From Jesus to Christ
10 October 1911, Karlsruhe
By taking our start from what was said yesterday, we shall be able to come nearer to the fundamental questions of Christianity and to penetrate into its essential nature. We shall see that only by this means can we see into the heart of what the Christ-Impulse has become for the evolution of humanity and what it will become in the future.
People are always insisting that the answers to the highest questions must not be complicated; the truth must be brought directly to each person in the simplest way. In support of this they argue, for example, that the Apostle John in his last years expressed the quintessence of Christianity in words of truth: ‘Children, love one another.’ No one, however, should conclude that a person who simply pronounces the words, ‘Children, love one another’, knows the essence of Christianity and of all truth for men. Before the Apostle John was entitled to pronounce these words, he had fulfilled various preconditions. We know it was at the end of a long life, in his ninety-fifth year, that he came to this utterance; only by then, in that particular incarnation, had he earned the right to use such words, Indeed, he stands there as a witness that this saying, if it came from any chance individual, would not have the power it had from him. For he had achieved something else, also. Although the critics dispute it, he was the author of the John Gospel, the Apocalypse, and the Epistles of John. Throughout his life he had not always said, ‘Children, love one another!’ He had written a work which belongs to the most difficult productions of man, the Apocalypse, and the John Gospel, which penetrates most intimately and deeply into the human soul. He had gained the right to pronounce such a saying only through a long life and through what he had accomplished. If anyone lives a life such as his, and does what he did, and then says, as he did, ‘Children, love one another!’ there are no grounds for objecting to it. We must, however, be quite clear that although some things can be compressed into a few words, so that these few words signify very much, the same few words may also say nothing. Many a person who pronounces a word of wisdom which in its proper setting would perhaps signify something very deep, believes that by merely uttering it he has said a very great deal.
The writer of the Apocalypse and of the John Gospel, in his greatest age, could speak the words ‘Children, love one another!’ out of the essence of Christianity, but the same words from the mouth of another person may be a mere phrase. We must gather matters for the understanding of Christianity from far a field, so that we may apply them to the simplest truths of daily life.
Yesterday we had to approach the question, so fateful for modern thought: What are we to make of the physical body in relation to the four-fold being of man?
We shall see how the points brought out yesterday in looking at the differing views of the Greeks, the ancient Hebrews and the Buddhists will lead us further towards understanding the nature of Christianity. But if we are to learn more concerning the fate of the physical body, we must first take up a question which is central to the whole Christian cosmic conception; a question which lies at the very core of Christianity: How it is with the Resurrection of Christ? Must we not assume that for the understanding of Christianity it is essential to reach an understanding of the Resurrection?
To see how important this is, we need only recall a passage in the first Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, (I Corinthians 15:14–20):
If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life we who are in Christ have only hope, we are of all men most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
(Quotations from the New Testament are in the Revised Standard Version, 1946.)
We must remember that Christianity, in so far as it has extended over the world, began with Paul. And if we are disposed to take these important words seriously, we cannot simply pass them over by saying that we must leave the question of the Resurrection unexplained. For what is it that Paul says? That the whole of Christianity has no justification, and the whole Christian Faith no meaning, if the Resurrection is not true! That is what is said by Paul, with whom Christianity as a fact of history had its starting-point. And it means that anyone who is willing to give up the Resurrection must give up Christianity as Paul understood it.
And now let us pass over almost two thousand years and ask people of the present day how, according to the requirements of modern culture, they stand with regard to the question of the Resurrection. I shall not now take note of those who simply deny Jesus entirely; it is naturally quite easy for them to be clear regarding the question of the Resurrection. If Jesus never lived, one need not trouble about the Resurrection. Leaving such persons aside, we will turn to those who about the middle or in the last third of the nineteenth century had accepted the current ideas of our time — the time in which we are still living. We will ask them what they think, in conformity with the whole culture of our day, concerning the question of the Resurrection.
We will take a man who has gained great influence over the way of thinking of those who consider themselves best informed — David Friedrich Strauss. In his work on Reimarus, a thinker of the eighteenth century, we read: ‘The Resurrection of Jesus is really a shibboleth, concerning which not only the various conceptions of Christianity, but the various world-philosophies and stages of spiritual evolution, are at variance.’ And in a Swiss journal almost of the same date we read: ‘As soon as I can convince myself of the reality of the Resurrection of Christ, this absolute miracle, I tear down the modern conception of the world. This breach in what I believe to be the inviolable order of Nature would make an irreparable rent in my system, in my whole thought-world.’
Let us ask how many persons of our present time who, according to the modern standpoint, must and do subscribe to these words, would say, ‘If I were obliged to recognise the Resurrection as historical fact, I would tear down my whole system of thought, philosophical or otherwise.’ Let us ask how should the Resurrection, as historical fact, fit in with a modern man's outlook on the world.
Let us recall something indicated in my first public lecture on this subject, that the Gospels are to be taken first and foremost as Initiation writings. The leading events depicted in the Gospels are fundamentally Initiation events — events which had formerly taken place within the secret places of the temples of the Mysteries, when this or that person, who had been deemed worthy, was initiated by the hierophants. Such a person, after he had been prepared for a long time, went through a kind of death and a kind of resurrection. He had also to go through certain situations in life which reappear for us in the Gospels — in the story of the Temptation, the story set on the Mount of Olives, and other similar ones. That is why the accounts of ancient Initiates, which do not aim to be biographies in the usual sense, show such resemblance to the Gospel stories of Christ Jesus. And when we read the history of the greatest initiates, of Apollonius of Tyana, or indeed even of Buddha or Zarathustra, or the life of Osiris or of Orpheus, it often seems that important characteristics of their lives are the same as those narrated of Christ Jesus in the Gospels. But although we must grant that we have to seek in the Initiation ceremonies of the old Mysteries for the prototypes of important events narrated in the Gospels, on the other hand we see quite clearly that the great teachings of the life of Christ Jesus are saturated throughout with individual details which are not intended as a mere repetition of Initiation ceremonies, but make it very plain that what is described is actual fact. Must we not say that we receive a remarkably factual impression when the following is pictured for us in the Gospel of John XX:1–10:
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went towards the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and he went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkins, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ Saying this, she turned and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew,
‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her,
‘Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’
Here is a situation described in such detail that if we wish to picture it in imagination there is hardly anything lacking — when, for example, it is said that the one disciple runs faster than the other, or that the napkin which had covered the head was laid aside in another place, and so on. In every detail something is described which would have no meaning if it did not refer to a fact. Attention was drawn on a former occasion to one detail, that Mary did not recognise Christ Jesus, and we asked how was it possible that after three days anyone could fail to recognise in the same form a person previously known. Hence we had to note that Christ appeared to Mary in a changed form, or these words would have no meaning.
Here, therefore, a distinction must be kept in mind. First, we have to understand the Resurrection as a translation into historic fact of the awakening that took place in the holy Mysteries of all times, only with the difference that he who in the Mysteries raised up the individual pupil was the hierophant; while the Gospels indicate that He who raised up Christ is the Being whom we designate as the Father — that the Father Himself raised up the Christ. Here we are shown that what had formerly been carried out on a small scale in the depths of the Mysteries was now and once for all enacted for humanity by Divine Spirits, and that the Being who is designated as the Father acted as hierophant in the raising to life of Christ Jesus. Thus we have here, enhanced to the highest degree, something which formerly had taken place on a small scale in the Mysteries.
That is the first point. The other is that, interwoven with matters which carry us back to the Mysteries, there are descriptions so detailed that even today we can reconstruct from the Gospels the situations even to their minute particulars, as we have just seen in the passage read to you. But this passage includes one detail that calls for particular attention. There must be a meaning in the words, ‘For they did not as yet know the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.’ Let us ask: Of what had the disciples been able so far to convince themselves? It is described as clearly as anything can be that the linen wrappings are there, but the body is not there, is no longer in the grave. The disciples had not been able to convince themselves of anything else, and they understood nothing else when they now went home. Otherwise the words have no meaning. The more deeply you enter into the text, the more you must say that the disciples who were standing by the grave were convinced that the linen wrappings were there, but that the body was no longer in the grave. They went home with the thought: ‘Where has the body gone? Who has taken it out of the grave?’
And now, from the conviction that the body is not there, the Gospels lead us slowly to the events through which the disciples were finally convinced of the Resurrection. How were they convinced? Through the fact that, as the Gospels relate, Christ appeared to them by degrees, so that they could say, ‘He is there!’, and this went so far that Thomas, called the Doubter, could lay his finger in the prints of the wounds. In short, we can see from the Gospels that the disciples became convinced of the Resurrection through Christ having come to them after it as the Risen One. The proof for the disciples was that He was there. And if these disciples, who had gradually come to the conviction that Christ was alive, although He had died, had been asked what they actually believed, they would have said: ‘We have proofs that Christ lives.’ But they certainly would not have spoken as Paul spoke later, after he had gone through his experience on the road to Damascus.
Anyone who allows the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles to work upon him will notice the deep underlying difference between the fundamental tone of the Gospels as regards the understanding of the Resurrection, and the Pauline conception of it. Paul, indeed, draws a parallel between his conviction of the Resurrection and that of the Gospels, for in saying ‘Christ is risen’, he indicates that Christ, after He had been crucified, appeared as a living Being to Cephas, to the Twelve, then to five hundred brethren at one time; and last of all to himself, Paul, as to one born out of due time, Christ had appeared from out of the fiery glory of the Spiritual. Christ had appeared to the disciples also; Paul refers to that, and the events lived through with the Risen One were the same for Paul as they had been for the disciples. But what Paul immediately joins to these, as the outcome for him of the event of Damascus, is his wonderful and easily comprehensible theory of the Being of Christ.
What, from the event of Damascus onwards, was the Being of Christ for Paul? The Being of Christ was for him the ‘Second Adam’; and he immediately differentiates between the first Adam and the second Adam, the Christ. He calls the first Adam the progenitor of men on Earth because he sees in him the first man, from whom all other men are descended. For Paul, it is Adam who has bequeathed to human beings the body which they carry about with them as a physical body. All men have inherited their physical body from Adam. This is the body which meets us in external Maya, and is mortal; it is the body inherited from Adam, the corruptible body, the physical body of man that decays in death. With this body men are ‘clothed’. The second Adam, Christ, is regarded by Paul as possessing, in contrast to the first, the incorruptible, the immortal body. Paul then affirms that through Christian evolution men are gradually made ready to put on the second Adam in place of the first Adam; the incorruptible body of the second Adam, Christ, in place of the corruptible body of the first Adam. What Paul seems to require of all who call themselves true Christians is something that violates all the old conceptions of the world. As the first corruptible body is descended from Adam, so must the incorruptible body originate from the second Adam, from Christ. Every Christian could say: ‘Because I am descended from Adam, I have a corruptible body as Adam had; but in that I set myself in the right relationship to Christ, I receive from Him, the second Adam, an incorruptible body.’ For Paul, this view shines out directly from the experience of Damascus. We can perhaps express what Paul wishes to say by means of a simple diagram:
Here we have (x, x ...) a number of people at a given time. Paul would trace them all back to the first Adam, from whom they are all descended and by whom they are given the corruptible body. According to Paul's conception, however, something else is possible. Just as human beings can say, ‘We are related because we are all descended from the one progenitor, Adam,’ so they can say, ‘As without any action of ours, through the relationships of human generation lines can be traced back to Adam, so it is possible for us to cause something else to arise within us; something that could make us different beings. Just as the natural lines lead back to Adam, so it must be possible to represent lines which lead, not to the corruptible body of the fleshly Adam, but to the body that is incorruptible. Through our relationship to Christ, we can — according to the Pauline view — bear this incorruptible body within us, just as through Adam we bear the Corruptible body.’
There is nothing more uncomfortable for the modern consciousness than this idea. For looking at the matter quite soberly, what does it demand from us? It demands something which, for modern thought, is really monstrous. Modern thought has long disputed whether all human beings are descended from one primeval human being, but it may be allowed that all are descended from a single human being who was the first on earth as regards physical consciousness. Paul, however, demands the following. He says: ‘If you desire to be a Christian in the true sense, you must conceive that within you something can arise which can live in you, and from which you can draw spiritual lines to a second Adam, to Christ, to that very Christ who on the third day rose from the grave, just as all men can trace lines back to the physical body of the first Adam.’ So Paul demands that all who call themselves Christians should cause something within them to arise; something leading to that entity which on the third day rose out of the grave in which the body of Christ Jesus had been laid. Anyone who does not grant this cannot come into any relationship with Paul; he cannot say he understands Paul. If man, as regards his corruptible body, is descended from the first Adam, then, by receiving the Being of Christ into his own being, he has the possibility of having a second ancestor. This ancestor, however, is He who, on the third day after His body had been laid in the earth, rose out of the grave.
Let us clearly understand that Paul makes this demand, however displeasing it may be to modern thinkers. From this Pauline statement we will indeed approach the modern thinker; but one ought not to have any other opinion concerning that which meets us so clearly in the Pauline writings; one ought not to twist the meaning of something so clearly expressed by Paul. Certainly it is pleasant to interpret something allegorically and to say it was meant in such and such a way; but all these interpretations make no sense. If we wish to connect a meaning with the Pauline statement we are bound to say — even if modern consciousness regards it as superstition — that, according to Paul, Christ rose from the dead after three days.
Let us go further. An assertion such as this, made by Paul after he had reached the summit of his initiation through the event of Damascus — the assertion concerning the second Adam and His rising from the grave — could be made only by someone whose whole mode of thought and outlook had been derived from Greek thought; by one whose roots were in Greece, even if he were also a Hebrew; by one who in a certain respect had brought all his Hebraism as an offering to the Greek mind. For, if we come closer to all this, what is it that Paul really declares? Looking with inner vision on that which the Greeks loved and valued, the external form of the human body, concerning which they had the tragic feeling that it comes to an end when the individual passes through the gate of death, Paul says: ‘With the Resurrection of Christ, the body has been raised in triumph from the grave.’ If we are to build a bridge between these two world-outlooks, we can best do it in the following way.
The Greek hero said from his Greek feeling: ‘Better a beggar in the upper world than a king in the land of shades.’ He said this because he was convinced that the external form of the physical body, so highly cherished by the Greeks, was lost for ever in passing through the gate of death. On this same soil, out of which this tragic mood of intoxication with beauty had grown, Paul appeared, he who first proclaimed the Gospel to the Greeks. We do not deviate from his words if we translate them as follows: ‘That which you value above all, the human bodily form, will no longer be destroyed. Christ is risen as the first of those who are raised from the dead! The Form of the physical body is not lost, but is given back to humanity through the Resurrection of Christ!’ That which the Greeks valued most highly was given back to them with the Resurrection by Paul the Jew, who had been steeped in Greek culture. Only a Greek would so think and speak, but only someone who had become a Greek with all the preconceptions derived from his Jewish ancestry. Only a Jew who had become a Greek could speak in this way; no one else.
But how can we approach these things from the standpoint of Spiritual Science? For we have reached the point of knowing that Paul demands something which thoroughly upsets the calculations of the modern thinker. Let us endeavour from the standpoint of Spiritual Science to get nearer to what Paul demands. Let us collect what we know from Spiritual Science, so as to bring an idea to meet Paul's statement.
When we review the very simplest spiritual-scientific truths, we know that man consists of physical body, etheric body, astral body, and Ego. If now you ask someone who has studied Spiritual Science a little, but not very thoroughly, whether he knows the physical body of man, he will be sure to answer: ‘I know it quite well, for I see it when a person stands before me. The other members are supersensible, invisible, and one cannot see them, but the physical human body I know very well.’ Is it really the physical body of man that appears before our eyes when we meet a man with our ordinary vision? I ask you, who without clairvoyant vision has ever seen a physical human body? What is it that people have before them if they see only with physical eyes and physical understanding? A human body, but one consisting of physical body, etheric body, astral body, and Ego. And when a man stands before us, it is as an organised assembly of physical body, etheric body, astral body, and Ego. It would make as little sense to say that a physical body stood before us as it would if, when giving someone a glass of water, we were to say, ‘There is hydrogen in that glass.’ Water consists of hydrogen and oxygen, as man consists of physical, etheric and astral bodies, and Ego. Their assemblage is visible, just as water is, but the hydrogen and oxygen are not. Anyone who said he saw hydrogen in the water would be obviously mistaken. So is anyone who thinks he sees the physical body when he sees a man in the external world. What he normally sees is not a physical human body, but a four-membered being. He sees the physical body only in so far as it is permeated by the other members of the human being. And it is then changed in the same way that hydrogen is changed when it is permeated with oxygen in water. For hydrogen is a gas, and oxygen also; from the two gases united we get a liquid. Why should it be incomprehensible that the man who meets us in the physical world is quite unlike his single members, the physical, etheric and astral bodies and the Ego, just as water is quite unlike hydrogen? And so he is! Hence we cannot rely upon the Maya which appears to us as the physical body. We must think of the physical body in a quite different way if we want to draw nearer to its nature.
The observation of the physical human body, in itself, belongs to the most difficult clairvoyant problems, the hardest of all! Suppose we allow the external world to perform on man the experiment which is similar to the disintegration of water into hydrogen and oxygen. In death this experiment is performed by the great world. We then see how man lays aside his physical body. But does he really lay aside his physical body? The question seems absurd, for what could be clearer than the apparent fact that at death man lays aside his physical body? But what is it that he lays aside? It is something no longer imbued with the physical body's most important possession during life: its Form. Directly after death the Form begins to withdraw from the dead body. We are left with decaying substances, no longer characterised by the Form. The body laid aside is composed of substances and elements which we can trace also in Nature; in the natural order of things they would not produce a human Form. Yet this Form belongs quite essentially to the physical human body. To ordinary clairvoyance it seems evident that at death a person simply discards these material substances, which are then handed over to decay or burning, and that nothing of the physical body is left. The clairvoyant then observes how after death the Ego, astral body, and etheric body remain connected during the person's review of his past life. Then he sees how the etheric body separates itself, how an extract of it remains, while the main portion dissolves in one way or another into the general cosmic ether. It does indeed seem that the person has laid aside his physical body, with its substances and forces, and then, after a few days, the etheric body. When the clairvoyant follows the person further through the Kamaloka period, he sees how an extract of the astral body goes with him during the life between death and a new birth, while the rest of the astral body is given over to the cosmic astrality.
So we see that physical, etheric and astral bodies are laid aside, and that the physical body seems to drain away completely into materials and forces which, through decay or burning or some other form of dissolution, are returned to the elements. But the more clairvoyance is developed in our time, the clearer will it be that the physical forces and substances laid aside are not the whole physical body, for its complete configuration could never derive from them alone. To these substances and forces there belongs something else, best called the ‘Phantom’ of the man. This Phantom is the Form-shape which as a spiritual texture works up the physical substances and forces so that they fill out the Form which we encounter as the man on the physical plane. The sculptor can bring no statue into existence if he merely takes marble or something else, and strikes away wildly so that single pieces spring off just as the substance permits. As the sculptor must have the ‘thought’ which he impresses on the substance, so is a ‘thought’ related to the human body: not in the same way as the thought of the artist, for the material of the human body is not marble or plaster, but as a real thought, the Phantom, in the external world. Just as the thought of the plastic artist is stamped upon his material, so the Phantom of the physical body is stamped upon the substances of the earth which we see given over after death to the grave or the fire. The Phantom belongs to the physical body as its enduring part, a more important part than the external substances. The external substances are merely loaded into the network of the human Form, as one might load apples into a cart. You can see how important the Phantom is. The substances which fall asunder after death are essentially those we meet externally in nature. They are merely caught up by the human Form.
If you think more deeply, can you believe that all the work of the great Divine Spirits though the Saturn, Sun, and Moon periods has merely created something which is handed over at death to the elements of the Earth? No — that which was developed during the Saturn, Sun, and Moon periods is not the physical body that is laid aside at death. It is the Phantom, the Form, of the physical body. We must be quite clear that to understand the physical body is not an easy thing. Above all, this understanding must not be sought for in the world of illusion, the world of Maya. We know that the foundation, the germ, of this Phantom of the physical body was laid down by the Thrones during the Saturn period; during the Sun period the Spirits of Wisdom worked further upon it, the Spirits of Movement during the Moon period, and the Spirits of Form during the Earth period. And it is only in this period that the physical body received the Phantom. We call these Spirits the Spirits of Form, because they really live in the Phantom of the physical body. So in order to understand the physical body, we must go back to the Phantom.
If we look back to the beginning of our Earth-existence, we can say that the hosts from the ranks of the higher Hierarchies who had prepared the physical human body in its own proper Form during the Saturn, Sun and Moon periods, up to the Earth period, had from the outset placed this Phantom within the Earth evolution. In fact the Phantom, which cannot be seen with the physical eye, was what was first there of the physical body of man. It is a transparent body of force. What the physical eye sees are the physical substances which a person eats and takes into himself, and they fill out the invisible Phantom. If the physical eye looks upon a physical body, what it sees is the mineral part that fills the physical body, not the physical body itself. But how has this mineral part found its way into the Phantom of man's physical body? To answer this question, let us picture once more the genesis, the first ‘becoming’, of man on Earth.
From Saturn, Sun and Moon there came over that network of forces which in its true form meets us as the invisible Phantom of the physical body. For a higher clairvoyance it appears as Phantom only when we look away from all the external substance that fills it out. This is the Phantom which stands at the starting-point of man's Earth existence, when he was invisible as a physical body. Let us suppose that to this Phantom of the physical body the etheric body is added; will the Phantom then become visible? Certainly not; for the etheric body is invisible for ordinary sight. Thus the physical body as Phantom, plus etheric body, is still invisible to external physical sense. And the astral body even more so; hence the combination of physical body as Phantom with the etheric and astral bodies is still invisible. And when the Ego is added it would certainly become perceptible inwardly, but not externally visible. Thus, as man came over out of the Saturn, Sun, and Moon periods, he was still visible only to a clairvoyant. How did he become visible? But for the occurrence described in the Bible symbolically, and factually in occult science, as the entry of the Lucifer influence, he would not have become visible. What happened through that influence?
Read what is said in Occult Science. Out of that path of evolution in which his physical, etheric and astral bodies were still invisible, man was thrown down into denser matter, and was compelled under the influence of Lucifer to take this denser matter into himself. If the Lucifer force had not been introduced into our astral body and Ego, this dense materiality would not have become as visible as it has become. Hence we have to represent man as an invisible being, made visible in matter only through forces which entered into him under the influence of Lucifer. Through this influence external substances and forces are drawn into the domain of the Phantom and permeate it. As when we pour a coloured fluid into a transparent glass, so that the glass looks coloured, so we can imagine that the Lucifer influence poured forces into the human Phantom, with the result that man was adapted for taking in on Earth the requisite substances and forces which make his Form visible. Otherwise his physical body would have remained always invisible.
The alchemists always insisted that the human body really consists of the same substance that constitutes the perfectly transparent, crystal-clear ‘Philosopher's Stone’. The physical body is itself entirely transparent, and it is the Lucifer forces in man which have brought him to a non-transparent state and placed him before us so that he is opaque and tangible. Hence you will understand that man has become a being who takes up external substances and forces of the Earth, which are given off again at death, only because Lucifer tempted him, and certain forces were poured into his astral body. It follows that because the Ego entered into connection with the physical, etheric and astral bodies under the influence of Lucifer, man became what he is on earth and otherwise would not have been — the bearer of a visible, earthly organism.
Now let us suppose that at a certain point of time in life the Ego were to go out from a human organism, so that there stood before us physical, etheric and astral bodies, but not the Ego. This is what happened in the case of Jesus of Nazareth in the thirtieth year of His life. The human Ego then left this cohesion of physical, etheric and astral bodies. And into this cohesion the Christ-Being entered at the Baptism in Jordan. We now have the physical, etheric and astral bodies of a man, and the Christ-Being. The Christ-Being had now taken up His abode in a human organism, as otherwise the Ego would have done. What now differentiates this Christ Jesus from all other men on Earth? It is this: that all other men bear within them an Ego that once was overcome by Lucifer's temptation, but Jesus no longer bears an Ego within Him; instead, He bears the Christ-Being. So that from this time, beginning with the Baptism in Jordan, Jesus bears within Himself the residual effects that had come from Lucifer, but with no human Ego to allow any further Luciferic influences to enter his body. A physical body, an etheric body, and astral body — in which the residue of the earlier Luciferic influences was present, but into which no more Luciferic influence could enter — and the Christ-Being: thus was Christ Jesus constituted.
Let us set before us exactly what the Christ is from the Baptism in Jordan until the Mystery of Golgotha: a physical body, an etheric body, and an astral body which makes this physical body together with the etheric body visible because it still contains the residue of the Luciferic influence. Because the Christ-Being had the astral body that Jesus of Nazareth had had from birth to his thirtieth year, the physical body was visible as the bearer of the Christ. Thus from the time of the Baptism in Jordan we have before us a physical body which as such would not be visible on the physical plane; an etheric body which as such would not have been perceptible; the astral body which makes the other two bodies visible and so makes the body of Jesus of Nazareth into a visible body; and, within this organism, the Christ-Being.
We will inscribe firmly in our souls this four-fold nature of Christ Jesus, saying to ourselves: Every person who stands before us on the physical plane consists of physical body, etheric body, astral body, and Ego; and this Ego is such that it always works into the astral body up to the hour of death. The Christ-Jesus-Being, however, stands before us as One who had physical body, etheric body and astral body, but no human Ego, so that during the three years up to his death he was not subject to the influences that normally work upon human beings. The only influence came from the Christ-Being.