A Study of the Master Universe:
A Development of Concepts in the Urantia Book
Bill Sadler (William S. Sadler, Jr.)
This is the story of the creative and the evolutional expansion of Paradise-Havona divinity into time and space. It is also the story of the consolidation of such expansion; on finite levels in the Supreme, and on absonite levels in the Ultimate. It begins, but cannot finish, the story that goes on beyond the Ultimate.
The study is presented in three main parts:
- The Finite Story
- The Absonite Story
- The Beginning of the Last Story
This study properly begins when the past-eternal age of Havona gives way to an age that has an origin in time - the Second Age - the one in which we are now living. This study will have to come to an end not long after the last age of the master universe has closed in time and has given way to an age that is future-eternal.
Introduction—Topics on this page:
- The Uses of the Word "Universe"
- Universe Space Levels
- Universe Ages
- The Scheme of this Inquiry -- A Study of the Master Universe
Actually, what is the master universe? Do we really have much of an understanding of what the Urantia Papers mean when they speak of it? Do we have any proper understanding of how God's purposes are unfolding in the master universe? Do we have an appreciation of the purpose of the master universe itself?
1. The Uses Of The Word "Universe"
The Urantia Papers make use of the word "universe" in several different ways: They speak of local universes and superuniverses, of the central universe, the grand universe, and the master universe.
Havona is the name of the central universe. This is the creation that immediately surrounds Paradise. (The Isle of Paradise is not a part of any universe; it is the motionless and absolute center of all material things.) Havona is encircled by the seven superuniverses, and Orvonton is the name of the seventh superuniverse - our superuniverse. Each superuniverse is designed to embrace exactly 100,000 local universes, and Nebadon is the name of our local universe.
When the Urantia Papers want to speak about the central universe plus the seven superuniverses, they use the name "grand universe." This is the presently organized and inhabited creation; it stands in contrast to the unorganized and uninhabited space regions outside of it - the four outer space levels.
When the Urantia Papers desire to speak of the grand universe plus these four outer space levels, they use the term "master universe." In this study, when we want to refer to those four outer space levels alone, we will use the term "outer universes," or "outer-space universes." (The term "universe of universes" is also used in the Urantia Papers. This term is not precisely defined. It can be roughly defined as the grand universe, with or without the outer space levels. This term, universe of universes, will not be used in this study except where it is unavoidable.)
2. Universe Space Levels
The best general description of the master universe appears in the Urantia Papers in section 1 of Paper 12, Space Levels of the Master Universe. The story which is given there presents a picture of the master creation as consisting of six concentric and elliptical space levels. Each of these space levels has two names that are used rather interchangeably, as listed below:
- The Havona Space Level; The Central Universe
- The Superuniverse Space Level; The Seven Superuniverses
- The First Outer Space Level; The Primary Space Level
- The Second Outer Space Level; The Secondary Space Level
- The Third Outer Space Level; The Tertiary Space Level
- The Fourth Outer Space Level; The Quartan Space Level
In this study we will find the concept of these six space levels to be most helpful to the organization of our thinking.
3. Universe Ages
There is another concept presented in the Urantia Papers that we will find most useful; this is the concept of the six successive universe ages. The Urantia Papers present each universe age as a period of time that is associated with the opening and the development of a new space level. This relationship is presented in the following list. The first item in the list is the level involved. The second item is the universe age or era during which development is focused on the related level.
- The Havona Space Level; The First Universe Age
- The Superuniverse Space Level; The Second Universe Age
- The First Outer Space Level; The Third Universe Age
- The Second Outer Space Level; The Fourth Universe Age
- The Third Outer Space Level; The Fifth Universe Age
- The Fourth Outer Space Level; The Sixth Universe Age
We will study the growth and development of the master universe, paying particular attention to the sequence of events - how the universe ages synchronize the expansion of the Paradise creative forces and personalities outward into the concentric space levels.
4. The Scheme Of This Inquiry - A Study Of The Master Universe
It is the intent of this study to see what we can learn about God's purpose through a careful study of the master universe. We will try to bring together whatever the Urantia Papers have to say about the master creation, and its space levels, and its universe ages. If we can assemble the pertinent data, then, by interpolation and extrapolation, we may be able to add a little to our understanding of the master creation, and to our understanding of God's plan for the creators and the creatures of this wide-spreading domain.
There are many questions which can be raised and to which we may seek answers. This study proposes to examine such questions as these:
- (1) How large is a space level? How do the space levels compare in size? How big are the outer space levels in comparison to the grand universe? How large is the grand universe? How large is the whole master universe?
- (2) How long a time is a universe age? Do some ages last longer than others? Do these ages have any relationships other than sequence?
- (3) Is there any qualitative difference between universe ages? Or, are any such differences merely a matter of duration - quantity of time? How is the growth of experiential Deity related to the universe ages? What relationships exist between these Deity evolutions and the expanding space levels? How is the development of the two experiential trinities related to the universe ages and to the universe space levels?
- (4) What creative themes and principles have developed, are developing, and may yet develop, in the successive ages and on the expanding space-stages of the six concentric space levels? Can we discover any basic principles which seem to underlie these events?
- (5) How is man, as a finaliter, related to all these developments in the present age, and in the future ages -on the present space-stage of the grand universe, and on the future space stages of the outer universes?
- (6) Is the master universe the final creation? Or, will it in the distant future, exist in relation to something even greater than itself?
- (7) What are the final limits? What is the final goal?
We propose to investigate these questions by an examination of the successive universe ages.
There was just one age before the present one; this was the First Age, the age of Havona. We have already given consideration to this age in the Prologue to our study. We are now living in the Second Age, the age of the superuniverses, and we will begin our study with an examination of this present universe age. After this, we will undertake the study of the four future ages of the master universe - the successive ages of the four outer space levels.
When we encounter gaps in the available data, we will make an effort to bridge them by intensive and extensive reasoning. We well understand that all such types of speculative reasoning are bound to suffer from the limitations inherent in our human ignorance.
Nevertheless, at the very least, we may achieve a better "unification of ignorance" as a result of these efforts. Let us embark adventuresomely on our study of the master universe: its lengthening ages; its widening space levels; and its ever-expanding scope of creator and creature self-realization. Let us embark with intellectual humility - but nonetheless, with courage!
William S. Sadler, Jr.