“God created man after His own image and breathed into him His breath!” These are two happenings: the creating and the animating!
Both processes, as with everything, were strictly subject to the existing Divine Laws. Nothing can go beyond their scope. No Divine Act of Will will oppose these immovable Laws, which bear the Divine Will Itself. Also every revelation and promise takes place in regard to these Laws, and must be fulfilled in them, not otherwise!
So also the coming into existence of man on earth, which was a step forward of the mighty Creation, the transition to an entirely new, and more elevated phase of evolution of the gross material.
In order to speak of the incarnation of man it is necessary to know of the Ethereal World; for man in flesh and blood is placed as a furthering connecting-link between the ethereal part and the gross material part of Creation, while his root remains in the Pure-Spiritual.
“God created man after His own image!” This making or creating was a long chain of development, which took place strictly within the Laws which God Himself has woven into Creation. Put into effect by the Highest, these Laws work inflexibly and steadfastly at the fulfillment of His Will; automatically, as a part of Him, towards perfection.
So also with the creation of man, as the crown of the whole work, in whom all the species that lay in Creation were to unite. Hence in the Gross Material World, physically visible matter, there was gradually formed in the further evolution the vessel in which a spark from the Pure-Spiritual that was immortal could be incarnated. Through the continuously striving forming there grew up in time the most highly developed animal which, by thinking, already made use of various aids for its sustenance and defense. Even today we can observe certain low species of animals which make use of certain aids to secure and store their necessities of life, and which often show astounding cunning in defense.
The aforesaid most highly developed animals, which were swept away by upheavals that took place on earth, are today described as “primeval men.” But to call them the ancestors of men is a great error! With equal right the cow could be described as “part-mother” of mankind, because in the first months of their lives most children actually need the cow’s milk to build up their bodies, and thus with her help remain alive and grow. The noble and thinking animal “primeval man” has also not much more to do with the real man than that; for the gross material body of man is nothing more than the indispensable instrument that he needs to enable him to work in all directions in the gross material earthly, and to make himself understood.
With the assertion that man is descended from the ape “the baby is being thrown out with the bathwater!” It means reaching far beyond the goal. It raises a partial process to represent the whole. Leaving out the main point!
It would be right if man’s body really were “the man.” As it is, however, the gross material body is only his cloak, which he lays aside as soon as he returns to the Ethereal World.
How then did the first man come into existence?
The highest stage in the Gross Material World having been reached with the most perfected animal, a change for the purpose of further development had to come to avoid standstill and the danger of retrogression. And this change was foreseen and came: The ethereal human spirit having emerged as a spirit spark, then having passed through the ethereal world, renewing and uplifting everything there, it stood at the boundary of the ethereal world ready to connect with gross-materiality in order to further and uplift it at the very moment when the gross material earthly vessel had reached the peak in its development.
While the vessel which had grown to maturity in the World of Gross Matter was formed, the soul in the Ethereal World had developed so far that it possessed sufficient strength to retain its independence upon entering the gross material vessel.
The connection of these two parts now signified a closer union of the Gross Material World with the Ethereal World, right up to the Spiritual.
Only this event was the birth of man!
Procreation itself is still a purely animal act with men even today. Higher or baser intuitive feelings attending it have nothing to do with the act itself, but they bring spiritual consequences whose effects become of great importance in the attraction of absolutely similar species.
Also of a purely animal nature is the development of the body up to the middle of pregnancy. Purely animal is really not the right expression, rather I will call it purely gross material.
Only in the middle of pregnancy, at a certain maturity of the growing body, the spirit intended for the birth is incarnated, which until then stays very much in the vicinity of the mother-to-be. The entrance of the spirit causes the first twitches of the small developing gross material body, thus the first movements of the child. At this point there also arises the peculiarly blissful feeling of the pregnant woman, in whom quite different intuitive perceptions set in from this moment on: the awareness of the presence of the second spirit within her, the sensing of it. And her own intuitive feelings will also be in accordance with the nature of the new, second spirit within her.
Such is the process with every incarnation. But now let us return to the first coming into existence of man.
Thus the great epoch in the development of Creation had come: On the one side in the Gross Material World stood the most highly developed animal, which was to provide the gross material body as a vessel for the coming man; on the other side in the Ethereal World stood the developed human soul who was waiting to unite with the gross material vessel, and thereby give a further impetus for spiritualization to everything gross material.
Now when an act of procreation took place between the noblest pair of these highly developed animals, there was incarnated at the hour of incarnation not an animal soul *(Lecture No. 49: The difference in origin of man and animal), as hitherto, but instead the waiting human soul bearing within it the immortal spirit spark. The ethereal human souls with predominantly developed positive abilities incarnated in male animal bodies, corresponding to the homogeneity; those with predominantly negative, more delicate abilities in female bodies, which were closer to their nature. *(Lecture No. 78: Sex)
This process does not support the assertion that man, whose real origin lies in the spiritual, descends from the animal “primeval man” which could only provide the gross material intermediate vessel. Even today it would not occur to the most extreme materialists to consider themselves directly related to an animal, and yet there is now, as there was then, a close physical relationship, hence a gross material homogeneity, whereas the really “living” man, that is, the actual spiritual “ego” of man, has no homogeneity with or derivation from the animal whatever.
Now after his birth the first earthman really stood alone, without parents, because in spite of their high development he could not recognize the animals as parents, and was unable to have any communion with them.
Through her more valuable spiritual qualities, woman should and could in reality be more perfect than man, if she had only exerted herself to clarify ever more harmoniously the intuitive perceptions bestowed upon her, whereby she would have become a power that was bound to have a revolutionizing and greatly furthering effect in the entire Gross Material Creation. But unfortunately it was just she who above all failed, because she surrendered herself as a plaything to the strong intuitive powers assigned to her, which in addition she even dimmed and defiled through feeling and imagination.
What deep significance lies in the Biblical narrative of the tasting from the tree of knowledge! How the woman, incited by the serpent, offered the apple to the man. A better illustration of the event in the material sphere simply could not have been given.
The offering of the apple, emanating from the woman, was the woman’s becoming conscious of the effect of her charms upon man, and their intentional exploitation. But the taking and eating by the man was his response to it with the awakening urge to draw the attention of woman only to himself by beginning to make himself desirable through accumulating treasures and appropriating various things of value.
With this began the cultivation of the intellect, with its accompanying manifestations of greed, falsehood and oppression, to which men finally subjected themselves completely, thus of their own free will making themselves slaves of their instrument. But with the intellect as ruler it inevitably followed that, in accordance with its very nature, they also chained themselves firmly to time and space, thereby losing the ability to grasp or experience anything above time and space, such as everything spiritual and ethereal. This was the complete severance from the real Paradise and from the Ethereal World, which they brought upon themselves; for it was now inevitable that with the horizon of their ability to comprehend firmly bound to earthly matters through the intellect, and thus narrowly limited, they could no longer “understand” all that is spiritual-ethereal, which does not know the earthly concept either of time or of space. Thus the experiences and visions of intuitive man, as well as the misunderstood traditions, became “fairy tales” to the intellectual men. The ever-increasing number of materialists, that is, those who are only able to acknowledge coarse matter bound to time and space, finally ridiculed the idealists to whom, through their much deeper and more expansive inner life, the way to the Ethereal World was not yet quite barred; they called them dreamers, if not fools or even impostors.
But now at last we are very near the hour when the next great epoch in Creation sets in, which is unconditional upward-swinging, and brings what the first epoch with the coming into existence of man should already have brought: the birth of the fully spiritualized man!
Of the man who has a furthering and ennobling effect on the whole of Gross Material Creation, which is the real purpose of man on earth. Then there will be no more room for the oppressive materialist, chained to time and space. He will be a stranger in all the lands, homeless. He will wither away and perish like chaff that is sifted from the wheat. Take care that in this sifting you are not found too light!