Imagine that a person is struck down, dies by an accident. Let us suppose that a man is struck dead in his thirtieth year. To outer physical observation such a sudden death is a kind of accident: but from a spiritual science outlook it is simply absurd to regard such an affair as accidental. For in the moment when from outside, from any external cause, a man suddenly meets with death, an immense amount rapidly takes place. Think to yourselves: this same man who has been killed at the age of thirty would have become in the ordinary course of things perhaps seventy, eighty, ninety years old. If he had still lived from thirty to ninety years he would slowly have gone through, one after another, many life experiences. What he would thus have experienced during sixty years of life, he now goes through rapidly, it might even be in half-a-minute, if he is killed at the age of thirty. When it is a matter of the spiritual world, time relationships are different from what they seem to us here on the physical plane. A sudden death caused by external circumstances — one must treat the matter quite exactly — can cause the experience, I say the experience, the life-wisdom of the whole life that might still have been lived, to be passed through under certain circumstances very rapidly.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 180 – Ancient Myths: Their Meaning and Connection with Evolution – Dornach, 12th January 1918
Translated by M. Cotterell