The Urantia Book Fellowship

The Origin and Proliferation of Reality:
Process Theology in The Urantia Book

by Dr. James C. Mills

The source material for this presentation is found in Paper 105 in the Urantia Book. This paper sustains the same relation to the Urantia Book as Chapter One of the Book of Genesis does to the Bible and certain Upanishads to the Veda.

This paper deals with events in eternity. However, for the purpose of easier comprehension, it recognizes the necessity for a linear or sequentential presentation of the events involved. Hence the paper structures its explication of the genesis of all reality as a process beginning at an admittedly hypothetical moment in past eternity. The primal causation which takes place is attributed to God, the Universal Father, functioning as the infinite, eternal and absolute I AM within whose infinity the primal action takes place.

The term I AM has been selected for use here because it is totally unqualified and can be conceived as the totality of "the undifferentiated reality of all that could ever be in all of an infinite eternity.'' In addition, the term suggests no more than that the I AM exists, a notion the paper wishes to convey. At this point in past eternity the only thing that "is" is the I AM, and its portrayal as a notion presents an interesting challenge to imaginative conceptualization.

Two terms have been used in speaking of deity: The Universal Father and, the I AM. The difference in use is one based on function. The paper points out that man s worshipful concept of God as the Father of all things is a personal experience. Then in the longest statement in the book in italics it says: ". .. your experiential worshipful concept of the Universal Father must always be less than your philosophic postulate of the infinity of the First Source and Center, the I AM. Actually, both refer to the same entity, only the context differs. It is helpful to keep this in mind. The I AM can be taken as both God and Uncaused Cause.

Human concepts showing a conceptual affinity to the idea of the I AM presented here are: Paul Tillich's "Ground of Being," Hegel's Absolute, Aristotle's Uncaused Cause, The Brahman in its absolute form, or any monistic concept. The empirical philosopher might see it as pure energy and some theologians might see it as pure spirit energy. Others might see it as the essence of existence pure undifferentiated existence, undefinable, ineffable.

The general concept the paper attempts to portray is one of existence without definition. However one important difference exists at the hypothetical moment considered. The I AM apparently has no intention of remaining static. The paper states, "But even in this conjectured situation we must assume the existence of the possibility of self will." Let us call it volition. The process which ensues when volition acts is one of self-segmentation and the first two segments, or phases, appearing, achieve the first recognizable individual differences within the I AM. This is the first (imagined) step by which the I AM escapes the shackles of infinity.

The two new phases are called at first, The Infinite One, and The Infinitude and their nature is that of static personal potential reality and static impersonal potential reality respectively. At this point we have at most only three identifiables to work with, the I AM, The Infinite One, and The Infinitude respectively. Lets call these A, B and C in the same order. On this foundation the I AM can establish seven relationships within itself. These are the permutations of A, B and C taken one, two , and three at a time: A, B, C, AB, AC, CB, and ABC, a total of seven relativities. At this stage each of these relationships is that of the I AM with something or some combination which has appeared within its infinity in response to the functioning of self-will.

In the Urantia Book the explanation of what emerges from each relationship is described in logical detail and should intrigue philosophically-minded theologians for a long time into the future. For our purposes, because of the limits on time, we state that the Urantia Book insists that all reality has an absolute basis and these internal relationships become eternalized or "existentialized" if you prefer, as the Seven Absolutes of Infinity which are the absolute foundations of all reality without qualification. Jointly they equivalate to the I AM. These relationships have been presented sequentially, but in fact they are unqualifiedly and coordinately eternal.

It should be noted that the Urantia Book uses the word "existential" to refer to existent eternal and absolute beings only, a practice followed here. You and I are called "incomplete finites." What immediately follows is a greatly abridged description of the Seven Absolutes of Infinity, The first four are existential absolutes of reality; the last three are existential absolutes of potential reality.

1. The First Source and Center. First Person of Deity and primal non-deity pattern, God, Universal Father in the fullest sense. Philosophically, The I AM.

2. The Second Source and Center. The Eternal and Original Son (not to be confused with Jesus). "The spiritual personalization of the ... Father's universal and infinite concept of divine reality, unqualified spirit, and absolute personality."

3. The Paradise Source and Center. Second non-deity pattern. Paradise is non-personal and non-spiritual. it appears to be the actualization of the non-personal absolute repercussion to the appearance of the Eternal Son. It does not exist in space but at the focus of space, "the geographical center of infinity, the dwelling place of the eternal God." The absolute pattern for all subsequent cosmic reality

4. The Third Source and Center. Third Person of Deity, The Conjoint Actor; The Infinite Spirit. Absolute mind and source of mind and bestower of intellect upon all creatures. Primal manipulator of cosmic energies into the mechanics of space. Expression of the Universal Father's plans.

5. The Deity Absolute. The causational, potentially personal possibilities of universal reality, the totality of all Deity potential. I find it helpful to theorize the Deity Absolute as the infinite potential of all as yet unrealized personality and deity function as the I AM.

6. The Unqualified Absolute. The unrevealed cosmic infinity of the I AM. I theorize the Unqualified Absolute as the infinite potential of all future cosmic reality; the energy source of future universes. The Urantia Book sometimes calls it space potency or the force charge of space.

7. The Universal Absolute. Unifier of the deified and the undeified; correlater of the absolute and the relative. I theorize this absolute as becoming necessary when the I AM first willed the separation of personal from impersonal reality within itself thus creating tensions. The Universal Absolute becomes the resolution of these tensions. I believe it can function right down to the domain of the finite.

With the establishment of these absolute foundations the Universal Father is now ready to embark upon the adventure of time and space, the continuum of finite things and beings. Before a beginning is made however, an ideal pattern universe is first brought into existence: This universe is perfect in gravitational balance, physical development, planetary stability, and is peopled with perfect inhabitants. But strange to us, it has as a major component in all its reality, personal and impersonal, a superfinite but subabsolute nature which may suggest that in the far distant future, when the Principle of Plenitude has been satisfied and the finite has achieved its own kind of perfection, there may come into existence a superfinite continuum which is subabsolute.

The perfect universe is called Havona or the Central Universe and it appears at an interesting moment: at the first appearance of the Infinite Spirit. As Paradise appears to be the absolute non-personal repercussion to the appearance of the absolute spiritual personality of the Eternal Son, so Havona, appears to be the first time-space material repercussion to the appearance of the absolute mind of the Infinite Spirit. Prior to the appearance of the Infinite Spirit physical gravity as we know it was not in existence. It was not needed. It appears at the instant of the appearance of Havona and encircuits the whole new universe in the grasp of Paradise gravity control.

I do not believe that it is too far-fetched to see, in all of this activity, the functioning of the Deity, Unqualified, and Universal Absolutes previously referred to. From our point of view three related items of great importance to us have appeared: mind, matter and physical gravity. There now exists an exquisitely balanced physical universe, peopled with perfect beings endowed with both mind and personality and the gravitational control to balance the needs of both. The Central Universe could not be presented as an Absolute comparable to Paradise because, though it derives its patterns from Paradise, it appears external to Paradise in space and it has a time consciousness. (The Havona day is just seven minutes, three and one-eighth seconds less than one thousand years of our present leap year calendar.)

In addition to the absolute pattern of Paradise we now have a universe whose worlds can become the idealized patterns for the physical worlds of time and space in both form and inhabitants. But the worlds of time and space must evolve as must their inhabitants. This evolution is both physical and personal. Creativity in time we know as "evolution." Incompleteness is inherent in the finite therefore the need for growth is ever present. This kind of creativity can, in the finite, be derived only from experience which in turn requires time and space for its development.

It is impossible to present even a brief summary of the carefully stated and fully coherent system of reality presented in the Urantia Book. After over thirty years of study I am not sure that I have a full grasp of it. Each new reading reveals a new interpretation to me, partly due to my correlative studies but mostly due to the fact that each reading in itself appears to raise one to a new plateau of understanding from which the same words, seen so many times before, suddenly catch one with a new and more enlightening meaning.

I believe that process theologians will find much to intrigue them in this work when it is compared with that of A. N, Whitehead's insight, revealed in his primordial concept of God, is seen in the Deity Absolute and the Unqualified Absolute. His view of the consequent nature of God is brought to a full expression in the Urantia Book's Supreme Being which we have not mentioned here for reasons of time. Both works add much to a growing understanding of the importance of the finite both to transcendent deity, the Universal Father, and to an emerging finite deity, the Supreme Being. Both help comprehension of the other, in either case, a not always easy task.

Whitehead begins with a system and unfolds its realities in the problems of time and space. The Urantia Book begins with goals in eternity and works backward to our place in time and space. Both are non-linear in exposition, although the Urantia Book attempts linear explanation when it desires to portray a process as we have done today. Its wealth of material is amazing on all levels; yet when one studies it carefully one sees a very faint glimmer of the vastness of what is untold. Man must still work out his own destiny. Philosophy and Theology will always find the unfolding future filled with opportunities for fruitful speculation. The Urantia Book opens but one more.

Process philosophers and theologians may see the Urantia Book as an important extension to Whitehead's system. Some time in the future, students of the philosophy and theology of the Urantia Book may come to see Whitehead as their "John the Baptist."

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