God, Man, and Supreme
Chapter Twelve—The Human Experience
In the history of humanity, men and women have always worked together in a complementally mating and partnership basis. Any attempt, though, at truly comprehending the essential nature and design of human gender must pursue a more transcendent understanding. From a cosmic perspective, there is a divine plan that establishes the purposed duality of male and female. By striving to gain insight into our Paradise Father's purposes and plans, especially as these refer to the purposed duality of men and women, we will begin to appreciate just how special we men and women are in the Father's creation and just how important we are in the carrying out his divine will.
What is the most revealing approach to gaining insights into the sometimes perplexing relationship between men and women? On our world, men and women have patterned their relationships to conform in accordance to the evolutionary influences and driving forces of their own particular time and place. Because a civilization's status quo of culture and society is in constant flux, being subject to both long periods of slow evolutionary growth interspersed with sudden incursions of revolutionary change, this dynamic of change exerts strong influence on the relations between men and women. These sporadic pressures on gender relations will be both erratic and often transitory.
Because the world status quo of gender relations is so diverse and variable, it may be impractical to solely concentrate on culturally specific and qualifiedly historical influences on the sexes as they have co-existed and co-evolved on our isolated planet. We can more fruitfully investigate the true nature and design of the sexes by understanding their place within the functional arena of divine and cosmic relationships. Our duality of sexual gender is not accidental and unique to the mortal creatures of this world—it is patterned by creative design and intent on a higher prototype, on an elevated cosmic pattern. Our heightened understanding of these elevated patterns of cosmic association should provide insightful light on our own sexual attitudes.
Analysis will shed needed light on the wisdom and skill that the revelators of The Urantia Book have creatively exercised in their efforts to strategically establish this epochal revelation on the world today. The Urantia Book examines gender relationships throughout its many papers, revealing many subtle levels of cosmic understanding and interpretation. The presenters of these papers have also employed sexual terminology in unique ways, often adding subtle meanings that go beyond standard usage on gender.
For example, at first glance it may be understandably awkward to comprehend the term "son of God" as entailing a non-sexual but functionally insightful definition that equates this designation to meaning "children of inheritance" (e.g., of the kingdom of heaven)—but there is good theologic precedent for exactly this interpretation. Jesus' own usage of this term is consistently inclusive of both men and women—he did not exclude women from any of his statements when referring to humanity as potential sons of the Father. He did, however, conform to the patriarchal linguistic norms of contemporary Judaic society in using such terms as the brotherhood of man and the sons of God, doing so with a crucially astute twist—he focused his conceptual semantics around the higher idealization of the functional family with unqualified inclusion of both men and women. Men and women belong to the brotherhood of man, and men and women have the potential to become sons of God. This inclusion is of a functionally and not a sexually qualified nature.
The family occupied the very center of Jesus' philosophy of life - here and hereafter. He based his teachings about God on the family. He taught the new and larger brotherhood of man - the sons of God. [140:8.14 (1581.1)]
The apostle Paul very specifically uses the word son in a spiritually functional sense: "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." [Galatians 3:25,26], "And because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father, 'Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ'." [Galatians 4:6,7] Paul is not excluding women from being proper heirs of God through Christ. If Paul's statement were to be arbitrarily altered to read the "sons and daughters of God", we would lose sight of the functionally non-gender usage of "son" as entailing spiritual inheritance. This altered phrase could only then be properly understood in the context of an inclusive gendered connotation, and this subtle notion of both men and women as being sons (spiritual heirs) of the kingdom would then likely be missed.
The Bible itself is certainly not void of positively reinforcing statements about the purposed design of dual genders. One of the most powerful affirmations of woman's integral role in God's creation is stated quite plainly at the beginning of the very first page of the Old Testament: "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27) Woman is, along with man, the direct and intentional creation of God and the crown of his creation; man and woman were made for each other by divine purpose. Together, they constitute humankind, which is in its full and essential nature dually gendered. Compared to the Old Testament, the New Testament represents an enlarged advancement in theological thinking and presentation. Here we have an example of a critical paradigm shift in the manner in which men and women are regarded respecting their mutual purposes and destinies. The epochal role that women play in this new scheme of things, though far from ideal, represented a major advancement in a culture that was previously immersed in the theology and ethics embodied within the central core of the "patriarchal" Old Testament.
Jesus himself was particularly quite positive in his attitudes towards women, and this mind-set was truly revolutionary for his historical time and place. He freely conversed with women from all stations of life, he assigned them key roles in his public ministry, and he numbered them among his closest friends and followers. Jesus strove to present women as complete human beings, in all ways spiritually equal to men. This attitude was truly revolutionary for his time, and it consequently became a source of many of his ministerial difficulties and much of his instructional rejection by the leaders of the old vanguard, the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
Before the teachings of Jesus which culminated in Pentecost, women had little or no spiritual standing in the tenets of the older religions. After Pentecost, in the brotherhood of the kingdom woman stood before God on an equality with man. Among the one hundred and twenty who received this special visitation of the spirit were many of the women disciples, and they shared these blessings equally with the men believers. [194:3.14 (2065.2)]
Even the apostle Paul, who has inherited an unsavory reputation regarding some of his perceived attitudes towards women, still possessed the positive frame of mind to make some remarkably powerful statements about the spiritual equality of women. For example, it was Paul who was able to proclaim "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Jesus Christ." [Galatians 3:28] God is beyond gender. Our conception of God, especially as a personal and contactable being, is intuited from the Father's own revelation of himself to his creation. However, we often develop an inadequate and incomplete understanding of the true nature of our relationship to a personal God because we participate in this relationship as sexually gendered persons—we have difficulty in separating our own finite natures from God's eternal nature. We tend to anthropomorphize God into our own image.
Paul has been routinely castigated for his avowed subordination of women. In all fairness to his detractors, Paul did erroneously understand women as occupying a distinctly subordinate role in society—but this biased assessment of his was in harmony with the social norms and the historical context of his culture. As a result of recent investigations by scholars of the New Testament, opinions are being formulated that cast Paul in a relatively more sensitive light. His views are being re-evaluated as being well ahead of his times. He is being recognized for his willingness to work closely with women and for his habit of regularly extolling their spiritual virtues within the framework of the embryonic churches that were emerging throughout the Mediterranean basin.
Taking into account the patriarchal environment affecting the culture and religion of his times, Paul's expressed views on the spiritual equality of women on their mutual roles within the church organization were decidedly radical and progressive. Men and women were enforced to build their relationships on a foundation of mutuality and love. There is put forward an insistent degree of reciprocity between men and women. By virtue of their baptism into the Church, women obtained a new standing of equality. Men and women stoodbefore God in the same relation; both are born into sin, but with the identical opportunity for salvation.
Sex equality prevails on all advanced worlds; male and female are equal in mind endowment and spiritual status. We do not regard a planet as having emerged from barbarism so long as one sex seeks to tyrannize over the other. [49:4.4 (564.6)]
Investigation into the true nature and design of the sexes will exemplify two primary insights:
- The male and female derivations of human gender are truly equal but differential—hence complemental—to one another by creative design.
- The supreme dependence of men and women on shared co-operation is divinely intended to greatly enhance their mutual potentials for social, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth.
In its full and essential nature, humankind is dually differentiated according to function, awareness, and behavior response. Male and female are perfectly equal in mind endowment and spiritual status, but they remain individually supreme in their own personal domains of activity as these are "determined by biologic differentiation and by mental dissimilarity." [84:5.13 (938.3)] Practically regarded, men and women are representative of "two distinct varieties of the same species living in close and intimate association." [84:6.3 (938.7)]
Through the distinct and separate natures of the sexes, there result great dissimilarities of reaction, viewpoint, and thinking between man and woman. This division by gender provides for partnership associations that greatly multiply functional versatility. This enhancement of possibilities for personal attainment and accomplishment provides a means for overcoming the many inherent limitations incumbent on the imperfect status of finite being. Throughout our ascendant careers, men and women will beneficially cooperate "in the solution of perplexing universe problems and in the overcoming of manifold cosmic difficulties." [84:6:6 (939:1)]
The differences of nature, reaction, viewpoint, and thinking between men and women, far from occasioning concern, should be regarded as highly beneficial to mankind, both individually and collectively. Many orders of universe creatures are created in dual phases of personality manifestation. [84:6.5 (938.9)]
The differences of nature, reaction, viewpoint, and thinking between men and women, far from occasioning concern, should be regarded as highly beneficial to mankind, both individually and collectively. Many orders of universe creatures are created in dual phases of personality manifestation.
The complex mammalian life systems on our world of Urantia reproduce by the physical interaction of two individuals differing from one another with respect to sexual gender. This patterned dimorphism of sexual phenotype is characteristic of the dual gender patterns that are manifest throughout the local universe realm—most local universe creatures are dually differentiated according to function, recognition, and behavior response. We are informed that such divinely purposed dual personality associations are intended to greatly multiply functional versatility, providing these orders of universe creatures with a means for overcoming their many inherent limitations incumbent on their imperfect status of finite being.
Most men and women have very confused notions regarding gender and its effects on the ways we view ourselves, each other, and our roles in society. Are we able to understand how these acquired perceptions affect the way we see ourselves, how others see us, and how this shapes our identity? Do males and females have different complements of intellectual abilities? Are there inherent differences in cognition and perception between men and women?
Biogenetics tells us that the male and female are physically different from one another because women are endowed with two X chromosomes whereas men have one X and one Y chromosome. Chromosomes are DNA-containing aggregates within the cell nuclei of plants and animals—they are directly responsible for the determination and transmission of heredity characteristics. While the X chromosome contains genes that direct a broad range of functions, such as blood clotting and some aspects of color perception, the Y chromosome primarily bears those genes responsible for male sexual characteristics. The science of neurology is beginning to determine that men and women use their brains in fundamentally different ways. In concert with our differential complement of hormones, men's and women's brains process information differently—this accounts for our mutual differences in perceptions, priorities, and behaviors. Primarily, speech is processed in different regions in women's and men's brains. In addition, it is being discovered how hormonal levels can affect people's performance on certain verbal and spatial tests.
The revelators of The Urantia Book have very little to say about scientific revealments involving physiological, neurological, or psychological bases of differences between men and women. They have been mandated not to anticipate any information that our world is ready to discover for itself—and I believe that we are now on the verge of understanding at least the rudimentary differences that contribute to the various ways we differentially act, think, and experience in our lives. Where The Urantia Book does provide enlightenment regarding this issue is in its portrayal of the mindal and spiritual make-up of men and women. For example, the book makes it a point to indicate that there is a qualitative, but not a quantitative, difference in the mind endowment of men and women. Both male and female are given a fully equal quantity of adjutant mind; there is no quantitative inequality of mind bestowal. Men and women share equal capacity for intelligence quotient. However, there appear to be qualitatively subtle differences in the mind that the Universe Mother Spirit bequeaths to her universe children as this mind is used in conjunction with the brain.
The adjutant mind that is utilized by a man may be qualitatively different from the complement of adjutant mind that is bestowed to a woman. We often attribute these perceptual and reactionary differences to the level of animal instinct and hormonal influence. We usually assign strictly physical causes to these differences. But The Urantia Book would lead us to consider that mind itself may be dually bestowed by design and according to gender: For example, what we understand as "mother instinct" may be attributed more to female mind endowment than to genetic make-up.
A family of some simple sort was insured by the fact that the reproductive function entails the mother-child relationship. Mother love is instinctive; it did not originate in the mores as did marriage. All mammalian mother love is the inherent endowment of the adjutant mind-spirits of the local universe and is in strength and devotion always directly proportional to the length of the helpless infancy of the species. [84:1.6 (932.3)]
It may be that the different hormonal constitutions and levels between men and women require that the local universe Mother Spirit administer a different quality of dualized mind endowment; it may be that this difference in the physical functioning of the brain requires different complemental bestowals of human mind. Even so, we are also informed that this qualitative differentiation has absolutely no spiritual impact on the subsequent interaction of the mortal mind and God in the co-creation of soul. The Universal Father treats all of his universe children with equal consideration regarding their perfecting of the human spirit.
In the assignment and service of the Adjusters the sex of the creature is of no consideration. [108:1.7 (1186.5)]
This complemental allocation of mind, in conjunction with key differences in the psychological functioning of the brain, may help us understand why the sexes have such supreme difficulty in attaining a full comprehension of one another. Ever will we be challenged in our efforts to achieve effective and co-operative union with one another.
Their viewpoints and entire life reactions are essentially different; they are wholly incapable of full and real comprehension of each other. Complete understanding between the sexes is not attainable. [84:6.3 (938.7)]
On the other side of the coin, we are strongly encouraged to take heart in the fact that we are divinely designed to be effectively complementary. A working union between man and woman is capable of incredible synergy. Apart from our shared capability for maintaining and reproducing the society in which we co-exist, co-operative unions of men and women "are vastly superior in most ways to either two men or two women." [84:1.9 (932.6)] This partnership technique dramatically enhances our combined attainment and accomplishment possibilities for our intellectual, social, and spiritual growth.
The behavioral gap that separates men and women can never be bridged. Societal customs and sexual mores will always be subject to evolutionary and revolutionary pressures, but the instincts and mind endowments that characterize the complemental natures of the sexes will not allow for civilization ever to reconcile these differential behaviors. We are created equal in spirit and aspiration; but always will we be separated by biology and mind.
Civilization never can obliterate the behavior gulf between the sexes. From age to age the mores change, but instinct never. Innate maternal affection will never permit emancipated woman to become man’s serious rival in industry. Forever each sex will remain supreme in its own domain. [84:5.13 (938.3)]
Each sex experiences a life that is characterized by distinctively different spheres of existence. This remains ever so, even if these specialized spheres will often interface and even overlap. The Urantia Book not only acknowledges this truth, it proceeds to pronounce that these domains, as differentiated by gender, carry with them inalienable and noninclusive rights. A refusal to recognize this truth can only lead to social discord and cultural disaster.
Woman is man’s equal partner in race reproduction, hence just as important in the unfolding of racial evolution; therefore has evolution increasingly worked toward the realization of women’s rights. But women’s rights are by no means men’s rights. Woman cannot thrive on man’s rights any more than man can prosper on woman’s rights. [84:5.11 (938.1)]
As much as man and woman require one another in the fulfillment of their mortal careers here on Urantia, they will continue to need one another as they progress onward in their ascents through the morontial and spiritual spheres of existence. We will always recognize and be glad for our persistent differences in viewpoint, and this recognition and appreciation will endure through every stage of our superuniverse ascent; this attitude will remain with us in our efforts to assist one another in our ascent through Havona and onward towards Paradise. Even when we have achieved perfection of self as members of the Corps of the Finality, we will maintain our ability to recognize those personality trends that once characterized us as male and female.
We are purposed to interact with one another, to take full advantage of the benefits that are attainable through the efforts of our interaction. In fact, if we do not take advantage of this opportunity while we live our lives here in the flesh, we are prevailed upon to take advantage of those opportunities available to us later, compensating these very personal deprivations. Sex experience in a physical sense provides for very great exercise of personal discipline—it provides for a full measure of social, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth and maturation. If we miss this opportunity here on this world, then those of us who have been "deprived of the benefits of advantageous sex association on the evolutionary worlds" are "afforded full opportunity to acquire these essential mortal experiences in the close and loving association with the supernal Adamic sex creatures of permanent residence on the system capitals." [45:6.3 (516.1)] We are then enabled to take advantage of the close association with the Material Sons and Daughters, both individually and as members of their families for just this very purpose.
One of the strongest human impulses that incessantly drive men and women into association with one another is the mating instinct. Next to food, there is no stronger drive of human incentive than the sex urge. We are literally designed so that this is so. It is a "simple and innate biologic fact that men and women positively will not live without each other." [83:0.2 (922.2)] This innate propensity is one of the dominant physical driving forces that ensure the propagation of the species.
Notwithstanding the personality gulf between men and women, the sex urge is sufficient to insure their coming together for the reproduction of the species. This instinct operated effectively long before humans experienced much of what was later called love, devotion, and marital loyalty. Mating is an innate propensity, and marriage is its evolutionary social repercussion. [82:1.1 (913.4)]
When social evolution has sufficiently progressed to that stage where the sexual interaction of the species has acquired formal cultural customs and mores, the institution of marriage emerges as an accepted and enduring aspect of that society.
Marriage - mating - grows out of bisexuality. Marriage is man’s reactional adjustment to such bisexuality, while the family life is the sum total resulting from all such evolutionary and adaptative adjustments. Marriage is enduring; it is not inherent in biologic evolution, but it is the basis of all social evolution and is therefore certain of continued existence in some form. Marriage has given mankind the home, and the home is the crowning glory of the whole long and arduous evolutionary struggle. [82:0.1 (913.1)]
Contrary to much accepted belief, marriage is not a sacred and divine institution—it is a derivative and material function of the mortals of the evolutionary worlds. Essentially, it is not ordained that the pairing of any man and woman in matrimony should initiate an obligation that is necessarily carried over beyond this material life. Marriage is strictly the "evolving social partnership of a man and a woman existing and functioning under the current mores, restricted by the taboos, and enforced by the laws and regulations of society." [83:8:8 (930:4)] Along with marriage, the resulting human family is also a distinctly human institution.
Woman, because of physical and emotional attachment to her offspring, is dependent on co-operation with the male, and this urges her into the sheltering protection of marriage. But no direct biologic urge led man into marriage — much less held him in. It was not love that made marriage attractive to man, but food hunger which first attracted savage man to woman and the primitive shelter shared by her children. [84:1.2 (931.5)]
Although divine authority does not directly consummate the actual human institution of the marriage-home relationship, it is divinely supported that such unions of men and women in the bonds of a marriage contract exist for the purpose of procreating and rearing offspring. It remains the very highest of human ideals.
Jesus said: “Marriage is honorable and is to be desired by all men. The fact that the Son of Man pursues his earth mission alone is in no way a reflection on the desirability of marriage. That I should so work is the Father’s will, but this same Father has directed the creation of male and female, and it is the divine will that men and women should find their highest service and consequent joy in the establishment of homes for the reception and training of children, in the creation of whom these parents become copartners with the Makers of heaven and earth. And for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall become as one.” [167:5.7 (1839.4)]
A true family generates profound insights in all of its members regarding the real and loving attitude that the Universal Father has for his children. In like manner, the mother and father within such a family portray to their children a loving parental portrait of the same Father. For such children, this is only the beginning of a "long series of ascending disclosures of the Paradise parent of all universe children." [84:7.30 (942.1)]
Along with the injunction to take advantage of the personal growth potentials available in co-operative relationships with the individuals of the opposite gender, men and women must also experience the personal joys and disciplines involved in the raising of children. Children need both the father and mother for a healthy universe outlook and expectation. These children do not necessarily need to have been of direct issue of either parent. It is not the actual birth experience that qualifies this discipline as being acceptable. Rather, the acceptance of the personal responsibilities to which each and every individual must acquiesce qualifies as true parenthood.
We cannot forever remain dependent wards of the universe. We must sometime undergo that reversal of insight that accompanies these child-to-parent transitions, and this essential experience is not limited to the task of mothers. Fathers need the experience of being a full-time parent just as much as do mothers. In fact, it is also necessary for many non-mortal candidates for the Corps of the Finality on Paradise to undergo this same type of parental experience.
No surviving mortal, midwayer, or seraphim may ascend to Paradise, attain the Father, and be mustered into the Corps of the Finality without having passed through that sublime experience of achieving parental relationship to an evolving child of the worlds or some other experience analogous and equivalent thereto. The relationship of child and parent is fundamental to the essential concept of the Universal Father and his universe children. Therefore does such an experience become indispensable to the experiential training of all ascenders. [45:6.4 (516.2)]
The revelation contained within The Urantia Book offers this world new modes of thinking, new systems of values, and new expressions of spiritual imagery. We are challenged with new insights into the functional arena of divine and temporal relationships as these are based on new and transcendent meanings. These expressions are given unique and cosmic understanding and interpretation.
The Urantia Book makes a strong break from many of the cultural and theological traditions of Judeo-Christian patriarchy, especially as these regard the conceptual imagery central to religious language. The descriptive language in The Urantia Book is filled with personal expressions of God and Deity that are bursting with the images of maternal divinity and femininity. The ultimate power of femininity and maternity forever course through the very fabric of the universe of universes; the creative heart of God is beautifully characterized by the image of the Universal Mother.
Today, we are in possession of a revealed theology that is capable of fulfilling both male and female desires. We are exposed to spiritual imagery that transcends gender-specific capacities and awareness. These new and transcendent functional concepts are derived from higher cosmic patterns—these allow us to better understand the underlying purpose and design that gives rise to the male and female derivation of human gender. We learn of the basic design that establishes the purposed duality of man and woman; we realize that we are truly complemental to one another by creative design. This revelation is a powerful resource for promoting a supreme ideal of self-affirmation for men and women in their search for a natural ground in the cosmic scheme of things.
Men and women are created truly male and female. We are gendered as such to provide us with the functional capability for sexual reproduction. But this species differentiation does not end at this distinction—although we are essentially created equal as regards our spiritual make-up and mindal allotment, we are complemental in our mutual natures by design. We are biologically different and qualitatively complemental in mind. There are very definite differences in nature, reaction, viewpoint, and thinking between men and women; these differences affect the various ways we act, think and experience in our lives. It is by virtue of this complementary design that we are supremely dependent on shared co-operation with one another. The benefits from these personal relationships and commitments are that both parties, both men and women, will forever continue to intrigue, stimulate, encourage, and assist each other ever on towards higher achievements of social, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth.
Men and women must be encouraged to develop a loving tolerance and understanding for one another. They need to experientially learn to feel and respect the deepest concerns and aspirations of the other. We all need to create a culture that promotes new modes of thinking, new systems of values, and new expressions of spiritual imagery that must be inclusive of both male and female spiritual desires. If men and women can more clearly understand how we have come to today's established customs and norms, then we will have created a more solid foundation on which to build a more transcendent symbology and terminology for sharing our mutual spiritual aspirations and destinies.
Each sex has the ability to transcend itself, to experientially learn to feel and to represent the deepest concerns of the other. Through the acquirement of these skills, men can partake of the natural qualities of motherliness and women can similarly partake of the natural qualities of masculinity. We can accomplish this without ever losing sight of our more basic and instinctive natures. We should strive to create a culture that allows and encourages women to become masculinely feminine and men to become femininely masculine. Many individuals will choose to actualize both masculine and feminine aspects of their natures if they are only encouraged or allowed to do so by their culture. Men and women need to attune themselves to the values and qualities of the opposite gender so that they may become more perfectly whole.
And then, in bidding him farewell, Jesus said: “My brother, always remember that man has no rightful authority over woman unless the woman has willingly and voluntarily given him such authority. Your wife has engaged to go through life with you, to help you fight its battles, and to assume the far greater share of the burden of bearing and rearing your children; and in return for this special service it is only fair that she receive from you that special protection which man can give to woman as the partner who must carry, bear, and nurture the children. The loving care and consideration which a man is willing to bestow upon his wife and their children are the measure of that man’s attainment of the higher levels of creative and spiritual self-consciousness. Do you not know that men and women are partners with God in that they co-operate to create beings who grow up to possess themselves of the potential of immortal souls? The Father in heaven treats the Spirit Mother of the children of the universe as one equal to himself. [133:2.2 (1471.1)]
To him prayer was a sincere expression of spiritual attitude, a declaration of soul loyalty, a recital of personal devotion, an expression of thanksgiving, an avoidance of emotional tension, a prevention of conflict, an exaltation of intellection, an ennoblement of desire, a vindication of moral decision, an enrichment of thought, an invigoration of higher inclinations, a consecration of impulse, a clarification of viewpoint, a declaration of faith, a transcendental surrender of will, a sublime assertion of confidence, a revelation of courage, the proclamation of discovery, a confession of supreme devotion, the validation of consecration, a technique for the adjustment of difficulties, and the mighty mobilization of the combined soul powers to withstand all human tendencies toward selfishness, evil, and sin. [196:0.10 (2089.0)]
By opening the human end of the channel of the God-man communication, mortals make immediately available the ever-flowing stream of divine ministry to the creatures of the worlds. When man hears God's spirit speak within the human heart, inherent in such an experience is the fact that God simultaneously hears that man's prayer. [146:2.4 (1638.4)]
Prayer is a very real phenomenon in human experience that has a lasting impact on the individual doing the praying. It is by divine design that "there is an instinctive longing in the heart of evolutionary man for help from above and beyond." [92:5.2 (1008.7)] The more spiritually and progressive forms of prayer touch upon the superconscious levels of mortal mind wherein lies the indwelling Father-presence of the Adjuster, thus making contact with the spiritual influences of the universe. Prayer effects a spiritualizing response, especially when it seeks for divine inspiration and guidance. The best prayer initiates contact with objective spiritual realities, and this effort becomes a powerful spiritual-growth stimulus towards super-human values. This kind of prayer expands the soul's capacity for spiritual receptivity.
Prayer leads to an appreciation for the social communion of sonship and the group expression of fellowship, and collectively this leads to cooperative spiritual progress. Prayer is designed to expand insight. Prayer is conducive to health, especially psychological health. Prayer is "the psychologic process of exchanging the human will for the divine will." [144:4.7 (1621.6)] Although prayer does not necessarily provide for miraculous cures of real diseases of a physical nature, it often aids and assists the remedial treatments against these diseases.
Prayer, even as a purely human practice, a dialogue with one’s alter ego, constitutes a technique of the most efficient approach to the realization of those reserve powers of human nature which are stored and conserved in the unconscious realms of the human mind. Prayer is a sound psychologic practice, aside from its religious implications and its spiritual significance. [91:6.4 (999.7)]
The words that are employed in expressing prayer are our attempts to verbalize our heart's desire, but God searches the yearnings of the soul and knows of our innermost needs even before we can give them intellectual expression. The answers to these prayers usually result in an attitudinal adjustment to our life circumstances such that we become experientially wiser in dealing with them.
A sinful heart flirts with spiritual iniquity and its prayers threaten the connection of the human soul with the channels of spirit communication between man and God. Also, in similar manner, prayers that go counter against the Father's will likewise threaten these spiritual circuits.
Worship [16:6.8 (192.4)]
- The spiritual domain of the reality of religious experience
- The personal realization of divine fellowship.
- The recognition of spirit values.
- The assurance of eternal survival.
- The ascent from the status of servants of God to the joy and liberty of the sons of God.
- The highest insight of cosmic mind, the reverential and worshipful form of the cosmic discrimination.
The Paradise Father never imposes the obligation of worship upon his universe creatures. Rather, it is his children who voluntarily worship the Father out of a deep abiding love and a recognition of his worthiness for being loved. There are no expectations in return for this heart-felt adoration by the true worshiper. We all freely worship the Father because ultimately it gives us joy to do so.
Worship is for its own sake; prayer embodies a self- or creature-interest element; that is the great difference between worship and prayer. There is absolutely no self-request or other element of personal interest in true worship; we simply worship God for what we comprehend him to be. Worship asks nothing and expects nothing for the worshiper. We do not worship the Father because of anything we may derive from such veneration; we render such devotion and engage in such worship as a natural and spontaneous reaction to the recognition of the Father’s matchless personality and because of his lovable nature and adorable attributes. [5:3.3 (65.5)]
We naturally worship the Father in complete adoration because we recognize that his love for us is so divinely unbounded and unconditional. The Father loves us regardless of whether we love him in return. In fact, his love for each one of us is just as full and replete if we were a lost sinner as it is if we were the greatest of saints.
The Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man present the paradox of the part and the whole on the level of personality. God loves each individual as an individual child in the heavenly family. Yet God thus loves every individual; he is no respecter of persons, and the universality of his love brings into being a relationship of the whole, the universal brotherhood. [12:7.8 (138.3)]
We worship the Father because he is personally involved in every aspect of our lives and because he incessantly proves worthy of our fullest trust. The Father lives within each of us, and he remains intimately in our deepest being as we traverse our life pathways. The indwelling of his spiritual spark through his bestowed Thought Adjusters unfailingly registers all "the bona fide adoration of their subjects acceptably in the presence of the Universal Father." [5:3:2 (65:4)]
We worship God, first, because he is, then, because he is in us, and last, because we are in him. [16:9.14 (196.10)]
We may include forms of prayer in our worship sessions, but in reality these prayers will find more purposeful registry in the Eternal Son or the Creator Son. We cooperate with such spirit personalities as our guardian seraphim in working out the practical details of our daily life, we pray to and commune with the Eternal Son and the Creator Son, but we worship God our Paradise Father. Presiding in the local universe creations for the Universal Father and the Eternal Son of Paradise, the Creator Sons respond to the sincere and heartfelt prayers of their creature subjects. Upon earning their unquestioned recognition of local universe sovereignty, these Creator Sons become entitled to receive worshipful adoration in the rightful name of the Father.
Sincere worship by a mortal creature entails the full dedication of personal being. The real significance of this worship finds reflection within the evolving immortal soul, while the material mind only achieves a partial semblance of this experience. This experience by the mortal mind is proportional in accomplishment to the degree that the immortal soul has evolved. On Paradise, worship becomes a blissful passion for those who find themselves in the personal presence of God. Worship here becomes a supreme expression of adoration and spiritual praise. This act of worship becomes a perfect form of self-expression, enjoyment, appreciation, and gratitude.
Worship is the highest privilege and the first duty of all created intelligences. Worship is the conscious and joyous act of recognizing and acknowledging the truth and fact of the intimate and personal relationships of the Creators with their creatures. The quality of worship is determined by the depth of creature perception; and as the knowledge of the infinite character of the Gods progresses, the act of worship becomes increasingly all-encompassing until it eventually attains the glory of the highest experiential delight and the most exquisite pleasure known to created beings. [27.7.1 (303.5)]
As mortal beings, we are given the supreme ascension challenge from Paradise for seeking and eventually finding the Paradise Father starting as we do from a remote outpost of finite creation. Rising to this challenge, we will one day develop an all-encompassing purpose of will, and at the same time we will experience a swelling of spiritual emotion that can only be satisfied in heart-felt worship. In the worshipful communion with our Paradise Father, we obtain a glimpse of our perfecting future in anticipation of what we are becoming day by day. The worship experience reflects back to us a divine inspiration of what lies ahead. We anticipate our enhancing dedication for the loving ministry of our brothers and sisters, and we gain a foretaste of our soul-detachment from material concerns as replaced with an augmenting hunger for spirit attunement.
Worship is the act of a part identifying itself with the Whole; the finite with the Infinite; the son with the Father; time in the act of striking step with eternity. Worship is the act of the son’s personal communion with the divine Father, the assumption of refreshing, creative, fraternal, and romantic attitudes by the human soul-spirit. [143:7.8 (1616.10)]
The material mind is limited to a level of intellectual self-consciousness that falls short of the capability to attain the reality of true worship experience. The consciousness of true worship entails the mobilization of the fully manifested human personality as it is dominated by the evolving soul and is willfully subject to the associated presence of the indwelling Thought Adjuster. Worship consists in the full mobilization of all the powers of human personality, under the dominance of the evolving soul, divinely directionized by the Thought Adjuster. The extent of the soul's development determines the quality of the personal worship experience.
Four Cosmic Levels of Worship
- The intellectual mortal mind consents to worship.
- The immortal morontia soul craves and initiates worship.
- The spiritual presence of the Thought Adjuster conducts worship on behalf of the mortal mind and the evolving soul in the attempt to communicate to the Universal Father their conjoint longings and spiritual aspirations.
- Personality is the unifier of the worship consciousness of mind, soul, and spirit.
Mortal mind experiences the true significance of sincere worship by utilizing the full faculties of human personality as these are influenced by the participation of the evolving soul under the direction of the associated Thought Adjuster. In human experience, true worship is soul-inspired because the developmental growth of the evolving immortal soul transcends the intellectual status of the self-conscious mortal mind.