How has man really come to what we call his freedom — that is to say, to his ability to distinguish between good and evil, and in freedom to do either good or evil? You know that man has passed through a long sequence of evolution before arriving at the stage where he stands today, and that we have passed the mid-point of this evolution. The midpoint of the whole of human evolution lies roughly in the middle of the Atlantean epoch, which preceded our own epoch. Now we have already gone past this mid-point. Because of that we are the first missionaries of the second half [of evolution], the first apostles of an ascending arc: whereas man was in a descending arc until the time of Atlantis, was involved in a kind of descending evolution until he had submerged himself in the uttermost depths of material life. Now he is climbing back again towards spiritual development.
To be continued
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93 – The Temple Legend: Lecture 14: CONCERNING THE LOST TEMPLE AND HOW IT IS TO BE RESTORED – Berlin, 5th June 1905
Translated by John M. Wood