Only God is Good
"As Jesus was starting on his way, a young man ran up, knelt before him, and asked him, 'Good Master, what must I do to receive eternal life?' 'Why do you call me good?' Jesus asked of him, 'No one is good except God alone.'" (Mark, 10:17,18)
These words are repeated in The Urantia Book."Why do you call me good? None is good but God." (2091) There are similar statements scattered throughout the book. "Greatness is synonymous with divinity. God is supremely great and good. Greatness and goodness cannot be divorced. They are forever made one in God." (317) "All goodness takes its origin in the Father." (381) "God is the source and destiny of all that is good and beautiful and true." (1431)
On the Damascus road, the apostle Paul had an incredible conversion experience. "Suddenly a light from the sky flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?' 'Who are you, Lord?' he asked. 'I am Jesus, whom you persecute. Get you up and go into the city where you will be told what you must do.'"(Acts 9:3-5) Paul was blind for three days.
Many people have dramatic experiences of a religious or spiritual nature that have a profound effect upon their lives. Often such experiences are the turning point in their lives and form the foundation upon which they build their faith. Others, and I suspect the vast majority, never, in all their lives, experience anything of a spiritual or religious nature that they can truthfully say is out of the ordinary. I number myself among this silent majority.
About 15 years ago, quite a few of my church-going friends became caught up in the charismatic movement that swept through mainstream Christian Churches of all denominations. During the worship sessions in which songs of praise played a big part in stirring up emotions, many people did experience something out of the ordinary. Often this led to them proclaiming themselves as born again Christians. Being baptized by the Spirit, slain by the Spirit, speaking in tongues, interpreting the tongues language, being healed by the Spirit from long standing afflictions, all these were common phenomena that occurred when people gathered together to indulge in the format of charismatic worship. In actuality, to have such experiences was the badge of membership, not to have them was often taken to indicate that something was wrong with a person, possibly the presence of unforgiven secret sin.
I remember trying hard to speak in tongues. The minister of my church, which was orthodox Episcopalian (Anglican), told me he had the same problem but learned to do it by just opening his mouth and letting out whatever non-sensical sounds came into his mind. He said he did this mainly when driving his car and found it tremendously uplifting, a form of uninhibited worship by which he praised God unreservedly. He said it takes a bit of practice but if I would stick with it, it would happen. Feeling 'out of it', I decided to give it a go and soon accumulated a vocabulary of non-sensical sounds that were pretty impressive. Was I really speaking in tongues? I did not really feel uplifted and was unsure about it being uninhibited worship. So I recorded one of my sessions. Listening to a playback, I heard the words 'shonkina, shonkina, shonshon kina kina,' non-sensical enough undoubtedly, but which I recognised as from the war cry of my school football team of some sixty or more years previously. Flunked again!
I read The Urantia Book for several years before ever contacting another reader. As I got to know more and more fellow readers, I again found that I was often the odd man out, not having had any remarkable experiences associated with my acceptance of the book as revelatory and its teachings as the guiding principle of my life. As a Christian of many, many years standing, and also a student of the spoken word of Jesus as found in the synoptic gospels, I was familiar with those introductory words I have quoted from the gospel of Mark. Their import did not really register until I found them repeated in several different ways in The Urantia Book. The one that really awakened me to their profundity was, "All goodness takes its origin in the Father."
I have often thought about a statement that occurs on the book's very last page, "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--contact with the divine presence. Such an experience constitutes God-consciousness...." What could I, a failed charismatic, one who had never heard voices, never had a vision, never been healed, not even a single, out-of-the-ordinary experience, what could I do to answer this challenge. Then it struck me. Maybe I was not a failure after all. If all goodness takes its origin in God and the spirit of God dwells within my mind, then every good thought I have ever had was a direct communication from the divine Monitor! Each such thought was a personal revelation from God to me!
This theme is developed in a most full and extraordinary way in the closing four pages of The Urantia Book. It cites evidence that the mind of mankind is not wholly material, that it really is host to an indwelling spirit presence. This is what lifts them above the confinement of behavior patterns emanating from the heritage of the electro-chemical animal vehicle in