Christology and interpretations

From Anthroposophy

The nature of the Christ as a spiritual being is a complex question, given the multiple names and elements of information that are supplied in the Gospels, and by Rudolf Steiner's commentaries on the Gospels. A wealth of information 'snippets' are to be integrated into a cohesive frame, and to a certain extent Rudolf Steiner did supply that, but like everything also that frame has its limits and leaves many questions.

Several extended frames or versions of Christology have been put forth by people who studied all the information available and have tried to put that into a logical comprehensive and consistent framework. The difficulty is that the information supplied by the Gospels and Rudolf Steiner has to be collated and interpreted, and it is this interpretation that is the challenge and issue because most often it is based on intellectual rational thinking and not clairvoyance such as was the case of Rudolf Steiner.

Some questions that are typically part of the comprehensive Christology framework are:

  • how are we to interpret the 'macroscopic I' as is explained in 1912-01-09-GA130, what does it mean for the structure of the Christ
  • how did the Son or second Logos descend down from Trinity down to our solar system
  • how are we to understand that Christ lies at the origin of the creation of our solar system (beginning of Gospel St-John)
  • how come that Rudolf Steiner mostly starts the story of Christ on Old Sun and often calls Christ the Sun God, what does that imply for the phases before such as the Old Saturn planetary stage and its creation by the zodiac and Thrones.
  • how does the nature of the Mystical Lamb relate with the Logos and the other hierarchies such as the First Hierarchy

These questions, and more, need clear and consistent answers for all puzzle pieces to fall into eachother.

This topic page is to discuss the various authors and versions available for such 'interpretative frameworks' for Christology. The reason for this page is that we adhere to the value of conscientiousness, and take Rudolf Steiner's advice at heart that it's not because something is logical as rational intellectual thought and reasoning, that it therefore corresponds to spiritual reality - as multiple illustrations from his clairvoyant research and investigations have shown. Therefore, we should not accept what reads as or appears logical, rather it is a good exercise for our personal discernment and imaginative and intuitive assessment to apply scrutinity to the thought forms presented.

Christology interpretations framework

Lorenzen

An impressive example is Iwer Thor Lorenzen's 'The 'I' Principle in Man, Earth and Cosmos'.

Lorenzen had this document ready on his desk when he died, it was the last thing he had worked on, and it's probably a culmination of life long study on the subject. Unfortunately it never got published in German, though there is a long story related to this. The Free Man Creator initiative took up the deciphering and checking of references and a clean English version now exists, awaiting publication.

Kürten

Oskar Kürten was inspired by the unique contribution of Maximilian Rebholz and followed in his footsteps with a very systematic study of all reference of RSL lectures available. He published three works. One is on the Jesus Mystery, which is not the scope here; the two other are on the 'Sun Spirit' and on 'Son, Logos and Trinity' (see references below).

Tomberg

Many people feel that Valentin Tomberg added a genuine perspective on Rudolf Steiner's christology in the 1930s. An example are the lectures now published in 'The Four Sacrifices of Christ and the Appearance of Christ in the Etheric'.

Tomberg has been subject of tensions and debate, most early on during his life with Willem Zeylmans (contra) and most recently with Willy Seiss (pro). We need to take abstraction of all this and not go into that, in order not to waste mental and emotional energy and get side-tracked. Therefore we consider here the contents and the messages in Tomberg's work such as the reference given.

Discussion

This page was made as an invitation for perspectives and opinions, please feel free to comment and contribute and the page will be adapted accordingly.

Note that the 'observations' below are nothing but that, and no judgement of the overall value of the work of any author, or certain elements that may be of great value taken by themselves.

Lorenzen

First of all: Lorenzen is someone who has given this subject deeper contemplation that most or many authors that we have read. Here is someone with an in depth understanding who has done the contemplative work to 'work the contradictions' and 'integrate perspectives'. His writing is impressive in that he presents a comprehensive vision as a result of bold thinking. That however does not mean it is all corresponding to reality, and here we need to be very conscientious in our assessment.

Lorenzen's approach starts from looking into the meaning of the conscious I experience, and what that meant not just for man but all of the hierarchies and their evolution. In his frame (table 3 in Chapter 4), the Trinity itself evolved along with the First Hierarchy within our solar system evolution, specifically the Old Saturn stage only had the Father principle, and the Son principle developed during the Old Sun stage, followed by the Holy Spirit principle in the Old Moon stage. Thus the Earth stage now has the Trinity at the highest level.

This gives the planetary stages within our solar system more or a higher importance also for the highest spirits in creation. The implications of this way of seeing - if we take it correctly - are that the three Logoi, as presented in the GA089, are a recent development from this solar system.

The start of creation of our solar system induces an implicit assumption that the Logoi, as primordial principles, existed already before that, and gave birth to all that existed in what preceeded our solar system. We can use 1905-08-12-GA091 to put this in perspective.

As a general remark, it is important is to realize neither GA089 or GA091 were available to these authors, as they were only published in 2001 and 2018!

Nevertheless, Lorenzen takes some steps that confirm what I have come to independantly before. For example under table 3 in Chapter 4, the fact that the sacrifice of each consecutive hierarchy at each planetary stage is at the level of super-spiritual consciousness. A more correct way of putting it might be it is the shedding of buddhi, as explained in the famous lectures of 1904-11-09-GA091 and 1904-11-10-GA091, as explained in Christ Module 7 - Cosmic dimension.

Tomberg

In 'The Four Sacrifices of Christ and the Appearance of Christ in the Etheric', Valentin Tomberg lays out a scheme with a certain logical-intellectual appeal due to a symmetry based on the seven planetary stages of our solar system evolution. In this view, the Christ was already there with a sacrifice on Old Saturn for the sake of humanity's development, whereas Rudolf Steiner never mentioned this. On the contrary, as far as the development of Man is concerned: in 1903-10-30-GA089 the Second Logos is mapped to the Old Sun stage and the life-giving addition with the ether body, and the (also pre-Golgotha) sacrifices are all for the sake of the 'I' development of Man.

In the context of the development of Man, the Logos entered the stream of evolution of this solar system at the Old Sun stage, before that the Logos was in descent upto that stage. See also Christ Module 9: Trinity and Logoi and Creation by the three Logoi.

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Iwer Thor Lorenzen: The 'I' Principle in Man, Earth and Cosmos
  • Oskar Kürten:
    • 'The Sun Spirit Christ According to Rudolf Steiner' (1967) - original: 'Der Sonnengeist Christus in der Darstellung Rudolf Steiners'
    • 'God the Son, the Logos and the Trinity' (1971) - original: 'Der Sohnesgott, der Logos und die Trinität'
  • Valentin Tomberg: 'The Four Sacrifices of Christ and the Appearance of Christ in the Etheric'