Fall and redemption - original sin and grace

From Anthroposophy

The Fall is the biblical term to denote the Luciferic infection of Man's astral body in the Lemurian epoch, before Man had developed the Human 'I' consciousness principle. The Luciferic influence on Man can be called an 'infection' because the Human astral body was infected with desires and urges before it had reached a state of maturity. Because this infection or 'sin' happened before the development of Man's I-consciousness, it was not personal sin but karma for the whole of humanity, therefore this is called 'original sin'. These imperfections are transferred through the principle of inheritance and the Model for hereditary physical body. The impact is that Illness and death arose in the physical body as a result of the Luciferic infection.

However the Fall continued its evolutionary impact due to what was experienced, carried across, and thus accumulated by the path of inheritance, during the time of mid Lemuria over the middle of the Atlantean epoch upto today. Indeed as Man was now exposed during this whole period of evolution of the Human I (see Development of the I), this caused further influences by the developing Ahrimanic and Asuric influences:

All the above happened and was allowed by Divine Providence, as a deviation from the original plan (see Occult atom) because it allowed Man to dive deeper into matter and thereby reach full freedom of spiritual guidance, as the first hierarchy of spiritual beings to do so. For this origin of the mystery of Evil, see also War in heaven. This resulted in manifold deviations from the original plan for the being of Man versus Man we know today, the nature of his self-consciousness, and the timing and impact of the Christ Impulse. All the downsides or 'the price to pay' for freedom and further benefits (see for example Manichism) of the choosen developmental approach including evil can be labelled as 'the fall and original sin'.

To get back out of the negatives described above, see Schema FMC00.346, a certain cosmic healing is necessary. This cosmic healer is the Christ, and the event countering the Fall is called the Mystery of Golgotha.

The polar opposite of this 'descent' is the 'ascent' or redemption of the negative aspects above, by the positive aspects of the Christ Impulse. Again this is an external divine intervention where Man has no direct merit, it is called Grace.


  • the Fall in Book of Genesis
    • during the Lemurian epoch a group of spirits did not descend to incarnate into human-animal bodies immediately (like the others), but delayed that process and were, so to speak, more picky, to take possession later of physical bodies in a higher stage of development. Through this they were able to evolve a more mature form of consciousness. This postponement of incarnation is called in the Book of Genesis ‘the Fall of Man’, and this group who waited is called the ‘Sons of Wisdom’ (1904-05-23-GA093)
  • the Fall and redemption (1923-01-21-GA220 and 1923-01-26-GA220 below TBC)
    • the fall continues up to today as an intellectual fall of Man in addition to the moral fall of Man - to be countered by a spiritual raising of Man and reversing of this Fall, and this intellectual fall is the great historical sign that a spiritual raising of Man must begin
  • original sin (1911-05-03-GA127) and illness (1908-12-08-GA107)
    • original sin is fundamentally related with the karma of the human group souls. The impulse to overwin this has been given by the Christ (1908-11-04-GA244 - Q&A 173).
    • the way original sin is generally represented, as invented in the middle ages, placing it in the moral realm through heredity, is blasphemy. The inherited characteristics have no moral interpretation for the individual and his soul which is spiritual (1918-10-06-GA184 below)
    • for a description of original sin before 15th century, see Transition between 4th and 14th century#1921-05-15-GA325
  • origin of collective karma in the Lemurian epoch, see Three classes of Buddhas#1905-10-25-GA093A in the context of arhats and Planets hosting beings at various stages of evolution
  • future 'second fall'
    • the path of individuation will in the future lead to natural remembrance of past lives. However souls who have not correctly worked the development of their I, will not remember previous Personalities or their Individuality, so no lives as an individual. Rather they will have remembrance of a group soul past, and this will be a fallback into unconsciousness - or a kind of 'second fall' in the development of humanity (1909-12-04-GA117)


Schema FMC00.346 is a simple illustration for the topic of this page and the 1923-01-GA220 lectures. It depicts on the one hand, that the original sin due to the Luciferic infection was beyond Man's conscious responsability, Man was affected but received a karmic load as humanity that came from an 'outer' cause - the Luciferic beings. Of course this also gave Man freedom, it was the price to pay, so to say. Similarly the Christ Impulse gives a corrective positive effect of redemption, again this grace is an 'outer' higher cause given by the highest divinity.


Schema FMC00.591A: shows additional views to Schema FMC00.591, with - on the left - the rough drawings and accompanying text from lecture 1911-10-14-GA131, in the middle a visualisation of what was described, and on the right Schema FMC00.346 about the Fall and redemption - original sin and grace.

Due to the Luciferic influence, the developmental path of mankind changed considerably, see more on:

shows additional views to Schema FMC00.591, with - on the left - the rough drawings and accompanying text from lecture 1911-10-14-GA131, in the middle a visualisation of what was described, and on the right Schema FMC00.346 about the Fall and redemption - original sin and grace. Due to the Luciferic influence, the developmental path of mankind changed considerably, see more on: *Luciferic influence on Man *Q00.002 - timing of the Mystery of Golgotha#Description of the situation if there would have been no Luciferic infection

Schema FMC00.337 depicts how the luciferic infection of the astral body brought a karma to humanity before Mankind developed full I-consciousness (the original sin). This is passed on through the stream of heredity through the physical 'model' that we receive as an incarnating spiritual pre-earthly Man at birth to live on Earth.

Each generation adds to that package by passing to its descendants the passions and urges coming from own experiences.


Schema FMC00.343A links what is happening in Man (FMC00.343) to its evolutionary origin (FMC00.238). The Schema is added here to bring home the fact that the Fall triggered consequences in further reactions and adverse influences such as the Ahrimanic and Asuric influences.

  • The Ahrimanic influences result in Man believing in the untrue projection of reality and cosmos based on a purely materialistic mechanical universe, thus stripping off any moral sense of responsability for Man and causing a further 'intellectual fall' as Rudolf Steiner calls it in 1923-01-GA220. Whereas 'untruthfullness' - as expanded upon in the GA174 volumes - is often illuminated from a contemporary political perspective, this may detract the attention of the fact that (a) for example 1917-01-01-GA174B and 1917-01-14-GA174B do explicitly connect it as a soul disease to incorrect development of the Human 'I', see Development of the I, and (b) the impact of the Ahrimanic influence on Man is often described in broad terms of impact on culture. For a complete understanding these things have to be taken together.
  • See Schema FMC00.337above, combined with an insight on Asuras (or Rakshasas) for the increasing influence of sexual passions in the current Postatlantean epoch. Again this has to be taken together to the Model for hereditary physical body.

The above is expanded upon in Topic 1 in the Discussion area below, as it can be linked to the 'signs of the times' we see in the 20-21st centuries.


Lecture coverage and references


is called 'the fall into sin' and descibes the transition from non-sexual to the stage of two sexes, and the biblical account of the fall into sin as explained by spiritual science


We learn particulars about it in the manuscript already mentioned.

[editor: see Sources of spiritual science#.5B4.5D - The secret document of which there are only two copies]

If we follow in it the course of Earth evolution we shall find that in the middle of the Lemurian Epoch, mankind was clothed in physical matter. It is a wrong conception when theosophists believe that reincarnation had no beginning and will have no ending. Reincarnation started in the Lemurian Age and will cease again at the beginning of the sixth epoch. It is only a certain period of time in Earth evolution during which mankind reincarnates. It was preceded by a most spiritual condition which precluded any necessity for reincarnation and there will follow again a spiritual state which will likewise obviate the necessity for reincarnation.

Simultaneously with its first incarnation in the Lemurian Age the untarnished human spirit, consisting of Atma-Buddhi-Manas [editor: see Monad and Man's higher triad], sought its primal physical incarnation. The physical development of the earth with its animal-like creatures had not evolved so far at that time, the whole, of this animal-human organism was not so far advanced then that it could have incorporated the human spirit.

  • But a part of it, a certain group of animal-like beings had evolved so far that the seed of the human spirit could descend into it to give form to the human body.
  • Some of the individualities who incarnated at that time formed the small nucleus of those who later spread over the whole earth as the so-called Adepts. They were the original Adepts, not those whom we call initiated today. Those whom we call initiates today did not go through incarnation at that time .
  • Not all incarnated at that time who would have been able to find human-animal bodies, only some of them. Some others were opposed to the process of incarnation for a particular reason. They delayed that until the time of the Fourth Age. The Bible hints at that in a concealed and profound way: ‘The Sons of God saw the daughters of men [Genesis 6:1-2] that they were fair and they took them wives of all which they chose.’

That is to say, the incarnation of those who had waited began at a later time. We call this group the ‘Sons of Wisdom’, and it almost appears as if there were a kind of arrogance, a sort of pride about them. We shall make an exception of the small group of Adepts.

Had these other ones also incarnated at the earlier period, mankind would never have been able to acquire the clarity of consciousness which he possesses today. He would have been held fast in a dull trance-like state of consciousness. He would have developed that kind of consciousness which is to be found in people who have been hypnotised, sleepwalkers and the like. In short, man would have remained in a kind of dreamlike state. But one thing would have been lacking then — one thing of great importance, if not of the utmost importance — he would have lacked a feeling of freedom, a capacity to exercise his individual discrimination with regard to good and evil by means of his own consciousness, his own human ego.

This postponement of incarnation — in the form it assumed in consequence of that feeling of dread of the Devas which I characterised — this is called in the Book of Genesis ‘the Fall of Man’. The Devas delayed their incarnation and only descended to the earth to take possession of physical bodies when humanity had reached a further stage in its development. Through this they were able to evolve a more mature form of consciousness than would have been the case earlier.

Thus, you see, the cost of Man's freedom was the deterioration of his nature, by waiting for his incarnation till he could descend into denser physical conditions.

1908-11-04-GA244 - Q&A 173.5

The original sin is essentially [or fundamentally] related with the karma of the human group souls. This has to be overwon, and Christ has given the impuls to this.


lecture titled: 'The nature of original sin'

After human beings had been separated into two sexes they passed on to their descendants what they themselves experienced in the sense world. So we now have two types of human being. These two types live in the physical world and perceive the world through their senses, and this leads them to develop various externally aroused impulses and longings, especially those arising from their own externally stimulated sensual attraction to one another. What now confronts man in an external way has been drawn down into the sphere of the independent human being, and it is no longer in full harmony with the divine-spiritual cosmos. That is imparted to men through the act of fructification, it is implanted into them. And this worldly life of theirs, received not from the world of the gods but from the external side of the divine-spiritual world, is passed on to their offspring through fructification. If a man is bad in this respect, then he passes worse qualities on to his descendants than another person who is good and pure.

And this is the true meaning of ‘original sin’. That is the concept of original sin. Original sin is brought about by man coming to the point of transferring to his offspring his own individual experiences in the physical world. Every time the sexes glow with passion the ingredients of the two sexes combine in the human being who is descending from the astral world. When a human being incarnates he comes down from the spirit world and forms his astral sphere in accordance with his particular individuality. Something of what belongs to the astral bodies of his parents - their impulses, passions and desires - combines with this astral sphere so that he thereby shares in the experiences of his forefathers. What descends through the generations in this way, what is actually acquired as human attribute through the generations and is handed down as such, is what we have to understand as the concept of original sin.

And now we come to something else: an entirely new impetus entered humanity through the individualisation of man.

[The evolutionary origin of illness]

In earlier times the divine-spiritual beings — and they were absolutely healthy — made man in their own likeness. But now man, as an independent being, detached himself from the all-embracing harmony of divine-spiritual health. In a certain respect he set himself up in his individualism against the whole of this divine-spiritual environment. Imagine that you have a being developing entirely under the influence of his environment. What he expresses will be the environment. Imagine, though, that he shuts himself off in his skin, then in addition to the characteristics of his environment he has his own characteristics as well. And indeed, with the division into sexes men became individual and developed their own individual characteristics. And there was contradiction between the great divine-spiritual harmony with its health and the individualism of man. And through this individuality continuing to work, through it becoming a really effective factor, the possibility of becoming ill has entered into human evolution. This is the moment when the possibility of illness first occurred in human evolution, for it is bound up with the individualisation of man. When man was still connected with the divine-spiritual world the possibility of illness did not exist. It came about at the same time as individualisation, and that is the same time as the division into sexes. This holds good for human evolution, and you must not apply it in the same way to the animal world.

Illness is indeed a result of these processes I have just described, and you can see that it is really the astral body in particular that is originally influenced in this way. The human being draws the astral body into his organism himself to begin with as he comes down from the spirit world, and there it encounters what flows into it through the inter-working of the two sexes. So the astral body is the part of man that shows most clearly the non-divine. The etheric body is more divine, for man does not have so great an influence on that, and the physical body is the most divine of all; it is God's temple, for it is completely withdrawn from man's influence. Whereas in his astral body man seeks all kinds of pleasures and can have all sorts of desires that have a harmful effect on the physical body, even today his physical body is still such a wonderful instrument that it can withstand heart poisons and other harmful influences of the astral body for decades. And so we have to admit that because of all these things that occur in the human astral body it has become the worst part of man. Whoever looks deeper into human nature will find that the deepest causes of illness lie in the astral body and in its bad effects on the etheric body, and by way of the etheric body on the physical body.

Now we will understand a number of things that cannot be understood otherwise.


see extract on: Past life memories#1909-12-04-GA117


positions the Fall and original sin, passed through heredity

There has been continuous deterioration in man through the course of the incarnations. The farther we go back towards the Atlantean epoch, the more do we find in the physical endowments of man, higher forces than were working in later times.

Where, then, was the impulse activated in the astral body through the temptation of Lucifer, implanted?

It was implanted in heredity, causing increasing deterioration in that process. Sin that man incurs with his I may work back upon the astral body and can only take effect in karma; but the sin incurred by man before he had an I, contributes to a continual degeneration and deterioration of the human race as a whole. This sin became an inheritance.

And just as it is true that

  • no human being can inherit anything from his ancestors in the higher, spiritual sense — for nobody is clever because he has a clever father but because he learns things that make for cleverness (nobody has yet inherited the principles of mathematics or other such concepts from his ancestors) — just as we cannot inherit these capacities but acquire them through education, it is equally true that
  • what works back into the etheric body from the astral body, contributes only to the undermining of the faculties of the human race.

There we have the true meaning of the concept of ‘Original Sin’. The Original Sin which still persisted in the human astral body was handed down by gradual transmission and imparted itself to the hereditary qualities — which were themselves involved in the process of physical degeneration - as a factor in man's descent from spiritual heights into physical degeneration.

So the legacy of Lucifer's influence has been a continuous impulse which in the very truest sense must be designated as Original Sin; for what entered into the human astral body through Lucifer is transmitted from generation to generation. There is no more appropriate term for the real cause of man's fall into the material-physical world than the expression: Original Sin, Inherited Sin.

But our conception of the Original Sin must differ from that of other sins of ordinary life which are to be attributed entirely to ourselves: we must think of Original Sin as a destiny of man, as something that had inevitably to be imposed upon us by the World Order, because this World Order was obliged to lead us downwards — not in order to worsen us but in order to awaken in us the forces wherewith again to work our way upwards. We must therefore conceive of this Fall as something that has been woven into human destiny for the sake of the freeing of mankind. We could never have become free beings had we not been thrust downwards; we should have been tied to the strings of a World Order which we should have been obliged to follow blindly. What we have to do is to work our own way upwards again.

[Continuation of Grace]

Now there is nothing that has not its opposite pole. Just as there can be no North Pole without a South Pole, so there can be no phenomenon such as this sin of the astral body without its opposite pole. Without being able to speak in the ordinary sense of moral wrong on our part, it is our destiny as men to be permeated by Luciferic forces. In a certain respect we can do nothing about it, indeed we must rather be thankful that it happened so. We were obliged, then, to incur a burden for which we cannot in the full sense be held responsible.

In human evolution there is something that is related to this as the North Pole is related to the South Pole. This sin which, in its consequences, is inherited, which represents sin in man of which he is not guilty in the real sense, must be counterbalanced by the possibility of re-ascent, also without merit of his own. Just as without guilt of his own, man was obliged to fall, so he must be able to re-ascend without merit of his own — that is to say, without full merit of his own. We fell without being ourselves guilty and we must therefore be able to ascend without merit of our own. That is the necessary polarity. Otherwise we should be obliged to remain below in the physical-material world. Just as we must place at the beginning of our evolution a guilt which man did not himself incur, so at the end of evolution we must place a gift that is bestowed upon him without merit on his part. These two things belong together. The best way of understanding why it is so is to think of the following.

What a man does in ordinary life proceeds from the impulses of his feelings, his emotions, his natural urges, his desires; he gets angry and does certain things out of anger; or he loves in the ordinary way and his actions are prompted by this emotion. There is one word only that can aptly express what man does in this way. You will all admit that in what a man does out of passions, out of anger, or out of ordinary love, there is an element that defies all abstract definition. Only a prosaic, academic brain would attempt to define what actually underlies some particular action of a human being. Yet there is a word which indicates the antecedents of the actions of a man in ordinary life — it is the word ‘Personality’. This word embraces all the indefinable factors. When we have really understood a man's personality, then we may be able to judge why it was that he developed this or that passion, this or that desire, or whatever it may be. Everything that is done out of these impulses bears a personal character. But we are so entangled in material life when we act out of our impulses, desires and passions! Our I is submerged in the ocean of the physical-material world, is anything but free when it follows the dictates of anger, of passions, or also of love in the ordinary sense. The I is unfree because it is ensnared in the toils of anger, of passion and the like.

If we observe our present age we shall find something that simply did not exist in ancient times. Only those who have no knowledge of history and who can scarcely see farther than their noses will declare that in the earlier periods of ancient Greece, for example, there were present such things as we today express with words that have been famous now for more than a century — words such as ‘liberty’, ‘equality among men’, and the like. These words signify moral and ethical ideas, as in the first declared object of the Theosophical Society: ‘To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Man without distinction of race, creed, caste or sex.’ For us, as men of the modern age, this is an ideal. It was not at all the same among the ancient Egyptians, among the ancient Persians, or indeed among any of the other peoples of antiquity. In the present age men adhere to such ideals but, in most cases, what they do in the name of liberty, brotherhood, and so forth, bears all the characteristics of abstraction, and admits of definition. For the majority of men, what they grasp of the real import of these ideals of freedom, brotherhood and so on, is capable of definition because they grasp so very little. Passions may become inflated but, for all that, numbers of human beings give us the impression that we have before us something that is withered and sapless. These ‘ideals’ cannot be called personal; they are abstract ideas, lacking the full-blooded vigour of personal life. Yet we attribute greatness to individuals in whom the idea of liberty, for example, seems to have become an out-streaming elemental force, as if it were issuing from wrath, passion, or ordinary love.

In many respects today ideas which are to be regarded as the very highest moral ideals are allowed to lie fallow; yet these ideas could be the beginning of momentous development. Just as man has plunged with his I into the physical-material world, has unfolded personality while acting under the influences of passions, impulses and desires, so he must rise, not merely with abstract concepts but with personality to the heights of ideas which are still abstract today. When this happens, spiritual ideals will be imbued with the same elemental force that can be perceived in actions springing from hatred or love in the ordinary sense.

Man will eventually ascend to higher spheres with his personality. But something else is required. When the human being dives with his I into the ocean of physical-material life, he finds his Personality, he finds his warm blood, he finds the surging impulses and desires in his astral body — in short, he dives down into his personality.

But now he must ascend into the realm of moral ideals — which must no longer be a realm of abstraction. He must rise to the spiritual, and then there must stream towards him a reality in every sense as ‘personal’ as the reality streaming to him when he dives with his I into his warm blood and surging passions. He must now scale the heights without lapsing into abstraction.

How then, as he rises into the spiritual, can he enter into something that is a ‘personal’ reality? How can he develop these ideals in such a way that they are invested with the character of personality?

There is only one way whereby this can be achieved. In these heights of spiritual life Man must be able to draw to himself a Personality as inwardly real as the personality below in the flesh is real. Who is this Personality whom man must draw to himself if he is to ascend into the Spiritual? This Personality is none other than Christ! One who speaks in the sense contrary to St. Paul may say: ‘Not I, but my astral body’ — but St. Paul says, ‘Not I, but Christ in me’ — indicating that when Christ lives in us, abstract ideas are invested with a personal character. Herein lies the significance of the Christ Impulse. Without the Christ Impulse humanity would reach abstract ideals only, abstract ideas of morality and the like, such as are described as ideas working in history by many historians today but which can neither live nor die because they have no creative power. When reference is made to the part played by ideas in history, it should be realized that these are dead, abstract concepts, incapable of exercising sway over epochs of civilization. Living reality alone can exercise such sway. The task before man is to unfold a higher Personality. This is the Christ-Personality Whom he draws to himself, receives into himself.

Man cannot rise again to the spiritual by merely talking about the spirit but only by taking the spirit into himself in the living, personal form presented to him in the events of Palestine, in the Mystery of Golgotha. Thus does man rise upwards again under the influence of the Christ Impulse. In no other way can abstract ideals be invested with the force of personality than by allowing the Christ Impulse to permeate the whole of our spiritual life.

If on the one side, through guilt incurred before the development of the I, we have burdened ourselves with what is called Original Sin, if there we have something for which we cannot be held wholly responsible, neither are we ourselves responsible for the fact that it is possible to draw the Christ to ourselves. Our I plays a part in what we do or endeavour to do in order to come near to Christ, and there we can truly speak of merit. But the fact that Christ is present, that we are living on a planet where He once dwelt and in times after this actually happened, this is not due to any merit of our own. Therefore what flows from the Living Christ in order to bring us upwards again into the spiritual world, comes from beyond the sphere of the I and draws us upwards as irresistibly as we incurred guilt without ourselves being guilty. Through Christ's existence on earth we have the strength to rise again into the spiritual world without merit of our own, just as we incurred guilt without sin of our own. Neither fact has to do with the element of personality in which the I lives, but both are connected with happenings that precede and follow the coming of the I. Man has evolved from a state of existence when he had only physical body, etheric body and astral body, and he evolves further through transforming his astral body into manas (spirit-self).

Just as man has worsened his astral body through incurring Original Sin, so he heals it again through the Christ Impulse. An inflowing power repairs the astral body to the same extent to which it has deteriorated.

That is the Atonement, that is what in the true sense is called ‘Grace’. Grace is the concept that is complementary to that of Original Sin. So the Christ Impulse has made it possible for man to become one with Christ, to say with St. Paul: ‘Not I, but Christ in me’, thus giving expression to everything that is designated by the concept of Grace.

Therefore to speak of the existence of Original Sin and of Grace does not denote misunderstanding of the idea of karma. For in speaking of the idea of karma we are speaking of the reincarnation of the ego in the different earth-lives. Karma is inconceivable without the presence of the ego: Original Sin and Grace, impulses which lie below the surface of karma, [are] in the astral body. We can say with truth that human karma was first brought about because man had burdened himself with Original Sin. Karma flows through the incarnations and before and after there are happenings which introduce and subsequently expurgate it.

Before karma — Original Sin; and after — the victory of the Christ Impulse, the fullness of Grace.


In the Ancient Lemurian Age for the first time human individuals descend from divine heights to incorporate themselves into earthly bodies, which the Old Testament refers to as “the temptation of the serpent.”

This fact is of a very peculiar nature and, all men incarnate, have had to suffer the consequences. Without it, all of humanity's evolution on earth would have taken another fall, and men would have moved from one incarnation to another in a much more perfect state.

By this event, however, they became more deeply rooted in matter, which is allegorically expressed as "the fall of man." But the present human individuality advancing from incarnation to incarnation is not cause, but precisely the result of that "fall," so that he cannot be held individually responsible for it: the responsibility lies with the Luciferian spirits.

Consequently, before man became man in the earthly sense, the supersensitive divine event had taken place as a result of which a deeper rooting was imposed on him in matter. Although thanks to that fact, man obtained the faculty of love and freedom, something was imposed on him which could not have arisen of himself: that rooting in matter was a non-human but divine act, which took place before men could to participate in forging your own destiny; it is something that the higher powers of progressive evolution agreed with the Luciferic powers.


Now the fact of heredity was easily seen by observing how it figured among the phenomena of nature, and it was thought to be a natural phenomenon. Increasingly the belief gained ground that heredity is a natural phenomenon. Every fact of this kind, however, evokes its polar opposite: in human life you can never cultivate a fact without that fact evoking its opposite. Man's life runs its course in the balancing of opposites. A basic condition of all knowledge is the recognition that life runs its course in opposites, and a state of balance between opposites is all we can strive for.

What, therefore, was the consequence of this belief that heredity has its place among natural phenomena and belongs to them?

The consequence was the bringing of the human will into terrible discredit; and this took the form — because its opposite developed — of bringing into the human will a fact belonging to the past, a fact we know in Spiritual Science as the influence of Luciferic and Ahrimanic spirits. And the effect on the soul of looking for heredity among the phenomena of nature was so potent that it led irresistibly to a moralistic world-outlook. For out of this misunderstanding of heredity its opposite came into being — the belief that once through the human will something had happened which went on to permeate the world as 'original sin'. It was precisely through the introduction of heredity into the phenomena of nature that this great evil originated — the placing of 'original sin' into the moral realm.

In this way human thinking wasted astray; it was unable to see that the way original sin is generally represented is blasphemy, terrible blasphemy. A God as conceived by the majority of people, a God who permits out of pure ambition, one might say, what happens in Paradise — according to the usual telling of the story — a God who does not do this with intentions of the kind described in the book Occult Science, but in the way usually described, would be no God of the heights. And to attribute this ambition to God is blasphemy. Only when we come to the point of not setting inherited characteristics in a moral light, but seeing them as a physically perceptible fact in a super-sensible light; only when we relate them to the super-sensible without any of this moral interpretation; when in the super-sensible light we decline to fit them into a moral world-picture in the manner of rabbinical theology — only then do we come properly to terms with this matter.


But since men through their evolution had to fall into a corrupted view of nature, they were bound to have a false view of death. In wishing for immortality they turn to Lucifer, and in wishing to turn to the spirit they fall victim to Lucifer. If they do not turn to the spirit they become like dumb animals, and if they do turn to the spirit, they fall into Lucifer's grip. Looking to the future implies a wish to be immortal in Lucifer; looking towards the past means interpreting the world in such a way that inherited characteristics, which are super-sensible, are viewed in terms of morality, thereby inventing the medieval blasphemy of original sin.


(SWCC) - of which two extracts A and B follow

quote A

[the Fall]

.. religions speak of this fall of man as lying at the starting point of the historical development of mankind; and in various ways through the years we have seen how this fall of man is an expression of something that once occurred in the course of human evolution: man's becoming independent of the divine spiritual powers that guided him.

We know in fact that the consciousness of this independence first arose as the consciousness soul appeared in human evolution in the first half of the fifteenth century. .. the whole human evolution depicted in myths and history is a kind of preparation for this significant moment of growing awareness of our freedom and independence.

This moment is a preparation for the fact that earthly humanity is meant to acquire a decision-making ability that is independent of the divine spiritual powers. And so the religions point to a cosmic-earthly event that replaces the soul-spiritual instincts — which alone were determinative in what humanity did in very early times — with just this kind of human decision making


[coverage how this impacted knowledge, via scholasticism upto the current worldview based on mineral science]

[reversing this Fall]

.. mankind in its present development, is on the point of reversing the fall of man. The fall of man was understood to be a moral fall, which ultimately influenced the intellect also. The intellect felt itself to be at the limits of its knowledge. And it is basically one and the same thing, only in a somewhat different form, if the old theology speaks of sin or if Dubois-Reymond speaks of the limits of our ability to know nature.

.. now one must grasp the spiritual - which, to be sure, has been filtered down into pure thinking - and, from there, one can reverse the fall of man. I showed how, through spiritualizing the intellect, one can work one's way back up to the divine spiritual.

Whereas in earlier ages one pointed to the moral fall of man and thought about the development of mankind in terms of this moral fall of man, we today must think about an ideal of mankind: about the rectifying of the fall of man along a path of the spiritualization of our knowing activity, along a path of knowing the spiritual content of the world again. Through the moral fall of man, the human being distanced himself from the gods.

Through the path of knowledge he must find again the pathway of the gods. Man must turn his descent into an ascent.

Out of the purely grasped spirit of his own being, man must understand, with inner energy and power, the goal, the ideal, of again taking the fall of man seriously. For the fall of man should be taken seriously. It extends right into what natural science says today. We must find the courage to add to the fall of man, through the power of our knowing activity, a raising of man out of sin. We must find the courage to work out a way to raise ourselves out of sin, using what can come to us through a real and genuine spiritual-scientific knowledge of modern times.

One could say, therefore: If we look back into the development of mankind, we see that human consciousness posits a fall of man at the beginning of the historical development of mankind on earth. But the fall must be made right again at some point: It must be opposed by a raising of man. And this raising of man can only go forth out of the age of the consciousness soul. In our day, therefore, the historic moment has arrived when the highest ideal of mankind must be the spiritual raising of ourselves out of sin. Without this, the development of mankind can proceed no further.

then follows an awakening view on the state of contemporary culture, as sleeping through reality without the consciousness as should be expected. In other words how there was not just a Fall from Man in sin, but also a Fall from Man into unconsciousness, into ignorance, an intellectual sin.

With 'the dreams' is meant the materialistic mineral worldview, with the theory of evolution (Darwin), Newton's theory of matter and light, the causal universe where Man is just a 'speck', and the lack of morality in that worldview.

quote B

.. One simply fell asleep. Whereas earlier one felt oneself, with full intensity and wakefulness, to be a sinner, one now fell into a gentle sleep and only dreamed still of a consciousness of sin. Formerly one was awake in one's consciousness of sin; one said to oneself: Man is sinful if he does not undertake actions that will again bring him onto the path to the divine spiritual powers. One was awake then. One may have different views about this today, but the fact is that one was awake in one's acknowledgment of sinfulness.

But then one dozed off, and the dreams arrived, and the dreams murmured: Causality rules in the world; one event always causes the following one. And so finally we pursue what we see in the starry heavens as attraction and repulsion of the heavenly bodies; we take this all the way down into the molecule; and then we imagine a kind of little cosmos of molecules and atoms.

And the dreaming went further. And then the dream concluded by saying: We can know nothing except what outer sense experience gives us. And it was labeled ‘supernaturalism’ if anyone went beyond sense experiences. But where supernaturalism begins, science ends.

And then, at gatherings of natural scientists, these dreams were delivered in croaking tirades like Dubois-Reymond's 'Limits of Knowledge'. And then, when the dream's last notes were sounded — a dream does not always resound so agreeably; sometimes it is a real nightmare — when the dream concluded with “Where supernaturalism begins, science ends,” then not only the speaker but the whole natural-scientific public sank down from the dream into blessed sleep. One no longer needed any inner impulse for active inner knowledge. One could console oneself by accepting that there are limits, in fact, to what we can know about nature, and that we cannot transcend these limits.

The time had arrived when one could now say: “Huckle, get up! The sky is cracking!”

But our modern civilization replies: “Let it crack! It's old enough to have cracked before!” Yes, this is how things really are. We have arrived at a total sleepiness, in our knowing activity.

But into this sleepiness there must sound what is now being declared by spiritual-scientific anthroposophical knowledge. To begin with, there must arise in knowledge the realization that man is in a position to set up the ideal within himself that we can raise ourselves from sin. And that in turn is connected with the fact that along with a possible waking up, pride — which up till now has only been present, to be sure, in a dreamlike way — will grow more than ever. And (I say this of course without making any insinuations) it has sometimes been the case that in anthroposophical circles the raising of man has not yet come to full fruition. Sometimes this pride has reached - I will not say a respectable - a quite unrespectable size. For, it simply lies in human nature for pride to flourish rather than the positive side.

And so, along with the recognition that the raising of man is a necessity, we must also see that we now need to take up into ourselves in full consciousness the training in humility which we once exercised. For, when pride arises out of knowledge, that is always a sign that something in one's knowledge is indeed terribly wrong. For when knowledge is truly present, it makes one humble in a completely natural way. It is out of pride that one sets up a program of reform today, when in some social movement, let's say, or in the woman's movement one knows ahead of time what is possible, right, necessary, and best, and then sets up a program, point by point. One knows everything about the matter. One does not think of oneself at all as proud when each person declares himself to know it all. But in true knowledge, one remains pretty humble, for one knows that true knowledge is acquired only in the course of time, to use a trivial expression.

If one lives in knowledge, one knows, with what difficulty - sometimes over decades - one has attained the simplest truths. There, quite inwardly through the matter itself, one does not become proud. But nevertheless, because a full consciousness is being demanded precisely of the anthroposophical society for humanity's great ideal today of raising ourselves from sin, watchfulness (not Hucklism, but watchfulness) must also be awakened against any pride that might arise.

We need today a strong inclination to truly grasp the essential being of knowledge so that, by virtue of a few anthroposophical catchwords like ‘physical body,’ ‘etheric body,’ ‘reincarnation,’ et cetera, we do not immediately become paragons of pride. This watchfulness with respect to ordinary pride must really be cultivated as a new moral content. This must be taken up into our meditation.

For if the raising of man is actually to occur, then the experiences we have with the physical world must lead us over into the spiritual world. These experiences must lead us to offer ourselves devotedly, with the innermost powers of our soul.

They must not lead us, however, to dictate program truths. Above all, they must penetrate into a feeling of responsibility for every single word that one utters about the spiritual world. Then the striving must reign to truly carry up into the realm of spiritual knowledge the truthfulness that, to begin with, one acquired for oneself in dealing with external, sense-perceptible facts. Whoever has not accustomed himself to remaining with the facts in the physical sense world and to basing himself upon them also does not accustom himself to truthfulness when speaking about the spirit. For in the spiritual world, one can no longer accustom oneself to truthfulness; one must bring it with one.

But you see, on the one hand today, due to the state of consciousness in our civilization, facts are hardly taken into account, and, on the other hand, science simply suppresses those facts that lead onto the right path.


also has the title 'fall and redemption' but puts light on other aspects


Note 1 - What is going on in the world today?

Contemplation on the basis of extract B of 1923-01-21-GA220.


This topic contains a collapsed script for didactic guidance, for those who are interested and willing to explore by investigating and investing soul work. Bringing a number of perspectives together may shed some light on 'what is happening in the world' these days. In such exercises it is good to print off the schemas so one can put them next to one another, as they appear on different pages. Or, to use the PDF booklet from which it is easy to get hardcopies of the schemas - see FMC schemas


Rudolf Steiner is, if one may say so, quite hard or blunt, even an underlying harsh tone, in this extract B of 1923-01-21-GA220, and one cannot resist from connecting this to other threads he spoke about in the manifold lectures

  • the deviations from the normal I-consciousness, on the one hand, and
  • the current contemporary western culture of the 21st century.

Below is a proposed approach to explore this topic:

  • what if the I development overall is not going right for a large mass or cohort of the population?
    • [1] see the explanation in 1917-01-01-GA174B - read the quote on Development of the I, and FMC00.338 on that same page.
      • the symptoms in FMC00.338, can one say they are to be perceived in general in today's culture? Considering the whole population, one might say that these elements do indeed appear as a reality in the mixture of soul constitution of different cohorts of the population, and are probably due to the causes explained. Assume this is taken as a working hypothesis. In other words, imagine a pie chart distribution then besides the cohort or segment where 'all goes right', there are definitely other segments where this is not so, and the 'all goes right' segment may be a relatively small one, not the largest part of the population.
  • how or why would that be, would there be any reasons to assume this? let's investigate
    • [2] combine Schema FMC00.337 on this page (above) with Schema FMC00.233 on the Development of the I
      • FMC00.233 steps back and zooms out, offering a perspective of the evolution of the I across incarnations and many cultural ages and/or subraces. Steiner describes that the reason for unbalanced I development and soul illnesses lies in not appropriately assimilating the goals of any cultural age. Here we see that there is a cumulative effect, per age. And we also know that certain major influences set in in that trajectory of say 16 cultural ages. More specifically: besides the Luciferic influence also the rise of the Ahrimanic and Asuric influences from the Atlantean epoch to today.
    • [3] indeed FMC00.337 can only be fully seen for what it means and says, if one combines it with knowledge about thoese two influences.
      • a) First considering the Rakshasas and Asuras, the rising sensual and sexual impulses that we can see today in porn and sexual abberations, and the acute forms of evil such as mass killings as signs of black magic. The quotes below are just added to refresh our minds for the students who would not have the background knowledge, but they are by no means complete and just a few pointers.
        • indeed the above 1908-12-08-GA107 states

          What happened in reality was that this inter-working of the sexes was accompanied by passions and instincts aroused in the physical world. We must look for this incitement in the physical world after human beings had reached the point when the two sexes were sensually attracted to one another. This was a long time after the sexes already existed. The effect of the sexes one upon the other — even in Atlantean times — happened when physical consciousness was actually asleep, during the night. It was not until the middle of Atlantean times that what we call the attraction of the sexes began, what we might call passionate love; that is, sensual love that mingled with pure super-sensual or platonic love. There would be much more platonic love if sensual love did not enter into it. And whereas everything that formerly helped to form man came from the divine-spiritual environment it now came more from the passions and instincts of the two sexes working one upon the other. The kind of sensual longing that is stimulated by seeing the outer appearance of the opposite sex is bound up with the working together of the two sexes. And therefore something was incorporated into man at birth that is connected with the particular kind of passions and feelings human beings have in physical life. Whilst in earlier times man still received what was in him from the divine-spiritual beings of his surroundings, he now acquired something through the act of fructification which, as an independent, self-contained being, he had taken into himself from the world of the senses.

          and the middle of the Atlantean times is also said to be the time of the 'infection' with the Rakshasas.
        • and 1906-11-01-GA266 on Asuras states that

          The Asuras intervene now in the fifth epoch. They are by far the most harmful and work mainly into the sexual life, i.e. the physical body. The many sexual aberrations of the present can be traced back to their strong influence. All forces of hindrance work in such a way that they seek to hold on to what exists at present, what is imperfect, to carry it through and reinforce it in its imperfection. ... The reproductive forces of man are undergoing transformation. Reproductive force in itself is the most holy in our possession because it is directly divine. The more divine what is dragged through the mud by us, the greater the sin. ... Good and evil are as yet differentiated relatively little. And our eyes do not much penetrate the behind the uniform appearance of the flesh. Now it is still a relatively small step from evil to good, from good to evil.

        • and 1904-06-10-GA093 on Rakshasas states that

          The whole occult striving of the Middle Ages was directed towards nullifying the effect of the Rakshasas. Those whose vision extends to the higher planes have long foreseen that the moment when this could happen might be at the end of the nineteenth century and the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century.

        • and 1919-12-15-GA194

          cultural death and cultural illness are just as much a gift of the Asuras as lies are a gift of Ahriman, and self-seeking, of Lucifer.

        • b) Similarly the Ahrimanic influences can be sketched, for example since the 15th century and the rise of mineral science, there has been an increasing 'living in a dream' made up of hypothesis about a purely materialistic mineral reality. We refer eg to the 1919-11-29-GA194 quote on Ahrimanic influence on Man. This relates to extract B of 1923-01-21-GA220 above.
        • [2]+[3] - show [re [3a]) a trend of increasing sexual and evil influences from the middle of the Atlantean epoch upto the 20th century, and although Christ chained the Rakshasas for a certain periods, this was known to be a finite period and they would re-appear. Meanwhile (re [3b]) Man is 'asleep' with dampened consciousness and a weakened will in a projected 'dream', belief system of a materialistic mechanical reality and universe, see worldview of mineral science. See untruthfullness and the karma of untruthfullness (GA174).
    • [4] The above now needs to be linked link to the principle of the Model for hereditary physical body
      • whereby Schema FMC00.333 clicks into FMC00.337 with the increasing arrow:the more the passions and evil increase, the more we get that into our model at birth, and we have to carry and fight it.
      • and 1909-01-26-GA107 states:

        Now it all depends on whether the soul is strong enough to overcome all the obstacles in the line of heredity, and is capable of re-forming the organism during the course of a lifetime, so that it overcomes what does not suit it. People vary a great deal in this respect. Some souls have acquired great strength in the course of previous incarnations. A soul of this nature has to incarnate in the most suitable body possible, though it will not be absolutely suitable. Yet this soul might be strong enough more or less to overcome everything not suited to it, though this is not necessarily always the case. Let us follow this up in detail by looking at the brain. This instrument of our life of concepts and ideas is inherited externally through our line of heredity. Its delicate convolutions are formed in one way or another according to this line of heredity. The soul will always to some extent have the inner strength to overcome what does not suit it and bring its instrument into harmony with its own forces, but only to a certain extent. The stronger the soul is the better it can do this. And if circumstances are such that it becomes impossible for the soul forces to overcome the resistance in the composition of the brain, the brain cannot be used properly. And then there occurs what we call mental defectiveness, mental illness. A melancholic temperament arises too, because the soul forces are not strong enough to overcome certain things in the organism. In the middle of life — it is different at the beginning and at the end — the forces of our soul always encounter a certain unsuitability in their instrument. This is the secret that always lies hidden behind the inner conflict and disharmony in human nature

        So, when thinking very openly about issues of depression, suicide, transgender .. the above may provide a clue.
    • [5] Finally, to come full circle and connect how we see 'the Fall' to the signs of our times, we add to this the following excerpt from 1918-10-09-GA182 (The work of the angels in Man's astral body), see What takes place as we sleep#1918-10-09-GA182

from which we bottom line recap here below

... what would be the outcome if the angels were obliged to perform this work without Man himself participating, to carry it out in his etheric and physical bodies during sleep?

The outcome in the evolution of humanity would be threefold.

  • [a] Firstly, something would be engendered in the sleeping human bodies (while the I and astral body were not within them) and Man would meet with it on waking in the morning ... but then it would become instinct instead of conscious spiritual activity and therefore baleful. It is so indeed: certain instinctive knowledge that will arise in human nature, instinctive knowledge connected with the mystery of birth and conception, with sexual life as a whole, threatens to become baleful if the danger of which I have spoken takes effect. .. The effect in the evolution of humanity would be that certain instincts connected with the sexual life would arise in a pernicious form instead of wholesomely, in clear waking consciousness. These instincts would not be mere aberrations but would pass over into and configure the social life, would above all prevent men — through what would then enter their blood as the effect of the sexual life — from unfolding brotherhood in any form whatever on the earth, and would rather induce them to rebel against it as a matter of instinct.

[follows a paragraph pointing to contemporary culture and mineral scientific worldview that will ignore this]

  • [b] The second aspect is that from this work which involves changes affecting the angels themselves, still another result accrues for humanity: instinctive knowledge of certain medicaments — but knowledge of a baleful kind! Everything connected with medicine will make a great advance in the materialistic sense. Men will acquire instinctive insights into the medicinal properties of certain substances and certain treatments — and thereby do terrible harm. But the harm will be called useful. A sick man will be called healthy, for it will be perceived that the particular treatment applied leads to something pleasing. People will actually like things that make the human being — in a certain direction — unhealthy. Knowledge of the medicinal effects of certain processes and treatments will be enhanced, but this will lead into very baleful channels. For man will come to know through certain instincts, what kind of illnesses can be induced by particular substances and treatments. And it will then be possible for him either to bring about or not to bring about illnesses, entirely as suits his egotistical purposes.
  • [c] The third result will be that Man will get to know of definite forces which, simply by means of quite easy manipulations — by bringing into accord certain vibrations — will enable him to unleash tremendous mechanical forces in the world. Instinctively he will come to realise in this way the possibility of exercising a certain spiritual guidance and control of the mechanistic principle — and the whole of technical science will sail into desolate waters. But human egoism will find these desolate waters of tremendous use and benefit.


So the crucial point lies ahead when either the path to the right can be taken — but that demands wakefulness — or the path to the left, which permits of sleep. But in that case instincts come on the scene — instincts of a fearful kind. And what do you suppose the scientific experts will say when such instincts come into evidence? They will say that it is a natural and inevitable development in the evolution of humanity. Light cannot be shed on such matters by natural science, for whether men become angels or devils would be equally capable of explanation by scientific reasoning. Science will say the same in both cases: the later is the outcome of the earlier ... so grand and wise is the interpretation of nature in terms of causality! Natural science will be totally blind to the event of which I have told you, for if men become half devils through their sexual instincts, science will as a matter of course regard this as a natural necessity. Scientifically, then, the matter is simply not capable of explanation, for whatever happens, everything can be explained by science. The fact is that such things can be understood only by spiritual, super-sensible cognition ... .. This is a fragment of concrete knowledge of the evolution of existence, a fragment of a conception of life, which can be truly assessed only by those who realise that an unspiritual view of life can never grow clear about these things.


  • [a] a terrible aberration of the sexual instincts were to arise,
  • [b] a form of medicine injurious to humanity were ever to take root,
  • [c] if there were baleful doings in the sphere of the purely mechanistic forces of the world, in the application of the forces of nature by means of spiritual powers,

... an unspiritual conception of life would see through none of these things, would not perceive how they deviate from the true path. The sleeper, as long as sleep lasts, does not see the approach of a thief who is about to rob him; he is unaware of it and at most he finds out later on, when he wakes, what has been done to him. But it would be a bad awakening for humanity! Man would pride himself upon the growth of his instinctive knowledge of certain processes and substances and would experience such satisfaction in obeying certain aberrations of the sexual impulses that he would regard them as evidence of a particularly high development of superhumanity, of freedom from convention, of broad-mindedness! In a certain respect, ugliness would be beauty and beauty, ugliness.

Nothing of this would be perceived because it would all be regarded as natural necessity. But it would denote an aberration from the path which, in the nature of humanity itself, is prescribed for Man's essential being.Now connecting the elements, the above quote clearly links to Extract B of 1923-01-21-GA220 on this page. It states that the current culture with its state of consciousness and beliefs based on the worldview offered by mineral science, is blind for what is happening.

And this can be related to the Fall, the multi-cascaded fall as sketched in the two 1923-01-GA220 lectures.

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Maximilian Rebholz: 'Die Christologie Rudolf Steiners VI : Erbsünde - Gnade - Sündenvergebung' (Apr 49, part 6 of essay)