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A Commentary

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  • Tom Saunders
    Hi Frank, I m glad to hear you had nice trip. I suspect that it is based on the idea that the spirit is the inner man and that the flesh is the outer man,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 24 12:50 PM
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      Hi Frank,

      I'm glad to hear you had nice trip.

      " I suspect that it is based on the idea that the spirit
      is the inner man and that the flesh is the outer man, with the inner man of
      the spirit being a spiritual body, just as the outer man of the flesh is a
      material body." In this case, it relates about how miserable is the....."

      This idea might be so but the GMary qualifies matter, which is in certainty a direct or indirect reference to the flesh, and in a similar tone to Paul's ideas about the body. Mary says:
      ...Will matter then be destroyed or not?

      22) The Savior said, All nature, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots.23) For the nature of matter is resolved into the roots of its own nature alone.

      24) He who has ears to hear, let him hear. (No corn here)

      Saying 87 is a clear message that the body and soul are seen as separate but connected things. Later the GMary qualifies the nous (mind, wisdom, vision, etc.), between the soul and the spirit. There are highly different ideas of what a spirit, the spirit, the Holy Spirit is and how it works. No doubt there was very different ideas about what spirit is and how it works in every faction of first Century Christianity.

      The GLuke and Acts portrays spirit different ways but one as an outside force, demon, that ascends on the person. This is similar to the Old Test. idea of spirit and God. You state:

      "The Spirit can enter into a human being, but this does not necessarily make
      the Spirit another "element" of a human being."

      This would be very difficult to explain in light of what Saying 3, and 77 portray. But I think you are right in the idea that:

      Indeed, what I suspect is that the human spirit (pneuma) is a copy of the Spirit (Pneuma)."

      The GPhil is very helpful in explaining pnuema, spirit, as the breath and Pnuema, as the Spirit. It seems very traditionally to be the same idea most cultures use for spirit being of the breath and vital energy, 'chi' or prana, being connected to it. I do not think this perception of spirit would be out of place for First Century Christians, until the Lukian demons appeared, and the insistence that the Church clergy were the only means for salvation. This would enable the clergy to use the image of God as a separate and external being. The GThom's 3, and 77, reveal a much different idea of spirit being universal in everything.

      The GMary clarifies the forces of the soul as internal, controllable and not an outside force:

      26) The Savior said There is no sin, but it is you who make sin when you do the things that are like the nature of adultery, which is called sin.

      27) That is why the Good came into your midst, to the essence of every nature in order to restore it to its root.

      28) Then He continued and said, That is why you become sick and die, for you are deprived of the one who can heal you.

      29) He who has a mind to understand, let him understand. (No corn here either)

      What is in the midst of the followers is the 'Pnuematophoroi' (Gnostikoi ?). The "good"(above 27) in this case is no doubt the Savior, Holy Spirit. Mary's Chapter 8 also portrays the soul and....

      11)" The soul answered and said, I saw you. You did not see me nor recognize me. I served you as a garment and you did not know me."

      Like Cebes qualifies the soul, it serves like a garment. Of course what else is worn like a garment in the transcendance of the pnuematophoroi is the Holy Spirit. No doubt this merging of the soul and the Holy Spirit is a basis for the idea of communion. This leaves the soul, mind, spirit, and body as separate but connected elements of the communion with the Holy Spirit. God being everywhere and of everything as seen in 3, and 77.

      The ThActs, and some other early works qualifies the soul as a kind of spirit with elements of "form, perception, consciousness, action, or knowledge." Or similar elements akin to this list. The point is that the soul is something to be developed and may well represent the 'form' of a spirit. Form, as in platonic 'form' might be the best way to look at these elements.

      The different ideas of how spirit can actually take form is a main basis for argument in Christian sects since the beginning the Christian era. But the GThom's genius is that it does not qualify what a spirit is, or what it can do. It does say something about the connection to the body. One thing that might be lots more clear to a First Century Christian is the idea of the body being a poverty that also feels fear, pain, and hunger to a higher degree than we might consider in our daily lives.

      GT 80. Jesus said, "Whoever has come to know the world has discovered the body, and whoever has discovered the body, of that one the world is not worthy." (See also 56)

      GT 29. Jesus said, "If the flesh came into being because of spirit, that is a marvel, but if spirit came into being because of the body, that is a marvel of marvels. Yet I marvel at how this great wealth has come to dwell in this poverty."

      Here too in GT 29, we see spirit being used in the light of being vital energy, or chi and connected to the body of all things, which is also connected to the soul. I think this distinction is valid because the GThom qualifies Holy Spirit saying 44, and if 29 meant Holy Spirit I think it would have been used that way.

      In this mix of the soul, mind, spirit, and body we see that the forms are rational separate things as the soul being a developed spirit, spirit in the sense of vital energy connected to the body (the form being matter) and the mind, (consciousness), able to perceive the forms of both sprit, soul, and Holy Spirit.

      This model shows man's salvation through merging the spirit, soul, and Holy Spirit, knowing the body is a form connected to the soul, but is matter and will perish. That does indeed make it a 'poverty' but very viable as a means to afterlife for those elements of man that are in nature a form of spirit, including the mind.

      This model also seems to me the most viable for the cause of Gnosticism. The danger of course is that congregations were and are built on the prospect of the Lukian boogey man type spirit. Some people are still never going to get over the Lukian model, they didn't then, they do not now. This is why I do not see a GThom community as such, except in the form of 'ecclesiolae in ecclesia,' little churches within the church.

      The Lukian model of spirit demons does not fit into the GThom, and certainly not the GMary, or GPhil. Except for Angels.

      Angels there are but there are no demons, there is just darkness for those who cannot 'go back to the light.' Hell becomes non-existence in the afterlife. This model is what makes the GThom dangerous to the Orthodox church trying to take over the cause of salvation, and trying to control people.

      If you understood the body and forms of spirit as described above in the Gnostic Gospels death would not be much of a threat. If you considered yourself a Gnostikoi or 'Pnuematophoroi' Lukian demons would not be much of a threat either. The idea of Lukian demons itself might seem fictional as it does today, fodder for tales and movie villains.

      I think your analogy of the old man becoming a new man is valid, but I think it refers to the development of the soul, and the merging of the 'forms' with the Holy Spirit. The model I see merges the developed soul, mind, spirit, and body, with the vision, light, Holy Spirit.

      The Gnostic Gospel elements of the soul, mind, spirit, and body seem to compose a Gnostic model of spiritual man. One that can have direct communion with the Holy Spirit, and one that need not fear death, Lukian Boogey men, or threatening clergy.

      Tom Saunders

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