Problems with the Cosmology and Astronomy of The Urantia Book


The purpose of this essay is to set the cosmology and astronomy of the Urantia Book against what modern, twenty-first-century cosmology and astronomy observe in the physical universe. I will also argue that even if today’s cosmology and astronomy have got some things wrong about the structure of the universe, there is enough evidence favoring cosmology’s fundamental insights to render the Urantia Book’s cosmology, and much of what it says about astronomy, impossible. 

Conventions: The Urantia Book is UB or “the book”. Reference to scientific papers and images are linked. References to sections of the book are signaled by [UB paper:section.paragraph].

Updated on May 26, 2021 to include section “a missing superuniverse”.


The Urantia Book (UB) is about God. Its theology (presented primarily in the Forward, papers 1-10 and 99-118) expands human ideas about God, revealing a more nuanced picture than any human-originated theology has achieved. Theology has consequences. For example, if God is good and what humans gain in this life has continuing value personally, there must be some mechanism for expressing a postmortal personality. The UB illustrates this with its story of the ascension scheme coupled with an explanation of universe administration (God the Seven-Fold) terminating in the Creator Sons, which sets the context of our relationship to Jesus, Michael of Nebadon. The book’s last section, “The Life of Jesus”, is perhaps the most remarkable illustration of the relationship possible between man and God ever written!

The UB contains hundreds of scientific assertions. Readers of the book have for some time been aware that much of this science is problematic. In 2017, Geoffrey Taylor re-wrote (updated) “Scientific Predictions of the Urantia Book”, his 1987 paper co-authored with Irwin Ginsburgh. In this paper, he discusses 31 specific “scientific predictions” found in the UB. He compares them to what is known now, confirming (most), disconfirming (a few), or remaining an open question. 

Part of the problem of assessing these UB assertions is dating them. UB history holds the text of the book was completed before 1940. If this is true, then any matching discovery made after 1940 would be evidence for the UB’s veracity, at least that its authors made a good guess. The UB was not published until 1955. All of whatever physical precursors existed before that date, the hard evidence that no changes were made during the 1940s and very early 1950s (the original, date-able, notes and printing plates) were destroyed. I mention this because it is a part of what is problematic about “UB science”. I do not attempt in this essay to resolve these issues. What is problematic about UB cosmology and astronomy has nothing to do with these date issues. 

Here is a categorization and count of issues Taylor addresses:

Biology (4)

Geology (2)

Astronomy (10)

Cosmology (3)

Physics (12)

The UB contains dozens of “scientific assertions” besides those Taylor mentions, and some of the above might fit different categories. To an extent, he cherry-picks his examples. For example, he makes no mention of this on 65:6.1. “Ever will the scientist come nearer and nearer the secrets of life, but never will he find them, and for no other reason than that he must kill protoplasm in order to analyze it.” The italics never and must are mine because categorical terms like these make the statement false. Biologists have been probing cells and measuring their living processes since the late 1960s! Surely revelators (who could “anticipate the scientific discoveries of a thousand years” [UB 101:4.2]) would know this? Why include categoricals like “must” and “never”?  

Besides the “hard science” categories listed above (Taylor’s subject), the UB makes hundreds of statements in the arenas of soft sciences, anthropology, sociology, psychology, even “political science”, but none of these are Taylor’s subjects, nor mine. This paper focuses on cosmology and astronomy because the UB’s description of the mortal ascension scheme rests on these. I will cover the biology of human evolution (another major issue) in another paper.


In paper 101:4.1, The book makes this statement: “Any cosmology presented as a part of revealed religion is destined to be outgrown in a very short time”, and 101:4.2 emphasizes that “The cosmology of these revelations is not inspired.” To me, “not inspired” means the revelators merely adopted and adapted the cosmology, primarily the steady-state idea they found in human sources before 1950. But the book’s morphology of the Master Universe (everything inhabited and not yet inhabited), nor its revelation of “space respiration”, is not to be found in astronomy or cosmology papers of the period. Where did the authors get this material? Except for the steady-state-creation idea, UB cosmology does not reflect scientific consensus or even speculation of the 20th Century’s first half. If “not inspired”, and not a product of early 20th Century science, how exactly are we to understand it? If it seems not to match observation, are we to accord it some credibility merely because it appears in the UB?

Briefly summarized UB cosmology says: 

  1. The physical universe is a steady-state creation along the lines of human ideas popular in the first half of the 20th Century. [UB 9:3.4] [UB 42:4.9]
  2. Space, presently filled with material creation, respires in billion-year cycles. A billion expanding (we are currently halfway through such a phase) and a billion contracting. [UB 11:6 whole section]
  3. The material creation is not symmetrical except bilaterally around an axis perpendicular to Paradise. Paradise is an ellipse, and the universe as a whole rotates around paradise (much more on this below). The axis perpendicular to Paradise is the only one close to symmetrical. The other two axes (an ellipse has three) are asymmetrical. [UB 11:7.3] 

The physical universe astronomers and cosmologists see from Earth looks absolutely nothing like what the UB describes. What we see cannot be interpreted (rationalized) along lines the UB claims is the case, nor can the UB presentation be aligned to modern observations. It isn’t that the UB is wrong as to details; much of it cannot be made sense-of in the light of present observation, including types of astronomies invented in but the last few decades! At least this is what I now believe.

Cosmology is a purely observational science. The universe “happened” (slowly or suddenly), once, sometime in the past, and continues to the present day. We cannot experiment by setting initial conditions and seeing what sort of universe emerges from them. What cosmologists do is look. Having well understood the physics of light and the effect of gravity on it, they propose various theories about how the universe got going (like steady-state) and ask: “what are the consequences (to the light we observe) of that theory”? Dozens of theories have been tried (including those suggested by UB readers trying to rationalize the UB picture with present observations), and only the Big Bang survives. The Big Bang’s consequences (the first of many, the Cosmic Microwave Background temperature, calculated 10+ years before it was found), is the only theory that survives all, and I mean all the tests (see note on Big Bang evidence at the end of the essay).


The big bang was, 100 years ago, a nascent cosmological competitor to the millennia-old idea that the appearance of matter in the cosmos is an ongoing process, new matter, hydrogen (or perhaps protons, neutrons, and electrons), slowly appearing throughout the universe. This “steady-state” creation would forever produce new material for the formation of stars and other entities, yielding today a universe of unknown size and age, possibly infinite and forever! 

In 1953 George Gamow contributed to the debate. Given the controversial (until the mid-1960s) notion of a big bang roughly ten-billion years ago (a then-best estimate based on tracing apparent recession speed of distant galaxies backwards in time), Gamow reasoned that there should be a left-over, cold, cosmic microwave background of roughly 7 degrees Kelvin (the CMB) throughout the universe. In 1965 the CMB was discovered accidentally by two Bell Labs engineers trying to figure out why they couldn’t get rid of a constant noise at 2.72 degrees Kelvin from a new, very sensitive antenna. The first “big evidence” for the big bang was not that distant objects appear to be racing away from one another (a steady-state creation also expands as more matter is added), but that there is a cold-light at 2.72548±0.00057 K coming from every direction we look.

A singular origin is the only reasonable explanation for the phenomenon of this light. Since the 60s, numerous “other phenomena” whose observation can only be explained by singular origin, evidence upon evidence, has piled on to support the idea. As might be expected, at least into the last quarter of the 20th Century, “Steady State” aficionados suggested other explanations. All had (as good scientific theories must) testable consequences. The tests all failed, while the big bang has survived every test of its theorized outcomes. I bring up the big bang here not to hawk it (I list some independent evidentiary lines at the end of the essay), but because it has implications not only for the matter of “steady-state creation”, but also the UB’s other cosmological assertions, space respiration and the shape (morphology) of the creation.

As concerns “steady-state”, the UB tells us that the Infinite Spirit can slow down energies to the “point of materialization” [UB 9:3.4]. Presumably, this is the source of all the matter in the universe. Any light produced by this process would cool as the universe expanded (the book tells us we are in an expanding phase due to “space respiration”). But since matter creation is constant, we would expect the temperature of such light to vary as we look across the sky. It would be warmer coming from “newer regions” and cooler from “older”. Yet all the background light we see (strictly “listen to” with radio telescopes as it has cooled down to microwaves) had to begin simultaneously. To hypothesize that, nevertheless, light from creations at different times all happens to hit Earth at 2.725 degrees Kelvin from everywhere is ad hoc.


The UB’s biggest problem is the shape of the universe (the Maltese Cross 11:7:3), its declaration that there is an upper and lower limit to “pervaded (the material creation) space” (11:7.6). A related problem is the missing consequence of a mass, Havona and its surrounding gravity bodies, “as great as the seven superuniverses (the presently inhabited “Grand Universe”) combined” [UB 12:1.4], not to mention the very existence of a different, “non-pervaded space” constituting a sort of reservoir to and from which pervaded space flows. The UB description, if authoritative, would have evident observational consequences. Given the UB picture, if we look in all directions from our position in space, we should see different things. In a direction outward along the plain of creation (as the UB tells it), we should see lots of galaxies (the “outer space” universes). But in a direction perpendicular to this plain (up or down), we should see nothing at all beyond our superuniverse. Even accepting a rationalization by UB readers that our galactic supercluster (see ASTRONOMY below for discussion) is the real superuniverse, we should see nothing beyond it. 

Moreover (I thank my friend Charles Lamar for pointing this out), if we look in a direction above or below the center of our galaxy, above and below what the UB claims is the center of creation lying somewhere behind it, some substantial angle of arc would be a view at and through non-pervaded space. What would non-pervaded space (not to mention some mid-space zone that must also intervene [11:7.3]) do to the starlight coming from its other side? The UB provides no clue to this answer, but the only thing these regions could possibly do, if our observations are to be believed, is to so manipulate the light that the universe of galaxies on its other side look like the universe we view in every other direction!

So what do we see? We see what cosmologists call an “isotropic universe” that is also homogenous on very large scales. meaning “the same in every direction” In every direction, we see billions of galactic clusters and streams of galaxies out to 10+ billion light-years. Even our supercluster is but one of billions of them in every direction (see illustration in this link). Every dot of light in that image is a galaxy or cluster of galaxies, and this is what we see in every direction we look. Moreover, even if this illustration (after all, a computer construct based on observation) is not quite right, what is indisputable is that what we see is the same everywhere! In every direction, including towards the Milky Way’s center, there are galaxies and galactic clusters at all distances everywhere. Even if individual estimates of distance are considerably mistaken we cannot be mistaken about the shape of the overall distribution. This fact alone makes the UB picture of a bilaterally symmetrical universe unbelievable.  

Some astute reader is going to object and say that the universe may not be precisely isotropic. There is in fact some evidence that matter-density in one axis is greater than in the axis perpendicular to it. But the difference is two percent. Material density along the denser axis is two percent greater than in the perpendicular axis. Two percent is nowhere near the all-and-none difference that follows from the universe architecture portrayed in the UB!

Suppose the UB has deliberately provided a fantasy cosmology (possible, if not likely even given the astronomical knowledge of the 1920s and 30s) on which to rest its description of the mortal ascension scheme? The problem is that what we see is so vastly different from what the UB describes it is impossible to reconcile the two architectures. Furthermore, astronomers on a world a few billion light-years from earth would observe, from their world, the same isotropic universe we detect from ours. A universe that appears isotropic from every position within it hasn’t any center! The whole of the UB ascension scheme ultimately rests on Paradise at the center of everything, a center that doesn’t appear to exist. Now one might argue that we cannot assume another position from which to view the universe. We have good reason to believe the universe would appear isotropic from any place in it, but we cannot know this. There are, or would be, other consequences to what we see if Havona existed.


This issue of a center (and what the UB says about it) is integral to the book’s “shape story”. The central universe, Paradise, the billion Havona worlds, and the “dark gravity bodies” surrounding it, are said to contain mass “far in excess” of the entire Grand Universe [UB 12:1.4]! That’s a lot of mass! I’m tempted to bring up the matter of gravitational waves here, but I demur. It is possible (being no physicist), the arrangement of a central mass surrounded by two rings of “dark gravity bodies” orbiting in opposite directions [UB 14:1.8] is set up precisely to cancel (by interference) the enormous gravitational waves that, otherwise, we would surely have noticed (and do not) coming from some particular direction in the sky. But while I can speculate my way around missing gravitational waves, there would be other consequences of such a mass. 

According to the UB, Havona is presently on the other side of our galactic center (we are not told how far), where dust obscures what would otherwise be a view of a massive dark body occluding everything on the far side of it [UB 15:3.3]. Whoever constructed this part of the UB cosmological fantasy did not understand the effect of mass on light. Even if no gravitational waves emanate from Havona, the central universe has gravity [UB 11:8.7].

While we cannot see directly through the center of our galaxy (we do see behind the dust in X-ray light, but what is visible are stars yet in our galaxy), we can see above and below the central band. What do we see? We see the same thing we see in every other direction, billions of galaxies out to more than ten billion light-years! But that is not what we would see if there was, lying behind the central band of the Milky Way, a collection of bodies whose mass was equal to the whole of the grand universe. All the light coming from stars (superuniverses and outer space bands) on the other side of Havona (setting aside the issue of looking through non-pervaded space discussed above) and just above and below the Milky Way’s central band would be bent towards us and appear compressed together. What we would see is starlight fused into a bright band (see this image of a black hole lensing a galaxy lying somewhere behind it. Now imagine that instead of a single galaxy, we saw the light of thousands smeared out by the gravity of Havona), a halo of light surrounding an empty (dark) region. We do not see anything like this.

Although our view through our galactic center is hazy and the few stars we resolve are within the Milky Way, whatever is beyond the galaxy, it cannot be a mass-collection as great as the rest of the Grand Universe combined. Any large gravitational mass would still distort the light coming from stars (galaxies) on its other side. In short, and again what we would see looking in that direction would not look the same as what we see looking in the opposite direction. But what we see is the same. There cannot be a mass such as the UB describes somewhere on the other side of our galactic center. 


While perhaps not UB cosmology’s biggest problem, space respiration is a big one. Briefly put, the volume of “pervaded space”, the horizontal arms of the maltese cross, respires, expands and contracts, in alternating one-billion year cycles [UB 11:6], presumably expanding and compressing the material creation along with the space it occupies. Contraction does not result in a “big crunch” (everything gets crushed together, generating a new big bang), but rather a partial inspiration (contracting) for a billion years before expanding again. Neither the UB nor modern cosmology hints at anything like a mechanism that could drive this process. We are told only that “non-pervaded space”, the vertical section of the maltese cross, also contracts and expands inversely with the pervaded zone. As with other such assertions of the revelators, we are left only with the reasonable assumption that God knows the trick. 

Even if real, we cannot measure space respiration directly. We have not been observers on Earth long enough to witness a transition from contraction to expansion (our present condition). If, however, our understanding of how light behaves in an expanding universe (red-shifted), and how it would behave in a contracting universe (blue-shifted), is correct, the alternating expansion and contraction would appear to have visible consequences we do not observe.

There are two issues with space respiration. The first is again the temperature of the Cosmic Microwave Background light. The UB never says how old the physical universe is. Most readers take it to imply it is older than the 14.8 billion-years cosmologists believe it to be. But even given our age estimates, there would have been seven complete respiration cycles (seven out, seven in, and presently a eighth expansion). It might happen that the universe’s background light is currently at 2.725K (setting aside the consequence of steady-state creation at different times noted above) given a universe that is expanding and contracting in two-billion-year cycles. But remember that the calculated temperature (in 1953 before the CMB was discovered and measured), only four degrees Kelvin off the measured temperature, was based on a model universe expanding continuously for roughly ten billion years. 

Even if we assume the universe expands over-all, each expiration leaving the universe a little bigger than it was when the prior inspiration began (more matter being created over time), it seems extraordinarily coincidental that the measured temperature of the light is very close to the theoretical result of light from a big bang and continuous expansion of 14.8 billion years! That coincidence is problematic.   

The coincidence regarding the background light’s temperature is not the only observational consequence of space respiration. Suppose we take two very similar stars, A and B (same mass, composition, history, and spectrum), both a few billions of light-years distant, but star B is one billion light-years farther from Earth than star A. Both stars exhibit red-shifted light because we are presently in an expiration (expansion) phase of the respiration cycle. But on its journey to Earth, star B’s light experienced an extra period of blue-shift (being one-billion light-years more distant) than star A. When star B’s photons were as far from Earth as star A, B’s light would be a little bluer than it would, had it not traveled that extra billion years during a contraction phase. Compared to A, star B would appear a little bluer than it should (remember they are identical). By our theories, it should be a little redder being one-billion light-years more distant. 

To be clear, star B’s light would still be red-shifted but less red-shifted than star A. When star B’s light, the light we see today, reaches us, its redshift distorts towards the blue. It would appear closer than it is because our theory of light says that “less-red means closer”. Half of the millions of galaxies we see with our telescopes in every direction (roughly those at odd multiples of billion light-year distances from us), would be a little bluer than our cosmological theories predict. From our viewpoint, their cosmological distance would appear closer (less red) than they are. 

Looking outward from Earth, for every two-billion light-year increment, half the stars in every direction would appear closer to us than they should! There would appear to be rings, like tree-rings, extending every other billion light-years outwards for as far as we could see. The rings would be an optical illusion, a mirage, an artifact of the stellar spectrum given our current theories. But given our present ideas, the illusion of such rings would be unavoidable and noticeable to astronomers and cosmologists if space respiration were a fact. But we do not see such rings, an illusion that space respiration, if real, would impose on our viewpoint. Space respiration, like the maltese cross, is a fantasy.


According to the UB everything in the universe, other than Paradise, is rotating. Indeed, every layer of the material creation from Havona outwards, the Grand Universe and the four outer-space levels, rotates in a direction opposite the layers adjacent to it [UB 11:7.9]!

There is nothing in the big bang theory that would impart rotation, angular momentum, to the universe. Most cosmologists do not believe the universe is rotating. Imparted by the big bang, rotation would leave a polarization fingerprint on the background light, the CMB. Cosmologists have looked, but see nothing of this so far. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there. In fact there is recent evidence that rotations around multiple axes is possible (see link), while the UB claims but one axis (the semi-symmetrical axis perpendicular to Paradise). Nothing of what has been seen would suggest opposite rotations at different distances from us. 

Alternate rotation of successive space-level bands would surely be noticed. Between the Grand Universe and the first outer-space level, the additive effect of rotation in opposite directions would have dramatic effects. 

First, within a band, the proportion of galaxies rotating in the direction of band motion would be greater than the differences observed. Between bands, an even greater, alternating, difference would stand out. We would expect more rotation in one direction in nearby space, one-hundred-million light-years, and a billion light-years distant, more in the opposite direction. The small statistical variation in rotation randomness detected (see link above) makes no mention of variation by distance, nor does this earlier paper looking at a single-axis rotation. Second, and much more obviously, all the galaxies in the next outer-band approaching us would exhibit blue-shifted light, while those moving away from us would be more red-shifted than universe expansion could account for. 

Despite some controversy over universe rotation as a whole, there can be little doubt the UB claim of alternating directions-of-rotation cannot be true. By any measure of distance, the lack of systematic difference in the color of light produced by bands of galaxies rotating in opposite directions is an irrefutable falsification of the UB claim.


There are two problems in modern cosmology, dark energy and dark matter,  that are not mentioned directly in the UB, but bear commenting on in relation to what the book does say. Dark energy (say cosmologists) is what pushes space apart yielding the galaxy recession observations made since the 1920s. The UB has space respiration which has problems discussed above. On the side of physics and cosmology, there is the quantum vacuum, which at least (despite controversy) points at a solution to the dark energy problem.

Dark matter is another problem. It arises from our observation that the stars in the outer areas of a rotating galaxy are moving as fast as stars nearer the galactic center. This violates our understanding of how gravity works. Unless that is, there is much more gravity in and around the galaxy than we can measure by adding up all the stars and gas we detect.  “Dark Matter” was proposed (in 1933 by Fritz Zwiky) as a solution to the problem. Think of it as a sort of stand-in for “we do not know what but it has gravity”. 

The UB, tells us about entities, “Master Physical Controllers”, “force organizers”, and “Power Centers” [UB 29 all] whose job might just possibly include making that strange behavior happen, some sub-system of their larger-scale organization. Unlike space-respiration, unless one day dark matter is directly detected, there is nothing to be observed that would permit us to tell the difference between the action of controllers and force organizers or dark matter. 

Dark matter is among the few cosmological problems not directly informed by the cold light of the CMB. But that light does pose an issue for controllers and other entities organizing physical matter as portrayed in the UB. The cold light is a fingerprint, left by the past, on the present distribution of galactic clusters we see throughout the visible (Earth’s “cosmic horizon”) universe. That fingerprint, plus momentum and gravity (including dark matter), all floating on dark energy, explains the present distribution of all the matter in the visible universe. 

Unless the real goal (at least to the fourteen-billion-year stage) of the entities revealed in the UB is the present isotopic and homogeneous distribution we observe, they aren’t doing very much besides turning galaxies into pinwheels. To be sure this is not specifically a problem for UB cosmology as the matter of dark matter lies for the moment beyond our grasp.


In a hierarchy of “big science”, astronomy falls below cosmology. Cosmology is about universe origins and structure over-all. Today, on Earth, cosmology is focused on the background light. Astronomy is about the light of stars, not the background. In this essay, and the UB, the two disciplines cross over in the implications of space respiration and alternate-band-rotation. But those  ideas are found nowhere in modern cosmology or astronomy other than the possibility of some over-all universe rotation, and the notion of a permanent, gravity-driven reversal of expansion into a “big crunch” and new big bang. 

There is a lot of astronomy in the UB, much of it problematic. As with cosmology, the problem is what the UB says conflicts with our observations. Here, I refer to a more “local neighborhood”, hundreds-of-thousands of light-years and up to a few hundreds-of-millions, but not billions.

What exactly corresponds to the superuniverse of Orvonton? Tom Allen has written “The Great Debate on the Scale of Orvonton” addressing this question in a far more thorough and systematic way than I do here. He also makes a point about time. It is quite reasonable to suppose that the book speaks of two different Orvontons, one as it exists now, and the other as it will exist in the far future. The UB does not differentiate between these, but Mr. Allen’s point is worth bearing in mind in the discussion below.

The UB usually implies Orvonton is the “Milky Way Galaxy”, the issue being what counts as the Milky Way? Our superuniverse is about five-hundred-thousand light-years across [UB 32:2.11]. Now introductory astronomy texts will say the spiral arm galaxy we think of as the Milky Way is about one-hundred-thousand light-years across, but that does not include the now-discovered dozens of satellite galaxies orbiting the spiral part. If Orvonton includes all of these, five-hundred-thousand light-years is a fair (possible) estimate.

About two million light-years from the Milky Way is the spiral galaxy Andromeda and its collection of satellites. Is Andromeda another superuniverse? If it is, the fact that our two galaxies and their satellite collections are careening towards one another at thousands of kilometers an hour should be troubling. It will take millions of years for them to collide, but in the UB’s picture, they shouldn’t be drawing closer to one another at all but preceding in an orderly orbital fashion around the central universe! The UB says Andromeda is not yet inhabited [UB 15:4.7]. If anything, to our telescopes, it looks at least as well organized as our own Milky Way. Why should a well organized star cloud so close to us, in particular compared to all other galaxies in our super-cluster, be uninhabited when we, clearly, are not?

There is another curious thing about the Milky Way and Andromeda. There aren’t any other big galaxies anywhere within a few tens-of-millions of light-years. Some hundred randomly scattered smaller galaxies are in this region, our “local galactic cluster”. Beyond the “local cluster”, there are some hundred-thousand other, mostly small, galaxies and other local clusters out to one-hundred-million light-years! This collection, our super-cluster, is not distributed smoothly in its space but looks more like a chaotic three-dimensional ink-blot. It is called Laniakea, and this link is a computer rendering of it.

This region of space, a bubble some hundred million light-years across, looks nothing like the UB’s description of Orvonton, its ten grand divisions [15:3.4, 41:3.10] and so on. If the UB refers to the far future, it isn’t clear about it, especially if astronomers have supposedly identified eight of the ten divisions [UB 15:3.4]. This would have to mean “future Orvonton” and the eight identified divisions the few near-by galactic clusters identified in the 1930s. Some UB readers have seized on the hundred-thousand figure for the number of galaxies in the super-cluster (a rough estimate which could be substantially high or low, we do not know) and suggest that these galaxies are really what the UB calls “local universes”, the domains of individual Creator Sons. What ever part of the superuniverse these entities represent, they will come to look like the UB description in time.

Entertaining this idea for a moment explains the present chaotic distribution of the super-cluster if it can be shown that some order is being imposed. Is Laniakea more organized today than it was a billion or so years ago? We do not know of course, but our limited observation of relative motions does not suggest any ordering pattern and can seemingly be explained purely by gravity. It might also be that the UB is just plain inconsistent! Moreover, the speculation about entities around our galaxy, all the way out to the super-cluster, does not explain why, looking outward, widening our focus beyond a few hundred million light-years to a billion or more, we do not see one or a few super-clusters around us, but thousands of them in all directions. According to the UB, there are empty spaces, bands of lessened activity, in between bands of galactic creation, the “outer space levels” surrounding the Grand Universe [11:7.7]. Our view reveals nothing like this. To be sure we observe gigantic voids, empty space distributed like holes in Swiss cheese, but nowhere laid out in neat concentric circles.


The Great Attractor is not a part of UB cosmology or astronomy. It does, however, illustrate what readers sometimes do with bits of space news in effort to reconcile the UB with observations. Some decades ago, shortly after Laniakea’s discovery, it was also discovered that the entire supercluster was moving together in a definite direction and speed that was not, at that time, explainable. The term “great attractor” (GA) was coined in the early 2000s by Lynden-Bell as a stand-in for whatever it is that is pulling us along, at the time, an unknown gravitational source. Some UB readers speculated that the GA was Havona. I have already noted the effect on our observations that Havona would impose, and in the last few years, the GA has proven explainable after all. 

There are not one but two Laniakea-sized superclusters out ahead of us in our line of flight, one a hundred-million light-years ahead of Laniakea, the other a hundred-million beyond the first. By contrast, behind us, in a direction opposite these two superclusters, there is a void, a bubble of mostly nothing some five-hundred-million light-years wide. Two superclusters lie in one direction, with nothing to counterbalance their gravity in the other. That explains both the direction and speed of our motion. 


If the shape of the universe is the UB’s biggest problem cosmologically speaking, nothing more illustrates the book’s internal inconsistency better than this issue of Orvonton. The UB does not tell us if superuniverses evolve together or if number one somewhat precedes two, and so on down to number seven, Orvonton. Either way we should, from our perspective in Orvonton, see two (at least) other superuniverses, number one out in whatever direction we are moving, and number six on our other side.

If the Milky Way is Orvonton, then Andromeda is a natural candidate for one of the other inhabited superuniverses. But there is nothing comparable to Andromeda on the other side of us, and moreover, the UB explicitly denies Andromeda is inhabited! If Andromeda is not inhabited it cannot be superuniverse one or six. What then of Laniakea, our enormous hundred-million-light-year-spanning supercluster? Surely it is possible there are uninhabited regions of Orvonton, but of the hundred-thousand or so galaxies comprising Laniakea, the two largest and most obviously developed are Andromeda and the Milky Way.

If Laniakea is Orvonton, then there are two other superclusters (Shapley the nearest) out in one direction, but nothing, a gigantic empty void, in the other. If Shapley is superuniverse number one (we are moving in its direction), there is nothing to Laniakea’s opposite side representing number six. Perhaps Orvonton is even bigger than Laniakea? Astronomers have recently mapped a gigantic supercluster, outside Laniakea, that wraps more than half-way around it they call the “south pole wall” (see link). Such speculation can go on forever, but long before we reach the south polar wall we have left Orvonton’s association with the Milky Way far behind. 

No matter what collection (the local cluster, the local sheet, and so on) we suppose might be Orvonton the selection of what would have to be universe numbers one and six would be arbitrary. No matter what we want to call inhabited superuniverses, however we group the galaxies, everything around them would have to be “outer space” and so moving in a direction opposite to our counter-clockwise rotation around Havona. We do not see any such behavior anywhere. The entire Laniakea cluster is moving in roughly the same direction.

The two scales, billions of light-years and hundreds of millions of light-years, are problematic for the UB. Neither should look like it does. Below these scales, in the millions of light-years and less, what the UB says is equally problematic. 

If the Milky Way is Orvonton, even at five-hundred-thousand light-year across, the local universe of Nebadon is only one-hundred-thousandth part of it [UB 15:13.1]. Even were the Milky Way a sphere half a million light-years in diameter, each local universe would have a diameter considerably less than ten-thousand light-years (5.3 thousand by my calculation, but let’s be generous). Inside its volume must be ten-thousand system and one-hundred constellation headquarter collections (100 constellations each with 100 systems) [UB 15:2.4, 15:2.5]. Each system would be only a few hundred light-years across (500 by my calculation see below and note on the calculation at end of essay).

The UB claims that these headquarters worlds are lit by suns that give light but no heat [UB 15:6.3, 15:7.1], but it also says that the people of these worlds can see ordinary stars external to the headquarters. If they can see out, we can see in. Astronomers have mapped every star within a thousand light-years of Earth in every conceivable electromagnetic wavelength from the X-ray to the infrared. If, in the volume encompassed by that radius from Earth, any stars radiate visible light but no infrared, we would surely have noticed. A system-headquarters collection of 50 worlds [UB 15:7.5] with multiple suns, of any sort, only a few hundred light-years distant would stand out.

If the Milky Way is really the local universe, and Laniakea is the superuniverse, the nearest system headquarters could be thousands of light-years distant, and we have not mapped every star out that far. But there is no support for this idea in the UB. The book’s “Milky Way” is bigger than our Milky Way, by a factor between two and five (diameter, not volume and depending on where one draws the satellite boundary), not the two-hundred times required by associating Orvonton with Laniakea! There is only a convenient coincidence, astronomer’s estimates (which could be far off) of about one-hundred-thousand galaxies in Laniakea.

Below the galactic scale, there are, in the UB, many troubling assertions about stars. Astronomers estimate our sun will remain stable for another four or five billion years. The UB says twenty [UB 41:9.5]. This discrepancy is nothing like the all-or-nothing universe morphology problem. If stars act on (or are acted upon) energies we cannot detect (next paragraph), they might well extend the stable life of a star. 

The book says that “ordinary sun(s)” can give out heat and light for trillions of years [UB 15:6.4]. Not only is this in conflict with modern astrophysical theory supported by observation, but it contradicts the twenty-five billion figure in paper 41. To some extent, the contradiction depends on what is meant by “ordinary suns” (see below on red-dwarfs). The book also says that suns, under certain (otherwise unspecified) conditions, transform and accelerate “energies of space which come their way established space circuits” [UB 15:6.4], implying the sun’s heat is being utilized, or augmented, in ways that should impact our observations. If stars, our own and others around us, are so affected by these energies their lifetimes extend by one or two orders of magnitude, our measurements of their light would be inconsistent with our astrophysical theories. 

Astrophysics deals with the physics of stars, what makes them tick. The UB’s brief description of the process is consistent with what was known in the 1920s & 30s and remains true, if over-simplified, today. The UB description includes the special role of carbon in the fusion process [UB 41.8.1], something first proposed (by George Gamow) in 1923. The first sentence of this paragraph is put interestingly: “In those suns which are circuited in the space-energy channels, solar energy is liberated by various complex nuclear-reaction chains, the most common of which is the hydrogen-carbon-helium reaction.” 

Gamow won a Nobel prize in physics for his discovery of this process. All-stars, at least all-stars very roughly similar to our sun, undergo the same carbon-catalytic reaction. Perhaps all those we see are circuited, but more problematic, the parameters of our equations and their theoretical results exactly match our observations of stellar behavior without having to account for gaps where contributions from “space-energy channels” had any impact. If undetectable energies were affecting solar output, the stellar spectrum should not be what our equations predict, and we observe. 

There is no astrophysical evidence that any of the tens of thousands of stars we’ve examined and cataloged are affected by anything other than their gravity, pressure, temperature, and metal content reflected in their spectrum. The first three determine the rate of hydrogen fusion, while the metals content, in conjunction with ongoing gravitational contraction [UB 41:8.2], determine what happens after the hydrogen supply is nearly exhausted. Our sun, says the UB, will undergo a period of stable decline as long as it’s present middle age and youth combined, a total of over fifty billion years [UB 41:9.5]. Do encircuited suns decline? If so, is encircuitment the difference between the UB’s fifty-billion-year stable life and decline, and the more disconcerting six-to-eight billion-years before, in the estimate of astrophysicists, our declining sun becomes a red giant and swallows the orbits the inner planets? The UB tells us that some suns go on forever [UB 41:7.7].  

Modern astronomy does recognize that the most common stars in the universe (perhaps half of all-stars) are red-dwarfs and some astronomers believe such stars might shine for a trillion years (a hundred-billion being a more commonly cited figure) given only the hydrogen with which they begin their lives. Still, the red-dwarfs we observe and have cataloged match our theoretical predictions, again having nothing to do with unknown “energies of space”. They appear to use their fuel as we would expect, given their mass,  temperature, and so on. 

We also know that such suns are electromagnetic nightmares not suitable for biological evolution as we imagine that process. But what the UB considers habitable and what present science thinks are “habitable limits” are very different (see UB paper 49). Unlike the stars, galaxies, and universe shape, neither our concept of life nor our extrasolar planetary astronomy is up to the task of comparing what we observe to what the UB says is the case. Holding judgment in abeyance, however, is not simply to accept the UB. Like the “Maltese Cross”, space respiration, and alternate-rotations, we have to assume that God (and his agents) could foster such radical living forms. All the same, worlds without atmosphere [UB 49:6] hosting living beings may be as much a fantasy as the other three problematic claims noted above.  


There are issues with UB “space science” at every level, and the problems get worse as one goes up in scale. Whether our sun is stable for six billion or twenty-five-billion more years is immaterial to our short lives on Earth. The superuniverse problem is a little worse. If a seraphic transport can travel three times light speed [UB 23:3.2] and spiritually advanced mortals awaken three periods (Earth days?) after death [UB 49:6.8], then the system headquarters can be, at most, three light-days distant (this conundrum well noted by readers fifty years ago). Given that our nearest stellar neighbor is four light-years away, I should not have to explain why there can be nothing as significant as a system headquarters (fifty worlds and some number of suns) so close to us.

Other calculations produce similarly problematic results. There are one-billion systems in Orvonton (100,000 LU x 10,000 systems/LU). Even if we assume Orvonton is a sphere (very generous) with a radius of two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand light-years, the average radius of each system could be no more than two-hundred-and-fifty light-years (see note at the end of the essay on this calculation). Although out of reach for a three-day trip at triple-light-speed, that distance is close enough for us to detect a collection of so many worlds and suns.

Moving up the galaxy scale to supercluster, the conflict between the UB and present astronomical data gets worse. George Park is one of the “UB astronomers” who introduced the idea that Orvonton is the Laniakea supercluster spanning nearly one-hundred-million light-years, ignoring the UB’s plain statement of Orvonton’s size (500,000 light-years). John Causland also has a presentation on “UB Astronomy”, which he introduces by noting that the book’s claims do not match modern observations, but, he says, if we look at what is said in the context of 1920s cosmology, the book makes sense. That isn’t quite true. Even in the 1930s astronomers understood enough about the physics of light, and telescopes were powerful enough, to reject UB claims about space respiration and alternate-rotations if astronomers had become aware of them. Back in those days, the book’s assertions about planets, suns, and even the Milky Way, plausible-seeming for the average educated reader, would be rejected by real astronomers. In particular (and especially), the “maltese cross”, the idea of a bilaterally-symmetrical universe, is not to be found in the cosmological literature of any period. 

Acknowledging the “times of the writing”, however, does not address the bigger problem: modern observations at both astronomical and cosmological scales make much of what the UB claims is the case not merely implausible, but impossible! There is nothing about Laniakea that looks like the UB’s description of a more-or-less orderly super-universe, and as we pan out to a view billions of light-years across, the universe seems nothing like what the UB describes! Not only are there millions of superclusters in every direction, but there isn’t the slightest evidence of a massive gravitational center in any direction! 

UB theology is centered on God, who is spirit. But God himself resides on Paradise, which has to be the center of the physical universe! In the time-space realms, the UB informs us, spiritual beings live on physical worlds [12:8.1]. We cannot elide the headquarters location problem by suggesting that collections of architectural worlds (and in particular their suns) cannot be detected with our physical instruments. Where are they? Moving up in scale, we have the problem of reconciling the UB picture with an isotropic and centerless universe originating in a big bang and now cooled down for near fifteen-billion years. 

Our theories of the big bang well describe everything we observe in the physical cosmos given an age of fifteen-billion years. All the present controversy surrounding the big bang is about what happens in its first three seconds! Three seconds marks the time of nucleosynthesis, the formation of protons and neutrons, nuclei of hydrogen, helium, and a little lithium, from the quark and radiation soup. Despite many unknowns, the structure of the present universe we see follows comfortably from our theories beginning with nucleosynthesis! To suggest that all our evidence-based conclusions are an illusion is not credible, revelatory claims notwithstanding.

These cosmological and astronomical issues do not render post-mortal survival and ascension impossible. The UB’s God certainly has the power to arrange for survival and ascension into and through the universe as we perceive it, not to mention creation via a big bang. If the revelators could forecast our scientific progress for the next thousand years (their record is terrible less than 100 years out), why make up this fantasy universe architecture, and why say so much about cosmology and astronomy that today, only 66 years after publication, is so obviously false? If the revelators were not permitted to reveal the big bang, why make up a fantasy? Why not merely tell us about the soul, post-mortal personality reconstitution, the general nature of descendent personalities, and so on without embedding the descriptions in a fantasy universe? 

My theory is that it all has something to do with drama. One purpose of the book’s ascension story is to drive home the truth that perfection in God’s terms is a long educational process. If the revelators merely described the survival mechanism without a physical stage on which all plays out (not to mention many now-unlikely-to-be-true statements about the physical and biological history of Earth — a subject for another paper), the UB would be half its size. Readers would come away with little in the way of appreciation for the scope and complexity of the process. In short, the authors created a fantasy universe to emphasize the drama and adventure of the ascension. The purpose of the fantasy universe is literary! 

______ A few notes ______ 

NOTE: Evidence for the Big Bang

  1. Assuming the big bang, the temperature of the “first light” (photons) in the universe (the Cosmic Microwave Background [CMB]) was calculated in the early 1950s (by Russian physicist George Gamow) and found, in 1965 to be within four degrees (Kelvin) of its predicted value. Importantly this radiation is identical (down to ten-thousandths of a degree) in every direction we look, impossible if UB cosmology were true.
  2. Assuming the big bang, physicists (in the 1970s) realized there must be a background neutrino temperature a little cooler than the background photon temperature. This difference is due to the universe becoming transparent to neutrinos three seconds after the big bang, while photons are not liberated from the radiation for three-hundred-seventy thousand years (see the “recombination event”). The neutrino background temperature was measured in 2010 and found to be one-one-hundredth of a degree off its predicted value. 
  3. Assuming the big bang, the pressure of the early universe would cause compression waves to bounce around through the initially very dense and hot universe; literally reflecting off the limits of the universe at that time. Sound is a compression wave, and this prediction means that the expanding universe would have “rung like a bell” for a period. As the universe expanded, the wavelength of these echoes lengthens their frequency drops. Eventually (at recombination, see link above), the density of the expanding universe drops below the value required to support compression waves leaving a frozen wave, a small density gradient in the distribution of matter reflected in the microwave background. Cosmologists predicted the frequency and amplitude of this frozen wave (and its first few harmonics) in the late 20th Century. In the first decade of the 21st Century cosmologists measured both to be exactly what was predicted (see “The Music of the Big Bang” [2010] by Amadeo Balbi, and these links [graph], [article]).
  4. When instruments became sensitive enough, cosmologists found tiny differences (ten-thousandths of a degree) in the CMB. The big bang theory says these small differences, mapped accurately enough, should predict the present distribution of galaxies (the slightly cooler spots being where galactic clusters would form). Such accurate mapping was achieved in the 2010s, and the map does indeed predict precisely where galactic clusters are found today. 
  5. The distribution of stars, their color and size, along with our calculations of stellar life well matches (it is what we would expect to find) a roughly fifteen-billion-year-old universe!

Item (1) above was the first evidence of the big bang. Items (2-4) would be extraordinarily coincidental if the big bang is not real.

NOTE: Calculation of System (for example Satania) radius. Assume Orvonton is a sphere of radius 250,000ly

  1. Find cubic light-years in Orvonton (radius of 250,000ly) Pi(2.5x10e5)e3 = 4.9x10e16 = culyOrv
  2. Find the cubic light-years in a system. There are 1 billion systems in Orvonton (100.000 local universes times 100 constellations times 100 systems (4.9x10e16/1x10e9) = 4.9x10e7 culySys
  3. Find radius cubed of system (culySys/Pi) = 15,605,095 
  4. Take cube root of radius-cubed for radius = 249.9 light-years!


35 thoughts on “Problems with the Cosmology and Astronomy of The Urantia Book

  1. I think it is interesting that your calculation of 249.9ly for system radius can be divided by the maximum speed of seraphic transport (3c) to yield 83.3 years – the exact span of planetary time between the arrival of the Material Son and Daughter and the beginning of construction of their vast Garden Home. (73.2.2 page 822).

    Interesting because Van would probably not have urged his fellows to undertake that gigantic project before receiving confirmation that the Material Pair had been assigned to Urantia (or had departed Jerusem).

    This squares with the teaching that Urantia is on the outer fringe of the system, there being only one inhabited solar system lying at a greater distance from the capital than our own (41.10.6).


    1. Hi John.. Thank you for the comment. Surprised you found this. I’m having a lot of problems with WordPress new software interface. Trying to work with their support. Meanwhile to your comment. Van knew a material pair would be next (however long it required) and he was effectively immortal along with Amadon. That [immortality] would be enough to convince human followers of his (their) “specialness” and so motivate them to do that work generation after generation. I do not understand your timing claim however… The “legitimacy” of the rebellion was debated for 7 years (paper 67). Between the rebellion and the arrival of A&E was over 150,000 years. For some HQ to communicate to Van (on a then isolated world for that matter) only 83 days after the rebellion seems a stretch. If I’m not mistaken just such a message was blocked for thousands of years (67:6.9).


  2. Well I wrote 83.3 years, not days.

    And I was writing about seraphic transport travel-times, not communications.

    And this has nothing to do with the rebellion, but with the period c.36000 BC, (shortly after Tabamantia’s visit and his subsequent approval of the planet for reception of a material pair).

    Garden construction had been underway for about 83 years when the pair arrived. I was suggesting that, by your calculations, it would take the transports about 83 years to bring the pair to Urantia at 3Xspeed of light. I was suggesting that the narrative corroborates your calculation.

    Your response has me wondering about my ability to convey any thought whatsoever.


    1. I missed that “years” sorry… But still, while a handy coincidence, that just reemphasizes other issues like how anybody can wake up in “three periods”, which we all take to be days, but I realize doesn’t have to be… Still, 83 years is three of what? I appreciate your comments. Have you seen the book by Tom Allen “The Great Debate on the Size of Orvonton”? The e-book is only $0.99 on amazon. Short little book. I’m reading it now.


      1. I wrote “3c” as shorthand for 3 times the speed of light (sorry) – that is the maximum speed of seraphic transport according to the Urantia Book.

        83 years is the time necessary to traverse your own estimated system radius of 249.9ly at max serpahic velocity (“3c”). (249.9/3=83.3).

        “Handy coincidence?” “Other issues?” But I see no reason to bring up the so-called “three periods,” which relate to adjuster velocities (and have nothing to do with “earth days,” in my opinion). Certainly there is no reason to mention it in a discussion of seraphic travel time between a system capital and an outer planet.

        I am getting no sense that I have made myself clear to you, nor have I any reason to believe that you have bothered to understand me in the context of my citations of the UB. This is frustrating. I feel like I am speaking a language other than English with you lol. Never mind. This happens too often with me lol. Anyway it’s just a “pet” theory of mine.


      2. I do not know why you should be frustrated. I am not arguing with you. I know 3c no issue there. I’m sure you know there has been an ongoing debate over what exactly is Orvonton (have you read Tom Allen’s fine little book, I am reading it now). My figure for radius of system based on a single assumption, that Orvonton is a sphere 500kly in diameter thus including all the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies! That is a reasonable assumption based on the UB, but not the only possible one. None of this addresses the 3-day problem


  3. Do you leave room for the concept that the term “universe” is being misunderstood here? There’s a fundamental, and potentially flawed, assumption being made here which is that the observable universe is the entirety of the universe described in UB. It stands to reason, especially considering the morontia existence as explained, that our observable universe is merely one physical existence of many with the real “universe” existing outside the scope of our direct observation. It can both be true that the big bang is our best understanding of how the physical universe began, and that this big bang is not the beginning of all creation — merely the beginning of the physical creation of this specific physical universe.


    1. Yes, I get it.. In fact I began a paper with that idea in mind, but in the end could not make it sensible (to myself and I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer). I have 2 problems with the idea. 1) the UB statement of steady-state creation would be contradicted by such phenomena (we would not likely be the only part of the universe born this way). 2) if your idea were so our universe would be much much bigger than the UB describes. We are told of 70,000 galaxies in the first outer space level, and that whatever is going on beyond that is not yet manifest as visible entities.. Yet as Earth astronomers look out [in any direction] we see millions, if not billions, of galaxies. How can this be so if we are seeing only a small part of the Master Universe?


      1. I agree, that is possibly going against observations. However, I once considered an interesting theory before my time with the UB that considered the idea that, perhaps, the edge of what in this case would be “our” observable universe is essentially reflective. Thus, like a hall of mirrors, one could have 70,000 galaxies and to our observation it would appear to be billions or trillions more — each essentially a reflection of a past state of the 70,000. There is some interest to this theory, because as the UB points out there is vast quantities of space “undeveloped”… Thus, light traveling across that undeveloped space may take an incredibly long amount of time to both cross the void to hit the edge and reflect back to something we can observe — giving the impression of a vastly more populated universe of unique galaxies from a relatively small concrete number of them. In reality, we would simply be seeing one of the 70,000 galaxies at an ancient state.


  4. Aloha Quine Atal

    here is a comment I made today on the Facebook group ‘Urantia’

    ‘Aloha Peter
    from what I understand of relativity as one approaches the speed of light time stops
    this implies that at faster than light travel ‘relative’ time would go backward
    thus a seraphim at three times light speed could arrive at a distant point ‘B’ before the departure from ‘A’, the point of origin, relatively speaking, this is NOT time travel as the destination is a different location with a different time frame
    thus the proverbial third day [wink]
    16:9.14 We worship God, first, because he is, then, because he is in us, and last, because we are in him.
    Jesus in me loves Jesus in you — “Be of good cheer.” (100:7.9) — [in other words] — smile’

    further replies by me [quotes from google searches]

    “In the limit that its speed approaches the speed of light in vacuum, its space shortens completely down to zero width and its time slows down to a dead stop.”

    “A tachyon (/ˈtækiɒn/) or tachyonic particle is a hypothetical particle that always travels faster than light. … Tachyons would also exhibit the unusual property of increasing in speed as their energy decreases, and would require infinite energy to slow down to the speed of light.
    Can Tachyons go back in time?
    The answer lies in tachyons. These are particles with imaginary mass that can be thought of as traveling backwards in time. They move faster than light, and slowing down to the speed of light would be as impossible for them as it is for us to accelerate to light speed.”


    1. It has always been curious to me that revelatory even mentioned these speeds and days, etc. The light-speed restriction applies only to *material* objects.. Since angels and ascenders, etc are not material by our standards, the restriction should not apply..

      I love tachyons. Alas, they are hypothetical and so far no evidence they exist.


      1. Aloha Quine Atal

        I wrote this reply to a similar objection on the Urantia Facebook group:


        Aloha Peter
        material phenomenon or not how can you show that transport seraphim are not affected by the reversal of time relative to their superluminal velocity??
        the transport seraphim have “friction shields” therefore they react to matter therefore the realities of relativity of time apply to them
        39:5.12 (438.5) The erroneous idea that angels possess wings is not wholly due to olden notions that they must have wings to fly through the air. Human beings have sometimes been permitted to observe seraphim that were being prepared for transport service, and the traditions of these experiences have largely determined the Urantian concept of angels. In observing a transport seraphim being made ready to receive a passenger for interplanetary transit, there may be seen what are apparently double sets of wings extending from the head to the foot of the angel. In reality these wings are energy insulators—friction shields.
        matter and energy are interrelated
        morontia matter has relativity to morontia energy
        0:5.12 (9.2) Morontia is a term designating a vast level intervening between the material and the spiritual. It may designate personal or impersonal realities, living or nonliving energies. The warp of morontia is spiritual; its woof is physical.


        also I believe that the Papers references to cosmology are allegorical, that is a story told to illustrate a higher truth this confirmed by the disclaimer “the Limitations of Revelation” tho this section claims the authoritative elimination of error attributed to past revelations cosmology I believe this relates to things like a flat earth or the sun stopping in the sky or a 6 day creation

        16:9.14 We worship God, first, because he is, then, because he is in us, and last, because we are in him.
        Jesus in me loves Jesus in you — “Be of good cheer.” (100:7.9) — [in other words] — smile


      2. Hello Dennis.. Been a long time. Interesting speculation morontia-energy -> morontia-relativity. Coupled with time-reversal would always solve the 3-day-problem. But nowhere does the UB suggest that time can be or is ever reversed. You know what they say about speculation. Even in physical relativity time reversal only happens when a material object goes *faster* than light, and that is ruled out (as a physical possibility) by the same relativity.

        I am curious what you mean by UB cosmology being allegorical? Perhaps you meant metaphorical? If not, could you spell out the allegory?

        But transport speed aside, my feeling is that the cosmology, astronomy, and a large part of the biology (maybe another paper) are now so out of sync with what has been discovered since 1955 that much of it was invented whole cloth for the purpose of laying a foundation for the ascension story (or human history for the biology) and has little relation to any facts-of-the-matter except as concerns minor details (known at the time) thrown into the story to give it a scientific-seeming foundation.


  5. Aloha Quine Atal

    you write “But nowhere does the UB suggest that time can be or is ever reversed. ”

    it is no more the reversal of time than is that of one flying East across a few time zones that one does not reverse time when one gets on a 5 hour flight and gets off at a local time only 2 hours later than the time one boarded the Plane

    the universe is measured in light years with the oldest light ~13 billion years old

    in our current time frame we view light that is sometimes very very old light viewing both distance and the past simultaneously

    If one leaves point A, having its own specific time frame, and travels to point B, with its own specific time frame, at faster than light speed, IF relativity applies, then one could arrive at B at a different earlier time frame than the current time frame at point A

    the time that point A experiences is a NOW moment

    therefor when we view galaxies a billion light years distant there in that time frame there was also a NOW moment, supposing some intelligence was aware of its passage; by exceeding the speed at which that light arrived in a reverse time direction must arrive at an earlier time than the observed
    light arrived was generated

    you ask : “I am curious what you mean by UB cosmology being allegorical? Perhaps you meant metaphorical? If not, could you spell out the allegory?”

    I mean allegorical, a story within a story; the Papers cosmology tells a higher truth that the universe is deliberative/purposeful; inhabited; governed; evolving; loving; spiritual; while telling the story of a physical reality which does not conform to our own due to the mandate limiting revelation

    16:9.14 We worship God, first, because he is, then, because he is in us, and last, because we are in him.

    Jesus in me loves Jesus in you — “Be of good cheer.” (100:7.9) — [in other words] — smile


    1. Hi Dennis… I think you mean flying WEST, but your solution is too ad hoc for my taste. Given everything else, it just makes more sense to say (IMHO) that about these matters resting on “not inspired” cosmology, the UB is not only wrong but inconsistent and contradictory. There is no point arguing about where Satania can be found if the book is inconsistent about the boundaries of Orvonton (now or in the future), and it makes no sense to argue about the boundaries of Orvonton if the bilaterally-symmetrical universe with a center having “mass greater than the Grand Universe combined” is a fiction. The next problem “up the chain” as it were, is the ascension scheme. As pointed out in the article, a fictional physical cosmology does not preclude ascension. But it does make that part of the story allegorical.

      As for all the rest of the UB (except some of the human-history story suffering from analogous problems) I remain convinced that there is revelatory material in it. I’ve read lots of human theology and except on the matter of the phenomenal experience of God (for example Buber’s “I and Thou”), there is no human-authored theology or philosophy of religion (and I have read dozens) that even comes close to the UB. To my mind that has to mean something too.


      1. Aloha Quine Atal

        I live in Hawaii to the East is CA

        there is a 2 or 3 hour time zone difference depending on whether or not it is daylight savings as Hawaii does not use daylight savings no spring forward fall back,

        if I were to fly for 5 hours east to CA during daylight savings when I departed the plane it would only be 2 hours later in CA than the time I took off in Hawaii, I have experienced this many times

        I agree the cosmology is wrong but the spiritual [revelatory] content of the Papers is illuminating

        16:9.14 We worship God, first, because he is, then, because he is in us, and last, because we are in him.

        Jesus in me loves Jesus in you — “Be of good cheer.” (100:7.9) — [in other words] — smile


  6. I read the article and the comments. Fascinating! I am not an expert, however I am interested in all cosmology and reading the UB for many years. Why then the false cosmology? It shakes me to the core. I am not a science head so i take your analysis at its face value.


    1. Thank you for your comment Doina. A reader of the UB since 1976 I am not a professional cosmologist, but I’ve been reading cosmology for years, and since the 2000s, with the advent of neutrino and gravitational wave astronomy, it has become (in my opinion) impossible to deny (or refute) the broad outlines of modern cosmology (the Big Bang for example) which utterly contradict the UB on the subject.

      As for your question, why the false cosmology, I have no good answer.


  7. When has our species ever properly understood what we perceived of cosmology in the past? — If never, then why should we assume that we properly understand what we perceive of cosmology now, even though we have better telescopes and more advanced physics and mathematics?


    1. Better telescopes (and now neutrino and gravitational wave detection) and the physics *are* the reasons we can assume we have a much better idea of what is going on now than we did in the past. Many *independent* lines of evidence cannot be ignored


  8. You painstakingly demonstrated how unreliable the cosmology in the Urantia papers is, only to wave it away in such an absurd manner. Dramatic effect?

    The papers are inconsistent with empirical data on esoteric matters as well, as any minimally practiced occultist or mystic can attest to.

    Why make unfounded excuses for them? It’s a beautiful book, but it’s not Truth.


  9. Interesting read Matthew. I have myself been perplexed by some of the science in the UB. I began doing astrophotography several months ago (it’s complicated!) and am particularly disturbed by the UB’s assertion that the Andromeda galaxy is about a million LY from earth. This figure is wrong, four different scientific ways of measuring distance have concluded that Andromeda is about 2.57 LY from earth. Is it just a typo or mistake? Why would the authors say that they cannot give us “unearned knowledge”, when the vast amount of material in the UB is in fact “unearned knowledge”, i.e. the mansion worlds, the thought-adjuster, the daily whereabouts of Jesus, etc. etc. Hmm, a lot to consider.

    I hope you are well, have a happy new year!

    p.s. Here’s my first photo of the Andromeda galaxy, taken from my backyard:



    1. Hi Jerry! Your camera is amazing! Beautiful picture!
      Yeah there are a lot of problems with the UB picture of the universe. The last time we met (at Conde’s) I told you I can no longer unqualifiedly recommend the UB to a scientifically educated person.


      1. Hi Quine,

        Nice to hear from you again.

        Well, I haven’t made any decisions about that, the UB continues to be an enigma, a mystery and a perplexing literary work, all rolled into one.

        As soon as my inner skeptic asserts itself, something else in the UB causes me to “doubt the doubter” in myself. Even regards to some of the science in the book, for example plate tectonics and the origin of the myth of the star of Bethlehem. I ran a simulation this evening on my astronomy software and sure enough there was a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on May 29, September 29 and December 5 in the year 6 BC in the constellation of Pisces. The discrepancy is that the UB says these conjunctions occurred in the year 7 BC; but this might be because there’s probably some confusion as to how to deal with year 0 AD, or is it 1 AD?

        Some of the science in the UB has proven to be wrong (like the distance to Andromeda) but some have been proven correct, and future scientific discoveries may change that relationship as well.

        No doubt the UB is fallible–anything we humans have involvement with has to be.

        Perhaps faith in God and divine realities and faith in the UB are not exactly synonymous…


      2. Hi Jerry.. I think the theology is the revelation. Mixed in is a lot of passable science related to what was known by the late 40s (plates were suspected by then). It’s not all bad…


      3. I wonder if Matthew is right, that the revelators threw in the science to create literary drama?

        Or did they include the science knowing that the 20th century (and beyond) mind was sufficiently sophisticated that they were perhaps “trying too hard” to impress upon us the need to remove superstition from true religion? I don’t know of course.

        I agree, the UB is primarily, first and foremost, a tool for personal, spiritual and moral growth. For me, it’s a map, a guide, a set of ideas that motivate me to change, evolve and become self-aware to the limits of my capacity. Science is always in a state of revision and change, perhaps in the future we will see more congruence between science and the UB, or, perhaps not.

        There are also a lot of problems with our current scientific understanding of the universe. It was only 100 years ago that we were arguing about whether the Andromeda galxy was a nebula inside the Milky Way or whether it was a separate galaxy. I wonder what science will be like in 100 years from now when they look back on everything it got wrong today?


    2. Hi Jerry.. There are lots of problems with the UB’s picture of the universe. The last time we met (Conde’s) I told you I can’t unqualifiedly recommend the UB to a scientifically educated person. That’s why.


      1. The UB is not a science book. Its spiritual content is far more important–and more unique– than any other source on earth. As I think, re-think and re-re-think about it, it’s most likely that the revelators gave us “unearned knowledge” regarding spiritual matters (the adjuster, the mansion worlds, paradise, the origins of Urantia, the myriad of celestial beings that inhabit the cosmos, etc.) simply because we will never “earn” this knowledge through science or through the scientific method. The UB does say that much of the science in the book will be outdated-and soon, by new human discoveries. In some cases it’s possible that the UB will predict discoveries that science has yet to make. But this is not the essence of this book, its essence is to aid in the spiritual evolution of humankind.

        I personally would recommend the UB to scientifically-educated people because our evolution, both culturally and individually, does not depend upon merely knowing data, facts and truths about the physical universe, but equally upon our living ethical, moral, and spiritual lives–living with love and practicing kindness, fairness, patience and mercy. A scientist needs to learn that as much as a non-scientist.


      2. You are right about the UB and in this paper I list the core of the spiritual teachings (besides the Jesus papers), papers 1-10 and 99-118. But there is much more scattered around. The scientifically educated must be warned about this or they will reach the cosmology and throw the book out. That’s the problem… But things are more complicated that that. The cosmology is not just a little wrong it’s self-contradictory–what it says about Orvonton and Andromeda given what our part of the cosmos from the local cluster up to the super cluster looks like. Why, we must ask, would genuine revelators contradict themselves.

        Marvelous as the spiritual teachings are (and I agree they are) these issues have no ready solution


  10. Hi Quine,

    Is the UB science contradictory, or is it we humans that are contradictory? I don’t ask this rhetorically because I am not sure. I do know that science is, and will, continue to change and evolve, whereas the UB will not.

    I’ve struggled for years trying to understand whether Orvonton and the Milky Way or synonymous. One UB reader I spoke to (not a scientist or astronomer) said “of course they’re the same, the UB says so”. But it’s really not clear. And it’s not clear if a local universe is the same thing as a part of the galaxy, whether it’s an entire galaxy or whether it’s a local group of galaxies. We can have strong opinions either way, but strong opinions do not necessarily equal fact.

    Early humans thought the earth was flat because the horizon appears to be so. In the 11th century, many people believed the sun revolves around the earth–because it appears to do that. So, how do we know that due to our location within the galaxy, that we’re miscalculating many things as well? How can we be sure that what appears to be so isn’t really so?

    We know the blackbody radiation, the redshift and the expansion of the cosmos are congruent with all of our observations and measurements, the evidence is there. But from that evidence we created the “big-bang theory”, which, of course, is only a theory. We do not have evidence for the origins of the cosmos, we have evidence for the redshift, the expansion and the blackbody radiation. So we interpret that evidence and come up with a theory. But it may very well be wrong.

    Today in our study group we started reading paper 57 that states that the earliest origins of the nebula from which our sun was born began 987 billion years ago when it was determined that a star-producing nebula would be suitable to create at that location in space. Do you think our science will ever be able to prove that statement true or false? 987 billion is a far cry from 15 or 16 billion, which in itself is being challenged by what the JWST is now seeing. Many astrophysicists are expressing various degrees of misgivings about the big bang theory and I would not be surprised if these doubts grow larger with every passing decade.

    If a scientist dismisses the science in the UB because much, or some of it, doesn’t jive with current scientific knowledge it may be simply what the revelators told us, which is that the science in the UB corresponds to human scientific knowledge around the time the UB was being transmitted and/or published. The UB says that the science in it is not inspired and will become outdated as scientists learn more and have better tools to study the cosmos with.

    The UB is fallible, simply because anything human beings are involved with is fallible. But rather than torture myself over the perceived problems of the science in the UB I tend to focus on the profound spirituality that the book inspires. A book that helps move us towards a personal philosophy that embraces moral, emotional, spiritual and intellectual growth is welcome. A book that tells us that religion must free itself from superstition, dogma, misogyny, nationalism, materialism, sexism, racism and the practice of war is a book I wholeheartedly endorse. God knows our planet is suffering from all of these things as we are temporarily moving backwards in too many ways to count.

    A lot of food for though here. I have more questions than answers…



    1. There are a lot of observations yet to be explained. JWST images are triggering a lot of rethinking but nothing brings over-all observations closer to the UB’s picture–for example that on largest scales the cosmos looks the same in every direction, flatly contradicting the UB picture.

      Really tho I’m with you, the “science” parts are not so important. I wrote this essay because I was tired of reading UB fundamentalists trying to rationalize the discrepancies. It’s better (IMHO) to recognize there is a problem (with the UB) and let it go at that.


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