I saw this article today and decided to make a blog about it: 4 Ways That Christians Respond to the Heavy Truth That Jesus is the Only Way to Heaven by Josh Daffern. Heavy truth? This Christian injunction can cause a lot of heavy confusion for some people. But, is it true? Christians often point to this scripture and use it as a cudgel to scare people into coming to Jesus. In my blog below, I'd like to clear up the confusion that this causes to anyone, using enlightened Urantia Book teachings. But first, here's a snip from the article:
"Jesus is the only way to God, Jesus is God, if you believe in Jesus you shall not perish. But if you don't place your trust in Jesus, then you will perish. Jesus talks about this eternal perishing as hell, hades or eternal fire."
Click to read the article
Coming to Jesus
I have never really had a problem coming to Jesus; from an early age, I was thoroughly immersed in Christian belief through the Catholic Church. But, after seeing the fear and distaste that this brings up in some people - a fear and distaste born of being told by someone that you can't have salvation without believing in Jesus - I started questioning whether this is something that Jesus would really want us to teach to others.
When I found The Urantia Book nearly thirty years ago now, one of the things that drew me to it was the fact that it claimed to be a new revelation from God. I liked that idea - and still do. I always thought it was sad if God had stopped talking to us after Jesus incarnated here - that we were pretty much on our own, with only an ancient document of supposed truth which also contains a lot of contradiction and inconsistency sprinkled in it. So, I was intrigued by the idea of a new revelation, and believed it was entirely possible.
One of the things I discovered about revelation of the sort that is The Urantia Book, namely EPOCHAL revelation, is that this kind of periodic revelation from celestial government is meant to help us know truth. One way it does this is to correct errors from previous attempts of mortals to figure it out on our own. Christianity is one of those attempts. While it contains much good, it is an evolutionary, man-made religion, and The New Testament Bible is its guiding document. It's a good attempt, but it is pretty much full of error. The Urantia Book teaches:
Revelation is a technique whereby ages upon ages of time are saved in the necessary work of sorting and sifting the errors of evolution from the truths of spirit acquirement.
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.
See: Religion Expanded by Revelation for more of this good news.
All this is by way of introduction to my blog today, and to say that in The Urantia Book, most especially Part IV, we find the true story of Jesus - his identity, the true nature of his mission to our world, and the truth about salvation. And we discover that, while the statement in John 14:6 is technically true, it is not the truth as it is commonly understood by Christians. AND the statement of Jesus about hell is refuted by his true teaching as restated in The Urantia Book. We'll look at that below.
What IS the truth?
It is painful to see Jesus being used to scare people into loving him, i.e., "if you don't come to Jesus, you're going to go to hell. Jesus said so."
The Urantia Book teaches us that "God is not willing that any should perish." I can't help but believe that Jesus feels the same way. I certainly find it hard to think that he would allow a reluctance to accept him, or ignorance of him to be a stumbling block to a mortal being's salvation.
In Jesus Farewell Discourse to the apostles, he said (among other things)
180:3.7 "Thomas, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man goes to the Father except through me. All who find the Father, first find me."
I see this as Jesus stating a fact - he does not hold it up as a requisite for all mortals to ensure salvation. The Father can be found right here in this earth life, through the ministry of the Thought Adjuster, even if someone may not know Jesus yet. But to actually/literally find the Father on Paradise, we DO have to go through Jesus.
Another time, Jesus said this:
153:2.11 "The Father and I are one; the Son does only that which the Father teaches him, while all those who are given to the Son by the Father, the Son will receive to himself. You have read where it is written in the Prophets, `You shall all be taught by God,' and that `Those whom the Father teaches will hear also his Son.' Every one who yields to the teaching of the Father's indwelling spirit will eventually come to me. Not that any man has seen the Father, but the Father's spirit does live within man. And the Son who came down from heaven, he has surely seen the Father. And those who truly believe this Son already have eternal life."
In our eternal life we will literally go through Jesus to get to God. It cannot be any other way. But we go through him as a very natural process on our way to the Father: not as a requirement for salvation; by the time we get far enough along to meet Jesus face-to-face, our salvation will have been experienced long before. Salvation is explained very clearly by Jesus here, when asked : "What must I do do be saved?:
150:5.3"Salvation is the gift of the Father and is revealed by his Sons. Acceptance by faith on your part makes you a partaker of the divine nature, a son or a daughter of God. By faith you are justified; by faith are you saved; and by this same faith are you eternally advanced in the way of progressive and divine perfection. By faith was Abraham justified and made aware of salvation by the teachings of Melchizedek. All down through the ages has this same faith saved the sons of men, but now has a Son come forth from the Father to make salvation more real and acceptable."
As the Master said above, "And those who truly believe this Son already have eternal life."
There are many instances in Jesus' life wherein he reiterates these truths about salvation.
How do we meet Jesus?
In the ascension experience, there are many, many stops that the ascender will make before being ready to actually stand in the presence of God. Meeting God is not something that happens automatically, but is, instead, the culmination of a long series of transformations and spiritual advancements. And one of the steps that will take place is the actual meeting of the ascender with Jesus.
Jesus is the Creator Son - the Creator of this very universe in which we live. As such, we will all literally meet him before we have the opportunity to meet the Universal Father of all creation. That meeting is described here:
113:7.4 Before leaving the mansion worlds, all mortals will have permanent seraphic associates or guardians. And as you ascend the morontia spheres, eventually it is the seraphic guardians who witness and certify the decrees of your eternal union with the Thought Adjusters. Together they have established your personality identities as children of the flesh from the worlds of time. Then, with your attainment of the mature morontia estate, they accompany you through Jerusem and the associated worlds of system progress and culture. After that they go with you to Edentia and its seventy spheres of advanced socialization, and subsequently will they pilot you to the Melchizedeks and follow you through the superb career of the universe headquarters worlds. And when you have learned the wisdom and culture of the Melchizedeks, they will take you on to Salvington, where you will stand face to face with the Sovereign of all Nebadon [aka Jesus of Nazareth].
And the reason for this is simple: Christ Michael of Nebadon is the Sovereign of this universe; he is the representative of the Universal Father, and so, just as in an earthly kingdom, a subject may not be brought directly into the king's presence, but will first be received by those who are responsible for their particular part of the kingdom - we go up the chain of command, as it were.
Our particular part of the Father's creation is Nebadon, the universe that Michael (Jesus) created. And so, we will literally meet Jesus before we meet the Father, in his "greater universe"; this is the meaning of Jesus' statement: "No man goes to the Father except through me."
How we are saved, and why we don't have to worry about Hell
As for the matter of salvation, The Urantia Book - and Jesus also - teaches that it is simple faith that secures salvation. Here's another of his statements about salvation:
150:5.5"You cannot buy salvation; you cannot earn righteousness. Salvation is the gift of God, and righteousness is the natural fruit of the spirit-born life of sonship in the kingdom. You are not to be saved because you live a righteous life; rather is it that you live a righteous life because you have already been saved, have recognized sonship as the gift of God and service in the kingdom as the supreme delight of life on earth."
Moreover, Jesus never taught the concept of hell or eternal damnation. Hell is a purely human invention with no basis in reality. It is entirely inconsistent with the nature of God, and certainly with the portrayal of God through Jesus' life here. And what good news THAT is! The scripture that ascribes this teaching to Jesus is one that was added long after his ascension, and is one of those errors corrected through the revelation of his real life and the true teachings about God. See our topical study of hell HERE
188:4.13 Human salvation is real; it is based on two realities which may be grasped by the creature's faith and thereby become incorporated into individual human experience: the fact of the fatherhood of God and its correlated truth, the brotherhood of man.
One of Jesus' primary reasons for incarnating here was to lead people to God - not to himself. His incarnation here has made it far easier to find the Father. He revealed the loving character of God the Father to us earthly children. His was a life dedicated to doing the will of God, and that is what he taught his followers. He revealed the presence of God in each mortal (see the Thought Adjuster, above) and the importance of becoming conscious of God's presence. He established - not a material church - but the Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts of mankind, and asked all of us to be born-again so that we could enter and live there here and now.
His gospel of this kingdom - faith in the Fatherhood of God and the resultant reality of the brotherhood of mankind - is the simple message of his bestowal, and his religion of personal spiritual experience - the religion OF Jesus - is accessible to all, and is a religion of revelation that can be practiced by anyone, anywhere, whether "churched" or not. It is the religion of true spiritual liberty!
Discover Jesus in The Urantia Book
Discovering Jesus through The Urantia Book is an amazing experience, and this Jesus that we discover is a human and divine being. He is not able to be captured or appropriated by any earthly religion. He transcends any and all such attempts. And it is for this reason that he can be accessible to all - not only the religious believers, but even those who may not be religious at all. He is a savior for everyone, and his original teachings are the birthright of every man, woman, and child in the universe.
Knowing more about Jesus...knowing his true life story and the way in which he lived his life can help any spiritual seeker to live a more successful life. Jesus lived a real life, accompanied by all the same trials and challenges that any mortal may face. Discovering how he treated people, the advice he offered, the techniques he used to help others and raise them up, the way he parented his brothers and sisters, his attention to duty, and his sincere friendliness can inspire anyone.
How pleasant and easy it is to love Jesus. How liberating to know he came here to help us and to fellowship us - not to scare us. Rest assured that you will meet Jesus in the future...but in the meantime, I hope you can, like me, learn to accept him through love, not fear. Invite others to know and love him as you do - not as someone who wants to take them hostage...