Secret of Evil

From AnthroWiki

The Secret of Evil is the fifth of the seven secrets of life and is particularly relevant to all states that have reached the fifth stage of their evolution. Our present consciousness-soul age has to deal with the secret of evil in a very special way. It is a core theme of the Apocalypse of John, which already gives a preview of the New Jerusalem, by Rudolf Steiner also called the New Jupiter, where this riddle should essentially be solved.

„Wherever in the universe, according to the mystery of numbers, the number five prevails, one has to do with the world of evil; it rebels against the four, and great decisions follow, which go either in good or in evil up to the six.“ (Lit.:GA 346, p. 99)

„Five is the number of evil. We can best make this clear to ourselves if we consider man again. Man has developed into a fourfold, into a being of creation, but on earth the fifth member, the spirit-self, joins him. If man had remained only a quadruplicity, he would always have been directed from above, by the gods, towards good; he would never have developed into independence. He has become free because on earth he has received the germinal disposition to the fifth member, the spiritual self. Through this he has received the possibility of doing evil, but through this he has also become independent. No being that does not appear in the five-ness can do evil, and wherever we meet an evil that can actually work corruptly from itself, there is a five-ness at play.“ (Lit.:GA 101, p. 177ff)

According to Rudolf Steiner, the primordial secret of evil is connected with the struggle in the heavens, the consequences of which were incorporated into the human astral body during earthly development by the Luciferic spirits.

In this sense, there is no absolute good and no absolute evil, but both are determined by their relation to each other. What is good in one area can become evil in another. What matters for human beings is that they make the choice appropriate to the respective state of development. Thus the cosmic struggle between good and evil gradually becomes a question of human responsibility. By raising himself from the temporal to the eternal through his spiritual striving and by absorbing something of the eternal that graciously descends to him, man dissolves the opposition of good and evil again.

Just as there is a threefold structure of the human organism, there is also a threefold structure of evil which, through its polarity, causes an increase in the forces of evil. In anthroposophy, these essential powers of the adversary bear the names: Lucifer and Ahriman as well as Sorat-Asuras.

„In a characteristic way, birth and death lived inside the human being precisely in the fourth post-Atlantean age, in the age of the intellectual or mind soul. He did not yet need to see it externally. Now, in the age of the consciousness soul, he must see it externally. In return, he must develop a different one within himself. It is very important that he should develop another.

You see, one can say, if one looks at the human being schematically in this way (see drawing): Fourth Greco-Latin Age, Fifth Age - birth and death were consciously seen by the human being in this Fourth Age when he looked inside his human being; now he must see birth and death externally in the historical life and from there also seek it internally. Hence it is so infinitely important that in this age of the consciousness soul man should enlighten himself about birth and death in the true sense, that is, in the sense of repeated earth-lives, otherwise he will never come to acquire an understanding of birth and death in historical becoming.

But just as birth and death have gone from the inside outwards in human observation, so man must again develop something within himself in the fifth post-Atlantean period, which will again go outwards in the sixth age, which therefore begins in the fourth millennium. And that is evil. Evil is developed within the human being in the fifth post-Atlantean period, must radiate outwards and be experienced externally in the sixth period, just as birth and death were in the fifth period. Evil should develop inwardly in man.

Drawing from GA 185, S. 103
Drawing from GA 185, S. 103

Just think what an unpleasant truth this is! You might say that it is still possible to accept what is important in the fourth post-Atlantean period, that man becomes inwardly acquainted with birth and death, but then cosmically grasps birth and death, as I have presented it to you in the conceptio immaculata and in the resurrection, in the Mystery of Golgotha. That is why the birth and death of the Christ Jesus stands before humanity in the fourth post-Atlantean period, because birth and death were the most important things in the fourth post-Atlantean period.

Now, when the Christ is again to appear in the etheric, when again a kind of Mystery of Golgotha is to be experienced, now evil will have a similar significance to birth and death for the fourth post-Atlantean period. In the fourth post-Atlantean period, the Christ Jesus developed his impulse for Earth humanity out of death. And one may say: out of the death that took place became that which flowed into humanity. - Thus, out of evil, in a strange, paradoxical way, humanity of the fifth post-Atlantean period is led to the renewal of the Mystery of Golgotha. It is through the experience of evil that the Christ can reappear as he appeared through death in the fourth post-Atlantean period.“ (Lit.:GA 185, p. 102f)


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
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.