"ES IST ICH"
Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha
The conclusion of lecture 3
Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, April 10, 1917:
Today man approaches nature in the light of the education he has received. Nature proceeds in obedience to natural laws. We think of the birth, maturity and death of the Earth in terms of natural laws. Everything is seen from the standpoint of natural laws. In addition to the laws of nature there is the moral law. We feel — and especially the Kantians, for example — that we are subject to the categorical imperative, that we are an integral part of the moral world order. But think how anaemic has become the idea today that this moral world order has, like nature, its own objective reality. After all, even Haeckel, even Arrhenius and others, for all their materialism, were convinced that the Earth was moving towards a new glacial epoch or towards entropy. But they also believed that the little “idols” they called atoms are dissociated and cannot be destroyed — hence the conservation of matter! This accords more or less with the modern scientific outlook. But these ideas about matter ignore the following problem: if, one fine day, the Earth becomes glaciated or reaches total entropy, what becomes of the moral world order? It has no place in Earth conditions of this nature! Once the human species has died out, what becomes of the moral order? In other words, the moral ideas which man feels to be an integral part of himself, the source of his moral values and the goal of his conscience, appear to be a necessity; but if we are really honest, moral ideas are unrelated to the natural order, to that which natural science regards as fundamental realities. Moral ideas have become emasculated. They are powerful enough to determine men's actions and the dictates of conscience; they are not strong enough, however, to give the impression that what one imagines to be a moral idea today is a concrete, vital force in the world. Something more is needed to realize this. Who is it that can awaken our moral conceptions to vigorous and active life? It is the Christ! This is one aspect of the Christ Being.
Though all that lives in stone, plant, animal and the human body, all that lives in the elements of warmth and air, may perish (as science foretells), though all human bodies will taste of death at the end of time — for according to natural science all our moral values must ultimately become — one cannot say dust and ashes, for that would be going too far — yet, according to Christian belief there lives in the Christ Being a power that lays hold of our moral conceptions and creates out of them a new world: “Heaven and Earth may pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” This is the power that will carry over to Jupiter the moral element developed on the Earth.
Now picture the Earth as an organism, like a plant, the moral law as the seed which is formed within the organism, and the Christ force as the impulse which stimulates the seed to grow into the future Earth, into Jupiter. We then have a totally new conception of the Gospels from the standpoint of Spiritual Science.
But how can this be? How can that which belongs solely to the realm of thought according to the materialist, which is only an idea or theory towards which one feels a moral obligation — how can that be tranformed into real force such as the one which burns in coal or which causes the bullet to fly through the air? How can such ideas which are so tenuous possess solid reality? To achieve this transformation a new impulse is needed and these moral ideas must be inbued with the impulse. What impulse is this? You will recall that we said earlier that faith must not be merely a substitute for knowledge: it must be an active agent that effects something. It must make our moral ideas a reality, lift them to a new plane and create a new world out of them. It is important that our articles of faith are not simply a form of unverified knowledge, a blind faith, but that our faith has the power to transform the seed “morality” into a cosmic reality. It was the mission of the Mystery of Golgotha to imbue Earth evolution with this power. This power had to be implanted in the souls of the disciples. At the same time they were reminded of the loss suffered by those who possessed only the written records. It is the power of faith which is of paramount importance. And if we do not understand what we owe to Christ when one so often hears the words “faith” or “belief”, then neither do we understand what entered Earth evolution at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha.
You will now realize that the Mystery of Golgotha has cosmic significance. That which belongs to the natural order is subject to the laws of nature. And just as at a certain stage of its evolution a plant bears seed, so too at a certain point of time the Mystery of Golgotha will bring a new impulse in preparation for the new Jupiter evolution in which the future incarnation of man can participate.
From our study of the unique nature of the Christ Being I have indicated the relation of this Being to the whole Cosmos and how, at a definite point in time, Earth evolution was imbued with a new vitalizing force, which is revealed from time to time with impressive effect, but only to those who can apprehend such manifestations intuitively. The author of the Mark Gospel, for example, was a case in point. When Christ was led away after the betrayal by Judas and the author of that Gospel had a clairvoyant vision of the scene, he saw, among the multitude that had forsaken Him, a certain young man clad only in a linen cloth. The linen cloth is torn from him, but he wrests himself free and flees from them naked (Mark XIV, 51). This was the same young man who, according to the Mark Gospel was sitting clothed in a long white garment on the right of the sepulchre and announced: Christ is risen. This is the account given in the Gospel of St. Mark as the result of Imaginative cognition. Here is portrayed the encounter between the former body of Christ-Jesus and the “seed” of a new world order as seen by Imaginative cognition.
Try to feel this in connection with what I said recently — and on this note I propose to conclude my lecture today — namely, that the human body, in virtue of its original constitution, was destined for immortality. Compare this with the fact that the animal is mortal by virtue of its organization, whilst this does not apply to man. He is mortal because of the corruption of his soul and this stain will be washed away by Christ. If you reflect upon this you will understand that the physical body must be transformed by the living force that streams into Earth evolution through the Mystery of Golgotha. When Earth evolution comes to an end the power which has been lost through the “Fall” and which brought death to the body will be restored through the power of Christ, and the body of man will be seen in its true physical form. If we recognize the trichotomy of body, soul and spirit, then the “ressurrection of the body takes on meaning also, otherwise it cannot be understood. The modern rationalist will no doubt regard this as a most reactionary idea, but he who derives his knowledge of reincarnation from the wellspring of truth is also aware of the real significance of the resurrection of the body at the end of time. And when Paul rightly said: “If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (Cor. I.XV. 14), we know from the investigations of Spiritual Science that he bore witness to the truth. If this dictum of Paul be true, then it is equally true to say: if earthly evolution does not lead to the conservation of the corporeal form which man can perfect in the course of evolution, if the human form were to perish, if man could not rise again through the power of Christ, then the Mystery of Golgotha would have been in vain and vain also the faith that it inspired. This is the necessary complement of the words of Paul.
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