Use the Power of Revelation With the Wisdom of Evolution
It was our first conversation. After some back and forth on the phone, I asked, “How can I help you?” I could feel my new friend’s answer come from the depth of his soul: “I want to get better at introducing The Urantia Book to others.” For days I pondered what he said, awaiting fresh insight to offer in return. This essay continues the conversation.
We know what The Urantia Book has done for us, and we see a world that needs to change in the light of its truths. It may seem that the obvious thing to do is to go forth as evangelists proclaiming the book. We meet people and introduce it to them, but sometimes things don’t go well, and we may feel strange and wonder what to do.
We will succeed in revealing truth to our world in a way that is divine and wise if we combine the courage to reveal with the wisdom of evolutionary methods, adapting what we teach and how we teach to the other person’s receptivity.
If we study The Urantia Book searching for wisdom about how to combine revelation and evolution, we find a lot. Every part of the book has important things to offer, but here we will mainly look at Jesus to gather some principles of revealing truth with evolutionary wisdom.
1. Prepare by study
As a youth, Jesus studied the scriptures of his place and time. As a young adult, at age 27, he expanded his knowledge. “At the Capernaum synagogue he found many new books in the library chests, and he spent at least five evenings a week at intense study” (129:1). On the way to Rome, he studied world religions. During his four months training the first six apostles, Jesus not only revealed the teachings of the kingdom of heaven; he also led them in the study of Jewish scriptures.
We will learn wisdom about how to reveal truth from our study of The Urantia Book and from gaining better understanding of the people we communicate with and the sources of truth on which they rely.
2. Embrace evolution
After Jesus’ baptism, he took forty days to formulate the great decisions that would guide his public career. He first reviewed in his mind the entire history of Urantia, including the successes and failures of previous revelations—where they had followed the wisdom of combining revelation with evolution and where they had raced ahead and betrayed the promise of their gift to the world.
Then Jesus made the great decisions that would guide his career as a teacher. “Jesus chose to establish the kingdom of heaven in the hearts of mankind by natural, ordinary, difficult, and trying methods, just such procedures as his earth children must subsequently follow in their work of enlarging and extending the heavenly kingdom.” (136:8)
Evolution is an acquired taste. Evolution can be slow, difficult, and disappointing; but when we allow the Adjuster to give us a spiritual perspective, we can delight in whatever simple word or deed fits the occasion. Eventually, we develop an appetite for the way of the Supreme, the path the Father has ordained.
3. Make sure the other person has embraced entry-level gospel truth before giving advanced teaching.
After the apostles were trained, ordained, and consecrated, they set forth to begin their public work. Jesus told them to reveal the entry-level, gospel truths of the kingdom of God, the family of God, and to make sure that the person had spiritually received the truth of sonship with the Father before going on to give advanced teachings.
Go then, Simon, teaching and preaching the kingdom, and when you have a man safely and securely within the kingdom, then is the time, when such a one shall come to you with inquiries, to impart instruction having to do with the progressive advancement of the soul within the divine kingdom. . . .
That night Jesus discoursed to the apostles on the new life in the kingdom. He said in part: “When you enter the kingdom, you are reborn. You cannot teach the deep things of the spirit to those who have been born only of the flesh; first see that men are born of the spirit before you seek to instruct them in the advanced ways of the spirit. Do not undertake to show men the beauties of the temple until you have first taken them into the temple. Introduce men to God and as the sons of God before you discourse on the doctrines of the fatherhood of God and the sonship of men. (141:6)
Advanced teaching here does not reach as far as the epochal fact of Jesus’ divine Sonship, but to an intellectual discussion of the meaning of our relationships in the family of God.
4. Gain skill in revealing truth on various levels
Jesus’ teaching to Simon Zelotes implies that we do well to gain skill in revealing truth on various levels. When we think of revelation, often the first thing that comes to our mind is The Urantia Book; some people refer to the book as “the revelation” in a way that gives the impression that other revelations are not quite up to date. But there are many types of revelation, and each one has an essential function. “Truth is always a revelation: autorevelation when it emerges as a result of the work of the indwelling Adjuster; epochal revelation when it is presented by the function of some other celestial agency, group, or personality” (101:4).
When we introduce others to God as our Father in a living way, we are revealing truth. When we relate to others as family in a living way, we are revealing truth. If we interpret the meaning of the many-sided gospel in a helpful way to those who want to understand better what they have begun to experience, we are revealing truth. As we learn to impart revelation on various levels, we can attune our response to who these persons are and where they are on their journey.
5. Adjust your teaching to the other person’s receptivity
One of the most important principles in teaching is to adjust to the other person’s receptivity. “The characteristic difference between evolved and revealed religion is a new quality of divine wisdom which is added to purely experiential human wisdom. But it is experience in and with the human religions that develops the capacity for subsequent reception of increased bestowals of divine wisdom and cosmic insight” (100:6). “It is the mission of revelation to sort and censor the successive religions of evolution. But if revelation is to exalt and upstep the religions of evolution, then must such divine visitations portray teachings which are not too far removed from the thought and reactions of the age in which they are presented. Thus must and does revelation always keep in touch with evolution. Always must the religion of revelation be limited by man’s capacity of receptivity” (92:4).
Another statement is universal in its scope. “Never, in all your ascent to Paradise, will you gain anything by impatiently attempting to circumvent the established and divine plan by short cuts, personal inventions, or other devices for improving on the way of perfection, to perfection, and for eternal perfection” (75:8). This statement is sobering, but a person who is hungry for the will and way of God will embrace this teaching as an added incentive to follow the required evolutionary path to a spiritual renaissance on our world.
Our world needs truth so urgently that we may be tempted to throw revealed evolutionary wisdom to the winds; but that would be like throwing the fundamentals of canoeing overboard when we hit white-water rapids.
6. Attract inquiry by truth-coordinated living
When the religious leaders made their move to arrest Jesus in Galilee, Jesus explained why the apostles were not doing well in representing his gospel. They were not decisive about obeying the truth. And then Jesus gave his great teaching about how to live in such a beautiful way that others will bring to you the questions of their souls.
Consider the Greeks, who have a science without religion, while the Jews have a religion without science. And when men become thus misled into accepting a narrow and confused disintegration of truth, their only hope of salvation is to become truth-co-ordinated — converted.
Let me emphatically state this eternal truth: If you, by truth co-ordination, learn to exemplify in your lives this beautiful wholeness of righteousness, your fellow men will then seek after you that they may gain what you have so acquired. The measure wherewith truth seekers are drawn to you represents the measure of your truth endowment, your righteousness. (155:1)
In order to unite our spiritual living with the truths of science, we will adapt our teaching to the evolutionary environment of facts and causes.
7. Pray thoroughly for divine wisdom
If we really want to seek divine wisdom on this question, we need to go through the full prayer process (91:9). All seven points are crucial, but I’ll comment on two of them.
You must have honestly exhausted the human capacity for human adjustment.
To be industrious means not asking God to do our homework for us. The study of Paper 110 teaches how easily mortal man confuses the upwellings of the subconscious with inputs from the superconscious. Therefore, we shall study The Urantia Book for what it has to teach on the subject. The other point in a thorough prayer process that I would comment on is this.
You must surrender every wish of mind and every craving of soul to the transforming embrace of spiritual growth. You must have experienced an enhancement of meanings and an elevation of values.
Going into surrender mode is a profound event. We recognize our wishes of mind—including our intellectual analysis of the question—and we accept the possibility that God may have something higher. We recognize our cravings of soul—our highest values and ideals—and we take the time radically to open ourselves to the possibility that God might want to give us an upgrade. “God answers man’s prayer by giving him an increased revelation of truth, an enhanced appreciation of beauty, and an augmented concept of goodness” (91:8).
Joys of teamwork and good surprises await us if we reveal truth in cooperation with what The Urantia Book reveals about the wisdom of evolution. Happy revealing!