Donate books to help fund our work. Learn more→

The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Jehovah, Christ, Lucifer and Ahriman
GA 203

13 March 1921, Dornach

Translator Unknown

From the whole tendency of these presentations of Anthroposophical Spiritual Science you will see how essential it is to understand that in the various spheres of existence there are different Spiritual beings who have inserted themselves therein, taking part in the work, giving force and direction. It is necessary that humanity in our present age should be permeated with the knowledge that different spheres of existence are guided and directed by different Spiritual beings; for our civilisation has in the course of recent years lost this consciousness of the presence of concrete spirit in life. In general people will willingly talk of the Divine permeating everything, but such talk does not help one to an understanding of the World which can provide a sufficient basis for life. It is, of course, quite true that, in the last resort, everything recognised as spirit must tend towards unity; but if one perceives that unity too soon, one simply loses all real insight into the course of world-happenings; therefore, it is necessary to leave off speaking in general in such an abstract way about the Divine, and learn to know the concrete Spiritual guiding beings in Nature and History, as we have over and over again tried to do. It is from this point of view that I should like to point to-day, to certain really important and significant things at the base of the constitution of our world.

I pointed out in the last lecture that certain Beings find themselves together when it comes to building up and animating man, they find themselves united in opposition in the world. We put the old truth of the opposition coming from the Luciferic and Ahrimanic Spiritual forces before our souls in the last lecture from a certain point of view, and now we will try to understand the matter from another aspect.

Just that, in our newest civilisation, which is now involved in such catastrophic events, and manifests in such decadent forces, just that which is so characteristic in our modern civilisation, is the extension of intellectual thinking throughout the whole of humanity. One must really try to acquire an insight into the quite different mood of soul of civilised Europe before the 7th and 8th centuries. It is just that intellectual thought, which to-day is so prevalent everywhere, which permeates the entire soul-life of man and, from a certain aspect, will still continue to permeate it. The point now is, that one must seek to grasp what is externally comprehensible, and try to unite that with a more psychic concept; for it is well if, from the aspect of the spirit, one really seeks to grasp and permeate external and material existence itself.

That which underlies our organism of thought consists in purely mineral processes occurring within us. Please understand me aright, my dear friends; those processes in us which are processes of our own human nature, and which we have in common with the animal and plant-nature, these are connected only indirectly but not directly, with the fact that we have become intellectual thinking human beings according to the modern idea of the development of man. The fact that we have in us a firmly consolidated mineral constitution gives us the capacity for intellectual thought. When we look at all those Kingdoms of Nature which are outside us in cosmic space, and which are also within us, we must say:—Let us first of all contemplate the sphere of warmth, of the Warmth-ether; we carry the effect of this Warmth-ether in our own blood, and the activity of our blood consists essentially in the fact that our blood, as the carrier of warmth guides these warmth-processes through our entire organism. Now our intellectual thinking does not depend on anything of what transpires in the sphere of warmth, it does not depend upon what transpires in us when we inspire and transmute the air in our organism. Thus, when we consider the warmth-processes in the Cosmos, we can say:—These warmth-processes are continued within the skin of our organism; but that which meets us in the Cosmos as warmth-processes, which specially meets one who regards the Cosmos in the condition when it showed itself exclusively in warmth processes, that which meets us in ourselves as warmth-processes, none of that stimulates us to intellectual thinking. Then if we look to the kingdom of the Air, there too we find events taking place; these processes are continued in our organism through our breathing process; everything we find represented thus is within us through air, but that again has nothing directly to do with our intellectual thinking.

As a third sphere we can look to the phenomenon of water; we see outside in the Cosmos the processes in the fluid-sphere. These too are continued in our digestion in so far as it occurs in the fluids. Outside in nature we see the circulation of Fluids and in ourselves we also see a kind of circulation of fluids. All that transpires in us in that way, has again nothing to do with what is our intellectual thinking. But when we look out into the Cosmos and see how water condenses to ice, how certain mineral substances deposited as sediments, form stones and crystals, in short when we consider the processes of the mineral sphere and their corresponding processes in our own organism, we find that what transpires as mineral processes has to do with all that finally culminates in our intellectual thinking. We therefore as human beings, are incorporated into the Cosmos in these various spheres; but if we only incorporated in these different spheres without being envolved to special degree with the mineral kingdom, with those forces which appear in crystallisation, and in the deposits of salts, and which thus meet us in the external world, we should never have become the thinking beings we have become, especially since the middle of the 15th Century. It is an absolute fact—that since the middle of the I5th Century, it is this working of the mineral forces in the human organism which has become predominant. Previous to that, other forces, those of water, of air, and so on, were dominant to a special degree in man. Hence man's intellectual thinking was not then the most significant element in the works of man.

Now, in everything which surrounds us in the various spheres in which we live, the realm of the solid Earth, of flowing water, of air and warmth, (for a moment we will look away from the higher spheres) in all these are working Divine Spiritual Beings. These spheres do not only consist in what we call material world-forces and entities, but all these spheres are permeated by various Spiritual beings. I will therefore make a diagram to represent an important fact in our connection with the Cosmos.

Diagram 1

Suppose I draw the sphere of the mineral world (see Diagram) as white; I must then characterise the sphere of the water as red, the sphere of the air as blue, and then finally the warmth-ether above as reddish.

Now this is the remarkable characteristic; all those Spiritual beings which the pre-Christian age and especially the pre-Christian Judaism imagined as standing under the guidance of Jahve or Jehovah, and who were regarded by the Hebrew Initiates as belonging to the Realm of Jahve or Jehovah, extended their dominions over the three first Realms—Warmth, Air, Water. And so if I am to draw that sphere in the Cosmos which was under the rulership of Jehovah, I must say; It is this sphere—(the three upper layers). It was really the case that the Jehovah rulership embraced the spheres of Nature as we have them, with the exception of the physical-mineral sphere. It must be quite clear to you that when in the ancient Jewish writings, reference is made to the Divine, this always refers to the Jehovah sphere of Warmth, Air, and Water. That was a deep Initiation-Truth of the pre-Christian age, and is even Spiritually indicated in the story of Creation. It is clearly expressed there, and one has merely to understand the meaning of the Bible words aright to see how this is brought to expression. Jehovah devoted Himself, so to speak, to the Earth, and formed man out of the dust of the Earth. He took that which was not his own sphere, for the forming of external man. The Bible expresses that fact quite clearly. As I have said, in the pre-Christian Jewish Initiation knowledge, it was known as an Initiation-Truth, that Jehovah did not form external man out of His own sphere of power, but turned to the Earth, and from out of the earthly dust which was foreign to Him, He formed that human vessel which could not come from His own kingdom. Then He breathed that which comes from Him, the animal soul, the breath. That it is which He gave forth from Himself, and it came from the three spheres over which He ruled. It is the case that the superficial Bible investigator really does not for the most part, understand what stands in the Bible at all. If one understands the Bible, one sees that it speaks with extraordinary exactitude, one only has to take those sentences quite exactly: “Jehovah formed man out of the dust of the Earth.”—That means out of the mineral sphere foreign to Him, and then He gave to that form from out of His own sphere, the breath of the soul. And so, that which lives in man as the Jehovah Outflow, is what is indicated when it is said that Jehovah breathed the living breath into man.

And so man developed, and while he developed himself further in the mineral kingdom, he developed an element foreign to Jehovah. That kingdom then, in the recent age, since the 5th Post Atlantean epoch, became especially dominant in man, because it formed the basis for his intellectual civilisation. So that we can say: As long as the intellectual civilisation was not predominant in man, so long could a rulership prevail such as that of Jehovah. Then, however, the mineral nature began to make itself felt, from the founding of Christianity up to the beginning of the 5th Post-Atlantean epoch. Humanity had then to be helped from another side. Now you can see how necessary it was for humanity at the time when the mineral Nature became essential, that it should receive the Christ Impulse; because the old Jahve Jehovah-impulse was no longer sufficient.

You must connect what I have just told you with certain definite facts. Just consider the fact that man would not think intellectually, with a fully waking consciousness, if he were merely subject to the Jehovah-influence, which has no influence on the mineral nature. And so, if we wish chiefly to consider the activity of Jehovah in man, we must not look to what is in our external intellectual culture, but simply to what expresses itself in our dreams. That which is dreamt, which does not pass into sharply contoured intellectual concepts which can be grasped by our soul but is dreamt,—that is our Jehovah-life. Everything which moves in the fluidic elements of the more fantastic or imaginative side, everything which can be compared externally with the Moon-influence on man, that is the, Jehovah-nature in man. Opposed to the Jehovah-nature is man's acute thinking; but that he owes to the circumstances that there are salt deposits in him; that there is in man, a mineral activity.

Now just consider the fact that, fundamentally, the old Jehovah religion lost its significance with the Mystery of Golgotha. It had lost its significance because the time had come in the evolution of man, when the mineral nature became predominant in him. But when the Mystery of Golgotha appeared there was still sufficient left of the ancient Dream-Wisdom wherewith to understand it. And those persons who had somewhat transcended the ancient Dream-Wisdom, and who through various kinds of Initiations had, like Saul-Paul, already attained some intellectual culture, for them a special influence was necessary, such as Paul received through the Event of Damascus, in order to grasp the Mystery of Golgotha. It is of a great and deep significance, that in the Christian tradition we are told that, in order to understand the Mystery of Golgotha it was necessary for Saul-Paul, who had in a certain sense been initiated before the Mystery of Golgotha, into the Hebraic Mysteries, for him it was necessary that he should be snatched into that knowledge which did not work in sharp contours, but which expressed itself in the more flowing element of the dream; and thus Paul experienced the certainty that Christ had been present in Jesus through the Mystery of Golgotha. With the old Dream-Wisdom it was still possible to grasp something of the Event of Golgotha, and if, through a special influence such as was the case with Paul, a man was snatched into that Dream-region, he could then understand the Mystery of Golgotha. But now the old Dream Wisdom decreased ever more and more; it only remained in man's dreams, and even there is found in utter decadence. As the I5th Century approached, the culture in Europe was tending more and more to the purely intellectual element; and, under the influence of this intellectual element, our modern natural Science developed.

Now, consider the following:—The old Jewish religion must not be grasped merely with reference to external worlds, that would only be a materialistic religious understanding; we must grasp it in its inner spirit. As an historical phenomenon—the point that strikes us is, that the Jehovah-god was simply the God of one tribe, and outside the limits of the Jewish race Jehovah was no longer the Jehovah-God. That is the essence of the Jehovah Divinity; he did not embrace the whole of humanity, but only one portion of mankind. Fundamentally this feeling of Divinity has passed over to our own age, and in particular one could see it again during the World-War, when every Nation spoke of how Divine Providence or, as many said, the Christ, was helping them! Each Nation wanted so to say, to go forth under the guidance of Christ, against every other Race. But because one utters the Name of `Christ,' that does not mean that one has met, contacted the Christ; for the Christ is only contacted when in one's whole feeling one turns to that Being Who has the Christ Nature. One may say a thousand times over: “We will fight in the name of Christ;” but as long as one is fighting for one Nation alone, one is giving a false name to that being of whom one speaks, one may call him Christ, but it is a false name. In calling that being Christ, one only means the Jehovah-God. In that War-Catastrophe all the Races fell back into a Jehovah-religion, only, there were a great many Jehovahs; every Race worshipped a God who was honoured quite in the character of a Jehovah; Christ completely disappeared from the consciousness of humanity. One could see in those catastrophic events how utterly Christ had disappeared out of the consciousness of man.

We can also see this in other things. A quite modern scientific civilisation has now grown up. Our modern scientific culture, how far does it extend? Fundamentally, it is limited to what is mineral-physical. Just consider how uncomfortable a modern scientist immediately becomes, if one asks him to speak of anything but what is mineral or physical. As soon as the conversation turns to anything else—for instance, to the principle of life, the modern scientist asserts that one can only explain the mineral and chemical processes in the living. He will not enter into the element of life itself and still less into the element of soul. Thus this modern Science has altogether developed within just that sphere which was not included in the Jehovah religion, in an element foreign to Jehovah,—that of the mineral—physical life. This Science, in order that it might become an element of civilisation, had, as it were, to depend on receiving the Divine Spiritual from quite another side.

In the old Jewish religion when man spoke of any sort of cognition, it was always a Dream-cognition. These prophets who had the very highest knowledge, are described as the Dreamers of prophetic dreams. That is all connected with just this very fact. It was through this Dream-Wisdom that men even comprehended the Mystery of Golgotha itself. But this Dream-Wisdom disappeared. The Mystery of Golgotha was indeed transmitted historically and spoken of in the traditional Church Communities, but a true understanding of it could no longer be found. In place of it, Modern Science grew up into an element which knew not Jehovah, a spiritual-less, God-less element; and, because its understanding could not yet expand to the Christ-element, it developed into that physical mineral element, utterly devoid of spirit.

Now this Science, must to its uttermost particle, again be permeated by a Spiritual element. It is spiritless because it can no longer be Jehovistic. External civilisation has attempted to carry on some sort of religious culture, by means of a religious `false coinage,' as when it gave the name of Christ to Jehovah during the War; but this religious element has been carried on through a sort of religious, `false coinage.' But Science has turned entirely away from the Spiritual; it only gives descriptions of the physical-sensible, because man has not yet been able to press forward to an understanding of the Christ, and at most the old Jehovah understanding still prevails, when men storm against each other as they did in the War; but not when they investigate facts of Nature, for then we have a Spiritless Science, and intellectual Science, devoid of spirit. Thus we are surrounded by a sphere in which the Jehovah element still rules. It permeates us; but we are not aware of it, because it permeates us chiefly through those conditions which are our sleeping-conditions. If, when we withdraw into the element of sleep, we could suddenly wake up outside our bodies, we should clearly perceive around us the spirit-nature under the leadership of Jehovah. Then, as it were, on the waves of a Jehovah-Sea, we should see our dreams coming to us out of this Jehovah element.

Again in our Will, of which I have often told you that we are asleep within it, there again the Jehovah Nature rules. In the whole assimilatory system of man, the Jehovah Nature rules, whereas the feelings arise out of the assimilatory system and permeates the rhythmic system, in like manner do certain feelings emerge, coming out of the Jehovah Sea on the waves like our dreams. But, when we live in that sphere which can become comprehensible to us through our understanding and reason, there Jehovah has no share. When the Moon slowly arises in a dream-like light and pours this dream-light over everything, one might say:—“Man has spread a Jehovah character over the fields of the world.” When however, the Sun arises, shining clearly on every stone, spreading itself outwardly on every object and giving it sharp contours, so that we are able to grasp it with our understanding, then the Sun-nature,—which is not a Jehovah-nature, expresses itself, and we can only permeate that with spirit if we can perceive the Christ-Being, if we so look into this world as to see the Christ-Being in it. Modern Science has had no eye for this Christ-Being, and that which is Not Jehovistic but Sun-illumined, and can be grasped in the sharp contours of the intellect, it has taken up and beheld as devoid of spirit.

Now see, that is the deeper connection. What kind of a sphere is it then, which meets man in the mineral? Now, I told you in the last lecture that on the one side within the sphere of Jehovah, because they have remained at an earthly stage of evolution, Luciferic beings appear when we are present in the Jehovah sphere let us say in sleep, then the Luciferic beings make themselves felt in our feelings and impulses of Will. That sphere which we must dominate with our intellect and which is spread out around us as the mineral spheres, that is a sphere foreign to Jehovah and into that those beings have penetrated, who belong to the Ahrimanic sphere. The Ahrimanic beings however, because Jehovah could not, so to speak, keep them away from Him, have penetrated into that mineral sphere. (lower part of Diagram, blue on white) And so, when we turn our gaze to this sphere, we are every moment in danger of being taken by surprise, to our confusion, because of the Ahrimanic beings. These Ahrimanic beings—I have tried to present an image of this in the wooden group which will stand in our Goetheanum—these Ahrimanic beings can in reality only feel at home in the sphere which surrounds us in the mineral world. These Ahrimanic beings are specially intellectually-gifted beings. That Mephistophelian figure which you see below in our wooden group, that Mephistophelian-Ahrimanic figure is extremely clever, utterly and wholly permeated with intellect. But that which is really Jehovistic, and which lives in the human metabolic system, in so far as it is not affected by the salts or altogether mineral,—with all that is of a fluid-nature, which lives in our breathing in our warmth condition, with all that, these Ahrimanic beings have no direct relationship.

Now, these Ahrimanic beings strive to get into man. Man was created of the dust of the Earth. The mineral element is the true sphere of Ahriman, he can enter that sphere, and feel comfortable there; he feels very comfortable whenever he can permeate us through that which is mineral in us. You secrete salts in your body, and thereby you are able to think; through the deposit of salt, through all the mineral processes valid and operative in you,—you become thinking-beings. Ahriman seeks to enter that sphere, but in reality he has only a part in the mineral. Therefore, he is fighting to get a share also in man's blood, in his breathing, and in his assimilation. He can only do this if he can inject certain characteristics into the soul of man; if for instance, he can inject into the human soul a tendency to a dry, barren understanding which seeks an outlet in materialism, and mocks all truths permeated by feeling. If he can permeate man with intellectual pride, then he can approach man's blood, his breath, his assimilation; then he can, as it were creep out of the salts and mineral in man and creep into his blood breathing and digestion.

That is the conflict being fought from the side of Ahriman in the world, through the very being of man. You see, when Jehovah turned to the Earth and created man out of the Earth in order to evolve him further than he could have done within His own body. He had to create man out of an element foreign to Himself, and only to inoculate, to inspire, his own element into him. In so doing, Jehovah had to take something to His aid, something to which these Ahrimanic beings have access; and Jehovah has thereby become involved, as regards earthly evolution, in this conflict with the Ahrimanic element, which with the help of man, seeks to get the world for itself by means of the mineral processes. As a matter of fact, much has been attained by the Ahrimanic beings in this sphere; because, when man is born into physical existence, or is conceived, he descends, he comes down from the Spiritual psychic worlds and surrounds himself with physical matter. But in the present state of our civilisation and according to the customs of all the traditional Churches, man would like to forget his existence in a Spiritual psychic sphere before Birth. He does not wish to admit it. He would like, in a sense, to wipe out of human life any pre-birthly existence. Pre-Existence is being gradually declared heretical in the traditional Confessions. It is wished to limit man to starting with physical birth or conception, and then to link on to that, what follows after death. If this belief in a mere post-mortem condition, in an after-death condition, were to be finally forced on man, the Ahrimanic powers would then win their conflict; because if man only regards what he experiences between birth and death, and does not look to a pre-existence, to a life before birth, the Ahrimanic element would gradually overpower man from out of his mineral processes. Thereby everything of a Jehovistic nature would be thrown out of earthly evolution, everything which has come over from Saturn, Sun, and Moon, would be wiped away. A new creation would thus begin with the Earth, which would deny everything which had preceded it.

For that reason, the perception which denies pre-existence must be fought with all possible energy. Man must realise that he existed before he was born or conceived into physical life. In all veneration and holiness, he must receive that which was allotted to him from Divine Spiritual worlds before his earthly existence. If he adds to the belief of the after-death condition a knowledge of pre-birthly existence, he can thereby prevent his soul from being devoured by Ahriman. It follows therefore, from what I have said, that (it is necessary that we should gradually take into our speech, a certain word which we have not yet got:—Just as we speak of immortality (Deathlessness) when we think of the end of our physical existence, so we must speak of un-bornness (ungeborenheit) for even as we are immortal, so also we, as human beings, are in reality unborn. But just seek everywhere in civilised language for a practicable word for “Birthlessness.” We have the word Immortal, everywhere, but “unborn” we have not got. We need that word;—it must be just as valid a word as the word immortal to-day. It is just in this that the Ahrimanising of our modern civilisation reveals itself; it is one of the most important symptoms of the Ahrimanising of modern civilisation, that we have no word for this “not-being born.” For, just as we do not fall a prey to death when we `die' as it is called neither do we first come into our so-called `birth.' We must have a word which points clearly to pre-existence. One must not undervalue the significance which lays in the word.

You see, my dear friends, no matter how acutely one thinks, there is something in you, something in man, of an intellectual nature, but the moment the thought is expressed in a word, even the moment the word as such in only thought, as in the words of a meditation, that same moment one word is imprinted into the ether of the Cosmos. Thought, as such, does not imprint itself into the ether of the Cosmos, otherwise we could never become free beings in the sphere of pure thought. We are bound the moment something imprints itself. We are not made free through the word, but through pure thought. You can read now about this in my Philosophy of Freedom.” The word imprints itself into the ether.

Now just consider this. The Science of Initiation knows that it is true that in the whole Ether of the Earth, because in the civilised language there is no word for “Un-bornness” (ungeborenheit), this “Birthlessness,” which is so important for humanity, is not imprinted into the Cosmic ether. Now everything which in such important words is imprinted in the Cosmic ether, signifies for the Ahrimanic beings a terrific fear. The word immortality the Ahrimanic beings can very well bear to find inscribed in the World-ether; they are quite pleased, because immortality means that they can start a new creation, with man, and wander forth with humanity. It does not irritate Ahrimanic beings when they shoot through the Cosmic ether, to play their game with man, and they find that from all pulpits immortality is being spoken of; that does not irritate them, it pleases them. But it is a terrible shock for them if they find the word Un-bornness inscribed in the World ether; it extinguishes the light in which these Ahrimanic being move. Then they can go no further, they lose their direction, they feel as though they were falling into an abyss, a bottomless pit. You can see by this that it is an Ahrimanic deed which restrains humanity from speaking of un-bornness. No matter how paradoxical it may appear to modern humanity that one should speak of these things, modern civilization requires that these things should be spoken of. Just as Meteorology describes the Wind, or Geography the Gulf Stream, so one must describe what is going on around us Spiritually, and how these Ahrimanic beings are permeating our environment; and one must describe how well they feel in everything connected; and with dying, even a negation of death itself is not admitted; and how they are filled with a terrible fear of darkness when one speaks of anything connected with the negation of Birth, with growth and thriving. He must learn to speak scientifically of these things, just as that Jehovah-forsaken mineral-sphere can be spoken of scientifically in our modern Science.

You see, this is in reality, neither more nor less than the conflict with the Ahrimanic powers, which we ourselves must take upon us and finally, whether people like to know it or not, that which is so often brought against Anthroposophical Spiritual Science, is at the same time the fight of Ahriman against that which as Spiritual Science, must ever repeat more and more emphatically what is now necessary for modern humanity.

Of course, my dear friends, when one experiences such things as the recent attacks, is it not obvious that these people themselves do not approach Spiritual Science? I have spoken to you recently of the especially ruthless and ugly attack which appeared recently in Germany, in the decent paper, “Frankfurter Zeitung,” in which that paper indeed took up a really disgraceful attitude. It did indeed accept our rejoinder, but only in order to put before it a whole column of its own nonsensical remarks. These things are all part of those which it is either too lazy or not capable of studying.

You see, my dear friends, if you consider such attacks in the light of what I have told you, in connection with these Ahrimanic beings, you will see through them a little. In scientific circles to-day there are a great number of persons who can apparently think quite clearly. And why, my dear friends? Because Ahriman, who permeates the mineral world, permeates them; therefore, you need not be surprised that these people develop a great deal of intellect and power. That is Ahriman within them, it is far more comfortable to allow Ahriman to think in one, than to think for oneself. A man can pass his exams far more easily, he can become a tutor or University Professor with far greater facility if he allows Ahriman to think for him. And because so many people allow Ahriman to think in them, these attacks naturally come from an Ahrimanic side. These things have an inner Spiritual connection, which we must see through. Therefore, people must not be so foolish as to blame us over and over again, if we are forced with sharp words to beat back that which would fain nullify Spiritual Science from its very roots.