Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gnosticism & The "Real" World Part 3


The Gnostic worldview has the Demiurge in opposition to the Anthropos, the primal human, who had appeared before the archons to their jealousy and amazement. (cf. the manifestation of the "Son of man" in Ezekiel 1: 26). As the exile from the Pleroma deepened, sparks of pneuma (spirit) were trapped in the cosmos by the envious archons and sadly got trapped with some human beings, whom then had to face the horrific fact of seeing the light (spiritually) while being cruelly exiled from it by the seemingly eternal prison bars of matter.

Again quoting from Tobias Churton's Gnostic Philosophy on page 93: "This situation typifies for the Gnostic the distress of the spiritual human's predicament: spirit trapped in matter. That is to say, humans are not simply born into the world; they are brutally "thrown" into the prison of the soul."

To Irenaeus, the Gnostic belief that humans were superior to their creator was both crazy and blasphemous. It is exactly here that we can decipher how the bishop of Lyons would differentiate between false and true gnosis. Irenaeus believed that the Johannine tradition as demonstrated by the Gospel of John, revealed to Irenaeus that eternal life consisted in knowledge of "the only true God": "This is eternal life, that they know [the Greek verb is gignokosin] thee the only true God, and he whom, thou hast sent Jesus Christ." (John 17:3).

"The only true God" for Irenaeus was the God revealed by Jesus Christ. The one and only God who had created heaven and earth and all things within them. This God was superior to all things in existence-the Alpha and the Omega. Now, of course, some Gnostics would interpret the passage above as referring to the absolute Father beyond all creation.

Continuing on with the list of Irenaeus, and quoting from pages 94-96 of Gnostic Philosophy: 4.) The great secret of radical Gnostics consists in knowing and understanding the precosmic Fall myth (in one of many variant forms) and in being given the keys to liberate the exiled pneuma from the grip of the archons. (The characteristic chord of gnosis is the yearning for the absolute in pain, the major seventh of the entire philosophy and the psychological basis of its attractiveness.)"

5.) Not infrequently, these groups refer to the holder of the keys to liberation as Jesus: an emanated energy of the Father, sent out of the Father's love to benighted earth in order to awaken the dormant Gnostics to their true identity. Jesus is thus the Gnostic par excellence; he is not a man in the ordinary sense of the word.

The crucifixion itself is a fraud, a trick effected to outwit death from the body (its essential nature)-but the spiritual being could not be destroyed. Rather, as the unknown author of the Gnostic gospel of Philip put it: He "came crucifying the world." Some Gnostics denied Jesus' participation in the crucifixion altogether, claiming that another (sometmies Simon of Cyrena) was crucified in his place..."

6.) The Gnostic groups believed the emanatory powers (aeons) of the Father were projected within the Pleroma in co-dependent pains (male and female natures), with names such as Mind and Truth and Logos and Life. Consistent with this was that one valid way for the spirituality to express the gnosis-or to return to the One-was through a pneumatic sex sacrament. This "divine union" was available only to the pneumatics-for sexual gnosis had nothing to do either with material procreation or with animal lust..."

7.) The Gnostics, who claimed to owe their being to a higher power, felt free to disregard the Ten Commandments and to live by their own light because the Demiurge was responsible for there negatively expressed injunctions. Essentially free of any external authority whatsoever, the Gnostics could "walk tall" in the world-and, should we share the Gnostics' symbol of water as denoting matter, the Gnostic could "walk on water" as well.

8.) Irenaeus found objectionable the Gnostic notion that humankind's essential predicament is the product not of sin, but of unconciousness. When humans become conscious, when they experience gnosis, they are free to disentangle themselves from (nature's grip on the spirit, working through the soul). This could be achieved either by asceticism or by becoming indifferent to the passions, permitting their manifestations with detached indifference on the principle that what the body does or does not is either irrelevant or a necessary education on the path to pure spirituality. (This was particularly the case among the followers of the proto-communist Gnostic teacher Capocrates, an intellectual anarchist who coined the dictum "Property is theft.")

9.) Gnostics gave women an equal spiritual role in their services. By emphasizing the androgynous character of the spiritual, Gnostics enabled particular devotion to either the male or the female aspect of divine emanations. Thus Sophia, for example, conceived of as feminine, could effectively be adored as a kind of goddess within, and as a road to, God.

10.) Some Gnostics used demonic magic as a means of ascending through the archontic spheres to obtain assistance from celestial and supercelestial beings. Indeed the cosmogony of the Gnostics is in all essentials a magical one, populated by beings who could be influenced by the right magical codes, symbols, and passwords."

I hope to have the next installment of something here shortly. Maybe one of the dragon "tales" would be good. I would definitely like to get more out of Tobias Churton's book before I have to take it back because it has some very unique viewpoints in it that I haven't run across before. The image is called a "Sophia" (Wisdom) Tree. Thanks again for all of your fantastic comments! All the best to anyone stopping by!

5 comments:

X. Dell said...

Actually, I'm hoping, because of the title of this series, that you expound a bit on the consequences of Gnostic beliefs. Yeah, I know the title's a paranomasia (real world meaning material world, not reality constructs). But still, we readers can ask for a bone now and then?

Devin said...

Xdell-yes indeed-I plan to keep up with Gnosticism for quite awhile-maybe a very long time -along with one or two other "series" of different lengths in between so I or other readers don't get bored

I just came across the first book i have ever seen that gives a fair treatment to Aleister Crowley-in a book about Gnosticism-(the Tobias Churton book)
and I hope to have the beginning post of that here in a bit-may take awhile as i constantly have to take breaks -up and down for my back -which the pain is getting worse-if i win my case i am hoping to use some of the money to try "decompression" therapy
some people have sworn by this for their back pain
and I am at the maximum level of pain pills i can take and it kind of scares me because of various things -liver damage-i dont want to get "hooked" so to speak
and other things
but i do hope-the Creator willing to be on Gnosticism for quite some time-I find it a fascinating subject-and am constantly finding out more viewpoints on it that make it even more interesting to me

-I would like to get yours and other peoples opinions when I tell you all what got me so interested in it again as a better "description" of our reality-i don't know when that will be -hopefully soon-not trying to be mysterious and it is cettainly nothin earth-shattering-i just havent heard this viewpoint expressed much or at all
all the best to you!!

Anadæ Effro said...

Hey Devin, hey. There's more on our Gnostic forebears fr. an avowed Atheist site ….here.… always good to read your blogticles. Thanks for your enduring lterary muse ~ (•8-D}

Devin said...

Anadae-I thank you for your continuing commenting, support and linking at my site!!
It is definitely always a great day to get a comment from you-I will check out the link when I finish with the short article i am about to do-thanks so much again and all the best to you my friend!!

Devin said...

Anadae -was able to check out link-thanks again I saved it to faves - i definitely have to do that soon with getting all great links you and others have given in one post or at least starting to
thanks so much
all the best to you and your hubbz!!