Our study group finished reading Papers 47, “The Seven Mansion Worlds,” and 48, “The Morontia Life,” several months ago. The Urantia Book (The UB) is the first big bestowal of new information on the topic of afterlife since the ancient writings of the Bible were first assembled.
A non-believer friend of mine commented in conversation, “a short life, with such a long time to be gone.” It was a reminder of how much the concept of afterlife had lost acceptance. It’s no wonder, when you consider how very little development there has been in our ideas of afterlife.
I opened a conversation with another non-believer friend with this: A good question to begin with, I think, is why might there be an afterlife? What are the logical reasons? Does it have some administrative purpose, such as: are people needed to run the universe?
“It is the design of the Creators to afford the creatures of time a graduated opportunity to master the details of the operation and administration of the grand universe.” (48:8.2)
As many readers of The UB know, the book does not accept the idea of reincarnation in another life on this planet. We will “reincarnate,” but in a new body, a morontia form, on other planets in the system that are more suitable for our progress.
All the participants in our study group agreed that rehabilitation of some kind will undoubtedly be required. “The human race was created just a little lower than the more simple types of the angelic orders. Therefore will your first assignment of the morontia life be as assistants to the seraphim in the immediate work awaiting at the time you attain personality consciousness subsequent to your liberation from the bonds of the flesh.” (113:7.3)
We had lots of discussion about what “the immediate work” is. Anger management? Continued forgiveness work? I’m certain about that one. Overcoming depression? Finding peace?
The poet Kabir clearly understood what to expect in the next life. “If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive, do you think ghosts will do it after? … The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic just because the body is rotten, that is all fantasy. What is found now is found then.” (To Be a Slave of Intensity, Kabir)
The UB confirms what Kabir intuited, “On mansion world number one (or another in case of advanced status) you will resume your intellectual training and spiritual development at the exact level whereon they were interrupted by death. Between the time of planetary death or translation and resurrection on the mansion world, mortal man gains absolutely nothing aside from experiencing the fact of survival. You begin over there right where you leave off down here.” (47:3.7)\
Many of us will go to the nursery worlds. Even those of us who’ve been parents may find we have not drunk the full cup of experience in this regard. Chappell and I, who only raised one girl, sometimes hear jokes about parents who didn't have to raise a boy!
We all hope to see beloved family members, as I hope to see Grandma, but The UB reminds us that some sleep until the next dispensation and some awaken after three days. I once wrote a poem about all the many questions I had for my grandmother so I hope she's not still sleeping when I open my eyes in morontia.
Our primitive planet has a unique beauty in the local universe that will probably live in our hearts. “On Jerusem [headquarters of Satania, our local system] you will miss the rugged mountain ranges of Urantia and other evolved worlds since there are neither earthquakes nor rainfalls.” (46:2.1)
Friends and students of The UB have posed these questions: What about living arrangements when we arrive? Dorm style? Do we still live with the people we are living with now? I think it depends on the important lessons we have ahead of us. Our current companions may not be the best resource for our advancement.
One person in our study group hoped to see their pet animals who died on Earth in “heaven,” but I think they will be disappointed. “The life bestowed upon plants and animals by the Life Carriers does not return to the Life Carriers upon the death of plant or animal. The departing life of such a living thing possesses neither identity nor personality; it does not individually survive death.” (36:6.5)
In an added commentary to teachings Jesus gave to his followers, The UB authors say, “In the next world you will be asked to give an account of the endowments and stewardships of this world. Whether inherent talents are few or many, a just and merciful reckoning must be faced. If endowments are used only in selfish pursuits and no thought is bestowed upon the higher duty of obtaining increased yield of the fruits of the spirit, as they are manifested in the ever-expanding service of men and the worship of God, such selfish stewards must accept the consequences of their deliberate choosing.” (176:3.8)
“… death is only the beginning of an endless career of adventure, an everlasting life of anticipation, an eternal voyage of discovery. (14:5.10)
“Curiosity—the spirit of investigation, the urge of discovery, the drive of exploration—is a part of the inborn and divine endowment of evolutionary space creatures. These natural impulses were not given you merely to be frustrated and repressed. True, these ambitious urges must frequently be restrained during your short life on earth, disappointment must be often experienced, but they are to be fully realized and gloriously gratified during the long ages to come. (14:5.11)
Besides the opportunities to continue learning, growing, experiencing, finding fulfillment, there is at least one thing I definitely look forward to on the morontia worlds: that we will no longer be living under the residual allegiance to the Lucifer doctrine. I will breathe a sigh of relief to find myself freed from this noisy, materialistic, cruel, and damaged world!