- ".....the topic of pre-existence."
If we look at the sayings in the GThom, that are relevant to the subject of both pre-existence and post existence, we can see the references are to a model or construction of the process, pertaining to the existence of the light.
Sayings 19, and 50 are most relevant to establishing the light in the pre and post existence. There is another clue or two in the GThom that establishes a methodology to perpetuating the 'light' through the processes of transition. Take for example saying, 24, and 49:
(24) His disciples said to Him : "Show us the place where You are, since it is necessary for us to seek it." He said to them : "He who has ears, let him hear. There is light within a man of light, and he lights up the whole world. If he does not shine, there is darkness."
(49) Jesus said : "Fortunate are You, the alone and the elect, for You will find the Kingdom. Because You came from it, You will also return to it again."
Having light within your light is the desired state here. The big question would be how this state is attained, through the process of transition between pre and post existence in the 'light.' (As the light?) Jesus explains in saying 28, and 45:
(28) Jesus said : "I took My place in the midst of the world, and I appeared to them in flesh. I found them all drunk. I found none of them thirsty. And My soul ached for the sons of men, because they are blind in their heart and do not see that they came empty into the world, and empty they seek to leave it. But for the moment they are drunk. When they have slept off their wine, they will repent."
(45) Jesus said : "Grapes are not harvested from thorns, nor are figs gathered from thistles, for they do not give fruit. But someone good brings forth good things from his storehouse ; someone evil brings forth evil things from the evil storehouse, which is in the heart, and says evil things. For if one's heart is filled with that, one brings forth evil things."
The GThom seems to have other combinations of sayings that can relate directly to the "desired state." What seems to be the common theme for the GThom is that it portrays this transitional state and relationship with the 'light' as a very feasible process. If we call the state and condition of man for the relationship he has with the 'light' his docetic state, we can understand the nature of this transition.
The GThom as an instrument is incredibly perceptive on how it treats this docetic state. I say this pointing out that there is no virgin birth, or resurrection to distract from man becoming an element of the light. The NT gospels have a tendency to treat the docetic state like Paul, and Luke, as if spirits were creatures of another dimension. I mean this like we see science fiction characters cross over into other dimensions in the movies.
The GThom presents the idea of already being a minion of the light in pre-existence. Then from the pre-existence, is life in the poverty of the body, trying to cultivate the soul, while in the existence as matter. Being able to go back to an element of the light, is very feasible sounding. It also does not present the additional baggage of fighting Satan as an entity outside the mind of person.
This Christian element of 'baggage' to battle the demons, Satan, and the tax collector, to get to the stairway of heaven, does not exist in the GThom the same way as other Gospels.
Demons, present a different element to the docetic state,(pre-existence, life, post life.) which is like saying Demons are cross dimensional. The model of the GThom does not present the docetic model like this and I think that is important to understand. Perhaps like the Essenes, the early Christians had very different models of the docetic state. I have a tendency to think the GThom's understanding of the 'docetic state' may be unique and apart from any Jewish model.
The GThom's model of transition through pre-existence on, shows time and space as a linear transition. This does not rule out the existence of demons or angels, but it does make them confined to the model of the soul, mind and spirit as portrayed in the GMary. This idea in the GTom is most aptly expressed in saying, 70.
70) Jesus said : "If You bring forth what is within You, what You have will save You. If You do not have that within You, what You do not have within You will kill You."
I cannot help but think that the 'Woe to the Pharisee' sayings refer directly to the early misunderstandings about the nature of spirit and the docetic state. Both Paul, and Peter define the docetic state in life as something that seems outside the GTom's model. They tend in my opinion to make the docetic state the 'community hell' of Revelations.
The model of Christianity outside the perimeters of the GThom is very concerned with traditions and thoughts of purity very similar to Jewish and Pagan practices. These 'laws' are dealt with in the GThom, and are consistent with the ideas Jesus presented about the ideas of purity mentioned in other places. (See Crossan's. "The Birth Of Christianity") These purity laws caused arguments in the earliest days of Christianity and this rift was the basis for the first Apostle's Council.
The verdict on these laws was determined as pretty much what the GThom says, see saying 14 and 104. This is actually a huge departure from the standards of most early Christians throughout the empire, and probably very different from most Jewish factions at odds over the docetic state and nature of man. To most early Christians the conflict over the 'docetic state' must have been horrific, and is probably why starting before Ignatius, "everybody else, is a heretic."
If you ask what somebody along about 250 C.E. would think about the 'docetic state' and its nature, you also have to ask what they must have thought about what the GThom says about the 'docetic state,' in the sayings listed above. On the one hand the docetic model of the GThom can be quite a feasible idea, but to almost all other Christians of the time it might be heresy.
Platter Flats, OK
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