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Chapter Two.

In order to understand why Christ performed His momentous deed at the Point of Time, the pivotal moment in the history of Humanity, the Earth, and the Cosmos pertaining the Earth, with every event prior to this Event (the Crucifixion) leading up to it and everything following being consequent upon it, we need to go back into the far reaches of time and sketch the origin of the earth and its subsequent evolution. The following description is but an an adumbrated outline, a cursory account, and you can find a fuller account in Steiner's "An Outline of Occult Science".

The earth as we know it today is in its fourth incarnation. The first incarnation is known as "Saturn" in the terminology of spiritual science and is not to be confused with the planet Saturn (hence the quotation marks). It must be understood that "Saturn" is a spiritual body and the main purpose of this first 'earth incarnation' is the laying down of the spiritual germ of mineral existence and the physical body of the human being. This was performed primarily by two of the spiritual hierarchies, The Thrones and The Archai ('Spirits of Personality'). After these tasks were performed "Saturn" dissolved into the cosmic womb, into the spiritual state known as "Pralaya".

Then, out of the state of Pralaya arose the second incarnation of the earth, called the "Sun". Here occurs first a recapitulation of the "Saturn" stage of earth incarnation, followed by the laying down of the spiritual germ of plant existence and the etheric body of the human being. These tasks are primarily the deeds of the Kyriotetes ('Spirits of Wisdom') and the Archangels ('Spirits of Fire')

Also in the "Sun" stage of earth incarnation, retarded Spirits of Personality (Archai) create the mineral existence of the animal kingdom.

(An aside here - one of the many revelations that Steiner brought to the world is the spiritual fact that the spiritual worlds are also evolving, and in this evolution, not all members of each spiritual hierarchy make the grade and move on to the next hierarchy - they are thus characterized as retarded or 'fallen').

Then the "Sun" stage dissolves into the state of Pralaya. Out of this Pralaya the next stage of earth evolution arises, called the "Moon" stage.

Here, a recapitulation occurs of both the "Saturn" and "Sun" stages before the laying down of the spiritual germ of the animal existence and the astral body of the human being. These tasks are primarily the deeds of the Dynamis ('Spirits of Motion') and the Angels.

Also in the "Moon" stage the plant existence of animal kingdom is laid down along with the mineral existence of the plant kingdom, by retarded spiritual beings.

Again there is the dissolution into the spiritual stage of existence called Pralaya. Out of this Pralaya arises the fourth stage of earth incarnation, called "Earth".

Again there is the recapitulation of the first three incarnations of earth evolution. It must be borne in mind that the cosmos as we know it has yet to make its appearance, physical life is still far off in the future; all these stages are still purely spiritual.

As far as the "Earth" incarnation is concerned, the overview of what has been and what is to be is as follows:

1. Polarian Epoch

2. Hyperborian Epoch

3. Lemurian Epoch

4. Atlantean Epoch

The Atlantean Epoch is terminated with "The Great Flood", which signals the beginning of the Post-Atlantean Epoch.

5. Post-Atlantean Epoch

The Post Atlantean Epoch is made up of Seven Cultures, as follows:

1.) Ancient Indian Culture.

2.) Ancient Persian Culture.

3.) Assyrian-Babylonian-Chaldean-Egyptian-Hebrew Culture.

4.) Graeco-Latin Culture.

5.) Anglo-Germanic Culture. (This is our present Cultural Age).

6.) Sixth Cultural Age.

7.) Seventh Cultural Age.

The Post-Atlantean Epoch ends with "The Great War of All Against All" and marks the general destruction of civilization. This is followed by:

6. Sixth Epoch.

7. Seventh Epoch.

At the end of the Seventh Epoch the "Earth" incarnation comes to its conclusion and there is again the dissolution into Pralaya. Following this period in the cosmic womb is the fifth stage of earth incarnation, and there are two more after that, to make a total of seven.

At the beginning of "Earth " incarnation, it is necessary to recognize that the planetary arrangement and the sun and moon as we perceive them had not separated out from the earth. During the Polarian Epoch, after the recapitulation of the previous three incarnations, is the laying down of the spiritual "germs" of

the animal kingdom, followed by

the plant kingdom, followed by

the mineral kingdom.

Then during the Hyperborean Epoch, the sun began to withdraw from the earth. The reason for this event was the "spiritual atmosphere" of the earth was becoming unsuitable for spiritual beings who were more advanced to continue their evolution, so they withdrew and created their own "sphere" of activity. This later became the sun as we know it today. (I should point out that that the planets as we see them with our physical eyes are the outward physical appearance of the activity of the spiritual beings that have to do with the individual planets - the same is true of the stars).

Now, of all the spiritual beings who had gone with the withdrawal of the "sun beings", not all were capable of keeping pace with the sun development, and they created their own spiritual "spheres" of activity - these became what we now know as the planets Venus and Mercury.

Also, before the sun completely withdrew, certain spiritual beings needed to segregate special fields of action for themselves and these appear to us today as the planets Saturn, Jupiter and Mars.

Then the earth enters the third Epoch, the Lemurian period, when of the pantheon of heavenly spiritual beings made outwardly visible today as the planetary spheres orbiting the heavens, only the Moon remained united with the earth and this brought about an increasing spiritual barrenness and aridity (keep in mind that physical life has yet to make its appearance) on the earth such that it became increasingly difficult for human souls to incarnate in the "physical" body during this period.

This increasing aridity meant that human souls had to find other spiritual spheres in which to live and they ascended to those of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars.

In due course it became apparent that human life was threatened in its continued development and evolution if the moon forces had remained united with the earth, so the moon beings were constrained by the sun beings to withdraw from the earth. As the splitting off of the moon beings was eventuated, so to form the planetary sphere visible in the night sky as the moon today, there were in fact only two human beings left on the earth.

After the moon beings left, the proper rhythm for the continued evolution and development of the earth and human beings gradually asserted itself and the four kingdoms of the earth made their appearance in the following order:

1.) Mineral Kingdom, since the minerals (which have come about in the course of this time by elimination, cast off by the higher kingdoms) are the first to be capable of exploiting the revivifying forces gradually arising after the withdrawal of the moon beings.

2.) Plant Kingdom.

3.) Animal Kingdom.

4.) Human Beings.

It is during the "Earth" incarnation that the gradual insertion of the potential Ego to the Physical, Etheric and Astral Bodies is accomplished, due to the activity of the Exusiai ("Spirits of Form").

At this juncture, toward the end of the Lemurian Epoch and the beginning of the Atlantean, the human physical body is composed of the most tenuous matter, with what was to evolve into solid matter still being liquid at this time. The matter forming the body is so tenuous and soft that it obeyed the impulses of the human will in all directions; it is capable of obeying the soul's every wish.

Then, gradually, air and water, pure air and water,purged of their denser elements come into existence and it was this clear air and water that afforded the human being continued physical existence.

As the earth gradually passes into the Fourth Epoch, The Atlantean Epoch, the human beings gradually began to multiply. However, this was a very gradual, almost interminable process and it came about that some of the human souls who had withdrawn to the spheres of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars attempted to incarnate prematurely and they ensouled physical bodies that were not yet ready for the proper development of the human being - they remain today as those animals ranking closely to man - that is, the ape species.

The human physical body and etheric bodies gradually came to coincide toward the last third part of the Atlantean Culture. Hitherto, the human being had consciousness and perception of the spiritual beings in the spiritual worlds but no sense of "I", had no sense of "separation" between the individual and his or her surroundings - did not, in fact, have a perception of an individual identity.

It was the original intention of the God(s) and spiritual beings who are characterized by Steiner as the Progressive Spiritual Forces who have to do with the Creation of Humanity and Earth to continue the development of the human being with the consciousness of the spiritual worlds along with the perception of the physical world of objects within the spiritual worlds. Why has this not occurred?

Precisely during the moon "crisis", as the human being was gradually reviving after the moon beings had been forced by the sun beings to leave the sphere of the earth, the human being began to be influenced by beings that must be characterized as retarded, although on a higher spiritual level than the human being, who had failed to complete their tasks on the moon - these are the Luciferic Beings.

To recall the constitution of the human being, after this epic evolutionary creation, as he or she now stands before us:

Ego - the work of the Exusiai (Spirits of Form)

Astral Body - Dynamis (Spirits of Motion)

Etheric Body- Kyriotetes (Spirits of Wisdom)

Physical Body- Thrones

The influence of these Luciferic Beings entered into the astral body like powerful rays. The astral body is the vehicle of impulses, desires, passions and instincts. If the Luciferic Beings had not influenced the astral body, human beings would have developed those impulses which would have guided us surely and advanced our evolution and development with no failures, no errors. Spiritual beings would have led us to see the world of objects as we see them today along with the spiritual beings behind the objects (which we do not).

However, although we would have been led unerringly in our development and evolution thereby, we would have had no possibility for individual freedom, enthusiasm, the sense of independence and a passion for these noble and high ideals.

Without the influence of the Luciferic Beings, we would not have lost our former clairvoyant consciousness and would have regarded the glories of the world as a sort of God, for we would have become a component part of divinity. Furthermore, such a one of this world would have induced a perfect reflection of itself in the human mind, but in all his perfection, the human being would have remained a reflection of the universe.

The influence of the Luciferic Beings, while it caused us to become unduly enmeshed in the world of the senses and our body become solidified prematurely from the more tenuous, finer form that had been intended by the sublime spiritual beings, and as a result, giving to the human being impulses for passion, enthusiasm, independence and the potentiality of freedom, these Luciferic impulses also introduced the potentiality for error, evil and sin.

As we pass into the Fifth Epoch, The Post -Atlantean Epoch, after the destruction of Atlantis as a result of the deepening influence of the Luciferic impulses leading to error and sin and evil, we also have the interference of those beings which are called Ahrimanic in human perception of the world in which we live, in which they cast a veil over the reality and leave our sense impressions with the mere illusion of the physical form only of objects which we see, touch, hear etc.

In summary:

Luciferic influences lead to the deterioration of the astral body greater than it should have been and the premature solidification of the physical substances of the body plus the possibility of freedom.

Ahrimanic influences prevent the human being from discerning the spiritual basis of the world, tricking us with the mere illusion of it.

In concluding this part of the account, we need to recognize that there is a cosmic spiritual battle taking place between, on the one side, the opposing spiritual powers of Lucifer and Ahriman, and on the other, the progressive spiritual forces. The field of battle of this cosmic spiritual battle is the human soul and the prize sought for by the opposing spiritual powers IS the individual human soul.

So, what we need to find out is what happened to carry humanity onward on the cosmic path intended for us and to prevent humanity from succumbing to the fate intended for us by the opposing spiritual beings. Before I go into that, I will devote the next instalment to a clearer exposition of Lucifer and Ahriman, and an additional opposing spiritual power just now making its appearance, the Asuras.

Chapter One.

Chapter Three

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