid out in the Foreword of The Urantia Book. The revelators make it clear to us that the future of the cosmos involves a discovery and exploration of the new realities which actualize when personalities interact with each other in creative ways.
In the Urantia Book's paradigm of spirituality, the locus of spiritual activity is in the relationships between personalities.
In Paper 170 the Midwayers comment that "...to his apostles Jesus always taught the kingdom as embracing man's personal experience in relation to his fellows on earth and to the Father in heaven." "The kingdom of heaven," said Jesus, "is a spiritual relationship between God and man."
This "religion of personal spiritual experience," contains an ideal of daily living in which every single encounter with another human being is an opportunity to participate directly in the growth of the Supreme -- and thus in the transformation of our world.
Every time we enter into an authentic contact with another personality we stand at the threshold of the spiritual cosmos. What is the nature of the reality which we will create with our interaction? Is it progressive, or destructive? Does it create new potentials for increased development, or does it seek the dominance of the self? Does it help liberate personality for creative activity?
The Psychic Circles
In this context lets consider for a moment our ascent through the "psychic circles" which involves cosmic socialization and the realization of universe citizenship.€ In Paper 110 we find,
"Perhaps these psychic circles of mortal progression would be better denominated cosmic levels -- actual meaning grasps and value realizations of progressive approach to the morontia consciousness of initial relationship of the evolutionary soul with the emerging Supreme Being. . . . These circle attainments are only relatively related to God-consciousness. A seventh or sixth circler can be almost as truly God-knowing -- sonship conscious -- as a second or first circler, but such lower circle beings are far less conscious of experiential relation to the Supreme Being, universe citizenship."
Circle attainment and spiritual growth are directly related to the values we use in conducting our interactions with other personalities. In The Urantia Book, spiritual growth is related to cosmic socialization and in mortal life helps establish the foundations of cosmic citizenship. It is in this process of becoming cosmic citizens that we begin to become more conscious of the reality of the Supreme.
It is easy to say that we are citizens of the cosmos. What cosmic citizenship means is that we are making choices and conducting our lives relative to the health and well-being of the cosmos.
Working with the Supreme -- in her we live, move and have our being.
Each of the last three epochal revelations has represented an attempt to establish a spiritual foundation on the planet from which cosmic citizenship might develop.
Machiventa Melchizedek dealt with the very basic dynamics of the relationship with God - its faith-grasp by the mortal mind.
Jesus continued the process with a revelation of the nature of the Father's personality and his love for each individual. Each of these revelations aimed at strengthening the relationship between God and man.
The Urantia Book furthers this process with its revelation that this emerging network of spiritualizing personality relationships is a vital part of the living cosmos -- the Almighty Supreme.
The book says that, "The fruits of the spirit are the substance of the Supreme as he is realizable in human experience." Note that the fruits of the spirit are impossible to experience apart from interpersonal relationships. The same thing is true of the inevitabilities, and of Jesus' great commandment that we learn to love one another the way he loved us -- all of these relate exclusively to the domain of interpersonal relationships.
So how can we foster some of our own potentials for working with the Supreme?
First of all let us take seriously the two things which the book repeatedly exhorts us to do -- worship and service. These two activities put us into creative contact with the world of personality. In worship we foster our relationship with God. In service we come into intimate contact with the personalities of our fellow human beings.
In these exhortations to worship and service the revelators are pushing us to get into more intimate contact with the personal levels of the cosmos. Remember that the pattern of our interaction with other personalities is what survives mortal death as the soul. In other words the structure of the soul is an expression of the values which we have personalized by making them a part of our interactions with other personalities.
In addition to worship and service, we need to be involved in a continuous process of education -- We will be increasingly effective as we learn more about the social contexts in which we live and work -- the meanings and values that shape the behavior of individuals and the social structures in which they function. These social contexts are a part of the Supreme -- families, communities, nations, and the world.
We need to develop more awareness of the personality structure of the cosmos. It is the continuing development of the network of interpersonal relationships which is an ongoing part of Supremacy.
We would do well to seek understanding of what the book means by "the associative and co-creational potentials of personality." We are told that,
". . . all personality orders or values are associable and even cocreational." [0:5.3]
"The prepersonal, the personal, and the superpersonal are all linked together by mutual potential of co-ordinate attainment, progressive achievement, and cocreational capacity." [0:5.4]
"Cosmic socialization constitutes the highest form of personality unification." [56:10.14]
"Group potential is always far in excess of the simple sum of the attributes of the component individuals..." [10:5.2]
What these quotes are telling us is that the future of the cosmos is concealed within the co-creative potentals of personality. That is, as we learn to work together for spiritual purposes, the universe undergoes a continuous creative transformation.
We need to Develop a better consciousness of how our interactions with other persons are affecting the development of the Supreme. The book notes that,
"The temporal relation of man to the Supreme is the foundation for cosmic morality, the universal sensitivity to, and acceptance of, duty. This is a morality which transcends the temporal sense of relative right and wrong; it is a morality directly predicated on the self-conscious creature's appreciation of experiential obligation to experiential Deity." [117:4.8]
We need to become more conscious of our Cosmic citizenship. In Paper 110 we find that,
"Joyful acceptance of cosmic citizenship -- honest recognition of your progressive obligations to the Supreme Being, awareness of the interdependence of evolutionary man and evolving Deity. This is the birth of cosmic morality and the dawning realization of universal duty." [110:3.10]
And in Paper 115,
"With God the Father, sonship is the great relationship. With God the Supreme, achievement is the prerequisite to status -- one must do something as well as be something." [115:0.1]
"There is no approach to the Supreme except through experience..." [117:6.11]
We need to learn to more fully seek the Father's will in every decision we make. The books says that,
"To the extent that we do the will of God in whatever universe station we may have our existence, in that measure the almighty potential of the Supreme becomes one step more actual." [117:0.1]
"As man attains human destiny, so does the Supreme achieve destiny on deity levels." [117:4.12]
When I have trouble discerning the Father's will I fall back on the comment that,
"The rule of the Most Highs is a rule designed to foster the greatest good to the greatest number of all men and for the greatest length of time." [134:5.4]
I think this is an excellent criteria for decision making and that it is likely to result in our successfully doing the Father's will in otherwise ambiguous situations.
If we're going to work with the Supreme we need to learn to recognize and reinforce the ministry of the angels. Their primary domain of activity is in the relationships between personalities and within structures of personality relationships -- families, communities, and so forth.
The seraphim are referred to as "mind stimulators," continually seeking to promote circle-making decisions in the mortal mind. They "operate from the outside inward, working through the social, ethical and moral environment of human beings." [113:4.1]
Our interpersonal relationships form the environment in which the angels work. These relationships form a gateway through which seraphic ministry is made available to the mortal mind.
Remember that "the human mind does not create real values; human experience does not yield universe insight. Concerning insight, the recognition of moral values and the discernment of spiritual meanings, all that the human mind can do is to discover, recognize, interpret, and choose." [196:3.10]
The seraphim work to illuminate the values which exist in a decision-making situation.
The Primary Supernaphim perform this service in the relationships between the diverse residents of Paradise. The Primary Seconaphim perform this service in the relationships between the Ancients of Days, the Trinity and the Creator Sons. This process continues on down to our world, where the home Seraphim function within the relationships we have with our family members.
By this means, the ministry of the Infinite Spirit is continuously fostering the actualization of the spiritual-value-potentials concealed in personality relationships, thus stimulating the evolution of the Supreme.
Our role is to personalize the spiritual values they illuminate for us by choosing to incorporate them into our personality interactions -- by making them a part of our soul.***
I hope that some of these ideas have been useful in helping you to think about how you might more consciously work with the Supreme. I think the essence of the matter is contained in a quote I used earlier in this presentation,
"Man can discover the Father in his heart, but he will have to search for the Supreme in the hearts of all other men; and when all creatures perfectly reveal the love of the Supreme, then will he become a universe actuality to all creatures. And that is just another way of saying that the universes will be settled in light and life." [117:6.23]
And from Paper 117:
"No God-knowing mortal can ever be lonely in his journey through the cosmos, for he knows that the Father walks beside him each step of the way, while the very way that he is traversing is the presence of the Supreme." [117:6.27]