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                                         A Shared Vision
                                         D. M. DeBacker
                                June 23, 1988  11:36 PM
                     Gnosticism is a religious/philosophical tradition that began
                sometime in the last  century before  the present  era1. The word
                "tradition"  should  be  stressed  because  one  of the tenets of
                Gnosticism is that of a general disdain for authority or
                orthodoxy. The  Gnostics adhered  to a  belief in strict equality
                among the members of the sect; going so far as to chose  the role
                of  priest  by  drawing  lots  among  the participates at gnostic
                gatherings2. They also stressed direct revelation  through dreams
                and visions  and an  individual interpretation of the revelations
                of fellow Gnostics and sacred scriptures.
                     The Greek word gnosis (from which we have  "Gnosticism") and
                the Sanskrit  bodhi (from  which we have "Buddhism") have exactly
                     1 see  J.M.  Robinson,  Introduction,  in  The  Nag  Hammadi
                Library (New  York, 1977);  hereafter cited as NHL, for a general
                discussion of the origins of Gnosticism.
                     2 Pagels, Elaine; The Gnostic Gospels;(New York, 1979); p 49
                the same  meaning. Both  gnosis and  bodhi refers  to a knowledge
                that transcends  the knowledge  that is acquired through means of
                empirical  reasoning  or  rational   thought;  it   is  intuitive
                knowledge  derived  from  internal  sources.  To the Gnostic this
                knowledge is necessary for salvation3.
                                     "I say, You are gods!"
                                                                      -John 10:34
                     The Gnostic sects were essentially eschatological; concerned
                with salvation,  with transcendence  from the  world of error (as
                opposed to sin) towards  a knowledge  of the  Living God,  who is
                knowable  only  through  revelationary  experience. The object of
                gnosis is God- into  which the  soul is  transformed monistcally.
                This notion  of assimilation  into a  divine essence  is known in
                Gnostic Circles as "immanentizing the Eschaton"4.
                         "Christ redeemed us from the Curse of the Law."
                     3 Barnstone, Willis, ed.; The  Other Bible;  (San Francisco,
                1984); p 42
                     4 Wilson, Robert A.; The Illuminati Papers; (Berkely, 1980);
                p 46
                     The Gnostic defiance towards authority took  on many levels.
                They developed  an elaborate  cosmogony, in defiant opposition to
                traditional  Jewish  and  Christian  beliefs.  For  the  Jew  and
                Christian, it  was a good, though authoritarian, god that created
                Adam and Eve. It was through  their own  sin that  they fell into
                corruption. Yet for the Gnostic, the creator was not good at all,
                rather he became  known  to  the  Gnostics  as  the  Demiurge1, a
                secondary god  below Sophia,  Mother Wisdom, and the unknown God-
                who-is-above-all-else.2  To the  Gnostics,  the  Demiurge-  who is
                also  known  as  Ialdabaoth,  Sabaoth, and Saclas- acted in error
                when he created the material universe  and mistakenly  thought of
                himself as the only god.
                     In  Gnostic  literature,  Adam  and  Eve  are seen as heroic
                figures in their disobedience; aided  by  the  serpent,  who gave
                them knowledge  and who will later return in some sects as Jesus,
                to redeem humanity by teaching disobedience  to the  curse of the
                laws of Yahweh the Creator3.
                     1 Greek for "craftsman", much like the Masonic "Architect of
                the Universe". From Plato's Timaeus.
                     2 I  have  come  up  with  Greek  term  "Theoseulogetes"  to
                describe  "God-who-is-above-all-else"  which  I  found  in Paul's
                Epistle to the Romans  (9:5), but  I hesitate  to make  use of it
                because I am not sure how it should be pronounced.
                     3 Hypostasis of the Archons 89:32-91:3 (NHL p. 155)
                     Many writers when discussing Gnosticism approach the subject
                with a scholarly morbidity. They tend  to look  upon the Gnostics
                as a cult of dreadful ascetics who shunned the world of error and
                delusion. Yet as a neo-gnostic, I can not help but  see a gnostic
                world-view  as  that  of  looking  upon  the universe not as some
                sinister mistake, but more  as a  complex and  complicated cosmic
                     When  one   first  begins  reading  the  Gnostic  literature
                contained in the pages of the  Nag Hammadi  Library (cf.  note p.
                1),  one  is  tempted  to  filter the language and the symbols of
                Gnosticism through a mindset  of  `hellfire'  fright  conjured by
                images brought from the Book of Revelations or Daniel. The key to
                reading the NHL is not to be frightened or distressed  by some of
                the images,  but to  realize that  the tractates  of the NHL were
                collected as consciousness raising  tools.  To  the  Gnostic, the
                pages  of   NHL  are   not  to  be  meant  to  be  taken  as  the
                authoritative, apostolic writings of  the Christian  bible or the
                prophetic and  patristic writings of the Jewish bible, but rather
                as visions shared with  fellow Gnostics.  The following discourse
                is meant to be just that- a Gnostic sharing his vision.
                               "When the Elohim began to create..."
                                                                        - Gen 1:1
                     As all religious thought has as its ultimate aim the thought
                of God, it is best that  I  begin  my  "vision"  by  imparting my
                perception of God.
                                    To me, God is indescribable, inscrutable, and
                "nonexistent". Any attempt  at  describing  God  invokes,  what a
                friend termed,  the "great  syntax catastrophe"2.  It is wrong, I
                believe, even to use the pronouns he or she when speaking of God;
                and it  seems better to speak of what God is "not" rather than to
                          speakof whatGod"is".Toparaphrase theChinesephilosopher,
                Tse "The god that can be named is not the God"3.
                     It is  best not to even attempt a description of God, but to
                think of God as inscrutable by  definition: that  which cannot be
                     1 For a discussion on this translation of the opening verses
                of Genesis cf. Asimov, Issac; Asimov's  Guide to  the Bible; Vol.
                II; (NY, 1968); pp 16-17
                     2 A  friend  tells  me  that  he picked up this term from an
                evangelical Christian in Georgia.
                     3 "The Tao that can  be  trodden  is  not  the  enduring and
                unchanging Tao.  The name  that can  be named is not the enduring
                and unchanging name." Lao-Tse; Tao  teh  Ching  (I,1)-  trans. by
                James Legge
                easily understood,  completely obscure, mysterious, unfathomable,
                and enigmatic; the "Mystery of the Ages"1.
                     Many Gnostics speak of God as  being "non-existent";  not in
                the atheistic  sense, but in the sense that God does not exist in
                the same sense as you or  I  or  anything  else  in  the Universe
                          exists. In some Gnostic  writings  God is referredto as
                "unbegotten one"2.
                     As  a  Gnostic  Christian,  one  who  emphasizes  the salvic
                influence  of  gnosis  (knowledge)  over  the influence of pistis
                (faith), it is not enough  for  me  merely  to  believe  that God
                exists; I must know that God exists.
                     In  his  epistle  to  the  Galatians,  Paul  tells  us  that
                ignorance of God is a form of bondage3; and in his epistle to the
                Colossians, he  tell us  that man's purpose is to "be filled with
                the  knowledge  of  [God's]  will  in  all  spiritual  wisdom and
                understanding,.. and increasing in (gnosis) knowledge of God"4.
                     Many Christian  sects teach that "faith" is an unquestioning
                belief that does not require  proof  or  evidence.  To understand
                     1 Col 1:26
                     2 Tripartite Tractate; 51.24-52.6; (NHL p. 55)
                     3 Gal. 4:8-9
                     4 Col. 1:9-10
                "faith" properly  it requires knowing that belief and opinion are
                not one and  the  same.  A  mere  opinion  is  something  that is
                asserted  or  accepted  without  any  basis at all in evidence or
                reason1. Whereas, to believe  in something  is to  exercise one's
                faith  or  trust  in  something.  Faith  then could be said to be
                "trust"; and `faith in God' is, therefore, the same as  `trust in
                     The basis of any degree of trust must be a certain degree of
                knowledge  concerning  a  given  object  or  situation.  The more
                knowledge  one  has  concerning,  say,  a  person, determines the
                amount of trust allowed that person. For example,  if you  know a
                          person to  be completely unreliable,  youthen have very
                          faith inthat person. Conversely,You havea  greatdeal of
                that  person is not to be trusted. If you know that a person
                is highly reliable, you then have built up  a degree  of trust in
                that person based on your knowledge of him.
                     Therefore, knowledge  of God must parallel faith in God. Yet
                how can God be known when we are not even sure that he exists? If
                we  say  that  God  is  essentially  `unknowable and can only be
                spoken of in terms of what God is  not, then  how can  we come to
                have any knowledge of God?
                     1 See Adler,  Mortimer J.; Ten Philosophical Mistakes; chap.
                4; (New York, 1985); for a  detailed discussion  of knowledge and
                     There are  basically two  ways to  know God. The first is by
                way of reason or logic and second, by way of  intuitive knowledge
                or gnosis.  We shall  see in  following paragraphs how the former
                method may  help us  in understanding  the problems  we are faced
                with in  our attempts  to know  God, and many will see, also, how
                          severelylackingthe pathof logiccan becomparedto that of
                gnostic path.
                     In  studying  the  problem  of  `logical  proofs'  of  God's
                existence I have  come  across  several  historical  arguments of
                which I  have grouped  into what  I call "The Seven Arguments and
                the General Argument for the Existence of the  Almighty." I have
                labeled these  arguments the  Ideological (ideo  as in idea), the
                Etiological ( `aetio' meaning cause), the  Teleological (`teleo'
                meaning  final   outcome),  the   Cosmological  (`cosmo'  meaning
                universal),  the   Ontological   (`onto'   meaning   being),  the
                Pantheological   (`pantheo'   as   in   `pantheism'),   and   the
                Psychological (`psyche' meaning soul) Arguments. I  will provide
                a brief discussion of each.
                     1] The Psychological Argument
                         Before anything  can be  said concerning  the reality of
                God or  of  anything  else  for  that  matter.  One  must  take a
                skeptical stance.  A skeptical  stance would  be that of doubting
                the reality of absolute or universal  truths. In  other words one
                could say  that the certainty of knowledge is impossible and that
                          onecan  achieve only `probable' knowledge,  i.e., ideas
                validity is  highly probable.  An example of this would be to say
                that it is only highly probable that you  are reading  this page,
                but that neither you nor I can be absolutely certain of this.
                         Yet probable knowledge implies the existence of absolute
                knowledge.  For instance a skeptic could deny that the objects of
                his perceptions exist, but he could not deny that his perceptions
                exist. St. Augustine stated that the person who doubts all truths
                is caught  in a  logical dilemma, for he must exist in order that
                he may doubt. As Descartes, put it "I think, therefore I am.". In
                the act of doubting one establishes the absolute reality of one's
                own consciousness or "psykhei".
                       For  Augustine   the   "psykhei"   comprises   the  entire
                personality  of  the  living  being,  who  becomes  aware through
                          self-consciousness not only that  he or  she is  a real
                existing person  but also  that he  knows with absolute certainty
                his own activities and powers  of  memory,  intellect,  and will.
                Thus  the  being  `remembers'  what  it  is  doing  in the act of
                self-doubt; it understands or knows the immediate experience; and
                it can  will to act or not to act as it does. Hence three aspects
                of the individual "psykhei" may be described as powers of memory,
                intellect,  and  will,  or  as  activities of being, knowing, and
                2] The Ideological Argument
                     Prior to the history of any object the ideal had to exist as
                the source  imparting reality  to the particular object. Humanity
                must exist as a universal ideal before any individual human being
                can possibly exist. An object's essence (ideal) must be a reality
                before the particular object can come into existence.
                     Many people, when first confronted by this argument  fail to
                understand it.  One fellow thought the argument was preposterous,
                because  he  thought  it  somehow  denied  that  things  could be
                discovered by  accident. He gave a convoluted example involving a
                chemist seeking to  invent  a  glue  and  in  the  course  of his
                research  accidently  discovering  a  cure  for cancer. What this
                fellow failed to realize is that  the notion  of a  death dealing
                disease such  as cancer  and the idea of a needed cure for cancer
                existed long before this bumbling  chemist  started  on  his glue
                project.  Both  the  psychological  and ideological arguments are
                really not arguments for the existence  of God,  but are intended
                as an introduction to the following arguments.
                3] The Etiological Argument
                     God,  by  definition,  must  have  existed  as a first cause
                because every  effect requires  a cause  and this  must have been
                          true ofentire universe. Thematerial world iscontingent,
                to create itself, hence  requires  something  else,  a necessary,
                spiritually uncreated  Being to bring it into existence and impel
                it to continue its progress.
                     The same  fellow who  debated the  ideological argument said
                that  the  etiological  argument  "hurt  his  head"  and that it
                reminded him of "the old chicken and the  egg argument".  The key
                          wordsinthis argumentare"contingent" (meaning,"dependent
                chance"; "conditional"), "necessary",  and  "uncreated"  (see the
                General  Argument  below).  The  cosmological  argument is almost
                identical to the etiological argument, yet the wording  is quite
                4] The Cosmological Argument
                     There must have been a time when the universe did not exist,
                for all things in the universe  are mere  possibilities dependent
                on some  other objects  for their being and development; the fact
                that  the  universe  does  exist  implies  that  a  necessary  or
                noncontigent  Being  exists  who  was  capable  of  creating  the
                5] The Ontological Argument
                     Since we possess an idea of  a  perfect  Being  (and  we can
                think  of  nothing  greater  or  more perfect), such a Being must
                necessarily exist because perfection implies existence.  Any idea
                that is  lacking in  reality (any  concept which has no objective
                reality of its  own)  would  be  imperfect,  whereas  one  of the
                          attributesofa perfectBeingis actualexistence(not merely
                idea in  any person's  mind, but  real existence  external to any
                mind which happens to conceive of it).
                     The ontological argument is possibly the oldest argument and
                dates back to the 4th C.  of the  present era.  This argument has
                caused a  great debate  that rages  to this  day in  the pages of
                modern textbooks on philosophy  and  theology.  The  key  to this
                argument is  "perfection" and  the statement:  "any concept which
                has no objective reality of  its  own  would  be  imperfect" (and
                therefore not  exist) is  the thin thread upon which the validity
                of argument hangs.
                6] The Teleological Argument
                     The presence of design in the  world, the  fact that objects
                are designed with a purpose, to function for a given end, implies
                the existence of an intelligent, competent  designer, who planned
                the purpose of each thing that exists.
                     The teleological  argument posses  problems of  its own. The
                same fellow who debated the previous  arguments insisted  that he
                needed proof  of a  design to the world and that everything has a
                purpose. The problem in replying to  his argument  is that  I can
                not think  of one useless thing existing in the universe. My mind
                draws a blank in this respect and I  would invite  anyone to show
                me one thing that exists in this universe which is without design
                or purpose.
                7] The Pantheological Argument
                     God, the supreme unity, the original Being, and the Ideal of
                all  ideals, has caused all things to become manifest by means of
                a logical unfolding of particulars from their ideals. To speak of
                creation  is  to  speak  of    particularization,  a  process  of
                          unfolding that makes individual  objects out of ideals.
                immortality is an opposite process whereby the particulars return
                to their universal essence  or archetypes.  Immortality means the
                return  of   things  to   God  (apocatastasis),   that  is  their
                deification, so  that there  is complete  unity of  all things in
                God; pantheism.
                     The Pantheological  vision of  God is  negative in the sense
                that God can be characterized only in terms of comparison  on the
                ground that  the infinite  is beyond human comprehension; however
                not beyond human contemplation.  When speaking  of the  nature of
                God and  using the terms of argument #1 in speaking of the nature
                of the psyche as that which possess memory,  intellect, and will,
                one may  say that  God is  Omniscient, possessing absolute memory
                and intellect; Omnipotent, possessing  absolute will;  and in the
                terms  of  the  pantheological  argument, Omnipresent, possessing
                pure randomness and non-localized in time and space.
                     The General Argument for the Existence of the Almighty is as
                follows and derived in part from the argument as put forth in How
                to Think About God by Mortimer J. Adler:
                1. The existence of an effect requiring the  concurrent existence
                and action of an efficient cause implies the existence and action
                of that cause.
                2. The cosmos as a whole exists.
                3. If the  existence  of  the  cosmos  as  a  whole  is radically
                contingent, which  is to say that, while not needing an efficient
                cause of its coming to  be,  since  it  is  everlasting,  then it
                nevertheless  does  need  a  efficient  cause  of  its continuing
                existence, to preserve it in  being  and  prevent  it  from being
                replaced by nothingness.
                3a. If  the cosmos  which now exists is only one of many possible
                universes that might have existed in the infinite  past, and that
                might still  exist in the infinite future, and if  a cosmos which
                can be otherwise is one that also can  not be;  and conversely, a
                cosmos that  is capable of not existing at all is one that can be
                otherwise than it now is, then  the cosmos,  radically contingent
                in  existence,  would  not  exist  at  all were its existence not
                4. If the cosmos needs an efficient cause of its  existence or of
                its continuing  existence to  prevent its annihilation, then that
                cause must be one  the existence  of which  is uncaused,  and one
                which has  reason for  being in  and of itself; i.e. The ultimate
                cause  and being of the cosmos.
                5. If the  ultimate cause and being of the  cosmos is  that about
                which nothing  greater can be thought, that being must be thought
                of  as   omnipotent,   possessing   absolute   will;  omniscient,
                possessing absolute  knowledge; and omnipresent; non-localized in
                time and space.
                                            PART TWO
                     Intuition differs  from reason  in that  as man  is a finite
                          beingpossessing limitedsensualcontactwiththeuniverse;it
                impossible for man to fully understand God through  his senses or
                by empirical  means. This,  therefore, involves the understanding
                of abstract concepts. We  must understand  the universe  as being
                "conceptusensual"; that  parallel to the objective universe there
                is a  universe made  up of  abstracts. This  abstract universe is
                          viewable to  us through  means of  symbols; objects not
                objectivity. These symbols cannot be known by means  of empirical
                reasoning, but  by means of gnosis; without the conscience use of
                reasoning, immediate apprehension or understanding.
                     It should be realized  that  while  this  abstract universe,
                that  sits  parallel  to  the material universe, and is sometimes
                          referredto asthespiritual worldor heaven,isbeyond logic
                reasoning;  it  is  supported  by  logic  and reasoning. You will
                recall that imperfection or  "degrees of  perfection" implies the
                existence of perfection (cf. Arg #3 and Arg #5). Perfection is an
                abstract ideal having no analog in our material world, yet  it is
                intuitively known to exist.
                     Just as  there are  degrees of  knowledge concerning mundane
                truths  in  the  material  world,  there  are  degrees  of gnosis
                concerning revealed truths in the spiritual world. Because man in
                his human form is by nature limited there  is a  certain limit to
                his  understanding  and  knowledge.  Yet  as  all things are in a
                constant state of flux and change, man's knowledge  is constantly
                          growing. For everythingthat is knownobjectively thereis
                abstract idea that precedes the object.
                     The Scriptures speaks about angels and  devils, the creation
                of  the  world  in  seven  days,  etc.,  and many Christian sects
                require of their followers acceptance of  these "revealed truths"
                by  way  of  faith  or  trust.  Many  speak of the Bible as being
                infallible and without error even when portions are contradictory
                or counter  to logic.  I, however, assert that the Bible is first
                and foremost an  anthology  of  religious/philosophical tradition
                compiled over the centuries from about 750 BCE to around 150 BCE.
                It should,  in no  way, be  advertised as  a "closed  canon" or a
                compilation of  the sum  of man's knowledge of truth, revealed or
                otherwise. The Bible was written by men and  is therefore subject
                to human  error. This does not, however, discount the presence of
                revealed  truths  within  the  Bible  or   within  any  scripture
                (religious writings).
                     If any  of the  above arguments  fall short of convincing an
                individual of God's existence,  the one  argument that  cannot be
                denied is  the argument which provides for the proof of one's own
                existence (cf. Arg #1). Here  we  spoke  of  "taking  a skeptical
                stance";  one  of  doubting  one's  own  existence.   Through the
                process of  self-doubt we  become faced  with the  reality of our
                existence;  we   cannot  deny  the  object  of  our  perceptions-
                     The question, then, is  raised concerning  "life and death".
                One may wonder: "If I exist now, was there ever a time when I did
                not exist and will there be a time when I will not exist?" We can
                limit this  by asking: "Did I exist before this lifetime and will
                I exist after this life?" Perhaps  before these  questions can be
                broached more should said concerning the subject of gnosis.
                     As stated  above, the Apostle Paul spoke of ignorance of God
                as being a form of slavery; and told us that  it was  our purpose
                to know  (gnosis) and obey God1. This is reiterated in his first
                epistle to the Corinthians, when Paul gave "thanks to God... that
                in every way [they] were enriched in [Christ] with all speech and
                all knowledge"2.
                     In John's first epistle,  we are  told that  we may  come to
                know (gnosis) God, if we keep God's Law and "walk in the same way
                in which [Christ] walked3. This echoed  in John's  Gospel chapter
                14, verses  20-21; and  at verse  26 he adds that the Holy Spirit
                will be sent  to  "teach  [us]  all  things,  and  bring  to [us]
                remembrance  all  that  [Christ  had]  said  to  [us]."  I  have
                emphasized the word "remembrance"  as an  important part  of the
                process of gnosis. This will be discussed in detail below.
                     In  another  epistle  Paul  spoke  of the "riches of assured
                understanding and knowledge  (epi-gnosis)  of  God's  mystery, of
                     1 See above p. 4
                     2 1 Cor. 1:4-5
                     3 1 Jn 2:3-4
                Christ,  in  whom  are  hid  all  the  treasures  of  wisdom  and
                knowledge"1. In the seventeenth chapter of  John's Gospel, Christ
                tells  us  that  gnosis,  knowing  God,  is equivalent to eternal
                life2; and in his epistle to the Philippians, Paul tells  us that
                gnosis supersedes all3.
                     In  Matthew's  Gospel  we  are told that spiritual knowledge
                comes to us through Christ:
                              "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and  earth,
                     that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent
                     and revealed them unto the  little  ones;  yes,  Father, for
                     such was  thy great pleasure. All things have been delivered
                     to me  by my  Father; and  no one  knows the  Son except the
                     Father, and  no one  knows the Father except the Son and any
                     one whom the Son chooses to reveal him.4"
                     When we read the thirteenth chapter of Paul's  first epistle
                     1 Col 2:2-3
                     2 Jn 17:3
                     3 Phil 3:8-10
                     4 Matt 11:25-27 & Lk 10:21-22
                to  the   Corinthians,  we  learn  that  "love"  is  the  key  to
                maintaining spiritual knowledge (gnosis) and faith (pistis)1; and
                in John's  first letter  we are  told that "he who does not love,
                does not know God; for God is love"2.
                     Besides the  necessity  of  loving  God,  we  are  told that
                knowledge of  truth equals  knowledge of God. In Paul's letter to
                Titus, Paul greets his  "child  in  common  faith"  by describing
                that, as  an apostle  of Christ,  his main purpose is to "further
                the faith of God's elect and their knowledge  of the  truth which
                accords with  godliness"3. In  John's Gospel we are told that the
                Holy Spirit is the  "Spirit of  truth, whom  the (material) world
                cannot receive,  because it  neither sees  him nor knows him; you
                know him, for he  dwells with  you, and  will be  in you"4. Jesus
                tells  us:  "If  you  continue  in  my  word,  you  are  truly my
                disciples, and you will know the truth, and  the truth  will make
                you free"5.
                     1 1 Cor 13
                     2 1 Jn 4:7-8
                     3 Titus 1:1
                     4 Jn 14:17
                     5 Jn 8:31-32
                secret  knowledge.  In  his  closing  remarks  to  his  disciple,
                Timothy, Paul  tells him  to guard closely the knowledge that has
                been entrusted to him and  to  avoid  those  who  "chatter" about
                false knowledge1;  and in  first Corinthians,  he speaks of those
                who imagine  that they  know, yet  do not  know as  they ought to
                know2. In  second Corinthians,  Paul tells us that the mystery of
                the Gospel is "veiled" to those who have been blinded  by the god
                of this  world3. This  concept of  the "hardening the hearts" and
                          "shutting the eyes"of the peoplecan befound in Isaiah4,
                Luke6,  and  Acts7.  Paul  speaks  of  the  process  of gnosis as
                spiritual maturity when he tells the  Corinthians that  they were
                "fed with  milk, not  solid food;  for [they]  were not ready for
                     1 1 Tim 6:20-21
                     2 1 Cor 8:2
                     3 2 Cor 4:3-6
                     4 Isaiah 6:9-10
                     5 Mark 8:17-18
                     6 Lk 10:23
                     7 Acts 28:26-27
                     We are told that Jesus  spoke  in  parables  because "seeing
                they do  not see,  and hearing  they do not hear"1; and that "not
                all men can receive this [knowledge] but only those to whom it is
                given (revealed)"2.  He said  that in  order that those who could
                not understand, be allowed to understand that they  would have to
                "turn  again"  and  be  forgiven3.  This "turning again" or being
                "reborn" will be discussed in greater detail below.
                     In Colossians, Paul speaks  of this  mystery as  having been
                hidden  from  angels  and  men (aeons and generations)4. There is
                evidence in many of the books of the  Bible that  books which are
                known to authors have either been lost or intentional kept out of
                the Bible for a variety reasons. In his epistles, Paul  speaks of
                epistles  that  do  not  appear  in Bible. There is evidence of a
                third epistle to the Corinthians; perhaps  one that  went between
                the first and second epistles5; and in his closing remarks to the
                     1 Matt 10:13-17
                     2 Matt 19:11
                     3 Mk 4:11-12
                     4 Col 1:26
                     5 1 Cor 5:9 & 2 Cor 2:3-9; 7:10
                Colossians, Paul speaks of an Epistle  to the  Laodiceans1. First
                Chronicles speaks  of the  Book of  Nathan and  the Book of Gad2;
                while Second Chronicles, also, speaks of a Book  of Nathan  and a
                Book of Shemaiah the Prophet3. In Jude's Epistle there is a quote
                from the Book  of  Enoch!4        Could  these  books  have contained
                "secret knowledge" that could not be understand by all?
                     Turning  to  the  "apocrypha",  those  books  which  are not
                considered by some Christian sects to  be a  part of  the "closed
                canon" of the Bible, we are able to discover a possible answer to
                our question. The Apocrypha, or "hidden" books, were never really
                hidden, but  were kept  apart from the Bible. Each Christian sect
                has a different "list" of books  that belong  in their individual
                "canon"  and  because  those  "lists"  overlap  each  other  many
                Christians today are quite familiar with a majority  of the books
                contained in the Apocrypha.
                     One book  contained in  the Apocrypha, 2 Esdras, a book that
                is  found  in  many  Roman  Catholic  Bibles,  has  the following
                information to impart to us concerning "hidden books":
                     1 Col 4:16
                     2 1 Chr 29:29
                     3 2 Chr 9:29; 12:15
                     4 Jude 9 quotes Enoch 1:9
                     "Therefore write  all these  things that  you have seen in
                     book, and put it in a hidden place; and you shall teach them
                     to the  wise among  your people,  whose hearts  you know are
                     able to comprehend and keep these secrets.1"
                     (It is curious to  note that  this portion  of 2  Esdras was
                     added to  original sometime in the third century AD; when at
                     the same time  Gnostic  Christians  were  compiling  the Nag
                     Hammadi in Egypt!)2
                                        Yet  it  seems  that  nothing  can remain hidden forever. In
                Luke's Gospel Jesus prophesies  that "nothing  is hid  that shall
                not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known
                and come  to  light"3.  Perhaps  this  prophecy  came  true when,
                following  the  dreadful  destruction  of  WW II, two astonishing
                discoveries of hidden works were made; the first  at Nag Hammadi,
                Egypt in  December of  1945, and the second at Q'umran, Palestine
                     1 2 Esdras 12:37-38, cf. 2 Esdras 14:37-48
                     2 see introduction to "The Second Book of Esdras" in the
                New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha; Apoc  p 23
                     3 Lk 8:17
                in 1947.
                                           PART THREE
                     Even in  the Bible  itself there is found "secret knowledge"
                that is never spoken of amongst the christian sects that consider
                themselves to  be "orthodox".  The best example of this is in the
                creation account of the Book of Genesis. The opening line  of the
                first book of the Bible has been translated throughout history to
                read: "In the beginning God created the heavens  and the earth1."
                Yet if we translate the first verse literally we find it to read:
                "When the Elohim began to create the heavens and the earth2."
                     The term "Elohim" should not be translated directly  to read
                "God" or  "god", because it is the feminine plural of god (Eloah)
                and should  probably be  translated "goddesses"  or "offspring of
                the Goddess" . Now, to many "orthodox" christians the notion that
                there exists "gods", in the polytheistic sense, most  likely is a
                bizarre notion.  Yet the  early Hebrews  were not "monotheistic",
                that is, a person who believes in the existence of one God, as is
                usually thought; but, rather, they were "henotheistic", and while
                believing in a multitude of gods, they focused  all their worship
                     1 Gen 1:1
                     2 Cf. p 3 note 1
                on  their  "national  god".  Examples of Hebrew henotheism can be
                found in  throughout the  Old Testament.  In 1  Kings, chapter 18
                there  is  an  account  of  the  prophet Elijah, a prophet of the
                Israelite god Yahweh, engaged in a  contest with  the prophets of
                the  god  Ba'al  and  the  goddess Asherah (Ishtar)1. In 2 Kings,
                chapter 3 we are told that  when  Mesha,  king  of  the Moabites,
                sacrificed his son to the Moabite god Chemosh "there came a great
                wrath upon " the army of the Israelites2.  Further on  in 2 Kings
                there is  the story  of Naaman, a Syrian general who is afflicted
                with leprosy. Following a raid in Israel, Naaman  is told  by one
                of his captives that there is a prophet living in Samaria who has
                the power to cure leprosy. Naaman then visits Elisha, where he is
                told to  go and  bathe in  the Jordan  river. After bathing seven
                times in the Jordan, Naaman is cured of leprosy, and  as a result
                he  converts  and  becomes  a  worshiper  of  Yahweh,  god of the
                Israelites. He is now faced with a dilemma; as he  must return to
                Syria, he  must take  "two mule's  burden" of Israelite soil back
                with him. This is done so  that he  may have  a plot  of Yahweh's
                land upon  which to  offer sacrifice to the Israelite god. Elisha
                does not argue this matter with Naaman, but only tells him to "go
                in peace"3.
                     1 1 Kngs 18:19
                     2 2 Kngs 3:27
                     3 2 Kngs 5:1-19
                     Perhaps  the  strongest  suggestion  of Hebrew henotheism is
                contained in line from  Ezekiel that  tells of  the women weeping
                for  the  Sumerian  harvest  god,  Tammuz1.  The  Jewish calendar
                contains the month of Tammuz (usually in the  summer) and  one of
                the titles  for Tammuz, "Adonai", was adopted by the Hebrews as a
                title for their god. The phrase "Adonai Elohim"  is translated in
                the  english  Bible  to  read  "Lord of Hosts". The Greeks, also,
                adopted "Adonai" and called  him "Adonis";  a term  used today in
                the english language to describe a good looking young man.
                     In the  New Testament,  we are told by Saint Paul that there
                are "many gods and many lords"2. In Colossians, he refers to them
                as the  "elemental spirits of the universe" or Archons3. Could it
                be that the  Archons  and  the  Elohim  were  one  and  the same:
                "elemental spirits  of the  universe"? In Ephesians, he refers to
                them as the "world  rulers of  the present  darkness"4. In John's
                Gospel,  Jesus  puts  us  on  equal  footing  with the Archons by
                quoting Psalms5; and in Acts we are called "God's offspring"6.
                     1 Ezekiel 8:14
                     2 1 Cor 8:5
                     3 Col 2:8
                     4 Eph 6:12
                     5 Jn 10:34 & Ps 82:6
                     6 Acts 17:27-29
                     The scriptures  in  places  speak  of  the  concept  of pre-
                existence. God tells Jeremiah, "before I formed you in the womb I
                knew you"1. In Ephesians, we are told that  God "chose  us in him
                before the foundation of the world"2.
                     Could it  be that  the "secret  message" that the Scriptures
                have to impart to us is that we  and the  Elohim are  one and the
                same? That  we were  present at the creation? That we created our
                own universe  under God's  guidance, but  because we  were not in
                harmony with  each other,  because a  few us tried to "lord" over
                the others, because we were not in agreement  on how  to go about
                making the universe, and instead of making the universe according
                to God's design, we made it  according  to  our  design,  in "our
                image";  could  this  be  why  the  universe is such an imperfect
                      Between chapters 16 and 19 of the Book of Genesis  there is
                a curious exchange that deserves to be followed. In chapter 16 we
                are told the story of Hagar, the mother of Ishmael. Hagar, one of
                Abraham's concubines, is sent out into desert by Sarai, the first
                wife of Abraham. At verse seven Hagar is met by an "angel  of the
                     1 Jeremiah 1:4-5
                     2 Eph 1:4
                Lord". Later, after conversing with this "angel of the Lord", she
                refers to the angel as a "god of vision". She is shocked to think
                that  she  has  actually  seen  "God" and has lived1. In the next
                chapter, Abraham is visited by a  being who  describes himself as
                "El  Shaddai"2.  Most  english  language Bibles translate this to
                read "God Almighty", but  a literal  translation would  render it
                "El, one  of the  gods". In  chapter 18  Abraham, we are told, is
                          visitedagain by the"Lord", and upon looking up he  sees
                men".  The  persons  that  appear  to  Abraham in this chapter of
                Genesis are usually described as being God and two of his angels,
                yet  strangely  enough  the  one  who  is  thought to be God, the
                Almighty (omniscient and omnipresent) does not  know what's going
                in a city on the planet Earth and remarks: "I will go down to see
                whether they have done altogether according  to the  outcry which
                has come  to me; and if not, I will know"3. After wrangling  with
                Abraham over whether or not he would destroy the cities  of Sodom
                and Gomorrah,  we are told that "the Lord rained... fire from the
                Lord out of heaven"4.
                     1 Gen 16:7-14
                     2 Gen 17:1
                     3 Gen 18:21
                     4 Gen 19:24
                     The "main of event" occurs in the first chapters of Genesis.
                Here is  where the  Elohim see  light for the first time1, and go
                about the process of  the first  creation2, that  of "calling and
                creating" the  material world3.  The Elohim cause a separation to
                be made between the spiritual world, "the waters which were above
                the  firmament,  and  the  material world, "the waters which were
                under the firmament"4. Genesis 1:9-31 details  this "ordering" of
                the material world.
                     In Genesis  1:27, we  are told  that the  Elohim created, or
                developed the  idea  of  mankind  in  an  image  that  the Elohim
                perceived.  According  to  Rabbinic  tradition this image was the
                image of the Higher God that  the  Elohim  saw  reflected  in the
                firmament which  they took to be that of their own. In the second
                creation, that of "making and forming" the material  world in the
                "day that  the Lord made the earth and the heavens"5, we are told
                that the Elohim actually  "formed" man  out of  dust, but  it was
                     1 Gen 1:4
                     2 Gen 1:1 - 2:3
                     3 Isaiah 43:7
                     4 Gen 1:7
                     5 Gen 2:4
                only after the Elohim breathed into man's nostrils the "breath of
                life", did man become a living being1.
                     Yet it seems that the Elohim had made a mistake.  In Genesis
                1:28,  we  are  told  that  the  Elohim  had  created  man  as an
                androgynous being,  "male and  female [they]  created them." Most
                Gnostic  Christians  take  this  to  mean that we were originally
                intended to posses both soul and spirit combined.  It appears the
                Elohim had made a mistake and formed a "sleeping" soul which they
                attempted to manipulate2, and when they  realized that  they were
                mistaken they  found it  necessary to pull the "spirit" (Eve) out
                of the soul (Adam) in order to bring it to life; hence Adam calls
                Eve "the Mother of the living"3.
                     The  events  that  follow  in  the  third chapter of Genesis
                deserve to be looked at in detail. In chapter 2, verse 9  we have
                been told that there are two trees in the center of the Garden of
                Eden; the tree of life and the tree of knowledge. In verse  17 of
                that same  chapter we were told that the Creator had ordered Adam
                not to eat of the tree of knowledge, for if Adam were to eat from
                that tree he would die. In chapter three a serpent appears to Eve
                     1  Gen 2:7
                     2 Gen 2:16-17
                     3 Gen 2:21
                and the following exchange takes place:
                     Serpent: "Did [the Creator] say, `You shall not eat of  any
                             tree in the garden'?"
                     Eve: "We  may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
                           but [the Creator] said, `You shall not eat of the
                           fruit of  the tree which is in the midst of the
                           garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.' "
                     Serpent: "You will not die.  For  [the  Creator]  knows that
                               when you  eat of  it your eyes will be opened, and
                               you be like [the gods] knowing good and evil."
                     Later, after eating from the  tree,  and,  by  the  way, not
                dying, Adam  and Eve  "heard the sound of the Lord God walking in
                the garden"1. It is curious to note that  from the  exchange that
                follows that  the Creator  does not  seem to  know what has taken
                place in their "absence", just as they did not seem  to know what
                          was happening  inSodom  andGomorrah  orwhat  occurredto
                brother, Able2. Upon learning  what  has  transpired  the Creator
                     1 Gen 3:8
                     2 Gen 4:9
                then put  a curse upon the serpent, Eve, and Adam.  We then learn
                that the Creator had  lied to  Adam and  Eve when  they told them
                that they  would die  and in  remarking  reveal: "Behold, the man
                has become like one of us, knowing good  and evil;  and now, lest
                he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat,
                and live forever..."1. This speaking in  the plural  is echoed in
                the  Tower  of  Babel  incident:  "Come, let us go down and there
                confuse their language"2.
                     Throughout  time  the  serpent   has  stood   as  symbol  of
                immortality. Many  ancient cultures  upon seeing the shed skin
                of a snake believed that the snake never died; only  shedding one
                body  for  a  new  one.  In Greek mythology the god Prometheus is
                often depicted as a winged serpent bringing the  gift of  fire to
                man.  Later  Prometheus  was  replaced  by the image of the wing-
                footed Hermes holding aloft  the  caduceus  or  "serpent entwined
                staff" as he brought the secret knowledge of the gods to mankind.
                     These images  of winged  and fiery  serpents can be found in
                the Old Testament. In Numbers "the Lord sent fiery serpents among
                the  people,  and  they  bit  the  people, so that many people of
                Israel died"3. To counteract this attack, Moses is  told to "make
                     1 Gen 3:22
                     2 Gen 11:7
                     3 Num 21:6
                a fiery serpent and set it on a pole" so that when the people see
                the "brazen serpent" they would not  die1. This  symbolic gesture
                of the  serpent lifted  up in  the wilderness  is reminiscent not
                only of the serpent in the  garden,  but  that  of  Jesus  on the
                cross2.   In Isaiah's  vision of  God, he describes the throne of
                God as being surrounded by "seraphim". Seraphim may be defined as
                "fiery winged  serpents". In 2 Kings we are told that the "brazen
                serpent" survived  down into  reign of  Ahaz, king  of Israel. It
                seems Ahaz did some house cleaning and broke the "brazen serpent"
                into pieces and threw  it  out.  Is  this  some  how  a prophetic
                gesture of Israel's rejection of the Messiah3?
                     It should be remembered that when approaching the subject of
                "hidden works" or "secret knowledge" that "there is  nothing hid,
                     1 Num 21:8-9
                     2 Jn 3:14-15
                     3 2 Kngs 18:4
                except to  be made  manifest; nor  is anything  secret, except to
                come to  light"1. In  other words,  there is  nothing hidden that
                cannot,  or  will  not,  be  found. Christ extols us to seek and
                find, and that when we knock at the  door of  mystery it  will be
                opened to  us2. It  can be  found that God has a "divine plan" in
                which God "desires all  men  to  be  saved  and  to  come  to the
                knowledge of  the truth"3.  In Acts  we are  told that the end of
                time will not come until all  things have  been restored  to God.
                This  "restoration  of  all  things"  became  known  to the early
                christians as the Doctrine of Apocatastasis4. Ephesians speaks of
                          the "plan for the fullnessof  time,to uniteall thingsin
                things in heaven and things on earth"5.
                     Yet what happens to us when  we die  in a  pre-gnostic state
                before the  Apocatastasis?  In Mark's Gospel, we are told to take
                heed of what we hear in  the message,  for "the  measure you give
                will  be   the  measure  you  get"6.  This  is  the  Doctrine  of
                     1 Mark 4:22
                     2 Matt 7:7-8
                     3 1 Tim 2:4
                     4 Acts 3:21
                     5 Eph 1:10
                     6 Mk 4:24
                Metrethesis; the "measure for measure" spoken  of in  Matthew 7:2
                and the  "sowing" and  "reaping" in  Galatians 6:71.  This is the
                plan by which God allows all souls in the universe  to eventually
                redeem themselves in the prison of Metempsychosis.
                     Metrethesis  and  Metempsychosis  are doctrines that are not
                unique  to  Christian  Gnosticism.  In  Buddhism  and  the  Vedic
                religions   these    doctrines   are    known   as
                                [The text is lost at this point.]

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