This blog is primarily focused on devotional practices, but since it’s been practically dead for several months, I thought it would also be beneficial to use it as a way of collecting my thoughts on various Gnostic topics. With that in mind, I hope to spend more of my time focused on essay writing. At present, I’d like to address an issue I’ve found on Facebook more and more lately. I see so many memes and posts criticizing Christian beliefs, and often they’re difficult for me to respond to because on the one hand, I’m not terribly comfortable with Christianity; but on the other hand, I identify as one.
I see people criticize the Christian God, laughing that an all-knowing god would create the world, create human beings, place a Tree of Knowledge in the garden where they live and tell them not to eat from it – knowing full well that that’s exactly what they’ll do. And then what does he do? He punishes them for it! And thousands of years later, he sends his only son (who happens to be God Himself) to be killed, so that He (God) can finally forgive people of their sins.
I also have friends who tease me about believing in a “magical sky fairy.”
Both of these things trouble me, because I don’t believe in them. “Magical sky fairy” doesn’t really work for a Christian Gnostic, because God is not just out there, like He is for mainstream Christians. He didn’t create the world ex nihilo, and He’s not just sitting up in the sky looking down on us, waiting for judgment day.
Gnosticism, while Christian, diverged from its brethren in the early centuries of the common era. So while mainstream Christians have had 2,000 years to develop their dogma(s), Gnosticism died out. True, Gnostic thought was carried like a lamp through the centuries, often in secret. But we haven’t had the luxury of an unbroken chain of succession (and I don’t mean Apostolic Succession), as the exoteric Church has. Our teachings and mythos seem foreign, because we haven’t had centuries to perpetuate these things to the point that they became “mainstream.”
When I speak of God, I mean something quite different from what a Catholic or an Evangelical would mean. When I speak of God, I mean the ineffable, invisible God, who is the Source of All – and we are but emanations of that Source. The Great Invisible God dwells within us, and without us. Unlike pantheists, who say that the Divine exists within the whole Universe; we, Gnostics, would say that the Universe exists within the Divine.
In the beginning was the Source: the One: the All: Spirit: Life: Light. He contained within Himself all potentialities – including light and darkness, good and evil. He wished to understand Himself; and this, His first thought, poured forth from Him and became manifest as the Aeon Barbelo: Forethought.
At this point, there finally existed an observer and an observee. God could look upon Himself, through His First Thought.
By the cooperation of Forethought, he brought forth other emanations (aeons) – pouring forth aspects of Himself, through the mediation of His Consort, the Divine Mother. He brought forth Foreknowledge, Indestructibility, Eternal Life, Truth. Together with Barbelo, He brought forth the Alone-Begotton Son, the Christos: a perfect reflection of His Divine Light. He brought forth Luminaries to rule over their regions, containing within themselves three aeons. And the last emanation He brought forth was Wisdom (Sophia).
Up until now, I’ve been writing in the past tense – but this is due to the limitations of language. We have no eternal tense in English, and these things are Eternal Truths that have no beginning or end. But it’s at this point that we begin to enter upon the creation of time. Sophia, in Her longing to know Her Source, brought forth a child on her own: Ialdabaoth. He is the moment time began.
Ialdabaoth, the demiurge, created archons to serve him, modeled on the divine realm above. He had no knowledge of the aeons that preceded him, but his is creation is a reflection of the Divine Fullness from whence he sprang. And then he created a physical world, and a man who was a reflection of the Divine Man, the Son of the Invisible God.
It was Ialdabaoth who created a tree of knowledge, telling the man (Adam) and his wife (Eve) not to eat from it. He said, “I am god, and there is none other beside me!”
Sophia, whose power was trapped in the demiurge’s creation, begged the light to have mercy on these people, and save them from the control of the demiurge. And then the Feminine Spiritual Principal entered a serpent, who instructed the man and woman to eat of the tree of knowledge, that they might know their divine origins in the True God. Eating of this tree was not the first sin, but the first act of redemption!
As far as Christ is concerned, there was never a need for anyone to die in order for God to save us. God could have easily corrected the situation from the very beginning, rescuing us from the demiurge. But we’re all sparks of His Divine Light, and this world we live in is but another emanation in the eternal process of God knowing Himself. Every experience we have here on earth is His experience, for He is All.
The aeons of God poured their power upon the Christos and sent Him to earth to save us – no, to wake us up! To help us remember! It was the fear of the demiurge and his archons, manifest in all the human institutions we create for ourselves, that caused the Christ to die. Truth frightens them, as it often frightens us. The sacrifice of Christ was not death on a cross, but the Divine entering the limitations of matter for our sakes – so that we too can remember that we are Divine.
God does not exist “out there.” He is at the core of our being, if we only remember.
Christ is our salvation, and our chief cornerstone!