Sunday, September 23, 2018

The mystery of Steiner

“The Pre-Earthly Deeds of Christ” is a collection of three lectures by Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy. Only the last lecture is easy to understand for the general reader (well, sort of!), while the two others feel very “in house”. Steiner had a highly complex view of Christ and Christology, and only some aspects of it are covered in these lectures. Some of Steiner's speculations have a family likeness with traditional Christianity, while others are simply “out there”.

In Steiner's system, Christ was a high angelic being who appeared to humanity at several points during its evolution. His first appearance was as Jehovah or Jahve. His second appearance was as Jesus, really a human whom the Christ-being incarnated in. Today, Christ will appear once more, this time in the “etheric” and only visible to those who develop special clairvoyant abilities. Steiner reveals that Christ was at work even in Atlantis and Lemuria, imbuing humanity with much needed spiritual energies to combat Lucifer and Ahriman (the twin devils of Steiner's system). Christ is the only angelic being who has incarnated on Earth as a man and tasted death, something only physical creatures can do. Due to this sacrifice, Christ has evolved and attained an even higher position in the spiritual realm. The Mystery of Golgotha is a salvific act and a turning-point in the Earth's evolution. From now on, Christ is somehow part of Earth's spiritual aura.

Steiner reveals that Christ often works through another angelic being, Michael. This was true both during the Old Testament period, and again today, during the Age of Michael (which started during the 19th century). I get the impression that Steiner conflates Michael and Jehovah-Christ. In other texts, he also mentions Vidar (really a Norse god) as another angel through which Christ works. Interestingly, Steiner claims that the Gospel writers didn't comprehend Christ in the correct “spiritual” way, since they weren't under the influence of Michael, who abdicated his rule of Earth shortly after the Golgotha event. Today, Michael is ruler again, and through Anthroposophy we can get to know the truth about Jesus Christ in its fullness.

Expert theologians will probably recognize every “heresy” in the book in the above account: Jehovah was the Son rather than the Father, Michael was Jehovah, Michael was Christ, adoptionism, spiritual rather than physical resurrection, Steiner claiming to have a “new revelation” restoring the Gospel to its previously unknown pristine purity, etc. Still, it's interesting to note that Steiner placed such emphasis on Christ and the passion, quite unlike Theosophy which inspired other aspects of his system.

Not for the general reader, to put it mildly, but perhaps still worth three stars.

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