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God: what's in a name? (was Gnosticism & Darwin)

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  • Tsharpmin7@aol.com
    hi PMCV... you wrote: The very point of the Demiurge is to point out a problem with what most people call God . Jews, Christians, Muslems, even atheists...
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 10, 2005
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      hi PMCV... you wrote: "The very point of the "Demiurge" is to point out a
      problem with what most people call "God". Jews, Christians, Muslems,
      even atheists... they all worship the Demiurge in one way or another.
      Animists, and various tribal religions the world over, some forms of
      Buddhism (though perhaps not other forms) and so on, many of them
      worship the Demiurge. Perception is a function of the Demiurge, as is life
      on this Earth.... at least according to the Gnostic sources. What most
      people the world over call "God" is, in fact, the Demiurge. Can you
      see where my confusion is coming from? At one moment you say you are
      not talking about the Demiurge, and in another moment you seem to
      say you are.

      "In Gnosticism the "Source" is more than just "infinite"
      or "ineffable"... in fact there are three types of infinity... but
      the Gnostic source is truely apophatic."
       
      sorry for the confusion but, as i suspected, i think it was inevitable. 
      there are so many models and understandings in this world about what
      God "really" is or isn't and, as far as i know, the Gnostic models, myths
      and cosmogonies are probably among the least understood and employed.
      and, of course, its only natural for one to project one's understanding of
      God or "the divine" or whatever conceptions one holds upon another's
      conceptions.  i can imagine how easily, if i held Gnostic convictions, every
      time i hear an evangelist invoking the OT God thinking to myself how he or
      she doesn't realize they are "really" invoking the Demiurge. and that
      would be projection on my part since chances are the evangelist doesn't
      believe in a Gnostic cosmogony, nor do i have any clue how this person
      conceives of God in addition to any dogmatic conceptions they may
      embrace: for all i know it may be quite sophisticated and more or less as
      valid as any conception i hold.
       
      i do agree that "at least according to the Gnostic sources... The very point
      of the 'Demiurge' is to point out a problem with what most people call
      'God' ".  i think most "orthodox" conceptions of God are very primitive and
      spiritually immature on the surface, but most people i've spoken to on this
      subject -- those who are not slaves to dogmatic thought -- do have a well
      developed conception of God that far transcends the rather brutal and
      simplistic conceptions they were initially exposed to, i.e., they're not stupid
      nor completely robotic, nor do they conceive of God as cruel, stupid and
      blundering.  the main problem they seem to have is in trying to reconcile
      what seems like common sense and an intuition of the heart with the
      "presentation" of God within the scriptures they find meaningful and/or
      holy.  and there are a variety of ways they accomplish this, one being
      (thank you Gich for reminding me) a more or less apothatic process
      [apothatic: of or relating to the belief that God can be known to humans only
      in terms of what He is not (such as `God is unknowable')].
       
      the bottom line for me is that i do not arrive here carrying any Gnostic
      beliefs about the nature of God, "the divine" or the Demiurge.  i'm very
      interested in Gnosticism but i don't consider myself a Gnostic nor do i aspire
      to become a "Gnostic."  i don't even imagine such a being as the Demiurge
      even exists.  i'm simply not illuminated enough to speak lucidly about the
      nature of the ultimate God (or First Father as you suggest below).  so
      confusion is only natural.  those who have tasted, know, says Rumi.  i died
      and visited the other side and i still don't know!!
       
      PMVC writes:

      >>>"since there are multiple Gnostic mythologies/cosmogonies,
      some of
      which had much less flattering opinions of the Demiurge than others, what
      are you suggesting we use as a source for our nomenclature here?  this
      looks like it could get pretty sticky without a sizable consensus amongst us. 
      i'm willing to seriously consider anything you have to offer.  i'm pretty flexible
      with this sort of thing."<<
       
      "I really meant to say... that we should make clear when we are talking about
      the First Father, the Second Father (Barbelo), the later Aeons (Sophia and
      Logos), or the Demiurge. Whether we wish to put a positive or negative spin
      on the Demiurge is really not so important, I only wish for us to all make clear
      when we are talking about one of these four basic forms of "Divine" at any
      particular moment so that we know which page we are on at that specific time.
      Since we are talking about Gnosticism, maybe we should use the language of
      Gnosticism rather than personal terms.... just so that we understand each
      other. See what I mean?

      "I honestly think that it is simply logical (.....Logos) that we should use a
      common language to talk about these things. I think that the "Gnostic"
      language is the obvious one we should stick to here."

      PMCV
       
      like i said, i'm game and agree that its only logical that we use a common
      nomenclature.  i can adapt to this standard, but i have to tell you i'm not
      very well versed in the Gnostic pantheon.  were all ancient Gnostics in
      agreement with this?  the "First Father, the Second Father (Barbelo), the
      later Aeons (Sophia and Logos)?"  you may need to edgumicayt us. i think
      most of us can agree on Demiurge, but beyond that i just don't know. 
      maybe you can supply a hierarchical list or table with the ultimate, first
      cause, supreme being at the top and descending to the Demiurge (and below
      if you think it would help).  we look to be a pretty freelance group and i'd like
      to hear what others have to say on this subject as well. 
       
      your friend,
       
      Crispin Sainte III
    • pmcvflag
      Hey Crispin ... time i hear an evangelist invoking the OT God thinking to myself how he or she doesn t realize they are really invoking the Demiurge. and
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 10, 2005
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        Hey Crispin

        >>"i can imagine how easily, if i held Gnostic convictions, every
        time i hear an evangelist invoking the OT God thinking to myself how
        he or she doesn't realize they are "really" invoking the Demiurge.
        and that would be projection on my part since chances are the
        evangelist doesn't believe in a Gnostic cosmogony, nor do i have any
        clue how this person conceives of God in addition to any dogmatic
        conceptions they may embrace: for all i know it may be quite
        sophisticated and more or less as valid as any conception i hold."<<

        What makes a "god" the Demiurge is not whether that notion of god
        has some sophistication to it, it is whether it is a god that is
        thought to have created the physical universe. The OT god is
        literally described as creating the universe, so it is the Demiurge.
        Whether we think of that god as loving or vengeful, small minded or
        infinitely loving, it is still the creator with attributes in time,
        and so it is still the Demiurge. There are writings about the
        Demiurge that are very philosophically deep, and beautiful... this
        isn't the point.

        There are three forms of infinity, but only one of these forms is
        absolute in its expression. Some modern writers state
        that "Gnosticism" has a negative view of the Demiurge, this is
        false. The point of making a destinction between the Demiurge and
        the apophatic source is to open the way for dealing with a point
        that is extremely difficult for most people to grasp. It is breaking
        a paradigm so that people can get the idea of "god" out of their
        head so they can start to be open to that thing that is
        beyond "god"..... any "god", but especially the god who is
        our "Creator" (literally.... "Demiurge" or "Craftsman").

        As you can see, this has a bit more philosophical and spiritual
        depth than simply replacing some common Christian "Satan" with the
        OT "God" and then using it to go around attacking other religions.

        You then state....

        >>>"like i said, i'm game and agree that its only logical that we
        use a common nomenclature. i can adapt to this standard, but i have
        to tell you i'm not very well versed in the Gnostic pantheon. were
        all ancient Gnostics in agreement with this? the "First Father, the
        Second Father (Barbelo), the later Aeons (Sophia and Logos)?" you
        may need to edgumicayt us. i think most of us can agree on Demiurge,
        but beyond that i just don't know. maybe you can supply a
        hierarchical list or table with the ultimate, first cause, supreme
        being at the top and descending to the Demiurge (and below if you
        think it would help). we look to be a pretty freelance group and
        i'd like to hear what others have to say on this subject as well."<<<

        Sure, let me do that in another post though. And, yes, everyone is
        free to jump in of course. However, to your specific question as to
        whether Gnostics of old all were in agreement with this basic
        cosmological outline, the answer is yes. In fact, this is one of the
        attributes that makes them "Gnostics" in the first place. There are
        variations, different ways of talking about it. Sometimes the
        Demiurge is derided, other times the demiurge is not seen as evil at
        all. Some texts don't really attempt deal with the notion of
        the "First Father" and seem to start their descriptions with
        the "Monad" that the other sources would equate with the Second
        Father, and some texts ascribe the inital movement from the
        spiritual into the material via Sophia, while others do it through
        the Logos, etc. However, the essential structure is there in all
        Gnostic groups.

        PMCV
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