Among the more startling aspects of the Urantia Book are the amplifications of Jesus’ teachings on salvation and the detailed descriptions of the worlds and universes we will encounter in the afterlife. Of great interest to us is the discussion of the survival of our own personality after earth death (Paper 112, 5-6, pp. 1232-1240) and of the first heavenly (mansion) worlds we live on in the afterlife (Papers 47 and 48, pp. 530-558):
“Eternal survival of personality is wholly dependent on the choosing of the mortal mind, whose decisions determine the survival potential of the immortal soul” (p. 69, 5-5). This is a theme found throughout the Urantia Book – we choose whether or not we go on to the afterlife after our physical death. Apparently this choice is not necessarily a fully conscious one, at least not on a troubled, disoriented world such as Earth (see chapters 7&8 in this book). Please note the following quote in which the word “Adjusters” refers to that spirit of God that lives as the “light within” each person:
“As to the chances of mortal survival, let it be made forever clear: All souls of every possible phase of mortal existence will survive provided they manifest willingness to cooperate with their indwelling Adjusters and exhibit a desire to find God and to attain divine perfection, even though these desires be but the first faint flickers of the primitive comprehension of that “true light which lights every man who comes into the world” (p. 447, 40-5).
A recurring theme of the Urantia Book is that God’s mercy takes into account both the unique circumstances and innermost motives of each individual and all of the peculiar circumstances of our planet of origin. On our planet Earth we have suffered many severely negative experiences that have greatly confused and disheartened a great many well-intentioned mortals (see chs. 7&8 in this book and Parts 2&3 in the Urantia Book). Our spiritual overseers, acting in accordance with God’s will, are fully aware that Earth in its current state is not likely to produce very many highly enlightened spiritual beings. We are far, far from perfection. They know that there are billions of human beings who receive little or no education on God. They know that we have a highly limited and often distorted understanding of the will and nature of God. They know that it is difficult for many human beings to have enough trust in God to make a final and complete decision to go on to the afterlife. And they fully know there is much backsliding among those who have chosen to pursue God’s way. In light of these many difficulties, the following is stated:
“If ever there is doubt as to the advisability of advancing a human identity to the mansion worlds, the universe governments invariably rule in the personal interests of that individual; they unhesitatingly advance such a soul to the status of a transitional being” (p. 1233, 112-5).
And, “We had rather assume the risk of a system rebellion than to court the hazard of depriving one struggling mortal from any evolutionary world of the eternal joy of pursuing the ascending career.” (p.1233)
“This does not mean that human beings are to enjoy a second opportunity in the face of the rejection of a first, not at all. But it does signify that all will creatures are to experience one true opportunity to make one undoubted, self-conscious and final choice. . . the soul of man must and will be given full and ample opportunity to reveal its true intent and real purpose” (p. 1233, 112-5).
Though it may take only a “faint flicker” of faith to pass from Earth onto the first heavenly (mansion) world, there will be a time when each person must consciously choose whether or not to pursue eternal life and an ever expanding relationship with God and one’s fellow beings. For most of us, “this time” to make a final decision will be in the afterlife when we have a much more adequate understanding of God’s will and design for us. Also in the afterlife we will experience for the first time worlds where God’s will and God’s love reign, unlike Earth, and this also plays a major role in our decision (see Paper 47).
Though hard to imagine, there are some who choose to reject eternal life. These beings, provided that their decision meets God’s tests for being full and final, cease to exist as self-identified personalities – it is “as though they had not been” (p. 532, 47-2).
There is no hell filled with fire and brimstone in which to punish those who reject God’s way. Such a concept of God is a primitive notion, wholly incongruous with Jesus’ teachings on the nature of God.
Personality is a freewill gift from God, but it is up to each person to decide if he or she wishes to unite with God in the pursuit of truth, goodness and beauty throughout the universes.