What is The Urantia Book?
"There is in the mind of God a plan which embraces every creature
of all his vast domains, and this plan is an eternal purpose of boundless
opportunity, unlimited progress, and endless life. And the infinite
treasures of such a matchless career are yours for the striving."
The Urantia Book
by Harry McMullan, III
What is it?
The Urantia Book contains nearly 2,000 pages divided into 196 Papers
related to all aspects of human life.
The book begins with a description of God and the central universe
of divine perfection. Its description of the cosmos moves outward toward
life on our planet, covering in the process the essential elements of
our careers from life here on Urantia (the universe name for the earth),
all the way until we come into the personal presence of God on Paradise,
The highly detailed biography of Jesus places the Urantia
Book in a class with the finest literature in the English language.
What does it say?
Some concepts in the Urantia Book have never before been expressed
in print. The book's unique value consists in the comprehensive manner
in which already well-known concepts are presented so as to illuminate
God's love for each of us, and our place in his eternal plan—fitting
these concepts together so as to give a philosophical and spiritual
unity to our understanding of God's dealings with mankind. Some important
- God The Universal Father is the eternal creator, controller, and infinite
upholder of all reality, the source and destiny of all personalities,
and the head of all government throughout the universal realms. Except
for God, there would be no such thing as reality; without the Father
would not anything exist that does exist. The Father is living love,
a Person who knows us, and whom we can know. The Father dwells within
us, and in him we live and move and have our being.
- The universes The galaxies are sprinkled with inhabited planets, many
harboring civilizations billions of years old. The perfect central universe
and the evolutionary universes such as our own all circle Paradise,
the dwelling place of the eternal God at the center of all things.
- Unending progress God has a purpose for every world in his almost limitless
domains, and a plan for every creature on every one of them, a plan
which embodies unlimited progress in eternal growth. Mortals start at
the bottom and, through faith and service over long periods of time,
ascend through the universes until one day we come to be with God on
Paradise. In future ages he will send us forth to serve in new universes
now in the making.
- Eternal life God has a far-reaching plan for us which embodies boundless
attainment, adventurous service, and personal fulfillment. Nevertheless,
it is wholly optional whether or not we accept this plan. The Father
has endowed each of us with the free will to accept or reject all or
any part of his plan. The heavenly Father has ordained that we be free
persons, and he respects the choices we make, even when such choosing
is self-destructive. As a place, hell does not exist; after death, those
who reject the way of life simply cease to exist. God loves every one
of his children, and wants each of us to survive, but nonetheless he
endows us with the prerogative to chart our own courses.
- The inner light The Universal Father gives each of us a fragment of
his spirit to indwell our mind, and lead us toward him into eternal
life. When a person's life purpose becomes wholly pure, when his or
her faith is perfected, he or she will spiritually fuse with this indwelling
spark of divinity and become everlastingly at-one with God. Such fusion
normally occurs after this life in the flesh, and is but the first stage
of a never-ending revelation of the infinity of God to the one-time
- Faith It is our personal faith in the promises of god that ensures
our becoming partakers of the divine nature. We must be willing to give
God all that we have and are; our commitment must be unreserved, no
aspect of our lives held back. Faith is the price of eternal life.
- Righteousness Those who claim to love God, yet refuse to live by high
moral and ethical standards, deceive themselves. A life of integrity
inevitably results from an inner life consecrated to God. We are not
saved because we are righteous, rather, we live in harmony with divine
values because we love God and desire to do his will.
- Spiritual transformation The old way to find God required man to suppress,
obey, and conform to rules of living. In the new way we are first transformed
by the Spirit of Truth, and thereby strengthened in our inner souls
by the constant spiritual renewing of our minds, and so are endowed
with the power of the certain and joyous performance of the gracious,
acceptable, and perfect will of God.
- God's universal family We are all part of a gigantic enterprise involving
uncounted trillions of beings whom God is perfecting on uncountable
worlds. We are all brothers and sisters in God's universal family, and
thus are affected by every other family member's actions. Any person's
good effort moves the family forward, while any person's failure to
choose the way of light retards us all.
- Service A life of dedicated service to our fellows inevitably results
from spiritual commitment. We can be God's partners in helping make
this earth into the place he intends it to be, and help bring health,
sanity, and happiness to mankind. Apart from serving others, life is
meaningless and unfulfilling.
- Jesus of Nazareth The Urantia Book's section on Jesus' life and teachings
fills more than a third of its pages, and may be the book's most powerful
contribution. It portrays Jesus as a divine Son of God, the creator
of the vast stretch of the universe in which we live. There are other
divine Sons of God who bear a similar relati8onship to God the Father
in other parts of the grand universe. To us, however, the Son of God
who incarnated on earth as Jesus of Nazareth is, to all intents and
purposes, God. He came to earth to experience life as we live it on
earth that he might become a more merciful and understanding sovereign,
and while here, reveal God's love to his earthly children.
Criteria of truth
It matters what is true. It is important that we live fulfilled, productive
lives on earth, and we cannot do so without acting in consonance with
reality. The Urantia Book claims to be true—claims to describe reality
as it actually is. In conjunction with the Father's indwelling spirit,
the Urantia Book is intended to serve as a cosmic compass to help guide
us safely through this life's perplexities and into life everlasting.
However, it isn't necessary to believe the Urantia Book is true in order
to profit from reading its pages.
Think of the olden philosophers: Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St.
Thomas Acquinas, Spinoza, Locke, Kant, William James, Hobbes, Descartes—each
was vitally concerned with what truth is, and how man could know it.
The following is this author's analysis of the Urantia Book's validity
with respect to their traditional criteria of truth, as well as a few
- 1. Correspondence to reality. If the Urantia Book were true, the personal
appropriation of the ideals it expresses should improve the quality
of my life and my interpersonal relationships. I have found this to
be the case. I am inclined to believe its teachings because they are
associated with so much that I can verify in my own personal experience.
- 2. Self-consistency. A house divided against itself falls. The thousands
of details discussed in the Urantia Book's eighteen hundred pages from
various perspectives agree remarkably. It's impossible for me to account
for such consistency apart from the Urantia Book being the revelation
it claims to be.
- 3. Inner validation. The Urantia Book teaches that the indwelling spirit
is the standard of truth for each of us. Our own spirits will respond
to truth. We do not have to depend on what others tell us, because God
has given each of us an inner witness. I had such a strong inner response
in reading the Urantia Book, as have thousands of others.
- 4. Glorification of God. Jesus said that the person who seeks his own
glory speaks for himself, but the one who seeks God's glory speaks the
words of the Father. The entire Urantia Book exalts God as our Creator,
Father, and Friend.
- 5. Believability of the account of Jesus' life. Since none of us were
then alive, it's not possible to say from personal experience whether
Jesus' life transpired as the Urantia Book—or the Bible for that matter—says
it did. Nevertheless, the book's extremely detailed account of Jesus'
life imparts such a vivid conviction of spiritual reality as to lead
most readers to conclude that Jesus at least must have been like the
person described in the Urantia Book. I found no way to account for
the story apart from it being what it says it is. If it isn't what it
say it is, what is it?
- 6. Tolerance and openness. The Urantia Book makes no claim to be The
Whole Truth. Some religious groups attempt to set their adherents apart
to keep them uncontaminated by alien concepts of other faiths. To the
contrary, the Urantia Book encourages its readers to study every world
religion, to seek for, appreciate, and embrace truth wherever it might
be found. The Urantia Book exhibits this attitude of appreciative openness
even while setting forth its own views in categorical terms.
- 7. Quality of thought. The concepts found in the Urantia Book, and their
mode of expression, have no peer in the spiritual literature of mankind.
The overall character of the Urantia Book manifests inherent excellence
of thought expressed clearly and distinctively. It does not compromise
its message in order to make its teachings less demanding and thus hypothetically
more acceptable. The entire book is suffused with spiritual flavor,
predicated on faith in God and the injunction that we should dedicate
our lives to serving others.
- 8. Absence of unworthy motives. There are several independent non-profit
membership organizations of Urantia Book readers. I am unaware of any
with bad motives, or which seek money, fame, power, or personal aggrandizement
of any kind. The only gain for these membership groups is that you enjoy
a more fulfilling relationship with God.
- 9. Test of time. All of us go through periods of intense fascination
with something that seems to improve our lives, only to move on to something
new after more extensive contact exposes latent shortcomings in our
former object of interest. In contrast, only rarely do readers of the
Urantia Book cease to be readers. The book's teachings about faith in
God and service to man never become outdated.
- 10. Results of reading. The tree can be judged by its fruit; truth can
be acted out. The Urantia Book can be successfully applied to reality.
The teachings of the Urantia Book, put into practice, bring us closer
to God. The book imparts spiritual assurance in our increased knowledge
of God's love and upholding, and our sure place in the Father's affection.
Thousands who have read its pages have found thereby greater meaning
in their lives.
Relationship to the Bible
The Urantia Book is not based on the Bible, but is consistent with
its spiritual teachings. With respect to Jesus' life, the Urantia Book
contains vastly more detail. Scholars estimate that the entire New Testament
describes only 29 separate days of Jesus' life, whereas the Urantia
Book's account fills 689 large pages with the day-to-day story of the
Son of God who lived on earth for almost 36 years as the son of man.
The Urantia Book and the Bible wholly agree in upholding the spiritual
realities of hope, faith, love, grace, eternal life, and all other significant
spiritual teachings. However, I would like to mention three doctrines
where the Urantia Book is completely at variance with certain common
interpretations of the Bible, namely, scriptural infallibility, original
sin, and the atonement doctrine.
With respect to the doctrine of scriptural inerrancy, the Urantia Book
teaches that all things which pass through the minds and hands of men
become to a greater or lesser extent human, and that no book, the Urantia
Book included, contains The Final Truth. Revelations of truth like the
Bible and the Urantia Book proceed from God, but no revelation short
of attaining the Father himself could ever be complete. Moreover, God
did not stop revealing himself to his earthly children in the first
century AD. We should honor the sacred writings of every religion, but
not blunder into the quasi-idolatry of making them virtual objects of
worship, something God never intended them to be. God is the source
of truth, not ink on paper, whether in the form of the Bible, the Urantia
Book, or any other writing. A book can be a faithful representation
of higher reality, but it isn't the reality itself—otherwise it wouldn't
be a book. The road map isn't the highway.
The Urantia Book rejects the doctrines of original sin and the atonement
as misrepresenting the heavenly Father's love. These associated doctrines
hold that as a result of Adam's sin, all mankind became cursed with
hereditary guilt. Even newborn babies were 'children of the devil.'
God wanted to forgive man, but could not do so until someone wholly
innocent paid the price for Adam's sin. God's justice required blood
to be shed before he could forgive sin and ransom mankind from the supposed
clutches of the devil. Therefore, God arranged for Jesus to be sacrificed
on the cross so that he could receive mankind back into his love and
The Urantia Book, to the contrary, states that evil men, not God, crucified
Jesus. It teaches that God has always loved his children on earth, and
that nothing can separate an individual from God except for his own
personal sinfulness—not anyone else's. Jesus died for mankind just
as he lived for us, but God did not require that Jesus die on the cross.
Jesus did not need to move his heavenly Father's divine heart to love
and forgive his earthly children—the Father has always loved us.
Is this connected with a cult?
The term 'cult' pejoratively describes a non-mainstream religious group
which is seen to have unusual and exclusive religious practices and
which maintains itself separate from the larger community's common goals
and practices. The cult's devotees blindly follow a charismatic and
opportunistic authority figure who, sooner or later, induces them to
give him all their worldly belongings. An apocalyptic event is usually
just over the horizon, adding urgency to the leader's directives.
Sometimes such cults are also 'occult,' meaning that their teachings
are mystic and secret. Like the Gnostics of the early Christian era,
practitioners of the occult believe that they progress in spiritual
status as hidden knowledge is revealed to them.
The Urantia Book would not be a useful cult object, since its teachings
are unalterably opposed to the worship of any person or thing other
than God, and due to its emphasis on each of us following the leading
of God's spirit for our spiritual guidance as opposed to that of human
beings. I have never met a reader who treats the Urantia Book as a cult
object. Readers honor the book for the truth it contains, but also seek
for truth wherever else it may be found.
There is no authority figure except God as he reveals himself to each
of us. There exists no organization of Urantia Book readers remotely
comparable to even a mainstream Christian denomination, much less to
a cult. Readers so inclined, such as myself, remain active in their
respective churches or synagogues. Furthermore, the book has nothing
in common with the occult. There are no mystical teachings, and no initiates.
The Urantia Book teaches that we are not saved by what we know, but
by Who we know, the loving Father of all mankind.
How to get started
You can read The Urantia Book online.
If you are intrigued, find a copy at your local library, or bookstore.
Once you have the book, spend some time with a few passages. The book
contains so much material that it may be best to begin reading on a
topic in which you already have some interest. You may also order a copy from our web store. It is available in both hardcover and softcover editions as well as in a growing number of translations.
Once you begin reading the Urantia Book, you may want to share your
experiences with others. We maintain an index of internet discussion
lists and study groups here on the website. Find out more about community
The Urantia Book Fellowship, the sponsor of this website, is the oldest
and largest international readership association, providing conferences,
publications, study aids and other services since 1955. Click
here to find out more about the Fellowship.
Discovering the Urantia Papers may be the beginning of a unique and
irreplaceable adventure for you.
If you have additional questions or comments, please contact us.