Streams of Abel and Cain

From Anthroposophy

The streams of Seth-Abel and Cain is terminology that comes from a legend in the Old Testament, following the Paradise legend in the Book of Genesis, and refers to two evolutionary types or currents in humanity with a different soul constitution, that stems from the differentiation in Spirits of Form during their development on the Old Moon evolutionary stage. Those Spirits of Form later gave Man the Human 'I'.

These two types of soul were always present and creative within all races of mankind and in all periods of history, and continued thus until the fourth Postatlantean cultural age.

The two aspects can be put against eachother with key differentiator being the longing for wisdom with or without fire, personal desire, drive.

  • worldly aspect - originators of the arts and sciences, impulsive and initiative (the descendants of Cain) .. 'building the earthly temple'
  • divine aspect - piety and wisdom, religous type but detached lacking ethusiasm (the sons Abel/Seth)

The two streams were developing Mankind and the world until the currents were reunited in Christ-Jesus.

The underlying symbolic meaning is that of the three lower bodies (physical, etheric, astral) representing 'the world' that later would be spiritualized to the higher bodily principles (spirit self, life spirit, spirit man). In the legend story, this comes back in the symbol of the tree with three trunks.

The task of Man is to transform our three lower bodies into the three higher members. The Cain stream was and is building the earthly world that serves the lower members of man and can later serve the spiritualization. In the future, the worldly has to be merged with the inner life force. Both properties have to come together.

Aspects

Illustrations

Schema FMC00.330 provides a schematic overview of the Temple legend and the building of Solomon's temple (click three times to enlarge)

FMC00.330.jpg

Lecture coverage and references

An introductory statement is given in 1904-11-04-GA093 (SWCC)

We are dealing with two races of mankind:

  • those who, like Solomon, are in possession of divine wisdom
  • those of the Race of Cain, who are conversant with fire and know how to make use of it. This fire is the fire of wishes, desires and instincts which burns in the astral world.

Who, then, are the Sons of Cain?

  • In this legend, the Sons of Cain are the sons of those Elohim who, during the Old Moon stage, were a little retarded in their role of Spirits of Form (SoF). We are dealing with astrality during the Old Moon stage, and at that timethis astrality or fire was penetrated with wisdom.
  • However there were two kinds of Elohim. The one kind of Elohim did not remain static with the union of wisdom and fire; they went further. And during the creation of Man they were no longer filled with desires, and so they were able to endow their creation with calm and clear wisdom. That is the essential Jehovah religion, the wisdom of which is quite without personal desire.
  • The other Elohim, those in whom wisdom was combined with the fire of the Old Moon stage, created the Sons of Cain.

Therefore,

  • in the case of the Sons of Seth, we find representatives of the religious type of human being with detached wisdom
  • in the case of the Sons of Cain, we find those who possess an impulsive nature, who are capable of flaring up and showing enthusiasm for wisdom.

These two types are creative within all races of mankind and in all periods of history.

  • Out of the desire life of the Sons of Cain, all arts and the sciences originate;
  • out of the Seth-Abel current, all detached piety and wisdom, lacking enthusiasm, has its origin.

These two types were always present and continued thus until the fourth Postatlantean cultural age.

The joining of the two streams unified by Christ Jesus is discussed in 1905-05-29-GA093, where also the meaning of the cross symbol is explained.

For an explanation see discussion section below.

Extracts here SWCC:

Hence a distinction is made between the sons of men, the descendants of Cain, who were to prepare the worldly aspect, and the sons Abel/Seth, who cultivated the divine aspect, until the two streams could be united with each other, Christ Jesus united these two streams. .. There is another kingdom above that which man has immediately and physically around him.

Explanation than follows that Man is currently only in the fourth and mineral CoL after having gone the first three elementary kingdoms, the three higher CoF we still have to go through.

Today with our physical nature we are in a transitional stage between the Mineral and Plant CoF, with our etheric nature in transition from the Plant CoF to the Animal CoF, and with our astral nature in transition from the Animal CoF to the Human CoF. And finally, we extend beyond the three CoF into the Divine, with that part which we have in the Sphere of Wisdom, where we extend in our own nature beyond the astral.

Thus man is engaged in an ascent. But this is not brought about by any outer contrivance or construction, but by the living Self or 'I' which is awakened in us; which does not use mere outward building stones, but works in a creative and growing way. This force of life must enter into evolution and must first take hold of man's innermost being; his religious life must be gripped by living forces.

Therefore what the Sons of Cain did for the lower members of man's nature .. was a kind of preparation. .. Adam, the first man, was already endowed .. with these living forces of metamorphosis and transformation, the creatively working forces that re-shape Nature. But these forces were entrusted to those not engaged in the work of outward building, to the sons of Abel and Seth.

Through Christianity, these forces should now become common property; the two streams should unite together. And it is a Christian attitude today which holds that nothing external, no temple, no house, no social institution, ought to be created, that is not red hot with inner life, with the life-giving force rather than the mineral force that can only manipulate things.

1905-06-10-GA093 discusses the Rakshasas and descent into hell. 1904-11-04-GA093 summarizes the temple legend (SWCC)

[the legend storyline]

  • There was a time when one of the Elohim (SoF) created a human being whom he called Eve, united himself with Eve and she gave birth to Cain.
  • After this, another Elohim named Jehovah, created Adam. Adam also united himself with Eve and from this union came Abel.

Thus we see that Cain is a direct descendant of the gods, but Abel is a descendant of Adam and Eve who are human. The sacrifices which Abel made to Jehovah were pleasing to him, but the sacrifices brought by Cain did not please him because the birth of Cain was not ordained by him. The result was that Cain committed fratricide. He killed Abel and for this he was excluded from communion with Jehovah. He went away into distant lands and founded his own race there.

Adam again united himself with Eve and from this union came Seth, also mentioned in the Bible, who took over the role of Abel. Thus we have two generations of mankind: the race of Cain, who was a descendant of Eve and one of the Elohim, and the other race which had human parentage and was brought into existence at the command of Yahveh. Among the descendants of Cain are all those who have been creators of art and science, as, for instance, Methuselah, the inventor of the Tau script, and Tubal-Cain, who taught the use and working of metal ores and iron. In this line of descent, stemming from the Elohim, were all those who trained themselves in the arts and sciences.

Hiram also descended from the race of Cain, and he was the inheritor of all that had been learned by the others of his line in technology and art. He was the most significant architect we can imagine.

Out of Seth’s line came Solomon, who excelled in everything which came from Yahveh. He was endowed with the wisdom of the world and all the attributes of calm, clear, objective wisdom. This wisdom can be expressed in words which go straight to the human heart and can uplift a person, but it is unable to produce anything tangible of a technical nature, in art or science. It is a wisdom which is a directly inspired gift of God and not attained from below through human passions welling up from the human will — that would be the wisdom pertaining to the sons of Cain, a legacy of the other Elohim, not Yahveh. They are the hardworking industrious ones who seek to accomplish everything through their own efforts.

Solomon now decides to build a temple and calls upon Hiram, the descendant of Cain, to be his master builder. It was at the time when Balkis, the Queen of Sheba, was visiting Jerusalem because she had heard of the wisdom of Solomon. And she was certainly impressed and charmed by the exalted and clear wisdom and beauty of the King when she first arrived, and when he made love to her she consented to be his bride. Now she heard about the temple which was being built and she desired to make the acquaintance of the master builder, Hiram. When she first met him she was captivated merely by his glance. As a result, a certain mood of jealousy arose between Hiram and Solomon and the latter wished to do something or other against Hiram, but he was dependent upon him for the completion of the temple.

Now came the following: The temple was almost complete. Only one thing was still lacking, which was to have been Hiram’s masterpiece; that was the Molten Sea, which was to represent the ocean cast in bronze and was to have adorned the temple. All the necessary mixtures of ores had been prepared by Hiram in a most wonderful manner, ready to be cast. Now, however, three apprentices got to work, whom Hiram had found so lacking in skill that he had been unable to promote them to become masters. They had therefore sworn to be revenged on him and desired to prevent the casting of the Molten Sea. A friend of Hiram, who got to know about these plans, confided them to Solomon, so that he should prevent their realization. But Solomon, through jealousy, did nothing to stop them, because he wished to destroy Hiram. The result was that Hiram had to look on while the whole casting disintegrated due to the addition of a wrong ingredient in the mixture by the three apprentices. He tried to quench the bursting flames by pouring water over them, but this only made matters worse.

Just as he was on the point of despairing about the work ever being completed, Tubal-Cain, his ancestor, appeared to him and told him that he should not hesitate to cast himself into the fire, as he was invulnerable to the flames. Hiram did as he was advised and came to the center of the earth. He was led by Tubal-Cain to Cain, who there resided in a condition of pristine divinity. Hiram was thus initiated into the Mystery of Fire and into the secret of bronze casting, receiving from Tubal-Cain a hammer and a Golden Triangle which he was able to carry with him as a pendant round his neck. Then he returned and was able to complete the casting of the Molten Sea and to put everything in order again.

Hereupon the Queen of Sheba consented to become Hiram’s bride.

He, however, was set upon by the three apprentices and murdered. But before he died, Hiram managed to throw the Golden Triangle into a well. As no one knew where he had disappeared, a search was made. Even Solomon was afraid and was anxious to find out what had happened. It was thought that the ancient Master Word could be betrayed by the apprentices, and therefore another one was devised. The first word to be spoken when Hiram was discovered should be the new Master Word. At last Hiram was found and was able to utter a few last words. He said:

‘Tubal-Cain had promised me that I shall have a son who will be the father of many descendants who will people the earth and bring my work — the building of the Temple — to completion.’

Then he pointed to the place where the Golden Triangle was to be found. This was then collected and brought to the Molten Sea and both were preserved together in the Holy of Holies.

They are only to be discovered by those who can understand the meaning of the legend of the Temple of Solomon and its Master Builder Hiram.

[Interpretation]

Now we shall proceed from the recounting of the legend itself to its interpretation. We are dealing, therefore, with two races of mankind: with

  • those who, like Solomon, are in possession of divine wisdom and with
  • those of the Race of Cain, who are conversant with fire and know how to make use of it. This fire is not physical fire, but the fire of wishes, desires and instincts which bums in the astral world.

[in terms of origin]

  • The Sons of Cain are the sons of those Elohim who, during the Moon Epoch, were a little retarded in their role of Elohim. We are dealing with Kama, astrality, during the Moon Epoch. This Kama, or fire, was penetrated with wisdom at that time. But there were two kinds of Elohim. The Elohim in whom wisdom was combined with the fire of the Moon Epoch, created the Sons of Cain.
  • The one kind of Elohim did not remain static with the union of wisdom and fire; they went further. And during the creation of man they were no longer filled with desires and so they were able to endow their creation with calm and clear wisdom. That is the essential Jahve — or Jehovah — religion, the wisdom of which is quite without personal desire

[characteristics]

These two types are creative within all races of mankind and in all periods of history.

  • In the case of the Sons of Seth, we find representatives of the religious type of human being with detached wisdom, and
  • in the case of the Sons of Cain, we find those who possess an impulsive nature, who are capable of flaring up and showing enthusiasm for wisdom.

[and]

  • Out of the desire life of the Sons of Cain, all arts and the sciences originate;
  • out of the Seth-Abel current, all detached piety and wisdom, lacking enthusiasm, has its origin.

A higher kind of piety is thereby being prepared among those who are of the pious type, the Sons of Wisdom. This new kind of piety can also develop enthusiasm. It is Christian piety, which was prepared during the fourth Post-Atlantean cultural epoch. This whole stream is not yet in a position to unite with the Sons of Cain, however; they remain adversaries. Were Christianity to take hold of human beings too quickly, they would certainly become filled with love, but the individual human heart would not become involved. It would not be a piety springing from freedom. Christ would not be born within man as his brother, but only as the ruler.

It is therefore necessary that the Sons of Cain are active throughout the whole of the fifth Post-Atlantean period. They are active in their initiates who build the temple of all mankind, constructed out of worldly art and worldly science.

1913-03-27-GA145 links the legend to the Guardian of the Threshold


Discussion

Quote from 1905-05-29-GA093. Through its various sacrifices, Christ brough the macroscopic I to humanity, the spark of the consciousness soul and higher ethers or latent higher principles is now enabled in Man. That means that the Christ Impulse is living 'under the waters', subconsciously in Man's inner being. This is the trigger for the ascent, and it can be formulated in its simple essence as 'bringing life into the mineral'.

Whereas the Cain stream has been building the mineral, this now has to merge with the (once detached) life forces of the Abel stream. The Cain stream should no longer build 'only the mineral' temple per se, but now it should be infused with living read etheric life forces. That is the last paragraph, and this can be linked to the soul work, infusion of feeling, in the study of spiritual science and in all our activities.

Related pages

References and further reading

Internal project notes and references

see Evo 12.10 and GA093 specifically joining of two streams of Cain and Abel - see spirhier 5.12 topic 15 - see 1905-05-29-GA093