The Urantia Book

The History of Urantia


102. The Foundations of Religious Faith

7. The Certitude of the Divine

102.7.1 The Universal Father, being self-existent, is also self-explanatory; he actually lives in every rational mortal. But you cannot be sure about God unless you know him; sonship is the only experience which makes fatherhood certain. The universe is everywhere undergoing change. A changing universe is a dependent universe; such a creation cannot be either final or absolute. A finite universe is wholly dependent on the Ultimate and the Absolute. The universe and God are not identical; one is cause, the other effect. The cause is absolute, infinite, eternal, and changeless; the effect, time-space and transcendental but ever changing, always growing.

102.7.2 God is the one and only self-caused fact in the universe. He is the secret of the order, plan, and purpose of the whole creation of things and beings. The everywhere-changing universe is regulated and stabilized by absolutely unchanging laws, the habits of an unchanging God. The fact of God, the divine law, is changeless; the truth of God, his relation to the universe, is a relative revelation which is ever adaptable to the constantly evolving universe.

102.7.3 Those who would invent a religion without God are like those who would gather fruit without trees, have children without parents. You cannot have effects without causes; only the I AM is causeless. The fact of religious experience implies God, and such a God of personal experience must be a personal Deity. You cannot pray to a chemical formula, supplicate a mathematical equation, worship a hypothesis, confide in a postulate, commune with a process, serve an abstraction, or hold loving fellowship with a law.

102.7.4 True, many apparently religious traits can grow out of nonreligious roots. Man can, intellectually, deny God and yet be morally good, loyal, filial, honest, and even idealistic. Man may graft many purely humanistic branches onto his basic spiritual nature and thus apparently prove his contentions in behalf of a godless religion, but such an experience is devoid of survival values, God-knowingness and God-ascension. In such a mortal experience only social fruits are forthcoming, not spiritual. The graft determines the nature of the fruit, notwithstanding that the living sustenance is drawn from the roots of original divine endowment of both mind and spirit.

102.7.5 The intellectual earmark of religion is certainty; the philosophical characteristic is consistency; the social fruits are love and service.

102.7.6 The God-knowing individual is not one who is blind to the difficulties or unmindful of the obstacles which stand in the way of finding God in the maze of superstition, tradition, and materialistic tendencies of modern times. He has encountered all these deterrents and triumphed over them, surmounted them by living faith, and attained the highlands of spiritual experience in spite of them. But it is true that many who are inwardly sure about God fear to assert such feelings of certainty because of the multiplicity and cleverness of those who assemble objections and magnify difficulties about believing in God. It requires no great depth of intellect to pick flaws, ask questions, or raise objections. But it does require brilliance of mind to answer these questions and solve these difficulties; faith certainty is the greatest technique for dealing with all such superficial contentions.

102.7.7 If science, philosophy, or sociology dares to become dogmatic in contending with the prophets of true religion, then should God-knowing men reply to such unwarranted dogmatism with that more farseeing dogmatism of the certainty of personal spiritual experience, “I know what I have experienced because I am a son of I AM.” If the personal experience of a faither is to be challenged by dogma, then this faith-born son of the experiencible Father may reply with that unchallengeable dogma, the statement of his actual sonship with the Universal Father.

102.7.8 Only an unqualified reality, an absolute, could dare consistently to be dogmatic. Those who assume to be dogmatic must, if consistent, sooner or later be driven into the arms of the Absolute of energy, the Universal of truth, and the Infinite of love.

102.7.9 If the nonreligious approaches to cosmic reality presume to challenge the certainty of faith on the grounds of its unproved status, then the spirit experiencer can likewise resort to the dogmatic challenge of the facts of science and the beliefs of philosophy on the grounds that they are likewise unproved; they are likewise experiences in the consciousness of the scientist or the philosopher.

102.7.10 Of God, the most inescapable of all presences, the most real of all facts, the most living of all truths, the most loving of all friends, and the most divine of all values, we have the right to be the most certain of all universe experiences.

8. The Evidences of Religion

102.8.1 The highest evidence of the reality and efficacy of religion consists in the fact of human experience; namely, that man, naturally fearful and suspicious, innately endowed with a strong instinct of self-preservation and craving survival after death, is willing fully to trust the deepest interests of his present and future to the keeping and direction of that power and person designated by his faith as God. That is the one central truth of all religion. As to what that power or person requires of man in return for this watchcare and final salvation, no two religions agree; in fact, they all more or less disagree.

102.8.2 Regarding the status of any religion in the evolutionary scale, it may best be judged by its moral judgments and its ethical standards. The higher the type of any religion, the more it encourages and is encouraged by a constantly improving social morality and ethical culture. We cannot judge religion by the status of its accompanying civilization; we had better estimate the real nature of a civilization by the purity and nobility of its religion. Many of the world's most notable religious teachers have been virtually unlettered. The wisdom of the world is not necessary to an exercise of saving faith in eternal realities.

102.8.3 The difference in the religions of various ages is wholly dependent on the difference in man's comprehension of reality and on his differing recognition of moral values, ethical relationships, and spirit realities.

102.8.4 Ethics is the external social or racial mirror which faithfully reflects the otherwise unobservable progress of internal spiritual and religious developments. Man has always thought of God in the terms of the best he knew, his deepest ideas and highest ideals. Even historic religion has always created its God conceptions out of its highest recognized values. Every intelligent creature gives the name of God to the best and highest thing he knows.

102.8.5 Religion, when reduced to terms of reason and intellectual expression, has always dared to criticize civilization and evolutionary progress as judged by its own standards of ethical culture and moral progress.

102.8.6 While personal religion precedes the evolution of human morals, it is regretfully recorded that institutional religion has invariably lagged behind the slowly changing mores of the human races. Organized religion has proved to be conservatively tardy. The prophets have usually led the people in religious development; the theologians have usually held them back. Religion, being a matter of inner or personal experience, can never develop very far in advance of the intellectual evolution of the races.

102.8.7 But religion is never enhanced by an appeal to the so-called miraculous. The quest for miracles is a harking back to the primitive religions of magic. True religion has nothing to do with alleged miracles, and never does revealed religion point to miracles as proof of authority. Religion is ever and always rooted and grounded in personal experience. And your highest religion, the life of Jesus, was just such a personal experience: man, mortal man, seeking God and finding him to the fullness during one short life in the flesh, while in the same human experience there appeared God seeking man and finding him to the full satisfaction of the perfect soul of infinite supremacy. And that is religion, even the highest yet revealed in the universe of Nebadon - the earth life of Jesus of Nazareth.

102.8.8 [Presented by a Melchizedek of Nebadon.]