This is the first in a series of articles that will bring us face to face with the ultimate human experience. I wish to explore what I believe to be the fundamental life questions:
- How do we become like God?
- How do we do the will of God?
- What is the ultimate human experience?
We live in a world that is hungry for excitement, for thrills. For many, climbing the highest mountain, circling the earth in the space shuttle, or snorting cocaine constitutes the ultimate human experience. But there is something much greater, something so profound that no words can adequately describe it. The Urantia Book alludes to the answer in the often-repeated theme of the book articulated by the Master, Christ Michael, in these words:
The ultimate goal of human progress is the reverent recognition of the fatherhood of God and the loving materialization of the brotherhood of man. [Paper 143:1.4, page 1608.1]
It is easy to read these words and completely miss their profundity! Did Jesus really mean that God is our father? Did he really mean that we could experience a relationship with God every bit as intimate, warm, affectionate, and real as a human father could possibly have with his child?
God is much, much more than a Father, but the Father is man’s highest concept of God. [Paper 115:1.2, page 1260.3]
God is the Father; man is his son. Love, the love of a father for his son, becomes the central truth in the universe relations of Creator and creature. [Paper 188:5.1, page 2017.9]
Can we get our collective heads around such an extraordinary concept? Is God saying that he not only wants to but has made it possible for us to have a father/son relationship with him? A moment’s contemplation is likely to reveal the staggering enormity of such a notion! But we can easily lose sight of this unimaginable privilege that God is offering us as we hungrily comb through the pages of this revelation. Every page contains the most remarkable truths, truths that excite the intellect, the imagination, and dare I say, the human ego. But what about the greatest truth of all: God is our Father and he wants to have a fatherly relationship with us individually. He wants us to experience him and he wants to experience us. Just chew on that thought for a while; let it really sink in.
Our Father is not in hiding; he is not in arbitrary seclusion. He has mobilized the resources of divine wisdom in a never-ending effort to reveal himself to the children of his universal domains. There is an infinite grandeur and an inexpressible generosity connected with the majesty of his love which causes him to yearn for the association of every created being who can comprehend, love, or approach him. [Paper 5:1.2, page 62.4]
It is hard to imagine that the First Source and Centre of the universe of universes yearns for our association. But then this is what you would expect from a loving father toward his precious children. Listen to what a Midwayer Commission had to say to us humans:
The great challenge to modern man is to achieve better communication with the divine Monitor that dwells within the human mind. Man’s greatest adventure in the flesh consists in the well-balanced and sane effort to advance the borders of self-consciousness out through the dim realms of embryonic soul-consciousness in a wholehearted effort to reach the borderland of spirit-consciousness- -contact with the divine presence. Such an experience constitutes God-consciousness, an experience mightily confirmative of the pre-existent truth of the religious experience of knowing God. Such spirit-consciousness is the equivalent of the knowledge of the actuality of sonship with God. [Paper 196:3.34, page 2097.2]
So let’s get this clear: man’s greatest adventure while sojourning in this fleshly body (and there are none greater than this) is to make a sane and well-balanced effort to advance our consciousness from the self, to the soul, to the spirit, that we might make contact with the divine presence. So precious is this goal that the author states that it will require “a wholehearted effort”. This must surely constitute the ultimate human experience:
Personal contact with the divine! God allows himself to be found by us. And God is constantly trying to find us!!
And indirectly and unrecognized the Adjuster is constantly communicating with the human subject, especially during those sublime experiences of the worshipful contact of mind with spirit in the superconsciousness. [Paper 110:1.1, page 1203.3]
I have come to show you that, while you are seeking to find God, God is likewise seeking to find you.”[Paper 169:1.2, page 1850.9]
And how they do enjoy communicating with their subjects in more or less direct channels! How they rejoice when they can dispense with symbols and other methods of indirection and flash their messages straight to the intellects of their human partners! [Paper 108:6.7, page 1193.6]
This ultimate human experience is not just some fanciful figment of human imagination, some notion of wishful thinking. It is open and available to anyone who hears the sacred invitation and responds wholeheartedly! And how do we respond wholeheartedly? How do we apprehend this ultimate human experience? What did the Solitary Messenger say? Contact with the divine is especially likely to occur when we are in a state of worshipful contact of mind with spirit; when we are superconscious!
Jesus taught his followers that, when they had made their prayers to the Father, they should remain for a time in silent receptivity to afford the indwelling spirit the better opportunity to speak to the listening soul. The spirit of the Father speaks best to man when the human mind is in an attitude of true worship. [Paper 146:2.16, page 1641:1]
What do we know about worship?
Worship is a personal communion with that which is divinely real, with that which is the very source of reality. Man aspires by worship to be better and thereby eventually attains the best. [Paper 196:3.22, page 2095.6]
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. [Paper 27:7.1, page 305.5]
Imagine having personal communion with the divine! It almost leaves you breathless! It is the act of worship that ultimately leads us to “the highest experiential delight and the most exquisite pleasure known to created beings.”
All mortals who are indwelt by Thought Adjusters are potential worshipers; they have been “lighted by the true light,” and they possess capacity for seeking reciprocal contact with divinity. [Paper 52:1.7, page 590.3]
So there you have it! As beings indwelt by Adjusters, we are potential worshipers and we have the “capacity for seeking reciprocal contact with divinity.”
The Father respects our free will; He doesn’t impose himself on us. We are “potential” worshipers; we have the “capacity” for seeking divine contact! But whether we do or not depends on what we regard as precious. Listen to what the Perfector of Wisdom says to us: worship is not just some pious religious activity that churchgoers perform every Sunday; it is “the highest privilege and the first duty of all created intelligences”.
As a relative new-comer to the Urantia movement, I have noticed a certain degree of hesitation, confusion, lack of confidence, and lack of direction at both the individual and organizational level. Of course, this is quite understandable for a young movement trying to find its place in the midst of accelerated and unprecedented social and cultural changes throughout the planet. We ask ourselves:
What are we supposed to be doing at this point of time in human history? Should we be aiming for rapid expansion of the revelation or steady-as-she goes progress? The watchword of the universe is progress [Paper 4:1.2, page 54.5] but how do we progress?
To find reliable answers to all these questions we need divine guidance. We need a spiritual connection! We are exhorted not to rest upon our own understanding! [Paper 131:2.8, page 1445:2]
Spiritual development depends, first, on the maintenance of a living spiritual connection with true spiritual forces and, second, on the continuous bearing of spiritual fruit: yielding the ministry to one’s fellows of that which has been received from one’s spiritual benefactors. [Paper 100:2.1, page 1095.5]
As individuals and as an organization, we need to maintain a “living spiritual connection with true spiritual forces”.
Though you cannot find God by searching, if you will submit to the leading of the indwelling spirit, you will be unerringly guided, step by step, life by life, through universe upon universe, and age by age, until you finally stand in the presence of the Paradise personality of the Universal Father.[Paper 2:5.5, page 39.4]
If we are willing to “submit to the leading of the indwelling spirit”, we, individually and collectively, will be unerringly guided by our loving Father; He will show us the way!
There is a powerful, all-encompassing truth to be discerned here, one which answers the key questions pertaining to our role as believers at this critical time in human history: Our Father is inviting us, beckoning us to experience his presence, to have “a religious experience so personal and so sublime that it could be realized and expressed only by ‘feelings that lie too deep for words.’ ”[Paper 99:5.9, page 1091.8]
The purpose of this ultimate human experience, this state of superconsciousness, is that we may know our Father and be able to do his will. By establishing and maintaining “a living spiritual connection”, by being “led by the spirit”, we are able to fulfil the supreme mandate, “Be you perfect, even as I am perfect”; we are able to become like him!
We worship God by the aid of the Father’s indwelling spirit and by the illumination of the human mind through the ministry of truth. Worship, taught Jesus, makes one increasingly like the being who is worshiped. Worship is a transforming experience whereby the finite gradually approaches and ultimately attains the presence of the Infinite. [Paper 146:2.17, page 1641.1]
God-knowing creatures have only one supreme ambition, just one consuming desire, and that is to become, as they are in their spheres, like him as he is in his Paradise perfection of personality and in his universal sphere of righteous supremacy. From the Universal Father who inhabits eternity there has gone forth the supreme mandate, “Be you perfect, even as I am perfect.” [Paper 1:0.3, page 21.3]
Obedience to the will of the Father, yielding the fruits of the spirit in one’s personal life, is the law of the kingdom. [Paper 142:1.5, page 1596.7]
In future articles, I would like to explore in greater detail the role of prayer and worship when we gather together as UB readers and in fulfilling the fundamental mandate: “Be you perfect, even as I am perfect”