or…”How We Get to Heaven”
Firstly, I would like to thank the Canberra group for this conference and its intriguing theme of Mind Over Matter—Sprit Over Mind, and for inviting me to contribute! I would also like to thank the custodians of this revelation and in particular the authors of Papers 111, 112 & 40 that have guided me through this topic.
It was an historic day when Jesus laid down his carpentry tools in the boat shed for the last time, after hearing that John the Baptist had been arrested, and went into the temple to begin his public teaching ministry and preached on the ‘kingdom within’ where he said:
This kingdom is an everlasting dominion. Those who enter the kingdom shall ascend to my Father; they will certainly attain the right hand of his glory in Paradise. And all who enter the kingdom of heaven shall become the sons of God, and in the age to come so shall they ascend to the Father. And I have not come to call the would-be righteous but sinners and all who hunger and thirst for the righteousness of divine perfection. [Paper 137:8.16, page 1537.3]
I’ll come back to this but first (since it’s the day for footy Grand Finals!) I want to talk a bit about goals.
We are naturally target-oriented creatures. If we ever want or need something, our attention is drawn to it and our behaviour becomes aimed at obtaining it. This applies to everything in life from the simple, like food, to more complex things like getting an education or a career. Take the simple example: you are driven by a hunger urge to get food, so you think for a moment and plan how you are going to do that, then act out those plans to obtain it. (I call this simple, which of course it is now for us, but it wasn’t so long ago that it was complex and used to take all day, and in some parts of the world it still does). It’s no different for the more complex things we want or need, they require the same process: it starts with an idea that attracts our attention and we establish it as a target or goal, then we think about and plan the steps required to achieve it, then diligently carry out those plans. So if you ever wanted something/anything in life, then you are setting yourself a goal.
Setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. Goals show you exactly what you want to achieve and where you need to concentrate your efforts. Goals provide a long-term vision and motivation; they help you to stay focused on what’s relevant and to organise your time. Of course you don’t have to have goals, but if you don’t, life might just seem like an endless, meaningless grind.
You are on a journey. You need to set some goals on what you want to achieve or where you want to go and plan the steps needed to get there. It’s how you turn an idea into reality. When we travel anywhere, it usually helps to know the destination and work out how we will get there. You actually set a goal to get to this very room today. You thought about what was required to get here and then carried that out.
It has long been wondered where we are going in this life, if there is any meaning to it and if there is any point. And we have been so kindly shown and reminded by the Urantia Papers that indeed there is a point, that in this life we are on a thrilling and essential journey that in actual fact goes beyond this earth, traverses the universe and has a destination at its centre.
Paradise is the Goal. The Urantia Book states:
…to mortals the most important thing about eternal Paradise is the fact that this perfect abode of the Universal Father is the real and far-distant destiny of the immortal souls of the mortal and material sons of God, the ascending creatures of the evolutionary worlds of time and space. [Paper 11:9.8, page 127.6 emphasis added]
Paradise is unique in that it is the realm of primal origin and the final goal of destiny for all spirit personalities… Paradise (is) the goal of desire for all supermaterial personalities. [Paper 11:9.1, page 126.6 emphasis added]
If you know what your goal in life is, you can live your life with purpose to achieve that goal.
So, Paradise is the main goal, the biggest goal that can ever be set in our entire lives, far surpassing any goals we might have in our work, family or social life. And to attain such a stupendous and far-reaching goal is going to take some significant planning, and a genuine commitment from us to conduct our lives in accordance with that plan.
These Urantia Book Papers outline that plan. The Papers tell us there is a universal plan in place to help us achieve this goal, if we so choose it, and it all starts here in our seemingly insignificant lives. This is such a relief! The book conveys with certainty that there is a purpose to this life, that we’re not just some random accident of wandering space elements, come from nowhere going nowhere!
The plan is: to transform us from material hunks of matter, in ever increasingly spiritual increments, into “supermaterial personalities”, “immortal souls”, purely spiritual beings. Why? Well, ponder this:
The material beauty of Paradise consists in the magnificence of its physical perfection; the grandeur of the Isle of God is exhibited in the superb intellectual accomplishments and mind development of its inhabitants; the glory of the central Isle is shown forth in the infinite endowment of divine spirit personality — the light of life. But the depths of the spiritual beauty and the wonders of this magnificent ensemble are utterly beyond the comprehension of the finite mind of material creatures. The glory and spiritual splendor of the divine abode are impossible of mortal comprehension.[Paper 11:0.2, page 118.2 emphasis added]
And so we have the Ascension Plan; the spiritual transformation required to get to Paradise and meet the Father of all creation:
The Main Steps:
On Urantia you pass through a short and intense test during your initial life of material existence. On the mansion worlds and up through your system, constellation, and local universe, you traverse the morontia phases of ascension.
On the training worlds of the superuniverse you pass through the true spirit stages of progression and are prepared for eventual transit to Havona. [Paper 14:5.1, page 158.4 emphasis added]
In Havona, our attainment is intellectual, spiritual and experiential, we attain full comprehension of God on many levels through traversing its seven circuits:
- seventh: attain full comprehension of our superuniverse Master Spirit
- sixth: realise God the Supreme
- fifth: attain the Infinite Spirit
- fourth: attain the Eternal Son
- third: recognise the Universal Father
- second: become more familiar with the Paradise hosts
- first circuit: further spiritual attainment. Our arrival here signals our acceptance into the service of Paradise. Then when we are considered ready, we pass inward to what now becomes our Paradise home, and admission into the Corps of the Finality. [Paper14:5.4]
The Jubilee Markers:
The first jubilee marked the mortal agreement with the Thought Adjuster when the purpose to survive was sealed;
the second was the awakening in the morontia life;
the third was the fusion with the Thought Adjuster;
the fourth was the awakening in Havona;
the fifth celebrated the finding of the Universal Father; and
the sixth jubilee was the occasion of the Paradise awakening from the final transit slumber of time.
The seventh jubilee marks entrance into the mortal finaliter corps and the beginning of the eternity service.
The attainment of the seventh stage of spirit realization by a finaliter will probably signalize the celebration of the first of the jubilees of eternity.
[Paper 27:7.8, page 305.1]
The plan has been put into place to help us gradually fulfil that universal mandate of ‘Be you perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.’ It allows potential reality to become actual reality. And there is a raft of beings and spirits ministering to us along the way to assist us ever upwards and inwards.
We are given the freedom to choose this universal career or not; we are not obligated or forced in any way; we are given ample mercy, patience and opportunities (prior to fusion) to say ‘no thanks.’ But the simple fact of the matter is: if you want to continue being YOU, and don’t want to perish into oblivion, then you need to follow the ascension plan laid out.
And I hasten to add, I don’t think there need be any trepidation in following such a plan, just because it seems unfamiliar or incomprehensible, it’s not such a frightening or ‘out there’ notion. The ascension plan, put simply, is the technique of transforming us from physical to spiritual beings. You can just think about it in a technical way. Just like the way we live and grow physically follows a set plan, a technique, so too does our spiritual growth. This material life on this planet has been provided to us by the ‘gods’, and as we live it day by day, ‘loyally’ as the tadpoles turning into frogs, we are living according to its plan. The main difference with the next phase of the plan is, we get to choose it (or not).
And let us not forget just how important this material life actually is. If it was important enough for our own Creator Son to incarnate himself down here as one of us, then it ought to be treated with the utmost seriousness, respect and awe. Including all of its problems.
Said the Mighty Messenger, a one-time mortal come back out here from Paradise to tell us:
…What dignity of destiny and glory of attainment await every one of you! Do you fully appreciate what has been done for you? Do you comprehend the grandeur of the heights of eternal achievement which are spread out before you? — even you who now trudge on in the lowly path of life through your so-called “vale of tears”? [Paper 40:7.5, page 449.3]
Putting the Plan into Action
So how do we do this? They’re basically saying if you want to get to Paradise, a place where beings are wholly spiritual, then you have to become a spiritual being too. It’s not fanciful, it’s technical: it’s the technique of salvation. We know the goal, we understand the overall plan, but it’s huge so we have to break it down into smaller, manageable targets.
These are the main levels of attainment, which are both geographic and spiritual, stepping back down to us from Paradise:
- Havona (spirit perfecting phase)
- The Superuniverse (true spirit phase)
- Our Local Universe (morontia phase), and then
- Our planet Urantia (material phase)
We can’t progress to the next level up until we’ve achieved what we need to, spiritually, on the level we’re currently at. So if we’re serious and motivated to attain the ultimate goal, we need to take it one step at a time. We need only, for now, focus on the next attainable target, which for us material beings … is fusion. (This is more than enough for us to deal with right now, there will be ample opportunity to consider the proceeding targets after we fuse!)
The secret of personal survival is spirit identification (fusion) with the Adjuster. [Paper40:5.4] They say:
Mortal man may draw near God and may repeatedly forsake the divine will so long as the power of choice remains. Man’s final doom is not sealed until he has lost the power to choose the Father’s will. There is never a closure of the Father’s heart to the need and the petition of his children. Only do his offspring close their hearts forever to the Father’s drawing power when they finally and forever lose the desire to do his divine will — to know him and to be like him. Likewise is man’s eternal destiny assured when Adjuster fusion proclaims to the universe that such an ascender has made the final and irrevocable choice to live the Father’s will. [Paper 5:1.11, page 64.2]
If fusion doesn’t occur during the mortal life, then it typically happens during the phase of existence immediately following this one, usually by the sixth Mansion World. They describe these worlds as ‘dematerialising’ or ‘demortalising’ worlds, gradually chipping away our human-ness.
There (we are)
…a human mind housed in a morontia form — a material body of the morontia world but not a mortal house of flesh and blood. You really pass from the mortal state to the immortal status at the time of Adjuster fusion, and by the time you have finished the Jerusem career, you will be full-fledged morontians. [Paper 47:9.5, page 539.2]
On the evolutionary worlds, selfhood is material; it is a thing in the universe and as such is subject to the laws of material existence. It is a fact in time and is responsive to the vicissitudes thereof. Survival decisions must here be formulated.
In the morontia state the self has become a new and more enduring universe reality, and its continuing growth is predicated on its increasing attunement to the mind and spirit circuits of the universes. Survival decisions are now being confirmed.
…When the self attains the spiritual level, it has become a secure value in the universe, and this new value is predicated upon the fact that survival decisions have been made, which fact has been witnessed by eternal fusion with the Thought Adjuster. And having achieved the status of a true universe value, the creature becomes liberated in potential for the seeking of the highest universe value — God. [Paper 112:7.6, page 1238.1]
So this is our short-term target: fusion with that sample of divinity within us.
There is something you can be doing every day to be working on this target: decisions. Decisions and more decisions! The decisions you make clearly have an impact on your life. Make good decisions and your life will improve, make poor ones and you suffer. Obviously, many decisions have purely material effects, e.g. choosing chocolate over fruit. But many decisions we’re faced with contain an opportunity for spiritual growth, e.g. choosing good over evil, right over wrong, truth over the lie or falsehood, beauty over ugliness, love over hatred.
The Urantia Papers frequently refer to truth, beauty and goodness, which they’ve borrowed from the ancient Greeks (Plato). They are referred to as the Transcendental Ideals of being. The Urantia Book has recognised them as examples of some of the highest ideals we’ve ever developed—because they approach being divine, because they transcend time and have the potential to be eternal—thus they are God-like values. When you make choices that are guided by these types of ideals of being, they are God-like choices; they a) improve your life immediately, and b) contribute to the growth of your (potentially immortal) soul. And the more we grow spiritually, the closer we are to fusion.
Material evolution has provided you a life machine, your body; the Father himself has endowed you with the purest spirit reality known in the universe, your Thought Adjuster. But into your hands, subject to your own decisions, has been given mind, and it is by mind that you live or die. It is within this mind and with this mind that you make those moral decisions which enable you to achieve Adjusterlikeness, and that is Godlikeness. [Paper 111:1.4, page 1216.6 emphasis added]
When a moral being chooses to be unselfish when confronted by the urge to be selfish, that is primitive religious experience. No animal can make such a choice; such a decision is both human and religious. It embraces the fact of God-consciousness and exhibits the impulse of social service, the basis of the brotherhood of man. When mind chooses a right moral judgment by an act of the free will, such a decision constitutes a religious experience. [Paper 103:2.8, page 1131.7]
This is where the soul becomes involved. Soul is something that evolves and grows. It is the by-product of the relationship between material mind and divine spirit.
Though the work of Adjusters is spiritual in nature, they must, perforce, do all their work upon an intellectual foundation. Mind is the human soil from which the spirit Monitor must evolve the morontia soul with the cooperation of the indwelt personality. [Paper 111:1.1, page 1216.3]
Why do you need soul, and why is it important?
During the life in the flesh the evolving soul is enabled to reinforce the supermaterial decisions of the mortal mind. The soul, being supermaterial, does not of itself function on the material level of human experience. Neither can this subspiritual soul, without the collaboration of … the Adjuster, function above the morontia level… During life the mortal will, the personality power of decision-choice, is resident in the material mind circuits; as terrestrial mortal growth proceeds, this self, with its priceless powers of choice, becomes increasingly identified with the emerging morontia-soul entity; after death and following the mansion world resurrection, the human personality is completely identified with the morontia self. The soul is thus the embryo of the future morontia vehicle of personality identity.[Paper 111:3.2, page 1219.1 emphasis added]
The soul is the receptacle in which the personality of YOU resides after death. So, if you want to survive after death and keep working on your target of Adjuster fusion, then you need to grow your soul. It’s nothing fanciful, just technical.
This is what Jesus meant when he advised us to ‘build up your treasures in heaven.’ And that day he put down his carpentry tools for the last time and went into the temple and began to preach on the ‘kingdom within,’ saying:
“This kingdom is an everlasting dominion. Those who enter the kingdom shall ascend to my Father; they will certainly attain the right hand of his glory in Paradise. And all who enter the kingdom of heaven shall become the sons of God, and in the age to come so shall they ascend to the Father. And I have not come to call the would-be righteous but sinners and all who hunger and thirst for the righteousness of divine perfection.” [Paper 137:8.16, page 1537.3]
Mortal mind is a temporary intellect system loaned to human beings for use during a material lifetime, and as they use this mind, they are either accepting or rejecting the potential of eternal existence. Mind is about all you have of universe reality that is subject to your will, and the soul — the morontia self — will faithfully portray the harvest of the temporal decisions which the mortal self is making. Human consciousness rests gently upon the electrochemical mechanism below and delicately touches the spirit-morontia energy system above. Of neither of these two systems is the human being ever completely conscious in his mortal life; therefore must he work in mind, of which he is conscious. And it is not so much what mind comprehends as what mind desires to comprehend that insures survival; it is not so much what mind is like as what mind is striving to be like that constitutes spirit identification. It is not so much that man is conscious of God as that man yearns for God that results in universe ascension. What you are today is not so important as what you are becoming day by day and in eternity. [Paper 111:1.5, page 1216.7 emphasis added]