ROMANTICISM AND REALITY
The Urantian Journal of Urantia Brotherhood
The following talk was given on Jesus' birthday, August 21, 1979, at a meeting of students of The Urantia Book in the author's home in the Netherlands. Its theme is appropriate to our historical celebration of this momentous event at this time of year.
Christmas time is dear to all of us because we are not insensitive to its romantic atmosphere. But romanticism often is at variance with reality, though reality is wondrous enough already. Many people cannot even accept the reality-fact of Christmas because of its miraculous aspects, the birth of a God-man on our planet. But even if this fact is accepted, romanticism can clothe it in a veil, woven by the imaginative powers of human emotions. Romanticism can easily lead to an escape from reality.
The Jewish people had a romantic conception about the coming of the Messiah. For them he was to be the deliverer, endowed with miraculous power, who would shake off the yoke of Roman dominion and make the chosen Jewish people the ruling power on earth. And for the sake of keeping intact this romantic conception, reality was rejected.
Romantic man expects happiness through a more or less miraculous event and divine intervention. Salvation is something that happens outside of him. To be saved he needs only to accept such an event, to believe it. I recognize however that this is a too simplistic picture of that which lives and exists in the Christian churches, and that I do great injustice to many good Christians. Nevertheless, the doctrine of atonement is a romantic conception about the purpose of Jesus' life on earth.
Gabriel told Mary to give her son the name of Joshua, which name means savior, deliverer. This name also points to the other Joshua, who delivered the children of Israel from life in the desert and led them into the promised land after much struggle.
Where lies the promised land into which this new deliverer will lead us? As we now have received a more complete and better portrayal of Jesus' life, we should have a better and higher concept of this deliverance. Said the Master: "The kingdom of God lies within you."
No romanticism, though real adventure.
So this adventure is a journey inwards. The realm of the mind is full of adventure, full of surprising perspectives, but also with many wrong tracks and by-paths. The greatest discovery we can make in this realm is the discovery of the "divine spark," the Thought Adjuster.
When we focus our attention on this spark of light, our minds are more and more adjusted. This spark is not passive, but an entity in the highest degree of activity. It is the divine Thought Adjuster.
This activity becomes first and in the easiest way perceptible to us when we look back on the past, and recognize that the progress we have made has been largely the effect of the work of this divine spirit in us. When we do recognize this, the divine adventure really begins. The question now becomes to recognize this activity in the present and to respond to it. Then the life of sonship with God begins, the child of God grows into sonship with God, God-knowingness grows into Godconsciousness.
But this adventure is not an easy one, for our nature is so immensely different from the divinely supreme nature of this indwelling spirit that communion is difficult. The existing association would remain therefore vague and indefinite to us if we should not be helped in yet another way to become aware of this process, by which we are spiritually transformed.
For this purpose also came the Master, who in his own experience as the Son of Man went through this same process of recognition of sonship in association with this divine entity within. At the same time he became conscious again of his knowledge of the Father, his relationship as a Creator-Son with the Universal Father, as this had existed from the beginning. He proclaimed and revealed this Father and the nature of his spirit in us, for this spirit is a fragment of the Infinite Father.
The Infinite Father we cannot comprehend, but he makes himself knowable to his finite creature in the relationship of Fatherhood and sonship. "When all is said and done, the Father idea is still the highest human concept of God." (*2097:3)
Jesus taught this Fatherhood so as to lead us into that sonship that he had discovered for himself as the Son of Man. And when his disciples persisted in preferring their romanticism to this reality of sonship, he began as a teacher-healer to demonstrate its meaning, its practical value and reality.
But even so romanticism could not be made to clear the way for reality. The apostles persisted in desiring another kind of reality and truth outside themselves. The kingdom, the fellowship with the indwelling spirit, as the promised land within themselves, was still too shrouded (See Paper 157, sections 3-7, pgs. 1745-1751). Therefore, Jesus met them half-way and revealed his divinity, but only after the spirit in them had revealed this to them. This was not a mere concession to the desires of the apostles for a truth outside themselves and a deliverer outside themselves. This acknowledgement of his divinity did not change anything of what he had taught before as the Son of Man. For this divine sonship is also the perspective for the process of transformation taking place in us. When this process finds its preliminary consummation in the fusion between Thought Adjuster and man, then we also have become divine sons, god-men. The Master reveals himself so that the disciple may know himself.
But romanticism is a stubborn tendency in man. Very soon after the Master had left, the accent was shifted from inner truth to outer truth. The person of the Master became a saving truth outside of man.
Man has a nearly ineradicable tendency to escape from reality, notwithstanding all the help the universe is rendering us to become aware of reality. In a mysterious way the Master is still with us as the Spirit of Truth to help us experience truth that will make us sonship conscious. Recently we have received The Urantia Book by which the universe draws closer to us, and in which revelation the life and teachings of the Master are retold, more complete than ever before and purified from the mysteries which time has woven around it.
And probably The Urantia Book will be the forerunner of another event to which the authors allude several times, the coming of another divine Son. We live in a time of advent. But let us beware of romanticism. Another Son can only try, perhaps with the help of circumstances, to make our own sonship clearer to us. He cannot effectuate salvation outside ourselves.
"The personal touch of the Original and Eternal Son passes on down through a series of decreasingly divine and increasingly human personalizations until there arrives a being much like yourselves, one you can see, hear, and touch. And then you are made spiritually aware of the great truth which your faith may grasp -sonship with the eternal God!" (*445:3)
Henry Begemann Wassenaar, Netherlands
"The acid test for any religious philosophy consists in whether or not it distinguishes between the realities of the material and the spiritual worlds while at the same moment recognizing their unification in intellectual striving and in social serving. (*1114:4)
A Service of
The Urantia Book Fellowship