Conference 2004 Preamble – Echoes of Eden

Mining the Archives

(“Mined” from the Autumn Arena 2004)

We are familiar with the assertion made sometimes by religious believers: “To the unbeliever no demonstration is possible, to the believer none is necessary.” If you don’t know God, there is no explanation or proof which can convince you of his reality. Spiritual realities are not susceptible to intellectual demonstration. Similarly, if you don’t know God, you have no need of any intellectual verification.

This being the case, why are we so interested in explanations? Isn’t it enough that we know God and try to live our lives in ways we think he approves of? Our mortal minds are so feeble that we couldn’t expect to understand much anyway. As mere babes in the cosmos what can we hope to comprehend anyway about God’s universe? Why bother to try to do what we can never achieve? Why not keep it simple and wait until we have developed the mental capacity to deal with the big questions before attempting to understand? After all, on the Mansion Worlds we will be morontia beings, with enlarged mental capacity, and access to morontia mota. Why not leave it until then?

Well, to be brief, some of us don’t want to leave it “till then”. So, part of October’s conference will involve an attempt to do what we all know we cannot do.

On page 54 of The Urantia Book a Divine Counselor points out that the watchword of the universe is progress. We are not expected to remain stagnant. And on page 1105 a Melchizedek teaches that it is our thoughts, not our beliefs or feelings, that lead us Godward, by the discovery of new meanings in known facts.

What a huge sweep of philosophical truth is contained in that Melchizedek’s statement. The implication is that thought can reveal new meanings which transform the mundane realities of daily life into ways of doing the Father’s will, of developing attunement with our adjuster, and of thereby co-operating with that host of administrators who are devoted to fostering our progress to light and life.

From cooking tea to light and life in one brief statement! They know how to teach on Uversa!

Anyway, progress requires thought. It requires other things as well. But plain old intellection is in there too. One of our functions is to extend our comprehension of the world, the universe and ourselves so that we can more fully cooperate with the wider universe personalities in the evolution of Urantia towards light and life.

And the real trick is that there is no trick. As in all other aspects of experience, we learn to do what we have to do by doing it.

Given that we are weak and ignorant, we can actually build strength and knowledge by tackling the impossible with whatever resources are at hand. We develop the ability to comprehend by trying to understand what is presently incomprehensible. And as we struggle away, our efforts progressively expand our abilities: we come to understand some little thing, and simultaneously, our capacity to understand expands! We understand a bit more, expand a bit more—and so on.

This is actually the history of evolution in a nutshell. Life evolves by adaption. Personalities progress by determined efforts to progress. Those efforts in turn expand the capacity for further progression.

Nebadon, and maybe Orvonton and the entire Grand Universe, apply this principle. It is one aspect of what it means to be finite. For although God and his hosts provide the means required, personalities choose to make use of those means according to their capacities. Physical reality is provided. The spirit nucleus provides direction and motivation. Mind connects physical reality with spirit nucleus, so that spirit can eventually dominant matter. But it is personality—our choosing—which activates the process. We progress in partnership with our creator and our progress is up to us. We learn by doing and do what we learn.

It is actually no use waiting until the mansion worlds, because the same efforts are likely required of us there. We don’t learn anything simply by being morontians. We still have to learn to do what we can’t do by doing it, learning from our mistakes and developing increased capacity to learn by having a go. We still will be struggling to comprehend what is beyond us as morontians, and probably also as spirits in the superuniverse, and maybe even as finaliters, and the method is always the same. Try to comprehend, and the effort of trying expands the capacity to comprehend. So, we might as well make a start now, not forgetting that…

…in liaison with God, nothing—absolutely nothing—is impossible. [Paper 26:5.3, page 291.3]

It seems clear that a shared planetary frame of reference is fundamental to future planetary progress. The conference theme Echoes of Eden—is intended to stimulate thought about Urantia’s existing cultures and their underlying assumptions. We invite conference attendees to attempt to imagine the implications of grafting a Jerusem perspective onto these existing cultures.

While we may not reach conclusions, we hope to establish that The Urantia Book provides a foundation for a shared planetary framework of though and motivation, sufficient in some respects to make up for the loss of Eden and Dalamatia.