The Urantia Book

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The Urantia Papers (An introduction by Byron Belitsos)

A first glance through the table of contents of The Urantia Book can be shocking: It lists over fifty names and types of celestial personalities, few of whom have been heard of on the planet heretofore. The topics covered are all-embracing in scope. Its literary style is elevated and complex—often rather advanced. In addition, the jacket of this 2,097-page book describes it as an epochal revelation to our planet, which it purports is called "Urantia" Without a doubt, this text offers a formidable challenge to anyone approaching it for the first time!

The Urantia Book was authored and presented by celestial personalities and given to our world through a method that is not wholly understood. Popular lore recounts a twenty-year process in the 1920s and 30s in Chicago of direct interaction between a superhuman commission of celestial personalities and a "contact commission" of six humans. In addition, a group of several hundred people known as the Forum, which met once a week during these years in Chicago, was indirectly involved in the revelatory process, feeding (through the human contact commissioners) not only hundreds of questions to the revelators but even comments on early drafts of the papers. The finished version, a massive tome, was first published in 1955, and more than 500,000 copies are now in print.

AN OVERVIEW OF THE URANTIA TEXT

The first thing one notices when perusing this text is a huge volume of 196 chapters (actually known as "papers") that is divided into four sections:

I. The Central and Superuniverses, which presents the infinitely loving and merciful nature of the Universal Father, the Eternal Son and the Infinite Spirit, the nature and activities of the Eternal Trinity and other high universe personalities, and the extent and structure of the far-flung cosmic domains of material creation.

II. The Local Universe, which details the nature and structure of the "local" sector of our galaxy containing ten million inhabited planets, including its administration and history.

III. The History of Urantia, which narrates the origin of our solar system, a chronological account of the history of the earth ("Urantia"), and the evolution of life on the planet, including a spiritual history of humankind.

IV. The Life and Teachings of Jesus, which contains a 700-page account of the life and teachings of Jesus—sometimes day-by-day and hour by hour—including a narration of the so-called "lost years" of Jesus’ childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, as well as an extensive and detailed account of his public ministry. The background data for this presentation is based chiefly on records supplied by the guardian angel who accompanied the Apostle Andrew.

This fourth section of the book is solidly rooted in the New Testament story. In one of five papers presented for a consultative panel on The Urantia Book held at the American Academy of Religion meeting in 1986, Dr. Meredith Sprunger wrote the following about the Jesus Papers:

"This superb presentation of the life of Jesus brings life to the sketchy New Testament picture and with it a new authenticity. It has a universal appeal even when it is viewed only as a historical novel for it is unsurpassed in theistic philosophical reasonableness, spiritual insight, and personality appeal. This life of Jesus not only fills in the "hidden years" from twelve to thirty but The Urantia Book gives a picture of his pre-incarnation and post-incarnation experience. It is basically acceptable to all religions, emphasizing the religion of Jesus which is unifying rather than the religion about Jesus which tend to be divisive."

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