Re: Tangential musing
- Heres a passage from The Apocryphon of John.
I said to him, "Lord, the souls of those who did not do these works
(but) on whom the power and Spirit descended, (will they be
rejected?" He answered and said to me, "If) the Spirit (descended
upon them), they will in any case be saved, and they will change
(for the better). For the power will descend on every man, for
without it no one can stand. And after they are born, then, when the
Spirit of life increases and the power comes and strengthens that
soul, no one can lead it astray with works of evil. But those on
whom the counterfeit spirit descends are drawn by him and they go
And I said, "Lord, where will the souls of these go when they have
come out of their flesh?" And he smiled and said to me, "The soul in
which the power will become stronger than the counterfeit spirit, is
strong and it flees from evil and, through the intervention of the
incorruptible one, it is saved, and it is taken up to the rest of
And I said, "Lord, those, however, who have not known to whom they
belong, where will their souls be?" And he said to me, "In those,
the despicable spirit has gained strength when they went astray. And
he burdens the soul and draws it to the works of evil, and he casts
it down into forgetfulness. And after it comes out of (the body), it
is handed over to the authorities, who came into being through the
archon, and they bind it with chains and cast it into prison, and
consort with it until it is liberated from the forgetfulness and
acquires knowledge. And if thus it becomes perfect, it is saved."
In gnosticism, there is still "divine intervention" its just not on
behalf of the All-Father directly.
One recurring theme I see in gnostic scripture is the idea that one
must pay the consquences of thier actions. And consequences can be
dire. From what I understand, while this world was a mistake, the
divine spark in our souls is the correction of that mistake. Its the
validation of us as a creation of god, and puts us higher than the
Instead of God deciding who goes to heaven or not, I think it is
ourselves that decides. However, that may be the kind of
consquential decision our parent warn us about when we make a
mistake and must be punished: "you did it to yourself." They chose
to punish us, but we chose to do wrong. So it was our choice.
Anyway, my point is, if we choose to acknowlege our origins ( the
demiurges sin was to not acknowlege it) we go to "heaven".
As far the world being evil, its not what I believe though im sure
many do. I dont believe any non-living things can be evil. Instead
I see it as flawed. And uncontrollable. The passage from the Gospel
of Truth that has been quoted a few times, I take to mean that we
shouldnt focus on this world. We shouldnt see this world as evil or
good. Nothing in this world has any affect on the other world. The
2004 election is nothing to get upset about ( even though it sucks
imo). Thinking too much about this world only takes away from our
focus on the world beyond. And this is what I believe to be the
blindness that Christ speaks about in many gnostic and christian
--- In email@example.com, "Mary VanEsselstyn"
> Lady caritas am not sure how to answer your question but willtry. i do
> beliieve that there are occasions when God does intervene in ourlives due
> to my own experience of a healing that could only have aboutthrough a
> higher power. I do have some problems with the teaching offundementist
> Christ ian who interpret the scriptures lterally which I have cometo
> understand recently as an allegory about the birth and possibledeath of
> man kind, nor do iI see salvation as an easy way to get off thehook for our
> sins. We all pay consequences in some way unless we happen to begoes to
> totally unconscious I also believe it is God who decides who
> heaven, not us because we beliieve in some doctrine or creed.byheaven I
> don't mean some kind of paradise where we are sittiing on a cloudplaying a
> harp but as I have said I believe that our reason for exstance maybe to
> prepare us for somethng and that the visable world may not be allthere
> is.Paul also teaches that we are to hope in the unseen whiichwemay not know
> until we die. This is one reason was interested iin gnosis as alsoagree
> with some of their interpretation of scripture and the possblilyof a
> demiuruge which may explain why the world is flawed and whythereare forces
> of darkness that seek to prevent our spiiritual growth by keepingus in
> ignorance not only of our divine nature but our iignorance of howthe world
> system really works.The scrpituresworks
> also teach that the material world is the kingdom of satan who
> through lies and deceptongnosis so
> >From: lady_caritas <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >Reply-To: email@example.com
> >To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> >Subject: [Gnosticism2] Re: Tangential musing
> >Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2004 17:50:18 -0000
> This iis my own understandiing and since am a newcomer to
> don't cliam to be perfect. The scriptures are not easy tounderstand and
> have been altered and misinterpreted for various reasons thatinclude
> political and economic ones so may be a difficult undertakingtofnd the
> truth and may be a few surprises in store for us
- Jana, Mike is in fact clergy in the EG, and we value his presence. As
Cari states, the EG is a bit of a modern reworking of the
Valentinians... with a slight Jungian slant. So maybe I could make
something a bit more clear about the historic Valentinians (and this
is outside Mike's answers concerning his own church).
The Valentinians were part of early Catholic/Orthodox church (before
the schism between the two). Valentinians existed within that
Catholic church but offered a continued "initiation" beyond
that "orthodox" teaching. In other words, there were a
true "esoteric" order that existed within an exoteric foundation.
This should answer the question you had concerning bishops and
You have to understand, even though it has been popular for modern
sensationalist authors to build some kind of a fight between
Gnosticism and religious orders, the fact is historically this is not
something that happened until later.
There were also other Gnostic groups that were NOT part of the
Catholic (or even "Christian") outlines. For instance, Sethians were
probably not originally Christian. Some scholors believe that John
the Baptist was actually Sethian, but we can't know for sure
(however, this could imply something about the teachings of Jesus if
it is true... and if Jesus even ever historically existed. Gnosticism
is not dependant on an actual historical Jesus though).
However, let me point out to you that Gnostics were historically
quite structured. In spite of the need by some New Age authors to
make Gnostics some kind of spiritual anarchists, in fact these orders
were initatory, and that means there was also a destinction made
between levels of initation. One of the attacks that we see in the
anti-Gnostic authors of the time was that Gnostics are a bit too
elitist. I don't think that is completely true either, but that is
not to say it is completely false.
As we read historical Gnostic texts, such as those found in the Nag
Hammadi library, we will see mention of those levels of initiation.
If there are levels, there is structure... they simply go hand in
Ok, finally, your question in this last post... do Gnostics pray for
This is an arguement that I don't think can be completely resolved.
Part of that may be in that it depends on the sect. Truth is, if you
really look through the Gnostic texts, you would be hard pressed to
find an example. On the other hand, the people who wrote against
Gnostics accuse them of making love potions, stomach ointments, and
spells (spells are simply prayers) etc.. If you think about it, it
does not seem logical that a Gnostic would do such things, since some
of the things mentioned would really be against Gnostic beliefs.
So, you already conceded that Gnostics probably would not pray to the
first father (since it does not think or hear or consider anything
from the field of time... including prayers), so then who would a
Gnostic pray too? The Second father? The Sophia? The Logos? It
depends on whether you take these to be literal beings... otherwise
you are praying to aspects of yourself that connect you to the second
father. I am trying to pooint out that the question you ask is not
cut and dry, balck vs white, but that it also may entirely depend on
the practice of the sect invloved. Many Gnostics probably don't
believe in prayer, but some may.
--- In email@example.com, "janahooks" <janahooks@y...>
> > > I guess you could call us neo-Valenitnians. I am the senior
> > of
> > > the Ecclesia Gnostica, which along with the Gnostic Society, is
> > > parent body of http://www.gnosis.org/. My Bishop is Stephan
> > Höeller,
> > > who has written a number of books on Gnosticism.
> Mike, I had even told my husband that I thought you were a priest.
> You have that patient air about you! I read about the sacraments
> the site, but I need to look at them again. Are they necessary to
> achieve gnosis or salvation?
> Cari, Mike, pmcv, anyone,
> Do gnostics believe that any being (I understand the First Father
> does not) intervenes on our behalf? For instance, if one wanted to
> pray for another's protection or health?