FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF RELIGIONS
The following text might cast its light over this topic
The angels have certain objectives in view, not only in connection with the outer social life but also with man's life of soul. Through the pictures
they inculcate into the astral body, their aim is that in future time every human being shall see in each and all of his fellow men a hidden divinity.
Quite clearly, then, according to the intention underlying the work of the angels, things
are to be very different in future. Neither in theory nor in practice shall we look only at man's physical qualities, regarding him as a more highly developed animal, but we must confront every human being with the full realisation that in him something is
revealing itself from the divine foundations of the world, revealing itself through flesh and blood. To conceive man as a picture revealed from the spiritual world, to conceive this with all the earnestness, all the strength and all the insight at our command
— this is the impulse laid by the angels into the pictures.
Once this is fulfilled, there will be a very definite consequence. The basis of all free religious feeling that will unfold in humanity in the future will be the acknowledgment, not merely
in theory but in actual practice, that every human being is made in the likeness of the Godhead. When that time comes there will be no need for any religious coercion; for then every meeting between one man and another will of itself be in the nature of a
religious rite, a sacrament, and nobody will need a special religious institution on the physical plane to sustain the religious life. If the religious institutions understand themselves truly, their final aim must be to render themselves unnecessary on the
physical plane, as the whole of life becomes the expression of the super-sensible.
The bestowal on man of complete freedom in the religious life — this underlies the impulses at least, of the work of the Angels.
(Rudolf Steiner 1918)
WHAT ABOUT CHRIST?
On the second page I wrote that "God can not come down to us, to our level, without losing his divinity". I hope that some of you have reacted a little to that statement and thought:what about Christ. Is he not according to Christianity
a version of God who did exactly that: descended and became a man "like us in everything except sin"?
It may not be easy for everyone to see the significance in it. Some people get barriers when they hear the word "sin", as they see it as an expression
of a negativ attitude towards man or even an abuse of power. It may help to hear how Rudolf Steiner expresses the same issue: In the years between the baptism in the river Jordan and the death on the cross, when the divine richness was fully present in Jesus,
there hasn´t arisen any karma, nothing was done or omitted by him, which resulted in debts, that had to be balanced in the future.
That can give us an idea that something very spesial indeed took place and give us a new understanding of the
words: the Divine has descended and lived among us. And it has united so strongly with our humanity, that it even shared our experience of being powerless, but finally reached the resurrection. Hidden within these pictures is probably something that concerns
every human being.
Simultaneously with this sequence of events was God as "father" still perfect. I imagine God the “father” as actively present in the energetic structures that form and sustain the atoms and the entire material world.
The world did not break down, but was equally held and carried as before, while God as "son" went through his death and resurrection. It thus seems as if Christs function as a mediator between man and the father's perfection is related to the task of the angels.
Christ gives us the information that he will be with us from his resurrection in all developments and through all complications. He has thus been with us for almost two thousand years. And since he is the same as the “word of creation” from the
beginning, he probably hasn´t been inactive for all this time. It's a long time in a sense. It is however also a short time with regard to humanity or the earth or the universe's evolution.
We have achieved a high level of materialistic perfection.
In our spiritual life, we often see an unfortunate confusion of ego-impulses with real independence and responsibility, which may seem naive, even primitive in comparison to the level of perfection in the outer world. Yet we have reached a certain degree of
cultural tolerance, interest and love. It seems likely that Christ may have something to do with it.
It is also likely that it is partly his merit that we have begun to lift us again towards heaven, and some of us can "see", while others can sense
and feel, and we can all do something with these our new capabilities.
CHRISTIANITY AMONG EQUALS
Is somone feeling that I am defending Christianity? In a way, I probably am. Christianity carries an important human treasure.
But I am not a
voice for Christianity's superiority over other necessary and valuable religions or spiritual movements. Also Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, as well as many others, carry indispensable contributions to the future of human spirituality. It is easy to point out
flaws in the development of any religion or spiritual movement, but we must not think for that reason that the life within them is dead or expendable.