The word paradise (Hebrew: פרדס pardes; Greek: παράδεισος paradeisos) refers to an enclosed or enclosed area. It goes back to the Avestic term for a bounded or enclosed area, a stately park, an animal, pleasure or magic garden, and is referred to in the Hebrew tradition of the Tanakh as the Garden of Eden (Sumerian: Guan Eden "edge of the heavenly steppe", Hebrew: גן עדן Gan Eden) or Garden of God (Hebrew: גַן־יְהוָה – gan-Yhwh "Garden of Yahweh"), also called the Terrestrial Paradise. However, this did not mean an earthly garden, because in the state of paradise man still lived as a warmth-air man in the vicinity of the earth in the area of the lunar sphere. Only through the consequences of the Fall of man was he transferred down into the liquid and into the newly formed solid earth element. Nevertheless, purely earthly attempts to locate Paradise have a long tradition.
According to Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy", the Garden of Eden, as the "Earthly Paradise", is located on the top of the Purgatory Mountain, which rises on the southern hemisphere of the earth. From there, only the path leads to the actual supernatural paradiso, to the world of the spheres or heavenly paradise (Middle Persian: garotman or garodman, from garō.dəmāna "house of praise"), which extends from the lunar sphere through the planetary spheres and the zodiac up to the Empyrean located beyond the crystal heaven.
The Formation of the Physical-Ethereal Man
The Garden of Eden in the Book of Hours of the Duke of Berry
The Garden of Eden is described in Genesis in the second creation story, after the six-day work had already been completed, in connection with the creation of Adam. While the six-day work still takes place entirely in the astral world, the development now shifts to the physical-etheric world.
„4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, 5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. 6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. 14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. 15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. 18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.“
The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge
The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil represent the higher things that must unite with man to form his etheric body and his physical body. The Tree of Knowledge is, in the language of the Elohim, which they have already developed on the old Sun, the physical body of man. The tree of life means the etheric body (Lit.:GA 253, p. 60ff).
The four rivers of paradise
The four rivers of paradise, called Pishon (Hebrew: פִּישׁ֑וֹן), Gihon (Hebrew: גִּיח֑וֹן, outwardly usually identified with the Nile), Hiddekel (Hebrew: חִדֶּ֔קֶל, usually translated as Tigris) and Euphrates (Hebrew: פְרָֽת Perat, also Pherat), are a symbol for the four basic astral forms of matter, for the four elements from which the body of man is formed, which then completely descends to the physical plane with the Fall. At the same time, the four streams are an image for the group souls represented by the 4 sphinx animals, from which humanity emerged. The figure of the sphinx is also closely related to the lesser guardian of the threshold. To the clairvoyant eye, the sphinx figure, similar to the centaur, appears in the etheric body of the human being.
A combination of the four personified rivers of paradise with the four elements can be found, for example, on the late Romanesque (13th century) bronze baptismal font of Hildesheim Cathedral, which is particularly rich in depictions related to the number four. Thus, the four seasons, the four great prophets, the four evangelists and also the four cardinal virtues can also be found here.
- And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)
Now man was born.
- And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:8–9)
There is described the transition from the ethereal races to the physical races. These are joined together from the four sides, east, west, south, north, and from the four elements corresponding to the faculties of the spirit-soul. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the symbol of the higher that has joined itself to man.
- And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. (Genesis 2:10–12)
The other waters are called Gehon, Hiddekel and Euphrates. The four waters are the symbols of the four astral forms of matter that flow together. The water always signifies the astral in esoteric language. In esoteric language, gold is the symbol of the spiritual; the onyx is the symbol of the matter that goes down deepest. The onyx is the symbol of how the living must transform itself before it can be absorbed into the higher principle. The living, the prana, must pass through a state of purification; this is called the onyx state. In Goethe's "Fairy Tale", too, one finds the transformation of the pug into an onyx.“ (Lit.:GA 88, p. 221f)
Bdellium (also guggul or false myrrh) is usually interpreted as a yellowish translucent resin with a rubber-like structure and is later also used in the Bible to describe manna (Numbers 11:7), which according to Rudolf Steiner symbolises manas (spirit self). In many Jewish writings, however, it is also interpreted as ore. It is even occasionally described as a pearl or even a crystal of possibly bright reddish colour, although solidified resins can sometimes appear quite pearly, as was described for example by the English botanist John Parkinson as early as the 16th century for bdellium from Bactria.
Eve is created from the rib of Adam
The skeleton is a perfect physical image of the I-organisation and gives man his human form and thereby makes him an earthling; therefore Eve is created from the rib (Hebrew: צְלָעֹ zela "rib, side, edge") of Adam (Genesis 2:22).
„Now the bone, when it is formed by the I-organisation, is an organ which is released by it from its domain. It comes into a state in which it is no longer inwardly seized by the I-organisation, but only outwardly. It is led out of the sphere of growth and organisation and still mechanically serves the I-organisation in the execution of bodily movements. Only a remnant of inner activity of the I-organisation permeates it throughout the whole of its life, because it must remain an organisational member within the organism and must not fall out of life.“ (Lit.:GA 27, p. 68)
Of course, Eve was not created from Adam's rib, which had been compacted to a solid state. After all, the Adam-being had only condensed to the very finest air element. This is now sounded through by the formative forces of the harmony of the spheres, which also reveal themselves much later in the solidified form of the human bone system.
Man has 12 pairs of ribs, the upper seven ribs are sternal (Latinised form of Greek στέρνον sternon "breast, heart, mind"), the eighth to tenth asternal and the lower two end freely in the musculature. This structure reflects the cosmic relationships: the 12 pairs of ribs correspond to the 12 images of the zodiac; the 7 sternal pairs of ribs to the seven planets.
„Our animals, which are in their development on earth, and also man, form a bone system on earth. But the animals that have already reached the end of their development on the moon, they did not have a bone system there, they formed an outer skeleton on earth: a crust or a shell such as beetles, trachea and so on. These came from the moon into the earth evolution. All beings that really go with earth evolution form an inner skeleton. Hence Eve is represented as created from the rib.“ (Lit.:GA 89, p. 152)
The Garden of Eden in the Islamic Tradition
In Islam, too, Paradise is described as a wonderful garden, Jannah (Arabic جنّة "miracle"), which here, however, according to the 56th Sura (Arabic الواقعة Al-Waqi'a "the inevitable event") of the Quran, is a place of sensual pleasures, i.e. a luciferian world. Paradise is separated from Hell (Arabic جهنم Jahannam) by the barrier of Barjakh. This wonderful garden is criss-crossed by streams flowing with water, milk and honey. It is furnished with the most precious carpets and armchairs, and beautiful maidens, the Houris, and young boys serve the choicest fruits and fowls:
„And ye shall be (divided) into three kinds (7) : (Into) those on the right hand - what (know ye) of those who shall be on the right hand? (8) And (into) those on the left - what (do you know) of those who will be on the left? (9) And (in) the foremost - (they) will be the foremost. (10) These are they who will be near Allah (11) in the Gardens of Delight. (12) (These are) a great multitude of the Former (13) and a few of the Later. (14) On cushions interwoven with gold, (15) (they) recline on these facing each other. (16) They are served by youths who do not age, (17) with cups and pitchers from a flowing spring. (18) They will not get a headache from it, nor will their consciousness fade. (19) And fruits which they desire, (20) and flesh of fowl which they desire, (21) and Houris, (22) like well-guarded pearls, (23) (they will receive) as a reward for what they used to do. (24) They will hear there neither idle talk nor accusation of sin, (25) Only the word: Peace, peace! (26) And those on the right - what (do you know) of those who will be on the right? (27) (They will be) among thornless lotus trees (28) and tufted bananas (29) and endless shade, (30) with running water (31) and many fruits, (32) which neither come to an end nor are declared forbidden, (33) and on raised cushions of rest. (34) We have fashioned them (the Houris) in glorious creation (35) and made them virgins, (36) loving age-mates (37) of those on the right. (38)“
- Rudolf Steiner, Ita Wegman: Grundlegendes für eine Erweiterung der Heilkunst nach geisteswissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen, GA 27 (1991) English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Über die astrale Welt und das Devachan, GA 88 (1999), ISBN 3-7274-0880-4 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Bewußtsein – Leben – Form , GA 89 (2001), ISBN 3-7274-0890-1 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Probleme des Zusammenlebens in der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft. Zur Dornacher Krise vom Jahre 1915, GA 253 (1989), ISBN 3-7274-2530-X English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
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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- ↑ garōdmān. In: Ehsan Yarshater (Editor): Encyclopædia Iranica
- ↑ Paul Gerhard Ficker: Der Mitralis des Sicardus, Dogma, Bremen 2012, S 41 
- ↑ Victor H. Elbern, Dom und Domschatz in Hildesheim, Königstein i. T. 1979, S. 16f. und 48f.
- ↑ Claudia Höhl: Das Taufbecken des Wilbernus - Schätze aus dem Dom zu Hildesheim", Verlag Schnell & Steiner GmbH, Regensburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7954-2047-5