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Re: new/ a question

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  • pneumen_borealis
    ... happened ... forward ... I had not read the links on Valentinus. I seem to be finding many scholarly works lately (usually superficial) that depict
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 15, 2003
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      > > My question, and the cause of my search, is this: though I
      > understand
      > > the gnostic worldview, the concept of the Demiurge, the material
      > > world as either a mistake or prison, I can't seem to get a clear
      > > picture of the Gnostic creation story, the myth behind it. I've
      > read
      > > about Archons and Sophia, but the information was confused.
      > > Somewhere I read that the Gnostic creation was even recognized as
      > > myth by the Gnostics and that they simply looked at it as a way to
      > > better understand the world, and it doesn't really matter to me
      > > whether they actually believed it or not. I just can't find what
      > > that myth was exactly, what characters were involved, what
      happened
      > > before humans came around.
      > >
      > > Could someone please guide me?
      > >
      > > Michael Matejka
      >
      >
      > Welcome, Michael.
      >
      > Please feel free to review the "links" section of our group:
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gnosticism2/links
      >
      > The following article, "The Genesis Factor," by Stephan Hoeller
      > treats in part the subject of Gnostic creation myths with a meaning
      > and provides a good introduction. You'll find quotes and links to
      > different versions from the Nag Hammadi scriptures for further
      > reading.
      > http://www.gnosis.org/genesis.html
      >
      > Also, here is a discussion of "The Valentinian View of the Creation"
      > by David Brons:
      > http://gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Valentinian_Creation.htm
      >
      > Feel free to bring back questions and your insights. We look
      forward
      > to learning from you, too.
      >
      >
      > Cari

      I had not read the links on Valentinus. I seem to be finding many
      scholarly works lately (usually superficial) that depict Gnosticism as
      having a pessimistic view of the physical world. I've always found
      this puzzling. Certainly, compared to the literal gnashing of teeth,
      obsession with Armageddon, and hellfire found in more fundamentalist
      forms of Christianity, Gnosticism seems giddily optimistic. If
      anything, Valentinian Gnosticism seems to be sober and realistic, and
      more concerned with describing and adressing a universal human
      condition rather than with fantastic prophecies and promises of
      instant salvation through faith.

      I think a key to understanding the Gnostic conception of these
      creation myths is to suspend the scientific and materialistic (a
      gnostic would call it "psychic") view that we all instinctively use to
      approach the problem of creation. Indeed, this view is the downfall of
      Sophia, who represents the part of us that becomes so ensared in this
      material existance that we find no way out.

      It is not the material world (the world of photons, atoms and
      electrons) that is being created in these myths, but rather the human
      perception and experience of them. These myths are made in a dream
      world, with their own logic, beauty, and
      meaning. Jung calls the players in these myths Archetypes of the
      Collective Unconscious, primordial images and symbols that are
      hardwired in our brain and represent internal processes playing
      themselves out in the human psyche. They are a reality onto
      themselves. An awareness of these archetypes and how they represent
      real and universal aspects of our own and universal human psyche
      represents the pneumatic or spiritual level of perception.

      When viewed this way, the question as to what Gnostics believed was
      around before creation is an irrelevant question. Before the
      mytholocial creation, human consciousness of whatever was around did
      not exist, so whatever was going on could not be perceived. Science
      did not exist. Art did not exist. Religion did not exist. The psychic
      and pneumatic worlds did not exist.

      So Gnostics do believe that Creation happened, not in the world of
      physics or ideas, but in the spiritual world. The place to understand
      that is through the myths themselves and the dream world where they
      come from.

      Did they beleive they are real or allegory? The answer, in my humble
      opinion, is "Yes"! Allegory is real, indeed, more real than the the
      world of material ideas. Gnosis can perhaps be described as the
      process of these allegories becoming real. Rather than being stories,
      ideas, and images that appeal to the mind, they become truths that are
      outward expressions of a living knowledge and perception of the world
      that lives inside the Gnostic.
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