God: what's in a name? (was Gnosticism & Darwin)
- hi PMCV... you wrote: "The very point of the "Demiurge" is to point out aproblem 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 ofBuddhism (though perhaps not other forms) and so on, many of themworship the Demiurge. Perception is a function of the Demiurge, as is lifeon 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 whatGod "really" is or isn't and, as far as i know, the Gnostic models, mythsand cosmogonies are probably among the least understood and employed.and, of course, its only natural for one to project one's understanding ofGod or "the divine" or whatever conceptions one holds upon another'sconceptions. i can imagine how easily, if i held Gnostic convictions, everytime i hear an evangelist invoking the OT God thinking to myself how he orshe doesn't realize they are "really" invoking the Demiurge. and thatwould be projection on my part since chances are the evangelist doesn'tbelieve in a Gnostic cosmogony, nor do i have any clue how this personconceives of God in addition to any dogmatic conceptions they mayembrace: for all i know it may be quite sophisticated and more or less asvalid as any conception i hold.i do agree that "at least according to the Gnostic sources... The very pointof the 'Demiurge' is to point out a problem with what most people call'God' ". i think most "orthodox" conceptions of God are very primitive andspiritually immature on the surface, but most people i've spoken to on thissubject -- those who are not slaves to dogmatic thought -- do have a welldeveloped conception of God that far transcends the rather brutal andsimplistic conceptions they were initially exposed to, i.e., they're not stupidnor completely robotic, nor do they conceive of God as cruel, stupid andblundering. the main problem they seem to have is in trying to reconcilewhat seems like common sense and an intuition of the heart with the"presentation" of God within the scriptures they find meaningful and/orholy. 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 onlyin 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 Gnosticbeliefs about the nature of God, "the divine" or the Demiurge. i'm veryinterested in Gnosticism but i don't consider myself a Gnostic nor do i aspireto become a "Gnostic." i don't even imagine such a being as the Demiurgeeven exists. i'm simply not illuminated enough to speak lucidly about thenature of the ultimate God (or First Father as you suggest below). soconfusion is only natural. those who have tasted, know, says Rumi. i diedand 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, whatare you suggesting we use as a source for our nomenclature here? thislooks 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 flexiblewith this sort of thing."<<
"I really meant to say... that we should make clear when we are talking aboutthe First Father, the Second Father (Barbelo), the later Aeons (Sophia andLogos), or the Demiurge. Whether we wish to put a positive or negative spinon the Demiurge is really not so important, I only wish for us to all make clearwhen we are talking about one of these four basic forms of "Divine" at anyparticular 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 ofGnosticism rather than personal terms.... just so that we understand eachother. See what I mean?
"I honestly think that it is simply logical (.....Logos) that we should use acommon language to talk about these things. I think that the "Gnostic"language is the obvious one we should stick to here."
PMCVlike i said, i'm game and agree that its only logical that we use a commonnomenclature. i can adapt to this standard, but i have to tell you i'm notvery well versed in the Gnostic pantheon. were all ancient Gnostics inagreement with this? the "First Father, the Second Father (Barbelo), thelater Aeons (Sophia and Logos)?" you may need to edgumicayt us. i thinkmost 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, firstcause, supreme being at the top and descending to the Demiurge (and belowif you think it would help). we look to be a pretty freelance group and i'd liketo hear what others have to say on this subject as well.your friend,Crispin Sainte III
- Hey Crispin
>>"i can imagine how easily, if i held Gnostic convictions, everytime 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 weuse 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