For those who are new to The Urantia Book, this restatement is intended to express the book’s magnificent spiritual message in a style and in language that is consistent with 21st century writing and thought. If you have an opportunity to read the book in its original form, you’ll see the differences immediately.
It’s been less than one hundred years since the text of The Urantia Book was completed, but in that time language and social conventions have changed significantly. In particular, the use of exclusively male pronouns that was prevalent in the early 20th century has become uncomfortable for many people today.
Another change has been the recognition of religious pluralism in our global culture. Since the time The Urantia Book was finalized, the interfaith movement has grown rapidly and has created a new perspective about the place of the Christian tradition in a multi-religious society.
As a result of these changes, some people who initially encounter the original version of The Urantia Book find it difficult to reach beyond the language to grasp the deeper meanings that are so vital to the revelation. In response, the editors, who have been studying The Urantia Book for many years, have created this restatement to modernize several aspects of the text. We’ve made every effort to not impose alternative meanings that differ from those of the revelators.
We take our cue from the following statements:
“The spirit of religion is eternal, but the form of its expression must be restated every time the dictionary of human language is revised.” 99:1.6
“What a sorry sight for successive generations of the professed followers of Jesus to say, regarding their stewardship of divine truth: ‘Here, Master, is the truth you committed to us a hundred or a thousand years ago. We have lost nothing; we have faithfully preserved all you gave us; we have allowed no changes to be made in that which you taught us; here is the truth you gave us.’” 176:3.7
These are the elements we’ve addressed in this restatement:
1.) Consistent with the style of the early 20th Century, male pronouns and designations were given precedence throughout The Urantia Book, creating the impression of a predominantly patriarchal orientation. The evolution towards gender equality in our culture has led us to replace gender specific pronouns and designations with gender neutral references in this edition.
2.) The revelators chose to apply gender designations to Deity and other spirit beings. While this approach tends to foster a sense of kinship with our spiritual family, it can also tempt us to anthropomorphize a level of reality that, according to The Urantia Book, is not characterized by gender in the same form as material beings, and this has the effect of conceptualizing spirit reality in material terms instead of using the opposite perspective – understanding material reality from a spiritual point of view. To help avoid this misconception, we have changed references to spirit beings to terms that are not gender specific, but maintain the familial quality of the inhabited universes. In changing the names that were given to spirit beings we feel that our approach is consistent with that of the revelators, who indicated that “In recording the names of these beings of the spiritual world, we are confronted with the problem of translating into your tongue, and very often it is exceedingly difficult to render a satisfactory translation. We dislike to use arbitrary designations which would be meaningless to you; hence we often find it difficult to choose a suitable name, one which will be clear to you and at the same time be somewhat representative of the original.” 18:4.3
3.) The revelators’ approach seems to have been intended to appeal to traditional Christianity through the use of extensive quotes from the Christian Bible. In an effort to relate The Urantia Book to the multi-religious culture of the 21st Century, we have deleted most Bible quotes from the text. In addition, the term “God” is actually used by only a portion of this world’s population, and we have substituted terms that will hopefully be comfortable for a more diverse society. Choosing a name for the Creator is addressed in Paper 1, which we have restated as follows:
"When you have once become truly Creator-conscious, after you really discover the majestic Creator and begin to experience the realization of the indwelling presence of the divine controller, then, in accordance with your enlightenment and in accordance with the manner and method by which the divine Beings reveal the Creator, you will find a name for the Universal Source which will be adequately expressive of your concept of the First Great Source and Center. And so, on different worlds and in various universes, the Creator becomes known by numerous appellations, in spirit of relationship all meaning the same but, in words and symbols, each name standing for the degree, the depth, of enthronement in the hearts of creatures of any given realm." 1:1.3
The editors realize that, in creating this restatement, we have not addressed the fact that some of the scientific information in the original text is now obsolete. The Urantia Book addresses this, explaining, “We full well know that, while the historic facts and religious truths of this series of revelatory presentations will stand on the records of the ages to come, within a few short years many of our statements regarding the physical sciences will stand in need of revision in consequence of additional scientific developments and new discoveries.”101:4.2 The present editors do not feel competent to address this concern, and have allowed the scientific statements to remain as they are in the original. Perhaps a future restatement will be undertaken to update this information.
We are aware that making changes in the language of a revered text will not be acceptable to everyone, and the original text of The Urantia Book is always available to those who prefer it. But this restatement, as the midwayers put it, “in modern phraseology,” is intended to provide an alternative approach to exploring the spiritual depths of the revelation.