When the Youngest upon God's entreaty agreed to allow themselves to be incarnated on the Earth, the human race was still few in number and lived widely scattered about the globe.
Since the humans were, as they came from the Eldest's hand, ill-equipped to sustain and defend themselves, their struggle for survival carried off thousands and more thousands at a very young age.
Some of the human types then in existence were of such a low order that there was but the smallest possibility of leading these creatures to greater spiritual maturity and bodily refinement, so that the Youngest from the outset hesitated to be incarnated among them. A few types were then selected, and the Youngest embarked on the monumental work: to lead the human beings out of the Darkness and forwards to their Father’s Kingdom.
There are thus human racial types in whose midst the Youngest have never been incarnated. The spiritual level now attained by a number of these primitive types is reached by means of the divine element50 given every human individual at the moment of conception, and which always with each new rebirth adds a spiritual plus to the human spirit. Newly-created and young spirits are mostly incarnated among these primitive beings—entirely or half-savage peoples. Gradually, as God’s need of these peoples for initial human incarnations diminishes, they will become extinct.
When the first incarnations among the more primitive peoples have ended, as the spirit matures and its will strengthens, it is incarnated among more highly developed and finally among the most advanced human racial types. This happens so that the spirit in every aspect of life can learn to overcome evil in all its forms. The human spirit must in this way experience everything that is offered by life on Earth and thereby achieve a comprehensive development of thought and will, although allowance must be made for the natural limitation that follows from the fact that a male spirit is always bound to a male body and a female spirit to a female body (exceptions being the unlawful incarnations of the Eldest. (See Commentary to Ardor’s Account, pages 201-02 in 1979 edition.)
Through millions of years, inconceivably slowly, step by step and generation after generation, the Youngest led humans forward, gradually giving them new and greater knowledge, and more and more means by which to improve their daily existence.
In the beginning and through many ages, the Youngest in their human existence stood but a few degrees above the human beings in intelligence and spiritual superiority.
The innate sense of beauty of the incarnated female Youngest left its stamp on the bodily appearance of their offspring and gradually improved upon it.
At a certain time in the prehistoric past the Eldest began in many ways to oppose and hinder the Youngest’s efforts by constantly drawing across the Earth more and more of the Darkness from the ruined kingdom, and by directing it to the places where the greatest human progress was evident.
As stated previously, the first truly civilized realm,51 which developed after millions of years, was situated in the Pacific Ocean. But many thousands of years before this realm was destroyed and disintegrated into island groups, the process of civilization52 had begun at other places on Earth, for example on the Island of the Atlantic Ocean, in the eastern part of Central Africa and at a few places in Asia.
After the Island had perished, the work of the Youngest was transferred mainly to northern and to eastern Africa and to the interior and southern parts of Asia.
At that time, humans still led mostly nomadic lives, with no single ruler (tribal elders usually acted as leaders in any domestic affairs). Laboriously they herded their cattle from place to place over vast distances. Thus became widely spread across the Earth many of the families that through the repeated incarnations of the Youngest had received a stamp of greater nobility and beauty, both spiritually and physically, than that originally bestowed upon their ancestors. These families intermingled again with the peoples already found at the places where the wanderers settled for longer or shorter periods of their nomadic lives. The spiritual level of these peoples was higher or lower according to whether or not the Youngest had been incarnated among them. Intercourse between the nomads and the original settlers produced new types, new races, and some families were improved by this interbreeding while others degenerated and met with extinction.
When the African realm also perished and its inhabitants fled to various other places, the Youngest transferred their efforts to northeastern Africa—the later Egypt—while a new process of civilization was begun in southern Europe, and the work already underway in Asia was continued.
Until about half a century before the destruction of the island in the Atlantic Ocean, the Youngest had succeeded, despite the Eldest's countermoves, in leading the human beings (except for the most primitive types) forward on a fairly straight course. But from the moment the Eldest chose to begin incarnating themselves, they were able to offer an even stronger resistance to the Youngest. In human form, the Eldest more easily gained power over their weak and immature fellow beings with the result that the slow and relatively steady progress of civilization and of the Light was supplanted by an erratic sequence of advance and retreat. For since the Eldest, as related in Ardor's Account, sought incarnation as human beings primarily where they could best achieve high positions53 that would presumably satisfy their lust for earthly power and their urge to dominate, and since the great spiritual strength that was due to their inadequate insulation layer was especially prominent against the background of the poor spiritual level of the little-developed human beings, it was necessary for the Youngest to counteract this domination by allowing still more of their spiritual strength and individuality to manifest itself in their earthly existence. In this way arose the great leading figures of history—in both the service of good and of evil—represented respectively by the Youngest and the Eldest, male as well as female. These figures who contrast so sharply with one another in their great disparity, can be found in all historical records, from the time of the earliest civilizations of antiquity to the present.
When the incarnated Eldest's superiority grew too great, the Youngest had to withdraw, but only in order to meet again as human beings in other countries and there make a still greater contribution to the culture already prevailing in those places. In this way the many and mighty civilized nations of ancient times were created—civilizations that, when the Eldest gained mastery and the Youngest were forced into retreat, stagnated completely. Sooner or later the culture of the Light declined, the independence of the populace was diminished, and a number of the mighty realms were subjugated by neighboring peoples and met with partial or complete extinction.
About 800 years before the eldest of the Youngest's incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth, the Youngest were near exhaustion and close to losing heart as the incarnated Eldest steadily gained greater and greater power over human beings. Only a few of the Youngest dared venture among humans, but those who came brought with them an abundance of spiritual teachings, of new and noble thought, of new artistic expression in color and form, in order with all their might to take up the struggle against the Eldest.
To this era, that lasted to about the time of the birth of Christ, belong, for example, some of the Jewish prophets,54 some Chaldean, Arabian and Indian scholars, the two great religious founders Zarathustra and Buddha,55 the great men of China, Lao-tze, Kung-tze and Meng-tze, some of the Greek poets, more scholars and philosophers, some of the most prominent leaders in the intellectual life of the Roman Empire, and a number of other leaders in the arts, natural sciences, statesmanship, and so on in all civilized countries of the time.
At that time, astronomy was especially highly developed in Egypt, Chaldea and in China, and was partly known in India.
Astrology, an offshoot of astronomy, is an ancient “science”, but actually has no right to be called such, for the stars have never had the least influence on human destiny. If a horoscope sometimes was accurate, it was because the astrologer who made the calculations had intuitively seen or read the Elder’s recordings of future-images in the ether, or because the Elder often caused his forecasts to coincide with the “laws of the stars”, believed by astrologers to determine human fate.
Despite all the beauty and all the knowledge the Youngest gave humanity in this period, they were yet unable to defeat the Eldest, who grew ever more powerful. The Youngest who stayed in the spheres turned therefore to God for more help and for greater strength.
When God, in His discourse56 with the Youngest, had strengthened and comforted them, they took up with new courage the task which had almost come to a standstill, and about eight decades after taking counsel with God there then followed the eldest of the Youngest's incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth.
But again the Youngest verged on despair when, after the return of Jesus to the spheres from his life on Earth, his heirs proved incapable of completing the great task set them: to bring the teachings of Jesus in their pure and unadulterated form into the world, and when Saul (or Paul), through his many wrongful interpretations dictated by the Elder, removed this teaching still further from its original form.
He of the Youngest who was incarnated as Saul and who, before his incarnation, had pledged to open the eyes of the Jewish scholars to the truths in the teaching of Jesus, was authoritative and strong-willed—characteristics easily transformed into obstinacy in the earthly world. He was later reborn as the reformer, Martin Luther, for the purpose of cleansing Christianity of the fallacies he had added to the teaching of Jesus while he lived as the man Saul.
Since Christianity spread primarily toward the northwest, and as the Youngest in their many attempts to restore it to its rightful form had to be incarnated where there were the best opportunities for opposing the false doctrines implanted by the Elder, the culture of the Light spread more and more across Europe after the death of Jesus of Nazareth, but always accompanied by the debasing and destructive counter-actions of the Eldest.
Many of the Youngest were of course still being incarnated in lands outside Europe, but most were sent there.
Since the Youngest had for centuries primarily emphasized the purification of the teaching of Jesus, it became impossible for them to continue their original cultural work as forcefully as before, and thus the incarnated Eldest, and with them the Darkness, gained ever greater power over mankind to obstruct and unsettle the guidance of the Youngest.
Some of the Youngest were even led so far astray by the Elder and by the dense Darkness that he continually gathered about them during their human existence, that they often fought stoutly to defend that which they had been sent to the earthly scene to oppose and to root out. And again came a time when most of the Youngest favored abandoning the task and letting human beings follow their own course. But Christ appealed to them anew, urging them to ask God for still greater spiritual strength and greater power of resistance in their earthly lives so that Darkness should not overcome them all.
When God had again57 spoken to the Youngest, had shown them the disadvantages in their procedure, had pointed out how, by bringing humanity still more and still greater knowledge in various fields they could inspire people to search for the truth themselves and in this way open their eyes to the numerous delusions, a multitude of the Youngest were once more incarnated, initiating the period known in history as the Renaissance.
But as mankind had by now populated large parts of the globe, the Youngest's work became greater and more complex. Besides their own incarnations they had also to serve as guardian spirits, guide the incarnations of human beings and be teachers to the human spirits during the latter's stay in the spheres between incarnations. The work began to overwhelm them.
But those many of the Eldest58 who had long since repented of their fall and of their sin (the creation of mankind) and who now, purified, stayed in their Father’s Kingdom and followed the work of their younger brothers and sisters with profound gratitude, then asked their Father’s permission to themselves contribute to this so very extensive work. In answer, God entrusted them the task of assisting as guardian spirits for human beings, and of participating as leaders in the instruction given human spirits when in the spheres. Further, when the Youngest voluntarily shortened their allotted time of rest after each completed earthly life, the work could then continue on its regular course.
Nevertheless, the Youngest met with enormous difficulties.59 Especially did those who had undertaken to cleanse the teachings of Jesus often suffer the greatest defeats. Still, they slowly fought their way forward against all opposition, though with varying success on different fronts—now the Light and the Youngest had the upper hand, now Darkness, the Elder and the incarnated Eldest.
After persistent efforts for some centuries, conditions on the Earth had reached a point at which the eldest of the Youngest (Christ) might once more be incarnated so as to perhaps crown the work. In human form, with human emotions, but this time without human fear60 of the Evil One he would be able to show compassion for the Elder—the Prince of Hell—and to pray from his heart for his salvation. And by appearing as a religious reformer he would also be able to restore to its original form the teaching that he, as Jesus of Nazareth, had presented humanity.
But God knew that despite the resolve of the eldest of the Youngest to do his utmost, there would also in this incarnation be a possibility that Darkness might overcome him and thus expose his gentle and loving mind anew to much deep suffering. And when God saw that despite the many acts of fraud by the mediums, more and more people tried in earnest and with understanding to communicate61 with the dead, He chose—even though the spiritualistic connections were often highly inadequate and misleading—to let Christ make an attempt, with humans as intermediaries, to reach the intended goal in this way and thus be spared all the suffering of a difficult life on Earth. With this decision and by this means, the unlawful application of astral and psychic laws by the spirits of Darkness could also be brought under more orderly conditions, so that the communications established between the transcendental and the sensory worlds might serve the cause of the Light rather than the Darkness. In this way the spiritualistic errors, fallacies, abuses and frauds could also be exposed, fought and uprooted, with the possibility the Light could victoriously bring to a complete and final end the abuse of the astral and psychic laws by the discarnate Eldest and the human spirits. And God pointed to that Shorter Road by which Christ and his helpers have now, after indescribable difficulties, sacrifices and disappointments, reached the desired result: the return of the Earth-bound spirits to their abodes in the spheres, the absorption of the ruined Kingdom by the wave of Light, the Elder’s complete redemption, his voluntary confession and his prayerful plea to human beings for forgiveness for all his sins against them, and the imparting of this entire message along with the teachings of Christ in the form of a speech to humanity.
Since Christ has thus fulfilled the first part of his promise to his Father: to deliver his eldest brother from the power of Darkness, to impart to humans certain truths concerning life hereafter, and to provide clear and complete direction on how life on Earth should be lived, God has relieved him of the need for any future incarnation so that he may devote himself entirely to the fulfillment of the second part of his promise: to guide human beings to the Home of He Who is the Father of them all.
(If you are reading this in a computerized file format, page references cannot be found unless you have a copy of the original printed book on hand)
50) Commentary, page 189.
51) Ardor has mentioned only the prehistoric civilizations because humans possess no historical accounts or traditions from those times; only legends exist.
52) The Ice Ages that laid waste to some parts of the Earth are not mentioned by Ardor since they did not directly interfere with the work of the Youngest.
53) This does not mean that all rulers were of the Eldest; both human spirits and the Youngest have often been bound to humans who held high office, both ecclesiastical and secular.
54) Some of the prophets were of the Eldest, whose prophecies were inspired by the Elder or by his predeterminations. Summary, pages 307-09.
55) None of the great religious founders before Jesus is directly mentioned in Ardor’s Account because they were only to prepare the way, to make mankind more receptive to what was to come, that is, and because the Account was intended to emphasize the work of the eldest of the Youngest on behalf of humanity. He of the Youngest who was incarnated as Zarathustra was later reborn as Mani; Buddha was reborn as Mohammed.
56) Ardor’s Account, pages 31-32.
57) Ardor’s Account, pages 85-86.
58) The Eldest who had returned at God’s request. Ardor’s Account, pages 14-15.
59) The Youngest are often born under humble and difficult circumstances to demonstrate to humans how much can be accomplished in life on Earth through sheer will and energy.
60) It was God’s intention that the eldest of the Youngest be incarnated in one of the many liberal-minded families to be found at that time in a number of countries.
61) In the middle of the 19th century.