Who was Rodan?
Condensed from Papers 160 & 161 of The Urantia Book
Rodan is introduced in Part 4 of The Urantia Book as a Greek philosopher from Alexandria. The two Papers about Rodan and his discussions with the apostles, Nathaniel and Thomas, stand out as distinctive from the remainder of Part 4 in such a way as to invite speculation as to their real authorship and purpose.
They contain a message specifically adapted to the urgent needs of the closing stages of this twentieth century. Some believe that they originate from Michael himself. Others think that Rodan is a pseudonym, perhaps for the famous Philo of Alexandria, who had a great influence upon early Christianity, and that his teachings have been updated by the Midwayers.
Whatever the truth of the matter, there is a personal message for all of us in these papers. What follows is a condensation of their content.
Rodan informs us that human life consists in three great drives--urges, desires, and lures. To acquire a strong character, the commonplace lures of existence must be transferred from conventional and established ideas to the higher realms of unexplored ideas and undiscovered ideals. (i.e. ideas and ideals having true spiritual value.)
The more complex civilization becomes, the more difficult will become the art of living. The more rapid the changes in social usage, the more complicated will become the task of character development. And if social change becomes sufficiently rapid, which it has in this century, the evolution of the art of living will fail to keep pace, and humanity will quickly revert to satisfying primitive urges and the attainment of immediate desires. Humanity will thus remain immature and society will fail to fully develop.
Social maturity is proportional to mankind's willingness to surrender the gratification of immediate desires, established beliefs, and conventional ideas in order to pursue the unexplored possibilities and the undiscovered goals of idealistic spiritual realities. Mankind not only possesses capacity for the recognition of values and the comprehension of meanings, but is also conscious of the meaning of meanings-- has self-conscious insight. But emancipation of the mind and soul cannot be effected without the driving power of intelligent enthusiasm bordering on religious zeal. It requires the lure of a great ideal to drive people on in the pursuit of a goal which will initially be beset by difficult material problems and manifold intellectual hazards.
When we dare to embark on such an adventure, we must expect to suffer the consequent hazards of conflict, unhappiness, and uncertainty. The first step in the solution of any personal difficulty is its recognition. The great mistake we make is our tendency to refuse to acknowledge its existence. Only a brave person is willing honestly to admit, and fearlessly to face, those human failings that a sincere and logical mind discovers. But once having attained some degree of intellectual and emotional maturity, the mature human soon begins to look upon all immature mortals with feelings of tenderness and emotions of tolerance. Mature men and women view immature folks with the love and consideration that good parents bear their children.
Rodan states that the greatest of all methods for attaining this maturity he learned from Jesus. "I refer," he says, "to that which Jesus so consistently practices, the isolation of worshipful meditation. In this habit of Jesus' going off so frequently to commune with the Father in heaven is to be found the technique, not only of gathering strength and wisdom for the ordinary conflicts of living, but also of appropriating energy for the solution of the higher problems of a moral and spiritual nature."
The philosopher warns that even correct techniques for solving problems will not compensate for inherent defects of personality in the absence of a real and genuine hunger and thirst for true righteousness. The relaxation of worship, or spiritual communion, as practiced by the Master, relieves tension, removes conflicts, mightily augments the total resources of personality, and produces a stability that can only be experienced by those who have discovered and embraced the living God as the goal of eternal attainment.
The effort toward maturity necessitates work, and work requires energy. Whence comes the power to accomplish all this? Jesus has taught us that God lives in us. How can mankind be induced to release these soul-bound powers of divinity and infinity? How shall we induce them to let go of God, that He may spring forth to the refreshment of our own souls while in transit outward, thereby serving the purpose of enlightening, uplifting, and blessing countless other souls? Whence comes the energy to do these great things?
The secret of this problem is in spiritual communion, in worship. From the human standpoint it is a question of combined meditation and relaxation. Meditation makes the contact of mind with spirit, relaxation determines the capacity for spiritual receptivity. And this interchange of strength for weakness, courage for fear, the will of God for the mind of self, constitutes worship. When these experiences are frequently repeated, they crystallize into habits, strength-giving and worshipful habits, and such habits eventually formulate themselves into a spiritual character, and such a character is finally recognized by