The Spiritual Hierarchies as creators of mankind and earth 

Margarete van den Brink

Translated by Veerle van Weelden

In my article “Creation - coincidence or intended?” I described two different theories or viewpoints when it comes to human evolution.

The first, the Darwinian theory, poses that human evolution is a process that happened entirely by coincidence and arose out of the ‘big bang'. It has no purpose, let alone a creator.

On the other hand, the second theory views the beauty and natural order that we find in nature, in plants, animals, the human body and human thought, as an expression and functioning of a higher spiritual power. A higher power that is also the creator. The question I asked myself was: could both viewpoints, that diametrically oppose each other, come together in one common vision?

Before I get into that question I would like to, I this article, explore which beliefs esoteric Christianity holds about the creation of humanity and the Earth.

Everything was born from fire

According to esoteric Christianity, everything that we currently know as hard, solid matter is compacted fire or compacted warmth. Because everything that we can see with our eyes and grab with our hands has – via several phases – emerged from an ancient state of fire or warmth.

The evolution of our solar and planet system, so poses the esoteric tradition, started in a state of fire or warmth. From this state arose the air element. From air emerged the fluid element. And from the fluid, water-like element finally emerged solid matter as we now know it.

We also find all four of these elements on Earth. Just look at our physical body. Our bones are made of solid matter. Our breath contains the element air. We can find the fluid element in the juices of our body, such as those of our digestive system. Whilst we find fire, or the warmth element, the most ancient substance, in the warmth of our blood. Through this, our body itself produces heat.

That entire evolution, from primal, cosmic fire via the gas-forming and the fluid matter, through to the current solid matter, is most clearly described by Rudolf Steiner. In a series of lectures that he held about this subject last century, he masterly shows how unpredictably huge and exalted we should view this evolution or creation process of our solar system and with that of humans and Earth, if we wish to find the actual truth. Below, I will provide a brief summary of this.

The evolution of our solar system

How do solar systems come into existence? And, how has our solar system come into existence? The esoteric tradition explains that the idea, or the plan, for a new planet or solar system arises from the very highest divinity, the Trinity. We find the Trinity, the threefold divinity, in nearly all nations and religions. Just take Brahma, Shiva and Vishnoe in Hinduism. Or Osiris, Isis and Horus in the old Egyptian religion. Or the Father, the Son (Word) and the Holy Ghost in Christianity.

To exercise this plan in the different layers of consciousness, the divine Trinity needs the corporation of a large degree of other divine, spiritual beings. These divine, spiritual beings that support the plan of Creation of the Trinity are called the Angel Hierarchies, or “the Hierarchies” for short. They are the ones that, tasked by the Trinity, via different phases of evolution developed the solar system and our Earth into what it is now.

The cosmic hierarchies

Below is an overview of the different levels that exist within the cosmic hierarchies and the names that describe them in Greek, Latin, in the Bible, or in Western esoteric tradition.

The first hierarchy (the highest)

1. Seraphines – Spirits of Love

2. Cherubs – Spirits of Harmony

3. Thrones – Spirits of Will

The scond hierarchy

1. Kyriotetes
Rulers / Dominationes – Spirits of Wisdom – World Leaders

2. Dynameis
Powers / Virtues – Spirits of Movement – World Powers

3. Exousiai/ Elohim
Powers /Prostates – Spirits of Form – Revelationists

The third hierarchy

1. Archai
Principatus – Spirits of Personality – Ancient Powers – Spirits of Ancient Times, Time Spirits

2. Archangeloi – Arch Angels, Fire Spirits

3. Angeloi - Angels

The lowest layer of the hierarchic spirits, the Angels, are the ones that are the closest to us humans. The highest, the Seraphines, the Cherubs and the Thrones are closest of all to God or the Trinity.

In Western esoteric tradition they say that they ‘enjoy the immediate sight of God”. Of these divine (so named because they are very elevated) beings the Seraphines received the plans for our solar system from the divine Trinity in ancient primal times. We should not view this process literally, but figuratively, and we should keep in mind that what we are trying to express here in human words is something of a scale and exaltedness which in essence cannot be expressed in human language.

Seven phases of evolution

The plans that the Seraphines received from the Trinity contain seven phases through which the planet system developed step-by-step. In Western esoteric tradition these are called the phase of Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan. They do not mean the actual planets but certain evolutionary states of our solar system in our past, present and future. To differentiate these from our current sun and planets, these earlier states are also called “Old Saturn”, “Old Sun” and “Old Moon”.

The Cherubs, the divine spiritual beings and the second ranking of the first hierarchy, were assigned the task of exercising the goals and ideas for the new solar system that the Seraphines had received and to transpose these from their higher wisdom into feasible plans. In turn, the Thrones, the third ranking of the first hierarchy, were assigned the task of taking the divine wisdom that was passed down from highest Divinity to the Seraphines and which the Cherubs had developed further, and make it real, concrete.

Besides the divine beings of the first hierarchy, the Seraphines, the Cherubs and the Thrones, the beings of the second hierarchy were also at work: The Kyriotetes, or Rulers.

The Kyriotetes, or Rulers, took up that which the Thrones had passed down from the Universe and organised it so that it created harmony between the planet that was coming into creation at that time, Saturn, and the universe as a whole. This, because the inner part of this evolutionary process had to be organised in such a way so as to ensure that the processes that took place inside were completely in accordance with those on the outside.

In turn the Dynameis, or Powers, the next ranking of the divine beings, transformed what was received further again. The Elohim, or Spirits of Form, ensured that what was built continued to exist for as long as it needed to and did not immediately dissipate. The Elohim, or Spirits of Form, are also called Holders.

We could say that the Kyriotetes, or Rulers, were the law makers, the Dynameis, or Powers, exercised those laws and the Eolhim, or Spirits of Form, ensured that that which the Dynameis had created endured.

In this way the Seraphines, Cherubs and Thrones of the first ranking worked intensely from the outside in together with the spirit beings of the second ranking.

The Old Saturn State

The very first state of our solar system, and with that the Earth, was created when the divine beings of the hierarchy (Seraphines, Cherubs and Thrones), as instructed by the divine Trinity, chose an orb-shaped space in the cosmos and decided to start there.

Subsequently, the Thrones pulled themselves together into one single point in the universe in that orb-shaped space that was meant for the planet system, and let their substance flow out into it. Substance that existed of cosmic fire. This was their ‘sacrifice', they separated from it to ensure the creation of the new solar system.

If we could view this ancient state of the Earth with our current eyes, we could not comprehend it. Because in that ancient state there was no air, no light, no water and no Earth-matter. In short, there was nothing that could be touched. The first celestial body existed solely out of warmth, or fire.

This ancient state of warmth was the beginning of a new cosmic system from which later, one by one, the planets and the sun emerged. In this ancient substance, the spirit beings of the different Hierarchies were at work in many different ways.

Besides the divine beings from the first hierarchy, the Seraphines, Cherubs and the Thrones, these also included the beings of the second hierarchy: The Kyriotetes, or Rulers.

It is amazing that, from this ancient state of warmth, the beginnings emerged of what later was created as our physical, human body. In the process of creating the base of our physical body, the Spirits of Personality of the third hierarchy also joined in. This human body that was coming into existence, that in those days existed entirely out of warmth, contained, in its core, already the start of all organs (!). Central to this was the start and development of the heart.

At a certain point, when everything that had needed to be achieved was achieved, the Old Saturn State dissipated. Then began a cosmic resting state, called ‘pralaya'. From this, a new evolutionary phase started, the Old Sun.

The Old Sun

In this second phase, a new formation arose; a new evolution.

Firstly, the Old Saturn state repeated itself. Then, towards the middle, a new development started. This one was formed because the large circumference of the Old Saturn State – that stretched until where currently the planet Saturn can be found in our solar system – pulled itself inward until Jupiter and became more compact. This is how, besides the warmth-substance of the Old Saturn, another, more compact warmth-substance arose. Archai, also called Spirits of Personality or Ancient Powers, from the third hierarchy, created from this warmth-substance on one side gas, or an air-like substance, and on the other side light. Air and light, substances that are characteristic of the new phase. The bodies of these Archai, Spirits of Personality or Ancient Powers, too, were woven out of fire, air and light. Through them, the light flowed into the cosmos.

In this second ancient state, the Kyriotetes, or Rulers of the second hierarchy, worked – as opposed to the previous state –from the outside in together with the spirits of the first hierarchy, the Seraphines, Cherubs and Thrones.

Within this Old Sun State, the Elohim/ Spirits of Form and the Dynameis/ Spirits of Movement were working together. This corporation between the hierarchal spiritual beings that worked from the outside and the ones working from the inside, caused this giant mass of gas and light to start to spin. The spinning, in turn, later lead to other planets separating from this ancient mass and becoming independent.

The Old Sun is also the planet state in which the start of the etheric body was added to the developing physical body. Here also, divine spiritual beings, Kyriotetes, or Spirits of Wisdom, of the second hierarchy, donated parts of their own substance. From this substance, with the help of other spiritual beings, the basic elements of the ethereal body were formed.

At the same time, almost as a by-product, the first beginnings of what later became the plant-world arose on the Old Sun. Of course, still existing entirely in spiritual form.

Again, this state eventually came to an end, a pralaya arose, and then the third state started.

The Old Moon

In this third phase of the evolution of our solar system, the previous developmental phases are repeated, that of the Old Saturn and his fire and warmth and that of the Old Sun in which air and light were added. Subsequently, in the third phase, more density occurred. The second group of the hierarchy of cosmic beings, the Dynameis or Spirits of Movement, squeezed the mass of the Old Sun together until the border that is currently indicated by the location of Mars. Because of this process, a part of the gas and air-element of the Old Sun became denser and formed to become a fluid, water-like element. With that, in this phase of evolution, the element of water was added to warmth and fire, air and light.

In this developmental phase something very intense and new occurred. Because part of the dense substance was thrown outward, the Old Moon-state fell apart and two celestial bodies emerged. This splitting was followed by a battle between two different rankings of the Dynameis. You can compare these cosmic processes with what occurs in daily, human life. Where beings are evolving, some are always first and some are more behind. It is the same in the cosmos.

The more evolved group of Dynameis pulled the sun body with its thinner, finer substance outwards, to independence. Whilst those Dynameis that were behind formed the moon that started to orbit the sun. The Moon came to fall under the rule of the Dynameis that were behind, and the Sun under the more evolved Spirits of Movement.

Some of this battle in the sky can be, according to Rudolf Steiner, found in the opening lines of the Bhagavad Gita, the epic Hindu text. Those first lines go as follows: ‘O Sanjaya! What happened on the holy battlefield of Kurushetra, when my people gathered there against the Pandava's?'

When the large orb, that formed the Old Moon state, cooled, humans again gained a celestial body. An astral soul body was now added to the physical body and the ether body, which had by now evolved further. The astral body came into being because the Spirits of Movement, the Dynameis, gave substance of themselves to the emerging human. With this third body a first – still very primal - form of awareness evolved.

On the Old Moon, too, there was still no sign of matter or physical substance. The body of the emerging human existed at that time purely of water, air and warmth, or fire.

Besides the plant world which evolved further in this phase, the first contours of the animal world also emerged because of the increasing density.

At a certain moment, the Old Moon state, which had completed her assignment, dissolved, went through a pralaya state, and arose again in the fourth state of evolution as our planet Earth.

The Earth

In this developmental state, again, the first three states repeated themselves: that of the Old Saturn, the Old Sun and the Old Moon, including the separation of sun and moon.

In this period, the ancient substance was also further densified. Because of that process the higher spiritual beings of the elements fire/warmth, air, light and water could add the dense element, the physical substance. In this way, the Earth in her form of matter and the physical body of humans, animals and plants came into being and were infused with matter-substance and took on their current form.

In the Earth phase – besides the continuing activities of the before-mentioned hierarchic beings – the Elohim or Spirits of Form were especially active.

The I: Ego-I and the spiritual self

In this developmental phase something peculiar happened. Pretty early on, when the current Moon came away from Earth, the human ‘I' was constructed in the astral body, after it was made ready for this process. The I is the spiritual principle that connects humans as physical beings with the spiritual world. In other words: through the I-principle the creating beings could connect the physical, ether and astral bodies, bodies that us humans had developed in the before-mentioned phases of the planet system, with the human spiritual self that still lived in the heavenly worlds.

The I exists out of two parts: a lower part and a higher part. The lower part of the I is connected to the different bodies (astral, etheric and physical). That is the reason why it is called the ‘lower I', or also the ‘ego', or the ‘ego-I'.

The higher part of the I is called the ‘higher I', or the ‘spiritual self'.

The spiritual self, the self that is part of the divine, is the true being of us humans. High divine beings brought it down to Earth from above, to the humans, and connected it to the I. In this way, the spiritual self could connect to the human bodies – the astral, ether and physical body – and become active in it.

Only then the human evolvement on Earth could really begin.

Our I, too, was given to us as a gift. And that by the Elohim, the Spirits of Form.

The Elohim gave I-substance of themselves and, over time, let it flow into the astral body. With this they sacrificed their own substance to support the human evolution.

Because of the descent of the I into the body, and through this the connection with the higher spiritual self, us humans could take a big step in our development. Physically we now clearly rose above the animal kingdom. We walked upright, learned to speak, to use words and language, and developed our thinking and self-awareness.

In the image of the divine

Looking back at evolution as seen through esoteric theory as we have described here, we could say: everything we own and are is a gift of divine beings. Our physical body was given to us through a sacrifice of the Thrones. Our ether-body through a sacrifice of the Kyriotetes, or Spirits of Wisdom. Our astral bodies by that of the Dynameis, or Spirits of Movement. Our I we received through a sacrificial deed by the Elohim, or Spirits of Form. Our higher spiritual Self was given to us by the highest region that even transcends the hierarchies: The Holy Ghost, a part of the Trinity.

With that the prophecy of the highest divine creator at the start of the bible in Genesis is fulfilled: ‘Let us create humans in our own image and likeness'. The word ‘us' shows that, from the very beginning, God was not meant to create alone, but together with the beings of the divine hierarchies. And just like we carry in us the image of God, we also carry with us, in all the layers of our being, the image and likeness of the high divine beings. And, therefore, we are deeply connected to them.

Rudolf Steiner The Spiritual Hierarchies. Their Reflection in the Physical World. Published by SteinerBooks
(Free download at


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