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Re: Question from New Member

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  • pmcvflag
    Hi Dorina, welcome to the group. You state... ... God/s, then why is He/She/It/They so aloof to our plight and does not help us by putting an end to all
    Message 1 of 16 , Feb 19, 2007
      Hi Dorina, welcome to the group. You state...

      >>>The information I read seems to conflict, and if there is a
      God/s, then why is He/She/It/They so aloof to our plight and does
      not help us by putting an end to all this?<<<

      Perhaps you could give us a little insight as to exactly where you
      have come across the conflicting info. It could always be that the
      problem lies with the sources rather than confusion on your part.
      Allogenes and the Valentinian exposition (two historical Gnostic
      texts from the two main categories of Gnosticism) offer roughly
      similar cosmologies that look something like this;

      It starts with a sort of negation. This source is not connected to
      the world in any way, but is truly infininte. Not infinite like
      numbers, or the universe, but TRUE infinity. This source isn't
      a "God", or even exactly a being... it is beyond any label. At some
      point there is a sort of reflection of this infinity, and this
      shimmering infinity within the absolute infinity is the spiritual
      source. This secondary infinity is where all the spiritual beings
      (Aeons) emenate from. The Velentinian Exposition calls this source
      the "Second Father", or just "Father".

      What we then generally see happen in a Gnostic mythology is that
      eventually there is a final Aeon who creates or begets a sort
      of "God" who then creates the material world. This creator god is
      often describe in a negative way, and equated with the Biblical Old
      Testement God.

      From a philosophical perspective I think part of the function of
      this myth deals not only with the problem of the failings of the
      material world, but also is a device meant to help describe the
      problem of the concept of infinity vs the obvious fact of the finite
      in front of us. How can we concieve various forms of infinity, and
      if a god is absolute... how could it be smaller than the infinity
      that us humans can concieve? It must be bigger, or it could not be
      so absolute. The anthropomorphic gods that human minds CAN concieve
      could not possibly fit this bill, but then how can we find
      continuity between this infinity and the material universe? This is
      a question that still bothers philosophers and scientists to this
      day, though generally without the spiritual implications that
      Gnosticism raises.

      PMCV
    • pmcvflag
      Hey Nick You respond to Dorina... ... Gnostic God as some sort of aloof deity like the Old Testament God of Orthodoxy. The Gnostic concepts as posted below
      Message 2 of 16 , Feb 19, 2007
        Hey Nick You respond to Dorina...

        >>>I am surprised that in studying Gnosticism you still see the
        Gnostic God as some sort of aloof deity like the Old Testament God
        of Orthodoxy. The Gnostic concepts as posted below from mainly Web
        sources make it quite clear that the Transcendent God in a sense
        suffers with us. God as something separate from ourselves is foreign
        to Gnosticism the spark of the divine is within all creatures.

        "They say that the same soul is scattered about in animals, beasts,
        fish, snakes, humans, trees, and products of nature. [Epiphanius,
        Panarion, 26.9.1.]" (Gospel of Eve)

        "But I say that God is the spiritual one. Man has taken shape from
        the substance of God. The divine soul shares partly in this one;
        furthermore, it shares partly in the flesh. "(Teachings of Silvanus)
        <<<

        I did want to point out that the Teachings of Silvanus is likely not
        a "Gnostic" text. In the intro to the text that we find in
        Robinson's Nag Hammadi Library, Peel and Zandee even go so far as to
        suggest part of it may have been meant as an attack on Gnostic
        thinking.

        Also, I believe that this description in Epiphanius was very likely
        talking about the world soul rather than "God" or the spiritual
        source.

        This isn't to necessarily disagree with your point, but simply to
        point out that I am not sure we can use these passages to imply
        anything about a Gnostic theology.

        Yeah, I know, I am being too picky again *lol*. The reason I mention
        it though is that if we don't have those two passages informing the
        theology, it opens up a number of other possible interpretations for
        the texts that are Gnostic. It makes the notion of pantheism a good
        deal less explicit in general Gnostic thinking, as well as opening
        the question of just how the spark could relate to the source in
        Gnostic texts.

        PMCV
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