First death

From AnthroWiki

First death is a term that is indirectly derived from the descriptions in the Apocalypse of John, where in the course of the Last Judgement the so-called second death is spoken of. The first death, which is not referred to by name in the Apocalypse, is not the death that man experiences repeatedly at the end of each of his many earthly incarnations, but the ultimate death with which the chain of earthly embodiments ends and the physical body is thus finally discarded for all time. The etheric body then remains as the lowest member of man.

„Think of the last death that is possible in earthly evolution, of the last laying down of the physical body. This last death of the embodiments, that is what is called the first death in the Apocalypse. And those who have received the Christ Principle see this physical body, as it were, like a falling shell. For them, the etheric body now has significance. With the help of the Christ it is organised in such a way that it is adapted to the astral body, so that it no longer has any desire or lust for what is down there in the physical world. Only with all that has been brought into the etheric body through the help of the Christ do men now continue to live in the spiritualised earth. They have created a harmony between their astral body and their etheric body. The Christ principle has created this harmony.

On the other hand, there are others who have not absorbed the Christ principle. These others do not have such harmony. They too must lose their physical body, for there is no physical body in the spiritualised earth. Everything physical must first be dissolved. It remains behind as a desire for the physical, as the unpurified spiritual, as the spiritual hardened in matter. An etheric body remains which has not been helped by the Christ to be adapted to the astral body, which is ordered towards the physical body. These are the people who will feel hot ardours of desire for the physical sensuality. They will feel unquenched, burning ardour of desire in the etheric body through what they have had in physical life and what they must now do without. Thus in this next period, after the physical has melted away, we have people who live in their etheric body as in a unity of being which harmoniously resonates with the astral body, and we have other people whose etheric body lives in discord because they have a craving for what has fallen away in the physical body.

And then, in further development, a state occurs where the spiritualisation of the earth progresses in such a way that there can no longer be an etheric body. Those whose etheric body is completely in harmony with the astral body throw off this etheric body without pain, for they remain in their astral body, which is filled with the Christ Being, and they feel it to be a necessity of development that the etheric body be cast off. For they feel in themselves the ability to build it up again themselves, because they have received the Christ into themselves. But those who have in this etheric body the desire for what is past, cannot keep this etheric body when everything becomes astral. It will be taken from them, it will be torn from them, and now they feel this as a second dying, as the "second death". This second death passes unnoticed by the others who have made their etheric body harmonious with the astral body by receiving the Christ principle. Over them the second death has no power.“ (Lit.:GA 104, p. 246f)


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
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