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Re: [Gnosticism2] Re: Salvation

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  • annie
    Cari This really sheds some light on the subject of both Paul and the psychic/pneumatic difference! I can see, now, that Paul deserves better than I was
    Message 1 of 83 , Sep 4, 2004
      This really sheds some light on the subject of both Paul and the psychic/pneumatic difference!  I can see, now, that Paul deserves better than I was giving him, as far as credibility.  The main contradiction (which now I see may not be) that I couldn't resolve was the exhortations he gives about homosexuality, and references Sodom and Gomorrah as the proof.  My problems with that lie in what I believe was the purpose of the destruction, which was more along the lines of the jealous demiurge, because I feel the key factor in that was not that Lot's guests were men, but that they were angels (which then means they were adrogynous anyway), therefore the wickedness of the townspeople was of the same flavor as the 'original sin' of blindly wanting to be as the gods.  I still have some problem with Paul about this, because I still don't quite understand it, BUT at this point I realize that doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't know something I'm still not grasping.
      So am I correct in understanding that Paul would be more in the Valentinian school of thought, rather than Sethian?  That may be part of my problem, too, as I realized, after reading the links you posted in message #10108, that I am decidedly more Sethian than Valentinian.  The latter just doesn't have enough contrast between the dual natures, for me.  Not that I want violence or conflict, it's just doesn't present enough juxtaposition in going from 'sinner' to 'saved'.  There is the middle ground, where the soulled beings can receive a salvation, also, and that's all fine and good and I don't say there shouldn't be that.  What it seems to me is that by revealing that, it might be something that those who are 'sarkic' as Paul says, might grasp as requiring less effort despite their capabilities for understanding more is possible, and they'd choose the psychic route for salvation instead of the pneuma.  I began this thought thinking that sort of short changes Christ's work  here, but in saying this I also realize that it actually short changes the one who decides, and 'you get what you pay for.'  As well, if there is no salvation possible for the psychic, that they know of, then that's not going to work at all.  There's advantages to both, but I don't see salvation as being anything less than all the way, (for me), so that puts me in the Sethian.  I need to read more about them as the subject, instead of compared with the Valentinians to get a better handle on this.   Any suggestions?  Preferably online, because the choice in bookstores locally is not broad.
      That statement I made also makes clear to me why that is something psychics don't think is 'a christian attitude' to say, 'you get what you pa for," it's because they see it as all being paid for by Christ, at a dear and perhaps cruel cost, whereas it's actually a result of both his and the person's efforts, since gnosis is not a 'gimme', and there is an aspect to our own salvation that is not about us, because there was redemption on all levels, not just on the hylic level.   The old adage 'the Lord helps those who help themselves,' would apply here, it seems.
      Please pardon me if I don't use the terms correctly, and let me know if I'm on the right track. This is becoming much more clear, I think.
      Thanks Cari!
      love from annie
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Saturday, September 04, 2004 9:20 AM
      Subject: [Gnosticism2] Re: Salvation

      --- Hi, Jana.  Welcome back.  I really feel for our members who have had
      to deal with the effects of hurricanes this year.

      Yes, "discerns all things" is important.  This discernment is about
      revelation, not just wishful thinking or factual knowledge, but it's
      also not handed on a silver platter.  You recognize correctly the
      importance of self-acquaintance and personal responsibility in
      stripping away layers of ignorance toward salvific gnosis.

      For those interested in Paul, _The Gnostic Paul_ by Elaine Pagels
      might come in handy.  I'll quote a bit from pages 58-60, including
      the verses Mary mentions, plus a few leading up to those:
      1 Cor 2:10-13:  God has revealed this to us through the spirit.  For
      the spirit searches all things, even the deep things (_ta bathe_) of
      God.  For who knows the things of man, but the spirit of mankind that
      is in him?  So also, no one knows the things of God but the spirit of
      God.  Now we have not received the spirit of the cosmos, but the
      spirit which is from God, that we may perceive the gifts of grace
      (_charisthenta_) given to us by God.  And we speak these things not
      in words taught by human wisdom, but taught by the spirit,
      interpreting pneumatic things to those who are pneumatic.

      [Pagels:] These secret mysteries are revealed "through the spirit"
      which "searches all things, even the deep things of God" (2:10),
      which, according to Valentinian exegesis, suggests the mysteries of
      the divine pleroma.  The "soul," being psychic, cannot comprehend
      these mysteries; only "the spirit" can know them.  Paul
      continues, "We have not received the spirit of the cosmos (i.e. the
      demiurge) but the spirit of God (the Father)" who alone reveals
      the "deep things of God," as the Naassenes, Basilides, and the
      Valentinians agree.

      1 Cor 2:14-16:  For the psychic (_ho psychichos_) does not receive
      the things of the spirit of God: they are foolishness to him, and he
      cannot know them, because they are pneumatically discerned.  The
      pneumatic (_ho pneumatikos_) on the other hand discerns all things,
      but himself is discerned by no one.  For "who has known the mind of
      the Lord, and who may instruct him?"  But we have the mind of Christ!

      [Pagels:]  This passage commands great attention from Gnostic
      theologians.  Here, they claim, Paul clearly distinguishes the
      _psychic_ from the _pneumatic_ nature.  He declares that the
      demiurge, being psychic, "does not comprehend the things of the
      spirit," since he, "being psychic, knew neither his Mother, who was
      pneumatic, nor her seeds, nor the aions of the pleroma"; he
      was "foolish, and lacked understanding, imagining that he himself
      made the cosmos.  But he was ignorant that Sophia, the Mother, the
      Ogdoad, was really the cause of his activity.  Those who, like the
      demiurge, are psychic have received only the "spirit of the cosmos"
      (2:12) and consequently lack understanding of pneumatic realities.
      However, Pagels goes on to say that Paul then differentiates between
      the "pneumatics spiritual potential and their actual situation. 
      Although gifted with the spirit, they are still `sarkic, immature in
      Christ': they are not ready to receive the secret, oral teaching he
      could offer them.
      "As long as the pneumatics argue about which of the apostles
      has `generated them in Christ' they demonstrate their spiritual
      immaturity--failing to realize that they have been generated `from
      above.'  As Heracleon says, the pneumatic seed is not sown by the
      apostles but by the Logos himself.  This seed, generated in a state
      of immaturity, must be clothed with the sarkic garment of
      materiality, in order to grow in wisdom and strength to maturity."

      So, according to the Valentinians, this is a process, and we can see
      their view of the need for the material world to aid in this
      process.  More on the Christ, Demiurge and Sophia roles in this
      process in Valentinian mythology is discussed in the links I left in
      my last message (#10108) for anyone interested.


    • pmcvflag
      Aleada ... and Elaine Pagels, Gnostic Gospel but mostly from experiencing personal Gnosis which I m sorry to say is being separated from this discussion or
      Message 83 of 83 , Jul 1, 2006

        >>>With this background and also having read Freke and Gandy's books
        and Elaine Pagels, Gnostic Gospel but mostly from experiencing
        personal Gnosis which I'm sorry to say is being separated from this
        discussion or seems to be discounted.<<<

        It isn't that your personal definition of the word "Gnosis" is
        discounted here, just that it isn't the definition of the
        word "Gnosis" that this forum uses.

        >>>Freke and Gandy explain the experience of Gnosis as more than can
        be written, it must be experienced, it is that knowledge or knowing
        beyond intellect that cannot contain the totality to Gnosis.<<<

        Freke and Gandy also claim that this definition of the word "Gnosis"
        is the one used by the traditional Gnostics... but I should point
        out that Freke and Gandy are mistaken. We are a bit more technical

        >>>You are all so intelligent but you miss the mark if you think you
        will "get it" from all your books and reading, get quiet and get in
        touch with the God with in and you may start to have Gnosis.<<<

        You misunderstand, Aleada, no body suggested that your idea
        of "Gnosis" is something that would be found in a book, but you need
        to also understand the historical meaning of the word "Gnosis" and
        not only the modern definition you get from people like Freke and

        >>>>Whatever the culture it's all the same God or Great Spirit,
        whatever; the experience of Gnosis is the same, look at the mystics
        and refer to Barbara's experience and you will see what it is to
        have Gnosis.<<<

        No, that is what it means to have a mystical experience..... not
        Gnosis. They are not the same thing.

        Why do you feel that we must use your definition of the
        word "Gnosis" rather than the one this forum was designed to deal
        with? It isn't that I disagree with the importance of the experience
        you are talking about, it is just that we don't call that
        experience "Gnosis" here.

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