An Overview of The Urantia Book Narrative
By Harry McMullan III
In October, 1955, The Urantia Book was published by a non-profit foundation in Chicago. It purported to be a revelation by celestial personalities to the peoples of the earth. In the intervening years its story has inspired tens of thousands with answers to the questions of who we are, why we are here, and where we are going. Since each person must judge such matters on their own merits, this paper attempts to set forth a brief synopsis of its incomparable contents.
The Universal Father lives on Paradise at the geographical center of infinity, with his divine coordinates the Eternal Son and the Infinite Spirit, who together form the indivisible Trinity. We exist because, back in eternity, the Father elaborated a plan to create children with whom he would share existence, who could know and love him, and participate with him in building an unfathomably immense creation. The Father's plan involved two interdependent types of life: that which is created inherently perfect and that which begins at a primitive level and, through effort and struggle, attains perfection. The interrelationship of these two phases of life forms a whole which immeasurably enriches the perspective and versatility of each.
The Grand Universe
Encircling Paradise, the Father created the perfect central universe Havona, containing one billion planets whose myriad citizens, though created in perfection, experience the full range of free will. Surrounding Havona he commissioned certain perfect beings to bring into being an immense evolutionary creation containing thousands of subordinate local universes, one of which is Nebadon, our own. Each of these local universes is brought into being by a Creator Son of God and his associate, the Creative Mother Spirit. The primary administrative subdivisions of such local universes are local systems, each of which contains approximately one thousand evolutionary planets. System Sovereigns govern these local systems in the Creator Son's name.
The planets of our solar system were brought into being 4,500,000,000 years ago when the near-approach of our sun to an astronomic system ripped matter out of both by gravitational tides which was recaptured into orbit around our sun. 550,000,000 years ago conditions on Urantia--the universe name for the earth--had evolved to a favorable status for the initiation of life, and celestial Life Carriers arrived to implant the ancestral life plasm in three shallow marine bays. Carefully guided by the Life Carriers, the genetic potentials of these implantations evolved into vegetable and animal life, and this evolution culminated in the appearance of primitive human beings about 1,000,000 years ago.
The Planetary Rebellion
500,000 years ago, a spiritual administration was established on our planet under the direction of Caligastia, Planetary Prince of Urantia, who arrived with one hundred one-time mortals who, in the course of their ascension to Paradise, volunteered to advance civilization on our primitive world. Caligastia's administration constituted the first epochal revelation of truth to our planet.
200,000 years ago Lucifer, our System Sovereign, became dissatisfied with his superiors and rebelled against the government of Michael, proclaiming independence for his local system. Due to the adherence of Caligastia to Lucifer, Urantia experienced the misfortune of being one of thirty-seven planets drawn into this orgy of chaos and destruction. All celestial personalities in Lucifer's system were faced with the life-or-death decision of whether to maintain fealty to the brilliant Lucifer and his manifesto of personal liberty, or to remain loyal to the righteous rule of the unseen Father by his Son Michael.
Urantia had been progressing in an orderly manner until Caligastia threw in his lot with Lucifer. The ensuing rebellion deranged the spiritual administration and threw into confusion such humble advances of civilization as had been achieved. Through the self-deceiving pride of high spiritual beings, thus ended in disaster the first epochal revelation of divine truth to our planet. Because this is a universe of mercy and forbearance in which evil-doers are afforded long periods in which to change their minds, these rebels were not immediately removed from our planet but permitted to remain and even to oppose those whose duty it became to redeem the situation.
Adam and Eve
37,000 years ago, organic evolution based on the original Life Carrier implantation reached its climax and, as is customary, a pair of biological uplifters were dispatched to upstep human genetic potential. These celestial beings, Adam and Eve, incarnated in material form with instructions to reproduce until their pure-line descendants numbered one million, at which time these superior people would be released to mate with, and thus genetically upstep, the human races of the earth.
A second tragedy was to befall our world. Discouraged at the lack of apparent progress, Eve yielded to Caligastia-sponsored arguments that immediate progress would ensue from her procreation of a child by a native father, believing that this child would be well-positioned to bring the native races into a more cooperative relationship with the Adamic regime. Her violation of the divine plan brought about the collapse of the civilization Adam and Eve had begun only 105 years before. Adam chose to share Eve's lot, and their joint default brought about loss of immortality status, ensuring Adam and Eve's eventual deaths as humans of the realm. Through the mistaken choices of these celestial beings who violated the divine plan, thus ended in debacle the second epochal revelation of truth to Urantia, a collapse which has deprived all future mortals of the benefits intended to be conferred: the material advantages of enhanced genetics as well as the societal stabilization which would have resulted from their continued presence.
The third epochal revelation occurred in 1980 BC, when Machiventa Melchizedek, a high spiritual being, incarnated as the Sage of Salem in Palestine, in order that the truth of God not be lost to the peoples of the earth. Melchizedek proclaimed a gospel of salvation through faith in God, and his missionaries eventually penetrated the length and breadth of the Levant, Asia, and Europe with his life-giving teachings, which became the common element in almost all subsequent world religions. Melchizedek's principal follower was Abraham, whose offspring formed the nucleus of the later Jewish people.
The universe in which we live is ruled by Michael of Nebadon, a being of unimaginable love and power, a Creator Son of the eternal and infinite God. The fourth epochal revelation was the advent and life of this same Michael on Urantia. All Creator Sons are required to experience incarnation in the form of each of their seven major orders of universe life, that they may thereby gain the one thing which may be added to preexistent perfection--actual first-hand experience in creature life. One of these incarnations must take place in human form, in order that these local universe Fathers may become altogether understanding and sympathetic rulers of their evolutionary creations. Our Creator Son had already incarnated six times when, due to the extraordinary tribulations suffered by our planet, he chose it from among all others as the site whereon to complete the drama of his final bestowal experience.
Accordingly, on August 21, 7 BC, the Creator of our universe was born as the babe of Bethlehem. Living on earth as Jesus of Nazareth gave Michael the authentic experience in human living he required, in the course of which he portrayed to our world what, in partnership with God, man can do. The divine Michael and the human Jesus were, and are, one unified personality. More than his sermons to the multitudes, the manner in which Jesus encountered and overcame his day-to-day struggles and tribulations--his school days in Nazareth; his struggle beginning at age fourteen to care for his mother, brothers, and sisters upon his father Joseph's untimely death; his efforts to financially support his father's family; his travels through the Roman world as tutor to the son of an Indian merchant; his work as a caravan driver to the Caspian Sea area; his solitary wanderings; his relationship to the followers of John the Baptist; his organization and training of the twelve apostles; his unending efforts to save the benighted Sanhedrin leadership in Jerusalem; and the matchless manner in which he met his death on the cross--gives such a compelling picture of God-revealing and man-saving love as has never before been known.
The Urantia Book
The Urantia Book was given to the peoples of our planet, by Michael's express direction, in order that we might learn of God's relationship to man and man's relation to the universe. Unlike the previous four, the fifth epochal revelation has been given us in the form of a book, one which recapitulates the previous four revelations and ties them together with additional truth illuminating man's place in the universe of universes. We are here in accordance with the divine plan, a plan of infinite scope which involves the perfection of the grand universe, extending to near-infinity, and in which each of us is privileged to play a unique and valuable part.
The Purpose of Life
The ultimate purpose of our lives on earth is complete attunement with our Thought Adjusters, indwelling spirits of God who are the actuality of the Father's love incarnate in the mind of every individual. Divine attunement occurs through the exercise of faith in God's leading and goodness, and manifests itself in unselfish service to our fellows on earth. Sincere and persistent prayer to and worship of the Father creates a living connection with God which makes our survival certain. Whether on this world or beyond, immortality is attained by fusion with his indwelling spirit. The highest human values of truth, beauty, and goodness represent our best understanding of God's attitude, but first and foremost, he is a loving Father.
Personality is that gift of God which makes each of us unique, both here and hereafter. The human soul is created by the divine indweller with the active cooperation of our mortal minds, and grows to the extent the individual follows the leading of his inner spirit. In this pursuit we are continually aided by angels who manipulate the circumstances of our lives in order to stimulate decisions which foster our spiritual growth, as well as to bring together harmonious working groups for earthly progress.
Joy and peace in this life, and eternal life in the next, is attained by committing all that we have and are to the God in whose infinite love we live, move, and have our being. By spiritual rebirth we attain the kingdom of heaven, the state in which God's love rules the human heart.
Those who have dedicated themselves to God are resurrected after this life in order to begin the long and fascinating ascent to Paradise, where we will eventually stand in the actual presence of the Universal Father who has made all of this possible, and from which place, after a time, he will send us forth to serve in new universes of his making.