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Chapter IV. The Evolution of the World and Man


development, and the fact becomes evident to occult science that the real inner spiritual being of man has progressed through a series of lives on this earth. Occult research arrives in this way at an epoch far back in the remote past, when for the first time that inner being of man made its entry into “external life” as we understand it. It was in this first earthly incarnation that the ego began to function in the three bodies—the astral body, the etheric or vital body, and the physical body; and it then carried over the results of that activity into its next life. If in our investigation we proceed backwards, in the manner indicated, as far as that epoch, we discover that the ego finds an earth condition in which the three bodies, physical, etheric, and astral, are already developed and in which they bear a certain relation to each other. The ego is, for the first time, united with the being composed of these three bodies; and henceforth takes part in the further evolution of the three bodies. Hitherto, up to the stage at which that ego came in touch with them, they had evolved without a human ego. Occult science must now go back still farther in its researches if it is to answer the questions, “How did the three bodies reach that stage of evolution at which they were able to receive an ego within them?” and “How did that ego itself come into being and acquire the capacity for working within these bodies?” It is possible to answer these questions only when the gradual development of the earth-planet itself is studied from the occult point of view. By such investigation we arrive at a beginning of the earth-planet. That method of examination which is based only on the facts of the physical senses cannot arrive at conclusions concerning the beginning of the earth. A certain point of view which avails itself of such conclusions arrives at the result that everything material on the earth was formed out of a primeval essence, or vapour. It is not the purpose of this work to enter more fully into such conceptions of our planet's origin; for in occult science the important matter is not merely to inquire into the