Rudolf Steiner Archive 

Christ and the Twentieth Century

Berlin, 25 January 1912

Someone who looks around in the present cultural life cannot deny that the object of the today's consideration has seized many people, just from the scientific point of view. However, on the other side more and more a worldview seems to gain ground in the present within which the question that is connected with the name of Christ has no place. The previous talks on ‘the origin of the human being’, and on ‘the origin of the animal realm’ have probably shown that every age moves such basic questions as on the origin of the human being and similar matters into the light of the habitual ways of thinking and feeling which prevail in an age in other ways as well. We have realised that already in the question of the origin of the human being, actually, the theoretical views which have arisen to our contemporaries from these habitual ways of thinking contradict the real results of scientific research whereas just the question of the origin of the human being has shown that the spiritual-scientific answers completely consort just with the real results of natural sciences. However, maybe with no question the disharmony appears as big between that what has developed as a worldview what prevails as habitual ways of thinking with many people and that what science had necessarily to decide as with the question of Christ. Indeed, since the appearance of the Christian movement in world history, the human imaginative power towards the being of Christ has always taken that form which was commensurate to the age or, one can even say, to the human beings.

During the first post-Christian centuries, we find that in a certain school of thought which one calls gnosis magnificent ideas of the Christ Being develop. These gnostic ideas can maintain only for a short time against the ideas that spread out as the popular ones and became then the contents of the ecclesiastical movements. It is instructive to go into the gnostic ideas about Christ with few words only, even if the spiritual-scientific concepts of Christ do not correspond in any way to the gnostic ideas. Since those only assert this who are incapable because of their lacking spiritual-scientific maturity to distinguish the matters really which present themselves in the spiritual life. The present spiritual science whose ideas we want to discuss briefly this evening exceeds everything in many respects that the old gnosis produced. Nevertheless, even more interesting it is maybe to point with a few words to these gnostic ideas. However, there are many points of view and shadings of the gnosis, but to the most important one I would like to point which reminds mostly of that what spiritual science has to say in the present.

One can say that the old gnosis has the deepest, most important concept of the Christ Being first compared with all that what originated in Christianity at that time. Since it regards this Christ Being as an everlasting being that is connected not only with the whole development of humanity but also with the whole development of the universe generally. — We had to go back with the question of the origin of the human being to that spiritual figure which did not yet embody itself, so to speak, in the outer material form. We have realised that the human being gradually descended to that compressed being that we know as the present human being. We have also realised that only by the materialist habitual ways of thinking the theory of evolution, which pursues the human being backward, gets to outer animal forms, while spiritual science gets to forms that more and more resemble the spiritual-mental forms and, finally, completely show the spiritual origin of the human being. In that region in which the human being lived before he assumed material existence where he felt in the midst of wholly spiritual beings and spiritual facts the old gnosis already searched the Christ Being.

If we want to understand the gnosis correctly, we have to say that it took the following view. While the human being kept on developing and began enclosing his spiritual-mental being with a physical cover to enter into the material development, an old companion of the human being remained in wholly spiritual worlds who did not descend to the material world, the Christ Being. Whereas the human being advanced within the material world, the Christ Being remained in the wholly spiritual region. Gnosis considered that time of the emergence of Christianity as a particularly important time of human evolution in which the Christ Being entered the physical-sensory world, after it had restrained its own development to work as an impulse in humanity. Thus gnosis considered the human being when he was still in old developmental epochs as a spiritual being connected with the world in which Christ was effective and beheld Christ descending to the world in the beginning of our calendar where the human being has experienced his material development long since.

The question must arise from it at once: how did gnosis imagine this descent of a wholly spiritual being to the human development?

Gnosis imagined that an especially developed human being who is called Jesus of Nazareth by historical research had such maturity that in him at a certain time conditions existed that his soul could directly take up from the spiritual world what the human beings could not directly take up from the spiritual world. Gnosis speaks of this time in which the soul of a choice human being could feel ripe to take up a being, the Christ, not connected with the human evolution up to then. Gnosis regarded the Baptism in the Jordan as the representation of this irruption of the Christ Being in the human development. At this baptism something particular happened with Jesus of Nazareth. You approach the gnostic idea if you think the following.

There are for many people such moments, such epoch-making events where they feel like in a turning point of their life and say to themselves, now compared with that what I have experienced up to now this appears to me like the image of a new life. — It was maybe released by an especially deep painful event or by other trials of life. One cannot deny that there is something like a turning point, like an arousal of particular forces in the soul life for many persons. If you imagine such an event as the elementary beginning of that what gnosis imagined what has gone forward with Jesus of Nazareth at the Baptism in the Jordan, one gets an image of the irruption of something quite new, but not of something as it descends, otherwise, upon the human soul by trials of life, but from something that was not connected with a human life during the entire human evolution.

Gnosis calls that Christ what there rises in the soul of Jesus of Nazareth what appears as something new and lives in Jesus of Nazareth and has caused that all culture that has taken its starting point from it has moved in a new light. However, with it gnosis also realised that with this Christ who cannot be searched just like that in a single outer human being, but in that what still existed there in an outer human being as a special inside being something descended upon humanity as a new impulse of something that was never there before. Since just that, which Jesus of Nazareth bore in himself for three years from the Baptism in the Jordan on, was not connected with the human evolution before.

With it, we have given the old gnostic idea of Christ in such a way that we can understand it because it is already given to us, so to speak, in its elements if a special reversal happens in a single human soul. What now the modern human being hardly understands is that something is connected with this event that has historical significance of basic kind, that with it the main focus of the whole human development was given. From this gnostic image, even if we compare it to various matters of spiritual science that I could show in these talks one may say that it has, actually, a great idea of the Christ Being on one side, but also of the nature of the human being. For it puts the human being in a development in which an impulse from the spiritual world intervenes directly in the course of the historical becoming.

Hence, it is no miracle that this gnostic image could not become popular. Since someone who brings the conditions of human development, the states of the human soul, the different conditions of social life of the first Christian century to his mind admits just like that that such an image was carried by a high-minded attitude which does certainly not become popular. One has only to look at the modern cultural life. If talk is of such an image, most people say, this is an abstraction, a daring daydreaming. However, we need something real, something that can intervene directly in our real life. — Since people are still far away today to feel the really concrete of that what lies in the spiritual ideas to which we rise, compared to that what most people call real. If this were not the case, people would also not strive in art for that which eyes see which hands can seize, and reject as something abstract to which one must ascend in spirit with inner soul gifts.

It is not possible of course to go into the further development of the idea of the Christ Being in the popular world even with a few lines. But I am allowed to say that beside the immediate idea which one formed of “Jesus of Nazareth” who is born in miraculous way who faced the human beings with his charming kind — already while the history of his childhood was told — who faced the human beings then as the human Saviour loving whole humanity. — I have to say that beside all the sensations and feelings that the human being exerted for this human Saviour. Nevertheless, always also an echo of the image of the Christ Being lived, of a being that was embodied in the human being Jesus of Nazareth.

Beside that what one, so to speak, told as outer history of the life of Jesus, one still looked up at a great secret, at a mystery which just at that time, when Jesus of Nazareth walked on earth, expressed something superhuman in this human being. One called this superhuman Christ. Besides, the human beings yet felt, the more they approached the modern time, to be more and more incapable to grasp the daring thought of this gnostic Christ,. That is why we already realise in the Middle Ages that science only dares to give information about the outer sensory world and about that which is behind the senses still as the realm of physical principles. Against it, science did not feel called to penetrate into those impulses that intervened in the human development as the highest spiritual impulses. Thus the question of the origin and development of the human being, in which the Christ impulse intervenes, became an object of faith for the medieval view, and the faith figured from now on beside the scientific knowledge that should confine itself to the lower objects of the world order. It would be now interesting to show how from the sixteenth century on this kind of “double-entry bookkeeping” got out of control in humanity by which one wanted to limit the kind of knowledge to the lower orders of the things, and wanted to assign everything to faith that referred to the spiritual origins and the matters of spiritual development.

However, this cannot be our task today. Rather I have to point to the fact that in the nineteenth century the whole course of development has led to lose any real idea of Christ, at least in wide sections of the population. In some sections, this deep insight into the Christ impulse has survived like a further development of old gnostic ideas. However, other sections, also scientific-theological ones, renounced the real Christ concept, and tried to confine themselves to the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Indeed, this was put as a unique, choice person who grasped the developmental terms of humanity, the divine inside nature of the human being and bore them in basic way in himself, but as a “human being,” indeed, who excelled all others. Thus in the nineteenth century a mere quest for the historical Jesus replaced the old Christology which could believe less and less that in Jesus of Nazareth divine contents had lived, and wanted only to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a choice single human individuality. This kind of views attained its climax in such a writing like The Being of Christianity (1910) by Adolf Harnack (1851–1930) and similar attempts in this field of research that appear in the most manifold nuances today. One needs only to point to that which one attained recently from a serious deepening just of this academic Jesus research. I want only to point with few words to the fact that those methods which were applied in the nineteenth century to prove, so to speak, historically what should have taken place at the beginning of the Christian calendar have led to no real result. I would go too far if I carried out this thought in the one or other way.

However, someone who goes deeper into that which modern time has done knows that one tried to put the person of Jesus of Nazareth with the usual means of outer materialistic research at the starting point of our Christian cultural life. However, this attempt to prove the existence of that person with outer historical means led to the fact that one had to admit: one cannot prove this person of Jesus of Nazareth with the outer materialistic means. — Not because the opposite can be proved that he did not live, but one cannot prove the life of Jesus in such a way as one proves the existence of Aristotle or Socrates or Alexander the Great, otherwise, with historical means. Not only this, but in another direction the research in this field has been urged in the last time. You need only to take such books like those by William Benjamin Smith (1850–1934) and you will realise that our time has got on by precise study of biblical and other documents which refer to Christianity that these documents cannot talk, actually, about that what one believed so long in the nineteenth century to have to talk. One wanted to reconstruct the life of Jesus from a philological investigation of biblical and other documents, but the documents showed, in the end, something else. It became obvious, when one attempted to construct a “life of Jesus” with all scientific conscientiousness that these biblical documents, the Christian documents where one stands on really Christian ground do not speak at all of a “human being” Jesus of Nazareth.

Thus, the outer research had to say that the documents do not talk about a human being Jesus of Nazareth but about a god. — One realises the strange anomaly in our time that the materialistic research states, you have wrongly concluded if you believe that the Christian documents refer to the human being Jesus of Nazareth. Rather you have to convince yourselves that the Gospels and the other documents talk about a god, and that all things that are told there bear a meaning and have sense only if one speaks about a god at the starting point of Christianity.

Now, is this not extremely weird? Our time discovers, if one wants to speak about Jesus of Nazareth, that one has to speak about a god. However, it is the same time and the same attitude of research that cannot at all consider a god, something wholly spiritual generally as real. What does Christ become, hence, for the present research? He becomes pure poetry, something that only intervened in history as an idea, as an impulse caused by social imagination.

According to modern historical research, Christ is not real but a fictional god. Yes, one may express it drily: here historical research gets to something that it cannot use, because what should the present research make use of a god in whom it cannot believe? — It has the evidence only that the biblical documents speak about a god, but it can do nothing but putting him among poetries.

Let us now compare this with that which spiritual science has to say in this case.

There I would like to refer to my book Christianity as Mystical Fact and the Mysteries of Antiquity. The main concern of this book was little understood, actually. Hence, I tried to draw the attention in the preface of the second edition once again to the fact that world history does not consist only of that what outer documents can give because in the human development spiritual impulses, spiritual factors intervene everywhere that we have almost to call spiritual beings. However, if we consider the whole way of the historical worldview as Leopold von Ranke (1795–1886), for example, and others applied it, one has to say that the highest what history still soars is that it speaks of historical ideas, as if, so to speak, outer abstract ideas intervene in the course of human evolution. This is the extreme that one can believe. However, ideas are not anything that develops power. The entire developmental course of humanity would be brainless if you did historic research unless the ideas, which squeeze in the human souls, were the expression of being-like impulses invisibly, supersensibly penetrating the whole historical development, so that behind the outer history still this is what one can attain only with the means of spiritual-scientific, supersensible research. There I could show that the Christian impulse positions itself in the human development historically in such a way that it proves to continue that which has happened for the spiritual human development in the ancient mysteries. Today one understands a little only, what the mysteries really are.

Someone can only understand what was done for the spiritual bases of any national development in the pre-Christian mysteries who gets an insight of the soul development by modern spiritual science which transforms this soul into that which I have repeatedly mentioned already here, into an instrument of the perception of the spiritual world which is behind the sensory one. We know that the human being can today ascend beyond himself to a higher development of his soul confining himself to his inside in a way, completely secluded to the intimacies of his soul experience, so that his soul lives in a spiritual world as the human being lives in a physical world.

The spiritual-scientific consideration of history shows now that this possibility to ascend wholly internally by an intimate soul development to the spiritual world has originated only in the course of human development that it did not at all exist in ancient times. Whereas today the soul rises freely by own measures to spiritual beholding, the soul could not do this in pre-Christian times, but there it depended on certain measures that were carried out in the mysteries with it. If we briefly outline what in the mystery temples — we have to understand them as spiritual educational institutions — the leaders of the mystery temples carried out with the soul, one can summarise it the following way. The soul was freed by outer measures from its physical body. It was enabled to remain during a certain time in a state which was similar and, still, quite different from the sleeping state.

If we consider the sleeping state spiritual-scientifically, we have to imagine that the outer body of the human being lies in the bed, while the real spiritual-mental essence remains beyond that what remains in the bed. However, the forces, the real inner being of this spiritual-mental core is in the sleeping state of such low intensity that unconsciousness happens and darkness prevails around the spiritual-mental core.

The measures that were carried out in the ancient mysteries with the human soul are those that a kind of sleeping state was caused by advanced human beings who had already experienced this mystery initiation in their souls. Besides, the inner soul forces were so strengthened at the same time that it left behind its body in a sleeping state like death, but it was able to behold into the spiritual world for a certain time. Thus, it spent a sleeping life consciously and could convince itself that it is as a citizen of the spiritual world. If then such a soul was led back again to the usual state after some time, it remembered what it had perceived and experienced beyond its body. Then such a human being could present himself like a prophet to the people and could bear witness that a spiritual world and humanity exist forever. Such a soul had thereby take partd in the spiritual life, and in the mysteries the instructions were given according to which such a soul had to dedicate itself in a long life, so that then by the leaders of the ancient mystery sites the last act was added. If we put up the question, where from originate the old wisdoms of the divine origin and the eternity of the human soul that the peoples of the whole world deliver to us? — Spiritual science answers: they are due to the initiates. However, these old wisdoms face us in a peculiar way. In myths, legends and pictorial stories the experiences of the initiands are shown which they had like in a living dream in these mystery sites.

One understands mythology only if one understands its figures as pictorial representations of that what the initiates of the mysteries beheld during their initiations. One has to go back if one wants to gain a relation to the old religious teachings to the mysteries and regard them as that what was hidden to the outer profane world what only those could attain who had prepared themselves by strict trials and by silence for initiation

Thus, the human spiritual development takes place if we trace back it to pre-Christian times, to the darkness of the mysteries. The human soul was not yet ripe in those times to ascend to the spiritual world without the necessary co-operation of the temple priests. I wanted to show in my book Christianity as Mystical Fact that something happened, while the outer actions of the history took place. I wanted to show there that it is the sense of development that humanity had got to know by everything that it had found out during the repeated incarnations also from their initiates about the spiritual world, to become so ripe around that turn of the era that from then on the human being could rise to the spiritual world without outer influence, only in his innermost inside. This is, howsoever we want to think about the event in Palestine, the big progress which gradually took place maybe in the course of centuries, but around the turn of the era that the human soul became ripe for “self-initiation,” simply under the guidance of those who knew what the human soul had to experience, but without any help of mystery leaders.

However, that appeared in human history by the foundation of Christianity, which took place, otherwise, inside the mystery temple, about which we know in the legends and myths. One can simply proceed if one wants to understand the Gospels in such a way that one asks, what had an initiand of the ancient Persian or the Egyptian peoples to experience to behold the spiritual world directly? — The instructions what he had to experience were described as a process, called “baptism,” and another, called “temptation,” up to that point where the soul perceived the spiritual world; this was, so to speak, the ritual of initiation. If one takes such rituals and compares them to the central issue in the single Gospels, one realises that the reappeared descriptions of the old initiatory ceremonies face us in the Gospels, only applied to the great historical individual of Jesus of Nazareth. Then one realises, that — while once the initiands were led to the spiritual world in the seclusion of the mystery temples — Jesus of Nazareth was led to the point by that what took place in history where he was led so far that he could not only remember the spiritual world, but where he could combine with a being that had not yet combined before with a human being, with the Christ Being.

Thus, the stories of the development of Jesus of Nazareth up to the point where Christ took possession of his soul for three years comply well with the descriptions of the ancient initiatory processes. In the representation of the experiences of Jesus of Nazareth the initiation faces us — you can realise that best in the John's Gospel — which was given directly by the big spiritual-divine facts underlying history. Countless neophytes were initiated before, but only so far, that they could bear witness that there is a spiritual world, and that the human soul belongs to such a spiritual world. — However, the inner being of Jesus of Nazareth could combine with the most significant being that they could remember when his initiation took place in world history. Any ancient initiation was prone to this initiation.

Thus, the Mystery of Golgotha appears to us from the darkness of the mysteries on the big plan of world history. As long as one does not believe that at a point of the earth at a certain time such a thing happens like the initiation of Jesus of Nazareth with Christ, and that such a thing sends rays of immense power and forms an impulse for the whole following evolution of humanity, one does not understand the actual significance of the Christ impulse. Not before one is able to admit the reality of such a spiritual event by all other preconditions of spiritual science, one can understand what came by the Christ impulse into the human development.

But then one will also not degrade the Gospels while one discovers four different initiatory rituals in them in which is only hidden as secrets what has happened around the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth. Then one will also understand that that what happens by this event in Palestine has a deep, causal significance for the whole following human development. While up to then the innermost essence was something that, indeed, existed for the human being, but had not completely entered the human consciousness — this should be caused just by this event which is described as the Mystery of Golgotha. Now the time should begin when the human beings could know: in this ego that reveals itself in the human being, which he has in common with the whole universe.

If we wanted to show how one has to consider the big reversal spiritual-scientifically which happened by the Christ impulse in world history, we have to say, the human being consists of his physical body, of his etheric body, of his soul cover, and in the core he carries what goes from incarnation to incarnation, the real ego. However, this real ego is at the same time that which the human beings realised latest, so that they did not have a notion in the pre-Christian times that just as their physical bodies are connected with the whole physical world, and as their soul beings are connected with the soul world, their innermost essences are born out of the most extensive spiritual world. Christianity, the just described Christ impulse brought to the human development to search God and the original divine being not in the soul cover but in the real ego. Once one could say, my soul is rooted in the divine; the divine is the actually formative. — But now one learnt to say, if you want to recognise where the deepest divine that lives through the universe can reveal itself, look into your own ego, because God speaks to you through your ego. He speaks to you for the usual consciousness if you properly understand how by the Mystery of Golgotha divine forces have entered into humanity if you have recognised that an initiation took place as a great historical event, while once the initiate experienced the spiritual world in the depths of the mystery temples. However, God speaks to you in particular if you rise while you make your soul an instrument of perception in the spiritual world.

One may say that the entry of the divine consciousness that speaks through the ego is the being of the Christ impulse. That this Christ impulse could enter into humanity was caused by the fact that the ancient initiatory principle became historical, as I have shown. The Mystery of Golgotha is the cause. The human souls will recognise in the course of the earth evolution clearer and clearer that the divine-spiritual to which the human being belongs and by which he becomes independent of all earthly conditions speaks through the ego.

Someone who can understand certain deep words of the Gospels from this viewpoint penetrates into the big education of the human race by the spiritual world. He will realise that the ancient Hebrew development prepared what should speak through the ego to the human being, like that what spoke through Judaism, but as a folk spirit. It was not in such a way with the other peoples, but with these, only the consciousness existed that the spiritual-divine speaks to the soul cover if the human being is initiated. However, it had become clear to Judaism that the human development is an ongoing educational process, and that in the ego that encloses the whole people the forces are to which the human being belongs with his deepest being.

Hence, the Jew felt: while I look up as a member of the whole ancient Hebrew people to Abraham and recognise what prevails there as spirit what advances through the generations, I am allowed to say, He lives in me, lives in all my ancestors as the divine which has developed the physical of the human being. — Thus, the member of the ancient Hebrew people considered himself one with the ancestors. Christianity now strongly stresses: such a feeling of the divine, even if it speaks of itself as „ejeh asher ejeh“ — “I am the I-am ,” is not yet that what shows the human being in his complete figure, but only if one feels something that is in the spiritual beyond all generations. Then one has grasped what works as something divine on the human being. Therefore, one has to say translating the sentence correctly: before Abraham was, this I-am was. — That means, the human being experiences something everlasting in his ego that is more original than that divine which lived from Abraham through the generations.

“Look at that what does not only consist of the real physical human being, but what flows as something divine-spiritual through the generations, through the blood of all generations which developed from Abraham. However, look at this divine-spiritual in such a way that you recognise it in the single human being, not in that what holds brother and sister together but what the single human being discovers if he recognises himself as the I-am in his innermost soul being. — We have to understand such a quotation of Christ Jesus that reads, if anyone comes to me and does not leave his father, mother, woman, children, brothers, sisters, or his own life, then he cannot be my disciple. — We have to understand it not as if he rejects the beneficiary of relationship and child's love, but in such a way, that Christ Jesus brings the principle of the divine-spiritual to the world that every single human being can find in his innermost essence. Hence, the core of Christianity will affect the human beings more and more in such a way that the innermost secret of Christianity leads beyond all differences that prevail among the human beings to the general-human. The old gods were national gods, engaged to the characteristics of the people concerned; that also applies to the Indian Buddhism. But that God who faced the human beings in Christ leads the human being beyond all other differences away to that what the human being is only because he is a “human being.” That is why it is necessary that someone who wants to grasp the real being of Christianity has to regard the spiritually leading forces and impulses of world history as realities. One has to break with all that what was “history” up to now, and that that history is only the outer dress of the historical becoming, while in the depths of the historical becoming real supersensible beings prevail. The most superior among the supersensible beings who rule the historical becoming of humanity is the Christ who worked, as well as gnosis assumes it, in the body of Jesus of Nazareth for three years.

However, thus spiritual science rises to a mental picture that is able to make use of the results of the outer science. Since the latter has to admit today that we do not deal with a “human being” but with a god prevailing in a human being for which it has no use. Against it, spiritual science leads us to such beings that are realities for it, so that spiritual science knows how to make the right use of the results of modern research. This will turn out as the miraculous for the spiritual development of the twentieth century that it will recognise that the nineteenth century was on the wrong tracks. Since it wanted to reduce the life of Christ Jesus to a mere life of Jesus of Nazareth that, however, science starts turning to the right life that says there, everything bears witness that one deals with a “god” in Christ Jesus.

Spiritual science will only add that one can make use of this word. However, this is a view that contradicts the materialistic-monistic worldview. However, we could show with the talk on the origin of the human being as well as with the other about the origin of the animal realm that spiritual science completely agrees with the actual research results of science. But where this stands as before a question mark, this outer conscientious research is not led to that to which spiritual science can lead.

However, during the twentieth century something else has to be added to the habitual ways of thinking. The human being stands on the point of view now that the human life and the cognition of the outer world face us as immediate truth, and that at most an error may originate because the human being forms incorrect mental pictures of the world or does something that one calls evil that does not comply with the outer course of the world. Today the worldview is still out to search the causes everywhere in that what presents itself immediately. The worldview questions are pushed by this way of thinking to a point from which a return proves necessary.

The outer science has advanced so far that it does not believe in anything spiritual and only summarises the sensory reality in the scientific and historical fields. In a certain respect our age has come to a point which must change directly into its opposite. Extreme materialism must lead the soul to the fact that it brings itself by its own inner resisting to accepting that concept which has played a little role in the worldviews up to now. To the search for the origins of the things, a concept has to be added which has not yet found acceptance. In my writings Philosophy of Freedom and Truth and Science, I have shown that the human being has to assume that the condition in which he is compared with the world is not the true one that he has to go through a development of his inner life first to be able to recognise the truth of the world phenomena and to put himself in a true and also moral relation to them. The concept of redemption has to be added to the only causal cognition. The big task of the twentieth century will be that the concept of redemption, of rebirth will get acceptance beside the other scientific concepts. It does not correspond to truth in what way the human being faces the world. One gets all true concepts first if one, released from the present point of view, develops to a higher one if one is released from the obstacles that cause that one does not recognise the true figure of the world.

This is redemption of knowledge. Moral redemption is if the human being recognises that his relation to the world is not true, but that he has to go a way first which overcomes the obstacles which tower up between him and that to which he belongs, actually.

The concept of the re-embodiment of the soul on a higher level will develop from the wonderful scientific and historical research results. The human being will recognise when he has depicted the world photographically and has conjured up the big scientific and historical development of humanity before himself that he has not something in it that only depicts the world to him, but that it is a powerful means of education. The human being will no longer only believe that natural sciences depict a world, but the lawfulness will be something that will educate him. If natural sciences are not only there to depict the world, but to educate the human beings, so that the human soul works to a point of view where it is reborn on a higher level if the human being recognises that he is released from the inhibitions in which he is, then he has formed the preconditions of the concept of the Christ impulse in the world.

Since then he realises that he is allowed to look at that time where the human being was once in a completely spiritual world and has descended to the world of material existence that he has to go through this material world to advance but that his return had to be initiated at a certain point, so that he can get free from that again what he has taken up here. The Christ impulse has freed humanity from sinking down into the wholly material. Objectively Christ is that in the world evolution which shows that experience which we have if we say, the relation to the world which arises if the soul is reborn and is released from that what it has got as its. It is that, seen from without in the big world process of humanity, which entered as Christ into the world.

If the twentieth century can take the great experience inside the human being seriously, it will also be able to understand the Christ event and does no longer take offence at what happens as the rebirth of the soul on a higher level in the human being. Then spiritual science will show that the same applies to the historical becoming that applies to the outer natural events. There one has dedicated himself in the outer worldview also to the mistake of Schopenhauer's proposition: the world is my mental picture.

That means that it depends on my eye and on my other senses that round me a world of colours, of tones and the like exists. However, it is not right if one wants to grasp the world in its entirety that one says, the world of colours is only there by the constitution of my eye. — Since my eye would not be there unless the light had brought out my eye first. As it is true on one side that the sensations of the light are determined by the constitution of the eye, it is as true on the other side that the eye is there only by the light, by the sun. Both truths must combine to a whole truth. It is right what already Goethe said: “The eye has to owe its existence to the light. From indifferent animal auxiliary organs the light produces an organ for itself which becomes equal to it, and the eye forms in the light for the light, so that the inner light faces the outer one.” — As the eye is formed by the light as the perception of light happens by the eye, the inner Christ experience, the inner rebirth of the soul comes about by the Christ experience of humanity, by the Mystery of Golgotha. Spiritual science shows that, before the Christ impulse entered into humanity, this inner experience could take place only by outer impulses in the mysteries and not intimately, as it now happens by a kind of self-initiation in the human being himself.

It is also with the inner mystic experience of Christ as it is for the world of light and colours with the eye: the human being experiences Christ with his inside. He can develop the soul intimately beyond himself because the spiritual sun, the Mystery of Golgotha, entered into world history. — Without the objective Mystery of Golgotha and without the objective Christ there is no subjective inner experience of mystic kind as the human being will experience it in the twentieth century and as he will completely take it seriously.

Therefore, we can say that the twentieth century delivers the preconditions of a real understanding of the Christ impulse showing how true the Christ impulse is as the spiritual sun and evokes the inner experience in the soul which Goethe indicated with the words:

The man who masters himself

Is delivered from the force

That binds all creatures.

One can say, while one goes back to this self-conquest, to the Mystery of Golgotha, that the human being only finds himself in this self-conquest that he has to regard the figure which he has from his earthly origin as something from which he has to be released, and that all moral work, all knowledge can only take place by redemption. With the concept of inner redemption, the human being will recognise the concept of redemption in the historical development and see the Christ event in the light of the somewhat enlarged sentence of Goethe in the twentieth century:

The man who masters himself
Is delivered from the force
That binds all creatures,
And only finds himself
In this overcoming in truth,
As well as the whole humanity
Can find itself in Christ in truth.

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