Presentation at Conference in Canberra, October 2013
The Spirit of Truth is one of the key protagonists in the most amazing love story ever told. He is the spirit of a Creator Son, poured out on the mortal inhabitants of a world belonging to his local universe at the conclusion of a bestowal mission.
This “spirit friend”, this “new teacher”, will always guide us in the ways of righteousness; when we are confused, doubting, or fearful, he will point us in the right direction, saying: “This is the way!”
These are the words of a Mighty Messenger stationed temporarily on Urantia:
Having started out on the way of life everlasting, having accepted the assignment and received your orders to advance, do not fear the dangers of human forgetfulness and mortal inconstancy, do not be troubled with doubts of failure or by perplexing confusion, do not falter and question your status and standing…for in every dark hour, at every crossroad in the forward struggle, the Spirit of Truth will always speak, saying ‘’This is the way’’. [Paper 34:7.8, Page 383.2]
As mere mortals on this planet, haven’t we all experienced these human frailties? So then what does it mean when it says the Spirit of Truth will always speak, saying “This is the way”? How do we personally experience that guidance? Is it something that we experience automatically, or must we do something to access it? These are some of the questions I would like to consider in this article. But firstly, let us briefly explore the relationship between the Spirit of Truth and the other two spirit endowments that together bring about the reality of our son-ship with God.
Our Threefold Spiritual Endowment
Our first contact with spirit is via the ministries of the seven adjutant mind spirits, particularly adjutants six and seven:
Mortal man first experiences the ministry of the Spirit in conjunction with mind when the purely animal mind of evolutionary creatures develops reception capacity for the adjutants of worship and of wisdom. This ministry of the sixth and seventh adjutants indicates mind evolution crossing the threshold of spiritual ministry. And immediately are such minds of worship- and wisdom-function included in the spiritual circuits of the Divine Minister. [Paper 34:5.3, Page 379:3]
This is what separates us from other animals and makes us truly human – our capacity for worship and wisdom! Something ‘spiritual’ is happening. We are immediately connected to the spiritual circuits of the Divine Minister; we are within the influence of the Holy Spirit and this is independent of our reception of the spirit of the Father and the spirit of the Son.
All of man’s truly religious reactions are sponsored by the early ministry of the adjutant of worship and are censored by the adjutant of wisdom. Man’s first supermind endowment is that of personality encircuitment in the Holy Spirit of the Universe Creative Spirit; and long before either the bestowals of the divine Sons or the universal bestowal of the Adjusters, this influence functions to enlarge man’s viewpoint of ethics, religion, and spirituality.” [Paper 103:0.1, Page 1129:1].
The Holy Spirit imbues our minds with the capacity for conscious or unconscious interaction with the spirit of the Universal Father, our Thought Adjuster.
When mind is thus endowed with the ministry of the Holy Spirit, it possesses the capacity for (consciously or unconsciously) choosing the spiritual presence of the Universal Father—the Thought Adjuster.”[Paper 34:5.4, Page 379:4]
Prior to the outpouring of the Spirit of Truth by a bestowal son, not all normal-minded mortals were indwelt by a Thought Adjuster:
Before the times of the pouring out of the Spirit of Truth upon the inhabitants of an evolutionary world, the Adjusters’ bestowal appears to be determined by many spirit influences and personality attitudes. We do not fully comprehend the laws governing such bestowals; we do not understand just what determines the release of the Adjusters who have volunteered to indwell such evolving minds. [Paper 108:2.5, Page 1187:4]
However, with the arrival of the Spirit of Truth, an amazing transformation takes place:
But it is not until a bestowal Son has liberated the Spirit of Truth for planetary ministry to all mortals that all normal minds are automatically prepared for the reception of the Thought Adjusters. The Spirit of Truth works as one with the presence of the spirit of the Divine Minister. This dual spirit liaison hovers over the worlds, seeking to teach truth and to spiritually enlighten the minds of men, to inspire the souls of the creatures of the ascending races, and to lead the peoples dwelling on the evolutionary planets ever towards their Paradise goal of divine destiny. [Paper 34:5.4, Page P379:4]
Subsequent to the bestowals of the Paradise Sons the liberated Spirit of Truth makes mighty contributions to the enlargement of the human capacity to perceive religious truths. [Paper 103:0.1, Page 1129.1]
Whereas the Holy Spirit and the Thought Adjusters are able to minister to us irrespective of whether we consciously cooperate with them or not, the Spirit of Truth’s ability to enlarge our capacity to perceive religious truths is limited by our personal reception of the mission of the bestowal Son.
Though the Spirit of Truth is poured out upon all flesh, this spirit of the Son is almost wholly limited in function and power by man’s personal reception of that which constitutes the sum and substance of the mission of the bestowal Son. [Paper 34:5.5, Page 379:5]
Notwithstanding the differential function of each of these divine spirits, this three-fold spirit endowment works in perfect harmony to enable mortals to realize their full potential as sons of the Universal Father.
The presence of the Holy Spirit of the Universe Daughter of the Infinite Spirit, of the Spirit of Truth of the Universe Son of the Eternal Son, and of the Adjuster-spirit of the Paradise Father in or with an evolutionary mortal, denotes symmetry of spiritual endowment and ministry and qualifies such a mortal consciously to realize the faith-fact of sonship with God. [Paper 34:5.7, Page 380:1]
Our Personal Experience of the Spirit of Truth
Now that we have reviewed the critical role of the Spirit of Truth with respect to the ministries of the Holy Spirit and the Thought Adjusters, I now want to focus on the ‘micro’ view. our personal experience of the Spirit of Truth, his function and manifestation in our daily lives. I would like to transport you in your mind to the upper room where Jesus and his apostles were gathered to celebrate his final Passover before he returned to the right hand of his Father.
To assist you in re-living this momentous and solemn occasion, I invite you to imagine what it would have been like being one of the apostles, living with Jesus, day after day, night after night for the duration of his public ministry. Picture yourself living shoulder to shoulder with this Creator Son, this extraordinarily balanced and beautiful God-man, eating with him, walking with him, and listening to those memorable campfire talks.
Imagine personally witnessing his kindness, his strength of character, his sincerity, his reasonableness and approachableness, his poise, his enthusiasm, his unified personality, his love and compassion for people, his cheerfulness, his generosity, his flawless trust in his Father, his tenderness towards the down-hearted and down- trodden, his over-riding goodness, his gentleness, We are told that Jesus often smiled! The words “smile”, “smiles”, “smiled”, “smiling”, and “smilingly” occur a total of 27 times in the UB. On nearly every occasion they refer to Jesus, his smile was said to be “engaging” and “reassuring” and his eye “was kind but searching.” [Paper 127:1.2, Page 1395:6]
Imagine how you would grow to love him! Imagine how attached you would become towards him! Now imagine how much Jesus would grow to love you! Jesus really loved people!
Put yourself in the teenage shoes of John Mark! This boy hungered to be with Jesus alone; he wouldn’t let go of the food basket until Jesus allowed him to accompany the Master into the hills for a day. Imagine the privilege, the unforgettable ecstasy of being alone with God in the hills for a whole day!!! How the apostles secretly envied him!
The apostles spent most of this day walking about on Mount Olivet and visiting with the disciples who were encamped with them, but early in the afternoon they became very desirous of seeing Jesus return. As the day wore on, they grew increasingly anxious about his safety; they felt inexpressibly lonely without him. There was much debating throughout the day as to whether the Master should have been allowed to go off by himself in the hills, accompanied only by an errand boy. Though no man openly so expressed his thoughts, there was not one of them, save Judas Iscariot, who did not wish himself in John Mark’s place. [Paper 177:3.1, Page 1923:2]
In less than a day, the apostles started feeling “inexpressibly lonely without him”. They had grown to love this God-man; wouldn’t you? They had also become very dependent on him, and he knew this! Jesus became increasingly concerned about how they would cope following his arrest and final departure from Urantia. He knew they were vulnerable! He loved them so much!
Now picture the scene only hours before his betrayal and arrest. Imagine the enormous pressure Jesus was under. He was about to be taken away from them, unceremoniously, like a common criminal. How could they possibly manage without him? The answer to this question is just as relevant to us, living almost 2000 years after these events. I would like to take up the story in Paper 180, “The Farewell Discourse”. Jesus and the apostles had just celebrated the Passover together in an upper room.
The experience of parting with the apostles was a great strain on the human heart of Jesus; this sorrow of love bore down on him and made it more difficult to face such a death as he well knew awaited him. He realized how weak and how ignorant his apostles were, and he dreaded to leave them. [Paper 182:3.9, Page 1969:4].
I invite you to follow closely Jesus’ words at this critical time in Urantia’s history!
The Spirit of Truth: Comforter and Teacher of Truth
Jesus continued to teach, saying: “When I have gone to the Father, and after he has fully accepted the work I have done for you on earth, and after I have received the final sovereignty of my own domain, I shall say to my Father: Having left my children alone on earth, it is in accordance with my promise to send them another teacher. And when the Father shall approve, I will pour out the Spirit of Truth upon all flesh. Already is my Father’s spirit in your hearts, and when this day shall come, you will also have me with you even as you now have the Father. This new gift is the spirit of living truth. The unbelievers will not at first listen to the teachings of this spirit, but the sons of light will all receive him gladly and with a whole heart. And you shall know this spirit when he comes even as you have known me, and you will receive this gift in your hearts, and he will abide with you. [Paper 180:4.1, Page 1948:2]
In these few words, Jesus promised to send them “another teacher”, “the Spirit of Truth”, whom he would pour out “upon all flesh”. This spirit would abide in their hearts even as they already had the Father’s spirit (their Thought Adjusters) in their hearts. Jesus makes reference to the fundamentals of new religion in these key phrases: “living truth” and “with a whole heart”.
You thus perceive that I am not going to leave you without help and guidance. I will not leave you desolate. Today I can be with you only in person. In the times to come I will be with you and all other men who desire my presence, wherever you may be, and with each of you at the same time. Do you not discern that it is better for me to go away; that I leave you in the flesh so that I may the better and the more fully be with you in the spirit? [Paper 180:4.1, Page 1948:2]
Jesus points to the advantage of being “with you in the spirit” as opposed to being “with you only in person”: he can be with them wherever they are and with each of them at the same time.
In just a few hours the world will see me no more; but you will continue to know me in your hearts even until I send you this new teacher, the Spirit of Truth. As I have lived with you in person, then shall I live in you; I shall be one with your personal experience in the spirit kingdom. And when this has come to pass, you shall surely know that I am in the Father, and that, while your life is hid with the Father in me, I am also in you. I have loved the Father and have kept his word; you have loved me, and you will keep my word. As my Father has given me of his spirit, so will I give you of my spirit. [Paper 180:4.1, Page 1948:3]
What would the apostles have made of such an extraordinary statement, “then shall I live in you”, not just “with you”? And then Jesus reassures them with these comforting words: “your life is hid with the Father in me”. They are in him and he is in them! These are the fruits that the Father has waited an eternity for…His children, safely ensconced within the protective embrace of this Master Son.
And this Spirit of Truth which I will bestow upon you shall guide and comfort you and shall eventually lead you into all truth. [Paper 180:4.2, Page 1948:3]
Guidance, comfort, and being led into all truth…these are the promised gifts of this spirit friend.
I am telling you these things while I am still with you that you may be the better prepared to endure those trials which are even now right upon us. And when this new day comes, you will be indwelt by the Son as well as by the Father. And these gifts of heaven will ever work the one with the other even as the Father and I have wrought on earth and before your very eyes as one person, the Son of Man. And this spirit friend will bring to your remembrance everything I have taught you. [Paper 180:4.3, Page 1948:.4]
It is late in the evening and the apostles are very tired. Would they grasp the import of Jesus’ words: “you will be indwelt by the Son as well as by the Father. And these gifts of heaven will ever work the one with the other ”.
As the Master paused for a moment, Judas Alpheus made bold to ask one of the few questions which either he or his brother ever addressed to Jesus in public. Said Judas: “Master, you have always lived among us as a friend; how shall we know you when you no longer manifest yourself to us save by this spirit? If the world sees you not, how shall we be certain about you? How will you show yourself to us? [Paper 180:4.4, Page 1948:5]
Judas Alpheus, unaccustomed to asking questions and such a great admirer of Jesus’ humility asked the question that all the others probably wanted to ask! And how did his Master respond?
Jesus looked down upon them all, smiled, and said: “My little children, I am going away, going back to my Father. In a little while you will not see me as you do here, as flesh and blood. In a very short time I am going to send you my spirit, just like me except for this material body. [Paper 180:4.5, Page 1949:1].
Notwithstanding the gravity and solemnity of this occasion, Jesus looked down upon them all, and smiled! He understood their fears and perplexity and so he spoke to them tenderly, such a powerful and touching moment! The Spirit of Truth is the spirit of Jesus. He is everything that Jesus is except for his material body.
This new teacher is the Spirit of Truth who will live with each one of you, in your hearts, and so will all the children of light be made one and be drawn toward one another. And in this very manner will my Father and I be able to live in the souls of each one of you and also in the hearts of all other men who love us and make that love real in their experiences by loving one another, even as I am now loving you. [Paper 180:4.2, Page 1949:1].
Jesus’ final words unequivocally inform us that the Father and the Son live in the souls and in the hearts of every believer…those that love one another, even as Jesus loves them.
The Meaning of Truth: What is Truth?
The Midwayer who is relating this stirring account of Jesus’ last hours of material life with his apostles, now addresses the question of what the Master meant by the word “truth”.
The new helper which Jesus promised to send into the hearts of believers, to pour out upon all flesh, is the Spirit of Truth. This divine endowment is not the letter or law of truth, neither is it to function as the form or expression of truth. The new teacher is the conviction of truth, the consciousness and assurance of true meanings on real spirit levels. And this new teacher is the spirit of living and growing truth, expanding, unfolding, and adaptative truth. [Paper 180:5.1, Page 1949:3].
The Spirit of Truth is not a book, a letter, a creed, a law, or a dogma of truth; it is the “conviction of truth”.
Divine truth is a spirit-discerned and living reality. Truth exists only on high spiritual levels of the realization of divinity and the consciousness of communion with God. You can know the truth, and you can live the truth; you can experience the growth of truth in the soul and enjoy the liberty of its enlightenment in the mind, but you cannot imprison truth in formulas, codes, creeds, or intellectual patterns of human conduct. [Paper 180:5.2, Page 1949.4].
Truth can only be realized on the high spiritual levels of conscious communion with God. It is something that you can know and live but it cannot be imprisoned in a formula or a creed. it is not an intellectual knowing!
When you undertake the human formulation of divine truth, it speedily dies. The post-mortem salvage of imprisoned truth, even at best, can eventuate only in the realization of a peculiar form of intellectualized glorified wisdom. Static truth is dead truth, and only dead truth can be held as a theory. Living truth is dynamic and can enjoy only an experiential existence in the human mind. [Paper 180:5.2, Page 1949:4].
Living truth is powerful and always moving; it is a spiritual experience, not just intellectualized wisdom. While Jesus was sojourning in Rome, he said something akin to this to the Greek Jew Nabon, a high priest of the Mithraic religion.
Truth cannot be defined with words, only by living. Truth is always more than knowledge. Knowledge pertains to things observed, but truth transcends such purely material levels in that it consorts with wisdom and embraces such imponderables as human experience, even spiritual and living realities. Knowledge originates in science; wisdom, in true philosophy; truth, in the religious experience of spiritual living. Knowledge deals with facts; wisdom, with relationships; truth, with reality values. [Paper 132:3.2, Page 1459:2].
The Revelator continues his exposition of what constitutes truth:
Intelligence grows out of a material existence which is illuminated by the presence of the cosmic mind. Wisdom comprises the consciousness of knowledge elevated to new levels of meaning and activated by the presence of the universe endowment of the adjutant of wisdom. Truth is a spiritual reality value experienced only by spirit-endowed beings who function upon supermaterial levels of universe consciousness, and who, after the realization of truth, permit its spirit of activation to live and reign within their souls. [Paper 180:5.3, Page 1949:5].
There appear to be three conditions for the realization of truth:
- It can only be experienced by spirit- endowed beings,
- who function upon supermaterial levels of universe consciousness, and
- who, after the realization of truth, permit its spirit of activation to live and reign within their souls.
The true child of universe insight looks for the living Spirit of Truth in every wise saying. The God-knowing individual is constantly elevating wisdom to the living-truth levels of divine attainment; the spiritually unprogressive soul is all the while dragging the living truth down to the dead levels of wisdom and to the domain of mere exalted knowledge. [Paper 180:5.4, Page 1949:6].
At this point, the Revelator uses the “Golden Rule” (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) to illustrate the difference between ‘truth’ and mere ethical conduct, social mores, or lofty principles of higher living. In conclusion, he states:
But the highest realization and the truest interpretation of the golden rule consists in the consciousness of the spirit of the truth of the enduring and living reality of such a divine declaration. The true cosmic meaning of this rule of universal relationship is revealed only in its spiritual realization, in the interpretation of the law of conduct by the spirit of the Son to the spirit of the Father that indwells the soul of mortal man. And when such spirit-led mortals realize the true meaning of this golden rule, they are filled to overflowing with the assurance of citizenship in a friendly universe, and their ideals of spirit reality are satisfied only when they love their fellows as Jesus loved us all, and that is the reality of the realization of the love of God. [Paper 180:5.8, Page 1950:3].
As we come to fully comprehend the Urantia Book’s definition of truth, we are more able to grasp why the Spirit of Truth became the progenitor of the new religion on that day of Pentecost nearly 2000 years ago.
The Spirit of Truth and the New Religion
And all this clearly indicates the difference between the old religion and the new. The old religion taught self-sacrifice; the new religion teaches only self-forgetfulness, enhanced self-realization in conjoined social service and universe comprehension. The old religion was motivated by fear-consciousness; the new gospel of the kingdom is dominated by truth-conviction, the spirit of eternal and universal truth. Paper xxx, Page 1951:1]
By the old way you seek to suppress, obey, and conform to the rules of living; by the new way you are first transformed by the Spirit of Truth and thereby strengthened in your inner soul by the constant spiritual renewing of your mind, and so are you endowed with the power of the certain and joyous performance of the gracious, acceptable, and perfect will of God. [Paper 143:2.4, Page 1609:5]
This is the way; spiritual transformation! This is how we gain the strength and power in our soul to perform the perfect will of God. The old religion taught us that to do God’s will, we have to sacrifice ourselves, we have to fear God, we have to suppress our primitive instincts and urges, and we must obey and conform to God’s laws…with what result? We are repeatedly disappointed and frustrated with our lacklustre performance! Or we become self-righteous and proud! Jesus showed us the new way, the way of the Spirit of Truth: self-forgetfulness, enhanced self-realization in conjoined social service and universe comprehension, truth conviction, and the constant spiritual renewing of our minds. Have we grasped this liberating message of the new religion or are we still struggling to meet the demands of the old?
Forget not–it is your personal faith in the exceedingly great and precious promises of God that ensures your becoming partakers of the divine nature. Thus by your faith and the spirit’s transformation, you become in reality the temples of God, and his spirit actually dwells within you. If, then, the spirit dwells within you, you are no longer bondslaves of the flesh but free and liberated sons of the spirit. The new law of the spirit endows you with the liberty of self-mastery in place of the old law of the fear of self-bondage and the slavery of self-denial. [Paper 143:2.4, Page 1609:5]
But the Spirit of Truth offers us more! We can enjoy daily, moment by moment enhanced fellowship with Michael of Nebadon!
The Spirit of Truth: Fellowship with Michael
Earlier in this article I asked you to imagine being one of Jesus’ apostles–daily rubbing shoulders with this Son of God, this Creator Son, this God-man for almost four years. We then saw how Jesus promised that we mortals living on Urantia today, could enjoy that same experience due to the pouring out of the Spirit of Truth on all flesh.
In the times to come I will be with you and all other men who desire my presence, wherever you may be, and with each of you at the same time. Do you not discern that it is better for me to go away; that I leave you in the flesh so that I may the better and the more fully be with you in the spirit? [Paper 180:4.1, Page 1948:2]
By his willingness to surrender his material body and depart from this planet, Jesus was able to promise us something superior to what the apostles experienced in the days of his flesh: to “more fully be with you in the spirit”. And this is how we know that we have received the Spirit of Truth:
Do not make the mistake of expecting to become strongly intellectually conscious of the outpoured Spirit of Truth. The spirit never creates a consciousness of himself, only a consciousness of Michael, the Son. From the beginning Jesus taught that the spirit would not speak of himself. The proof, therefore, of your fellowship with the Spirit of Truth is not to be found in your consciousness of this spirit but rather in your experience of enhanced fellowship with Michael. [Paper 194:2.4, Page 2061:2]
Enhanced fellowship with Michael, the sovereign of our local Universe, what a stupendous privilege and pleasure! But remember Jesus words about the sons of light: “the sons of light, will all receive him gladly and with a whole heart. And you shall know this spirit when he comes even as you have known me, and you will receive this gift in your hearts, and he will abide with you.” [Paper 180:4.1, Page 1948:2]
The quality of our personal experience of Michael is predicated on the quality of our heart: are we open to him and are we whole-hearted in our desire to share our lives with him?
Slowly the apostles and many of the disciples were learning the meaning of Jesus’ early declaration: “Unless you are born again, born of the spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Nevertheless, to all who are honest of heart and sincere in faith, it remains eternally true: “Behold, I stand at the doors of men’s hearts and knock, and if any man will open to me, I will come in and sup with him and will feed him with the bread of life…
…we shall be one in spirit and purpose, and so shall we ever be brethren in the long and fruitful service of the search for the Paradise Father. [Paper 166:3.7, Page 1829:4].
Let us give heartfelt thanks to our Father for the inestimable gift of the Spirit of Truth!