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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

The Fourth Dimension
GA 324a

Questions and Answers III

21 April 1909, Düsseldorf

QUESTION: Does the concept of three-dimensionality apply to the spiritual hierarchies, since toe speak of their "areas” of dominion?

We [Note 11] can say that a human being's essence is realized in space. Space itself, however, from the esoteric perspective, must be seen as something produced as a result of creative activity. Its creation precedes the work and activity of the highest hierarchies, so we can presuppose the existence of space. We should not imagine the highest Trinity in spatial terms, however, because space is a creation of the Trinity. We must imagine spiritual beings without space, because space is a creation. The effects of the hierarchies within our world, however, have spatial limits, as do those of human beings. The other hierarchies move within space.

QUESTION: Does time apply to spiritual processes?

Certainly, but the highest spiritual processes in the human being lead to the concept that they run their course timelessly. The activities of the hierarchies are timeless. It is difficult to talk about how time came about because the concept of time is implicit in the words to come about. Instead, we would have to talk about the essence or being of time, which is not easy to discuss. No time would exist if all beings were at the same level of development. Time arises through the interaction between a number of higher beings and a number of lower beings. In timelessness, various levels of development are possible, but their interaction makes time possible.

QUESTION: What is space?

We must imagine the Trinity without space, because space is a creation of the Trinity. As such, space is a creation and belongs to our world. Space is significant only for beings that develop within earthly existence. Between birth and death human beings are cut off from the spirit in space and time in the same way that a worm lives beneath the Earth's surface. As for time, the highest states accessible to human beings are timeless. Because of the subtleties that come into play, it is not easy to speak about the concept of time coming into existence or about the essence or being of time. Time has had meaning only since the separation of the ancient Moon from the Sun. Everything external exists in space and everything internal runs its course in time. We are circumscribed by both space and time.

There would be no time if all beings of the universe were at the same level of development. In timelessness, we can imagine evolutionary levels that are equivalent. The concept of time emerges when these levels begin to differ and to interact. Even the divinity evolves. As evolution continues, even the concept of evolution itself evolves.

  1. "This question-and-answer session and the following one took place during the lecture cycle The Spiritual Hierarchies and the Physical World (GA 110).