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From Jesus To Christ, GA# 131
10 Lectures in Karlsruhe, October 1911
Published by Anthroposophic Press in 1973
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2003
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In this series of lectures Steiner says he wishes: 1) to give us an "idea of the Christ-Event in so far as it is connected with the historical appearance of the Christ in the person of Jesus of Nazareth" and 2) to "make a wide survey of the realm of Spiritual Science and its mission."
Steiner tells us of a triad in each of us that is composed of what is known and unknown in nature, and from this he derives the triad of the Trinity as it springs from our own humanity.
[page 15] So in the world wherein we live we must distinguish a triad: our conscious spiritual life; our subconscious soul-life below the threshold of consciousness; and that which, as the unknown in nature and at the same time in man, lives in us as part of the great unknown Nature.
Can you see the Trinity in the above? If not, read on:
[page 15] Man gives the name of Spirit to all that can be known within the horizon of the conscious. He designates as the Son or the Logos that which works in the subconscious and throws up only its waves from down below. And to that which belongs equally to the unknown in Nature, and to the part of our own being which is of one kind with Nature, the name of the Father-Principle has always been given, because it was felt to express the relation of the third principle with the other two.
In the centuries leading up to Steiner's work, spiritual development in Europe was characterized by two intense ideologies: Jesuitism and Rosicrucianism.
[page 12] In Jesuitism we encounter a dangerous exaggeration of the Jesus-Principle. In the other movement, which for centuries has existed in Europe as Rosicrucianism, we have inward Christ-movement which above all seeks carefully for the ways of truth.
Suddenly we see a new meaning to the book's title. From Jesus to Christ could also mean from Jesuitism to Rosicrucianism; from the Jesus-Principle to the Christ-Movement. First consider Jesuitism, which Steiner says gives us "a one-sided exaggeration to the Jesus-Principle" and intends to "work directly upon the will."
[page 22] Jesuitism is not to be taken lightly, or merely exoterically, but also esoterically, for it is rooted in esotericism. It is not, however, rooted in the spiritual life that is poured out through the symbol of Pentecost, but it seeks to root itself directly in the Jesus-element of the Son, which means in the Will; and thereby it exaggerates the Jesus-element of the Will. . . . the pupil has first to call up a vivid Imagination of Christ Jesus as the King of the Worlds.
In the Rosicrucianism of Steiner's time and earlier, not necessarily the American Rosicrucianism popularized by Max Heindel who used Steiner for much of his source material, Steiner found a balance between the Son and the Spirit principles.
[page 21, 22] In Rosicrucianism, therefore, we can observe in the highest sense that impulse of Christianity which finds two fold-expression: on the one hand the Son-element, in the Christ-working which goes down deeply into the subconsciousness; on the other, in the Spirit-working which embraces all that falls within the horizon of our consciousness. We must indeed bear the Christ in our Will; but the way in which men should come to an understanding with each other in life concerning the Christ can be found only — in the Rosicrucian sense — through a conscious soul-life which penetrates ever more deeply into the occult.
If the distinction is still not clear, think of the Jesuits as proceeding from the Gospel to the spiritual world, and the Rosicrucians as proceeding from the spiritual world to the Gospel.
[page 43] In the Jesuit spiritual movement the pupil had the Gospels given to him first, and afterwards he experienced what the Gospels describe. The way we have indicated to-day [Rosicrucianism] shows that when a man has taken the path of the spiritual life, he experiences occultly that which is connected with this own life, and thereby can experience through himself the pictures, the Imaginations, of the Gospels.
If Steiner's work was used without permission or credit to create one form of Rosicrucianism, then one may well wonder what the connection is between that field of spiritual inquiry and what Steiner calls spiritual science or anthroposophy.
[page 29] We are no longer standing where the Rosicrucians stood in the thirteenth century and on through the following centuries, for we take into account the progress of the human soul. Hence the way indicated in my book, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, as the way best adapted for gaining access to the Higher Worlds must not without further explanation be equated with what may be called the Rosicrucian way. Through our movement we can penetrate into true Rosicrucianism, but our movement extends over a far wider domain, for it embraces the whole of Theosophy; hence it should not be labelled Rosicrucian. Our movement must be described simply as the spiritual science of to-day, the anthroposophical spiritual science of the twentieth century.
Steiner tells us that "everything that the thought-forms of the last century [19th)] have brought in, must come finally to a recognition of karma and reincarnation." He quotes Lessing as saying that in the Old Testament, "God gave into men's hands a first elementary book." I remember my first elementary book, "Fun With Dick and Jane," and those immortal words for six-year-old me, "See Spot run." Obviously I graduated to more difficult books as I matured. Is it so hard to imagine that humanity has graduated to more difficult books as humanity has matured? With each century we reach a new level of evolution, and what formerly was difficult becomes simpler, and what new things we encounter are difficult.
Buddhism teaches reincarnation, but it involves an evolution of the individual through successive incarnations until finally the individual is freed from the cycle of reincarnation. In Steiner's view, the individual contributes in each incarnation to the evolution of humanity as a whole. This idea was also put forth by Lessing and Steiner summarizes it below:
[page 33] If a soul was incarnated at the time of the Old Testament, it took into itself whatever it could take; when it reappears in a later time it carries the fruits of its previous life into the next life, and the fruits of that life into the one following, and so on. Thus the successive stages of evolution are interlocked. And whatever a soul achieves is achieved not only for itself, but for all mankind. Humanity is a great organism, and for Lessing reincarnation is necessary in order that the whole human race can progress. Thus it is historical evolution, the concern of humanity as a whole, that he takes as his starting-point, and from there he is impelled to a recognition of reincarnation.
Lessing's ideas, while important, are scholarly and intellectual and thus not easily accessible to the average person. What should we each do? Where should we start? Steiner suggests that "we should first permeate ourselves, at least tentatively, with the idea of karma," so that we may each come to be able to say, "in the long run I myself am to blame for my impulses." (Page 36)
[page 37] Those who have some experience in this field will always be able to testify that by accepting the blame for their own non-success, they have found something that makes precisely their external life easy and bearable.
After death, one meets with a Being who acts as a bookkeeper for one's karma. In ages past, this Being was Moses who interpreted one's karma according to the "stern law", but in our time, the new karma record keeper is Christ Jesus, who has become the Lord of Karma. This event was predicted in Acts X:42 "To testify that He is the one ordained by God to be Judge of the Living and the Dead."
[page 48, 49] Just as on the physical plane, at the beginning of our era, the event of Palestine took place, so in our time the office of the Karmic Judge passes over to Christ Jesus in the higher world next to our own. This event works into the physical world, on the physical plane, in such a way that men will develop towards it the feeling that by all their actions they will be causing something for which they will be accountable to the judgment of Christ. This feeling, now appearing quite naturally in the course of human development, will be transformed so that it permeates the soul with a light which little by little will shine out from the individual himself, and will illuminate the form of Christ in the etheric world(1). And the more this feeling is developed — a feeling that will have stronger significance than the abstract conscience — the more will the etheric Form of Christ be visible in the coming centuries.
Many who do not understand the true nature of the Christ Event in Palestine claim that Christ Jesus was an Adept, an individuality that progressed through many lifetimes such as Buddha did. That this is not so is a crucial point for one to understand, and does not affect in any way the prestige of other Adepts.
[page 52] Anyone who leaves out of account these essential points cannot come to a real knowledge of the Being of the Christ. The Christ-bearer was truly man — not an Adept. Recognition of this fact will open for us a first glimpse into the whole nature of the events of Golgotha, the events of Palestine. If we were to look upon Christ Jesus simply as a high Adept, we should have to place Him in a line with other Adept-natures. Some people may perhaps tell us that we do not do this because from the very outset, owing to some preconceived idea, we want to place Christ Jesus beyond other Adepts, as a still higher Adept. Those who might say this are not aware of what we have to impart as the results of occult research in our time.
Rather than a series of incarnations in which the Individuality of Christ moved through many human bodies, Steiner says we are to picture the Individuality that was Jesus of Nazareth as moving through many incarnations until shortly before the Baptism in the Jordan at which time it left the body of Jesus of Nazareth and was replaced by the Christ Spirit who filled it as one might fill an empty chalice. This was a one-time event which balanced the one-time event of the Fall of Humankind in which humans were pre-maturely entered and infected by Lucifer. This earlier event described in Genesis was responsible for our human freedom, and since it entered humankind from the spiritual worlds, it required a second event of entry from the spiritual world to offset it — it could not be offset by any human act, no matter how high an Adept might perform it. The balancing or Redemption of Humankind had to be performed by a Being from the Spiritual World and that event, the Deed on Golgotha, was a one-time trick(2) — never to be performed again.
[page 57] This becoming entangled in matter was not a human act, but a deed of the Gods, which happened before men could co-operate in their own fate. It is something which the Higher Powers of progressive evolution arranged with the Luciferic powers. . . . What happened at that time needed a counterpoise. The pre-human event — the Fall of Man — needed a counterpoise, but this again was a concern not of human beings, but of the Gods among themselves. And we shall see that this action had to take its course as deeply in matter as the first action had taken place above it. The God had to descend as deeply into matter as He had allowed man to sink into matter. . . . It would not have been possible to do this within the personality of an Adept, for an Adept is one who by his own efforts has worked his way out of the Fall.
At one point when Christ Jesus was being condemned, he was asked if He was a King, sent from God. He said in answer to this question, "Thou sayest it!" How are we to understand those words? Steiner asks us and then gives us his answer as he retrieved it from the spiritual world directly:
[pag 75] For in the Akashic record it is not 'Thou sayest it', but, "This, thou alone mayest give as answer', which means, when we understand it rightly, 'To thy question I should have to give an answer that no one may ever give with reference to himself: it can be given only by someone who stands opposite him. Whether the answer is true or not true, of that I cannot speak; the acknowledgment of this truth lies not with me abut with thee. Thou must say; then and then only would it have meaning.'
Does it seem strange that there should be something about this current time we are living in, the 21st Century, that makes it possible for us to understand the Gospels better today than those humans of twenty centuries ago who were much closer to the events described in the Gospels? If it seems odd to you, consider this: everyone alive today has gone through a minimum of one reincarnation since the Deed on Golgotha, one cycle of life followed a period in the spiritual world, followed by a re-incarnation in the world of today. With that extended period of earthly and spiritual development, the understanding of the Palestine revelation from an occult rather than an historical viewpoint becomes possible for all of humanity today.
[page 80] In their original form they [the Gospels] must enter our hearts and souls, and this must give rise to a new power whereby the findings that will now be presented to men can be accepted by those who have been able worthily to feel the events from the Baptism of John to the Event of Golgotha.
In the Greek culture were people who supremely respected and admired the human form, creating fine sculptures and art works based on it. In the Buddhist culture were people to whom the Ego or spark of Individuality was meaningless, something to be lost the same way humans lost their physical body between incarnations. In the Hebrew culture were people who treasured the Ego, or spark of immortal Individuality, above all else. One must understand these distinctive aspects of the three cultures to grasp the evolution of consciousness that had taken place leading up to the Event of Palestine.
[page 93] Not the extinguishing of the form, but the handing on of the form through the generations was what concerned the ancient Hebrew. His point of view stood midway between that of the Buddhist, who had lost the value of the Ego, and that of the Greek, who saw in the form of the body the very highest, and felt it as sorrowful when the bodily form had to disappear with death.
One reason often given for Jesus being an Adept is that events of His life often resemble those of the lives of other well-known Adepts. The deep meaning behind these events is that what had formerly been enacted by Initiates into the Mysteries in secret places involved going through a suffering, a crucifixion, a kind of death and resurrection after which they were able to see into the spiritual world. In the life of Christ Jesus, we see those same steps, but not acted out in some Mystery School, not acted out in some secret place, but acted out openly upon the world stage for all to see. After the public enactment of the Mystery of Golgotha, what formerly required long training in a Mystery school was thenceforth available directly to all humans without special training.
[page 102, 103] That is why the accounts of the ancient Initiates, which do not aim to be biographies in the usual sense, show such resemblance to the Gospel stories of Christ Jesus. And when we read the history of the greatest initiates, of Apollonius of Tyana, or indeed even of Buddha or Zarathustra, or the life of Osiris of Orpheus, it often seems that important characteristics of their lives are the same as those narrated of Christ Jesus in the Gospels.
Understanding the human being in its four bodies: physical, etheric, astral and Ego is not easy. Looking at a living person we do not see the separate parts any more than when we observe a glass of water we see two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. What we see is the combination, not the components. Chlorine is a caustic gas and sodium is an unstable metal which will explode if dropped into water. And yet, in their combination of sodium chloride, NaCl, they form common everyday table salt which resembles nothing of its component parts. Can anyone look into a corpse's eyes for more than an instant and be fooled into imagining the body there to be alive? Without the etheric body, it does not breathe, nor move. Without the astral body, it has no desires nor thoughts. Without the Ego body, there is no spark of individuality remaining within. That is the real reason we close a person's eyes upon death — the reminder of the loss within is too great to bear otherwise.
For a long time, I thought the physical body was the body left after the other three bodies had abandoned it, i.e., a corpse. I was wrong. The physical body can best be thought of as a Form, such as a dressmaker might use to design clothes upon — a wiry framework upon which the mineral-based cells and fluids of the other three parts of the human body may be hung or attached. It is best called a Phantom and Steiner defines the word for us:
[page 113] This Phantom is the Form-shape which as a spiritual texture works up the physical substances and forces so that they fill out the Form which we encounter as the man on the physical plane. The sculptor can bring no statue into existence if he merely takes marble or something else, and strikes away wildly so that single pieces spring off just as the substance permits. As the sculptor must have the 'thought' which he impresses on the substance, so is a 'thought' related to the human body . . . The Phantom belongs to the physical body as its enduring part, a more important part than the external substances. The external substances are merely loaded into the network of the human Form, as one might load apples into a cart. . . . The substances which fall asunder after death are essentially those we meet externally in nature. They are merely caught up by the human Form.
The Phantom is not visible to the human eye, but only to the most skillful clairvoyant eye. What then is it we see when we look upon a human being? Not the Phantom.
[page 114] It is a transparent body of force. What the physical eye sees are the physical substances which a person eats and takes into himself, and they fill out the invisible Phantom. If the physical eye looks upon a physical body, what it sees is the mineral part that fills the physical body, not the physical body itself.
In fact, but for the Fall of Humankind triggered by the Luciferic forces, human beings would have never become visible to the human eye. In fact, if the human body were invisible, the retina of the eyes would also be invisible. The human eye, if its retina were invisible, would not be able to stop any light beams that impinge upon it, and thus, not only would the human body be invisible, but likewise all of the mineral world would be invisible to the human eye. What we have said about the inaccessibility of the visual sense in human beings would also be true for the other commonly accepted senses of smell, taste, touch, and sound. Our very human condition as sensory being, we owe to Lucifer's precocious gift.
[page 115] If the Lucifer force had not been introduced into our astral body and Ego, this dense materiality would not have become as visible as it has become. Hence we have to represent man as an invisible being, made visible in matter only through forces which entered into him under the influence of Lucifer.
All human beings bear within them the influence of Lucifer by virtue of being visible. And all human beings bear within them an Ego that was once overcome by Lucifer's temptation. All human beings except one: Christ Jesus. How came this to be? Before he went out to the Jordan to be baptized by John, Jesus of Nazareth, who bore within him the Ego of Zarathustra, had that Ego leave him. Like an empty chalice, he wandered, lost, a man without an Ego, in the direction of the Jordan and his old friend John from the Essene community. During Baptism, the Christ Being, who had never succumbed to the Luciferian temptation, entered the physical, etheric, and astral body of Jesus of Nazareth, and thenceforth we call Him by the proper name, Christ Jesus. Jesus was the name of the lower three parts of the man; Christ was the first name, the name of the Individuality, of the Ego, of the human baptized by John. Is it any wonder that the first thing Christ Jesus did was to go out into the desert where He is tempted by Lucifer? And in His very answers to the temptations, the tone of His answers, we can garner a sense that this was not His first exposure to temptation by Lucifer. Christ Jesus's words to the devil after the first temptation in the desert were, "Get thee behind me, Satan." This sounds like something you might say to an old friend who had arrived earlier than you and presumed to take your place(3).
In movies we are always fascinated when an aboriginal man has his first experience of seeing his own face in a mirror. Up until that time, he had no consciousness of his self, only of the experiences that he had undergone. Suddenly someone holds up a mirror to him, and he becomes aware of himself as a human being. Into the world of events, he appears before himself. Now remember what we said earlier about how the eye cannot see unless it is visible, the body cannot feel objects unless it encounters resistance, and so on for all the senses. All of our experiences of self come about because our physical body acts as a reflecting sensory apparatus for us. Our physical body is our mirror! And that's why we are so attracted to the aborigine's first exposure to a mirror — it reminds us of the very world into which we were born, and in which we learned from infancy to experience the world as it is reflected by our own physical body. Now you will be able to understand the paradox that materialists find themselves in vis-à-vis the spiritual world: Materialists break the mirror which reflects their spirit then say 'Ergo, the spiritual world doesn't exist.'
[page 123, 124] If in this way you go more and more deeply into the nature of the human soul and of human consciousness, it will be impossible for you to consider as in any way dangerous or significant all those things which are brought forward again and again by materialism in opposition to the spiritual conception of the world. If through any damage to the reflecting apparatus, the soul-experience is no longer perceived by the consciousness, it is absolute nonsense to conclude that the soul-experience itself is bound up with the mirror. If someone breaks a mirror in which you see yourself, he does not break you. You merely disappear from your own field of vision. So it is when the reflecting apparatus for the soul-life, the brain, is disturbed. Perception ceases, but the soul-life itself, in so far as it goes on in the etheric body and the astral body, is not in the least disturbed.
To understand the role the Phantom plays in our life, one needs to understand that the Phantom that all humans have possessed since Adam was the one infected by the Luciferic forces. In exchange for this precocious alteration of our human bodies, we received the constructive ability of freedom and the destructive forces of death. We live in a body that is constantly under destruction. As we sleep our body reconstructs itself against the forces of destruction it will meet the next day. One day the forces of reconstruction will lose the battle and we will die. It is our heritage from Adam that we received the infected Phantom. When Christ entered the body of Jesus in the Jordan the pure Phantom of the pre-Fall Adam appeared on Earth again. As part of the Deed on Golgotha, that Phantom rose out of the grave so we human beings can once more inherit what we had lost during the Fall: the pure, un-infected Phantom, the compensating gift of Christ Jesus for our redemption.
[page 128] The body that was really intended for man . . . — the pure Phantom of the physical body with all the attributes of the physical body — this it was that rose out of the grave. . . . Let us think of the body of Christ that rose out of the grave. Just as from the body of Adam the bodies of earth-men are descended, in so far as these men have the body that crumbles away, even so are the spiritual bodies, the Phantoms for all men, descended from that which rose out of the grave. And it is possible to establish a relationship with Christ though which an earthly human being can bring into his otherwise decaying physical body this Phantom which rose out of the grave on Golgotha. It is possible for man to receive into his organism those forces which then rose from the grave, just as through his physical organism at the beginning of earth evolution, as a consequence of the Luciferic forces, he received the organism of Adam.
With these concepts we can now grasp the grand scope of evolution from the Fall of Adam to the Rise of Christ and how these events are balancing or compensating acts for each other. St. Paul spoke eloquently of the pure Phantom that Christ has restored to us by the Deed on Golgotha.
[page 128, 129] It is this that Paul wishes to say. Just as man, through his place in the stream of physical evolution, inherits the physical body in which the destruction of the Phantom, the force-bearer, is gradually taking place, so from the pure Phantom that rose out of the grave he can inherit what he has lost. He can inherit it, he can clothe himself with it, as he clothed himself with the first Adam; he can become one with it. Thereby he can go through a development by means of which he can climb upwards again, even as before the Mystery of Golgotha he had descended in evolution. In other words, that which had been taken from him through the Luciferic influence can be given back to him through its presence as the Risen Body of Christ. This is what Paul wishes to say.
And what St. Paul had to say was new in human history — it was based upon an event that had never happened before. Those who spoke about the physical body of human beings before the Palestine Event were speaking during a different condition of the world — and we must understand that their words were bound into the time in which they spoke. This helps us to understand Buddhism and what it had to say about the physical body in the centuries leading up to the Palestine Event.
[page 130, 131] Now we can understand Buddhism very well. About five hundred years before the Events of Palestine, a truth was proclaimed: 'Everything that envelops a man as his physical body and makes him a being incarnated in the flesh — all this must be looked upon as worthless; it is fundamentally a left-over from the past and must be cast off.' Certainly up to that time conditions were such that humanity would have had to set its course towards this philosophy of life, if nothing else had intervened. But there came the Event of Golgotha, an Event which completely restored the lost principles of human evolution. In so far as man takes into himself the incorruptible body we spoke of yesterday, and have brought before our souls in closer detail today, if he clothes himself with this incorruptible body, he will become more and more clearly aware of his Ego-consciousness, and of that part of his nature which journeys on from one incarnation to another.
It is a popular thought among some circles that we can make it on our own as human beings — we do not need to give any attention to the Macrocosm that surrounds us — we need only take care of ourselves. This is a dangerous approach and one whose danger is not at all apparent to those who take it. The human element of freedom certainly makes it possible for any man, who wishes, to attain his highest ideal solely through himself, but the cost is dear: a complete disconnection with the Macrocosm.
[page 153, 154] Such a person believes that he has the Macrocosm before him as a kind of Nature, and that his inner soul-development, side by side with the Macrocosm, is something running parallel with it. But a connection between the two he cannot find. This is just what is so terribly grotesque in the evolution of the nineteenth century(4). The connection that should exist between Microcosm and Macrocosm, has been torn asunder. If this had not happened, we should not have seen all those misunderstandings that have arisen over the terms 'theoretical materialism' on the one hand and 'abstract idealism' on the other.
The tendency to making everything that is human subject to materialistic processes has continued apace in the 80 plus years since Steiner gave this lecture. Scientists proclaim that they now understand the essence of life through their materialistic biology and find no room or need for the spiritual world in their calculations or pronouncements. The further from the truth they are, the more strident and deadly are their rantings as they assign everything of the Microcosm and Macrocosm to material processes.
[page 154] Just consider — the sundering of Microcosm and Macrocosm has led men who care little for the inner life of the soul to assign it, as well as the external life of the body, to the Macrocosm, thus making everything subject to material processes. Others, aware that there is nevertheless an inner life, have fallen gradually into abstractions concerning everything of significance to the human soul.
Steiner was aware of this tendency and wrote a play in which he demonstrated the effects that what one thinks, says, or feels has in the spiritual as well as physical objective world. I first became aware of this connection from reading The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events by Jane Roberts in 1982. As we live in a potential hurricane area, I read with interest how the thoughts of individuals could act as steering currents to these huge storms.
[page 154, 155] Let me recall to you the scene in the Rosicrucian drama, The Portal of Initiation, where Capesius and Strader enter the astral world, and it is shown that what they think, speak, and feel is not without significance for the objective world, the Macrocosm, but actually releases storms in the elements. For modern man it is absurd to suppose that destructive forces can strike at the Macrocosm through somebody having had wrong thoughts.
This wrong attitude he tells us is typified by the German saying that "Thoughts are duty free." But students of Mystery Schools know that is a big lie fostered by those who would, at their own peril, separate artificially the Microcosm from the Macrocosm.
[page 155] The student of the Mystery saw: 'When you tell a lie, it signifies in the supersensible world the darkening of a certain light; when you perpetuate a loveless action, something in the spiritual world is burnt up in the fire of lovelessness; with errors you extinguish light in the Macrocosm.' The effect was shown to the student through objective experience: how, through an error, something is extinguished on the astral plane, and darkness follows; or how through a loveless action something acts like a burning and destroying fire.
Another quantum leap in my development was when, after many years of studying Carl Jung's works, I came to understand the reality of the psyche -- that all my thoughts and feelings had an objective reality. This was an excellent grounding for understanding the recondite writings of Rudolf Steiner when I later came upon them.
[page 156] There is indeed a good and significant possibility that a man who sees that thoughts and feelings are objective may also see that what has brought and brings people into mistakes through successive earth-lives is not an inward affair related to a single life, but is the consequence of karma.
We live in a materialistic world and every aspect of the world is deemed to be purely materialistic. Our scientists have no need to postulate the existence of a spiritual world in order to make their calculations and their predictions. To understand the reality of Christ requires that one understand that the objective world proceeds from the spiritual world, that a spiritual reality infuses all matter.
[page 160] How could this come about? In no other way than by something being given to man which is at one and the same time spirit and matter; something which he knows is spirit and yet sees to be matter. There the transformation, the eternally valid transformation, of spirit into matter, of matter into spirit, had to continue as a vital fact. And this came to pass because the Holy Communion has been celebrated, has been maintained through the centuries as a Christian ritual. And the further we go back in the centuries towards the institution of the Holy Communion, the more can we trace how in the older times, not yet so materialistic, it was better understood.
How do you understand what Steiner is saying above — that Holy Communion was better understood in the early days of the Christian Church? If you understand the evolution in consciousness that took place over the first thousand years of Christianity, it would be simple to understand how Holy Communion was taken for granted at first and then during the Middle Ages, questions were raised about it. Huge arguments abounded about the exact meaning of transubstantiation and holding the wrong side of the argument at one point in time could subject one to condemnation as a heretic and death by burning at the stake.
[page 160] In regard to higher things, when people begin to discuss something, it is a proof, as a rule, that they no longer understand it. Even simple matters, as long as they are understood, are not much discussed. Discussions are a proof that the point at issue is not understood by a majority of the people involved. Thus it was with the Holy Communion.
In those early years of Christianity, the original clairvoyance was still present in the majority of humanity and no words were required to justify the presence of Christ in the communion wafer during Holy Communion. That native clairvoyance, an ancient dreamlike clairvoyance, began to wane as humans fell further and further into materialism and thus the exact nature of the communion wafer became no longer generally known, and thus became a topic of discussion. We are reaching a point in the twenty-first century when we are climbing up once more into the spiritual world and are becoming able to achieve a new clairvoyance, not one that is dreamlike, but one that is conscious. Steiner describes how these awakening abilities will appear in humans as a form of what Owen Barfield called final participation.
[page 172] Their awakening capacities will enable them to participate in the spiritual world. Clairvoyance will always be different from this participation. Just as there was an ancient dreamlike clairvoyance, so will there be a future clairvoyance that is not dreamlike, the clairvoyance of people who know what they are doing and what it signifies.
Humans will come to understand the reality of Christ as the Lord of Karma. Christ will appear to humans in an etheric form as a consequence of His Second Coming during the middle of the twentieth century. We will be able know as certainly as St. Paul did on the road to Damascus that Christ lives. We will be able to receive the Phantom of the pre-Fall Adam which arose from the grave as part of the Deed on Golgotha and which will be the source for the renewed physical prototype we need if our immortal Ego is to attain to full development. And over and above this, we will come to know, as ancient men knew, that we have gone through repeated earth-lives. We will come to understand how the Bible itself reveals the presence of those repeated earth-lives(5). And we will come to understand why it was necessary for our understanding of the material world that this memory of past earth-lives had to be suppressed for some 2,000 years, that such suppression was an integral part of the design of the process of Holy Communion which included the drinking of wine whose alcohol content acted to disable the ancient clairvoyant experience of repeated earth-lives(6). In short, we will come to understand fully the progression from Jesus to Christ.
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1) In this sentence Steiner reveals how it becomes possible to view Christ in His Second Coming in His Etheric Body in our time -- we must begin from a feeling which stems from our karmic destiny and embeds itself into our actions. It is cause for wonder if materialistic scientists, notorious for excluding their feelings as worthy sensory data, will ever encounter Christ in their present incarnation. In addition, as I highlighted in a poem in my review of Faith, Love, and Hope — they will become the morons of tomorrow in their next incarnation. For details on the Third Revelation in which Steiner details the Second Coming of Christ in the etheric plane in the middle of the twentieth century, see the same review.
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2)While the word 'trick' is sometimes used for artful or malicious pranks, nothing of that kind is meant here, but rather it refers to an ingenious way of doing something. The phrase 'one-time trick' was first used by Devon, a friend's grandson, to refer a ingenious feat he performed — one that others might have called an accident and one which he would never be able to do again.
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3) In his lectures in The Fifth Gospel, Steiner tells us that it was a temptation that the Christ Being had battled arduously with Lucifer during the old Moon epoch.
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4) And this disconnection is even more grotesque and prevalent in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, so far as I can tell.
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5) I owe this expression "how the Bible reveals reincarnation" to Edward Reaugh Smith, whose book devoted to the subject, "The Soul's Long Journey" will be published soon.
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6) Paraphrased from pages 172 and 173.
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