The Urantia Book Foreword
IN THE MINDS of the mortals of Urantia--that being the name of your world--there exists great confusion respecting the meaning of such terms as God, divinity, and deity. Human beings are still more confused and uncertain about the relationships of the divine personalities designated by these numerous appellations. Because of this conceptual poverty associated with so much ideational confusion, I have been directed to formulate this introductory statement in explanation of the meanings which should be attached to certain word symbols as they may be hereinafter used in those papers which the Orvonton corps of truth revealers have been authorized to translate into the English language of Urantia.
It is exceedingly difficult to present enlarged concepts and advanced truth, in our endeavor to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception, when we are restricted to the use of a circumscribed language of the realm. But our mandate admonishes us to make every effort to convey our meanings by using the word symbols of the English tongue. We have been instructed to introduce new terms only when the concept to be portrayed finds no terminology in English which can be employed to convey such a new concept partially or even with more or less distortion of meaning.
In the hope of facilitating comprehension and of preventing confusion on the part of every mortal who may peruse these papers, we deem it wise to present in this initial statement an outline of the meanings to be attached to numerous English words which are to be employed in designation of Deity and certain associated concepts of the things, meanings, and values of universal reality.
But in order to formulate this Foreword of definitions and limitations of terminology, it is necessary to anticipate the usage of these terms in the subsequent presentations. This Foreword is not, therefore, a finished statement within itself; it is only a definitive guide designed to assist those who shall read the accompanying papers dealing with Deity and the universe of universes which have been formulated by an Orvonton commission sent to Urantia for this purpose.
Your world, Urantia, is one of many similar inhabited planets which comprise the local universe of Nebadon. This universe, together with similar creations, makes up the superuniverse of Orvonton, from whose capital, Uversa, our commission hails. Orvonton is one of the seven evolutionary superuniverses of time and space which circle the never-beginning, never-ending creation of divine perfection--the central universe of Havona. At the heart of this eternal and central universe is the stationary Isle of Paradise, the geographic center of infinity and the dwelling place of the eternal God.
The seven evolving superuniverses in association with the central and divine universe, we commonly refer to as the grand universe; these are the now organized and inhabited creations. They are all a part of the master universe, which also embraces the uninhabited but mobilizing universes of outer space.
I. DEITY AND DIVINITY The universe of universes presents phenomena of deity activities on diverse levels of cosmic realities, mind meanings, and spirit values, but all of these ministrations--personal or otherwise--are divinely co-ordinated.
DEITY is personalizable as God, is prepersonal and superpersonal in ways not altogether comprehensible by man. Deity is characterized by the quality of unity--actual or potential--on all supermaterial levels of reality; and this unifying quality is best comprehended by creatures as divinity.
Deity functions on personal, prepersonal, and superpersonal levels. Total Deity is functional on the following seven levels:
1. Static--self-contained and self-existent Deity. 2. Potential--self-willed and self-purposive Deity.
3. Associative--self-personalized and divinely fraternal Deity.
4. Creative--self-distributive and divinely revealed Deity.
5. Evolutional--self-expansive and creature-identified Deity.
6. Supreme--self-experiential and creature-Creator-unifying Deity. Deity functioning on the first creature-identificational level as time-space overcontrollers of the grand universe, sometimes designated the Supremacy of Deity. 7. Ultimate--self-projected and time-space-transcending Deity. Deity omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Deity functioning on the second level of unifying divinity expression as effective overcontrollers and absonite upholders of the master universe. As compared with the ministry of the Deities to the grand universe, this absonite function in the master universe is tantamount to universal overcontrol and supersustenance, sometimes called the Ultimacy of Deity.
The finite level of reality is characterized by creature life and time-space limitations. Finite realities may not have endings, but they always have beginnings--they are created. The Deity level of Supremacy may be conceived as a function in relation to finite existences.
The absonite level of reality is characterized by things and beings without beginnings or endings and by the transcendence of time and space. Absoniters are not created; they are eventuated--they simply are. The Deity level of Ultimacy connotes a function in relation to absonite realities. No matter in what part of the master universe, whenever time and space are transcended, such an absonite phenomenon is an act of the Ultimacy of Deity.
The absolute level is beginningless, endless, timeless, and spaceless. For example: On Paradise, time and space are nonexistent; the time-space status of Paradise is absolute. This level is Trinity attained, existentially, by the Paradise Deities, but this third level of unifying Deity expression is not fully unified experientially. Whenever, wherever, and however the absolute level of Deity functions, Paradise-absolute values and meanings are manifest.
Deity may be existential, as in the Eternal Son; experiential, as in the Supreme Being; associative, as in God the Sevenfold; undivided, as in the Paradise Trinity.
Deity is the source of all that which is divine. Deity is characteristically and invariably divine, but all that which is divine is not necessarily Deity, though it will be co-ordinated with Deity and will tend towards some phase of unity with Deity--spiritual, mindal, or personal.
DIVINITY is the characteristic, unifying, and co-ordinating quality of Deity.
Divinity is creature comprehensible as truth, beauty, and goodness; correlated in personality as love, mercy, and ministry; disclosed on impersonal levels as justice, power, and sovereignty.
Divinity may be perfect--complete--as on existential and creator levels of Paradise perfection; it may be imperfect, as on experiential and creature levels of time-space evolution; or it may be relative, neither perfect nor imperfect, as on certain Havona levels of existential-experiential relationships.
When we attempt to conceive of perfection in all phases and forms of relativity, we encounter seven conceivable types:
1. Absolute perfection in all aspects.
2. Absolute perfection in some phases and relative perfection in all other aspects.
3. Absolute, relative, and imperfect aspects in varied association.
4. Absolute perfection in some respects, imperfection in all others.
5. Absolute perfection in no direction, relative perfection in all manifestations.
6. Absolute perfection in no phase, relative in some, imperfect in others.
7. Absolute perfection in no attribute, imperfection in all.
II. GOD Evolving mortal creatures experience an irresistible urge to symbolize their finite concepts of God. Man's consciousness of moral duty and his spiritual idealism represent a value level--an experiential reality--which is difficult of symbolization.
Cosmic consciousness implies the recognition of a First Cause, the one and only uncaused reality. God, the Universal Father, functions on three Deity-personality levels of subinfinite value and relative divinity expression:
1. Prepersonal--as in the ministry of the Father fragments, such as the Thought Adjusters.
2. Personal--as in the evolutionary experience of created and procreated beings.
3. Superpersonal--as in the eventuated existences of certain absonite and associated beings.
GOD is a word symbol designating all personalizations of Deity. The term requires a different definition on each personal level of Deity function and must be still further redefined within each of these levels, as this term may be used to designate the diverse co-ordinate and subordinate personalizations of Deity; for example: the Paradise Creator Sons--the local universe fathers.
The term God, as we make use of it, may be understood:
By designation--as God the Father.
By context--as when used in the discussion of some one deity level or association. When in doubt as to the exact interpretation of the word God, it would be advisable to refer it to the person of the Universal Father.
The term God always denotes personality. Deity may, or may not, refer to divinity personalities.
The word GOD is used, in these papers, with the following meanings:
1. God the Father--Creator, Controller, and Upholder. The Universal Father, the First Person of Deity.
2. God the Son--Co-ordinate Creator, Spirit Controller, and Spiritual Administrator. The Eternal Son, the Second Person of Deity.
3. God the Spirit--Conjoint Actor, Universal Integrator, and Mind Bestower. The Infinite Spirit, the Third Person of Deity.
4. God the Supreme--the actualizing or evolving God of time and space. Personal Deity associatively realizing the time-space experiential achievement of creature-Creator identity. The Supreme Being is personally experiencing the achievement of Deity unity as the evolving and experiential God of the evolutionary creatures of time and space.
5. God the Sevenfold--Deity personality anywhere actually functioning in time and space. The personal Paradise Deities and their creative associates functioning in and beyond the borders of the central universe and power-personalizing as the Supreme Being on the first creature level of unifying Deity revelation in time and space. This level, the grand universe, is the sphere of the time-space descension of Paradise personalities in reciprocal association with the time-space ascension of evolutionary creatures.
6. God the Ultimate--the eventuating God of supertime and transcended space. The second experiential level of unifying Deity manifestation. God the Ultimate implies the attained realization of the synthesized absonite-superpersonal, time-space-transcended, and eventuated-experiential values, co-ordinated on final creative levels of Deity reality.
7. God the Absolute--the experientializing God of transcended superpersonal values and divinity meanings, now existential as the Deity Absolute. This is the third level of unifying Deity expression and expansion. On this supercreative level, Deity experiences exhaustion of personalizable potential, encounters completion of divinity, and undergoes depletion of capacity for self-revelation to successive and progressive levels of other-personalization. Deity now encounters, impinges upon, and experiences identity with, the Unqualified Absolute.
III. THE FIRST SOURCE AND CENTER Total, infinite reality is existential in seven phases and as seven co-ordinate Absolutes:
1. The First Source and Center. 2. The Second Source and Center.
3. The Third Source and Center.
4. The Isle of Paradise.
5. The Deity Absolute.
6. The Universal Absolute.
7. The Unqualified Absolute.
God, as the First Source and Center, is primal in relation to total reality--unqualifiedly. The First Source and Center is infinite as well as eternal and is therefore limited or conditioned only by volition.
God--the Universal Father--is the personality of the First Source and Center and as such maintains personal relations of infinite control over all co-ordinate and subordinate sources and centers. Such control is personal and infinite in potential, even though it may never actually function owing to the perfection of the function of such co-ordinate and subordinate sources and centers and personalities.
The First Source and Center is, therefore, primal in all domains: deified or undeified, personal or impersonal, actual or potential, finite or infinite. No thing or being, no relativity or finality, exists except in direct or indirect relation to, and dependence on, the primacy of the First Source and Center.
The First Source and Center is related to the universe as:
1. The gravity forces of the material universes are convergent in the gravity center of nether Paradise. That is just why the geographic location of his person is eternally fixed in absolute relation to the force-energy center of the nether or material plane of Paradise. But the absolute personality of Deity exists on the upper or spiritual plane of Paradise.
2. The mind forces are convergent in the Infinite Spirit; the differential and divergent cosmic mind in the Seven Master Spirits; the factualizing mind of the Supreme as a time-space experience in Majeston.
3. The universe spirit forces are convergent in the Eternal Son.
4. The unlimited capacity for deity action resides in the Deity Absolute.
5. The unlimited capacity for infinity response exists in the Unqualified Absolute.
6. The two Absolutes--Qualified and Unqualified--are co-ordinated and unified in and by the Universal Absolute.
7. The potential personality of an evolutionary moral being or of any other moral being is centered in the personality of the Universal Father.
REALITY, as comprehended by finite beings, is partial, relative, and shadowy. The maximum Deity reality fully comprehensible by evolutionary finite creatures is embraced within the Supreme Being. Nevertheless there are antecedent and eternal realities, superfinite realities, which are ancestral to this Supreme Deity of evolutionary time-space creatures. In attempting to portray the origin and nature of universal reality, we are forced to employ the technique of time-space reasoning in order to reach the level of the finite mind. Therefore must many of the simultaneous events of eternity be presented as sequential transactions. As a time-space creature would view the origin and differentiation of Reality, the eternal and infinite I AM achieved Deity liberation from the fetters of unqualified infinity through the exercise of inherent and eternal free will, and this divorcement from unqualified infinity produced the first absolute divinity-tension. This tension of infinity differential is resolved by the Universal Absolute, which functions to unify and co-ordinate the dynamic infinity of Total Deity and the static infinity of the Unqualified Absolute.