THE NEW REVELATION
June 27, 2015
Question: Are we going against the instruction of the revelators by suggesting that people begin reading the Urantia Book starting with Part IV, instead of going from beginning to end?
We have received a few emails suggesting that we are in violation of the directives of the revelators when we suggest that people begin reading The Urantia Book with Part IV. They point to this language in Paper 19:
“For example: The human mind would ordinarily crave to approach the cosmic philosophy portrayed in these revelations by proceeding from the simple and the finite to the complex and the infinite, from human origins to divine destinies. But that path does not lead to spiritual wisdom. Such a procedure is the easiest path to a certain form of genetic knowledge, but at best it can only reveal man’s origin; it reveals little or nothing about his divine destiny.”
– UB 19:1.5
We note that the revelator here, a Divine Counselor of Uversa, is telling us how to “approach the cosmic philosophy.” He is telling us how to gain knowledge and an understanding of the book. However, when we encourage starting with the finite – Part IV – we are telling our brothers and sisters how to develop a relationship with Jesus and Deity. Developing a relationship and gaining knowledge are two separate and distinct endeavors. One can easily do one without doing the other. But we do not stop there. We also encourage our readers to read the entire book from front to back after they have drawn closer to Jesus. Notice what we actually wrote:
“When you complete Part IV, you might want to go to Part II, then Part III, then Part I, and then finally, at the end, read the Foreword. Many of the concepts in the Foreword are interesting, but the definitions have more meaning once you have read the book first. Strange, but true. And after you have read the book in its entirety in this jagged pattern, then you should start again from Part I and read each Paper in order from 1 to 196. This will take some time but after you finish the second reading, the matters will fall into place and you will have the beginning of a working knowledge of the universe.” - Introduction to The Urantia Book
So really, the only difference is in the timing. We do, in fact, encourage reading from front to back, from infinite to finite, but only after one has developed a closer relationship with Jesus. Without that relationship, knowing the “cosmic philosophy” is just academic. It has no saving power. It is the difference between ‘truth’ and ‘what is true.’ The cosmology in the book is true information as it can be expressed to the finite mind, but it is not absolute or unchanging. Whereas, Jesus IS the one unchanging truth in our universe. His teachings are for today, tomorrow and forever. As long as we remain in his universe, we are subject to him and his ways. Our Sovereign is our foundation, without whom there can be no salvation. On the other hand, having a relationship without knowing the “cosmic philosophy” or what is ‘true’ does not prevent or hinder salvation in the least. So while both knowledge and relationship are important, but we put the priority on relationship, founded on truth.
To further support our position that beginning with Part IV is most helpful, we point to these comments in The Urantia Book:
“The great hope of Urantia lies in the possibility of a new revelation of Jesus with a new and enlarged presentation of his saving message which would spiritually unite in loving service the numerous families of his present-day professed followers.”
– UB 195:10.16
“The hope of modern Christianity is that it should cease to sponsor the social systems and industrial policies of Western civilization while it humbly bows itself before the cross it so valiantly extols, there to learn anew from Jesus of Nazareth the greatest truths mortal man can ever hear—the living gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.”
- UB 195:10.21
The “great hope” of mankind, the “greatest truths mortal man can ever hear” lies in Part IV – the Life and Teachings of Jesus.
We also note that The Urantia Book, consisting of 2,000 pages of complex text, is difficult to read from start to finish without a strong motivating factor. In our own experience, we did not have enough sustained interest to read the book from cover to cover until we had completed Part IV. Many Uranita Book readers have the same experience. Few pick it up initially and read it from cover to cover. They usually find things of interest and read them first and then, after developing a trust in the information and a comfortability with the contents, they engage the entire book. And in most instances, all those who begin reading in a jagged fashion eventual do read it from front to back.
We do not believe the revelators would oppose this method of approaching The Urantia Book, especially since this is just a matter of timing. All those who develop a closer relationship with Jesus by reading Part IV will eventually read the entire book from cover to cover. So really what we are proposing is not contradictory to the counsel of the revelators.