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? (2 – End)

What we human beings did not possess before the midpoint of our earth evolution was freedom of choice between good and evil. Now we cannot talk about good and evil in the subordinate kingdoms of nature. It would be ridiculous to discuss whether a mineral wanted to crystallise or not; it crystallises if the appropriate conditions are present. It would be equally ridiculous to ask whether the lily wants to blossom or not; or to ask the lion to abstain voluntarily from killing and devouring other animals.

Only with man, only in our phase of evolution, do we speak about what we call freedom of choice. Only to human beings do we ascribe the capacity to distinguish between good and evil. How man got this capacity is described in the Bible, in the great symbol of the Fall, in the scene of the temptation, where the Devil or Lucifer appears to Eve and persuades her to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. Through that, man obtained free will; with it he began the second part of his evolutionary path. We can no more inquire into freedom, good and evil for man prior to that evolutionary mid-point, than we can for minerals, plants and animals.

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

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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? (1 of 2)

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

Good and evil will be determined by the State

People imagine that those who strive to arrive at the truth by means of Spiritual Science can be met with the weapons of scorn and ridicule that often pass for criticism. In the Sixth epoch they will be treated medically! By that time medicaments will have been discovered which will be administered compulsorily to those who believe in a recognized canon of good and evil independent of social sanctions. A time will come when people will say: “What is all this talk about good and evil? Good and evil are determined by the State. What the State declares to be good is good; what it declares to be evil is evil. When you speak of good and evil as moral values, you are obviously ill.” And medicaments will be administered to such people in order to cure them.

It is no exaggeration to say that this is the direction in which our epoch is moving; it is a pointer to the future. For the moment I will not disclose what will follow in the Seventh epoch. A time will come — for human nature cannot be changed — when people will be adjudged ill according to the concepts of natural science and the necessary steps will be taken to cure them. This is no flight of fancy. Even the most sober observation of the world around confirms what I have said. And those who have eyes to see and ears to hear see on every side the first steps in this direction.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha – Lecture 4 – Berlin, 12th April 1917

Translated by A. H. Parker

Previously posted on February 1, 2016

The free choice between good and evil

If it were impossible for man to sink into the abyss of evil, he would not have been able to attain what on the one hand we call love and on the other freedom; since to the occultist freedom is inseparably connected with the idea of love. It would be impossible for man to develop either love or freedom without the possibility of sailing down into the abyss. A man unable, of his own free decision, to choose good or evil, would be a being who would only be led on a leading-string to a good which must be attained of necessity and who had no power to choose the good of his own fully purified will, by the love which springs from freedom. If it were impossible for man to follow in the trail of the monster with the two horns, it would also be impossible for him to follow God out of his own individual love. It was in accordance with a wise Providence to give the possibility of freedom to the humanity which has been developing through our planetary system, and this possibility of freedom could be given on no other condition than that man himself has to make the free choice between good and evil.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 104 – The Apocalypse of St. John – Lecture XII – Nuremberg, 30th June 1908

Translated by M. Cotterell

Previously posted on June 22, 2014

Evil has to exist so as to strengthen the forces of the human being

One needs to be aware that the evil powers should also be incorporated into earth development. During the time in which these powers must then be overcome again, human beings will have to exercise great strength to transform the evil and demonic again into the good. But his strength will thereby grow, because evil is there to strengthen the power of the human being through his victory over it. All evil must be melted down and transformed into the good again, and it is so placed by providence in order to develop strong activity in mankind, much stronger than if he never should have had to transform evil into good.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 101 –  Mythen und Sagen, Okkulte Zeichen und Symbole – Cologne, December 28, 1907 (page 237-238)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 6, 2014