The Bible and reincarnation

I will not now discuss other misunderstandings, which could easily be refuted. I will only mention one thing, which may very easily be said, “What do you think of the fact that nothing about repeated earth-lives is found in the Bible?” It might be that some one would say that he could not believe in these repeated earth-lives, for the simple reason that, according to his convictions, there is a contradiction between the acceptation of these repeated earth-lives, which, certainly, minds such as Lessing’s, for instance, admitted as true, and what is in the Bible.

Now repeated earth-lives will be accepted as a scientific, a spiritually-scientific fact, and people will learn to think in the following way about the relation to the Bible of such a fact of spiritual science, which had sooner or later to be discovered. Would it be thought possible for anyone to say he did not believe in the existence of America because the Bible does not mention such a place? Or would it be thought any injury to the Bible to say, “I think the existence of America is quite in harmony with my reverence for the Bible, in spite of America’s not being mentioned within its pages”? Is there anything in the Bible about the truth of the Copernican view of the universe? There have been people who for this reason have looked upon the Copernican view of the world as something false and forbidden. Nowadays there is no one really versed in the culture of his time who could say that he found a contradiction between the teaching of Copernicus and the Bible — notwithstanding that the teaching of Copernicus is not in the Bible.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 35 – The Mission of Spiritual Science and of its Building at Dornach – Liestal, 11th January 1916

Translated by A. M. Wilson

Preiously posted on October 2, 2016

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Demons / Ghosts / Phantoms

You must realise that in the astral body and in the etheric body, as well as in the physical body, you feel the workings of other beings; all that you do involuntarily, everything to which you are impelled, is due to the working of other beings; it is not born from nothingness. The various members of man’s nature are all the time actually permeated and filled by other beings, and many of the exercises given by an initiated teacher are for the purpose of driving out these beings in order that a man may become more and more free.

The beings who permeate the astral body and make it unfree are known as “Demons.” Your astral body is always interpenetrated by demons and the beings you yourselves generate through your true or false thoughts are of such a nature that they gradually grow into demons. There are good demons, generated by good thoughts; but bad thoughts, above all those that are untruthful, generate demoniacal forms of the most terrible and frightful kind and these interlard the astral body — if I may so express it. The etheric body is also permeated by beings from which man must free himself; these beings are called “Spectres”, “ghosts.” And finally, permeating the physical body there are beings known as “Phantoms.”

Besides these three classes there are yet other beings, the “Spirits,” who drive the Ego hither and thither — the Ego itself also being a Spirit. In actual fact the human being generates such creatures who then determine his inner and outer destiny when he descends to incarnation. These beings work in your life in such a way that you can feel the “demons” created by your astral body, the “ghosts” or “spectres” created by your etheric body and the “phantoms” created by your physical body. All these beings are related to you and approach you when the time comes for reincarnation.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 99 – Theosophy of the Rosicrucian: VI: THE LAW OF DESTINY – Munich, 30th May 1907

Translated by M. Cotterell & D.S. Osmond

When the wine is in the man, the wisdom is in the can (2 – End)

Belief in reincarnation and the law of Karma had a great influence not only upon the individual but upon his social sentiment. It helped him to bear with the inequalities of human life. When the unhappy Egyptian labourer was working at the Pyramids, or the lowest caste of Hindu building the gigantic Indian temples in the heart of the mountains, he said to himself that another existence would compensate him for labours patiently accomplished, that his master if he were good had already undergone similar tests or that he would have to undergo them in the future if he were unjust and cruel.

As the era of Christianity drew near, man was destined to enter upon an epoch of concentration upon earthly efforts; he was to work towards the amelioration of earthly existence, the development of intellect, of logical and scientific understanding of Nature. The knowledge of reincarnation, therefore, was to be lost for two thousand years and wine was the means to this end.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 94 – An Esoteric Cosmology – VII – The Gospel of St. John – Paris, 31st May 1906

Translated by Rene Querido

Previously posted on Februaru 23, 2017

When the wine is in the man, the wisdom is in the can (1 of 2)

There were ages in the history of man when wine was not known. In the days of the Vedas it was practically unknown. In the ages when there was no drinking of alcohol, the idea of previous existences and of many lives was universally held; nobody doubted its truth. As soon as man began to drink wine, however, the knowledge of re-incarnation rapidly faded away, ultimately to disappear entirely from the consciousness of man. It existed only among the Initiates who took no alcohol. 

Alcohol has a peculiarly potent effect on the human organism, especially on the etheric body which is the seat of memory. Alcohol obscures the intimate depths of memory. ‘Wine induces forgetfulness’ — so the saying goes. The forgetfulness is not only superficial or momentary, but deep and permanent and there is a deadening of the power of memory in the etheric body. That is why, little by little, men lost their instinctive knowledge of reincarnation when they began to drink wine.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 94 – An Esoteric Cosmology – VII – The Gospel of St. John – Paris, 31st May 1906

Translated by Rene Querido

Previoussly posted on February 22, 2017

Why must a highly developed human soul be reborn in a helpless, undeveloped child?

Question: “Is it possible to understand, according to the law of reincarnation and karma, how a highly developed human soul can be reborn in a helpless, undeveloped child? To many a person the thought that we have to begin over and over again at the childhood stage is unbearable and illogical.”

Answer: How the human being can act in the physical world depends entirely upon the physical instrumentality of his body. Higher ideas, for instance, can come to expression in this world only if there is a fully developed brain. Just as the pianist must wait until the piano builder has made a piano on which he can express his musical ideas, so does the soul have to wait with its faculties acquired in the previous life until the forces of the physical world have built up the bodily organs to the point where they can express these faculties. The nature forces have to go their way, the soul, also, has to go its way. To be sure, from the very beginning of human life a cooperation exists between soul and body forces. The soul works in the flexible and supple body of the child until it is made ready to become a bearer of the forces acquired in former life periods. For it is absolutely necessary that the reborn human being adjust himself to the new life conditions.

Were he simply to appear in a new life with all he has acquired previously, he would not fit into the surrounding world. For he has acquired his faculties and forces under quite different circumstances in completely different surroundings. Were he simply to enter the world in his former state he would be a stranger in it. The period of childhood is gone through in order to bring about harmony between the old and the new conditions. How would one of the cleverest ancient Romans appear in our present world, were he simply born into our world with his acquired powers? A power can only be employed when it is in harmony with the surrounding world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – Reincarnation and Karma – ANSWERS TO SOME QUESTIONS CONCERNING KARMA

Translated by Lisa D. Monges