nag hammadi

Nag Hammadi Library and the Return of Gnosticism

If the Nag Hammadi texts had not been discovered, it is more than probable that the correct renewal of interest in Gnosticism would not have taken place. There will always be those who do not see eye to eye with mainstream ideas, so it is highly unlikely that Gnostic thought would have died out altogether. However, the texts that were found give new impetus to research into the early Gnostics. …

“The perennial questions of life needed answering. ‘How can a good God ________? What if for instance an A-bomb does destroy” Where do you go when you are dead?’ When this is added to the existence of a new freedom, both financial and moral, there was a need for a different way of thinking. … One of the core beliefs of Gnosticism became more prevalent. The only hope for humanity was to acquire the information it needed so that it could perfect itself and evolve out of its current physical state. … People began to realize that we had let the knowledge of our own Christ Consciousness pass us by.” ~Bernard Simon

Nag Hammadi Library

Almost everyone who has the slightest interest in spiritual matters has heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but before the discovery of those scrolls, another important library of ancient Gnostic writings was found: the Nag Hammadi Library. Like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi books were found in Egypt in 1945. Some of the books include the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Philip. These and other books found were thought to have been completely destroyed by the orthodox Christian church. They are controversial because they contradict many things commonly believed by Christians at that time, and even today despite this finding. They include, for example, a statement that the belief that Mary, mother of Jesus, was a virgin.

The library is a collection of Coptic translations written about 1,500 years ago of even older documents. This puts them among the oldest copies of these gospels and other scriptural writings. But as Mr. Simon notes, their importance may be that they help reawaken interest in Gnostic teachings which help answer so many of the common questions of Christians and others that are not answered in the Bible. Of course, just as with the Dead Sea Scrolls, you need to understand the allegory used or much of the meaning will be lost.

How Can God

Mr. Simon says that the Nag Hammadi library and other Gnostic literature can answer the common question asked by Christians and others: “How can God ________?”. For example, “How can God allow evil in the world?” and “Why does God create death and disease?”. Those questions, and similar ones, are usually answered in the traditional Christian churches with the vague non-answers, “Who are we to understand God?” or “Who are we to question what God does?” While those answers do make a valid point, they don’t satisfy the curious and leave them disappointed. Gnostic scripture does have an answer, and it isn’t vague. The Gnostic answer is that the True God, the God of Spirit, did not create the physical world of matter. The realm of matter was created by the fallen angels known in Gnostic literature as the Demiurge. While there is some difference between various Gnostic sects and schools, they generally do not talk about the Demiurge as a truly evil being or group of beings, but simply beings who made a bad choice, an egotistical choice. Continue reading “Nag Hammadi Library and the Return of Gnosticism”

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God is spirit

God is Spirit: Herakleon’s Commentary

“’John 4:21 Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when not on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the father.’

The mountain signifies the devil or his world, since the devil was one part of the whole of matter, and the whole world is a mountain of evil, a deserted habitat of beasts, which all Jews who lived according to the law and all the gentiles worship. Jerusalem is the creation or the creator, whom Jews worship. In another sense the mountain is the creation, which the gentiles worship. But you as spiritual people will worship neither the creation nor the demiurge, but the father of truth. And he accepts her as one already faithful and who will be numbered among the worshipers in truth.

“‘John 4:22 You worship what you do not know.

These are the Jews and gentiles. As Peter teaches, “We must not worship in the Greek manner, accepting the works of matter and worshiping wood and stone, or in the Jewish manner worship the divine. They, thinking that they alone know god, do not know him, and worship angels and the month and the moon.

“‘John 4:23 God is spirit, and those worshiping must worship him in spirit and truth.’

Unpolluted and pure and invisible is his divine nature. And to be worthy of him who is worshiped one must worship in a spiritual, not a fleshly, way. For those who are of the same nature as the father are spirit and worship in truth and not in error.

“‘Matthew 9:37 The harvest is abundant but the field workers are few.’

This line refers to those ready for the harvest and for gathering into the barn, to go through faith into rest, and be prepared for salvation and receiving the word.

“’John 4:36 The reaper is taking his wages.’

This is said because the savior calls himself a reaper. And the wages of our lord are the salvation and restoration of those reaped.” ~Herakleon’s Commentary on the Gospel of John

This Mountain

I wouldn’t blame you for getting confused with this one. When spiritual people talk of a mountain top, they usually mean heaven, or at least the higher worlds of spirit. But Herakleon is saying that John means just the opposite in saying “this mountain”. Sometimes, you have to look at the context to understand what an allegory means in a specific instance. If you read more of John 4, you find that the woman has asked Jesus a question, saying that their ancestors worshiped on a mountain, yet He is telling his followers to worship in Jerusalem. His reply, therefore, is a warning that a time is coming when few will truly worship God anywhere. So it makes sense that in this case, the mountain means the Devil’s world or the world of matter, for only in the world of matter would people turn away from God, having no easy and direct contact with Him from this pit so distant from Heaven. I also have never heard of Jerusalem representing the Demiurge, but that also makes sense in this case.

Know What You Worship

In the case of the second commentary on John 4:22, it makes more sense when you add in the second half of the sentence so it reads: “ You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know …”. It is not so much that worship that which they do not know, but that they worship that which the priests tell them too. In other words, they have no personal experience of God so what they worship is a false God for even if the priests are doing their best to describe God, without personal knowledge of Him, you cannot really know Him. That is why the goal of any real spiritual school is to become One with God, even if only briefly, so one may know the truth. As for worshiping angels, it is more like they worship fallen angels, namely the Demiurge who loves to pretend to be God, or they worship angelic messengers sent to earth as teachers. They are not God, especially when they are in human form, and should not be worshipped as such.

God is Spirit

This is really the gist of it. God is Spirit. That is so important to understand it should be repeated frequently. God is Spirit. A man cannot be God. A physical being cannot be God. And God would never become a physical being since that would reduce Him to a lesser being, a faulty being. It would be like one of us volunteering to get a deadly cancer as part of a medical experiment. One more time, GOD IS SPIRIT! Therefore, if we are to know God, we must awaken and develop our spiritual faculties that lie dormant when we come into the fallen realm of matter. That is what it means when Herakleon says that we must worship God in spirit since God is Spirit. It is not good enough to believe in Him mentally for the mind is not spirit. We have to awaken our spiritual self and communicate with God just as the allegorical Adam and Eve did before the Fall into matter.

Ready for the Harvest

Here, Herakleon’s commentary is just as allegorical as the statement he is trying to explain so it isn’t much help. Those who are ready to harvest are those who have awakened and developed their spiritual faculties as much as is possible while trapped in a physical body. They are ready to become part of God’s Army. But don’t let the term “Army” confuse you. The soldiers of God do not fight with violence, but with love and forgiveness. They help the fallen to change and transform, they do not destroy them. They kill evil, by removing it from Man, not by killing men. They help people develop their spiritual self because, once again, God is Spirit.

The Reaper’s Wages

The reaper can be the Savior, or Jesus, as Heraklion says, but it can also be any of us who help others to turn away from devolution into matter and evolve back into spiritual beings. Their wage is that they help themselves as they help others. But don’t get the idea that God owes you anything because you have helped His cause. That is material thinking, capitalist thinking. God gives from His heart, not from a sense of debt. Nonetheless, helping the true God of Spirit save Man from the false god of matter will help you as well.

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gnostic mystics

Gnostic Mystics and True Knowledge

“The Gnostics were religious mystics who proclaimed Gnosis, knowledge, as the way of salvation. To know oneself truly allowed Gnostic men and women to know God directly, without any need for the mediation of rabbis, priests, bishops, imams, or other religious officials. … They accepted insight wherever it could be found. Like those who came before them, they embraced a personified wisdom, Sophia, understood variously and taken as the manifestation of divine insight.

“They concluded that a distinction, often a dualistic distinction, must be made between the transcendent, spiritual deity, who is surrounded by aeons and is all wisdom and light, and the creator of the world, who is at best incompetent and at worst malevolent. Yet through everything, they maintained, a spark of transcendent knowledge, wisdom, and light persists within people who are in the know. The transcendent deity is the source of that enlightened life and light. The meaning of the creation drama, when properly understood, is that human beings—Gnostics in particular—derive their knowledge and light from the transcendent God, but through the mean-spirited actions of the Demiurge, the creator of the world, they have been confined within this world. (The platonic aspects of this imagery are apparent.) Humans in this world are imprisoned, asleep, drunken, fallen, ignorant. They need to find themselves—to be freed, awakened, made sober, raised, and enlightened. In other words, they need to return to Gnosis.” ~Marvin Meyer

Gnostic Mystics

The Gnostics were mystics in the best sense of the word. They were not court magicians. They didn’t use spells to control people. They were seekers of truth and wisdom. They were spiritual teachers and healers. That is what real mystics do.

Knowledge is Salvation

But why would the Gnostic mystics think that knowledge is the way of salvation? Does that mean only people with college degrees will be saved? Does it mean that only those who have read many books will get to Heaven? No, not at all.

The knowledge we are talking about is never found in books or in state-approved classrooms. It is not the superficial knowledge of the illusions that make up the world of matter. This knowledge must be sought out and experienced by each of us individually. It is found by looking within and looking without to higher dimensions. It is not found by lowering your frequencies to those of bugs and toads but by raising them to those of angels and light beings. All the books and teachers can do is give you hints of what you will find and where to look for that knowledge.

Know God Directly

The Gnostic mystics did want to know God directly. Many of them succeeded in doing that. But it requires following a path of spiritual growth and development that takes years. This kind of knowledge cannot be dropped on us overnight. It is so overwhelming that it can—and has—driven people mad. It has to be obtained a little at a time so it won’t overwhelm us. First, we will reach a stage where we get occasional insights from the realms of spirit. Then we are able to communicate with angels and Light Beings. Eventually, we become one with God and then know God directly. That is the ultimate goal of the Gnostic mystics.

By Any Other Name

The Gnostic mystics have been known by many names. Most people think that Gnostics came into existence in the early centuries of Christianity, but that is only true of Christ Gnostics. Long before those Gnostics, thee were the Essenes, the Therapeutae of Egypt and Greece, the Pythagoreans, and others who could easily be classified as Gnostic mystics. While historians generally don’t think those groups go back to more than a century or two before the Christian era, the Essenes claimed to go back much further.

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two Gods

Two Gods of Gnosticism, the Real and the False

“The personal creator who appears in genesis does not possess the characteristics of the ultimate, transcendental ‘ground of being’ of which many mystics of man religions speak. If the God of Genesis has any reality at all, it must be a severely limited reality, one characterized by at least some measure of foolishness and blindness. While the concept of two Gods is horrifying to the monotheistically conditioned mind, it is not illogical or improbable. Modern theologians, particularly Paul Tillich, have boldly referred to ‘the God above God’. Tillich introduced the term ‘ground of being’ as alternative language to express the divine. The ideas of the old Gnostics seem not so outdated after all.

“The noted scholar of Gnosticism, G. Filoramo, wrote: Jung’s reflections had long been immersed in the thought of the ancient Gnostics to such an extent that he considered them the virtual discoverers of ‘depth psychology’. …

“In the light of such recognition one may ask: ‘Is Gnosticism a religion or a psychology?’ The answer is that it may very well be both.” ~Stephan Hoeller

The God of Genesis

It has long been a problem for many Christians that the God of Genesis seems to be nothing like the loving “Father” described by Jesus. They generally get the answer that God is very complex and beyond human understanding. This is unsatisfying to many, but others accept it.

But then those Christian who actually read and contemplate what the Bible says find that the differences between the old testament and the new are so profound that they wonder why both are in one book. The God of the Old Testament demands sacrifice, gets, jealous, throws tantrums like a spoiled child, etc. This is not at all like the loving, forgiving, and tolerant Father God Jesus taught of.

Two Gods of Gnosticism

The Gnostics have a solution to this dilemma. In my opinion, the only solution that works and is logical. That solution is this: The God of the material world described in Genesis is not the same being as the God of the spiritual worlds that Jesus, Buddha, and other great spiritual teachers taught about. The Gnostics call this lower God, or false god, the Demiurge. This lower god is also the group of fallen angels led by Lucifer. The realm of matter is not true creation, it is just a distortion of the permanent realms of spirit. The “god” that created it is not the real God.

The real God does not get jealous. What would He get jealous of? Only the false god gets jealous? The real God is pure spirit and stays out of the realm of matter to avoid pollution of His purity. Yet he still holds sway in this dimension and doesn’t allow the Demiurge a completely free hand. He is patient, but His patience is not limitless. Many believe that it is, but they are wrong. Continue reading “Two Gods of Gnosticism, the Real and the False”

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