We Are, Because I AM

(Presentation from ANZURA’s Virtual 2021 Annual Conference)

There’s an old insight about village life: “I am because we are.” I, as an individual, get to live a worthwhile life because of the security and relationships that my village provides. “I am because we are.” I think we’d all agree there’s truth in this very human point of view.

But The Urantia Book shows humans from another perspective. From our Father’s point of view,

Because I AM  –  Because I Love  –  We Are.

In other words, “We are because I AM.”

Of course, this is not at all straightforward, and requires something called “the Master Universe Age”. But for the Father, the end result is an almost infinite family of Ones like himself, and thus a guarantee that Eternity will be almost infinitely interesting. As to how our Father “makes it so”, the authors of The Urantia Book reveal that this infinite eventuation, this beautification of eternity, is motivated and mediated by Love, the prime mover, the essential, compelling motivation.

Notice, all this is very deeply personal. “I AM” is not only our “premier philosophic postulate” [105:1.3, 1152.6], it’s also the most personal possible experience: I AM. We Are. From this perspective, the universe becomes a Family Affair. We’ll get back to this. But for now, I just want to set up this idea, that Love is the motivator, the mediator, quite literally the Light & Life of all interactions unfolding in the Father’s personal domain.

Ok. With this idea in place, let’s get back down to earth and see what we can learn about Love.  What is it, and how does it work?

Back in 1965, a young Mick Jagger expressed, quite eloquently, the central problem of human life:

“I can’t get no… satisfaction”. Even though he tried. And he tried.

A few years later, when I was about 8 years old, I had a strange introduction to “satisfaction”. My older brother and I were walking to school, a beautiful sunny morning, and we found a new $20 note. Just sitting there, on the footpath. We looked around for someone who might have dropped it, but… no one in sight. Now, back in those days $20 was a lot of money (especially for an 8-year-old!), so we both got quite excited, and anxious about what to do.

As it turns out, our way to school passed by the local Police Station. And by the time we’d got that far, my brother and I had decided that the simplest thing to do – the only thing we COULD do – was to take this $20 into the Police station, so that they could return it to whoever had lost it.

Afterwards, as we walked on to school, the thrill of understanding what we’d done got stronger and stronger. Someone had lost a lot of money, and we were helping them to get it back.

Now we all know how impressionable young children can be, so it’s easy to dismiss this episode as just one of those “educational moments” we all experience growing up. But the depth of satisfaction I felt from that simple free-will moral act was raw, and burning, and powerful. Might even say… compelling.

And that feeling stayed with me, becoming a kind of benchmark against which to measure other things.

For example: I was about 17, and one day (suddenly, much to my surprise), I noticed that the usual satisfactions – from sex and drugs, from money, food or fame – all seemed, well, trivial when compared with that “remembered satisfaction” that came from simply doing something good for someone else, from allowing our inherent “desire to do good to others” to take its course.

But “the desire to do good to others” is one way The Urantia Book defines Love. From Paper 56 section 10, Love is the desire to do good to others.  [56:10.21, 648.4]

So what’s this got to do with that eloquent cry from a young Mick Jagger? Turns out that Michael of Nebadon knew that many of us would bump into this same problem, of seeking and failing to find the sort of satisfaction that could quench an intolerable thirst. So he lived that life as Jesus, in which he revealed, and demonstrated, a short-cut to satisfactions of the deepest kind.

So what is this satisfaction that can quench a thirsty soul? Well obviously, it has something to do with Love; with the joy of falling in Love; with the strength and motivation that comes from being in Love. But why are we so moved by love?

As we know, the experience of Love is the heart and soul of the fourth epochal revelation, the life of Jesus. But this fifth epochal revelation, The Urantia Book, helps us to understand what love actually is. So, “What is Love?”

To help us make a start, and to provoke a few ideas, see from time 2:43 in Part 2 in our series of our ANZURA videos:

“The Phenomenon of Man” – Personality lit up by Love.

In that short clip, we meet the idea, unique to The Urantia Book, of four distinct domains, each with its absolute “Source & Center”; each with its characteristic kind of light. And I mentioned an idea, that each of these “forms of light” serves as the currency in the economy of its domain. In other words, that interactions within each of these domains are motivated (and mediated!) by its peculiar kind of light.

For example, in the material domain, interactions between atoms are due to the way they share photons – particles of material light. Material light is literally the currency in the economy of the material domain. And as indicated in the video, likewise for Mind and Spirit. Which leads us to the idea… that in the Personal domain, the currency is Love; that all true interactions between Persons are mediated by that characteristic light: the light and life of Love.

But wait, there’s more:

The Adjusters are the actuality of the Father’s love incarnate in the souls of men; [Paper 107:0.2 page 1176.2]

The Father’s Love, incarnate in our souls. Not only is Love something peculiar to the domain of Personality, in some exhilarating sense, the Adjusters are that Love, incarnate within us.

Here some might complain “But isn’t Love a spiritual thing?” Indeed, from our human perspective Love comes to us from the spiritual side. But from the Father’s point of view, when he bestows Personality into or upon some “spirit stuff”, that atom of personality brings with it the phenomenon of Love.

Clearly Love is more than the source of our deepest satisfactions, something more than “the desire to do good to others”. Love is real, and fundamental, and with regard to Persons, Love has a compelling power. As someone once said: “Energy and faith may move mountains, but personality is moved only by Love.”

In fact, it was this power, the power to move persons, that got Jesus so worked up that day in Archelais. To help set the scene, see from time 2:22 in Part 3 of our series of ANZURA videos,

This clip begins: “But what if some of our assumptions, about cosmological red-shift, about the God concept, about ourselves, are wrong? What do we tell the children?”

And ends (at time 5:30) with the punch line:

[…] my Father in Paradise does rule a universe of universes by the compelling power of his love.” [Paper 143:1.4, page 1608.1]

“By the compelling power of his Love.” Whenever I hear people talking about Love, I can’t help but see Jesus as he spoke, that day in Archelais when he got so agitated, so emotionally worked up. You recall the scene: The apostles had been trying to convince crowds of Greeks and Romans that love was the greatest thing since sliced bread; and they got laughed at. Those sophisticated gentiles explained to the apostles that such a gospel of love was fit only for weaklings and slaves. When the apostles, downhearted and deflated, returned to Jesus and told what had happened, this was too much. From paper 143 section 1,

[…] This was one of the most impassioned addresses which Jesus ever delivered to the twelve. Seldom did the Master speak to his apostles with evident strong feeling, but this was one of those few occasions when he spoke with manifest earnestness, accompanied by marked emotion. [Paper 143:1.8, page 1608.5]

What was going on here? Why this outburst, this “marked emotion”?

It had been half a year since Jesus ordained this group of twelve to be public preachers of his gospel. And it was upon this group of men that Jesus would depend to carry his Good News. Some of them had been with Jesus for 18 months, and yet still they had no idea, no real understanding of the nature, the power and purpose of Love. The time had come to sort this out. And so he did. Paper 143 section 1 tells the story, but suffice to say:

[…]; from that very day their message took on a new note of courageous dominance. The twelve continued to acquire the spirit of positive aggression in the new gospel of the kingdom. [Paper 143:1.9, page 1609.1]

This episode of being taken lightly, and then getting a shot of fresh insight about the power and purpose of Love, effectively inoculated the apostles against the virus of despair. But getting back to this idea, of the Universal Father ruling a universe of universes by the compelling power of his Love, are we to take this literally? Does the Father’s technique – for ruling a universe of universes – actually depend… on Love ?

“A simple way to see what’s going on…” is to see this third clip, again from Part 3 of our video series, from time 7:28 [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB7GB_isujM&t=448s ]. Here we see how The Urantia Book sets the stage. Our Father gives us this moment, this time and place in which to personalize his Adjuster, to choose to zip together our atom of Personality with the fragment of his Love Incarnate in our soul, …

Assuming success, we emerge from this extraordinary womb of space and time, ready to engage a larger universe in a non-trivial way.

Nigel Nunn, October 2021

[ PS: The Urantia Book presents a story that stirs the soul: a central and perfect universe, fringed by spacetime shallows in which finaliters are born; finaliters, destined to launch from this cosmic continental shelf into oceanic depths, seeding the light and life of personality throughout nested levels of outer space.]