Episode:Evolutionary Religion—Early Evolution (Part 4)

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January 23, 2018 [Paper 86:5.4-6.3, p. 954]

Primitive men thought that the soul was associated with the breath; the shadow came, later on, to be feared and revered equally with the breath. Those who held the doctrine of four souls believed that one soul lived in the breath, one in the head, one in the hair, and one in the heart. Man’s only religion up to the times of revelation originated in illusion and ignorance.

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Keywords: Urantia, Religion, Souls, Spirits, Dreams



Summary by Kermit

Commentary on Review

We talked about the possible reasons for the longstanding popularity of frightening entertainment as scary stories and movies. We noted that in Paper 85 the origins of religious activities are found in raw fear progressing to a reformed fear, reverence. This fear association with religious consciousness stimulates the energies of the feelings. We are called to move forward and upward in cultivating a genuine engagement with the cosmos. The revelators point out that only those primitive tribes little above animals failed to develop some concept of the soul. What does this say about our philosophic materialist friends?


86:5.4

We continue with more information about the belief systems of the ancients concerning the soul. As perfume is to the flower so early man saw the soul’s relation to the body, which may account for the role of incense in present day religious ritual. They were very worried about the soul leaving the body and believed various forms of loss of consciousness could occasion the soul’s departure. The reflexive “God bless you” invoked by well-meaning fellows following a sneeze is a surviving artifact of this concern. We are reminded that the soul does not possess the faculty of self-transport. Souls are taken from the body at death by designated angelic personnel. Self-acting Thought Adjusters however, do have the ability to come and go. We need new wineskins for the revelation’s enhanced information about these realities. Recall that the soul has been and continues to be confused with the reality that is mind.

The revelators continue to call our attention to current day common practices which are anchored in ancient beliefs about the ghost-soul. Man’s dream life presents a fertile field for all manner of notions about the soul’s nocturnal activities. We note again as we have previously in this arc the revelators’ use of the term “savage” for those primitive beliefs and practices still extant in so-called civilized circles.

We did notice that the revelators attempt to disabuse us of the error of interpreting our ordinary dream life as communications from the spiritual world, notwithstanding the role of the extraordinary dream experiences of Joseph and Zacharias.

The soul was associated with the breath and later with the shadow and even the reflection. Among various peoples the soul was thought to be identified with the head, hair, liver, blood, and fat. The ghost soul concept continued to evolve, and the number of souls attributed to a single individual proliferated to include doctrines of three or four souls. These doctrines and beliefs became more and more complicated to where we are today. Civilized man’s sophisticated and complex rationalizations do not make them anymore logical. Add to that the fact that we have on our world backward peoples living out these beliefs and practices and we find ourselves in dire need of the new wineskins into which our enhanced ideas of soul and spirit as revealed to us in the 5th ER can be logically poured.

The final paragraph of the section more closely describes how the concept of soul evolved into mind, with the Greek system of three souls; the vegetative residing in the stomach, the animal in the heart, and the intellectual in the head. These “souls” roughly correspond to the mechanical mind, adjutant mind, and the spiritualized mind of the upper domain of the hourglass analogy of the human mind.


86:6. The Ghost-Spirit Environment

Moving outward in perspective the revelators now point toward man’s various environments and his reactions to them. Man’s reaction to his inherited natural environment evolved into the state. His response to his acquired social environment became institutionalized in the home. And his reaction to his imagined ghost environment became codified in the church. Faced with the evolutionary church as the derivative of man’s reaction to his illusory ghost environment can we resist the temptation to abandon it all together? How much genuineness is there in the current day church institution. The church is in grave need of sweeping epochal revelation. What would a real church look like? A church bound back to eternity and anchored in spirit would not be stuck in time bound and material-based ritual and ceremony. Jesus did foster movement from a God of wrath to a God of love, but this is still a work in progress.

The realities of the imaginary ghost-spirit world became universally believed and changed man’s mental and moral life for all time. Such a religion of the imagination is not a religion of the spirit. We noted that the more ridiculous aspects of the religion of the imagination make for easy targets of the derision and scorn of present day atheists, and philosophic materialists.

Until epochal revelation began to deliver authoritative elimination of error, the only religion man possessed consisted of the wineskins of illusion and ignorance into which was poured superstition and the religion of primitive peoples, held tightly together by mortal fear. And as previously mentioned this is the religion many of the present-day world’s races retain—the religion of evolution.


Notes by Brad

  • I ain't afraid of no ghosts. The Urantia Book is a ghostbuster.
  • Children liking scary stories, oddly enough, is part of stimulating what we perceive is our spiritual consciousness.
    • Recall that all of [Paper 85] was all about how fear stimulates a lot of primitive spiritual experiences.
    • It's a very animate energy. A more complex energy, the 6th adjutant mind-spirit. It's stimulating and exciting. But don't get addicted.
    • The key: don't get stuck here like an 8-year-old with ghost stories. Don't be satisfied with that basic energy stirring. Stay hungry and thirsty, my friends.


  • No matter how the 5th ER defines soul, you're born into a world already filled with preconceptions of this term.
    • For example, the soul never leaves the body (it can be removed at the end of mortal life). The soul has no action like this on its own.
    • And the soul is not the thought adjuster. The Thought Adjuster can leave the body of its own action.
    • A soul is an object sitting there in the body all throughout one's life.
    • The soul being like the perfume of a flower? A poetic flourish, but can you get past how that poetry makes you feel? Can be not be satisfied and short-circuited by that feeling.
    • These sections aren't mere historical facts. They're cautioning you about the worldview you were born into you might be blind to. Can you recognize it is there and transcend it?
    • Shouting someone's name to wake them up is rooted in ancient philosophies.
    • The powerful imagery of the eldest son catching the father's dying breath--this is innate in our minds. It is not evil, but just don't be satisfied.
    • The eyes being the windows of the soul? Poetic, yes. Accurate? No. They are the window of the feelings.
  • See also [68:3] for the socializing influence of ghost fear.


  • It's okay to start life as a savage (we all do), but you can't imitate your way to Paradise.


  • Separate the experience from the interpretation.
    • An outdoor walk when sick might make you feel better, but don't explain it as recapturing or retrieving your soul.


  • Section 6 is a big, discomforting sledgehammer to that cherished object, the church. Can we read this and accept the church as an evolutionary environment.