The Michael Mystery
VI. Mankind's Future and the Work of Michael
How does Man stand to-day, at his present stage of evolution, with regard to Michael and Michael's Company?
Man stands over against a world which once was wholly divine, spiritual Being — divine spiritual Being, of which he himself was a living part. The world therefore, in those times when World and Man belonged together, was a world of divine spiritual Being. In a following stage of evolutionary progress, this had ceased. The world was then, the cosmic Revelation of Divine spirit; the Divine Spirit in its essential Being hovered behind the Revelation. Yet still it weaved and lived in this, its revealed glory. A world of stars was there; in their shining and their motion Divine Spirit weaved and lived as revelation. One may say, that in the place of a star's standing, in those days, or in the manner of its moving, might directly be seen the action of Divine Spirit.
In all that here went on — the manner in which the Divine Spirit wrought within the Cosmos — the life of Man, as he grew up in every way a product of divine-spiritual action in the Cosmos — in all of this, Michael was still in his own element unopposed. He was mediator in the relations of the Divinity to Man.
Other times came. The star-world ceased to be the immediate and present bearer of the divine-spiritual action. Its life and motion was but the persistent continuation of the same form of action which had once worked within it. Divine Spirit lived no longer in the Cosmos as Revelation, but only as Workings. A marked distinction had now taken place between the Divine-Spiritual and the Cosmic: they had become two against the Ahrimanic Powers, which will save us from falling into their snare.
Michael, from his own fundamental being, remained with the Divine-Spiritual. He endeavoured also to keep Man as close to it as possible. And he continued to do so. It was his purpose to preserve Man from living all too intensely in a world which was only the workings—not the being, and not the revelation—of Divine Spirit.
Michael accounts it a matter of deepest satisfaction that he has succeeded, through Man, in keeping the star-world still directly connected with the divine-spiritual element, and in the following manner: — When Man has accomplished his life between death and new birth, and is on his way down to take up a new existence upon Earth, he himself endeavours, as he comes down towards this new existence, to establish a harmony between the course of the stars and his own earth-lives. This harmony was a matter of course in times of yore, since Divine Spirit was at work within the stars, and Man’s life had its source in them. To-day, when the stars merely continue in their courses to carry on the Divine Spirit’s workings, this harmony would not exist, unless Man sought for it. Man brings his own divine-spiritual element, that has been conserved from earlier times in him, into relation with the stars, in which the divine-spiritual element only exists as after-effect of an earlier time. Thus a divine element is introduced into Man’s relation with the world, which corresponds to earlier times and yet appears in later ones. That this is so, is the act of Michael; and this act gives him such deep satisfaction, that a great part of his life-element, his life-energy, his radiant, sun-like life-will, lives in this satisfaction.
To-day, however, when he looks with a spirit’s eye at the earth, he sees there another and essentially different state of things. Man, during his life now in the physical sphere between birth and death, has all round about him a world which is no longer directly even the workings of Divine Spirit, but only something left behind from these workings, — what one can only call the work wrought by Divine Spirit. This wrought work is in its forms altogether of a divinely spiritual kind. The Divinity manifests itself to human perception in the forms, in the natural processes, of this wrought world. But Divinity is no longer within it as a living presence. Nature is this divinely wrought work of the Divinity, and everywhere the moulded likeness of the divine workings.
In this sun-brightly divine, but not livingly divine world, lies the life of Man. But owing to Michael’s work upon - him, he has conserved as Man his connection with the essential being of Divine Spirit. He lives as a God-pervaded being in a non-God-pervaded world.
Into this God-voided world, Man will introduce what is in himself — what his own being has come to be in this age.
Mankind will take its place in a world-evolution, and expand its own form there. The Divine Spirit-Being from which Man first sprang, spread abroad as Man-Being throughout all the worlds, will then have power to fill with light that Cosmos, which now exists only in the wrought likeness of Divine Spirit.
It will no longer be the same Being, which once was Cosmos, which will then shine forth in light through Man. Divine Spirit, in its passage through Mankind, shall realise a quality of being, which it had not brought to manifestation before.
Against the progress of evolution in this direction, the Ahrimanic Powers turn all their force. They do not want the Divine-spiritual Powers of its origin to illumine the Universe on its further course. Their aim is that the whole of the new Cosmos should be lit by the cosmic intellectual light which they have absorbed into themselves, and that Man should live on henceforth in this intellectualised and Ahrimanised cosmos.
In a life of this kind, Man would lose the Christ. For Christ came into the world with an Intellectuality which is in every way the same as it was, when once it lived in the Divine Spirit, when Divine Spirit in Being still informed the Cosmos. If, to-day, we speak in such a manner that our thoughts can also be the Christ’s, then we set something against the Ahrimanic Powers, which will save us from falling into their snare.
To understand the meaning of the Michael-Mission in the Cosmos, means the ability to speak like this. One must be able in these days to speak about the world of Nature in the way demanded by the present stage of the Spiritual Soul's development. One must be able to make one's mind familiar with the purely scientific, naturalistic mode of thought.
But one must also learn to speak — which means, to feel — about the world of Nature too in a manner befitting the Christ. Not only about redemption from Nature, not only about the soul and things divine, but about the Cosmos, we must learn the Christ-language.
That our human link with our first divine-spiritual origin may be so preserved, that we may know how rightly to speak the Christ-language about the Cosmos — this is something to which we shall in the end attain, if with inward sincerity of heart we learn to feel and ever more fully enter into all that Michael and Michael's Company are amongst us — in their mission, in all that they perform. For to understand Michael, means, to-day, to find the way to the Logos, as lived by Christ amongst men on earth.
Anthroposophy sets due value upon all that the naturalistic form of scientific thought has learnt to say about the world during the last four to five hundred years. But Anthroposophy has another language to speak besides this one, about the Being of Man, the Evolution of Man, the Growth of the Cosmos. Anthroposohy would speak the Christ-Michael language.
For if both languages are spoken, then the continuity will remain unbroken, and evolution will not pass over to Ahriman, before finding again its first, divine, spiritual origin. The language of the natural sciences, by itself alone, in a manner of speech that befits the detachment of the intellectual force from the Divine Spirit of its origin. It may become the language of Ahriman, if Michael's mission be neglected. It will not do so, if, through the might of Michael's great example, the freed and detached intellect comes to itself once more in that Cosmic Intellectual power of the beginning, which, severed from Man, has become objective to him, but which lies at Man's source, and appeared in its living essence in Christ within the realm of human kind, after having left Man for a while, in order that he might unfold his freedom.
1. Divine Spirit manifests itself in various ways in the Cosmos, in the following stages: 1. In its own primal and essential Being. 2. In the Revelation of this Being. 3. In its Workings — when the Being withdraws from the Revelation. 4. In its Wrought Work, when in the Universe, as this appears, no longer the Divine itself but only the Forms of the Divine are there.
2. Man's present view of the natural world gives him no relation to the Divine but only to this finished Work, wrought by the Divine. The effects communicated to the human soul by this view of the natural world are such that Man may use them, either to ally himself with the Christ-Powers, or with the forces of Ahriman.
3. Michael's whole aim and effort is, that the pristine relation to the Cosmos, which has been conserved in Man from the ages of the divine manifestation in Being and Revelation, should by the free effect of Michael's own example, become incorporated in the further human and cosmic evolution. For then the present naturalistic view, which tells only of the Image or empty Form of the Divine, will be able to pass over into a higher view of Nature, more befitting the Spirit. This higher view of Nature will have present existence in Man; but it will be a human after-realization of the God's relation to the Cosmos during the first two stages of cosmic evolution. While giving assent, in this manner, to the view of the natural world which belongs to the Age of Consciousness (Age of the Spiritual Soul), Anthroposophy supplements and completes this view by another — the result of observation with the awakened eye of the Spirit.