Q: Can reincarnation explain the suffering and inequities of life?
You asked: I have just purchased the Urantia book and cannot find the answers in regards to the injustice of human situations at birth (i.e) poverty versus wealth, handicaps versus health, that reincarnation would explain.
Thanks so much for your note to us here at TruthBook. The Urantia Book is a big book, full of information. It’s not always easy to find specifics when you’re new to it. I am going to give you a few points to think about, plus some links that may help you. You can start HERE which is the intro on our site that comes complete with a guide for new readers about how to begin to get the most out of your new book. But the best thing you can do is begin reading for yourself.
We live on an evolutionary planet. Life evolved here, and continues to evolve. This evolution entails trial and error in many areas of life – in government, in religion, in biology, and in the religious lives of mortals. The sun shines and the rain falls on us all and the potential for sickness or health, poverty or plenty is inherent in a planet that is evolving. Perfection is our goal, not our present situation.
God does not play favorites; poverty does not automatically mean unhappiness, nor does wealth automatically mean happiness. When we know better we do better; when we willingly seek and adapt to new realizations of truth, beauty, and goodness we become better people, no matter what our life circumstances are.
It is important to know that our world has been beset by some difficulties not seen on so-called “normal” worlds in the universe. The Urantia Book reveals a detailed look at our past and how we came to where we are today. This is a world that is steeped in darkness and sin, unfortunately. And yet, we have been given spiritual gifts that are meant to assist us to overcome and prosper, even under these adverse circumstances.
Of the past 5 epochal revelations of God to mankind, three have partially failed. We find ourselves on a world that contains many inequities and challenges. These “inevitabilities” are valuable for spiritually growing mortals such as us. If we choose to frame them as such we can make great progress. And the presence of God-within each of us is a revelation of the book that is of immense comfort and help throughout our lives.
I am not sure how reincarnation can explain suffering and inequities, but I am familiar enough with reincarnation to know that according to that belief, the purpose of suffering here on earth is to eventually escape the wheel of karma that demands we reap what we sow; that eventually, we progress to the point that we may finally leave this world and embrace a new existence of enlightenment. But reincarnation sees this world as all-important; it seems to doom all of us to this one planet for a long, long time.
In contrast to that belief, the teachings of The Urantia Book present us with a vast cosmology of the entire universe, of which our evolutionary planet is but a small part. We are born here, live and grow here, and hopefully discover our true identities as children of a loving heavenly Father. And in that process, we learn to overcome many of the hardships of this life through this same spiritual identification that ennobles us and lifts us above the purely material estate.
Inequities and adversity are designed to help us grow spiritually. And at the end of life, we progress to a new “station” beyond this planet, the phase of existence wherein we begin to really grow into that spiritual identity that we discovered whilst in our fleshly bodies and in our material lives.
As mentioned, the universe is vast beyond our comprehension, and yet it is more comprehensible when we realize that it is all there for one purpose only: and that purpose is to assist all mortals to become “perfect, as God is perfect;” to progress through a series of transformations from a material being to to a true spiritual being. But this is just our first life; we begin here, but we move forward after our time here is cut by death.
I mentioned the inevitabilities of life above. This is a favorite section of many readers of the book. I hope you’ll like it, too:
3:5.5 The uncertainties of life and the vicissitudes of existence do not in any manner contradict the concept of the universal sovereignty of God. All evolutionary creature life is beset by certain inevitabilities. Consider the following:
- Is courage—strength of character—desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments.
- Is altruism—service of one’s fellows—desirable? Then must life experience provide for encountering situations of social inequality.
- Is hope—the grandeur of trust—desirable? Then human existence must constantly be confronted with insecurities and recurrent uncertainties.
- Is faith—the supreme assertion of human thought—desirable? Then must the mind of man find itself in that troublesome predicament where it ever knows less than it can believe.
- Is therever it leads, desirable? Then must man grow up in a world where error is present and falsehood always possible.
- Is idealism—the approaching concept of the dhe love of truth and the willingness to go wivine—desirable? Then must man struggle in an environment of relative goodness and beauty, surroundings stimulative of the irrepressible reach for better things.
- Is loyalty— devotion to highest duty—desirable? Then must man carry on amid the possibilities of betrayal and desertion. The valor of devotion to duty consists in the implied danger of default.
- Is unselfishness—the spirit of self-forgetfulness—desirable? Then must mortal man live face to face with the incessant clamoring of an inescapable self for recognition and honor. 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.
- Is pleasure—the satisfaction of happiness—desirable? Then must man live in a world where the alternative of pain and the likelihood of suffering are ever-present experiential possibilities.
You may also learn more Urantia Book teachings in this topical study of adversity
Many people embrace reincarnation as the explanation for life and its troubles. Even in Jesus’ day, reincarnation was popular. But Jesus never taught reincarnation. He taught instead the practice of seeking God within ourselves and learning to overcome adversity through the strength that we can obtain through spiritual experience. We are never alone in our struggles; they may be inevitable, but we don’t have to go through them alone.
At one time, I also believed wholeheartedly in reincarnation. But once I discovered the teachings of The Urantia Book which present life as a progressive experience, the thought of having to return here life after life seemed to truly be “weary and monotonous.” The plan of ascension that is presented in the book offers us the prospect of neverending companionship, adventure, education, experience, and spiritual growth.
It may interest you to know that while the teachings of The Urantia Book do not support reincarnation, those teachings do introduce us to a glimpse into the progressive steps that we will go through as spirit ascenders. One of those processes is to experience 570 different “morontia changes” in our quest to gain true spirit status. But our initial experience after death is that of resurrection – not reincarnation. We remember who we are; our personalities remain intact, and our lives continue on a higher plane.
48:1.6 In the days of the mortal flesh the divine spirit indwells you, almost as a thing apart—in reality an invasion of man by the bestowed spirit of the Universal Father. But in the morontia life the spirit will become a real part of your personality, and as you successively pass through the 570 progressive transformations, you ascend from the material to the spiritual estate of creature life.
I do not want to change your mind about reincarnation; we are all free to choose what we will believe. However, I am happy to know that you have been drawn to The Urantia Book. I do hope that you will dive into that book that you bought and discover for yourself a whole new way of looking at your existence and your destiny – both here and in the great beyond.
Thanks again for your note. I hope this reply has been helpful. Please feel free to write back any time!