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PAPER 132 - THE SOJOURN AT ROME

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Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

 

Today's Presentation:

 

 

PAPER 132 - THE SOJOURN AT ROME

 

 

[introduction]

 

 

P.1455 - §1 Since Gonod carried greetings from the princes of India to Tiberius, the Roman ruler, on the third day after their arrival in Rome the two Indians and Jesus appeared before him. The morose emperor was unusually cheerful on this day and chatted long with the trio. And when they had gone from his presence, the emperor, referring to Jesus, remarked to the aide standing on his right, "If I had that fellow's kingly bearing and gracious manner, I would be a real emperor, eh?"

 

 

P.1455 - §2 While at Rome, Ganid had regular hours for study and for visiting places of interest about the city. His father had much business to transact, and desiring that his son grow up to become a worthy successor in the management of his vast commercial interests, he thought the time had come to introduce the boy to the business world. There were many citizens of India in Rome, and often one of Gonod's own employees would accompany him as interpreter so that Jesus would have whole days to himself; this gave him time in which to become thoroughly acquainted with this city of two million inhabitants. He was frequently to be found in the forum, the center of political, legal, and business life. He often went up to the Capitolium and pondered the bondage of ignorance in which these Romans were held as he beheld this magnificent temple dedicated to Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. He also spent much time on Palatine hill, where were located the emperor's residence, the temple of Apollo, and the Greek and Latin libraries.

 

 

P.1455 - §3 At this time the Roman Empire included all of southern Europe, Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, and northwest Africa; and its inhabitants embraced the citizens of every country of the Eastern Hemisphere. His desire to study and mingle with this cosmopolitan aggregation of Urantia mortals was the chief reason why Jesus consented to make this journey.

 

P.1455 - §4 Jesus learned much about men while in Rome, but the most valuable of all the manifold experiences of his six months' sojourn in that city was his contact with, and influence upon, the religious leaders of the empire's capital. Before the end of the first week in Rome Jesus had sought out, and had made the acquaintance of, the worth-while leaders of the Cynics, the Stoics, and the mystery cults, in particular the Mithraic group. Whether or not it was apparent to Jesus that the Jews were going to reject his mission, he most certainly foresaw that his messengers were presently coming to Rome to proclaim the kingdom of heaven; and he therefore set about, in the most amazing manner, to prepare the way for the better and more certain reception of their message. He selected five of the leading Stoics, eleven of the Cynics, and sixteen of the mystery-cult leaders and spent much of his spare time for almost six months in intimate association with these religious teachers. And this was his method of instruction: Never once did he attack their errors or even mention the flaws in their teachings. In each case he would select the truth in what they taught and then proceed so to embellish and illuminate this truth in their minds that in a very short time this enhancement of the truth effectively crowded out the associated error; and thus were these Jesus-taught men and women prepared for the subsequent recognition of additional and similar truths in the teachings of the early Christian missionaries. It was this early acceptance of the teachings of the gospel preachers which gave that powerful impetus to the rapid spread of Christianity in Rome and from there throughout the empire.

 

P.1456 - §1 The significance of this remarkable doing can the better be understood when we record the fact that, out of this group of thirty-two Jesus-taught religious leaders in Rome, only two were unfruitful; the thirty became pivotal individuals in the establishment of Christianity in Rome, and certain of them also aided in turning the chief Mithraic temple into the first Christian church of that city. We who view human activities from behind the scenes and in the light of nineteen centuries of time recognize just three factors of paramount value in the early setting of the stage for the rapid spread of Christianity throughout Europe, and they are:

 

1. The choosing and holding of Simon Peter as an apostle.

 

2. The talk in Jerusalem with Stephen, whose death led to the winning of Saul of Tarsus.

 

3. The preliminary preparation of these thirty Romans for the subsequent leadership of the new religion in Rome and throughout the empire.

 

 

 

P.1456 - §5 Through all their experiences, neither Stephen nor the thirty chosen ones ever realized that they had once talked with the man whose name became the subject of their religious teaching. Jesus' work in behalf of the original thirty-two was entirely personal. In his labors for these individuals the scribe of Damascus never met more than three of them at one time, seldom more than two, while most often he taught them singly. And he could do this great work of religious training because these men and women were not tradition bound; they were not victims of a settled preconception as to all future religious developments.

 

P.1456 - §6 Many were the times in the years so soon to follow that Peter, Paul, and the other Christian teachers in Rome heard about this scribe of Damascus who had preceded them, and who had so obviously (and as they supposed unwittingly) prepared the way for their coming with the new gospel. Though Paul never really surmised the identity of this scribe of Damascus, he did, a short time before his death, because of the similarity of personal descriptions, reach the conclusion that the "tentmaker of Antioch" was also the "scribe of Damascus." On one occasion, while preaching in Rome, Simon Peter, on listening to a description of the Damascus scribe, surmised that this individual might have been Jesus but quickly dismissed the idea, knowing full well (so he thought) that the Master had never been in Rome.

 

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us!]

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Greetings Carolyn, Alina, NelsonG, Rick B, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,

 

Welcome to the opening presentation of Paper 132. Amazing isn't it, the near total compartmentalization of his life? He lived for years in intimate association with family, friends and apostles, yet none knew he spent half a year touring and teaching in Rome (except John Zebedee who told no one). The wisdom of it is perfect, if not the results, because it prevented in some measure the obscuring of his message by his stunningly beautiful and symmetrical personality.

 

Only now can all the world know that Tiberias and Jesus met in Rome, and "chatted long". For all his flaws Tiberias seemed to be able to discern greatness:

"...If I had that fellow's kingly bearing and gracious manner, I would be a real emperor, eh?" P.1455 - 1

 

 

About Tiberias, the Midwayers call him "morose", Wikipedia authors use the words dark, reclusive, somber and gloomy:

 

Tiberius (16 November 42 BC – 16 March 37 AD) was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Born Tiberius Claudius Nero, a Claudian, Tiberius was the son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian.

 

Tiberius would later marry Augustus' daughter Julia the Elder (from his marriage to Scribonia) and even later be adopted by Augustus, by which act he officially became a Julian, bearing the name Tiberius Julius Caesar. The subsequent emperors after Tiberius would continue this blended dynasty of both families for the next forty years; historians have named it the Julio-Claudian dynasty. In relations to the other emperors of this dynasty, Tiberius was the stepson of Augustus, great-uncle of Caligula, paternal uncle of Claudius, and great-great uncle of Nero.

 

Tiberius was one of Rome's greatest generals, conquering Pannonia, Dalmatia, Raetia, and temporarily Germania; laying the foundations for the northern frontier. But he came to be remembered as a dark, reclusive, and sombre ruler who never really desired to be emperor; Pliny the Elder called him tristissimus hominum, "the gloomiest of men."

 

After the death of Tiberius’ son Drusus Julius Caesar in 23, he became more reclusive and aloof. In 26, against better judgement, Tiberius exiled himself from Rome and left administration largely in the hands of his unscrupulous Praetorian Prefects Lucius Aelius Sejanus and Quintus Naevius Sutorius Macro. Caligula, Tiberius' grand-nephew and adopted grandson, succeeded the emperor upon his death.

 

450px-8095_-_Roma_-_Ara_Pacis_-_Tiberio_-_Foto_Giovanni_Dall%27Orto_-_28-Mar-2008.jpg

 

Source/More

 

***

 

...At this time the Roman Empire included all of southern Europe, Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, and northwest Africa.... P.1455 - 3

 

MapofRomanEmpireFirstCentury.jpg

 

Map source

 

***

 

It is utterly stupendous, isn't it, that one man, in such a short period, could make these seemingly small preparations that so altered the course the human history and destiny?! Urantia pivoted on his life. This speaks to the vastness of human potential, doesn't it?! He did all this by simply walking and talking, visiting and instructing. But his formula for success appears to hinge on whom he chose to instruct. From today's reading:

...Before the end of the first week in Rome Jesus had sought out, and had made the acquaintance of, the worth-while leaders of the Cynics, the Stoics, and the mystery cults, in particular the Mithraic group.... P.1455 - 4

 

We read much about the Cynics and Stoics in the last Paper, but not Mithraism. It was a popular belief during those times, especially with Roman soldiers:

 

The Mithraic Mysteries were a mystery religion practised in the Roman Empire from about the 1st to 4th centuries AD. The name of the Persian god Mithra, adapted into Greek as Mithras, was linked to a new and distinctive imagery. Writers of the Roman Empire period referred to this mystery religion by phrases which can be anglicized as Mysteries of Mithras or Mysteries of the Persians; modern historians refer to it as Mithraism, or sometimes Roman Mithraism. The mysteries were popular in the Roman military.

 

Worshippers of Mithras had a complex system of seven grades of initiation, with ritual meals. Initiates called themselves syndexioi, those "united by the handshake". They met in underground temples (called mithraea), which survive in large numbers. The cult appears to have had its centre in Rome.

 

Source/More

 

 

But, very surprising isn't it, for all he did at Rome to lay the foundations for the spiritual kingdom, that his "chief reason" was NOT to meet and teach, but to "study and mingle"?

...His desire to study and mingle with this cosmopolitan aggregation of Urantia mortals was the chief reason why Jesus consented to make this journey.... P.1455 - 3

 

***

 

In today's reading is imparted one of those supreme lessons of the art of teaching:

...
Never once did he attack their errors or even mention the flaws in their teachings. In each case he would select the truth in what they taught and then proceed so to embellish and illuminate this truth in their minds that in a very short time this enhancement of the truth effectively crowded out the associated error.... P.1455 - 4

 

Try that! :D

 

***

 

The choosing of Peter is best told in Paper 137: 1. Choosing the First Four Apostles

 

The preaching and martyrdom of Stephen is recorded in Paper 194:4:

...Two of the pupils of Rodan arrived in Jerusalem and made many converts from among the Hellenists.
Among their early converts were Stephen
and Barnabas. These able Greeks did not so much have the Jewish viewpoint, and they did not so well conform to the Jewish mode of worship and other ceremonial practices. And it was the doings of these Greek believers that terminated the peaceful relations between the Jesus brotherhood and the Pharisees and Sadducees. Stephen and his Greek associate began to preach more as Jesus taught, and this brought them into immediate conflict with the Jewish rulers. In one of Stephen's public sermons,
when he reached the objectionable part of the discourse, they dispensed with all formalities of trial and proceeded to stone him to death on the spot
.

 

Stephen, the leader of the Greek colony of Jesus' believers in Jerusalem, thus became the first martyr to the new faith and the specific cause for the formal organization of the early Christian church. This new crisis was met by the recognition that believers could not longer go on as a sect within the Jewish faith. They all agreed that they must separate themselves from unbelievers; and within one month from the death of Stephen the church at Jerusalem had been organized under the leadership of Peter, and James the brother of Jesus had been installed as its titular head.... P.2068 - 1

 

 

***

 

 

Synopsis of Paper 132:

 

In Rome, Jesus had six months to become acquainted with the city and its people. Jesus' work during this period was entirely personal. He made valuable contact in Rome with leaders of the Stoics, Cynics, and mystery cults. Thirty of this group of thirty-two religionists later became proponents of Christianity. Jesus' contact with these leaders was one of three acts that most effected the rapid growth of Christianity in the first century; the other two were the choice of Peter as an apostle, and Jesus' talk with Stephen, whose death led to the conversion of Paul.

 

Some of the highlights of Jesus' various talks with the religious leaders in Rome were:

 

"In every age scientists and religionists must recognize that they are on trial before the bar of human need. They must eschew all warfare between themselves while they strive valiantly to justify their continued survival by enhanced devotion to the service of human progress."

 

"If you are ethically lazy and socially indifferent, you can take as your standard of good the current social usages."

"The spiritually blind individual who logically follows scientific dictation, social usage, and religious dogma stands in grave danger of sacrificing his moral freedom and losing his spiritual liberty."

 

"Actual evil is not necessary as a personal experience. Potential evil acts equally well as a decision stimulus in the realms of moral progress on the lower levels of spiritual development."

 

"Revealed truth, personally discovered truth, is the supreme delight of the human soul; it is the joint creation of the material mind and the indwelling spirit."

 

"Human life continues-survives-because it has a universe function, the task of finding God."

 

Jesus spent a great deal of time preparing religious leaders for the future. He also enjoyed learning about how people felt about life, and giving them the message of the Father's love and mercy. While he usually started conversations with people by asking questions, frequently he would end up answering questions. He taught the most to people to whom he said the least. Jesus was very fond of doing things for people.

 

One Roman senator, after talking with Jesus, spent the rest of his life trying to change state policy from having the government support the people to having people support the government. A slaveholder released over one hundred slaves the day after he had a long talk with Jesus. Jesus counseled a rich man who wondered what he should do with his money. Jesus advised the man to first investigate where the money came from, after which he could decide how to disburse it wisely.

 

One day Jesus and Ganid spent several hours bringing a lost child home to his mother. During this adventure, Jesus said, "...most human beings are like the lost child. They spend much of their time crying in fear and suffering in sorrow when, in very truth, they are but a short distance from safety and security."

 

Jesus also talked about how we cannot reveal God to those who do not seek him. He said that people become hungry for truth either as a result of the experiences of living, or as the result of contact with the lives of those who know God. If we know God, our real business on earth is to live so as to permit the Father to reveal himself in our lives.

 

Source

 

 

This Paper is 12 pages long and has 7 Sections:

 

Overview of Paper 132:
The Sojourn at Rome

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

 

***

 

Tomorrow's reading is a short one, a summary of what Jesus taught the leader of the Stoics about things of eternal import. Section 1 is titled: TRUE VALUES

 

 

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited. Join the Forum

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host

 

 

 

Reader Tools, References & Links

 

Links To Previous OPAD Presentations

 

 

 

 

***

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Couple of other notes on today's fascinating reading Amigos:

...While at Rome......He was frequently to be found in the forum, the center of political, legal, and business life. He often went up to the Capitolium and pondered the bondage of ignorance in which these Romans were held as he beheld this magnificent temple dedicated to Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. He also spent much time on Palatine hill, where were located the emperor's residence, the temple of Apollo, and the Greek and Latin libraries.... P.1455 - 2

 

 

The
Capitoline Hill
, between the
Forum
and the
Campus Martius
, is one of the
seven hills
of
Rome
. It was the
citadel
(equivalent of the
ancient Greek
acropolis
) of the earliest
Romans
. By the 16th century,
Capitolinus
had become
Capitolino
in
Italian
, with the alternative
Campidoglio
stemming from
Capitolium
. The English word
capitol
derives from
Capitoline
. The Capitoline contains few ancient ground-level ruins, as they are almost entirely covered up by Medieval and Renaissance
palaces
(now housing the
Capitoline Museums
) that surround a
piazza
, a significant urban plan designed by
Michelangelo
.

 

 

 

 

 

300px-Italy_400bC_en.svg.png

 

magnify-clip.png

in 400 BC.

 

628px-Seven_Hills_of_Rome.svg.png

Rome's seven hills
Source

 

 

The ruins of the Forum:

r_the_forum.jpg

 

 

 

Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva temple ruins:

 

tunisia-sbeitla-roman-temple-of-minerva-juno-and-jupiter.jpg

 

 

 

Ruins of Apollo's temple:

 

Archaeological-Temple-of-Apollo.jpg

 

 

Temple of Apollo: dated to the 4th century BC, the temple was erected precisely on the remains of an earlier temple of the 6th century BC. Inside was the adyton, the centre of the Delphic oracle and seat of Pythia.

 

 

 

 

Artist's image of the library at Rome:

Library_Trajans.jpg

 

 

 

***

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Dear Rick,

 

..
Never once did he attack their errors or even mention the flaws in their teachings. In each case he would select the truth in what they taught and then proceed so to embellish and illuminate this truth in their minds that in a very short time this enhancement of the truth effectively crowded out the associated error.... P.1455 - 4

 

Try that! :D

 

Yes...if only... :rolleyes:

 

Kindred Spirit,

 

Carolyn

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Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

 

Today's Presentation:

 

 

PAPER 132 - THE SOJOURN AT ROME

 

 

1. TRUE VALUES

 

 

P.1456 - §7 It was with Angamon, the leader of the Stoics, that Jesus had an all-night talk early during his sojourn in Rome. This man subsequently became a great friend of Paul and proved to be one of the strong supporters of the Christian church at Rome. In substance, and restated in modern phraseology, Jesus taught Angamon:

 

 

P.1457 - §1 The standard of true values must be looked for in the spiritual world and on divine levels of eternal reality. To an ascending mortal all lower and material standards must be recognized as transient, partial, and inferior. The scientist, as such, is limited to the discovery of the relatedness of material facts. Technically, he has no right to assert that he is either materialist or idealist, for in so doing he has assumed to forsake the attitude of a true scientist since any and all such assertions of attitude are the very essence of philosophy.

 

P.1457 - §2 Unless the moral insight and the spiritual attainment of mankind are proportionately augmented, the unlimited advancement of a purely materialistic culture may eventually become a menace to civilization. A purely materialistic science harbors within itself the potential seed of the destruction of all scientific striving, for this very attitude presages the ultimate collapse of a civilization which has abandoned its sense of moral values and has repudiated its spiritual goal of attainment.

 

P.1457 - §3 The materialistic scientist and the extreme idealist are destined always to be at loggerheads. This is not true of those scientists and idealists who are in possession of a common standard of high moral values and spiritual test levels. In every age scientists and religionists must recognize that they are on trial before the bar of human need. They must eschew all warfare between themselves while they strive valiantly to justify their continued survival by enhanced devotion to the service of human progress. If the so-called science or religion of any age is false, then must it either purify its activities or pass away before the emergence of a material science or spiritual religion of a truer and more worthy order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us!]

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Good Day Carolyn, Alina, NelsonG, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors!

 

Angamon seems to have been lost to history, at least the major search engines find nothing, even remotely, about him. Of course the Stoics are well known, but not as a prominent feature of society as they were during Roman domination of Eurasia:

 

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC. The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of "moral and intellectual perfection," would not suffer such emotions.

 

312px-Zeno_of_Citium_pushkin.jpg

Zeno of Citium

 

Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life, and they thought that the best indication of an individual's philosophy was not what a person said but how he behaved.

 

Source

 

 

Since Jesus and Angamon talked all night, today's reading is obviously a brief condensation of that discussion. Jesus appears to focus on lifting the Stoic attitude out of materialism:

...To an ascending mortal all lower and material standards must be recognized as transient, partial, and inferior.... P.1457 - 1

 

The traditional Stoical point of view rises only to the level of virtue and philosophy, perhaps one of the reasons it failed to endure:

 

According to the Stoics, the universe is a material, reasoning substance, known as God or Nature, which the Stoics divided into two classes, the active and the passive. The passive substance is matter, which "lies sluggish, a substance ready for any use, but sure to remain unemployed if no one sets it in motion." The active substance, which can be called Fate, or Universal Reason (Logos), is an intelligent aether or primordial fire, which acts on the passive matter...

 

Stoicism and Christianity

 

The major difference between the two philosophies is Stoicism's pantheism, in which God is never fully transcendent but always immanent. God as the world-creating entity is personalized in Christian thought, but Stoicism equates God with the totality of the universe, which was deeply contrary to Christianity. Also, Stoicism, unlike Christianity, does not posit a beginning or end to the universe, nor does it assert that the individual continues to exist beyond death.

 

Source/More

 

Back in Paper 121:4 the Midwayers outlined the belief systems in practice at the time of Jesus' incarnation. They said:

...The Stoic.
Stoicism was the superior philosophy of the better classes.
The Stoics believed that a controlling Reason-Fate dominated all nature
. They taught that the soul of man was divine; that it was imprisoned in the evil body of physical nature. Man's soul achieved liberty by living in harmony with nature, with God; thus virtue came to be its own reward. Stoicism ascended to a sublime morality, ideals never since transcended by any purely human system of philosophy. While the Stoics professed to be the "offspring of God," they failed to know him and therefore failed to find him. Stoicism remained a philosophy; it never became a religion. Its followers sought to attune their minds to the harmony of the Universal Mind, but they failed to envisage themselves as the children of a loving Father. Paul leaned heavily toward Stoicism when he wrote, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content...." P.1336 - 1

 

Near the end of the UB, the Midwayers praise aspects of Stoicism, and one of its most well known advocates, Cicero. From Paper 195:2:

...The Stoic and his sturdy appeal to "nature and conscience" had only the better prepared all Rome to receive Christ, at least in an intellectual sense. The Roman was by nature and training a lawyer; he revered even the laws of nature. And now, in Christianity, he discerned in the laws of nature the laws of God.
A people that could produce Cicero and Vergil were ripe for Paul's Hellenized Christianity
.... P.2073 - 1

 

***

 

This idea of "true values", divine values, runs throughout the revelation. In one place Melchizedek makes this unforgettable statement regarding the meaning of values:

...
In the contemplation of values you must distinguish between that which
is
value and that which
has
value.
You must recognize the relation between pleasurable activities and their meaningful integration and enhanced realization on ever progressively higher and higher levels of human experience....
(1096:8) 100:3:2

 

A few of the many other quotes on higher values:

...Successive planetary revelations of divine truth invariably embrace the highest existing concepts of spiritual values....
(17:1) 0:12.12

 

...Science, knowledge, leads to
fact
consciousness;
religion, experience, leads to
value
consciousness
; philosophy, wisdom, leads to
co-ordinate
consciousness; revelation (the substitute for morontia mota) leads to the consciousness of
true reality
….
(1122:1) 102:3.5

 

 

...And having achieved the status of a true universe value, the creature becomes liberated in potential for the seeking of
the highest universe value--God
....
(1238:1) 112:7.6

 

...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....
(1127:4) 102:7.10

 

...In physical life the senses tell of the existence of things; mind discovers the reality of meanings; but
the spiritual experience reveals to the individual the true values of life.
These high levels of human living are attained in the supreme love of God and in the unselfish love of man....
(1098:1) 100:4.4

 

Evidently the only things of real value to Deity, are values:

...these circuits of spiritual ministry, whether Spirit of Truth, Holy Spirit, or superuniverse spirit presences,
are receptive and reactive to the emerging values in ascending personality
, and these values are faithfully transmitted through the Sevenfold to the Supreme....
(1286:6) 117:5.8

...But the soul that survives time and emerges into eternity must make a living and personal choice between good and evil as they are determined
by the true values of the spiritual standards established by the divine spirit
which the Father in heaven has sent to dwell within the heart of man....
(1457:5) 132:2.2

 

...A one-eyed person can never hope to visualize depth of perspective. Neither can single-eyed material scientists nor single-eyed spiritual mystics and allegorists correctly visualize and adequately comprehend the true depths of universe reality.
All true values of creature experience are concealed in depth of recognition
.... (1434:3) 130:4:4

 

...The eye of the material mind perceives a world of factual knowledge;
the eye of the spiritualized intellect discerns a world of true values
. These two views, synchronized and harmonized, reveal the world of reality, wherein wisdom interprets the phenomena of the universe in terms of progressive personal experience.... (1435:2) 130:4:10

 

***

 

In the last sentence of today's reading, we are assured of eventually finding true values on a global scale, even if at certain times major social adjustments are made by the eternal persistence and unltimate undeniability of TRUTH:

...If the so-called science or religion of any age is false, then must it either purify its activities or pass away before the emergence of a material science or spiritual religion of a truer and more worthy order.... P.1457 - 3

 

That was a short record of Jesus' encounter with a Stoic and their discussion of values. In tomorrow's reading, Section 2, the Midwayers summarize his talk with the leader of Roman Cynics about: GOOD AND EVIL

 

 

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited. Join the Forum

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host

 

 

Overview of Paper 132:
The Sojourn at Rome

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

 

 

Reader Tools, References & Links

 

Links To Previous OPAD Presentations

 

 

 

 

***

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Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

 

Today's Presentation:

 

 

PAPER 132 - THE SOJOURN AT ROME

 

 

2. GOOD AND EVIL

 

 

P.1457 - §4 Mardus was the acknowledged leader of the Cynics of Rome, and he became a great friend of the scribe of Damascus. Day after day he conversed with Jesus, and night upon night he listened to his supernal teaching. Among the more important discussions with Mardus was the one designed to answer this sincere Cynic's question about good and evil. In substance, and in twentieth-century phraseology, Jesus said:

 

P.1457 - §5 My brother, good and evil are merely words symbolizing relative levels of human comprehension of the observable universe. If you are ethically lazy and socially indifferent, you can take as your standard of good the current social usages. If you are spiritually indolent and morally unprogressive, you may take as your standards of good the religious practices and traditions of your contemporaries. But the soul that survives time and emerges into eternity must make a living and personal choice between good and evil as they are determined by the true values of the spiritual standards established by the divine spirit which the Father in heaven has sent to dwell within the heart of man. This indwelling spirit is the standard of personality survival.

 

P.1457 - §6 Goodness, like truth, is always relative and unfailingly evil-contrasted. It is the perception of these qualities of goodness and truth that enables the evolving souls of men to make those personal decisions of choice which are essential to eternal survival.

 

P.1458 - §1 The spiritually blind individual who logically follows scientific dictation, social usage, and religious dogma stands in grave danger of sacrificing his moral freedom and losing his spiritual liberty. Such a soul is destined to become an intellectual parrot, a social automaton, and a slave to religious authority.

 

P.1458 - §2 Goodness is always growing toward new levels of the increasing liberty of moral self-realization and spiritual personality attainment--the discovery of, and identification with, the indwelling Adjuster. An experience is good when it heightens the appreciation of beauty, augments the moral will, enhances the discernment of truth, enlarges the capacity to love and serve one's fellows, exalts the spiritual ideals, and unifies the supreme human motives of time with the eternal plans of the indwelling Adjuster, all of which lead directly to an increased desire to do the Father's will, thereby fostering the divine passion to find God and to be more like him.

 

 

P.1458 - §3 As you ascend the universe scale of creature development, you will find increasing goodness and diminishing evil in perfect accordance with your capacity for goodness-experience and truth-discernment. The ability to entertain error or experience evil will not be fully lost until the ascending human soul achieves final spirit levels.

 

P.1458 - §4 Goodness is living, relative, always progressing, invariably a personal experience, and everlastingly correlated with the discernment of truth and beauty. Goodness is found in the recognition of the positive truth-values of the spiritual level, which must, in human experience, be contrasted with the negative counterpart--the shadows of potential evil.

 

 

P.1458 - §5 Until you attain Paradise levels, goodness will always be more of a quest than a possession, more of a goal than an experience of attainment. But even as you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you experience increasing satisfaction in the partial attainment of goodness. The presence of goodness and evil in the world is in itself positive proof of the existence and reality of man's moral will, the personality, which thus identifies these values and is also able to choose between them.

 

P.1458 - §6 By the time of the attainment of Paradise the ascending mortal's capacity for identifying the self with true spirit values has become so enlarged as to result in the attainment of the perfection of the possession of the light of life. Such a perfected spirit personality becomes so wholly, divinely, and spiritually unified with the positive and supreme qualities of goodness, beauty, and truth that there remains no possibility that such a righteous spirit would cast any negative shadow of potential evil when exposed to the searching luminosity of the divine light of the infinite Rulers of Paradise. In all such spirit personalities, goodness is no longer partial, contrastive, and comparative; it has become divinely complete and spiritually replete; it approaches the purity and perfection of the Supreme.

 

P.1458 - §7 The possibility of evil is necessary to moral choosing, but not the actuality thereof. A shadow is only relatively real. Actual evil is not necessary as a personal experience. Potential evil acts equally well as a decision stimulus in the realms of moral progress on the lower levels of spiritual development. Evil becomes a reality of personal experience only when a moral mind makes evil its choice.

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us!]

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Good Day Carolyn, Alina, NelsonG, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors,

 

Like Angamon, Mardus did not make it into the pages of history. At least he doesn't show up in Web searches, except as a mythical Estonian fairy. Of course classical Cynicism is well known, even today.

 

In their summary of the belief systems of Jesus' times, Paper 121:4, the Midwayers said this:

...The Cynic.
Although the Cynics traced their philosophy to Diogenes of Athens, they derived much of their doctrine from the remnants of the teachings of Machiventa Melchizedek. Cynicism had formerly been more of a religion than a philosophy. At least the Cynics made their religio-philosophy democratic. In the fields and in the market places they continually preached their doctrine that "man could save himself if he would." They preached simplicity and virtue and urged men to meet death fearlessly. These wandering Cynic preachers did much to prepare the spiritually hungry populace for the later Christian missionaries. Their plan of popular preaching was much after the pattern, and in accordance with the style, of Paul's Epistles.... P.1336 - 2

 

Cynicism, in its original form, refers to the beliefs of an ancient school of Greek philosophers known as the Cynics. Their philosophy was that the purpose of life was to live a life of virtue in agreement with nature. This meant rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, sex, and fame, and by living a simple life free from all possessions. As reasoning creatures, people could gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which was natural for humans. The first philosopher to outline these themes was Antisthenes, who had been a pupil of Socrates in the late 5th century BCE. He was followed by Diogenes of Sinope, who lived in a tub on the streets of Athens. Diogenes took Cynicism to its logical extremes, and came to be seen as the archetypal Cynic philosopher. He was followed by Crates of Thebes who gave away a large fortune so he could live a life of Cynic poverty in Athens.

 

Cynicism spread with the rise of Imperial Rome in the 1st century, and Cynics could be found begging and preaching throughout the cities of the Empire. It finally disappeared in the late 5th century, although some have claimed that early Christianity adopted many of its ascetic and rhetorical ideas.

 

By the 19th century, emphasis on the negative aspects of Cynic philosophy led to the modern understanding of cynicism to mean a disposition of disbelief in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions.

 

379px-Antisthenes_pushkin.jpg

Bust of Antisthenes

 

 

This is interesting, certain researchers try to turn things around to look like the Cynics influenced Jesus:

 

Cynicism and Christianity

 

Jesus as a Jewish Cynic

 

Some historians have noted the similarities between the life and teachings of Jesus and those of the Cynics. Some scholars have argued that the Q document, a hypothetical common source for the gospels of Matthew and Luke, has strong similarities with the teachings of the Cynics. Scholars on the quest for the historical Jesus, such as Burton L. Mack and John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus Seminar, have argued that 1st century CE Galilee was a world in which Hellenistic ideas collided with Jewish thought and traditions. The city of Gadara, only a day's walk from Nazareth, was particularly notable as a centre of Cynic philosophy, and Mack has described Jesus as a "rather normal Cynic-type figure." For Crossan, Jesus was more like a Cynic sage from an Hellenistic Jewish tradition than either a Christ who would die as a substitute for sinners or a Messiah who wanted to establish an independent Jewish state of Israel. Other scholars doubt that Jesus was deeply influenced by the Cynics, and see the Jewish prophetic tradition as of much greater importance.

 

Cynic influences on early Christianity

 

Many of the ascetic practices of Cynicism may have been adopted by early Christians, and Christians often employed the same rhetorical methods as the Cynics. Some Cynics were actually martyred for speaking out against the authorities. One Cynic, Peregrinus Proteus, lived for a time as a Christian before converting to Cynicism, whereas in the 4th century, Maximus of Alexandria, although a Christian, was also called a Cynic because of his ascetic lifestyle. Christian writers would often praise Cynic poverty, although they scorned Cynic shamelessness: Augustine stating that they had, "in violation of the modest instincts of men, boastfully proclaimed their unclean and shameless opinion, worthy indeed of dogs." The ascetic orders of Christianity also had direct connection with the Cynics, as can be seen in the wandering mendicant monks of the early church who in outward appearance, and in many of their practices were little different from the Cynics of an earlier age.

 

Source/more

 

 

***

 

 

More than once do UB authors point to the contrastive nature of good and evil. Compare this from today's reading:

...
Goodness, like truth, is always relative and unfailingly evil-contrasted.
It is the perception of these qualities of goodness and truth that enables the evolving souls of men to make those personal decisions of choice which are essential to eternal survival.... (1457:6)

 

...with these from various Papers:

...Perfection of divine goodness can be discerned by mortal imperfection of insight only
because it stands in contrastive association
with relative imperfection in the relationships of time and matter in the motions of space....
(58.4) 4:3.6

 

...The infinite goodness of the Father is beyond the comprehension of the finite mind of time;
hence must there always be afforded a contrast
with comparative evil (not sin) for the effective exhibition of all phases of relative goodness....
(58.4) 4:3.6

 

...
Man is slow to perceive that contrastive perfection and imperfection produce potential evil;
that conflicting truth and falsehood create confusing error....
(613:1) 54:0.1

...The recognition of goodness implies a mind of moral status,
a personal mind with ability to discriminate between good and evil
. But the possession of goodness, greatness, is the measure of real divinity attainment....
(647:3) 56:10.12

 

"...Your Father in heaven, by endowing you with
the power to choose between truth and error
, created the potential negative of the positive way of light and life; but such errors of evil are really nonexistent until such a time as an intelligent creature wills their existence by mischoosing the way of life....."
(1429:2) 130:1.6

 

...Man could not dynamically choose the divine life if there were no self-life to forsake. Man could never lay saving hold on righteousness if there were
no potential evil to exalt and differentiate the good by contrast
....
(51:12) 3:5.13

 

...Creature mind must exhibit the worship outreach and indicate wisdom function by
exhibiting the ability to choose between the emerging values of good and evil
--moral choice....
(1187:1) 108:2.2

 

...Moral evaluation with a religious meaning--spiritual insight--
connotes the individual's choice between good and evil
, truth and error, material and spiritual, human and divine, time and eternity.... (2095:1) 196:3.17

 

***

 

 

 

Also, three of the 84 uses of Truth, Beauty and Goodness in the UB appear in today's reading:

...An experience is good when it heightens the appreciation of beauty, augments the moral will, enhances the discernment of truth, enlarges the capacity to love and serve one's fellows, exalts the spiritual ideals, and unifies the supreme human motives of time with the eternal plans of the indwelling Adjuster....
P.1458 - 2

 

...Goodness is living, relative, always progressing, invariably a personal experience, and everlastingly correlated with the discernment of truth and beauty....
P.1458 - 4

 

...Such a perfected spirit personality becomes so wholly, divinely, and spiritually unified with the positive and supreme qualities of goodness, beauty, and truth that there remains no possibility that such a righteous spirit would cast any negative shadow of potential evil when exposed to the searching luminosity of the divine light of the infinite Rulers of Paradise....
P.1458 - 6

 

See all 84 TB&G Quotes

 

***

 

The Midwayers close today's reading by informing us, as other authors have, that evil only has to be a possibility. They use italics to make that crucial point in the last paragraph of today's reading:

...The
possibility
of evil is necessary to moral choosing, but not the actuality thereof...Evil becomes a reality of personal experience only when a moral mind makes evil its choice.... P.1458 - 7

 

 

In tomorrow's reading the Midwayers present a condensation of one talk Jesus had with the Roman leader of the Mithraic cult: Section 3 is titled: TRUTH AND FAITH

 

 

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited. Join the Forum

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host

 

 

 

Overview of Paper 132:
The Sojourn at Rome

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

 

Reader Tools, References & Links

 

Links To Previous OPAD Presentations

 

 

 

 

***

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Right time, right day for this paper - I will print it and read it every morning.

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Synchronistic serendipity, NelsonG? :D

 

 

There is so much on good and evil in the book:

...The will of God is divine truth, living love; therefore are the perfecting creations of the evolutionary universes characterized by goodness--nearness to divinity; by potential evil--remoteness from divinity....
(52.5) 3:6.2

 

...The beauties of the spiritual values of truth are more pleasurable and uplifting than is the phenomenon of evil....
(2076.4) 195:5.13

 

"...God is so positively good that there is absolutely no place in him for negative evil...."
(1429.1) 130:1.5

 

...Good is the carrying out of the divine plans; sin is a deliberate transgression of the divine will; evil is the misadaptation of plans and the maladjustment of techniques resulting in universe disharmony and planetary confusion....
(842.5) 75:4.3

 

 

 

...The part profits or suffers in measure with the whole. The good effort of each man benefits all men; the error or evil of each man augments the tribulation of all men....
(138.6) 12:7.11

 

"...Remember, every act shall receive its reward. Evil results in sorrow and sin ends in pain. Joy and happiness are the outcome of a good life...."
(1447.2) 131:3.5

 

...Human likes and dislikes do not determine good and evil; moral values do not grow out of wish fulfillment or emotional frustration....
(1096.7) 100:3.2

 

...Man's ability to choose good or evil is a universe reality. This liberty to choose for oneself is an endowment of the Supreme Rulers, and they will not permit any being or group of beings to deprive a single personality in the wide universe of this divinely bestowed liberty--not even to satisfy such misguided and ignorant beings in the enjoyment of this misnamed personal liberty....
(615:3) 54:3.1

...Spiritual evolution is an experience of the increasing and voluntary choice of goodness attended by an equal and progressive diminution of the possibility of evil....
(1460:1) 132:4.8

 

...There is good to be derived in the universe from this technique of patience in dealing with sinful rebels. While it is all too true that good cannot come of evil to the one who contemplates and performs evil, it is equally true that all things (including evil, potential and manifest) work together for good to all beings who know God, love to do his will, and are ascending Paradiseward according to his eternal plan and divine purpose....
(616:6) 54:4.7

 

...To realize providence in time, man must accomplish the task of achieving perfection. But man can even now foretaste this providence in its eternity meanings as he ponders the universe fact that all things, be they good or evil, work together for the advancement of God-knowing mortals in their quest for the Father of all.....
(1306:7) 118:10.18

...And on these worlds they are magnificently trained by the competitive systems of keen striving in the advanced domains and divisions of diverse achievement in the mastery of truth, beauty, and goodness. Never fear but that even such glorified spheres present plenty of evil, real and potential, which is stimulative of the choosing between truth and error, good and evil, sin and righteousness....
(625:9) 55:3.10

 

...Self-realization is potentially evil if it is antisocial. It is literally true: "No man lives by himself." Cosmic socialization constitutes the highest form of personality unification. Said Jesus: "He who would be greatest among you, let him become server of all...."
(647:5) 56:10.14

 

...It is a severe strain on the soul to undergo the experience of an effort to serve both good and evil. The supremely happy and efficiently unified mind is the one wholly dedicated to the doing of the will of the Father in heaven....
(1480:4) 133:7.12

...Frontier society develops the unskilled side of humanity; the fine arts and true scientific progress, together with spiritual culture, have all thrived best in the larger centers of life when supported by an agricultural and industrial population slightly under the land-man ratio. Cities always multiply the power of their inhabitants for either good or evil....
(770:2) 68:5.5

...Lao-tse also made one of the earliest presentations of the doctrine of returning good for evil: "Goodness begets goodness, but to the one who is truly good, evil also begets goodness...."
(1033:7) 94:6.4

 

...And Jesus answered: "You shall return good for evil. My messengers must not strive with men, but be gentle toward all. Measure for measure shall not be your rule...."
(1577:3) 140:6.9

...The Melchizedeks now teach that the good resulting from the Satania rebellion is more than a thousand times the sum of all the evil....
(619:3) 54:6.6

 

...The
eternal real
is the good of the universe and not the time illusions of space evil. In the spiritual experience of all personalities, always is it true that the real is the good and the good is the real....
(1122:11) 102:3.15

 

...Jesus said: "My brother, God is love; therefore he must be good, and his goodness is so great and real that it cannot contain the small and unreal things of evil...."
(1429:1) 130:1.5

 

...The Adjuster bestowed upon man is, in the last analysis, impervious to evil and incapable of sin, but mortal mind can actually be twisted, distorted, and rendered evil and ugly by the sinful machinations of a perverse and self-seeking human will. Likewise can this mind be made noble, beautiful, true, and good--actually great--in accordance with the spirit-illuminated will of a God-knowing human being....
(1217:1) 111:1.6

 

 

"...How can God, if he is infinitely good, permit us to suffer the sorrows of evil; after all, who creates evil?" It was still believed by many in those days that God creates both good and evil, but Jesus never taught such error....
(1429:1) 130:1.5

 

"...Your Father in heaven makes the sun to shine on the evil as well as upon the good; likewise he sends rain on the just and the unjust...."
(1571:3) 140:3.16

 

"...Evil is the immature choosing and the unthinking misstep of those who are resistant to goodness, rejectful of beauty, and disloyal to truth. Evil is only the misadaptation of immaturity or the disruptive and distorting influence of ignorance...."
(1429:1) 130:1.5

 

...Man's choosing between good and evil is influenced, not only by the keenness of his moral nature, but also by such influences as ignorance, immaturity, and delusion....
(193:6) 16:7.7

"...Evil is that which is dark and untrue, and which, when consciously embraced and willfully endorsed, becomes sin...."
(1429:1) 130:1.5

 

...Forget not, the truly good is invariably more powerful than the most malignant evil....
(1770:2) 159:5.10

 

"...In your lives overthrow error and overcome evil by the love of the living truth. In all your relations with men do good for evil...."
(1443:3) 131:1.7

 

...Fatherly love delights in returning good for evil--doing good in retaliation for injustice....
(1575:9) 140:5.24

"...If more human beings could only know about the goodness of God, they would

certainly be led to repent of their evil ways and forsake all known sin...."
(1454:1) 131:10.4

 

...With the attainment of finality of choice for goodness and of completed capacity for truth appreciation, there comes into existence a perfection of beauty and holiness whose righteousness eternally inhibits the possibility of the emergence of even the concept of potential evil. Such a God-knowing soul casts no shadow of doubting evil when functioning on such a high spirit level of divine goodness....
(1460:1) 132:4.8

 

...The beauty of divine love, once fully admitted to the human heart, forever destroys the charm of sin and the power of evil....
(2018:2) 188:5.3

 

...But the survival character of a soul is not fostered by attempting to secure peace of mind at any price, by the surrender of noble aspirations, and by the compromise of spiritual ideals; rather is such peace attained by the stalwart assertion of the triumph of that which is true, and this victory is achieved in the overcoming of evil with the potent force of good....
(1480:4) 133:7.12

 

...As you ascend in the survival experience, you will broaden your universe concepts and extend your horizon of meanings and values; and thus will you be able the better to understand why such beings as Lucifer and Satan are permitted to continue in rebellion. You will also better comprehend how ultimate (if not immediate) good can be derived from time-limited evil....
(620:2) 54:6.10

 

...Jesus brought a new method of living to Urantia. He taught us not to resist evil but to find through him a goodness which effectually destroys evil.... (2018:1) 188:5.2

 

...The false science of materialism would sentence mortal man to become an outcast in the universe. Such partial knowledge is potentially evil; it is knowledge composed of both good and evil.... (42:5) 2:7.4

 

 

***

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Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

 

Today's Presentation:

 

 

PAPER 132 - THE SOJOURN AT ROME

 

 

3. TRUTH AND FAITH

 

 

 

P.1459 - §1 Nabon was a Greek Jew and foremost among the leaders of the chief mystery cult in Rome, the Mithraic. While this high priest of Mithraism held many conferences with the Damascus scribe, he was most permanently influenced by their discussion of truth and faith one evening. Nabon had thought to make a convert of Jesus and had even suggested that he return to Palestine as a Mithraic teacher. He little realized that Jesus was preparing him to become one of the early converts to the gospel of the kingdom. Restated in modern phraseology, the substance of Jesus' teaching was:

 

 

P.1459 - §2 Truth cannot be defined with words, only by living. Truth is always more than knowledge. Knowledge pertains to things observed, but truth transcends such purely material levels in that it consorts with wisdom and embraces such imponderables as human experience, even spiritual and living realities. Knowledge originates in science; wisdom, in true philosophy; truth, in the religious experience of spiritual living. Knowledge deals with facts; wisdom, with relationships; truth, with reality values.

 

P.1459 - §3 Man tends to crystallize science, formulate philosophy, and dogmatize truth because he is mentally lazy in adjusting to the progressive struggles of living, while he is also terribly afraid of the unknown. Natural man is slow to initiate changes in his habits of thinking and in his techniques of living.

 

P.1459 - §4 Revealed truth, personally discovered truth, is the supreme delight of the human soul; it is the joint creation of the material mind and the indwelling spirit. The eternal salvation of this truth-discerning and beauty-loving soul is assured by that hunger and thirst for goodness which leads this mortal to develop a singleness of purpose to do the Father's will, to find God and to become like him. There is never conflict between true knowledge and truth. There may be conflict between knowledge and human beliefs, beliefs colored with prejudice, distorted by fear, and dominated by the dread of facing new facts of material discovery or spiritual progress.

 

P.1459 - §5 But truth can never become man's possession without the exercise of faith. This is true because man's thoughts, wisdom, ethics, and ideals will never rise higher than his faith, his sublime hope. And all such true faith is predicated on profound reflection, sincere self-criticism, and uncompromising moral consciousness. Faith is the inspiration of the spiritized creative imagination.

 

P.1459 - §6 Faith acts to release the superhuman activities of the divine spark, the immortal germ, that lives within the mind of man, and which is the potential of eternal survival. Plants and animals survive in time by the technique of passing on from one generation to another identical particles of themselves. The human soul (personality) of man survives mortal death by identity association with this indwelling spark of divinity, which is immortal, and which functions to perpetuate the human personality upon a continuing and higher level of progressive universe existence. The concealed seed of the human soul is an immortal spirit. The second generation of the soul is the first of a succession of personality manifestations of spiritual and progressing existences, terminating only when this divine entity attains the source of its existence, the personal source of all existence, God, the Universal Father.

 

P.1459 - §7 Human life continues--survives--because it has a universe function, the task of finding God. The faith-activated soul of man cannot stop short of the attainment of this goal of destiny; and when it does once achieve this divine goal, it can never end because it has become like God--eternal.

 

 

P.1460 - §1 Spiritual evolution is an experience of the increasing and voluntary choice of goodness attended by an equal and progressive diminution of the possibility of evil. With the attainment of finality of choice for goodness and of completed capacity for truth appreciation, there comes into existence a perfection of beauty and holiness whose righteousness eternally inhibits the possibility of the emergence of even the concept of potential evil. Such a God-knowing soul casts no shadow of doubting evil when functioning on such a high spirit level of divine goodness.

 

P.1460 - §2 The presence of the Paradise spirit in the mind of man constitutes the revelation promise and the faith pledge of an eternal existence of divine progression for every soul seeking to achieve identity with this immortal and indwelling spirit fragment of the Universal Father.

 

P.1460 - §3 Universe progress is characterized by increasing personality freedom because it is associated with the progressive attainment of higher and higher levels of self-understanding and consequent voluntary self-restraint. The attainment of perfection of spiritual self-restraint equals completeness of universe freedom and personal liberty. Faith fosters and maintains man's soul in the midst of the confusion of his early orientation in such a vast universe, whereas prayer becomes the great unifier of the various inspirations of the creative imagination and the faith urges of a soul trying to identify itself with the spirit ideals of the indwelling and associated divine presence.

 

 

P.1460 - §4 Nabon was greatly impressed by these words, as he was by each of his talks with Jesus. These truths continued to burn within his heart, and he was of great assistance to the later arriving preachers of Jesus' gospel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us!]

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Greetings Carolyn, Alina, NelsonG, Rick B, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,

 

Nabon is another one whose name was buried in history. His name appears in the UB only three times, all in today's reading. But his belief system, Mithraism, is well known, and very often associated with Roman soldiers and animal sacrifice:

 

Mithras is a Greek form of the name of an Indo-European god, Mithra or Mitra (Old Persian, Mica). Roman writers believed that Mithraism came from Persia and that Mithraic iconography represented Persian mythology. Mithraism was once called the Mysteries of Mithras or

 

Mysteries of the Persians

 

522px-Mithra_sacrifiant_le_Taureau-005.JPG

Mithra sacrificing the Bull (100-200 after J-C) collection Borghése Louvre-Lens

 

Source

 

 

Probably the best source of information about Mithraism is in the UB, Paper 98, Section 5 & 6:

...The Mithraic cult portrayed a militant god taking origin in a great rock, engaging in valiant exploits, and causing water to gush forth from a rock struck with his arrows. There was a flood from which one man escaped in a specially built boat and a last supper which Mithras celebrated with the sun-god before he ascended into the heavens. This sun-god, or Sol Invictus, was a degeneration of the Ahura-Mazda deity concept of Zoroastrianism. Mithras was conceived as the surviving champion of the sun-god in his struggle with the god of darkness. And in recognition of his slaying the mythical sacred bull, Mithras was made immortal, being exalted to the station of intercessor for the human race among the gods on high.... P.1082 - 4

 

 

...Both religions employed baptism and partook of the sacrament of bread and wine. The one great difference between Mithraism and Christianity, aside from the characters of Mithras and Jesus, was that the one encouraged militarism while the other was ultrapacific. Mithraism's tolerance for other religions (except later Christianity) led to its final undoing. But the deciding factor in the struggle between the two was the admission of women into the full fellowship of the Christian faith.... P.1083 - 4

 

***

 

The UB authors redefine the word truth. Truth cannot be captured or codified, it has to be LIVED. Some of the most concentrated wisdom about truth is in today's reading. The first line:

...Truth cannot be defined with words, only by living.... P.1459 - 2

 

...is reiterated many times, many ways. Living truth is a theme that appears regularly in disparate parts of the book:

...
Truth is relative and expanding; it
lives
always in the present
, achieving new expression in each generation of men--even in each human life....
(888:1) 79:8.8

 

...
Truth is living;
the Spirit of Truth is ever leading the children of light into new realms of spiritual reality and divine service....
(1917:3) 176:3.7

 

"...
The authority of truth is the very spirit that indwells its living manifestations
, and not the dead words of the less illuminated and supposedly inspired men of another generation...."
(1768:3) 159:4.7

 

...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....
(1127:4) 102:7.10

...Although both science and philosophy may assume the probability of God by their reason and logic, only the personal religious experience of a spirit-led man can affirm the certainty of such a supreme and personal Deity.
By the technique of such an incarnation of living truth the philosophic hypothesis of the probability of God becomes a religious reality
....
(1140:1) 103:8.1

 

...All static, dead, concepts are potentially evil.
The finite shadow of relative and living truth is continually moving
....
(1436:1) 130:4.15

 

"...
In your lives overthrow error and overcome evil by the love of the living truth
. In all your relations with men do good for evil...."
(1443:3) 131:1.7

 

The authors also clarify the meaning of words related to truth; knowledge, wisdom, and facts. From today's reading:

...Knowledge originates in science; wisdom, in true philosophy; truth, in the religious experience of spiritual living. Knowledge deals with facts; wisdom, with relationships; truth, with reality values.... P.1459 - 2

 

From various Papers:

...The God-knowing individual is constantly elevating wisdom to the living-truth levels of divine attainment;
the spiritually unprogressive soul is all the while dragging the living truth down to the dead levels of wisdom and to the domain of mere exalted knowledge
....
(1949:6) 180:5.4

...The pursuit of mere knowledge, without the attendant interpretation of wisdom and the spiritual insight of religious experience, eventually leads to pessimism and human despair.
A little knowledge is truly disconcerting
.... (2076:8) 195:6.3

 

...The false science of materialism would sentence mortal man to become an outcast in the universe.
Such partial knowledge is potentially evil; it is knowledge composed of both good and evil
.... (42:5) 2:7.4

 

...The teachings of Jesus constituted the first Urantian religion which so fully embraced a harmonious co-ordination of knowledge, wisdom, faith, truth, and love....
(1112:4) 101:6.7

 

 

This brief two sentence statement from a Melchizedek deftly ties together knowledge, faith and truth, along with goodness and beauty:

...
Reason deals with factual knowledge; wisdom, with philosophy and revelation; faith, with living spiritual experience.
Through truth man attains beauty and by spiritual love ascends to goodness.... (1142:1) 103:9.10

 

Anyone up for some supreme delight? From today's reading:

...Revealed truth, personally discovered truth, is the supreme delight of the human soul; it is the joint creation of the material mind and the indwelling spirit.... P.1459 - 4

 

From Melchizedek, Paper 101:5:

...Personally revealed religions are sponsored by the bestowal spirits representing the three persons of the Paradise Trinity and are especially concerned with the expansion of
truth
.... (1111:1) 101:5.11

 

***

 

The word truth appears in 790 paragraphs of the UB, faith in 543. Add in all those two words' variations and you have thousands of references. From today's reading:

...But truth can never become man's possession without the exercise of faith.... P.1459 - 5

 

 

There is a whole Paper, by a Melchizedek, on faith:

Paper 102.
The Foundations of Religious Faith

 

 

 

There are many other teachings and themes on faith. Faith is eventually buttressed by revelation:

...Evolved religion rests wholly on faith. Revelation has the additional assurance of its expanded presentation of the truths of divinity and reality and the still more valuable testimony of the actual experience which accumulates in consequence of the practical working union of the faith of evolution and the truth of revelation.....
(1111:2) 101:5.12

 

"...Let faith reveal your light to the world; let the revelation of truth open the eyes blinded by tradition, let your loving service effectually destroy the prejudice engendered by ignorance...."
(2043:1) 191:5.3

...Evolutionary religion provides only the assurance of faith and the confirmation of conscience; revelatory religion provides the assurance of faith plus the truth of a living experience in the realities of revelation....
(1111:3) 101:5.13

...The faith acceptance of the truth of God enables man to escape from the circumscribed confines of material limitations and affords him a rational hope of achieving safe conduct from the material realm, whereon is death, to the spiritual realm, wherein is life eternal....
(1116:5) 101:10.4

 

...When you are finally mustered into the actual spirit world, then will the assurances of pure spirit insight operate in the place of faith and truth or, rather, in conjunction with, and superimposed upon, these former techniques of personality assurance....
(1111:4) 101:5.14

 

...What knowledge and reason cannot do for us, true wisdom admonishes us to allow faith to accomplish through religious insight and spiritual transformation....
(1119:1) 102:1.2

 

...Mankind can never discover divinity except through the avenue of religious experience and by the exercise of true faith....
(1116:5) 101:10.4

 

About the choosing of goodness, from today's reading:

...Spiritual evolution is an experience of the increasing and voluntary choice of goodness attended by an equal and progressive diminution of the possibility of evil.... P.1460 - 1

 

Jesus said this in Paper 150:5:

"...When men believe this gospel, which is a revelation of the goodness of God, they will be led to voluntary repentance of all known sin. Realization of sonship is incompatible with the desire to sin...."
P.1683 - 2

 

***

 

The Midwayers work in several aspects of faith in today's reading, including perfection, self discipline, spiritual liberation and prayer:

...The attainment of perfection of spiritual self-restraint equals completeness of universe freedom and personal liberty....whereas prayer becomes the great unifier of the various inspirations of the creative imagination.... P.1460 - 3

 

Unsuspecting Nabon thought to make Jesus a Mithraist, but without really pushing it, Jesus made him a one of the first Christian proselytizers!

...These truths continued to burn within his heart, and he was of great assistance to the later arriving preachers of Jesus' gospel....
P.1460 - 4

 

***

 

In tomorrow's reading we are told of several encounters with the citizens of Rome, among them a senator, a slaveholder, a physician, a soldier, and a poor man wrongly accused. Section 4 is titled: PERSONAL MINISTRY

 

 

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited. Join the Forum

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host

 

 

 

Overview of Paper 132:
The Sojourn at Rome

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

 

Reader Tools, References & Links

 

Links To Previous OPAD Presentations

 

 

 

 

***

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Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

 

Today's Presentation:

 

 

PAPER 132 - THE SOJOURN AT ROME

 

 

4. PERSONAL MINISTRY

 

 

P.1460 - §5 Jesus did not devote all his leisure while in Rome to this work of preparing men and women to become future disciples in the oncoming kingdom. He spent much time gaining an intimate knowledge of all races and classes of men who lived in this, the largest and most cosmopolitan city of the world. In each of these numerous human contacts Jesus had a double purpose: He desired to learn their reactions to the life they were living in the flesh, and he was also minded to say or do something to make that life richer and more worth while. His religious teachings during these weeks were no different than those which characterized his later life as teacher of the twelve and preacher to the multitudes.

 

P.1460 - §6 Always the burden of his message was: the fact of the heavenly Father's love and the truth of his mercy, coupled with the good news that man is a faith-son of this same God of love. Jesus' usual technique of social contact was to draw people out and into talking with him by asking them questions. The interview would usually begin by his asking them questions and end by their asking him questions. He was equally adept in teaching by either asking or answering questions. As a rule, to those he taught the most, he said the least. Those who derived most benefit from his personal ministry were overburdened, anxious, and dejected mortals who gained much relief because of the opportunity to unburden their souls to a sympathetic and understanding listener, and he was all that and more. And when these maladjusted human beings had told Jesus about their troubles, always was he able to offer practical and immediately helpful suggestions looking toward the correction of their real difficulties, albeit he did not neglect to speak words of present comfort and immediate consolation. And invariably would he tell these distressed mortals about the love of God and impart the information, by various and sundry methods, that they were the children of this loving Father in heaven.

 

P.1461 - §1 In this manner, during the sojourn in Rome, Jesus personally came into affectionate and uplifting contact with upward of five hundred mortals of the realm. He thus gained a knowledge of the different races of mankind which he could never have acquired in Jerusalem and hardly even in Alexandria. He always regarded this six months as one of the richest and most informative of any like period of his earth life.

 

P.1461 - §2 As might have been expected, such a versatile and aggressive man could not thus function for six months in the world's metropolis without being approached by numerous persons who desired to secure his services in connection with some business or, more often, for some project of teaching, social reform, or religious movement. More than a dozen such proffers were made, and he utilized each one as an opportunity for imparting some thought of spiritual ennoblement by well-chosen words or by some obliging service. Jesus was very fond of doing things--even little things--for all sorts of people.

 

 

P.1461 - §3 He talked with a Roman senator on politics and statesmanship, and this one contact with Jesus made such an impression on this legislator that he spent the rest of his life vainly trying to induce his colleagues to change the course of the ruling policy from the idea of the government supporting and feeding the people to that of the people supporting the government. Jesus spent one evening with a wealthy slaveholder, talked about man as a son of God, and the next day this man, Claudius, gave freedom to one hundred and seventeen slaves. He visited at dinner with a Greek physician, telling him that his patients had minds and souls as well as bodies, and thus led this able doctor to attempt a more far-reaching ministry to his fellow men. He talked with all sorts of people in every walk of life. The only place in Rome he did not visit was the public baths. He refused to accompany his friends to the baths because of the sex promiscuity which there prevailed.

 

 

P.1461 - §4 To a Roman soldier, as they walked along the Tiber, he said: "Be brave of heart as well as of hand. Dare to do justice and be big enough to show mercy. Compel your lower nature to obey your higher nature as you obey your superiors. Revere goodness and exalt truth. Choose the beautiful in place of the ugly. Love your fellows and reach out for God with a whole heart, for God is your Father in heaven."

 

 

P.1461 - §5 To the speaker at the forum he said: "Your eloquence is pleasing, your logic is admirable, your voice is pleasant, but your teaching is hardly true. If you could only enjoy the inspiring satisfaction of knowing God as your spiritual Father, then you might employ your powers of speech to liberate your fellows from the bondage of darkness and from the slavery of ignorance." This was the Marcus who heard Peter preach in Rome and became his successor. When they crucified Simon Peter, it was this man who defied the Roman persecutors and boldly continued to preach the new gospel.

 

 

P.1462 - §1 Meeting a poor man who had been falsely accused, Jesus went with him before the magistrate and, having been granted special permission to appear in his behalf, made that superb address in the course of which he said: "Justice makes a nation great, and the greater a nation the more solicitous will it be to see that injustice shall not befall even its most humble citizen. Woe upon any nation when only those who possess money and influence can secure ready justice before its courts! It is the sacred duty of a magistrate to acquit the innocent as well as to punish the guilty. Upon the impartiality, fairness, and integrity of its courts the endurance of a nation depends. Civil government is founded on justice, even as true religion is founded on mercy." The judge reopened the case, and when the evidence had been sifted, he discharged the prisoner. Of all Jesus' activities during these days of personal ministry, this came the nearest to being a public appearance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us!]

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Good Sunday Carolyn, Alina, NelsonG, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,

 

One might erroneously think that Jesus knew everything about everyone, but he too was a student:

...Jesus had a double purpose: He desired to learn their reactions to the life they were living in the flesh, and he was also minded to say or do something to make that life richer and more worth while.... P.1460 - 5

 

...He always regarded this six months as one of the richest and most informative of any like period of his earth life.... P.1461 - 1

 

 

He seemed to understand how to tap into people's deeper self:

...The interview would usually begin by his asking them questions and end by their asking him questions.... P.1460 - 6

 

...Jesus was very fond of doing things--even little things--for all sorts of people.... P.1461 - 2

 

 

But this was one of the most fascinating of his abilities, wasn't it?! If only we all had a goodly share of this talent:

...As a rule, to those he taught the most, he said the least.... P.1460 - 6

 

 

I suspect this will become one of the most quotable lines from Jesus. Wonder if this drew a laugh from Marcus and those listening?

"...Your eloquence is pleasing, your logic is admirable, your voice is pleasant, but your teaching is hardly true...." P.1461 - 5

 

About Marcus, there is no record of that stand-alone name, except in the Christian Bible's New Testament. Is this the same Marcus that appears in the first book of Peter?

 

1 Peter 5:13...The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

 

There are two other Biblical mentions of Marcus:

 

Colossians 4:10 "Aristarchus my fellow prisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas."

 

Philemon 1:24 "Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow labourers."

 

 

***

 

The Claudius cited here:

...Jesus spent one evening with a wealthy slaveholder, talked about man as a son of God, and the next day this man, Claudius, gave freedom to one hundred and seventeen slaves.... P.1461 - 3

 

...is probably NOT the emperor Claudius who reigned over Rome from 41 to 54 AD.

 

***

 

This statement appears to settle the question of the divine attitude toward licentious sex:

...The only place in Rome he did not visit was the public baths. He refused to accompany his friends to the baths because of the sex promiscuity which there prevailed.... P.1461 - 3

 

 

He worked in that ever prevalent triad of divine philosophy, truth, beauty and goodness, in his remarks to the Roman soldier:

"...Revere goodness and exalt truth. Choose the beautiful in place of the ugly...." P.1461 - 4

 

See all 84 uses of TB&B in the UB.

 

***

 

Not too often do we read words from Jesus about the role and working of government, but there are two statements in today's reading that directly reflect on its structure and virtue:

...
the idea of the government supporting and feeding the people to that of the people supporting the government
.... P.1461 - 3

 

"...Justice makes a nation great, and the greater a nation the more solicitous will it be to see that injustice shall not befall even its most humble citizen.
Woe upon any nation when only those who possess money and influence can secure ready justice before its courts
!" P.1462 - 1

 

 

Evidently the Master, though he was unlettered, played the role of litigator while in Rome, and won:

 

...The judge reopened the case, and when the evidence had been sifted, he discharged the prisoner. Of all Jesus' activities during these days of personal ministry, this came the nearest to being a public appearance.... P.1462 - 1

 

 

In tomorrow's reading the Master delivers a 20 point essay on the pitfalls and responsibilities of amassing wealth. Section 5 is titled: COUNSELING THE RICH MAN

 

 

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited. Join the Forum

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host

 

 

 

Overview of Paper 132:
The Sojourn at Rome

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

 

Reader Tools, References & Links

 

Links To Previous OPAD Presentations

 

 

 

 

***

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Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

 

Today's Presentation:

 

 

PAPER 132 - THE SOJOURN AT ROME

 

 

5. COUNSELING THE RICH MAN

 

 

P.1462 - 2 A certain rich man, a Roman citizen and a Stoic, became greatly interested in Jesus' teaching, having been introduced by Angamon. After many intimate conferences this wealthy citizen asked Jesus what he would do with wealth if he had it, and Jesus answered him: "I would bestow material wealth for the enhancement of material life, even as I would minister knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual service for the enrichment of the intellectual life, the ennoblement of the social life, and the advancement of the spiritual life. I would administer material wealth as a wise and effective trustee of the resources of one generation for the benefit and ennoblement of the next and succeeding generations."

 

P.1462 - 3 But the rich man was not fully satisfied with Jesus' answer. He made bold to ask again: "But what do you think a man in my position should do with his wealth? Should I keep it, or should I give it away?" And when Jesus perceived that he really desired to know more of the truth about his loyalty to God and his duty to men, he further answered: "My good friend, I discern that you are a sincere seeker after wisdom and an honest lover of truth; therefore am I minded to lay before you my view of the solution of your problems having to do with the responsibilities of wealth. I do this because you have asked for my counsel, and in giving you this advice, I am not concerned with the wealth of any other rich man; I am offering advice only to you and for your personal guidance. If you honestly desire to regard your wealth as a trust, if you really wish to become a wise and efficient steward of your accumulated wealth, then would I counsel you to make the following analysis of the sources of your riches: Ask yourself, and do your best to find the honest answer, whence came this wealth? And as a help in the study of the sources of your great fortune, I would suggest that you bear in mind the following ten different methods of amassing material wealth:

 

 

"1. Inherited wealth--riches derived from parents and other ancestors.

 

"2. Discovered wealth--riches derived from the uncultivated resources of mother earth.

 

"3. Trade wealth--riches obtained as a fair profit in the exchange and barter of material goods.

 

"4. Unfair wealth--riches derived from the unfair exploitation or the enslavement of one's fellows.

 

"5. Interest wealth--income derived from the fair and just earning possibilities of invested capital.

 

"6. Genius wealth--riches accruing from the rewards of the creative and inventive endowments of the human mind.

 

"7. Accidental wealth--riches derived from the generosity of one's fellows or taking origin in the circumstances of life.

 

"8. Stolen wealth--riches secured by unfairness, dishonesty, theft, or fraud.

 

"9. Trust funds--wealth lodged in your hands by your fellows for some specific use, now or in the future.

 

"10. Earned wealth--riches derived directly from your own personal labor, the fair and just reward of your own daily efforts of mind and body.

 

 

P.1463 - 7 "And so, my friend, if you would be a faithful and just steward of your large fortune, before God and in service to men, you must approximately divide your wealth into these ten grand divisions, and then proceed to administer each portion in accordance with the wise and honest interpretation of the laws of justice, equity, fairness, and true efficiency; albeit, the God of heaven would not condemn you if sometimes you erred, in doubtful situations, on the side of merciful and unselfish regard for the distress of the suffering victims of the unfortunate circumstances of mortal life. When in honest doubt about the equity and justice of material situations, let your decisions favor those who are in need, favor those who suffer the misfortune of undeserved hardships."

 

P.1463 - 8 After discussing these matters for several hours and in response to the rich man's request for further and more detailed instruction, Jesus went on to amplify his advice, in substance saying: "While I offer further suggestions concerning your attitude toward wealth, I would admonish you to receive my counsel as given only to you and for your personal guidance. I speak only for myself and to you as an inquiring friend. I adjure you not to become a dictator as to how other rich men shall regard their wealth. I would advise you:

 

"1. As steward of inherited wealth you should consider its sources. You are under moral obligation to represent the past generation in the honest transmittal of legitimate wealth to succeeding generations after subtracting a fair toll for the benefit of the present generation. But you are not obligated to perpetuate any dishonesty or injustice involved in the unfair accumulation of wealth by your ancestors. Any portion of your inherited wealth which turns out to have been derived through fraud or unfairness, you may disburse in accordance with your convictions of justice, generosity, and restitution. The remainder of your legitimate inherited wealth you may use in equity and transmit in security as the trustee of one generation for another. Wise discrimination and sound judgment should dictate your decisions regarding the bequest of riches to your successors.

 

"2. Everyone who enjoys wealth as a result of discovery should remember that one individual can live on earth but a short season and should, therefore, make adequate provision for the sharing of these discoveries in helpful ways by the largest possible number of his fellow men. While the discoverer should not be denied all reward for efforts of discovery, neither should he selfishly presume to lay claim to all of the advantages and blessings to be derived from the uncovering of nature's hoarded resources.

 

"3. As long as men choose to conduct the world's business by trade and barter, they are entitled to a fair and legitimate profit. Every tradesman deserves wages for his services; the merchant is entitled to his hire. The fairness of trade and the honest treatment accorded one's fellows in the organized business of the world create many different sorts of profit wealth, and all these sources of wealth must be judged by the highest principles of justice, honesty, and fairness. The honest trader should not hesitate to take the same profit which he would gladly accord his fellow trader in a similar transaction. While this sort of wealth is not identical with individually earned income when business dealings are conducted on a large scale, at the same time, such honestly accumulated wealth endows its possessor with a considerable equity as regards a voice in its subsequent distribution.

 

"4. No mortal who knows God and seeks to do the divine will can stoop to engage in the oppressions of wealth. No noble man will strive to accumulate riches and amass wealth-power by the enslavement or unfair exploitation of his brothers in the flesh. Riches are a moral curse and a spiritual stigma when they are derived from the sweat of oppressed mortal man. All such wealth should be restored to those who have thus been robbed or to their children and their children's children. An enduring civilization cannot be built upon the practice of defrauding the laborer of his hire.

 

"5. Honest wealth is entitled to interest. As long as men borrow and lend, that which is fair interest may be collected provided the capital lent was legitimate wealth. First cleanse your capital before you lay claim to the interest. Do not become so small and grasping that you would stoop to the practice of usury. Never permit yourself to be so selfish as to employ money-power to gain unfair advantage over your struggling fellows. Yield not to the temptation to take usury from your brother in financial distress.

 

"6. If you chance to secure wealth by flights of genius, if your riches are derived from the rewards of inventive endowment, do not lay claim to an unfair portion of such rewards. The genius owes something to both his ancestors and his progeny; likewise is he under obligation to the race, nation, and circumstances of his inventive discoveries; he should also remember that it was as man among men that he labored and wrought out his inventions. It would be equally unjust to deprive the genius of all his increment of wealth. And it will ever be impossible for men to establish rules and regulations applicable equally to all these problems of the equitable distribution of wealth. You must first recognize man as your brother, and if you honestly desire to do by him as you would have him do by you, the commonplace dictates of justice, honesty, and fairness will guide you in the just and impartial settlement of every recurring problem of economic rewards and social justice.

 

"7. Except for the just and legitimate fees earned in administration, no man should lay personal claim to that wealth which time and chance may cause to fall into his hands. Accidental riches should be regarded somewhat in the light of a trust to be expended for the benefit of one's social or economic group. The possessors of such wealth should be accorded the major voice in the determination of the wise and effective distribution of such unearned resources. Civilized man will not always look upon all that he controls as his personal and private possession.

 

"8. If any portion of your fortune has been knowingly derived from fraud; if aught of your wealth has been accumulated by dishonest practices or unfair methods; if your riches are the product of unjust dealings with your fellows, make haste to restore all these ill-gotten gains to the rightful owners. Make full amends and thus cleanse your fortune of all dishonest riches.

 

"9. The trusteeship of the wealth of one person for the benefit of others is a solemn and sacred responsibility. Do not hazard or jeopardize such a trust. Take for yourself of any trust only that which all honest men would allow.

 

"10. That part of your fortune which represents the earnings of your own mental and physical efforts--if your work has been done in fairness and equity--is truly your own. No man can gainsay your right to hold and use such wealth as you may see fit provided your exercise of this right does not work harm upon your fellows."

 

 

P.1465 - 4 When Jesus had finished counseling him, this wealthy Roman arose from his couch and, in saying farewell for the night, delivered himself of this promise: "My good friend, I perceive you are a man of great wisdom and goodness, and tomorrow I will begin the administration of all my wealth in accordance with your counsel."

 

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us!]

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Greetings Carolyn, Alina, NelsonG, Raymond, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors,

 

First of all, isn't it amazing that Jesus is speaking off the cuff? He has no notes to refer to. He, evidently, was able to enumerate and articulate all 20 points right there on the spot when Agnamon's rich friend asked what to do with his great wealth. Second, it must be noted that the last ten points are counterparts, expansions and explanations of the first ten.

 

***

 

You may recall Agnamon was introduced in Section 1 as the leader of the Stoics in Rome. He was another of those 32 whom Jesus engaged during his sojourn there.

 

Today's reading is not the only case of counseling the wealthy recorded in the UB, or the Bible's New Testament. Of course this teaching in Rome didn't make it into the Bible, because Christianity was unaware of his visit to the "eternal city".

 

It might help to consult Paper 163 in this regard, it has two Sections that directly relate to today's reading:

 

Jesus' most well known teaching about wealth, one that appears in both the UB and the canonical Gospels, is about a rich young man named Matadormus. It includes that ancient and well known adage about a 'camel passing through the eye of a needle'. From Paper 163:3:

"...I declare that it is as easy for this camel to go through the needle's eye as for these self-satisfied rich ones to enter the kingdom of heaven...." P.1803 - 3

 

In that same Section the Midwayers inserted this wisdom, with italics:

...Riches have nothing directly to do with entrance into the kingdom of heaven, but the
love of wealth does
.... P.1803 - 1

 

And this, from 163:2:

...The Master wanted to deliver him from the
love
of wealth, not necessarily from the wealth.... P.1802 - 2

 

***

 

This is somewhat curious, in today's reading Jesus declared:

"...My good friend, I discern that you are a sincere seeker after wisdom and an honest lover of truth; therefore am I minded to lay before you my view of the solution of your problems having to do with the responsibilities of wealth. I do this because you have
asked
for my counsel, and in giving you this advice, I am not concerned with the wealth of any other rich man; I am offering advice only to you and for your personal guidance...." P.1462 - 3

 

Yet, the Midwayers decided to include all twenty points, that all the world should now hear these points.

 

Jesus advice to this rich man of Rome has so many fine lessons, at the same time it is comprehensive and easy to understand. First he identifies ten sources of wealth (and here we should note that every one of the 20 points in today's reading are in quote marks):

"1. Inherited wealth

2. Discovered wealth

3. Trade wealth

4. Unfair wealth

5. Interest wealth

6. Genius wealth

7. Accidental wealth

8. Stolen wealth

9. Trust funds

10. Earned wealth"

 

In the second set of ten, Jesus offers advice about how to disperse the wealth accrued by each of the ten sources listed in the first set.

 

 

In both sets he addresses usury, something of great concern during Biblical times. And Islam is greatly concerned with it still. Jesus would allow that fair interest be collected. Fair interest has to be separated from usury.

 

Usury is typically defined as: The practice of lending money and charging the borrower interest, especially at an exorbitant or illegally high rate.

 

Usury has been banned by many governments, but of course it persists underground and in places of lawlessness, like the many slums of Urantia, anywhere there are desperate people with no alternatives, and greedy lenders who lay waiting for victims.

 

 

***

 

I can't help but notice the world of today is deeply divided about material wealth. Even most individual lives are divided about it. Many of us start out seeking material abundance but by life's end, realize true wealth is health of spirit, mind and body, attunement with divinity.

 

Today we have many, many men--and women--who have amassed unprecedented wealth during the short life in the flesh. I know of two such men here in the US, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, who spent most of their lives acquiring riches, but are now diligently and wisely redistributing them. No doubt each nation has it's Gates and Buffets, and no doubt some rich people will realize their duty and responsibility while others do not.

 

When all Urantia recognizes the service motive far outweighs the profit motive in both material and spiritual benefits, then, I think, will all humanity become part of a sustainable and progressing global economy in which fairness and real happiness are each person's inheritance. What do you think? And how long will it take for Urantia to overcome and subdue materialism?

 

***

 

Tomorrow's reading is short but especially touching. A child is found and restored to its mother, a young man finds work to support his fatherless family, and a four-fold future life role for Ganid is suggested. Section 6 is titled: SOCIAL MINISTRY

 

 

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited. Join the Forum

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host

 

 

Overview of Paper 132:
The Sojourn at Rome

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

 

 

Reader Tools, References & Links

 

Links To Previous OPAD Presentations

 

 

 

 

***

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When archaeologists began opening pharo's tombs it became obvious what value earthly riches have and what goes with pharo's spirit into the next world.

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When archaeologists began opening pharo's tombs it became obvious what value earthly riches have and what goes with pharo's spirit into the next world.

 

Uh huh. You have to feel for we poor humans, steeped in deep ignorance ever since the rebellion started, no real models or divine authority visible. For eons we've groped around in the dark, seizing on every and any thing. Thank God, thank God for revelation, or I might still be chasing that gold ring and cryogenic box.

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Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

 

Today's Presentation:

 

 

PAPER 132 - THE SOJOURN AT ROME

 

 

6. SOCIAL MINISTRY

 

 

 

P.1465 - §5 Here in Rome also occurred that touching incident in which the Creator of a universe spent several hours restoring a lost child to his anxious mother. This little boy had wandered away from his home, and Jesus found him crying in distress. He and Ganid were on their way to the libraries, but they devoted themselves to getting the child back home. Ganid never forgot Jesus' comment: "You know, Ganid, most human beings are like the lost child. They spend much of their time crying in fear and suffering in sorrow when, in very truth, they are but a short distance from safety and security, even as this child was only a little way from home. And all those who know the way of truth and enjoy the assurance of knowing God should esteem it a privilege, not a duty, to offer guidance to their fellows in their efforts to find the satisfactions of living. Did we not supremely enjoy this ministry of restoring the child to his mother? So do those who lead men to God experience the supreme satisfaction of human service." And from that day forward, for the remainder of his natural life, Ganid was continually on the lookout for lost children whom he might restore to their homes.

 

P.1465 - §6 There was the widow with five children whose husband had been accidentally killed. Jesus told Ganid about the loss of his own father by an accident, and they went repeatedly to comfort this mother and her children, while Ganid sought money from his father to provide food and clothing. They did not cease their efforts until they had found a position for the eldest boy so that he could help in the care of the family.

 

P.1465 - §7 That night, as Gonod listened to the recital of these experiences, he said to Jesus, good-naturedly: "I propose to make a scholar or a businessman of my son, and now you start out to make a philosopher or philanthropist of him." And Jesus smilingly replied: "Perhaps we will make him all four; then can he enjoy a fourfold satisfaction in life as his ear for the recognition of human melody will be able to recognize four tones instead of one." Then said Gonod: "I perceive that you really are a philosopher. You must write a book for future generations." And Jesus replied: "Not a book--my mission is to live a life in this generation and for all generations. I--" but he stopped, saying to Ganid, "My son, it is time to retire."

 

 

 

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[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us!]

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Greetings Carolyn, NelsonG, Raymond, Alina, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors,

 

This episode with the lost child speaks so well of divine priorities, doesn't it? They were on the way to the libraries with important studies in mind. They could have passed the crying child by, thinking his mother would sooner or later find him. But instead they forsook their day's plan and spent "several hours" finding the mother, well knowing she would be frantic, while they undoubtedly comforted and reassured this little one. What did they do during those hours? Probably they knocked on door after door, asked person after person if they recognized the boy, until they finally connected parent and child. Imagine the scene when the four came together! Surely they all relished and remembered the 'supreme joy' of this reunion. And the library could be visited later.

 

The Master used the occasion to deliver a teaching about how to regard such service:

"...And all those who know the way of truth and enjoy the assurance of knowing God should esteem it a privilege, not a duty, to offer guidance to their fellows in their efforts to find the satisfactions of living...." P.1465 - 5

 

 

The widow with five dependents certainly benefited from this day's social ministry by the Creator Son--soon to be sovereign of 10 million planets--and an Indian business man's son. Don't you reckon this ministry to the widow's eldest, fatherless, son was especially satisfying to Jesus:

...and they went repeatedly to comfort this mother and her children.... P.1465 - 6

 

We might note here the friendly and fraternal relationship developing between these three travelers. Ganid's and Gonod's respect and love for Jesus grows everyday, with every episode of goodness rendered, with each bit of ministry given, with every morsel of truth served. That the Gods can incarnate and befriend ordinary men, women and children is a miracle of love, isnt it!?

 

 

Obviously, and already, Jesus fully knew in his heart and mind he was not to be a philosopher or a writer:

...Jesus replied: "Not a book--my mission is to live a life in this generation and for all generations...."
P.1465 - 7

 

 

And every generation since has drawn from his life and teachings, and not just Urantia's generations. From Paper 140:10:

...It was not apparent to the apostles that their Master was engaged in living a life of spiritual inspiration for every person of every age on every world of a far-flung universe.... P.1585 - 1

 

 

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Tomorrow's reading is the last of Paper 132. It's about the hunger for truth in some but not others, about their extensive explorations north into Switzerland's Alps, and about the threesomes' day-long discussion of Buddhism. Section 7 is titled: TRIPS ABOUT ROME

 

 

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited. Join the Forum

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host

 

 

Overview of Paper 132:
The Sojourn at Rome

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

 

Reader Tools, References & Links

 

Links To Previous OPAD Presentations

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

 

Today's Presentation:

 

 

PAPER 132 - THE SOJOURN AT ROME

 

 

7. TRIPS ABOUT ROME

 

 

 

P.1466 - §1 Jesus, Gonod, and Ganid made five trips away from Rome to points of interest in the surrounding territory. On their visit to the northern Italian lakes Jesus had the long talk with Ganid concerning the impossibility of teaching a man about God if the man does not desire to know God. They had casually met a thoughtless pagan while on their journey up to the lakes, and Ganid was surprised that Jesus did not follow out his usual practice of enlisting the man in conversation which would naturally lead up to the discussion of spiritual questions. When Ganid asked his teacher why he evinced so little interest in this pagan, Jesus answered:

 

 

P.1466 - §2 "Ganid, the man was not hungry for truth. He was not dissatisfied with himself. He was not ready to ask for help, and the eyes of his mind were not open to receive light for the soul. That man was not ripe for the harvest of salvation; he must be allowed more time for the trials and difficulties of life to prepare him for the reception of wisdom and higher learning. Or, if we could have him live with us, we might by our lives show him the Father in heaven, and thus would he become so attracted by our lives as sons of God that he would be constrained to inquire about our Father. You cannot reveal God to those who do not seek for him; you cannot lead unwilling souls into the joys of salvation. Man must become hungry for truth as a result of the experiences of living, or he must desire to know God as the result of contact with the lives of those who are acquainted with the divine Father before another human being can act as the means of leading such a fellow mortal to the Father in heaven. If we know God, our real business on earth is so to live as to permit the Father to reveal himself in our lives, and thus will all God-seeking persons see the Father and ask for our help in finding out more about the God who in this manner finds expression in our lives."

 

 

P.1466 - §3 It was on the visit to Switzerland, up in the mountains, that Jesus had an all-day talk with both father and son about Buddhism. Many times Ganid had asked Jesus direct questions about Buddha, but he had always received more or less evasive replies. Now, in the presence of the son, the father asked Jesus a direct question about Buddha, and he received a direct reply. Said Gonod: "I would really like to know what you think of Buddha." And Jesus answered:

 

P.1466 - §4 "Your Buddha was much better than your Buddhism. Buddha was a great man, even a prophet to his people, but he was an orphan prophet; by that I mean that he early lost sight of his spiritual Father, the Father in heaven. His experience was tragic. He tried to live and teach as a messenger of God, but without God. Buddha guided his ship of salvation right up to the safe harbor, right up to the entrance to the haven of mortal salvation, and there, because of faulty charts of navigation, the good ship ran aground. There it has rested these many generations, motionless and almost hopelessly stranded. And thereon have many of your people remained all these years. They live within hailing distance of the safe waters of rest, but they refuse to enter because the noble craft of the good Buddha met the misfortune of grounding just outside the harbor. And the Buddhist peoples never will enter this harbor unless they abandon the philosophic craft of their prophet and seize upon his noble spirit. Had your people remained true to the spirit of Buddha, you would have long since entered your haven of spirit tranquillity, soul rest, and assurance of salvation.

 

P.1467 - §1 "You see, Gonod, Buddha knew God in spirit but failed clearly to discover him in mind; the Jews discovered God in mind but largely failed to know him in spirit. Today, the Buddhists flounder about in a philosophy without God, while my people are piteously enslaved to the fear of a God without a saving philosophy of life and liberty. You have a philosophy without a God; the Jews have a God but are largely without a philosophy of living as related thereto. Buddha, failing to envision God as a spirit and as a Father, failed to provide in his teaching the moral energy and the spiritual driving power which a religion must possess if it is to change a race and exalt a nation."

 

P.1467 - §2 Then exclaimed Ganid: "Teacher, let's you and I make a new religion, one good enough for India and big enough for Rome, and maybe we can trade it to the Jews for Yahweh." And Jesus replied: "Ganid, religions are not made. The religions of men grow up over long periods of time, while the revelations of God flash upon earth in the lives of the men who reveal God to their fellows." But they did not comprehend the meaning of these prophetic words.

 

 

P.1467 - §3 That night after they had retired, Ganid could not sleep. He talked a long time with his father and finally said, "You know, father, I sometimes think Joshua is a prophet." And his father only sleepily replied, "My son, there are others--"

 

P.1467 - §4 From this day, for the remainder of his natural life, Ganid continued to evolve a religion of his own. He was mightily moved in his own mind by Jesus' broadmindedness, fairness, and tolerance. In all their discussions of philosophy and religion this youth never experienced feelings of resentment or reactions of antagonism.

 

 

P.1467 - §5 What a scene for the celestial intelligences to behold, this spectacle of the Indian lad proposing to the Creator of a universe that they make a new religion! And though the young man did not know it, they were making a new and everlasting religion right then and there--this new way of salvation, the revelation of God to man through, and in, Jesus. That which the lad wanted most to do he was unconsciously actually doing. And it was, and is, ever thus. That which the enlightened and reflective human imagination of spiritual teaching and leading wholeheartedly and unselfishly wants to do and be, becomes measurably creative in accordance with the degree of mortal dedication to the divine doing of the Father's will. When man goes in partnership with God, great things may, and do, happen.

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us!]

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Good Day Carolyn, Alina, NelsonG, Raymond, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,

 

The Midwayers say the trio made five excursions, but reveal the details of only one, to Italy's "lake district" and on into the Swiss Alps--unless the lake and the Alps were visited on separate trips. That seems unlikely since the two are so close:

 

itcolor.gif

 

Enlarged Map of "Lake District"

itlakedscolor.gif

 

Lake District

 

 

itlakedistsmall.gif

In far northern Italy on the fringes of Switzerland, Italy's magnificent Lake District is spectacular mountain scenery at its best, and the breathtaking beauty of this area is a magnet for tourists throughout the year.

 

These cold mountain lakes were formed by retreating glaciers, and the largest include Lakes Como, Garda, Lugano and Maggiore; Lake Garda...

 

Source/more

 

 

At the lake Jesus imparts this crucial lesson on spotting spiritual need--for Ganid and all truth revealers--there must be a hunger:

"...You cannot reveal God to those who do not seek for him; you cannot lead unwilling souls into the joys of salvation...." P.1466 - 2

 

Evidently this business of spreading the Word is much about discernment.

 

 

More lessons are forthcoming when they reach Switzerland, and this one, about their faith tradition, is prompted not by Ganid, but his father, who has shown little interest in Jesus' teachings until now:

"...Your Buddha was much better than your Buddhism. Buddha was a great man, even a prophet to his people, but he was an orphan prophet; by that I mean that he early lost sight of his spiritual Father, the Father in heaven...." P.1466 - 4

 

There are several other places in the book that reflect this same shortcoming of Buddhism. See Paper 94 for Melchizedek's essay:

 

But then Melchizedek says Buddhism evolved. From 94:12:

...Buddhism in its original form is one of the best religions without a God which has arisen throughout all the evolutionary history of Urantia, although,
as this faith developed, it did not remain godless
. Religion without faith is a contradiction; without God, a philosophic inconsistency and an intellectual absurdity.... P.1141 - 1

 

In today's reading Jesus compares their Buddhism's flaws with his Judaism's:

"...You have a philosophy without a God; the Jews have a God but are largely without a philosophy of living as related thereto...." P.1467 - 1

 

 

Then Ganid, with thoughtless, youthful exuberance, suggests:

"...Teacher, let's you and I make a new religion, one good enough for India and big enough for Rome, and maybe we can trade it to the Jews for Yahweh...."
P.1467 - 2

 

 

What happened to Ganid, do we find his name in history? No, regrettably, but at the end of Paper 133:9, the Midwayers give us this much:

...In India, Ganid grew up to become an influential man, a worthy successor of his eminent father, and he spread abroad many of the noble truths which he had learned from Jesus, his beloved teacher.... P.1481 - 7

 

scenery-swiss-alps-matterhorn-lake-grindji.jpg

Alpine lake with Matterhorn in the background PHOTO SOURCE

 

 

 

That's all for Paper 132, tomorrow's reading is the introduction to Paper 133: THE RETURN FROM ROME wherein Jesus answers Ganid's question about India's caste system.

 

 

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited. Join the Forum

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host

 

 

 

Overview of Paper 132:
The Sojourn at Rome

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

 

Reader Tools, References & Links

 

Links To Previous OPAD Presentations

 

 

 

 

***

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Good Day Dear Rick!

Thank You... :)

 

What a beautiful quote! I can imagine the scene!

And the Beauty of the meanings of the last paragraphs."And it was, and is, ever thus"

 

P.1467 - §5 What a scene for the celestial intelligences to behold, this spectacle of the Indian lad proposing to the Creator of a universe that they make a new religion! And though the young man did not know it, they were making a new and everlasting religion right then and there--this new way of salvation, the revelation of God to man through, and in, Jesus. That which the lad wanted most to do he was unconsciously actually doing. And it was, and is, ever thus. That which the enlightened and reflective human imagination of spiritual teaching and leading wholeheartedly and unselfishly wants to do and be, becomes measurably creative in accordance with the degree of mortal dedication to the divine doing of the Father's will. When man goes in partnership with God, great things may, and do, happen.

 

Much Love...

 

Alina

***

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Good Day Dear Rick!

Thank You... :)

 

What a beautiful quote! I can imagine the scene!

And the Beauty of the meanings of the last paragraphs."And it was, and is, ever thus"

 

P.1467 - §5 What a scene for the celestial intelligences to behold, this spectacle of the Indian lad proposing to the Creator of a universe that they make a new religion! And though the young man did not know it, they were making a new and everlasting religion right then and there--this new way of salvation, the revelation of God to man through, and in, Jesus. That which the lad wanted most to do he was unconsciously actually doing. And it was, and is, ever thus. That which the enlightened and reflective human imagination of spiritual teaching and leading wholeheartedly and unselfishly wants to do and be, becomes measurably creative in accordance with the degree of mortal dedication to the divine doing of the Father's will. When man goes in partnership with God, great things may, and do, happen.

 

Much Love...

 

Alina

***

 

Very good Alina,

 

Creativity's father is dedication, its mother love! :wub:

 

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