Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The deed of Christ: the transformation of freedom into love. Christus verus Luciferus

The conclusion to lecture 5 of
The Gospel of St. John and Its Relation to the Other Gospels
Rudolf Steiner, Kassel, Germany, June 28, 1909:

Christ transmuted that teaching of the old initiates, and said: It is possible for man to cultivate his own personality. He need not obey the physical bonds of blood brotherhood alone: he can look into his own ego and there seek, and find, the divine. — What we have characterized as the Christ impulse bears within it the force which, if we unite with it, offers us the possibility of establishing a spiritual bond of brotherhood among human beings, in spite of the individuality of the ego. Thus the Christ force was very different from the one prevailing in the community into which He was placed. There the idea was, I and Father Abraham are one. That is what I must know if I am to find the way back to the divine. — But Christ said: There is another Father through Whom the ego will find the way to the divine; for the ego, or the I am, is one with the divine. There is something eternal thou canst find if thou remainest within thyself.
That is why Christ could characterize the force He would transmit to men with the words we find in the Gospel of St. John, Before Abraham was, was the I am. And the “I am” was nothing other than the name which Christ called Himself. If men can enkindle the thought within them: Within me there dwells something that existed long before Abraham; I have no need to go back to Abraham, for I find the divine Father Spirit within me — then they can turn into good all that Lucifer contributed to the cultivation and fostering of the ego, which had proved an obstacle in the path of humanity. The transformation of Lucifer's influence into good: that was the deed of Christ.
Supposing that only the high divine-spiritual beings had been at work, those who had restricted love to blood ties, who kept demanding of men that they go back through the whole line of descent if they would find the way to the Gods. Had that occurred, mankind would have been herded together into one human community without enjoying full consciousness; and never would men have risen to a complete awareness of their freedom and independence. But that is what the Luciferic spirits inoculated in man's astral body before the advent of Christ. They segregated men, tried to make them independent of each other. But Christ turned to good the evil that would inevitably have resulted had the Luciferic influence become extreme. If the latter had run its full course mankind would have lost its capacity for love. Lucifer endowed man with freedom and independence; Christ transmuted this freedom into love. And the bond Christ brought mankind is what will lead men to spiritual love.
This point of view throws a different light on the deeds of the Luciferic spirits. Are we still justified in thinking of their once having lagged behind as due to indolence and laziness? No indeed, for it was done in order to fulfill a definite mission in Earth evolution: to prevent men from becoming fused into a mere mass through purely natural ties, as well as to prepare the way to Christ. It is as though they had said to themselves on the Moon: We will renounce our present goal in order to be able to work on the Earth in conformity with progressive development. This is one of the examples that show how an ostensible evil, a seeming error, can turn out for the best in the whole context of world events. To enable the Christ to intervene in Earth evolution at the right moment, certain Moon spirits had to sacrifice their Moon mission and prepare for Him. This shows us that Lucifer's retardation on the Moon can also be regarded in the light of a sacrifice.
In this way we come ever closer to a truth which should be engraved in the human soul as a lofty moral maxim: When you see something evil in the world, do not say, Here is evil — that is, imperfection; ask, rather, How can I attain to the enlightenment which will show me that on a higher plane this evil is transformed into good by the wisdom of the cosmos? How can I learn to tell myself: Here you see naught but imperfection because you are as yet unable to grasp the perfection of this imperfect thing?
Whenever man sees evil he should look into his own soul and ask himself, Why am I not yet able to recognize the good in this evil that confronts me?

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