The Urantia Book compared to the Padgett Messages.
The Urantia Book is widely known, compared to the Padgett Messages. It is believed that over 1 million copies of the book have been sold. Generally speaking, followers of the Urantia Book do not also follow the Padgett Messages, and vice versa. One may wonder why this should be the case, after all the advice given by Judas regarding the Urantia Book is to read the book with an open mind.
There are substantial differences, as also similarities between the two books. First off the issue of how the books were created. Here there are significant differences, if one accepts the published views of how these books came about. The Padgett Messages make no apology for being mediumistically received. On the other hand, the Urantia Book seems to make every possible defense against being received mediumistically. It would appear that Dr. Sadler Snr, head of the group tasked with creating the Urantia Book, was vehemently against mediums, and was a close confident of Houdini. Houdini spent a lot of his energies trying to prove every spirit medium was a fraud. As a result the official version is that the receiver received these papers in his sleep, and that some of them appeared to have been written by hand, even though the volume of text was sufficient to make that unlikely. Others are presumed to have been written down (by taking dictation while the subject was asleep) by an assistant. There is also the issue of the originals disappearing from a locked safe, once the transcript had been typed. On the other hand the hand written originals of the Padgett Messages exist to this day. It is fairly clear that the Urantia community distances itself from the issue of mediums and mediumship, and one suspects that this has been a very successful strategy in growing the readership.
The tone of the Urantia book is also vastly different to that in the Padgett Messages. The Padgett Messages are relatively easy to read, but the Urantia Book is occasionally beyond human understanding, and is certainly intellectually inclined. I say that with confidence, having studied English at University level.
What about the contents? Well the Padgett Messages are singularly about Divine Love. What it is, how to receive it, why you should receive it, what happens if you don’t. The Urantia Book is not. It is not silent about Divine Love, but it’s very close to silence. In fact the Urantia Book has an extremely clear statement about Divine Love, which I will now quote:
3:4.6 (50.4) Mortal man cannot possibly know the infinitude of the heavenly Father. Finite mind cannot think through such an absolute truth or fact. But this same finite human being can actually feel--literally experience--the full and undiminished impact of such an infinite Father’s LOVE. Such a love can be truly experienced, albeit while quality of experience is unlimited, quantity of such an experience is strictly limited by the human capacity for spiritual receptivity and by the associated capacity to love the Father in return.
That description is incredibly clear, yet there is no instruction to attempt this process, or the importance of doing so, and I have not personally found any Urantia Book readers sufficiently impressed by that statement to have made the attempt.
There is also another fascinating snippet on the power of Divine Love. This is in Section Four, in the section headed “The Time of the Tomb”:
188:5.2 (2018.1) Divine love does not merely forgive wrongs; it absorbs and actually destroys them. The forgiveness of love utterly transcends the forgiveness of mercy. Mercy sets the guilt of evil-doing to one side; but love destroys forever the sin and all weakness resulting therefrom.
Again I do not know of anyone who has linked these two concepts, and thus discerned that Divine Love is worth pursuing. These concepts are of course central to the Padgett Messages. Finally there is this snippet, which again just falls short of telling readers to try the Great Experiment:
117:6.9 (1289.2) Men all too often forget that God is the greatest experience in human existence. Other experiences are limited in their nature and content, but the experience of God has no limits save those of the creature’s comprehension capacity, and this very experience is in itself capacity enlarging. When men search for God, they are searching for everything. When they find God, they have found everything. The search for God is the unstinted bestowal of love attended by amazing discoveries of new and greater love to be bestowed.
117:6.10 (1289.3) All true love is from God, and man receives the divine affection as he himself bestows this love upon his fellows. Love is dynamic. It can never be captured; it is alive, free, thrilling, and always moving. Man can never take the love of the Father and imprison it within his heart. The Father’s love can become real to mortal man only by passing through that man’s personality as he in turn bestows this love upon his fellows. The great circuit of love is from the Father, through sons to brothers, and hence to the Supreme. The love of the Father appears in the mortal personality by the ministry of the indwelling Adjuster. Such a God-knowing son reveals this love to his universe brethren, and this fraternal affection is the essence of the love of the Supreme.
The Urantia book is really a cosmology. A sort of universe map. In this it succeeds extremely well. One may draw the analogy of a car technical manual. The Urantia book has enormous detail about many interesting things, some of which I suspect are not described anywhere else. However it is not a set of keys to drive a car. The Padgett Messages may be described as that set of keys, although it’s fair to say not much information is given about where you will drive, the focus is on learning to drive, and why you should learn to drive, and what happens to folks who don’t choose to learn. In the construction and selection of the material for the Urantia Book it does appear that every effort was made to avoid any religiosity, certainly it’s difficult to see how one would create a religion around the book. That said, that point does not seem to have affected the detractors of the book, typically orthodox Christian Churches. The Padgett Messages can be said to be more religious, and in particular the comment is often made that the Padgett Messages should be studied from the heart. More than one foundation church has been created, and ministers are ordained based on the material.
In both books the Creator of All is at the center of all things. However the Padgett Messages provide a direct experience of the Father in Divine Love. The Urantia Book is not a work that is specifically about or contains Jesus’ direct teachings on the Father which are contained in the Padgett Messages, and which involve the new-birth of the soul and the immortality of Divine Love. Doubtless those that are readers of the Urantia Book will be amazed at this comment, as fully 25% of the book is devoted to the life and teachings of Jesus. Sadly however this almost day by day account is devoid of anything useful regarding Divine Love. And since the Bible itself can still be found to have traces of that teaching, again the life of Jesus is just that, in the eyes of a Padgett follower. A map, but no key.
The Padgett Messages is written by mortals who have lived a life on Earth and are now spirits who recount their individual history and subsequent progression as spirits in a direct experience of the Father in Divine Love whereas the Urantia Book is not a work conveyed by mortals and so a direct mortal experience of the Father perhaps cannot be communicated. In other words, if one desires to hear it from Jesus, then one needs to read the Padgett Messages and learn about how we can get underway in our own personal experience with the Universal Father. However readers of the Urantia Book simply retort that nothing special is needed. Reading the progress that is anticipated and described in the Urantia Book, there is really no indication that any significant number of souls will not simply progress all the way to Paradise. It appears to require nothing special at all to progress.
Regarding content differences, some of these can be reconciled, and others cannot. Starting from the issue of the First Parents, the story in the Urantia book is not entirely dissimilar to that told by Amon and Aman, but sadly they now have different names: Andon and Fonta. There is also absolutely no discussion of the “fall”, a key issue in the Padgett Messages, where the First Parents are said to have refused the gift of Divine Love, leading to the withdrawal of this precious gift. This is followed with a later tale of Adam and Eve, who are now genetic uplifters who have been transported to Earth to change our DNA. That tale has never been discussed in the Padgett Messages, but it seems that they also fail. Which leads to another curious difference. There is a reference in the Padgett Messages to angelic beings in a remote corner, but by and large one is left with the impression that all that exists in the universe are mortals from Earth.1 The Urantia book is very different, discussing countless angelic beings, and their roles, as also the issue of mortals on other inhabited planets - “aliens”. So too the role of Jesus. In the Padgett messages he is a pure mortal, very much our brother. In the Urantia Book he is a Creator Son, sent here to complete a stage in his education, and is a being responsible for our entire sub-universe of Nebadon. However both agree he had a pure human experience while here.
Which leads to the issue of Lucifer. The Padgett messages say he never existed. The Urantia Book describes issues surrounding his reign in some twenty pages.
A central concept in the Urantia Book is the presence of an Indwelling Spirit, or Thought Adjuster in the mind of every adult with a suitably sane mind. This concept was never revealed to James Padgett, and it is only in 2008 that a series of messages have been received on this topic. There were always curious similarities between the concept of Divine Love and that of Thought Adjusters however. In both cases it is said that this became universally available after Jesus’ sojourn here. As also fusion with this Indwelling Spirit occurred on exiting the Seventh Sphere, just as that step was concluded in the Padgett Messages by having one’s soul completely transformed by Divine Love. But what exact relationship might exist between these two concepts was far from clear. The contemporary communication received in 2008 indicates that they are different concepts, both vitally important however in our spiritual progression.
Both sources describe the next realm as consisting of seven spheres, called Mansion Worlds in the Urantia Book, and Spirit Spheres in the Padgett Messages. But while the Padgett Messages clearly indicate different functions for spheres three, five and seven, this point was not made in the Urantia Book. In the Padgett Messages we learn that the path to fusion, to use a Urantia Book concept, is via spheres three, five and seven. And that those that do not follow this spiritual path, remain in the sixth sphere. And unless they change their ideas, will never exit the Mansion Worlds.
The last book in the Urantia Book is the Life and Teachings of Jesus. Taken on its own, this is a marvelous resource. However when it is compared to the more limited material received by James Padgett and subsequent mediums, some curious differences emerge. Much is made in the Urantia Book of the death of Joseph the father of Jesus while Jesus is still a youngster. On the other hand this issue has been raised by numerous mediums following the Padgett tradition, and the answer is that Joseph died well after the crucifixion. From a spiritual perspective, this is truly an insignificant matter. But when taken as an insight into how the Urantia Book was constructed, it bears far more meaning. It is understood that Book Four was not a part of the initial brief for this revelation, and was obtained from another medium. It is speculated that it was incomplete, and completed by humans, following their best guesses about what transpired. Mary commented about the Urantia Book as follows:
The mind of man and woman when used as a conductor of information being channeled from the spirit may be involved in the process and this is often the case when we are limited in our ability to successfully transmit the truth. As D___ said, there have been times when the angel, filled with Divine purpose and transmitting the truth, may come through one time and a spirit from the natural heavens, whose development in love and understanding of truth is compromised, may come through the same medium at another time. In the case of the Urantia text, it was received over a period of time that allowed the change to occur in the condition of the thoughts and motives of the mediums.
Then there are curious little things in the book, which make one wonder how much human input there was. Take the issue reported about spirit communication:
Those who go to the mansion worlds are not permitted to send messages back to their loved ones. It is the policy throughout the universes to forbid such communication during the period of a current dispensation.
This would appear to be an attempt to disparage each and every single spirit communication from ex-mortals, absolutely including all of the Padgett Messages, but naturally excluding the Urantia book itself, because that was never claimed to have come from ex-mortals. Judging by the attitudes of many of the readers of that book, this goal has been largely achieved. However one could read this sentence to mean no more than every communication has to be approved at some Celestial level. There is indeed some indication that might well be the case.
In recent years, a small number of Urantia Book followers have themselves developed the ability to communicate with spirit, and have collected their communications under the banner of “Team” or Teaching Mission. A small number of these are from ex-mortals. What is absolutely fascinating to a follower of the Padgett Messages is that central to Team’s work is the concept of stillness, and buried in stillness is Divine Love. Also reading many of these Team messages, the comment has certainly been made more than once, that fusion with ones Indwelling Spirit and progression beyond the Mansion Worlds is not assured. Slowly and surely the Celestial World is building bridges between these two spiritual works. More recently we did ask why there were such differences in the two revelations, and the answer displayed a curious but very accurate insight into human behaviour. It was to avoid arguments between both groups.
1 In point of fact at least one contemporary Divine Love medium has communicated with beings from another planet. Two such messages can be found in the list of messages received in 1969.