The Story of Everything: A Synopsis of The Urantia Book
Paper 85: The Origins of Worship
Humans have worshipped everything on earth, including themselves. The first object to be worshipped was a stone. Stone worship was followed by hill worship; humans believed that gods inhabited mountains. Plants were worshipped because they were a source of intoxicant alcohol is still referred to as spirits. Sprouting grains were sources of awe, and many plants were venerated for their medicinal powers. Tree worship cults leave remnants of their beliefs in modern-day May poles, Christmas trees, and the superstition of knocking on wood.
The primitive races revered animals, earth, air, fire, water, springs, rivers, rainbows, wind, clouds, rain, hail, thunder, and lightning. Deification of the moon, stars and sun developed. Civilizations honored the sun by naming the first day of the week after it; sun veneration eventually led to Mithraism, the greatest of the mystery cults, which eventually wielded a potent influence on Christianity.
In some cultures people worshipped lunatics, epileptics, priests, kings, and prophets. When tribal chiefs died they were sometimes deified; later, distinguished people who died were sainted. The worship of man by men reached its peak when earthly rulers claimed to have descended from the gods.
The sixth adjutant mind-spirit has been at work throughout time, constantly stimulating the worship urge. When worship is directed by wisdom and meditation, it begins to develop into real religion. When wisdom prevails, worshippers turn from the adoration of nature to the adoration of the Creator of nature. Evolutionary religion creates gods in the likeness of mortal man, but revelatory religion seeks to transform mortal man into the image and likeness of God.