“It follows that the true God is called all powerful by the sages, in everything he does, has done, or will do in the future, but that those who think accurately cannot call him all powerful with regard to his supposed power that he might have to exert and that he has never exerted, that he never will exert, with regard to creating a god of evil. As for the argument that says that if he does not do it …
“Since God is not powerful in evil, nor has the power to appear to be evil, we must believe firmly that there is another principle, which is he who is powerful in evil. From him come all evils that have been, that are, and that will be. About him David surely wanted to speak when he said, ‘Why do you glorify yourself in your malice, you who are powerful only for committing an iniquity? Your language has contemplated injustice. You have sharpened your razor to let trickery sneak in. You have more evil than good, and you have preferred a language of iniquity to that of justice.’ And Saint John says in Revelation: The great dragon, the ancient snake, who is called devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole, lived in the world and was flung down to earth. And Christ in the Gospel of Luke has said: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the side of the road are those who heard. Then comes the devil, who takes away the word from their heart” ~The Book of the Two Principles
God is Good
It seems obvious to say that God is good, yet some people don’t seem to know that. Their confusion is understandable. They wonder how God could be good when there is obviously much evil in the world. The Gnostics seem to be the only ones who have a logical answer, yet they have been largely ignored. God is good and only good. He can’t be sometimes good and sometimes evil. While it is true that humans who are considered good can still have a bit of evil in them, such is not true when we get to the level of God or even angels and Beings of Light. God must be either all good, all the time, or not really good at all. At that level of being, it is all or nothing. But again, there is clearly evil in the world.
The answer is that the worlds of matter are not the creation of God. They are created by a lesser being known to Gnostics as the Demiurge.
Demiurge Is Not All Evil
One might think that following the same logic, if the real God is pure good, then the false god must be pure evil. But that isn’t the case. The Demiurge is a lesser being, not at the same level as God. The absolutes of God don’t apply at the lower level. So while we understandably see the Demiurge as evil, he isn’t pure evil. In fact, I don’t think he ever intended to do evil.
When the Demiurge created the dimension of matter, I don’t believe he thought of it as evil. It was only after the mistake was made that he realized what a mess he had created. A land of beings and things that are constantly being destroyed and replaced by others. A land where beings have to survive by eating other beings. This was a complete horror to him. It wasn’t his intention at all. It happened that way only because he wasn’t truly God, and so his creations had unintended flaws.
Yet just as the courts of today say that ignorance of the law is no excuse, ignorance of defying the laws of God doesn’t forgive what the Demiurge did. He created a place full of evil, thus making him the god of evil whether he intended that or not.
The quote says this god of evil is “another principle”. Not another being, another principle. I think the point it is trying to make is that if God is good and only good, he could not have intentionally created an evil being. God had to create the fallen angels, who became the Demiurge, as good beings. A force, a power, or principle outside of God, affected them and made them into a being of evil. Since we are not gods, it is hard to understand this. A force of evil had to exist in the realm of God because God had free will, therefore the beings he created had to have some degree of free will also. And in order for free will to have any meaning at all, there had to be alternatives to choose from. Thus this force or principle of evil had to exist. And it exists to this day and on the physical level as well. Some let this force control them. Others resist successfully. But even those who fall for the force of evil are beginning to understand that serving the true God of good is the best choice to make.
Illustration by Karin Henseler.