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From Jesus to Christ

Schmidt Number: S-2452

On-line since: 15th January 2007


If you recall that in the course of our lectures we have come to look upon the Christ-Impulse as the most profound event in human evolution, you will doubtless agree that some exertion of our powers of mind and spirit is needed to understand its full meaning and range of influence. Certainly in the widest circles we find the bad habit of saying that the highest things in the world must be comprehensible in the simplest terms. If what someone is constrained to say about the sources of existence appears complicated, people turn away from it because ‘the truth must be simple’. In the last resort it certainly is simple. But if at a certain stage we wish to learn to know the highest things, it is not hard to see that we must first clear the way to understanding them. And in order to enter into the full greatness, the full significance, of the Christ-Impulse, from a particular point of view, we must bring together many different matters.

We need only turn to the Pauline Epistles and we shall soon see that Paul, who sought especially to bring within range of human minds the super-sensible nature of the Christ-Being, has drawn into the concept, the idea, of the Christ, the whole of human evolution, so to speak. If we let the Pauline Epistles work upon us, we have finally something which, through its extraordinary simplicity and through the deeply penetrating quality of the words and sentences, makes a most significant impression. But this is so only because Paul, through his own initiation, had worked his way up to that simplicity which is not the starting-point of what is true, but the consequence, the goal. If we wish to penetrate into what Paul was able finally to express in wonderful, monumental, simple words concerning the Christ-Being, we must come nearer to an understanding of human nature, for whose further development on Earth the Christ-Impulse came. Let us therefore consider what we already know concerning human nature, as shown through occult sight.

We divide the life of Man into two parts: the period between birth and death, and the period which runs its course between death and a new birth. Let us first of all look at man in his physical body. We know that occult sight sees him as a four-fold being, but as a four-fold being in process of development. Occult sight sees the physical body, etheric body, astral body and the Ego. We know that in order to understand human evolution we must learn the occult truth that this Ego, of which we become aware in our feelings and perceptions when we simply look away from the external world and try to live within ourselves, goes on from incarnation to incarnation. But we also know that this Ego is, as it were, ensheathed — although ‘ensheathed’ is not a good expression, we can use it for the present — by three other members of human nature, the astral body, the etheric body and the physical body. Of the astral body we know that in a certain respect it is the companion of the Ego through the various incarnations. For though during the Kamaloka time much of the astral body must be shed, it remains as a kind of force-body, which holds together the moral, intellectual and aesthetic progress we have stored up during an incarnation. Whatever constitutes true progress is held together by the power of the astral body, is carried from one incarnation to another, and is linked, as it were, with the Ego, which passes as the fundamentally eternal in us from incarnation to incarnation. Further, we know that from the etheric body, too, very much is cast off immediately after death, but an extract of this etheric body remains with us, an extract we take with us from one incarnation to another. In the first days directly after death we have before us a kind of backward review, like a great tableau, of our life up to that time, and we take with us a concentrated etheric extract. The rest of the etheric body is given over into the general etheric world in one form or another, according to the development of the person concerned.

When, however, we look at the fourth member of the human being, the physical body, it seems at first as if the physical body simply disappears into the physical world. One might say that this can be externally demonstrated, for to external sight the physical body is brought in one way or another to dissolution. The question, however, which everyone who occupies himself with Spiritual Science must put to himself is the following. Is not all that external physical cognition can tell us about the fate of our physical body perhaps only Maya? The answer does not lie very far away for anyone who has begun to understand Spiritual Science. When a man can say to himself, ‘All that is offered by sense-appearance is Maya, external illusion’, how can he think it really true that the physical body, delivered over to the grave or to the fire, disappears without trace, however crudely the appearance may obtrude on his senses? Perhaps, behind the external Maya, there lies something much deeper. Let us go further into this.

You will realise that in order to understand the evolution of the Earth, we must know the earlier embodiments of our planet; we must study the Saturn, Sun, and Moon embodiments of the Earth. We know that the Earth has gone through its ‘incarnations’ just as every human being has done. Our physical body was prepared in the course of human evolution from the Saturn period of the Earth. With regard to the ancient Saturn time we cannot speak at all of etheric body, astral body, and Ego in the sense of the present day. But the germ for the physical body was already sown, was embodied, during the Saturn evolution. During the Sun period of the Earth this germ was transformed, and then in this germ, in its altered form, the etheric was embodied. During the Moon period of the Earth the physical body was again transformed, and in it, and at the same time in the etheric body, which also came forth in an altered form, the astral body was incorporated. During the Earth period the Ego was incorporated. And is it conceivable that the part of us which was embodied during the Saturn period, our physical body, simply decomposes or is burned up and disappears into the elements, after the most significant endeavours had been made by divine-spiritual Beings through millions and millions of years, during the Saturn, Sun and Moon periods, in order to produce this physical body? If this were true, we should have before us the very remarkable fact that through three planetary stages, Saturn, Sun, Moon, a whole host of divine Beings worked to produce a cosmic element, such as our physical body is, and that during the Earth period this cosmic element is destined to vanish every time a person dies. It would be a remarkable drama if Maya — and external observation knows nothing else — were right. So now we ask: Can Maya be right?

At first it certainly seems as though occult knowledge declares Maya to be correct, for, strangely enough, occult knowledge seems in this case to harmonise with Maya. When we study the description given by spiritual knowledge of the development of man after death, we find that scarcely any notice is taken of the physical body. We are told that the physical body is thrown off, is given over to the elements of the Earth. We are told about the etheric body, the astral body, the Ego. The physical body is not further touched upon, and it seems as though the silence of spiritual knowledge were giving tacit assent to Maya-knowledge. So it seems, and in a certain way we are justified by Spiritual Science in speaking thus, for everything further must be left to a deeper grounding in Christology. For concerning what goes beyond Maya with regard to the physical body we cannot speak at all correctly unless the Christ-Impulse and everything connected with it has first been sufficiently explained.

If we observe how this physical body was experienced at some definite moment in the past, we shall reach a quite remarkable result. Let us enquire into three kinds of folk-consciousness, three different forms of human consciousness concerning all that is connected with our physical body, during decisive periods in human evolution. We will enquire first of all among the Greeks.

We know that the Greeks were that remarkable people who rose to their highest development in the fourth post-Atlantean epoch of civilisation. We know that this epoch began about the eighth century before our era, and ended in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries after the Event of Palestine. We can easily confirm what is said about this period from external information, traditions, and documents. The first dimly clear accounts concerning Greece hardly go back farther than the sixth or seventh century before our era, though legendary accounts come down from still earlier times. We know that the greatness of the historical period of Greece has its source in the preceding period, the third post-Atlantean epoch. The inspired utterances of Homer reach back into the period preceding the fourth post-Atlantean epoch; and Aeschylus, who lived so early that a number of his works have been lost, points back to the drama of the Mysteries, of which he offers us but an echo. The third post-Atlantean epoch extends into the Greek age, but in that age the fourth epoch comes to full expression. The wonderful Greek culture is the purest expression of the fourth post-Atlantean epoch.

Now there falls upon our ear a remarkable saying from this land of Greece, a saying which permits us to see deeply into the soul of the man who felt himself truly a Greek, the saying of the hero (Achilles, in the Odyssey): ‘Better a beggar in the upper world, than a king in the land of shades.’ Here is a saying which betrays the deep susceptibility of the Greek soul. One might say that everything preserved to us of Greek classical beauty and classical greatness, of the gradual formation of the human ideal in the external world — all this resounds to us from that saying.

Let us recall the wonderful training of the human body in Greek gymnastics and in the great Games, which are only caricatured in these days by persons who understand nothing of what Greece really was. Every period has its own ideal, and we must keep this in mind if we want to understand how this development of the external physical body, as it stands there in its own form on the physical plane, was a peculiar privilege of the Greek spirit. So, too, was the creation of human ideals in plastic art, the enhancement of the human form in sculpture. And if we then look at the character of the Greek consciousness, as it held sway in a Pericles, for example, when a man had a feeling for the universally human and yet could stand firmly on his own feet and feel like a lord and king in the domain of his city — when we let all this work upon us, then we must say that the real love of the Greek was for the human form as it stood there before him on the physical plane, and that aesthetics, too, were turned to account in the development of this form. Where this human form was so well loved and understood, one could give oneself up to the thought: ‘When that which gives to man this beautiful form on the physical plane is taken away from human nature, one cannot value the remainder as highly as the part destroyed by death.’ This supreme love for the external form led unavoidably to a pessimistic view of what remains of man when he has passed through the gate of death. And we can fully understand that the Greek soul, having looked with so great a love upon the outer form, felt sad when compelled to think: ‘This form is taken away from the human individuality. The human individuality lives on without this form!’ If for the moment one looks at it solely from the point of view of feeling, then we must say: We have in Greece that branch of the human race which most loved and valued the human body, and underwent the deepest sorrow when the body perished in death. Now let us consider another consciousness which developed about the same time, the Buddha consciousness, which had passed over from Buddha to his followers. There we have almost the opposite of the Greek attitude. We need only remember one thing: the kernel of the four great truths of Buddha is that human individuality is drawn by longing, by desire, into the existence where it is enshrouded by an external form. Into what kind of existence? Into an existence described in the Buddha-teaching as ‘Birth is sorrow, sickness is sorrow, old age is sorrow, death is sorrow!’ The underlying thought in this kernel of Buddhism is that by being enshrouded in an external bodily sheath, our individuality, which at birth comes down from divine-spiritual heights and returns to divine-spiritual heights at death, is exposed to the pain of existence, to the sorrow of existence. Only one way of salvation for men is expressed in the four great holy truths of Buddha: to become free from external existence, to throw off the external sheath. This means transforming the individuality so that it comes as soon as possible into a condition which will permit this throwing off. We note that the active feeling here is the reverse of the feeling dominant among the Greeks. Just as strongly as the Greek loved and valued the external bodily sheath, and felt the sadness of casting it aside, just as little did the adherent of Buddhism value it, regarding it as something to be cast aside as quickly as possible. And linked with this attitude was the struggle to overcome the craving for existence, an existence enshrouded by a bodily sheath.

Let us go a little more deeply into these Buddhist thoughts. A kind of theoretical view meets us in Buddhism concerning the successive incarnations of man. It is not so much a question of what the individual thinks about the theory, as of what has penetrated into the consciousness of the adherents of Buddhism. I have often described this. I have said that we have perhaps no better opportunity of feeling what an adherent of Buddhism must have felt in regard to the continual incarnations of man, than by immersing ourselves in the traditional conversation between King Milinda and a Buddhist sage. ‘Thou hast come in thy carriage: then reflect, O great King,’ said the sage Nagasena, ‘that all thou hast in the carriage is nothing but the wheels, the shaft, the body of the carriage and the seat, and beyond these nothing else exists except a word which covers wheels, shaft, body of carriage, seat, and so on. Thus thou canst not speak of a special individuality of the carriage, but thou must clearly understand that “carriage” is an empty word if thou thinkest of anything else than its parts, its members.’ And another simile was chosen by Nagasena for King Milinda. ‘Consider the almond-fruit which grows on the tree, and reflect that out of another fruit a seed was taken and laid in the earth and has decayed; out of that seed the tree has grown, and the almond-fruit upon it. Canst thou say that the fruit on the tree has anything else in common other than name and external form with the fruit from which the seed was taken and laid in the earth, where it decayed?’ A man, Nagasena meant to say, has just as much in common with the man of his preceding incarnation as the almond-fruit on the tree has with the almond-fruit which, as seed, was laid in the earth. Anyone who believes that the form which stands before us as man, and is wafted away by death, is anything else than name and form, believes something as false as he who thinks that in the carriage — in the name ‘carriage’ — something else is contained than the parts of the carriage — the wheels, shaft, and so on. From the preceding incarnation nothing of what man calls his Ego passes over into the new incarnation.

That is important! And we must repeatedly emphasise that it is not to the point how this or that person chooses to interpret this or that saying of the Buddha, but how Buddhism worked in the consciousness of the people, what it gave to their souls. And what it gave to their souls is indeed expressed with intense clearness and significance in this parable of King Milinda and the Buddhist sage. Of what we call the ‘Ego’, and of which we say that it is first felt and perceived by man when he reflects upon his inner being, the Buddhist says that fundamentally it is something that flows into him, and belongs to Maya as much as everything else that does not go from incarnation to incarnation.

I have elsewhere mentioned that if a Christian sage were to be compared with the Buddhist one, he would have spoken differently to King Milinda. The Buddhist said to the King: ‘Consider the carriage, wheels, shaft, and so on; they are parts of the carriage, and beyond these parts carriage is only a name and form. With the word carriage thou hast named nothing real in the carriage. If thou wilt speak of what is real, thou must name the parts.’ In the same case the Christian sage would have said: ‘O wise King Milinda, thou hast come in thy carriage; look at it! In it thou canst see only the wheels, the shaft, the body of the carriage and so on, but I ask thee now: Canst thou travel hither with the wheels only? Or with the shaft only, or with the seat only? Thou canst not travel hither on any of the separate parts. So far as they are parts they make the carriage, but on the parts thou canst not come hither. In order that the assembled parts can make the carriage, something else is necessary than their being merely parts. There must first be the quite definite thought of the carriage, for it is this that brings together wheels, shaft, and so on. And the thought of the carriage is something very necessary: thou canst indeed not see the thought, but thou must recognise it!’

The Christian sage would then turn to man and say: ‘Of the individual person thou canst see only the external body, the external acts, and the external soul-experiences; thou seest in man just as little of his Ego as in the name carriage thou seest its separate parts. Something quite different is established within the parts, namely that which enables thee to travel hither. So also in man: within all his parts something quite different is established, namely that which constitutes the Ego. The Ego is something real which as a super-sensible entity goes from one incarnation to another.’

How can we make a diagram of the Buddhist teaching of reincarnation, so that it will represent the corresponding Buddhist theory? With the circle we indicate a man between birth and death. The man dies. The time when he dies is marked by the point where the circle touches the line A–B. Now what remains of all that has been spellbound within his existence between birth and death? A summation of causes: the results of acts, of everything a man has

 Diagram 3
Diagram 3
Click image for large view

done, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, clever or stupid. All that remains over in this way works on as a set of causes, and so forms the causal nucleus (C) for the next incarnation. Round this causal nucleus new body-sheaths (D) are woven for the next incarnation. These body-sheaths go through new experiences, as did the body-sheaths around the earlier causal nucleus. From these experiences there remains again a causal nucleus (E). It includes experiences that have come into it from earlier incarnations, together with experiences from its last life. Hence it serves as the causal nucleus for the next incarnation, and so on. This means that what goes through the incarnations consists of nothing but causes and effects. There is no continuing Ego to connect the incarnations; nothing but causes and effects working over from one incarnation into the next. So when in this incarnation I call myself an ‘Ego’, this is not because the same Ego was there in the preceding incarnation. What I call my Ego is only a Maya of the present incarnation.

Anyone who really knows Buddhism must picture it in this way, and he must clearly understand that what we call the Ego has no place in Buddhism. Now let us go on to what we know through anthroposophical cognition.

How has man ever been able to develop his Ego? Through the Earth-evolution. Only in the course of the Earth-evolution has he reached the stage of developing his Ego. It was added to his physical body, etheric body and astral body on the Earth. Now, if we remember all we had to say concerning the evolutionary phases of man during the Saturn, Sun and Moon periods, we know that during the Moon period the human physical body had not yet acquired a quite definite form; it received this first on Earth. Hence we speak of the Earth-existence as the epoch in which the Spirits of Form first took part, and metamorphosed the physical body of man so that it has its present form. This forming of the human physical body was necessary if the Ego were to find a place in man. The physical Earth-body, set down on the physical Earth, provided the foundation for the dawn of the Ego as we know it. If we keep this in mind, what follows will no longer seem incomprehensible.

With regard to the valuation of the Ego among the Greeks, we saw that for them it was expressed externally in the human form. Let us now recall that Buddhism, according to its knowledge, sets out to overcome and cast off as quickly as possible the external form of the human physical body. Can we then wonder that in Buddhism we find no value attached to anything connected with this bodily form? It is the essence of Buddhism to value the external form of the physical body as little as it values the external form which the Ego needs in order to come into being: indeed, all this is completely set aside. Buddhism lost the form of the Ego through the way in which it undervalued the physical body.

 Diagram 4
Diagram 4
Click image for large view

Thus we see how these two spiritual currents are polarically opposed: the Greek current, which set the highest value on the external form of the physical body as the external form of the Ego, and Buddhism, which requires that the external form of the physical body, with all craving after existence, shall be overcome as soon as possible, so that in its theory it has completely lost the Ego.

Between these two opposite world-philosophies stands ancient Hebraism. Ancient Hebraism is far from thinking so poorly of the Ego as Buddhism does. In Buddhism, it is heresy to recognise a continuous Ego, going on from one incarnation to the next. But ancient Hebraism held very strongly to this so called heresy, and it would never have entered the mind of an adherent of that religion to suppose that his personal divine spark, with which he connected his concept of the Ego, is lost when he goes through the gate of death. If we want to make clear how the ancient Hebrew regarded the matter, we must say that he felt himself connected in his inner being with the Godhead, intimately connected; he knew that through the finest threads of his soul-life, as it were, he was dependent on the being of this Godhead.

With regard to the concept of the Ego, the ancient Hebrew was quite different from the Buddhist, but in another respect he was also very different from the Greek. When we survey those ancient times as a whole, we find that the estimation of human personality, and hence that valuation of the external human form which was peculiar to the Greek, is not present in ancient Hebraism. For the Greek it would have been absolute nonsense to say: ‘Thou shalt not make to thyself any image of thy God.’ He would not have understood if someone had said to him: ‘Thou shalt not make to thyself any image of thy Zeus, or thy Apollo.’ For he felt that the highest thing was the external form, and that the highest tribute a man could offer to the Gods was to clothe them with this human form which he himself valued so much. Nothing would have seemed more absurd to him than the commandment: ‘Thou shalt make to thyself no image of God.’ As artist, the Greek gave his human form to his gods. He thought of himself as made in the likeness of the Divine, and he carried out his contests, his wrestling, his gymnastics and so on, in order to become a real copy of the God.

But the ancient Hebrew had the commandment, ‘Thou shalt make to thyself no image of God!’ This was because he did not value the external form as the Greeks had done; he regarded it as unworthy in relation to the Divine. The ancient Hebrew was as far removed on the one side from the disciple of Buddhism, who would have much preferred to cast off the human form entirely on passing through death, as he was on the other side from the Greek. He was mindful of the fact that it was this form that gave expression to the commands, the laws, of the Divine Being, and he clearly understood that a ‘righteous man’ handed down through the following generations what he, as a righteous man, had gathered together. 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.

So these three views stand over against one another. And for a closer understanding of ancient Hebraism we must make it clear that what the Hebrew valued as his Ego was in a certain sense also the Divine Ego. The God lived on in humanity, lived within man. In his union with the God, the Hebrew felt at the same time his own Ego, and felt it to be coincident with the Divine Ego. The Divine Ego sustained him; the Divine Ego was active within him. The Greek said: ‘I value my Ego so greatly that I look with horror on what will happen to it after death.’ The Buddhist said: ‘That which is the cause of the external form of man must fall away from man as soon as possible.’ The Hebrew said: ‘I am united with God; that is my fate, and as long as I am united with Him I bear my fate. I know nothing else than the identification of my Ego with the Divine Ego.’

This old Judaic mode of thought, standing midway between Greek thought and Buddhism, does not involve, as Greek thought does from the outset, a predisposition to tragedy in face of the phenomenon of death, but tragic feeling is indirectly present in it. It is truly Greek for the hero to say: ‘Better a beggar in the upper world’ — i.e. with the human bodily form — ‘than a king in the realm of shades’, but a Hebrew could not have said it without something more. For the Hebrew knows that when in death his bodily form falls away, he remains united with God. He cannot fall into a tragic mood simply through the fact of death. Still, the predisposition to tragedy is present indirectly in ancient Hebraism, and is expressed in the most wonderfully dramatic story ever written in ancient times, the story of Job.

We see there how the Ego of Job feels bound up with his God, how it comes into conflict with his God, but differently from the way in which the Greek Ego comes into conflict. We are shown how misfortune after misfortune falls upon Job, although he is conscious that he is a righteous man and has done all he can to maintain the connection of his Ego with the Divine Ego. And while it seems that his existence is blessed and ought to be blessed, a tragic fate breaks over him.

Job is not aware of any sin; he is conscious that he has acted as a righteous man must act towards his God. Word is brought to him that all his possessions have been destroyed, all his family slain. Then his external body, this divine form, is stricken with grievous disease. There he stands, the man who can consciously say to himself: “Through the inward connection I feel with my God, I have striven to be righteous before my God. My fate, decreed to me by this God, has placed me in the world. It is the acts of this God which have fallen so heavily upon me.” And his wife stands there beside him, and calls upon him in strange words to deny his God. These words are handed down correctly. They are one of the sayings which correspond exactly with the Akashic record: ‘Renounce thy God, since thou hast to suffer so much, since He has brought these sufferings upon thee, and die!’ What endless depth lies in these words: Lose the consciousness of the connection with thy God; then thou wilt fall out of the Divine connection, like a leaf from the tree, and thy God can no longer punish thee! But loss of the connection with God is at the same time death! For as long as the Ego feels itself connected with God, death cannot touch it. The Ego must first tear itself away from connection with God; then only can death touch it.

According to outward appearance everything is against righteous Job; his wife sees his suffering and advises him to renounce God and die; his friends come and say: ‘You must have done this or that, for God never punishes a righteous man.’ But he is aware, as far as his personal consciousness is concerned, that he has done nothing unrighteous. Through the events he encounters in the external world he stands before an immense tragedy: the tragedy of not being able to understand human existence, of feeling himself bound up with God and not understanding how what he is experiencing can have its source in God.

Let us think of all this lying with its full weight upon a human soul. Let us think of this soul breaking forth into the words which have come down to us from the traditional story of Job: ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth! I know that one day I shall again be clothed with my bones, with my skin, and that I shall look upon God with whom I am united.’ This consciousness of the indestructibility of the human individuality breaks forth from the soul of Job in spite of all the pain and suffering. So powerful is the consciousness of the Ego as the inner content of the ancient Hebrew belief! But here we meet with something in the highest degree remarkable. ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth,’ says Job, ‘I know that one day I shall again be covered with my skin, and that with mine eyes I shall behold the glory of my God.’ Job brings into connection with the Redeemer-thought the external body, skin and bones, eyes which see physically. Strange! Suddenly, in this consciousness that stands midway between Greek thought and Buddhism — this ancient Hebrew consciousness — we meet a consciousness of the significance of the physical bodily form in connection with the Redeemer-thought, which then becomes the foundation, the basis, for the Christ-thought. And when we take the answer of Job's wife, still more light falls on everything Job says. ‘Renounce thy God and die.’ This signifies that he who does not renounce his God does not die. That is implied in these words. But then, what does ‘die’ mean? To die means to throw off the physical body. External Maya seems to say that the physical body passes over into the elements of the earth, and, so to speak, disappears. Thus in the answer of Job's wife there lies the following: ‘Do what is necessary that thy physical body may disappear!’ It could not mean anything else, or the words of Job that follow would have no sense. For man can understand anything only if he can understand the means whereby God has placed us in the world; if, that is, he can understand the significance of the physical body. And Job himself says, for this too lies in his words: ‘O, I know full well that I need not do anything that would bring about the complete disappearance of my physical body, for that would be only an external appearance. There is a possibility that my body may be saved, because my Redeemer liveth. This I cannot express otherwise than in the words: My skin, my bones, will one day be recreated. With my eyes I shall behold the Glory of my God. I can lawfully keep my physical body, but for this I must have the consciousness that my Redeemer liveth.’

So in this story of Job there comes before us for the first time a connection between the Form of the physical body, which the Buddhist would strip off, which sadly the Greek sees pass away, and the Ego-consciousness. We meet for the first time with something like a prospect of deliverance for that which the host of Gods from ancient Saturn, Sun, and Moon, down to the Earth itself, have brought forth as the Form of the physical body. And if the Form is to be preserved, if we are to say of it that what has been given us of bones, skin and sense-organs is to have an outcome, then we must add: ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth.’

This is strange, someone might now say. Does it really follow from the story of Job that Christ awakens the dead and rescues the bodily Form which the Greeks believed would disappear? And is there perhaps anything in the story to indicate that for the general evolution of humanity it is not right, in the full sense of the word, that the external bodily Form should disappear completely? May it not be interwoven with the whole human evolutionary process? Has this connection a part to play in the future? Does it depend upon the Christ-Being?

These questions are set before us. And they mean that we shall have to widen in a certain connection what we have so far learnt from Spiritual Science. We know that when we pass through the gate of death we retain at least the etheric body, but we strip off the physical body entirely; we see it delivered up to the elements. But its Form, which has been worked upon through millions and millions of years — is that lost in nothingness, or is it in some way retained?

We will consider this question in the light of the explanations you have heard today, and tomorrow we will approach it by asking: How is the impulse given to human evolution by the Christ related to the significance of the external physical body — that body which throughout Earth evolution is consigned to the grave, the fire or the air, although the preservation of its Form is necessary for the future of mankind?

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