An End to Sin?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son… -John 3:16

Through his death on the cross, Jesus saves mankind from their sin. How is this to be understood? If empathy is putting ourselves in another’s place, what might be the ultimate act of empathy? Could it be experiencing the death of the other? Every human being has to die, and in Jesus God enters into this inevitable human fate, experiencing death Himself. Preston Harold says that with total empathy comes an end to sin:

When through experience all mankind has evolved complete empathy, sin will no longer be possible, for man’s empathy will cause him to instinctively withdraw his mind and hand from abuse of another – his understanding will not permit him to err, for he will pay sin’s wage in his own being before he commits it.

The wages of sin is death! 'Boy, sinners must have a TERRIBLE union!'

Just as Jesus payed sin’s wage in his own being, we are called to do the same. We must experience the sorrow we would bring to another in our own being before we offend against them.

Empathy in man brings its joy or sorrow – enriches or takes its toll of him now, as now flowers into the present and plants the field of the future in reaping the harvest of past planting. Love’s eternal reward and punishment is given before it is grasped – now. Upon that infinitely small point between the past and the future that cannot be captured or measured eternity rests, for both now and eternity are beyond the grasp of consciousness. Eternal punishment of sin rests with empathy, which makes a man recoil with horror at the evil he has done when he comes to an understand it in his being, and thereafter he forever recoils with the pain at the prospect of repeating this evil, recoils now as it arises in the mind to do this evil again.

And here we grasp the meaning of “eternal punishment,” the “now” moment we truly realize and experience through empathy the hell of the horror of realizing the evil that we do to one another. Yet empathy has another face:

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Empathy is saving grace to man – it frees his past, frees his future. It is acting now in his midst. Homo sapiens is an empathetic “animal.” He is no mistake on the part of evolution. Jesus’ words say to the belabored man of the twentieth century who has come to doubt nature’s wisdom in evolving his species: there is the living voice of truth, life and love within you, and as you begin to express its power, glory, and empathy, it will say unto you, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Until next time, peace.

The Word, our Larynx, and Creation

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In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  And God said, “Let there be…” Genesis 1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were created; without him nothing was created that has been created.  John 1

We step aside now to consider Harold’s quote from our last post, “If man is child, he will outgrow his present garment, his mental and physical vesture.” ImageTo do so we will again turn to look at what Rudolf Steiner had to say about this possibility. In a previous post here we considered what Steiner had to say considering the past conditions of humanity. In this post we will look to see where his spiritual scientific imaginings lead him in ruminating on man’s future.

The quotes from Genesis and the Gospel of John at the beginning of this post, telling us that everything that exists came into being through the word, point the way for Steiner’s understanding of humanity’s future. I will let Steiner speak for himself. From his lecture on June 28, 1907 in Kassel, Germany:

Imagine that we can transform air into a liquid and then into a solid. Already today, it is possible to solidify air. You know that steam, the gaseous form of water, liquefies when it cools and is transformed into solid ice when it freezes. Now imagine that I pronounce the word “god” in air-filled space. If you could solidify the air at the very instant these sound waves are present, a shape –perhaps a shell-like shape, for example – would fall to earth. The word “world” would produce a different shape. You would be able to capture my words, and each word would correspond to a shape made out of crystallized air.

This analogy was used in the Christian (esoteric) schools. Each object first exists as a thought concealed within a being, a thought that is then spoken and solidified. Christians imagined that the creation of the universe began with the thoughts of things, which were then pronounced by the divinity and sent forth into space. The plants and minerals you see are divine words that have solidified. Everything we see… is a divine word become solid…

If you bear all this in mind, you realize that the word was once a creative force. Today, we human beings are still mere beginners at what our forefathers once did. Today’s sexual procreation, whether by plants, animals,
 or humans, is simply a transformation of the divine creative word of former times… Our most nearly finished aspect is sexuality, while the beginning of a new means of procreation exists in the human larynx… The larynxImage we now use to produce words will become an organ of procreation that brings forth increasingly denser and more exalted creations. In the future, what is now air will be the substance of beings… In future evolutionary stages of the earth, what we can now only say, will then emerge in forms that endure. Ultimately, the larynx will become the organ through which human beings reproduce their own kind.

Steiner also suggests that the transformation of the larynx is just the tip of the iceberg:

Much more could be said about such organs, which we have incorporated into our respiratory system here on Earth but which actually belong to the heart system. They are present in the body as mere potentials now, but will gradually evolve further.

So what will the future human garment look like, which Harold posits we are growing into? If Steiner is right and earthly conditions will change so a new biology and subsequent forms are needed, what will they be? What will be the actual appearance of a human who can reproduce via the larynx? Whose cardio vascular and respiratory systems are transformed? One hint I’m getting from Steiner in this quote is that what are now involuntary functions within us will in the future become voluntary. But I’m afraid there can be no rock-solid answers at this point. Only our imaginations can suggest what we might become. I’ll leave that to each of us!

Until next time, peace…

Empathy’s Impetus

Harold follows up his questions that ended our last post by explaining how Jesus’ teachings must become yeast for the future of humankind:

Jesus, giving voice to man’s Authority-Ego when the time had come that man must take an unprecedented turn, gave the commands that point the way, the only way, to bring about the transformation of man and of society that humankind seeks.  The first and greatest command, “Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” turns man’s vision inward to grasp God-being within himself, as individual, and points him toward individualism and individual effort – the second command, He said to be like unto the first, “That ye love one another” and “thy neighbor as thyself,” poses the concept that cooperation, good will, decency, and the high ethic of love at work in human affairs is in the highest possible interest of individual, nation, and species.  Slowly but surely realization of this fact, as the command is handed from generation to generation via the word, is creating a higher type society in which the “new command” will eventually take over from the permanent hostility animals exhibit towards territorial neighbors, their hostility reborn in each year’s offspring; and in time these two commands must produce a new type man fully conscious of himself and empathetic enough to create a satisfying society.

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“A new type man fully conscious of himself and empathetic enough to create a satisfying society.”  Here Harold equates empathy with being fully aware of oneself.   In other words, the more self-conscious we become, the more we grow in empathy.  And from this empathy will be birthed a more satisfying society. But what about those who are satisfied with the way society is today while at the same time lacking a good amount of empathy?  ImageWhy change things if not caring about others is putting one at the front of the line? Why does our society seem to reward ruthlessness and egocentrism in an exponentially lopsided way? Only each individual can answer this perplexing question for him/herself.  Society will improve overall when individuals become transformed and expectations are raised one person at a time.  This is commonly known as “maturing.”  Fortunately we do see people standing up publicly and working behind the scenes for righteous change all the time.  Yes, humanity is growing and struggling towards something better…

Jesus said this generation of man is child.  Thus, he projects that Homo sapiens must and will change in body, mind, consciousness, awareness, and capacity to experience. Today, men tend to believe that Homo sapiens is man in very nearly finished form – that biological evolution has all but ceased – forgetting that “ a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday….”  When they view life everlasting in terms of life’s being forever vested in Homo sapiens’ garment, they come in the end to find the prospect of it appalling. If man is child, he will outgrow his present garment, his mental and physical vesture.

What might this vesture look like? We’ll explore that in our next post. Until then, peace.

Mankind’s Inner Envoy

The true origins of the human being remain a mystery to this day.  Darwinists and materialist evolutionists using the scientific method are constantly making new discoveries and creating new theories, but their self-imposed materialism limits what they will conclude.  Religious creationists make literal the poetry and mystery of the scriptures to satisfy their own ultimately rational minds.  But the authors of scripture bear witness to a great mystery they call “God,” understanding that this mystery can never be fully probed by the rational mind. At the same time, the scriptures also witness to something in the human being that is leading it to a full revelation of the mystery of God and existence.  Preston Harold begins:

The idea that man has incorporated in his being from one-cell creature onward a knowing Authority-Ego in an unconscious domain may seem fantastic. But the concept that the unconscious may have played a role in man’s biological evolution from some point in the past to the present has been voiced.  Dr. von Franz writes… ‘The physicist Wolfgang Pauli has pointed out that, due to new discoveries, our idea of the evolution of life requires a revision that might take into account an area of interrelation between the Imageunconscious psyche and biological processes.  Until recently it was assumed that the mutation of species happened at random and that a selection took place by means of which the “meaningful,” well-adapted varieties survived, and the other disappeared.  But modern evolutionists have pointed out that the selections of such mutations by pure chance would have taken much longer than the known age of our planet allows.”

So if random chance and mutations can’t adequately answer the origins of the human or it’s ultimate purpose, what can at least lead us in the right direction?

God-sense voicing itself in man insists that something other than chance had brought about the housing of his soul: “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it…”

ImageMan’s evolutionary journey could come of his having to know all being and form in order to be representative of the tree of life itself.  The last and most highly developed of all life forms, man yet possesses a sense of being before creation was.  This sense tells him that all he partakes of is the flesh of God, coming into being before him to prepare the way, and that everything that lives is living through God’s being, even as he, himself, is.

Harold says that because of this sense, the human being practices theophagy, a ritual of “feeding on a god, or God.” In the Christian Communion rite, this ritual enfolds the power, glory, art, and grace of God, of life. In the Gospel of John, at the Last Supper Jesus says,

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit… Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches.” 

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 Harold ponders these words of Jesus during the Last Supper:

Jesus, as symbol of Son of man – which is to say, as symbol of Adam become one with his knowing Authority within – indicates that man represents in his being the whole of the tree of life which his consciousness longs to know, and the vine of it is still growing – “I” go on to prepare a place from which “ye” spans of knowing may branch out higher in every direction while the a priori “cell of Father-being,” love and truth in action within each one, acts as a husbandman: truth purges and prunes, love restores and is fruitful. But toward what is the vine growing? And how is man’s growth accomplished?

 Provocative questions indeed! Let’s see where they lead. Until next time, peace…

The Factor of an Open System

Why has the human being taken the irrational path?  What is it about mankind that makes him an “open system,” not closing off at a particular point in evolutionary development?

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From Ardrey’s summary of man’s specialness, it looks as though this one creature has possessed from his beginning a presence, or God-sense, that acts as a lamp unto his feet and a light to his path.  The Genesis legend says this presence was in man’s garden-being and that it has never left him.  It would have required a knowing Authority within to guide ancestral-man-cell along the irrational path that led to the pinnacle.  If from the beginning this presence guided ancestral-cell into and through every necessary step by blinding the creature to much in the outer world while giving it inner vision, this would make all the difference there is between man and other forms of life.  This Authority would have had to insist upon a selection not of more sensory, but of more mental equipment than the creature needed…

But what sort of factor would be a true and sure guide?

This must be a factor which beforehand had known every form and being, the way into and out of each mode of life.  ImageOne cannot give this factor a satisfactory name.  One can only say that it is the Self-sense of the Creator, the “I-sense” of being, or “God-being” in the one-cell creature that became man, a cell resembling amoeba but different from the amoeba that man knows today; for such a cell would be and would evolve into a form like unto but not identical to any other form of life, because an essential ingredient abstracted from the creature’s consciousness and hidden within would chart its course.

 We will further explore this factor of “I-being,” “God-sense,” in our next post.  Until then, peace.

Considering Abel

In Ardrey’s view, it is the herbivorous A. robustus that represents Abel.  He says of A. africanus and A. robustus,

Both – most significantly – have lost in equal measure the ape’s Imagefighting teeth…. The two have likenesses and unlikenesses.  Nothing but the evolutionary experience of a common ancestor can explain the similar terrestrial specialization and the similar reduction of fighting canines.  And nothing but an evolutionary parting of the ways, a very long time ago, can account for the differences.  And so we must presume that their common ancestor – and ours – defeated by the ape of the forest, turned to a grubbing existence in the bush…. We are a mathematical improbability… The emergence of the terrestrial ape cannot be regarded as logical, normal, or to any degree predetermined.  It was a break with primate orthodoxy in the name of what can only be described as adventure.

But Preston Harold says not so fast.  In thinking through the entire legend, Ardrey’s view doesn’t quite fit the story.  Harold explains…

Suffice it to say that Ardrey sees Homo sapiens bound to the killer instinct of A. aftricanus… but two questions must be considered.  Can A. africanus rightly be likened to Cain?  Is Homo sapiens Cain’s child?  Is it not a fallacy to liken a carnivorous animal to Cain who brought as offering the “fruit of the ground” indicating that he was herbivorous?  The legend suggests that Abel was the carnivore, first to use tool or weapon to procure the fat of the firstlings of his flock that he offered.  But the meat Abel offered was not the flesh of a brother-being, and the carnivore that must kill for food is not a murderer.  A. africanus comes nearer to fitting the shoe that Abel wears in the legend.  He must be seen as both innocent and superior.  During the Pliocene, in Africa the carnivore, A. africanus, must have commanded more “respect” in evolution’s process than the herbivorous A. robustus who more nearly fits the shoe of Cain – but in that awful drought “A single commandment, unheard and unseen, overhung the birth of every infant: kill, and eat meat, or die.”  This perhaps provided the extenuating circumstance – the legend says God put upon Cain a “protective mark” after he had become a killer, before he was driven out into the wilderness.  Life could not, however, pass on unattenuated the genes of this creature who first of all murdered a brother-being.

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At this point, Harold bids us to reckon Seth, and we will do that in our next post.  Until then, peace…

Cain’s Children

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The great anthropologist and author of “African Genesis,” Robert Ardrey, chose the Genesis legend as the poetic backdrop against which to pose his work.  He presents Homo sapiens as “Cain’s child.”  Preston Harold states that

In the view of this work, (Ardrey’s) book is of great value, because it brings to the attention of a wide public some pieces of the puzzle, dramatizing the questions that engage the specialists, and it highlights one aspect of man’s evolution that cannot be denied by any faction: the extraordinary turns a creature took to follow the path that led him to become a man, a being “special” beyond belief.  Whose child is he and how did he evolve?

Because atomic dating has upset the timetable of what Darwin thought was the most probable way man evolved…

Ardrey concludes that after seventy million years of slow development, Imageman’s brain leapt to the human condition and came about when it did in an evolutionary instant as an ultimate answer to the Pleistocene’s unprecedented demands.  His theory involves the bones of the creature he likens to Cain, A. africanus, discovered in 1925 by Dr. Raymond A. Dart.

Much like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Harold explains that Ardrey’s synopsis of an evolutionary jump resulted in a capacity for killing:

Ardrey submits that A. africanus was…”a transitional being possessing every significant human qualification other than man’s big brain” – thus he presents him as an ancestor of Homo sapiens.  This creature was a carnivore, a killer.  There is abounding evidence that he armed himself with weapons of bone which he appears to have shaped sometimes – and apparently he, too, relished the “fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil,” brains.  If he was ancestral-man, then the “human being in the most fundamental aspect of his soul and body is nature’s last if temporary word on the subject of the armed predator.  And human history must be read in these terms.”  History must also be read in these terms: the remains of the South African apemen present a “positive demonstration that the first recognizably human assertion had been the capacity for murder.”  The Cain-Abel legend reports this.

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There is a deep instinct in us to be over and above our fellow man.  This is our “inner Cain.”  But what about Abel?  We’ll explore him in our next post.  Until then, peace…