The fourth hierarchy joins the three higher spiritual Hierarchies below. Humans were destined from the beginning to open this fourth hierarchy - in three gradations of the human. This is the task of the Earth evolution, which followed the Old Moon. It was through this that life, i.e. the life ether, first came into the world and likewise the solid crystalline earth element. Through the Fall, however, man first descended too deeply into the earthly-material world and thus did not form the lowest hierarchy of the heavenly beings, but placed himself at the top of the earthly kingdoms of nature. Only through the Mystery of Golgotha was it made possible for man to ascend again to the hierarchies, insofar as he permeates himself more and more with the living Christ-power. Then one day he will indeed form the fourth (future) hierarchy.
Man, as the coming Spirit of Freedom, is the potential builder of the fourth (future) Hierarchy. Through the creation of Manas (spirit self) "a higher member of the human being is given, one that is germinally present in it, as it were, and that comes out more and more in the course of its work on itself" (Lit.:GA 13, p. 71f). In the same way, Buddhi and Atma are disposed germinally in man for his perfection. In the language of the Apocalypse of John, man creates his name, i.e. an initial independent right of existence in the spiritual world, through the spirit self. "He who passes the test shall likewise be clothed in white robes, and I will not blot out his name from the book of life. I will confess his name before the face of my Father and before his angelic kingdoms" (Rev 3:5). The perpetuation of the name is tested by means of the Manas, which the spiritually more advanced human being at this time (5th post-Atlantean cultural epoch = community of Sardis) has already developed more than just germinally (→ consciousness soul). The word "Manas" is related to the word "Manna" (Hebrew: מָן mān) from the Bible. "Man does not live by bread alone" (Matthew 4:4), but more and more also by every "word (of God)", i.e. by spiritual nourishment, which the manna represents and which is especially spiritually filling. "The spiritual is the eternal nourishment of man" (Lit.:GA 9, p. 54).
„Man himself is the fourth Hierarchy. But by no means has this fourth Hierarchy been understood to mean that which now goes about in the world as a two-legged, ageing, highly peculiar being, for to those who really know, it is precisely the present human being who at that time appeared as a peculiar being. They have spoken of the original man before the Fall, who still existed in such a form that he had power over the Earth just as Angeloi, Archangeloi, Archai had power over lunar existence, as the Second Hierarchy had power over solar existence, the First Hierarchy had power over Saturnian existence. One spoke of man in his original earthly existence and could then speak of man as the fourth Hierarchy. And with this fourth Hierarchy came, though as a gift from the upper Hierarchies, but like something which the upper Hierarchies first had like a possession, which they guarded, which they did not need themselves: life came. And life came into the colourful world that I have described to you in hints.
You will say: Didn't things live before? - My dear friends, you can learn how it is from man himself. Your I and your astral body do not have life and yet they do exist. The spiritual, the psychic does not need life. Life only begins with your etheric body, and it is something outwardly enveloping. And so life, too, only enters the sphere of that evolution to which our Earth belongs after its lunar existence with its earthly existence. The colourful world has been lived through. Not only did the Angeloi, Archangeloi and so on yearn to bring darkness into light, light into darkness, and thus to bring forth the play of colours in the planet, but they also came to experience this play of colours inwardly, to make it inwardly. To experience when darkness inwardly dominates light, to feel weakness, to feel laxity; on the other hand, when light dominates darkness, to feel activity. Because what is it when you walk? When you walk, it is just that light in you dominates darkness; when you sit and are lazy, darkness dominates light. It is the colour work of the soul, the iridescence of the soul. Colour iridescence permeated with life, flowing through, occurred when the fourth Hierarchy, the human being, came. And at this moment of cosmic becoming, the forces that were stirred up in the iridescence of colour began to form contours. Life, which inwardly rounded off the colours, covered them, edged them, called forth the solid crystalline. And we are inside the Earth existence.“ (Lit.:GA 233a, p. 23f)
„And that which has come later has come about because man has allowed a too deep urge, a too intense desire to awaken in him towards the earthly-material. Thus he lost his connection with the sun and the cosmos, and could only find his existence on Earth in the form of the hereditary current. In this way, however, the demon of the Earth has, so to speak, begun its work, for the demon of the earthly would not have been able to occupy itself with human beings who were born of the Sun. But then, if man had entered the Earth, he would really be the fourth Hierarchy. Then, when man was spoken of, it would always have to be said: First Hierarchy - Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones; then Second Hierarchy - Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes; Third Hierarchy - Angeloi, Archangeloi, Archai; Fourth Hierarchy - man, in three gradations of the human, but a fourth Hierarchy. But because man has asserted his strong urge towards the physical, he has not become the being on the lowest rung of the hierarchies, but the being at the top, on the highest rung of the earthly kingdoms of nature: Mineral kingdom, plant kingdom, animal kingdom, human kingdom. This is how man's position was regarded at that time.
But because man has not found his task on Earth, the Earth has not found its worthy position in the cosmos. For because man has fallen, the actual ruler of the Earth is not there. What has now come? The actual ruler of the Earth is missing, and it has become necessary that the Earth, in its position in the cosmos, should not be ruled by itself, but should be ruled by the Sun, so that the tasks which should actually be performed on Earth have fallen to the Sun. Medieval man looked up at the sun and said: "There are certain intelligences in the Sun. They determine the movement of the Earth in the cosmos, they regulate what happens on the Earth itself. Man should do it. The solar forces should work on the Earth through man for the existence of the Earth. - This gave rise to that momentous conception of medieval man which is enclosed in the words: the Sun, the illegitimate lord of this world.“ (S. 59f)
- Rudolf Steiner: Mysterienstätten des Mittelalters, GA 233a (1991), ISBN 3-7274-2335-8 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
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