Christ Module 20 - After death
This is the first of two modules that studies the impact of the Christ Impulse on Man during death and a new birth.
Lecture coverage and references
Because the human body, during its life between birth and death, overcomes a now comparatively weaker life of soul, it had to be made possible for the human soul to live again in a body which is subject to birth and death. This became possible only because a Being from the spiritual world, the Christ Being, united Himself with those earthly forces which came to dominate man's consciousness.
What kind of forces are they? They are death forces, the very forces to which man now owes his consciousness!
You will understand the far-reaching meaning of the Rosicrucian saying: In Christo Morimur, in Christ we die. These words express in a sense the very meaning of man's existence. They express what entered human evolution through the Mystery of Golgotha. They express what united itself with the death-bringing forces enabling them to become henceforth the basis for man's consciousness.
It may be asked why in these circumstances such a great number of people still do not acknowledge the Christ? All one can say about this is that so many and so far-reaching secrets are connected with this question that at present it is not yet possible to speak about them in a general way. But what I have just described is a fact of human evolution.
[MoG – why the death was necessary]
Let us now connect what has been said with the Mystery of Golgotha: Christ had incarnated in the body of Jesus of Nazareth; i.e., in a body subject to the same conditions as those to which human bodies in general were subject at that time. As a result of the pure hereditary conditions the body of Jesus of Nazareth was subject to conditions in which consciousness was gradually to emerge from the forces of death. What had to happen to give evolution so mighty a jolt that it would cause an equally mighty impulse to stream as a force into mankind's evolution, making consciousness arise from forces of death?
The Christ-being, that lived for three years in and through the body of Jesus of Nazareth, spoke the secrets connected with human consciousness to this body. This could be done only at the moment of death, for it is only then that the entire secret connected with human consciousness is drawn together.
Did not the Christ have to lead Jesus through death in order that this whole impulse of consciousness could stream into mankind? Indeed, it did!
[Moment of death]
And death is also that moment when we too may hope to attain an intensified comprehension of Christ. This is because at that moment all the forces are present which have sustained our consciousness throughout life. We are adapted at the moment of death to absorb what is in fact the secret of our consciousness and to absorb with it the Christ Impulse. We are preparing ourselves to receive it when we seek not only to understand but to experience the reality of the Christ Impulse. However what meets us at death we can understand only when our organ for understanding is set free. That means that while the moment of death does indeed provide the condition for union with Christ, it is only when we are free of the etheric body that the astral body and ‘I’— the organization for understanding — can actually perceive this union.
Something else had to take place at the Mystery of Golgotha to bring about these conditions:
After Christ had — in dying on Golgotha — entrusted to Jesus as it were the secrets of man's future consciousness, a momentous event had to occur: Jesus, in whom the Christ dwelt, rose to new life through the force of death. In other words, the Resurrection had to occur in order that we could understand that Resurrection when, a few days after death, we experience our ether body separating from us as explained by anthroposophical science. In this more inward death — i.e., the separation from the ether body a few days after death—we relive in a certain sense the Mystery of Golgotha.
For it was life, that is, consciousness, which rose out of death: a living consciousness. At no time before the Mystery of Golgotha had this ever happened; life had always risen from life. Never before had there been a necessity to understand how life can come from death, only how life comes from life.
This is one of many approaches to the Mystery of Golgotha.
The fundamental issue of Christianity is the Resurrection. Anything calling itself by that name without having as its center a living concept of the Resurrection is no true Christianity. It is absolutely essential to understand that Christ, who united Himself with the forces of death, is the living Christ. Nothing else provides a true understanding of Christianity. Modern so-called Christianity which avoids the concept of the Resurrection is not Christianity. The essential need in mankind's evolution was the Death and Resurrection. The other events which took place at the Mystery of Golgotha are all an integral part of what has just been described.
It is not without meaning that the same time span elapsed between the death and the resurrection of Christ Jesus as the one that elapses between our leaving the physical body and our leaving the ether body in death. There is an intimate bond between Christ's life on earth and the man of today living after the Mystery of Golgotha. It is now possible to say with greatest conviction: Christ came in order that man should not be lost to the earth. Had the Mystery of Golgotha not taken place man's body would have become larva-like, directed from above by his soul. Death would gradually have removed man from the earth altogether. Through the Mystery of Golgotha man's connection with the earth was restored. Through the Mystery of Golgotha the possibility of consciousness arising from death was created.