To understand these words aright we must first of all deal with the concept of sin. Its cause lies in the wrongful use of the flesh. As Paul says in the Epistle to the Romans, there is a "carnal way of thinking", which sells men under sin (Rom. 7, 14 and 18). But where is the point in the flesh which makes man into the slave of sin? It is the brain, that is the cerebrum, which produces the thoughts and the intellect, and which like all flesh is perishable.
This intellectual brain is absolutely needed as an instrument on earth. Out of vanity and pretended knowledge man has simply made the mistake of over-cultivating it, and of eventually allowing it to rule his spirit, thus yielding to the intellect a place that according to the order of Creation belongs only to the spirit, which manifests in the intuitive perception.
This is the reason for the Fall of man and for hereditary sin. Hereditary sin, however, is not equivalent to an irrevocable compulsion of having to sin! What is hereditary is only the physical tendency that is due to the intellectual brain, which has been over-cultivated through one-sided use. Hence the tendency is not compulsive, but it contains a danger which man can avert by keeping his intuitive perception alert. That which is spiritual cannot be handed down.
Only through the over-cultivated intellect, which on account of its origin can only understand what is perishable, is Lucifer the Antichrist in a position to carry out in the World his activities, which are hostile to the Light. As soon as man does not listen to his spirit, to his inner voice, and gives preference to the intellect, there is already the danger of sinning, which consists of man's wrongful use of the spiritual power streaming through Creation.
Since "in the beginning" God made Creation, this power, like the pulse-beat of the heart, streams through all parts of Creation sustaining and renewing them. This pure creative power is the "river of water of life", proceeding out of the Throne of God (Rev. 22, 1). Yet this power is not God Himself, but His radiation.
At the time when they were gathered together in memory of Jesus, the disciples of Christ were overcome by this power. It was the very time when the power - as happens every year - was poured out anew into Creation.
All human spirits stand in this spiritual stream and live from it. Only rarely do they become conscious of it; usually when for once their souls are shaken by deep suffering or pure joy. From this stream men draw the power to form their good and evil works. For man has the ability by his own free choice to use and to direct this power, just as he is able to use the power of a machine for destructive or constructive purposes.
The works are the good and evil intuitive perceptions, thoughts and deeds. They are referred to in the Revelation when it says, "their works do follow them" (Rev. 14, 13). They follow the soul of man into the beyond at its physical death.
These works naturally represent something. They have invisible forms, with an invisible content of a finer nature than coarse earthly matter. If they were nothing they could have no effect, they could not follow.
In the use of the creative power continually streaming through Creation lies also the solution to the often asked question: "How could God bring forth evil that is so contrary to His Being", or "Has evil also come into Creation through the Act of Creating?" The concept expressed in these questions is wrong. It is not God Who brings forth wickedness or evil, but man, by taking the pure, neutral power of Creation and forming evil with it. To that extent the Biblical words, "I am the Lord... and create darkness", have not been rightly handed down (Isaiah 45, 6 and 7).
It is not hard to understand that these forms are dirty and ugly. For in fact they represent the sin and guilt of men. From them, through the union of homogeneous species, such as envy, hatred, avarice, hypocrisy, a craving for pleasure, etc., there are gradually formed centres which in turn have a harmful influence on people of a similar nature. Hell itself is a product of men's evil works, and has arisen through thousands of years of "activity". In exactly the same way, there are naturally also concentrations of good forms, which spread joy, peace and harmony.
Thus man not only pollutes the earth, water and air with his earthly wastes. Far worse still are the "psychic wastes" in the shape of his impure thoughts, that have turned his ethereal surroundings into a disgusting swamp, out of which he no longer finds the way by his own strength. We find the visible deposits of these psychic wastes everywhere, in the spoken and written word and in pictures.
Can we imagine that we bring Christ, Who after all is Divine Purity personified, in contact with our dirty forms of sin by saying: "Cast all guilt upon Him"? For the guilt of sin is indeed a reality, and has forms. It makes no difference that we cannot normally see them.
According to the view generally held Christ is supposed, through His alleged expiatory death, to have vicariously taken upon Himself the burden of sins for men, to bring about a reconciliation thereby between God and men.
It is striking that in the Revelation of John, which after all came into being and was proclaimed only after the death of Christ, and which contains all the important spiritual events, not a word is said about this taking over of sins. On the contrary, it is clearly stated that it is men who have washed their robes clean, and not Christ, which means that men had to wash off their sins themselves with the help of the Word, Whose Truth Christ sealed with His blood (Rev. 7, 14).
Indeed the Lamb of God Which was "slain" is accusingly spoken of several times in the Revelation. And even from the promised judgment of God alone, with the pouring out of the vials of Wrath, anything but a reconciliation between the Godhead and mankind is to be inferred.
But if Christ had taken upon Himself or taken away the evil works of men, what works are then referred to in God's judgment, which Christ Himself proclaimed? "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works" (Matthew 16, 27); and in the Revelation of John the Son of Man promised: "I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Rev. 22, 12).
The words "every man" refer to every human being, whether Christian or nonChristian. Creeds are of no importance in regard to this spiritual happening. Here it is only a question of the human spirit, how it stands at the time of the judgment, that is to say, in the judgment it must reap what it has sown during its repeated earth-lives, good and bad (Gal. 6, 7). The harvesting and sowing naturally applies equally to the seeds of the human works, namely to man's thoughts and actions, as to the seeds of Nature. This is a fact which only very few people make clear to themselves. And these repeated earth-lives, in which many among the best of all peoples have believed and still believe today, give man the opportunity to make
good the mistakes and sins of past lives in the newly given earth-life. Of what use would this making good be in the various earth-lives, if Christ would have taken over the sins of men?
For this reason Christ cannot harvest what men sow. If this were possible God would have to alter His Laws. But His Perfection does not allow this. Not even earthly jurisdiction permits a man to shoulder the guilt of another.
Christ certainly bears the sin of the world (John 1, 29). But He bears it in His wound-marks, on Himself, as a visible sign of the sins committed against Him by men, but not in the sense of taking over their sins.
In many Bibles Martin Luther's correct translation, "Behold the Lamb of God, which beareth the sin of the world" has been changed to "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away or taketh upon itself the sin of the world". This does not correspond, however, to the real happening.
For there is something else besides that makes the taking away of the sin impossible. The works of sin are firmly linked by threads with their author. Only he himself can redeem himself from them by inwardly turning to the good and recognising his faults. Then these threads of fate will gradually dry up and fall away. Man is redeemed from his sin, his sins are forgiven him.
But he does not find this forgiveness and redemption from his misdeeds, faults and weaknesses in the taking-over of sins by Christ, but in the fulfilment of the Laws of God. Christ points out the way to it in His Word. He did not come to let Himself be put to death by men, and thereby, as it were, demand of them to transgress His Father's Commandment: "Thou shalt not kill!"
That this death was not in the Will of His Father plainly follows from the Parable of the wicked husbandmen given by Christ (Matthew 21, 33-39). After the servants (teachers, prophets) whom the householder (God) sent to help the husbandmen (human beings) had been received by them with enmity and had even been killed, God sent His Son to men, assuming that they would reverence Him (Chapter 21, 37). But Him they also killed.
In this parable, which shows in pictures that are to be spiritually understood how hostile is men's attitude towards the Love of God, Jesus forebodingly described His own violent death. But He also expresses in the parable that His death was not intended by His Father, otherwise God would not have said that men would reverence His Son. Surely the meaning here is that they would not dare to harm Him! Nevertheless they did. And the intercession of Jesus on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do", showed emphatically enough that men's actions were wrong.
Thus to their already existing sins they added a fresh heavy burden of sin, which must now be redeemed in the Final Judgment proclaimed by Jesus (Matthew 16, 27), so that at last the wounds which the Lamb of God bears as a visible sign of the sin of the entire mankind can close!
Copyright 1985 by Herbert Vollmann, Vomperberg, Tyrol. All rights reserved.