General Introduction

A significant premise of this work is that the “parable”1 of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15,11-32) is an allegory in which Christ crystallizes the full Bible message. This vivid story is a microcosmic presentation of what is macrocosmically expressed by the full Bible account. Both speak eloquently of the human condition. But it was only after discovering the anthroposophical understanding of Rudolf Steiner that I came to see both accounts of outgoing and return as expressions of the human being’s own evolutionary journey, itself macrocosmic. In both we see the theme of two sons, one of whom leaves home, loses the original inheritance, comes to self-knowledge, and returns home transformed. One account consists of seventeen verses, the other of an entire canon.

The origin of the human being was in the spiritual world untold expanses of time and timelessness ago. Leaving home, it descended farther and farther into matter in a long process of solidification or densification. This descent, if left alone, would have doomed human beings, but at the right time it was arrested and reversed by the Christ, whose descent and incarnation on Earth made human beings’ reascent possible. The Bible, when seen in anthroposophical light, tells us of this journey. All of its parts then fit together beautifully, seeming contradictions are resolved, and otherwise perplexing passages radiate new splendor— as does the larger whole, now connected, closed into an effulgent orb like the Sun.

The following are but a sampling of the dramatic new understandings of scripture that come with anthroposophical insight:

  1. The essential structure of the human being, and how it is disclosed in scripture over and over again;
  2. The meaning and enormous significance of Isaiah 6, especially of Isaiah’s mandate, quoted in all Gospels, the conclusion of Acts, and in Romans, to tell the people that they would see but not see, hear but not hear, and not understand;
  3. The disappearance of the many apparent discrepancies between the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke, and the relationship of these birth stories to each other;
  4. The meaning and significance of the genealogies in Matthew and Luke, which have otherwise thus far been unexplained and, by apparent consensus, generally ignored by theology;
  5. The meaning and significance of the virgin birth, the immaculate conception, and the perpetual virginity of Mary;
  6. The meaning and significance of the passage about the twelve-year old Jesus in the temple, and of the Simeon and Anna passages that precede it;
  7. The distinction between Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, and when the former became the latter;
  8. The unity of Gen 1-3, which is a single, sequential account of the human being’s creation, not two separate accounts from different sources (normally called the “Yahwist,” or “Y,” and “Elohist,” or “E”); and the meaning of the numerous seeming instances, there and later, of dual stories in an amazingly different light;
  9. Why the documentary hypothesis of the synoptic Gospels is also without a significant basis in truth;
  10. The reason for the superior status of the Gospel of John, and the identity of its author;
  11. Why the apparent discrepancies between the four Gospel accounts, and especially between the synoptics and John, are not in fact such;
  12. The difference between “the law” that Christ spoke of fulfilling in Mt 5,17 and what is pointed to as “the law” in the Old Testament, and how the latter is merely a passing shadow image of the former;
  13. A portrait of the three New Testament John beings (exclusive of John Mark and Peter’s father), namely, the Apostle John (son of Zebedee), the disciple whom Jesus loved, and the Baptist, and their relationship to each other and to the authorship of the Johannine corpus;
  14. For the first time in theological history, a rational and consistent explanation of the Apocalypse of John and its authorship, showing not a book reflecting persecution, but one reflecting past and future human evolution;
  15. The nature and consequence of the forgiveness of one’s sins by Christ and/or by his disciples (then or now);
  16. The higher meaning of the “parable” of the “Prodigal Son”;
  17. The meaning of Paul’s “first and second Adam,” and how they are reflected in Luke’s Nativity account;
  18. The scope and meaning of Paul’s foreseen redemption of all creation spoken of in Rom 8,19-23;
  19. The meaning of the “fading splendor” of Moses’ face and the short-comings and ultimate end of all written scripture (2 Cor 3);
  20. For the first time, the true meaning of the Mystery of Golgotha and how it has worked for the salvation of the human being and of the other kingdoms;
  21. The nature of the resurrection, and of the second coming of Christ, and when and under what circumstances each occurs;
  22. The human being’s relationship to the stars and other heavenly bodies, and how this is disclosed in scripture.
  23. The extensive scriptural manifestation of the truth that each person has lived and will live many times before attaining the necessary perfection, and where and how the truth of karma and reincarnation is reflected, and why it was not to be taught by the church until present times;
  24. The distinctly different meaning, in such areas as function, term and effect, of the important but heretofore theologically baffling and generally avoided topics “judgment of the Father” and “judgment of the Son”;
  25. The significance of the ancient “four elements,” their relationship to the “four ethers,” why some characteristic of “fire” is generally present in the Bible whenever a spiritual being is directly perceived by a human being, and why Christ came to cast fire upon the Earth;
  26. The course of the human being’s spiritual journey between one life and the next incarnation, and how it is reflected in scripture;
  27. The true nature of the relationship between male and female, and how it changes;
  28. The true nature of the reality of evolution, and of the fact that animals are a by-product of humanity’s evolutionary descent and that the human being is not evolved from any animal;
  29. The nature and significance of such misunderstood works as the Song of Solomon, Jonah and Job;
  30. A better understanding of the unity of the apparently bipartite or tripartite book of Isaiah.
  31. The higher meaning of the phrase “born again,” and its relationship to the path that “few find;”
  32. The identification, nature and function of the various levels of the spiritual Hierarchies between the human being and the Trinity, of which the Angels are the lowest and the Seraphim the highest, and how these are reflected in the human being and in all creation;
  33. Profuse evidence, not heretofore generally recognized, that Paul is indeed the author of the book of Hebrews; and
  34. An understanding of why, even though individual acceptance of Christ is essential, there is no such thing as individual salvation apart from that of the rest of humanity and eventually of all the kingdoms of creation.

To repeat, this list is only a sampling. The revelations go far beyond these examples, but they will suffice for now.

 

Acknowledgments
General Introduction, Page 2