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The Teachings of Christ, the Resurrected

Teachings of Christ the Resurrected

Schmidt Number: S-4814

On-line since: 23rd December, 2013

The Teachings of Christ, the Resurrected

Rudolf Steiner Archive Document

Lectures Section

This lecture is number 8 of 12 in the lecture series entitled, The Sun Mystery ... Death, Resurrection, and was published in German as, Das Sonnenmysterium und das Mysterium von Tod und Auferstehung. Exoterisches und esoterisches Christentum Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity (Volume 211 in the Bibliographic Survey, 1961). It was translated by Lisa Dreher and Henry B. Monges, and published in 1940. From Ga/Bn 211.

By Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Lisa Dreher and Henry B. Monges
Bn/GA 211

This lecture is number 8 of 12 in the lecture series entitled, The Sun Mystery ... Death, Resurrection, and was published in German as, Das Sonnenmysterium und das Mysterium von Tod und Auferstehung. Exoterisches und esoterisches Christentum (Volume 211 in the Bibliographic Survey, 1961).

It appears in the lecture series, Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity and was translated by Lisa Dreher and Henry B. Monges. Published in 1940. From Ga/Bn 211. We present it here with the kind permission of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, in Dornach, Switzerland.

Copyright © 1940
This e.Text edition is provided with the cooperation of:
The Anthroposophic Press

[ Preface | Cover | Lecture ]

Thanks to an anonymous donation, this Lecture has been made available.

ESOTERIC STUDIES

Printed for the members of the University of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum. It is not admitted that anyone is competent to judge these writings who has not acquired, either through this school or in a manner it acknowledges to be similar, the preliminary knowledge propounded by it. In as far as the author refuses to enter into any discussion of these writings, all others' judgments on them are rejected.



RUDOLF STEINER

THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST

THE RESURRECTED

Reflections on the Mystery of Golgotha

Published from the author's unrevised lecture

BY
MARIE STEINER

Translated from the Original by
LISA DREHER
and
HENRY B. MONGES
By permission of Harry Collison

PUBLISHERS
ANTHROPOSOPHIC PRESS, INC. NEW YORK CITY
RUDOLF STEINER PUBLISHING CO. LONDON


Copyright 1940

Anthroposophic Press, Inc.

New York City


THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST, THE RESURRECTED

Reflections on the Mystery of Golgotha

by
RUDOLF STEINER

At The Hague,
April 13th, 1922

T

ODAY I should like to speak to you about a certain aspect of the Mystery of Golgotha. I have spoken about this Mystery on many occasions in our more intimate Anthroposophical gatherings, yet all that can be said about it is so extensive and belongs to a sphere of such importance and richness that, in order to approach it even approximately from the most varied points of view, we are compelled to elucidate from ever new aspects this greatest of all secrets in human earth evolution.

We shall be able to value this Mystery of Golgotha in the right way only when we allow our soul perception to contemplate two evolutionary streams of human earthly existence: namely, first, that part of the entire evolution of mankind which preceded the Mystery of Golgotha, and second, that other part which has already succeeded it or which will succeed it during the remainder of the earth period.

When we speak of the beginning of earth existence, of the primeval epochs of the earth evolution of humanity during which there already existed thinking of a certain kind, although dreamlike and imaginative in character, it was nevertheless a certain sort of thinking; and when we speak of this beginning we must make clear to ourselves that the human beings of that time possessed faculties which enabled them to have intercourse — if I may so express it — with beings of a higher cosmic order. You know from my Occult Science and from other descriptions something of the nature of these beings of the higher hierarchies.

At present, with our ordinary consciousness, we do not know much about these beings of the higher hierarchies. Our intercourse with them has been cut off, so to say. This was not the case in the most ancient periods of human evolution. It would, of course, be wrong to imagine that the meeting with such a being of the higher hierarchies was of a similar nature to the meeting of two modern men incarnated in physical bodies. It certainly was quite a different sort of relationship. What these beings communicated to the human entity by means of the primeval earth language could only be comprehended by spiritual organs. And these beings communicated the mighty secrets of existence to the human being of that time. Secrets of existence were poured out into the human mind of that time and they called forth in man the consciousness that in the region above us, where today we see only clouds and stars, the earthly life had intercourse with divine worlds. These dwellers in divine regions descended in a spiritual manner to the human earth beings and revealed themselves in such a way that the earth man received, through the communications of these super-earthly beings, what may be called primeval wisdom. Within these manifestations of divine wisdom, originating in these beings, an infinite amount of knowledge was contained which human beings, during their earth life, would not have been able to fathom by themselves. In the beginning of earth existence — in the sense in which I have described it here — human beings were of themselves able to know but very little. Everything that was kindled in them as perception, as perceptive knowledge, they received from their divine teachers. Their divine teachings contained much, but they did not contain one thing of special importance which, as a matter of fact, was unnecessary for humanity of that time but which does contain most essential facts of knowledge for modern mankind. The divine teachers spoke to men of the most varied aspects of truth and knowledge, yet they never spoke to them of birth and death.

Naturally, I cannot today during this short hour speak of all the things said by these divine teachers to the human race in those ancient times. Much of this, however, you know already; but I should like to emphasize the fact very strongly that in all these teachings there was nothing about birth and death. The reason for this is due to the fact that in the course of human evolution there was no need for the human beings of those ancient times — also for a long time after for those who followed — to have any knowledge of the wisdom of birth and death. The entire consciousness of mankind has changed in the course of earth evolution. And although we should not compare the animal consciousness of today, even the higher animal consciousness, with the human consciousness in ancient, primitive times, nevertheless we may consider important facts of present-day animal life. This life lies below the level of the human. In the beginning, the life of primitive man lay, in a certain sense, even above the level of the present-day human being, in spite of the fact that, when compared with modern man, he had a kind of animal shape. If we view the animal of today with unbiased perception, we shall agree that this animal is not interested in birth and death, because it is in the middle evolutionary stage of existence. If we disregard birth — although even there the matter in question is quite obvious — we need only to think of the carelessness and lack of interest with which the animal approaches death. It simply submits to death, accepting this transformation of its existence without experiencing such a deep break in life as is the case with the human being.

As we have already noted, the primeval earth man, in spite of his animal-like shape, stood above the animal; he possessed an instinctive clairvoyance, and by means of this instinctive clairvoyance he was able to have intercourse with his divine teachers. But like the present-day animal he was not concerned about the approach of death. Perhaps we might say that he did not contemplate death at all.

We may ask: Why should he? As a result of his instinctive clairvoyance he still had a memory of a clear experience of what had remained within his inner being after he had descended from the spirit world through birth into the physical world. He knew the essential nature of what had entered his physical body; and because he knew this, because he was sure — if I may say so — that an immortal being lived within him, he was therefore not interested in the transition which takes place at death. He must have had feelings somewhat similar to those of the serpent when, after slipping off its old skin, it is compelled to replace it by a new one. The impression of birth and death was something more self-evident and not so desperately important in human life as it is today, for the human being still possessed a vital perception of the soul nature.

Today we have no perception of the soul nature. Today, in dreaming, there is scarcely any perceptible transition between sleeping and waking, and the dream with its pictures belongs at present absolutely to the realm of the sleeping state, it is still half-sleep. On the other hand the dreamlike pictures of primeval man coincided with the waking state; it was a waking state not yet fully developed. The human being knew that what he received in these dream pictures was real. Thus he felt and experienced his soul nature. And it was impossible for him to raise questions about birth and death with the same vigor as is necessary for our time.

In the primeval periods of human earth evolution this state was especially vital; but it decreased continually. Perhaps I may express it in the following way: Human beings became gradually more and more aware that death means a big break in human life, likewise in the soul life, and, therefore, they had to turn their attention also to the fact of birth. Earth life, in regard to this distinction, assumed a character which became ever increasingly significant for the earthly man; for at the same time the living experience of soul existence grew paler and paler, and he felt himself more and more lifted out of a psycho-spiritual existence during his sojourn on earth. This increased more and more, especially for those who lived near the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. With the Greeks, this feeling had already become so vital that they felt the life outside the physical body as a mere human shadow-life and they looked on death with tragic feelings. But what they had received as teachings from their ancient divine preceptors did not deal with the facts of birth and death. Thus, before the Mystery of Golgotha, men ran the risk that experiences might occur in their earth-life, that the apprehension, the perception of these experiences might enter their earth consciousness — Birth and Death — which they did not understand and which were something absolutely unknown to them.

Now let us imagine that at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha these ancient, divine teachers of mankind had descended. Had they really done so, they would perhaps have been able to reveal themselves to a few pupils or teachers of mankind who had been prepared through the mysteries; they would have been able to communicate, to prepared priests for the mysteries, the content and extent of ancient divine wisdom which actually had been poured out into primeval wisdom. But within the whole of these teachings nothing would have been found about birth and death. The riddle of death would not have been imparted to mankind through this revealed divine wisdom, not even in the mysteries; and outside in earthly life human beings would have observed something — the facts of birth and death — which would have been of great and fundamental interest to them. But the Gods would not have told them anything about it. What was the reason?

You should consider this matter without bias and you should put aside many of the concepts which today have simply become traditional religion. You should understand that the beings of the higher hierarchies who were the teachers of primeval men had never experienced birth and death in their own worlds. For birth and death in the form we experience them on earth, are only experienced on earth, and on earth are experienced only by human beings. Death in animal and plant is something quite different from death in a human being. And in the divine worlds in which the first great teachers of human evolution lived there is no birth, no death; there is only transformation, metamorphosis from one state of existence to another. Therefore an inward understanding of death and birth — we must characterize it in this way — did not exist in these divine teachers. This host of divine teachers includes all the beings who were connected with the Jahve-being, with the Bodhisattva-beings, with all the ancient creators of human world conceptions.

Let us realize for instance how in the Old Testament — there we can actually grasp it — the secret of death confronts us more and more with a tragic mood. And the teachings that are handed down in the Old Testament give the human being no satisfactory and no inward information about death. If at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha nothing had happened that was different from what did happen before the Mystery of Golgotha in the sphere of the earth and the super-worlds connected with it, if the Mystery of Golgotha had not taken place, then human beings would have found themselves in a terrible plight in their earth evolution; they would have experienced on earth the transitions of birth and death which then no longer were mere metamorphoses, which then indicated an abrupt transition in the whole of human life, and they would not have been able to learn anything about the significance of death and birth in human earth-life. In order to permit the teachings of birth and death to enter gradually into the understanding of mankind, the being whom we call the Christ had to descend by degrees into earth-life. The Christ belongs to the worlds from which the ancient great teachers came; but through the decision of these divine worlds He chose a different destiny from the other beings of the divine hierarchies who are related to the earth. He submitted Himself, so to say, to the divine decision of higher worlds that He incarnate in an earthly body and pass with His own divine soul through earthly birth and earthly death.

You see, therefore, that what has happened through the Mystery of Golgotha is not merely an inner-human or inner-earthly affair, but it is at the same time an affair of the Gods. Only through the events on Golgotha did the Gods learn to know inwardly of death and the secret of birth on earth, for they had not participated in it previously. Thus we have here the significant fact that a divine being resolved to go through human existence in this region, in order to have the same earth experiences, the same destiny as the human being.

Much of the Mystery of Golgotha has become known to human beings. There is tradition, there are the Gospels, there is the entire New Testament, and people of today prefer to approach the Mystery of Golgotha by reading the New Testament and by means of the explanation of the latter as it is possible at present. But from the explanation of the New Testament as it is made in our time we acquire but little real insight into the Mystery of Golgotha. It is necessary for people of the present to acquire this knowledge in an outward manner. However, it is mere outward knowledge. Today we do not know at all how differently human beings looked back upon the Mystery of Golgotha during the first centuries A.D., how differently those who were initiated into this Mystery looked back upon it in comparison with those who came later. Although all that I have described had happened, nevertheless at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha individual human beings still possessed remnants of an old instinctive clairvoyance. And up to the 4th century A.D. these remnants enabled them to look back to the Mystery of Golgotha quite differently from later periods. And it is not without meaning that the teachers who then appeared — we can verify this, although quite insufficiently in the historical traditions of the oldest, so-called church fathers and Christian teachers — that the teachers who then appeared put the greatest emphasis not on written traditions but on the fact that they have received knowledge of the life of Christ Jesus from teachers who have seen Him face to face, or from teachers who had been pupils of the pupils of the Apostles themselves in the oldest times, or the pupils of the pupils of the Apostles' pupils, etc. This continued on up to the 4th century A.D., and the teachers of that century referred to this living connection. As already stated, the historical documents are for the most part destroyed, and only attentive study can discover, by external means, how much emphasis was laid on the following: “I have had a teacher, he has had a teacher,” etc., and at the end of the row there stands one of the Apostles who had seen the Lord Himself face to face.

A great deal of this has been lost. But even more has been lost of actual esoteric wisdom which still existed in the first four centuries A.D., thanks to the remnants of old clairvoyant perception. All knowledge of that time about the resurrected Christ has been lost for external tradition. This knowledge is that of the Christ who went through the Mystery of Golgotha, and then in a spirit body, like the ancient teachers of primeval humanity, taught some of His chosen pupils after His resurrection. The Gospels give mere indications, in a very scanty way, of the significance of the teachings which the resurrected Christ gave to His disciples when He met with them. And St. Paul's experience of Damascus is understood by Paul himself as a teaching which the resurrected Christ gave him, through which Saul became Paul. In those past times people were conscious of the fact that the resurrected Christ Jesus had to impart mysteries of a very special kind to men. The human beings themselves were the cause of not being able to receive these communications at later periods. They had to develop those soul forces which led to the use of human freedom and human intellect. This has appeared with especial force since the 15th century, but it was already in preparation from the 4th century A.D. on.

The question must now arise: What was the content of the teachings which the resurrected Christ was able to give His chosen disciples? For He appeared to them in the same manner in which the divine teachers had appeared to primitive mankind. Perhaps I may express it in the following manner: He was now able to tell them in divine language that He had experienced what His heavenly companions had not experienced. He was able to tell them, from His divine point of view, something about the secret of birth and death. He was able to impart to them the knowledge that in the future the earthly human being would possess a day-waking consciousness by means of which he would not be able to perceive the immortal soul in human life and which would be extinguished in sleep, preventing, during sleep, this immortal soul from appearing to the soul's gaze; but He was able to call attention to the fact that it is possible to include the Mystery of Golgotha in human perception. I should like to express in the following words what He explained to them. I can express it merely in weak, stammering words, for our languages do not offer greater possibilities of expression, but I shall try to put it in the following weak, stammering words: The human body has gradually become so dense, the death forces in it have become so strong that, although the human being is now able to develop his intellect and his freedom, he can do this only in a life which distinctly passes through death, a life in which death signifies an incisive break, and in which, during the waking consciousness, the perception of the immortal soul is extinguished. But ye can receive into your soul a certain wisdom, ye can receive the wisdom that through the Mystery of Golgotha — the Christ spoke thus to His initiated pupils — something has occurred in My own being with which ye can imbue your own selves, provided ye are willing to gain the knowledge that the Christ has descended to the earth from extra-earthly spheres; provided ye are willing to acquire the concept that on earth something exists which cannot be beheld by earthly means, which can only be perceived by means higher than the earthly; provided ye can behold the Mystery of Golgotha as a divine event placed in the midst of earth-life; provided ye are able to perceive that a God has passed through the Mystery of Golgotha.

Through everything else that occurs on earth ye can acquire earthly wisdom; but this would be of no use in gaining an understanding of death in a human way. It would only be of use to you if, like ancient humanity, ye were not intensely interested in death. But since ye are compelled to be interested in it, your insight must receive an impulse much stronger than all other earthly perceptive impulses. It is so strong that ye will be able to say to yourself: With the occurrence of the Mystery of Golgotha something has happened that has broken all earthly natural laws. If ye are able to absorb into your faith only earthly natural law, ye will never grasp death in its significance for human life, even though ye may be able to behold it. But if ye can bring about in yourselves the understanding that the earth has acquired meaning only through the fact that in the middle of earth evolution, through the Mystery of Golgotha, something Divine has occurred which cannot be grasped by mere earthly comprehension, then will ye prepare in yourselves a special force of wisdom, and this force of wisdom is the same as the force of faith; ye will prepare a special force of pneumasophia, a force of faith and wisdom. For it is a strong force of the soul which says: “I believe, I know through faith what I shall never be able to believe and know through earthly means!” It is a far stronger force than the one which only ascribes to itself the ability to know what can be fathomed by earthly means. Even were the human being to gain all the wisdom of the earth, he would still be weak if he only knew how to sustain his wisdom by earthly means. If he is willing to acknowledge the fact that the super-earthly lives in the earthly, he must develop a much greater inner activity.

The impulse to develop such an inner activity lies in our consideration of the Mystery of Golgotha. The resurrected Christ proclaimed again and again to His original disciples the teaching that a God had experienced human destiny — for the Gods of previous epochs had not had this experience in their own spheres — and that this God had united Himself with the destiny of the earth through human destinies. And this had a tremendous effect in the world. Just strive for a moment to realize how powerful the effect of this could be; try to realize it in considering present-day conditions. Less is demanded of a human being who in his thinking is able to grasp all that he has gathered from earthly conditions, from traditional religious concepts which, in general, are accepted, than of a human being who we expect will raise his understanding to the point where it can grasp the fact that certain categories of divine beings did not possess a knowledge of death and birth before the Mystery of Golgotha but had to acquire it, at that significant moment of history, for the salvation of mankind. It requires a certain strength in order to “mingle” with divine wisdom, if we may be permitted to use this expression. Certainly no special strength is needed in order to read from any catechism that God is “all-knowing,” “all-mighty,” “all-divine,” etc. You need merely to place the little word “all” before everything, and the definition of the Divine is ready-made, but it is the most nebulous definition possible. Today human beings do not dare — if I may say so — to “mingle with divine wisdom.” But this “mingling” must take place. And a part of divine wisdom is what the Gods themselves have acquired through the fact that One of their number passed through human birth and human death. And it was of enormous importance that this secret was entrusted to the first disciples. And the further great and important fact, taught these disciples, was that it is true that the force once lived in the human being which gives him an insight into the eternal in his own soul.

This actual perception of the eternal in the human soul can never be acquired through brain knowledge, that is, through knowledge acquired through the intellect which uses the brain as an instrument. It can never be acquired in reality in the way it was possessed by ancient humanity, unless nature lends her aid through a knowledge which is gained through a special training of the human rhythmical system.

When the last instinctive seers practiced Yoga they achieved much, as long as it was assisted by an ancient instinctive clairvoyance. The present Oriental, the modern Indian, to whom many Westerners turn their attention in such a fantastic manner, does not, when performing his exercises, attain what can be called a real perception of the immortal nature of the human soul. He lives for the most part in illusions by having a temporary experience, although it is something elementary for earth-life, and, in addition, by interpreting this experience by what he finds in his holy books. Real knowledge, fundamental knowledge of the divine human soul can be gained only in a twofold way: Either it can be attained in the way of ancient humanity, or it can be attained in an infinitely more spiritual way through intuitive knowledge, that is, through a knowledge based on imaginative and inspirative wisdom which then rises to intuitive wisdom. Why is this so?

During earth-life the thinking part of the soul has streamed into the human nervous system. Thinking no longer exists for itself, it has molded this plastic structure. And it exists only partially in the rhythmic system. This offers at best some important points from which we might draw further conclusions. Only in the metabolic system, this most materialistic part of earth-life, do we find hidden the actual, immortal part of the human soul. The metabolic system is regarded as the most material on earth, and outwardly this is true; but because it is the most material, the spiritual remains separate from it. The other material parts of the body — the brain and the rhythmic system — absorb the spiritual; it is not present. It is present in the crude-material substances of the body. But the human being must be able to see, to perceive by means of this crude-material substance. This was the case with primeval humanity, and in our present age it may be found in abnormal cases, although this is not desirable. Very few people know, for instance, that the secret of the style of the Zarathustra of Nietzsche rests upon the fact that he took certain poisonous substances into his system which called forth in him the particular rhythm, the particular style of Zarathustra. In Nietzsche a quite definite substance lived as thought. This, of course, is something abnormal, a diseased condition, though it is in a certain sense something magnificent. We cannot permit ourselves to live in illusions about these things if we wish to understand them, any more than we can wish to live in illusions about the opposite pole, about intuition, etc. We must realize what it means that Nietzsche partook of certain poisons, but we must not imitate him. Thus by causing the human organism to take on an etheric mode of existence these poisons irradiate the thought system, thus calling forth what we see in Nietzsche's Zarathustra. By means of intuition we perceive the psycho-spiritual nature as such, quite separate from matter.

In the sphere of intuition nothing material is active. This is described in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment and in Occult Science. These two — the spiritual and material perceptions — are the two opposite poles.

In those mysteries into which the resurrected Christ sent His message there still existed the knowledge that in ancient times the human being possessed the highest knowledge of matter, “metabolic knowledge.” The way was sought to reawaken this ancient knowledge of matter — although not in the way of primeval mankind, nor in the way of the “hashish-eaters,” who wished, through the effects of certain material substances, to gain a knowledge which cannot be obtained without them. The way to reawaken this ancient knowledge of matter was striven for, but in a different manner, namely through clothing the Mystery of Golgotha in certain mantric forms, chiefly in the structural forms of the mystery of Revelation, Offering, Transubstantiation, Communion, by presenting the Holy Supper through the giving of bread and wine to the worshipper. Poison was not given, but the Holy Supper was offered him, wrapped in the mantric formulas of the Holy Mass, in the fourfold form of the Mass — Gospel, Offering, Transubstantiation, Communion. For after the Communion, after the fourth part of the Holy Mass, the actual Communion of the Faithful occurred, and an endeavor was made to give them at least an intimation of the fact that a certain wisdom must be regained which leads to the goal of ancient “metabolic knowledge.” The human beings of today can hardly imagine this “metabolic knowledge,” because they have no idea how much more, for instance, a bird knows than a man — although not in an intellectual, abstract sense; or how much more even a donkey knows than a man, a donkey, which is an animal living entirely in the metabolic system. It is, however, only a dull knowledge, dreamlike knowledge. Today there exists a degeneration of what primeval man once possessed in his metabolic system. It was out of the first Christian teachings, however, that the Sacrament of the Altar was conceived in order to lead mankind to regain a knowledge of the immortal of the human soul.

At the time when the Christ, who had passed through death, taught His initiated disciples, men were unable to attain such knowledge by themselves. He imparted it to them. And during the first four Christian centuries this knowledge continued on alive, in a certain way. Then it grew sclerotic within the Roman Catholic Church, for although the latter retained the Holy Mass, it had no longer a proper interpretation of it. The Holy Mass — thought of as a continuation of the Last Supper as it is described in the Bible — has naturally no meaning, unless a meaning is first inserted into it. The establishment of the Holy Mass with its wonderful cult, its imitation of the four mystery-degrees, is to be traced back to the fact that the resurrected Christ was the instructor of those who were able to receive these teachings in a higher esoteric sense. During the subsequent centuries only a childlike sort of teaching about the Mystery of Golgotha could remain. A faculty was developed which for the time being concealed the knowledge of this Mystery. Human beings had first to become fully acquainted with all that relates to death. This marked the first medieval civilization.

Traditions were preserved. In many occult societies of the present, people gather who, in their writings, possess formulas which remind those who understand and recognize them of the teachings of the resurrected Christ to His initiated disciples. But those who today meet in all sorts of Masonic lodges and occult societies do not understand what lives in their formulas; they actually have no idea about all that these formulas contain. But much could be gained from these formulas, because in their dead letters much wisdom still lives. Yet it is not done! But after mankind in its evolution has gone through a certain period of darkness in regard to the Mystery of Golgotha, it has come today to the point of time where human longing for a deeper knowledge of the Mystery of Golgotha needs satisfaction. And this can occur only through Anthroposophy. This can occur only through the appearance of new knowledge, acquired in a purely spiritual way. When it does occur we shall then again acquire a fully human understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. Then we shall again learn to understand that the most significant teachings have been given to humanity, not through the Christ who lived in the physical body until the Mystery of Golgotha occurred, but through the resurrected Christ after the occurrence of this Mystery. We shall gain a new understanding of the words of an initiate like St. Paul: “And if Christ hath not been raised your faith is vain.” (I Cor. XV, 17). Since the experience of Damascus he knew that everything depended upon an understanding of the resurrected Christ, upon the union of the force of the resurrected Christ with the human soul, which enabled him to say: “Not I, but the Christ in me.”

In contrast to this, it is altogether too characteristic that in the 19th Century a theology developed which does not wish to know anything at all about the resurrected Christ. It is a significant symptom of our time that a teacher of theology in Basle, Switzerland, a friend of Nietzsche, Overbeck, as a theologian, wrote a book about the Christian character of present-day theology. In this he tried to prove that the theology of today is no longer Christian. Much that is characteristically Christian may still exist — this is also the opinion of such a personality as Overbeck, who comprehends Christianity; but theology, as taught by “Christian” theologians, is at any rate not Christian. This, in brief, is the opinion of the Christian theologian Overbeck. And his opinion is very intelligently proven in his book.

Mankind has reached a point in regard to the comprehension of the Mystery of Golgotha where those who are officially appointed by the church to say something about it know the least. From this springs the longing, the human longing, to be able to learn something about what everyone can experience in his inmost being, namely, the need of Christ.

It was evident from our recent lectures [Anthroposophical-scientific Course, 6 lectures. The Hague, Holland, April 7th–12th, 1922.] that Anthroposophy has much to render in the way of service to the humanity of our time. A significant service which it can render will be that of religion. But we do not intend to inaugurate a new religion!

The event which has given the earth its meaning is of such a character that it will never be surpassed. This event consists in the passing of a God through the human destiny of birth and death. After the advent of Christianity no new religion can be founded — this is evident to anyone who knows the foundation of Christianity. We would misunderstand Christianity were we to believe that a new religion could be founded. But since humanity itself advances more and more in super-sensible knowledge, there will be an ever deeper comprehension of the Mystery of Golgotha, and with it of the Christ Being. To this comprehension Anthroposophy wishes to give, at the present time, what it alone is capable of contributing; for nowhere else will there be the possibility of speaking about the estate of the divine teachers of humanity in primeval times who spoke of everything except birth and death, because they themselves had not passed through birth and death. And nowhere else will it be possible to speak of the Teacher Who had come to His initiated disciples in a form similar to the one in which the divine primeval teachers of mankind had once appeared, but Who was able to give the significant teachings of a God's experience in the human destiny of birth and death.

Out of this communication of a God to mankind we shall draw the force to behold death, in which we must be interested, in such a way that we can say: Death does exist, but it cannot harm the soul. The Mystery of Golgotha enabled us to declare this fact. St. Paul knew that, had it not taken place, had the Christ not risen, then the soul would have been enmeshed in the destiny of the body; that is, been enmeshed in the dissolution of the body into the elements of the earth. Had Christ not risen, had He not united Himself with the earth forces, the human soul would unite itself with the human body between birth and death in such a way that it would also link itself with all the molecules of the body which unite themselves with the earth after the body's destruction by fire or through putrefaction. Then in future ages, at the end of the earth evolution, it would happen that human souls would take the same road as the substance of the earth. But the Christ, by passing through the Mystery of Golgotha, is able to tear the human soul away from this destiny. The earth will continue on its path in the cosmos. But just as the human soul is able to emerge from the individual human body, so the sum total of human souls will be freed from the earth and will advance onward to a new cosmic existence.

The Christ is thus connected with the earth in a very intimate way. But the manner in which we have approached this secret alone enables us to understand it.

In the minds of many the following question might arise: How will it be, at that time, with those who do not believe in Christ? In regard to this I should like to say as a consolation that the Christ has died for us all, even for those who today are unable to unite themselves with Him. The Mystery of Golgotha is an objective fact quite apart from human knowledge; but this human knowledge strengthens the inner forces of the human soul. And all the means at our command concerning human knowledge, human feeling, human will, will have to be employed in the further course of earth evolution in order to establish, through direct knowledge, the presence of Christ in the individual human soul.

This, my dear friends, is what I wished to say to you today.




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