Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Anthroposophy: a new flowering of Christianity to meet the needs of our time

Rudolf Steiner:

I have often called attention to the need to bear in mind the golden age of the rise of Christianity before the era of Constantine . . . If we look back to Origen and to Clement of Alexandria we find men who were open-minded, men still imbued with the Greek spirit: yet they were also conscious of the significance of what had been accomplished through the Mystery of Golgotha. Their conception of this Mystery and of the crucified Christ is considered to be pure heresy in the eyes of all denominations today. In reality the great Church Fathers of the pre-Constantine age who are recognized by the Church are the worst heretics of all. Though they were aware of the significance of the Mystery of Golgotha for the evolution of the Earth, they gave no indication of wishing to suppress the path to the Mystery of Golgotha, the gate to the Mysteries or the path of the old clairvoyance, which had been the aim of the Christianity of Constantine. In Clement of Alexandria especially we see that his works are shot through with great mysteries, mysteries which are so veiled that it is even difficult for contemporary man to make head or tail of them. Clement speaks of the Logos for example, of the wisdom that streams through and permeates the Universe. He pictures the Logos as music of the spheres fraught with meaning, and the visible world as the expression of the music of the spheres, just as the visible vibration of the strings of a musical instrument is the expression of the sound waves. Thus, in the eyes of Clement, the human form is made in the image of the Logos; that is, to Clement the Logos is a reality and he sees the human form as a fusion of tones from the music of the spheres. Man, he says, is made in the image of the Logos. And in many of Clement's utterances we find traces of that supernal wisdom that dwelt in him, a wisdom illuminated by the Christ Impulse. If you compare these utterances of Clement of Alexandria with the prevailing attitude today then the claim to recognize a man such as Clement of Alexandria without understanding him will appear as more than passing strange.
When it is said that the aim of Spiritual Science is to follow in the main stream of Christianity, to be a new flowering of Christianity to meet the needs of our time, then the cry is raised — the ancient Gnosis is being revived! And at the mention of Gnosis many professing Christians today begin to cross themselves as if faced by the devil incarnate. Gnosis for today is Spiritual Science; but the more developed gnosis of the present time is different from the gnosis known to Clement of Alexandria. What were the views of Clement of Alexandria who lived in the latter half of the second century? Faith, he says, is our starting-point — the orthodox Christian of today is satisfied with faith alone and asks no more. Faith, according to Clement, is already knowledge, but concise knowledge of what is needed; gnosis however confirms and reinforces what we believe, is founded on faith through the teaching of Our Lord and so leads to a faith that is scientifically acceptable and irrefutable. In these words Clement of Alexandria expresses for his time what we must realize today. Christianity therefore demands that gnosis, the Spiritual Science of today, must actively participate in the development of Christianity. 
But the modern philistine protests: “We must distinguish between science [which he would limit to sense experience] and faith. Faith must have no part in science.” Clement of Alexandria however says: To faith is added gnosis, to gnosis love, and to love the “Kingdom”. This is one of the most profound utterances of the human spirit because it bears witness to an intimate union with the life of the spirit. First we are nourished in faith; but to faith is added gnosis, that is, knowledge or understanding. Out of this living knowledge, i.e. when we penetrate deeply into things, there is first born genuine love through which our Divine inheritance operates. Mankind can only be the vehicle of the influx of the Divine as it was in the “beginning” if to faith is added gnosis, to gnosis love, and to love the “Kingdom.” We must look upon these utterances as bearing witness to the deep spirituality of Clement.

"My kingdom is not of this world."