Tuesday, October 26, 2010
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
Thank you, Tarjei Straume
Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture given November 27, 1916:
The Christ is He who took upon Himself for the evolution of the Earth all that is bound up with angels, archangels, and archai; that is, all that chains man to the Earth. He bears the sins of the world, those sins that have come into the world through human differentiation. He is a being in whose presence we must say, "I belong to a single human community, but because I belong to a single human community, to something connected with the earthly, I separate myself from the divine. From this I can be redeemed only by a Being who has nothing to do with human differentiation. The Christ in me leads me beyond earthly differentiations, teaches me to feel that what has been produced by earthly differentiation is suffering, that it brings death. Only through such an understanding of the Christ in me do I find my connection with the spiritual world." All that entered humanity through the fact that differentiations have come about has been removed from it through the entrance of Christ into the world. Christ could not, therefore, be a divinity like Mithras, who guides the human being beyond himself. He is the one God who descended to Earth and took away the sins of differentiation and cleansed man of them. Mithras rushes through the world with a sword in his hand that he thrusts into the lower nature to slay it; under him the lower nature dies. Christ offers Himself as the Lamb of God, who takes the lower nature into Himself in order to redeem it.
Much lies in this comparison, immeasurably much! It is for this reason that the idea of Christ is not to be separated from the idea of death and resurrection. Only when we realize that what leads man to the Earth brings him death, that there is more in him than what brings him into the earthly atmosphere, and that something is in him that is the Christ Who leads him away again -- In Christo morimur -- only then do we understand the Christ and know that we are united with Him. Thus, the representations of the ancient gods could set triumphant beings before us, but the Christ could only be presented by the joining of human beings in suffering and death because Christ endured all that enters into the differentiations of man throughout the Earth. It is thus that Christ becomes the One Who leads man through death and back into the spiritual world, but this also makes Him the Divinity Who may be approached here on Earth as we pass beyond maya or illusion. As the Christ is born here from the womb of maya, so must we draw near to Him by advancing beyond maya and appealing to Him in all the higher reality that projects into maya, but isn't maya itself.
If it is to turn to this worship of Christ, mankind will still need a long time on Earth. Nevertheless, we must begin again to take Christianity earnestly. It is taken least of all seriously by the theologians who are frequently in conflict over whether or not Christ performed miracles and, for example, drove out demons through them. Well, it is entirely superfluous to argue over whether or not Christ drove out demons. It is more important that we learn to reproduce His miracles and thereby cast the demons out now where we can. We still have little power to cast out demons in the higher sense as antiquity knew how to do through its atavism. That is the destiny, the karma, of our epoch. But we can begin to drive out those demons of whom I spoke yesterday; they are there and it is negative superstition to suppose that they are not. How do we drive them out? Humanity will be convinced that they are being driven out when what is unholy service today becomes holy; that is, permeated with the Christ consciousness. In other words, this means that we must change to a sacramentalism in which man's deeds are imbued by the consciousness that the Christ stands behind him everywhere. Thus, he ought to do nothing in the world except that in which the Christ can help him. If he does something else, the Christ must also help him but He is thus crucified again and again in human deeds. The crucifixion is not merely a single deed; it is a continuing deed. So long as we do not drive out the demons through what lives in our souls by changing external mechanical actions into holy actions, we will continue to crucify Christ. It is from this point that our education to a true Christianity must begin. What was symbolically practiced in the ancient cults of Christianity and was once performed only on the altar must take hold of the entire world. Humanity must learn to deal with nature as the gods have done; it should learn not to construct machines in an indifferent way but to fulfill a divine service and bring sacramentalism into everything that is produced.
It is already possible to make a beginning in many things. Most of all, human beings can begin to develop sacramentalism in two areas. The first is that of educating and teaching children. We will begin to spiritualize what the religions call "baptism" when we look upon every human being who enters the world through birth as bringing his/her Christ forces with him/herself. Thus we will have the right reverence before the growing human being and can then direct the entire education and especially the teaching of the child in this spirit so that we bring in this teaching a sacramentalism to fruition. We can achieve the same end when we not only look upon educating and teaching the child as a divine service, but also make it such a divine service. Finally, when we endeavor to bring what we call our knowledge into our consciousness in such a way that, as our souls are filled with ideas of the spiritual world, we are aware that the spiritual world is entering into us and that we are being united with the spiritual; when we look upon that as a "communion"; when we can realize true knowledge in a sentence you find expressed before 1887: "Thinking is the true communion of humanity," when the symbolic sacrament of the altar will become the universal sacramental experience of knowledge. It is in this direction that the Christianizing of man must move forward. You will then come to the knowledge that, everywhere in life, reality enters into maya in everything that is related to the Christ, and that to look upon reality after the manner of modern science with its world conception is in the most eminent sense un-Christian.
[The Karma of Vocation, lecture 10]