Re: Anthropomorphic mistakes
- <Plotinus' description of the One comes to mind here. If it is the
One, it cannot exist, because then it would partake of Oneness and
Existence (Platonic Categories). In this sense no human qualities
can be ascribed to it, you are absolutely correct.I guess the
question comes down to -- are we talking about the Unknown (Father)
or about a projected image of it. Can we even talk about the
First off, Why is the premise that oneness and existence mutually
exclusive assumed to be true? Someone needs to explain this to me.
And second, what are "human" qualities anyway? I thought the human
being was a composite. Body, soul, spirit. An element from the upper
Godhead and others from the demiurge and matter. The dilemma is what
exactly are "you"?
It may be true that we can't "know" the Father, knowledge itself
being derivative of a lower existence. That doesn't mean we can't
experience or unite with him (and gnostic texts back this up).
Neither does this doesn't logically imply that the Father can't know
us. The descriptions indicate that each emanation is of lesser power
than the one above. I've always liked to use the book Flatland as an
analogy. A two dimensional creature can't conceive of a three
dimensional existence, but a three dimensional creature can
understand the lower two dimensional field.
The very texts that state the Father can't be described, because
description is limiting, go on to do just that, and describe him in
absolute, albeit apophatic, terms.
Let's look at Apocryphon of John, which can't be dismissed as merely
AoJ may be using "Father" and "Man" as descriptive tools, but yet
it's a text that simultaneously indicates an awareness of the
transcendent indescribable God, indicating the author is cognizant
the use of these words are symbols are meant to facilitate a higher
awareness. So you have to ask yourself what's going in with the use
of "Man" for the upper Godhead. Why use "Man" and "son of Man" when
you've already used "God"? Couldn't it have used another term to
indicate something unknown, alien to us? Yet it doesn't. It uses a
uniquely human term. Clearly this is to indicate some sort of
connection to us. The use of words such as "Bythos" or "Prime Source"
does not convey the same nuance. Those words do sound clearly alien.
What is meant by "only the Son can know the Father" and "we too can
become sons and inherit that of the Father"(paraphrasing)? This is
stated and has major implication IMO. What has fallen and is in "us"
is the stuff of that unity. What is "Man" really then? Is it
consciousness? Consciousness as not the same thing as cognitive mind
nor ego nor knowledge, but perhaps awareness or spirit?
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
> Hello lady_caritas
> On 30-Oct-03, you wrote:
> > Mike, I do agree that gnosis involves "not just an image we attain
> > to," even though as humans we relate to and express in images. My
> > question may not have been clear. I was specifically referring to
> > Gerry's example in relation to current discussion. In the example,
> > even though mention is made of an ineffable God, we still see what
> > Gerry describes as "projection of human limitations onto a
> > supposedly ineffable, intangible Divinity."
> > IOW, as relates to this discussion, Unknown is just that,...
> > unknown, so whether or not a reason or purpose is involved is,
> > unknown. And we need to make the distinction as to whether we are
> > referring to the Unknown or rather an image thereof. If we assign
> > human motivation, such as reason or purpose to a god, then my
> > opinion is that we are not necessarily speaking of the ultimate
> > ineffable, infinite unknown.
> > On a practical note, realization of an Unknown that is also
> > recognized as the spiritual spark within steers responsibility
> > back to ourselves and not onto a projected image, which is at best
> > still limited, even if meaningful to us.
> Plotinus' description of the One comes to mind here. If it is the
> One, it cannot exist, because then it would partake of Oneness and
> Existence (Platonic Categories). In this sense no human qualities
> can be ascribed to it, you are absolutely correct.I guess the
> question comes down to -- are we talking about the Unknown (Father)
> or about a projected image of it. Can we even talk about the
> Unknown? That seems impossible on its face. Maybe we can say with
> Plotinus that God is One, but does not therefore exist. :-) It
> seems the nature of spiritual truth always ends up in Paradox. This
> strongly suggests that intellect cannot comprehend it. Meditating
> Paradox shuts down the mind, and Zen uses the Koan as a tool for
> enlightenment, but it is everywhere on "the Way." Reading Jacob
> Boehme years and years ago I began meditating on how God exists but
> does not exist, and went into a Mystical Experience of Union with,
> dare I say it, God. I still like him.
> Mike Leavitt ac998@l...
> Interesting to hear it put that way - I haven't read Bauer (yet), soAs far as I can see, Walter Bauer is considered somewhat of a pioneer
> Gnostic Gospels felt like an historian exploring new ground. Based
> on her bibliography and notes, I at least had a sense that Pagels was
> leaning on Bauer.
in the investigative genre of "Early Christian" scholarship - especially
with the Comittee to which Pagels belonged (the Coptic Gnostic Library
Comittee of scholars).
Anyways, I was just butting in to inform the readers of this list
that they can make their own mind up, without much trouble and without
parting with money - Bauer`s chief work is online
Walter Bauer: Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity
Terje Dahl Bergersen
Deacon,Ecclesia Gnostica Norvegia