THE RELATIONSHIP OF CHRIST WITH HUMANITY
I ATTEMPTED to show in my last observations how, in the realm of human
evolution, the psycho-spiritual existence is transferred to that of
the physical senses. Now it depends on the understanding which man can
bring to bear on this transference whether he can gain a relationship,
in accordance with modern consciousness, to the event of Golgotha and
its reference to man's development on earth.
If one does not realize in one's own physical nature how something
psycho-spiritual has so changed itself from a spiritual form of
experience as to become manifest in the physical world of the senses,
one will also never know how the Christ spirit coming from spirit
worlds was made manifest in the man Jesus on earth.
But it must be once more emphasized that it is not a case of
individual knowledge derived from observation, but rather of
understanding with one's whole nature and being what observation has
brought to light. Only a few men achieve the former, but the latter is
possible to all. The man who realizes the worlds through which the
human soul has passed in its pre-earthly existence, learns also to
look up to Him who before the event of the mystery of Golgotha had
lived as Christ only in those worlds, and who through this mystery and
since its occurrence had united His life with mortal humanity.
Our earthly souls have attained the condition in which they now live
only through a gradual development. Ordinary consciousness takes the
condition of the soul as it is to-day and constructs a
history, in which things are represented as if man in the
grey dawn of time had thought and willed and felt practically as he
does now. But that is not so. There have been times in which the soul
condition was quite different times when there was no such
sharp distinction between sleeping and waking. Dreams now are the only
bridge between the two; and their content has something deceptive and
questionable about them. Primitive man knew a stage between full
wakefulness and unconscious sleep, which was pictorial and remote from
the senses, but revealing something really spiritual, just as the
sense-observation reveals something of the actually physical.
In this life of pictures, and not of thoughts, early man had a
dream-like experience of his pre-earthly existence. He felt his
pre-earthly soul-nature as an echo of what he had gone through. On the
other hand he had not that sense of self which present-day man has. He
did not find himself in the same degree as to-day as an
Ego. This feeling has arisen only in the course of human
spiritual evolution, and the decisive epoch of this development is
that in which occurred also the event of Golgotha.
At this time in the ordinary consciousness the psychic experience of
an echo from pre-earthly existence grew ever fainter. Man's knowledge
of himself became more and more limited to what his physical
sense-life on earth told him.
Moreover, from this moment the perception of death took on a new
meaning. Previously man knew, as I have described, of the central
point of his being. He knew it through the contemplation of this echo
in such case that he was convinced this echo could not be affected by
death. At the moment of historical time when the view became limited
to the physical nature of man, death became a disturbing problem for
The further development of purely inner faculties of knowledge did not
suffice to solve this problem. It was solved by the events of Golgotha
occurring in the evolution of the earth.
The Christ came down to earthly existence from those worlds in which
man had passed his pre-earthly life. By combining the experience of
the ordinary awake consciousness with the contemplation of the acts of
Christ, man can find, since Golgotha, what he formerly found through a
natural function of his consciousness.
The Initiates of the ancient Mysteries spoke to their
followers in such a way that they saw in their considerations of
pre-earthly life a gift of grace from that spiritual Sun-Being which
has its counterpart in the physical sun.
The Initiates who at the time of the mystery of Golgotha still
continued the ancient initiation-methods, told those who had ears to
hear how the Being who had before given to man the echo from spiritual
worlds of pre-earthly existence that he could carry into the earthly
life, had descended as the Christ upon the physical earth and taken
flesh in the person of the man Jesus.
Those who knew the truth about the mystery of Golgotha always, as in
the early days of Christianity, spoke of the Christ-Being as one who
had descended from spiritual worlds to an earthly one. The teachers of
mankind of that time stressed particularly this aspect of the Christ
coming from a higher world down to the earth.
This view was conditioned by the fact that one still knew enough, from
the ancient initiation, about the supernatural worlds, to see in
Christ a Being of the spiritual world before his descent to earth.
The remnants of this knowledge lasted into the Fourth Century, and
then faded in man's consciousness. The event of Golgotha thus became
an event which was known only through the construction of political
The principles of initiation of the old world were lost to the outer
world, and took root only in almost unknown places. Only now in the
last third of the nineteenth Century has a stage in human evolution
been reached again in which the new Initiation, as has been described
leads to an aspect of Christ's nature within the spiritual world.
It was necessary for the complete unfolding of the ego-consciousness,
which was to come into being in the development of humanity, that
initiate knowledge should disappear for a few centuries, and that man
should turn his attention to the outer world of the senses in which
the ego-consciousness could be freely cultivated.
Thus it was only possible for the Christian community to direct the
attention of believers to the historical tradition concerning the
mystery of Golgotha and to clothe what was once known by spiritual
knowledge in Dogmas of Belief for the Earth. The
content of these Dogmas does not concern us here, but only the manner
in which they affect the soul, whether through faith, belief or
It is again possible to-day to have a direct knowledge of the Christ.
The figure of Jesus stood for centuries in front of the ordinary
consciousness, and the Christ who lived in him, had become an object
of faith. But more and more the inclination to dogmatic faith grew
less, precisely among the spiritual leaders of mankind; Jesus was seen
more and more only as history made him appear to the ordinary
consciousness. The sense of Christ was gradually lost; and so
there grew up a modern branch of Theology which concerns itself really
only with the man Jesus, and which lacks a living sense of the Christ.
But a mere Jesus-Faith is really no longer Christianity.
In the consciousness which early man had of his pre-earthly existence,
he had also an anchorage for a proper relationship to his existence,
after death on earth.
In later times his union with the Christ was to give him in another
way what had thus been given him in primæval time by nature, through
the sense of his own life-experience concerning the problem of death.
The Christ was so to permeate him, in the words of St. Paul, Not
I, but the Christ in me, that He might be his guide through the
gate of death. Man now had indeed something in the ordinary
consciousness which could develop the complete Ego-sense, but nothing
which could give the soul the strength to approach the gates of Death
with certain knowledge of its living passage through them. For
ordinary consciousness is a result of the physical body, and therefore
can give the soul only such strength as must be regarded as
extinguished in death.
To those who could learn all this from their old initiation, the human
physical organism appeared out of order, for they had to assume that
it could not develop the power to give the soul such a comprehensive
consciousness as to enable it to live its full life. Christ appeared
as the soul-doctor of the world, as the Healer, the Saviour, and as
such in His fundamental relationship to humanity He must be
The event of death and its relationship to the Christ is to be the
subject of my next study.
Through the taking-up of the Christ-experience a Philosophy has grown
out of what the ancient consciousness, deepened by the saying of the
Initiates, had given to man as an experience of eternity, and a
philosophy which can include the divine Father principle. The Father
in Spirit can be regarded again as the all-pervading Being. Cosmology
gains its Christian character through the knowledge of the Christ who,
as a Being from outside the earth, assumed mortal shape in the person
of Jesus. In the events of human evolution the Christ is recognized as
the Being to whose lot has fallen a decisive part in this evolution.
And through the re-awakening of the half-forgotten knowledge of the
Eternal Man, the human mind is led out of the purely
sense-world in which the ego-consciousness develops, to the spirit,
which can be experienced with full understanding by the soul in
conjunction with God the Father and the Christ in a renewed perceptive
knowledge of Religion.