On Free Will
Ann Bendall, Qld, Australia
The only possible gift of true value to God is our free will. (22) God asks that we align our will to his. But we cannot give him our will or let him take over, which would be a delightfully simple process--if it were possible. Instead God asks that we become real to the universe by aligning our will to his, that is by striving to choose that which is godlike in each decision we make. And so--decisions, decisions, decisions and more decisions are required from us.
The most perfect example of "doing God's will" was the crucifixion. Jesus could have avoided such an ignominious death. He could have moved to Rome with the apostles, but in his heart he "knew" that this was not what God required of him.
Short term, such an action might have solved a problem, but in the long term it did a grave disservice to many for, until such time as his life on Urantia was completed:
His Spirit of Truth could not be released for the benefit of all on this and every other world of his creation.
Thought Adjusters could not come to every person capable of making a moral decision.
The resurrection of sleeping survivors could not occur.
How significant were these three? To God and the Son of God, paramount. But to the human Jesus, an immediate painful reality of his leaving this planet was his apprehension that his apostles were still unprepared.
And so, up until the night of his arrest, he continued to pray, "if this cup may not pass, then would I drink it. Not my will but yours be done." And, as he prayed, his strength increased to face and accept God's will for him.
How powerful is our will?
Incredibly so! In The Urantia Book there are a number of classic exemplars of the power of the individual's will pitting itself against the universe, to the point of perpetrating sin and even perhaps iniquity:
1. Look at the Sanhedrin. It is inconceivable to me that intelligent and "religious" men, who knew that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, in their vested self-interest, classified him as being in league with the devil. Did they really believe so?
To them he was walking a different pathway from themselves, and so was creating hell for them in his disrupting of their power base. I suspect that God had absolutely no relevance in the decisions they made, despite the fact that they were planning to kill a person who stated that he was the Son of God. Consequently, in their decision making process, in acknowledging that Jesus had superhuman power, and by deeming themselves to being devout servants of God, they could deduce that Jesus must have been a servant of the devil.
Perhaps some thought that they were doing God's will, but they defined this God's will as being the retention of the status quo of their religion. And they certainly did not go through the process of exploring what would have been a "godlike" decision.
But, for me, the incredible enigma was the abject vain gloriousness of the Sanhedrin. How could they believe they could kill a person who had power over life and death. Did they truly believe they could exterminate Jesus? Tragically, Jesus referred to some of them as iniquitous.
2. Then there was Judas. For years he had lived with Jesus. For years Jesus had taught him his philosophy of life and his beliefs. And Jesus lived what he taught. Yet Judas deemed him to be a coward!
Judas witnessed so many of the things that Jesus did, the miracles, the caring, the compassion. How could he not understand that Jesus was what he said he was--the Son of God. When Peter had declared him to be so, Judas had risen with the others in confirmation of what Peter had said. Yes, we appreciate that Judas had more than his share of failings but for him to want to have Jesus killed, because he deemed him to have thwarted his own personal dreams! Judas placed a love for worldly honor before his love for Jesus and, in the end, he "grew to love this desire with his whole heart." (1926) With this as the primary desire of his life, he considered that such worldly honor could be secured by becoming a traitor. And when he betrayed Jesus, he full well knew that Jesus would be put to death.
Yes, the power of the human will is truly amazing. It can declare as reality something that ignores truths known to it. Indeed Judas correctly assessed that Jesus was going to allow himself to be destroyed by the Jewish rulers, but he falsely deduced that this would "defeat the movement." (1925) Though he "could not quite believe that the mighty works of the Master had been wrought by the power of the prince of devils," he was still prepared to betray him to those who appeared to so believe.
And Judas was deemed to have sinned.