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Re: [Jehovah's Witnesses Gathering] Does Matthew teach the trinity?

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  • Punkish301@aol.com
    Rob, You should not try to interpret any ancient document with common sense ! Grasp the theological culture of the day first. Second: Trinitarianism does NOT
    Message 1 of 27 , Jun 1, 2003
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      Rob,

      You should not try to interpret any ancient document with "common sense"!
      Grasp the theological culture of the day first. Second: Trinitarianism does NOT
      teach the Father is the Son, that is modalism a heresy of the third century.

      So that debunks your post in two sentences. Please, don't go on with Mark.
      Study up on Jewish Wisdom theology first

      thanks, from Guy
    • Robert
      Now let me get this straight. Many in this group have been insisting that the Bible should be our only guide. We should not put our trust in man or an
      Message 2 of 27 , Jun 1, 2003
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        Now let me get this straight. Many in this group have been insisting
        that the Bible should be our only guide. We should not put our trust
        in man or an organization to teach us its meanings. Now you are
        telling me that i must study something besides the Bible to be able
        to understand it? You are saying that just reading the Bible alone is
        not enough? Which group or organization would you suggest I go to
        to "Study up on Jewish Wisdom theology? What mans writings should i
        read that will tell me how to interpret the Bible? It's clear that
        you believe the Bible is to deep and mysterious for the common man,
        and that outside influence is needed to understand it. Why don't we
        go back to the days when only the clergy were allowed to read the
        Bible, and just let them tell us what to think. I wonder why the
        Bible was written in "koine" or the common Greek used by the common
        man, when the common man wasn't meant to understand it.
        -Rob


        --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, Punkish301@a...
        wrote:
        > Rob,
        >
        > You should not try to interpret any ancient document with "common
        sense"!
        > Grasp the theological culture of the day first. Second:
        Trinitarianism does NOT
        > teach the Father is the Son, that is modalism a heresy of the third
        century.
        >
        > So that debunks your post in two sentences. Please, don't go on
        with Mark.
        > Study up on Jewish Wisdom theology first
        >
        > thanks, from Guy
      • Serena
        ... insisting that the Bible should be our only guide. We should not put our trust in man or an organization to teach us its meanings. Now you are telling me
        Message 3 of 27 , Jun 2, 2003
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          "Robert" <rob95425@y...> wrote:
          > Now let me get this straight. Many in this group have been
          insisting that the Bible should be our only guide. We should not put
          our trust in man or an organization to teach us its meanings. Now you
          are telling me that i must study something besides the Bible to be
          able to understand it? You are saying that just reading the Bible
          alone is not enough? Which group or organization would you suggest I
          go to to "Study up on Jewish Wisdom theology? What mans writings
          should i read that will tell me how to interpret the Bible? It's
          clear that you believe the Bible is to deep and mysterious for the
          common man, and that outside influence is needed to understand it.
          Why don't we go back to the days when only the clergy were allowed to
          read the Bible, and just let them tell us what to think. I wonder why
          the Bible was written in "koine" or the common Greek used by the
          common man, when the common man wasn't meant to understand it.
          > -Rob
          >

          The disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Why do you speak to the
          people in parables?"
          Jesus replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven
          has been given to you, my deciples, but not to the common man.
          Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.
          Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This
          is why I speak to them in parables:
          "Though seeing, they do not see;
          though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

          Matthew 13


          The Parable of the Sower

          1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2Such
          large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in
          it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3Then he told them many
          things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As
          he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds
          came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have
          much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But
          when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered
          because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew
          up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where
          it produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
          9He who has ears, let him hear."
          10The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the
          people in parables?"
          11He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven
          has been given to you, but not to them. 12Whoever has will be given
          more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what
          he has will be taken from him. 13This is why I speak to them in
          parables:
          "Though seeing, they do not see;
          though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14In them is
          fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
          " 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
          you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
          15For this people's heart has become calloused;
          they hardly hear with their ears,
          and they have closed their eyes.
          Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
          hear with their ears,
          understand with their hearts
          and turn, and I would heal them.'[1] 16But blessed are your eyes
          because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17For I tell you
          the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see
          but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
          18"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19When anyone
          hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the
          evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is
          the seed sown along the path. 20The one who received the seed that
          fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once
          receives it with joy. 21But since he has no root, he lasts only a
          short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he
          quickly falls away. 22The one who received the seed that fell among
          the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this
          life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.
          23But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man
          who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a
          hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."

          The Parable of the Weeds

          24Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a
          man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was
          sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went
          away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also
          appeared.
          27"The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow
          good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'
          28" 'An enemy did this,' he replied.
          "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'
          29" 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you
          may root up the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the
          harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the
          weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and
          bring it into my barn.' "

          The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast

          31He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a
          mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32Though it
          is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the
          largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the
          air come and perch in its branches."
          33He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like
          yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount[2] of flour
          until it worked all through the dough."
          34Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not
          say anything to them without using a parable. 35So was fulfilled what
          was spoken through the prophet:
          "I will open my mouth in parables,
          I will utter things hidden since the creation of the
          world."[3]

          The Parable of the Weeds Explained

          36Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came
          to him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the
          field."
          37He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.
          38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of
          the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy
          who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and
          the harvesters are angels.
          40"As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be
          at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and
          they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all
          who do evil. 42They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where
          there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous
          will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has
          ears, let him hear.

          The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl

          44"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a
          man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all
          he had and bought that field.
          45"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine
          pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold
          everything he had and bought it.

          The Parable of the Net

          47"Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down
          into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the
          fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected
          the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49This is how it
          will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the
          wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace,
          where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
          51"Have you understood all these things?" Jesus asked.
          "Yes," they replied.
          52He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been
          instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house
          who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."
        • Ryck
          Serena, I don t see how Jesus parables have an application to the Trinity. .r.
          Message 4 of 27 , Jun 3, 2003
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            Serena, I don't see how Jesus' parables have an application to the
            Trinity.

            .r.
          • Serena
            I don t debate the Trinity. You either accept Jesus as the Christ, the only begotten Son of God, that God is in him or not. Rob is on a journey to prove it
            Message 5 of 27 , Jun 3, 2003
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              I don't debate the Trinity. You either accept Jesus as the Christ,
              the only begotten Son of God, that God is in him or not. Rob is on a
              journey to prove it to himself the separation as Arianism taught.
              What I was answering in his post was this question, "I wonder why
              the Bible was written in "koine" or the common Greek used by the
              common man, when the common man wasn't meant to understand it."
              That is why I posted the parables of Jesus' teachings and why. Rob
              hasn't accepted who Jesus is fully yet. I hope that he does,
              eventually.
              ~Serena


              --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Ryck"
              <odracyr@h...> wrote:
              > Serena, I don't see how Jesus' parables have an application to the
              > Trinity.
              >
              > .r.
            • paul
              ... Rob hasn t accepted who Jesus is fully yet. I hope that he does, eventually. ~Serena ... You seem to be stating that somehow Rob is in a sort of denial as
              Message 6 of 27 , Jun 3, 2003
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                --- Serena wrote:
                Rob hasn't accepted who Jesus is fully yet. I hope
                that he does, eventually.
                ~Serena
                -----------------

                You seem to be stating that somehow Rob is in a sort
                of denial as to Christ, the Messiah.
                Serena, who do you say Jesus is?
                Who did Jesus' apostles say that he was?
                Who did Jesus himself say he was?
                And finally, who did his Father, Jehovah say he was?

                With these answers, let's review Robs accepted beliefs
                with yours again...
                Paul


                __________________________________
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              • Robert
                Serena writes-Rob hasn t accepted who Jesus is fully yet. It funny how you can say that. Do you think it would be ok if I told the group about you? Maybe I can
                Message 7 of 27 , Jun 3, 2003
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                  Serena writes-Rob hasn't accepted who Jesus is fully yet.

                  It funny how you can say that. Do you think it would be ok if I told
                  the group about you? Maybe I can tell them about your political
                  views. You seem to have no problem telling people what they think, so
                  I might try it out. By the way, if you think you have eternal
                  salvation you're wrong. Get the point? I don't tell you want you
                  have, and have not accepted, so please don't try and tell me.
                  -Rob

                  --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Serena"
                  <serenaj92@y...> wrote:
                  > I don't debate the Trinity. You either accept Jesus as the Christ,
                  > the only begotten Son of God, that God is in him or not. Rob is on
                  a
                  > journey to prove it to himself the separation as Arianism taught.
                  > What I was answering in his post was this question, "I wonder why
                  > the Bible was written in "koine" or the common Greek used by the
                  > common man, when the common man wasn't meant to understand it."
                  > That is why I posted the parables of Jesus' teachings and why. Rob
                  > hasn't accepted who Jesus is fully yet. I hope that he does,
                  > eventually.
                  > ~Serena
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Ryck"
                  > <odracyr@h...> wrote:
                  > > Serena, I don't see how Jesus' parables have an application to
                  the
                  > > Trinity.
                  > >
                  > > .r.
                • Serena
                  See why I don t debate the Trinity? ~Serena ... told ... so ... Christ, ... on ... taught. ... Rob
                  Message 8 of 27 , Jun 3, 2003
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                    See why I don't debate the Trinity?
                    ~Serena

                    --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Robert"
                    <rob95425@y...> wrote:
                    > Serena writes-Rob hasn't accepted who Jesus is fully yet.
                    >
                    > It funny how you can say that. Do you think it would be ok if I
                    told
                    > the group about you? Maybe I can tell them about your political
                    > views. You seem to have no problem telling people what they think,
                    so
                    > I might try it out. By the way, if you think you have eternal
                    > salvation you're wrong. Get the point? I don't tell you want you
                    > have, and have not accepted, so please don't try and tell me.
                    > -Rob
                    >
                    > --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Serena"
                    > <serenaj92@y...> wrote:
                    > > I don't debate the Trinity. You either accept Jesus as the
                    Christ,
                    > > the only begotten Son of God, that God is in him or not. Rob is
                    on
                    > a
                    > > journey to prove it to himself the separation as Arianism
                    taught.
                    > > What I was answering in his post was this question, "I wonder why
                    > > the Bible was written in "koine" or the common Greek used by the
                    > > common man, when the common man wasn't meant to understand it."
                    > > That is why I posted the parables of Jesus' teachings and why.
                    Rob
                    > > hasn't accepted who Jesus is fully yet. I hope that he does,
                    > > eventually.
                    > > ~Serena
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Ryck"
                    > > <odracyr@h...> wrote:
                    > > > Serena, I don't see how Jesus' parables have an application to
                    > the
                    > > > Trinity.
                    > > >
                    > > > .r.
                  • Serena
                    Rob, I meant to post that and not send that to you privately. But you can copy and paste. I don t know how exactly I wrote that post. ~Serena ... told ... so
                    Message 9 of 27 , Jun 3, 2003
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                      Rob, I meant to post that and not send that to you privately. But
                      you can copy and paste. I don't know how exactly I wrote that post.

                      ~Serena

                      --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Robert"
                      <rob95425@y...> wrote:
                      > Serena writes-Rob hasn't accepted who Jesus is fully yet.
                      >
                      > It funny how you can say that. Do you think it would be ok if I
                      told
                      > the group about you? Maybe I can tell them about your political
                      > views. You seem to have no problem telling people what they think,
                      so
                      > I might try it out. By the way, if you think you have eternal
                      > salvation you're wrong. Get the point? I don't tell you want you
                      > have, and have not accepted, so please don't try and tell me.
                      > -Rob
                      >
                      > --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Serena"
                      > <serenaj92@y...> wrote:
                      > > I don't debate the Trinity. You either accept Jesus as the
                      Christ,
                      > > the only begotten Son of God, that God is in him or not. Rob is
                      on
                      > a
                      > > journey to prove it to himself the separation as Arianism
                      taught.
                      > > What I was answering in his post was this question, "I wonder why
                      > > the Bible was written in "koine" or the common Greek used by the
                      > > common man, when the common man wasn't meant to understand it."
                      > > That is why I posted the parables of Jesus' teachings and why.
                      Rob
                      > > hasn't accepted who Jesus is fully yet. I hope that he does,
                      > > eventually.
                      > > ~Serena
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Ryck"
                      > > <odracyr@h...> wrote:
                      > > > Serena, I don't see how Jesus' parables have an application to
                      > the
                      > > > Trinity.
                      > > >
                      > > > .r.
                    • Robert
                      OK, now you have me really confused. -Rob ... post.
                      Message 10 of 27 , Jun 3, 2003
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                        OK, now you have me really confused.
                        -Rob


                        --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Serena"
                        <serenaj92@y...> wrote:
                        > Rob, I meant to post that and not send that to you privately. But
                        > you can copy and paste. I don't know how exactly I wrote that
                        post.
                        >
                        > ~Serena
                      • Serena
                        Sorry for the confusion. I wrote a post and it went to you as private email. I know you received it because you replied. If you want others to see what I
                        Message 11 of 27 , Jun 4, 2003
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                          Sorry for the confusion. I wrote a post and it went to you as
                          private email. I know you received it because you replied. If you
                          want others to see what I said to you, then you will copy and paste
                          the email into a post here. In the email I also wrote to
                          walterprognosticus how I believed who Jesus is.
                          Because of your sensitivity on this issue, I think this conversation
                          with me is over. Maybe someone else will talk to you about it.
                          ~Serena

                          --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Robert"
                          <rob95425@y...> wrote:
                          > OK, now you have me really confused.
                          > -Rob
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Serena"
                          > <serenaj92@y...> wrote:
                          > > Rob, I meant to post that and not send that to you privately.
                          But
                          > > you can copy and paste. I don't know how exactly I wrote that
                          > post.
                          > >
                          > > ~Serena
                        • dldavis007
                          Hey Rob, I ve seen enough Trinity arguments to realize that neither side ever convinces the other side that their view is correct. I usually try to avoid
                          Message 12 of 27 , Jun 4, 2003
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                            Hey Rob,

                            I've seen enough Trinity arguments to realize that neither side ever
                            convinces the other side that their view is correct. I usually try
                            to avoid them. I lean slightly toward the Trinity side, although I
                            realize that the Trinity is a paradox. But, I believe that the two-
                            god issue also presents a paradox. So in essences it's a choice
                            between accepting one paradox (two gods) or the other paradox
                            (Trinity).

                            Actually I lean toward the disbelief side, but that's another subject.

                            Anyway, I'll give it a shot and discuss it with you.

                            First I'll take everything out of context and then take it to the
                            extreme just to get your reaction.

                            In the beginning was the Word. The Word is Emanuel. Who of course is
                            Michael. Who of course is a mighty God.

                            Now the Word, Emanuel, Michael who was a mighty god became re-
                            incarnated into the child of Mary and Jehovah (or Elohim, or El-
                            Shaddai) by means of the Holy Spirit, and became know by the name
                            Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Messiah.

                            He was also an heir to King David, but he did not inherit Adamic Sin.

                            After awhile the Jews killed him, and now he is once again the spirit
                            creature, the Word, Emanuel, Michael, a mighty god, Jesus Christ, the
                            Son of God, the Son of Man, the Messiah.

                            He is a god, but of course he is not THE God, because there is only
                            one God. This is because men can be called gods therefore Jesus (aka,
                            the Word, Emanuel, Michael, a mighty god, the Christ, the son of God,
                            the Son of Man, the Messiah) can be called a god. But remember there
                            is only one God.

                            If anyone can accept this, why not the Trinity?

                            Darrell


                            --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Serena"
                            <serenaj92@y...> wrote:
                            > Sorry for the confusion. I wrote a post and it went to you as
                            > private email. I know you received it because you replied. If you
                            > want others to see what I said to you, then you will copy and paste
                            > the email into a post here. In the email I also wrote to
                            > walterprognosticus how I believed who Jesus is.
                            > Because of your sensitivity on this issue, I think this
                            conversation
                            > with me is over. Maybe someone else will talk to you about it.
                            > ~SerenaIts simple,
                          • Robert
                            Jesus, Emmanuel, and Michael are names. The Bible shows how one person can have many names. Saul-Paul, Peter-Simon-Cephas. Each name does not make a new man.
                            Message 13 of 27 , Jun 4, 2003
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                              Jesus, Emmanuel, and Michael are names. The Bible shows how one
                              person can have many names. Saul-Paul, Peter-Simon-Cephas. Each name
                              does not make a new man. During different stages in a mans life his
                              name might change. A child named Bobby may wish to be called Robert
                              as he gets older, and then in later life would rather just be called
                              Bob. Jesus/Emmanuel did not fit him until he became a human man(look
                              it up), so he was refered to as Michael(who is like God?). Who is
                              more like God than Jesus? So, he was refered to as Michael in his
                              prehuman form, and when he became human he was refered to as Jesus.

                              the word, a mighty god, the Christ, the Son of God, the Son of Man,
                              and the Messiah are all titles. A man can have many titles, father,
                              son, brother, uncle, nephew, etc. As with each name, each title does
                              not make a new man.

                              Trying to make Jesus a "polyinity" does not prove a trinity. It was
                              quite humorous though.
                              -Rob
                            • Serena
                              I don t like calling it a Trinity because it just doesn t sound as accurate. I thought for sure that Rob would copy and paste what I wrote about how I believed
                              Message 14 of 27 , Jun 5, 2003
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                                I don't like calling it a Trinity because it just doesn't sound as
                                accurate.
                                I thought for sure that Rob would copy and paste what I wrote about
                                how I believed but I guess he's not going to.
                                I believe in the Triune God. 3 in Unity. You can't have one without
                                the other and worshipping any other God besides the Father is
                                forbidden. The Father is in Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes from the
                                Father. Jesus baptizes with Holy Spirit. So a Triunity is more
                                accurate.
                                Matthew 11:27
                                "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the
                                Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and
                                those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. [Luke 10:22]
                                John 10:38
                                But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the
                                miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me,
                                and I in the Father."
                                John 14:7
                                If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on,
                                you do know him and have seen him."
                                John 14:9
                                Jesus answered: Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.
                                John 10:30
                                I and the Father are one."
                                1 John 5:8
                                the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
                                Mark 1 (John the Baptist says about Jesus)
                                8I baptize you with[or in] water, but he will baptize you with the
                                Holy Spirit." [Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; Acts
                                11:16]


                                --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "dldavis007"
                                <dldavis007@h...> wrote:
                                > Hey Rob,
                                >
                                > I've seen enough Trinity arguments to realize that neither side
                                ever
                                > convinces the other side that their view is correct. I usually try
                                > to avoid them. I lean slightly toward the Trinity side, although I
                                > realize that the Trinity is a paradox. But, I believe that the two-
                                > god issue also presents a paradox. So in essences it's a choice
                                > between accepting one paradox (two gods) or the other paradox
                                > (Trinity).
                                >
                                > Actually I lean toward the disbelief side, but that's another
                                subject.
                                >
                                > Anyway, I'll give it a shot and discuss it with you.
                                >
                                > First I'll take everything out of context and then take it to the
                                > extreme just to get your reaction.
                                >
                                > In the beginning was the Word. The Word is Emanuel. Who of course
                                is
                                > Michael. Who of course is a mighty God.
                                >
                                > Now the Word, Emanuel, Michael who was a mighty god became re-
                                > incarnated into the child of Mary and Jehovah (or Elohim, or El-
                                > Shaddai) by means of the Holy Spirit, and became know by the name
                                > Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Messiah.
                                >
                                > He was also an heir to King David, but he did not inherit Adamic
                                Sin.
                                >
                                > After awhile the Jews killed him, and now he is once again the
                                spirit
                                > creature, the Word, Emanuel, Michael, a mighty god, Jesus Christ,
                                the
                                > Son of God, the Son of Man, the Messiah.
                                >
                                > He is a god, but of course he is not THE God, because there is only
                                > one God. This is because men can be called gods therefore Jesus
                                (aka,
                                > the Word, Emanuel, Michael, a mighty god, the Christ, the son of
                                God,
                                > the Son of Man, the Messiah) can be called a god. But remember
                                there
                                > is only one God.
                                >
                                > If anyone can accept this, why not the Trinity?
                                >
                                > Darrell
                                >
                              • paul
                                ... It sounds like, from the way you are wording it at least, that you do not believe in a trinity at all. You say rightly that yes, there is the Father,
                                Message 15 of 27 , Jun 5, 2003
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                                  --- Serena <serenaj92@...> wrote:
                                  > I don't like calling it a Trinity because it just
                                  > doesn't sound as
                                  > accurate.
                                  > I thought for sure that Rob would copy and paste
                                  > what I wrote about
                                  > how I believed but I guess he's not going to.
                                  > I believe in the Triune God. 3 in Unity. You can't
                                  > have one without
                                  > the other and worshipping any other God besides the
                                  > Father is
                                  > forbidden. The Father is in Jesus. The Holy Spirit
                                  > comes from the
                                  > Father. Jesus baptizes with Holy Spirit. So a
                                  > Triunity is more
                                  > accurate.
                                  ------

                                  It sounds like, from the way you are wording it at
                                  least, that you do not believe in a "trinity" at all.
                                  You say rightly that yes, there is the Father, (whom
                                  we identify as YHWH/Jehovah), then there is his son,
                                  Jesus Christ, who can do nothing save what he is
                                  commanded to from his Father. Then there is the holy
                                  spirit, which is used to direct divine affairs on the
                                  behalf of God to mankind.
                                  From this vantage point, with this discription, I will
                                  have to say that this is also what Jehovah's Witnesses
                                  believe.
                                  If you were to go further and say that somehow the
                                  three were actually co-equal, powerful, knowledgable,
                                  etc...then we would have to go our separate ways as to
                                  our theological beliefs. I am now intrigued to learn
                                  fully your full feelings.
                                  Paul


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                                • dldavis007
                                  Oh well, so much for my half hearted attempt at defending the Trinity. As far as the Michael-Jesus connection, I believe that I can show that it s an
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Jun 5, 2003
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                                    Oh well, so much for my half hearted attempt at defending the Trinity.

                                    As far as the Michael-Jesus connection, I believe that I can show
                                    that it's an unreasonable claim.

                                    "Michael Christ" just doesn't sound right.

                                    Maybe later, right now I'm working on Paul's post concerning the
                                    Rapture. It should prove very interesting.

                                    Sincerely,

                                    Darrell



                                    --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Robert"
                                    <rob95425@y...> wrote:
                                    > Jesus, Emmanuel, and Michael are names. The Bible shows how one
                                    > person can have many names. Saul-Paul, Peter-Simon-Cephas. Each
                                    name
                                    > does not make a new man. During different stages in a mans life his
                                    > name might change. A child named Bobby may wish to be called Robert
                                    > as he gets older, and then in later life would rather just be
                                    called
                                    > Bob. Jesus/Emmanuel did not fit him until he became a human man
                                    (look
                                    > it up), so he was refered to as Michael(who is like God?). Who is
                                    > more like God than Jesus? So, he was refered to as Michael in his
                                    > prehuman form, and when he became human he was refered to as Jesus.
                                    >
                                    > the word, a mighty god, the Christ, the Son of God, the Son of Man,
                                    > and the Messiah are all titles. A man can have many titles, father,
                                    > son, brother, uncle, nephew, etc. As with each name, each title
                                    does
                                    > not make a new man.
                                    >
                                    > Trying to make Jesus a "polyinity" does not prove a trinity. It was
                                    > quite humorous though.
                                    > -Rob
                                  • paul
                                    ... ============ Actually, I posted the info concerning the rapture for the benefit of Serena. I noticed that recently she had inquired as to the Witnesses
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Jun 5, 2003
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                                      --- dldavis007 <dldavis007@...> wrote:
                                      > Oh well, so much for my half hearted attempt at
                                      > defending the Trinity.
                                      >
                                      > As far as the Michael-Jesus connection, I believe
                                      > that I can show
                                      > that it's an unreasonable claim.
                                      >
                                      > "Michael Christ" just doesn't sound right.
                                      >
                                      > Maybe later, right now I'm working on Paul's post
                                      > concerning the
                                      > Rapture. It should prove very interesting.
                                      >
                                      > Sincerely,
                                      >
                                      > Darrell
                                      ============

                                      Actually,
                                      I posted the info concerning the 'rapture' for the
                                      benefit of Serena. I noticed that recently she had
                                      inquired as to the Witnesses view of the rapture in
                                      comparison to what some of the other religions held.
                                      However, if you wish a reply, I am sure all would
                                      appreciate another angle.

                                      I will be on a mini vacation so will not be online for
                                      quite a few days. See y'all on the other side.
                                      Paul

                                      __________________________________
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                                    • Serena
                                      I thought Micheal was Jesus first in command. If Micheal was Jesus, then so is Gabriel, and the angels that all the people in the bible saw when they were
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Jun 6, 2003
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                                        I thought Micheal was Jesus' first in command. If Micheal was Jesus,
                                        then so is Gabriel, and the angels that all the people in the bible
                                        saw when they were visited by angels.
                                        I view the angels as an army. There are going to be some high
                                        ranking angels, Micheal is one of them. Just like the apostles were
                                        high ranking in the beginning of Christianity.
                                        That's just my oppinion. :)
                                        ~serena

                                        --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "dldavis007"
                                        <dldavis007@h...> wrote:
                                        > Oh well, so much for my half hearted attempt at defending the
                                        Trinity.
                                        >
                                        > As far as the Michael-Jesus connection, I believe that I can show
                                        > that it's an unreasonable claim.
                                        >
                                        > "Michael Christ" just doesn't sound right.
                                        >
                                        > Maybe later, right now I'm working on Paul's post concerning the
                                        > Rapture. It should prove very interesting.
                                        >
                                        > Sincerely,
                                        >
                                        > Darrell
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Robert"
                                        > <rob95425@y...> wrote:
                                        > > Jesus, Emmanuel, and Michael are names. The Bible shows how one
                                        > > person can have many names. Saul-Paul, Peter-Simon-Cephas. Each
                                        > name
                                        > > does not make a new man. During different stages in a mans life
                                        his
                                        > > name might change. A child named Bobby may wish to be called
                                        Robert
                                        > > as he gets older, and then in later life would rather just be
                                        > called
                                        > > Bob. Jesus/Emmanuel did not fit him until he became a human man
                                        > (look
                                        > > it up), so he was refered to as Michael(who is like God?). Who is
                                        > > more like God than Jesus? So, he was refered to as Michael in his
                                        > > prehuman form, and when he became human he was refered to as
                                        Jesus.
                                        > >
                                        > > the word, a mighty god, the Christ, the Son of God, the Son of
                                        Man,
                                        > > and the Messiah are all titles. A man can have many titles,
                                        father,
                                        > > son, brother, uncle, nephew, etc. As with each name, each title
                                        > does
                                        > > not make a new man.
                                        > >
                                        > > Trying to make Jesus a "polyinity" does not prove a trinity. It
                                        was
                                        > > quite humorous though.
                                        > > -Rob
                                      • Serena
                                        Paul wrote: It sounds like, from the way you are wording it at least, that you do not believe in a trinity at all. You say rightly that yes, there is the
                                        Message 19 of 27 , Jun 6, 2003
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                                          Paul wrote:
                                          It sounds like, from the way you are wording it at
                                          least, that you do not believe in a "trinity" at all.
                                          You say rightly that yes, there is the Father, (whom
                                          we identify as YHWH/Jehovah), then there is his son,
                                          Jesus Christ, who can do nothing save what he is
                                          commanded to from his Father. Then there is the holy
                                          spirit, which is used to direct divine affairs on the
                                          behalf of God to mankind.
                                          From this vantage point, with this discription, I will
                                          have to say that this is also what Jehovah's Witnesses
                                          believe.
                                          If you were to go further and say that somehow the
                                          three were actually co-equal, powerful, knowledgable,
                                          etc...then we would have to go our separate ways as to
                                          our theological beliefs. I am now intrigued to learn
                                          fully your full feelings.
                                          Paul

                                          Serena writes:
                                          On the contrary. I just put it in words you finally understood.
                                          When I have talked to some JWs in the past, they have a problem with
                                          saying Jesus' name, or they don't like connecting him to the Father
                                          at all. They are co-equal, powerful, knowledgable, etc. The Father
                                          releases Jesus to judge, the Father knows what date/time/etc he's
                                          going to do this, but Jesus knows the hearts of people and has felt
                                          their suffering. The Father won't do anything if the Son
                                          says, "Wait, there is one more person...." Powerful because Jesus
                                          was given this power by the Father. Co-equal, because we are under
                                          Christ, who is under the Father. We cannot go to the Father, unless
                                          we go to Christ first. There are many people today who pray to the
                                          Father, but do not honor the Son. In this, they will not be
                                          recognized in the Son's judgement that the Father has given the Son
                                          to do. When someone prays to Jesus, their prayers are also heard by
                                          the Father, for Jesus has said, "Matthew 11:27
                                          "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the
                                          Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and
                                          those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." ~NIV
                                          Matthew 10
                                          32 "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also
                                          confess him before My Father who is in heaven. ~NASB
                                          Revelation 3
                                          5 'He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I
                                          will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his
                                          name before My Father and before His angels. ~NASB

                                          Before you tell me differently, There is a formal and informal way to
                                          pray.
                                          I have heard so much negativity from JWs, not friends of mine, but
                                          they professed to be JWs say that a Triune God does not exsist and
                                          they do not want to talk about the deity of Jesus. Yet they call
                                          Jesus a God. ???
                                          One JW said, and I will quote, conserning Christ, "I don't mess with
                                          that!"
                                          I'm glad to hear that you guys don't think that way.
                                          ~serena
                                        • Ryck
                                          ... If anyone can accept this, why not the Trinity? ... The Trinity supposes that God is a triperson. Since it is inconceivable to me for God to have a
                                          Message 20 of 27 , Jun 7, 2003
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                                            --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "dldavis007"
                                            <dldavis007@h...> wrote:

                                            >>
                                            If anyone can accept this, why not the Trinity?
                                            >>

                                            The Trinity supposes that God is a triperson. Since it is
                                            inconceivable to me for God to have a multiple personality disorder,
                                            I don't bother with the Trinitarian headache. I'm one person. You
                                            are one person. God is one person. That's the normal way of viewing
                                            things. When I pray, I'm praying to one person, not three. I accept
                                            this very easily.

                                            :)

                                            .r.
                                          • Ryck
                                            ... The Father releases Jesus to judge, the Father knows what date/time/etc he s going to do this, but Jesus knows the hearts of people and has felt their
                                            Message 21 of 27 , Jun 7, 2003
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                                              --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, "Serena"
                                              <serenaj92@y...> wrote:
                                              >>
                                              The Father releases Jesus to judge, the Father knows what
                                              date/time/etc he's going to do this, but Jesus knows the hearts of
                                              people and has felt their suffering. The Father won't do anything
                                              if the Son says, "Wait, there is one more person...." Powerful
                                              because Jesus was given this power by the Father. Co-equal, because
                                              we are under Christ, who is under the Father.
                                              >>

                                              Some of this reminds me of:

                                              1. When Abraham was bargining with Jehovah for the salvation of
                                              Sondom if at least 10 righteous men were found in it. (Genesis 18)

                                              2. The account when the sun was kept motionless at the voice of
                                              Joshua. Here is one day that was extended because "Jehovah listened
                                              to the voice of a man, for Jehovah himself was fighting for Israel."
                                              (Joshua 10:4)

                                              Seems to me that Jehovah will delegate judgement to men if that
                                              suits His purpose. But in no way does that relieve Jehovah of the
                                              absolute authority He has.

                                              >>
                                              We cannot go to the Father, unless we go to Christ first. There are
                                              many people today who pray to the Father, but do not honor the Son.
                                              In this, they will not be recognized in the Son's judgement that the
                                              Father has given the Son to do.
                                              >>

                                              True that. Rather reminds me of provision the ancient Israelites had
                                              with regard to the temple and sacrifices which Jesus Christ was the
                                              culmination and fulfillment. Prior to Jesus's sacrifice, the
                                              Israelites can only get forgiveness and atonement for there sins by
                                              going to the priests and offering sacrifices at the temple.

                                              >>
                                              I have heard so much negativity from JWs, not friends of mine, but
                                              they professed to be JWs say that a Triune God does not exsist and
                                              they do not want to talk about the deity of Jesus. Yet they call
                                              Jesus a God. ??? One JW said, and I will quote, conserning
                                              Christ, "I don't mess with that!"
                                              >>

                                              Perhaps the negativity comes from the typical reactions that comes
                                              from Trinitarians. I have the feeling that many years ago, people
                                              who thought that the Earth was round and that the Sun, not the
                                              Earth, was the center of the solar system were indeed a minority and
                                              got more than a fair amount of backlash from majority who believed
                                              the opposite. I think those that believed in the Sun being the
                                              center of the solar system were both courageous and cautious at the
                                              same time. And it took many many years to overturn established dogma
                                              and the penalties of going against it. If you were believer of the
                                              heliocentric view of the earthly cosmos back in those days, what
                                              would you do? (grin)

                                              I think if passions are kept at a minimum and everybody keeps a cool
                                              and respectful heads on their shoulders, very good discussions will
                                              result.

                                              .r.
                                            • Serena
                                              ... cool ... Amen to that! ~Serena
                                              Message 22 of 27 , Jun 7, 2003
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                                                > I think if passions are kept at a minimum and everybody keeps a
                                                cool
                                                > and respectful heads on their shoulders, very good discussions will
                                                > result.
                                                >
                                                > .r.

                                                Amen to that!
                                                ~Serena
                                              • Punkish301@aol.com
                                                In a message dated 07/06/03 12:58:37 GMT Daylight Time, odracyr@hotmail.com writes:
                                                Message 23 of 27 , Jun 9, 2003
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                                                  In a message dated 07/06/03 12:58:37 GMT Daylight Time, odracyr@...
                                                  writes:

                                                  << I don't bother with the Trinitarian headache. I'm one person. You
                                                  are one person. God is one person. That's the normal way of viewing
                                                  things. When I pray, I'm praying to one person, not three. I accept
                                                  this very easily. >>

                                                  Sorry Ryck but God is not a "triperson", nor do any trinitarians define God
                                                  beginning with you and I being one person! Sure you accept it easily, but it
                                                  involves ignoring Jewish wisdom theology, which is less easy to ignore once you
                                                  know about it. Do you?

                                                  thanks,
                                                  from Guy
                                                • paul
                                                  ... Guy, This is twice recently that you have mentioned Jewish Wisdom Theology . Is this something new to you that you are wishing to advertise to this room?
                                                  Message 24 of 27 , Jun 9, 2003
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                                                    > << I don't bother with the Trinitarian headache. I'm
                                                    > one person. You
                                                    > are one person. God is one person. That's the
                                                    > normal way of viewing
                                                    > things. When I pray, I'm praying to one person, not
                                                    > three. I accept
                                                    > this very easily. >>
                                                    >
                                                    > Sorry Ryck but God is not a "triperson", nor do any
                                                    > trinitarians define God
                                                    > beginning with you and I being one person! Sure you
                                                    > accept it easily, but it
                                                    > involves ignoring Jewish wisdom theology, which is
                                                    > less easy to ignore once you
                                                    > know about it. Do you?
                                                    >
                                                    > thanks,
                                                    > from Guy
                                                    -------------------------

                                                    Guy,
                                                    This is twice recently that you have mentioned "Jewish
                                                    Wisdom Theology". Is this something new to you that
                                                    you are wishing to advertise to this room? I wonder
                                                    what it is about JWT that peaks your interests so.
                                                    You address your statements with a concern towards JWT
                                                    but have so far failed to reveal its' relevance
                                                    concerning your posts.
                                                    Are you sure you are not confusing JWT with the later
                                                    Logos Christologies?
                                                    I will give you a chance to respond to this, for I am
                                                    a little confused as to where you are heading.
                                                    Paul

                                                    Remember, the novel idea that Jesus was God would have
                                                    caused a major doctrinal upheaval deserving the most
                                                    comprehensive attention. It could not have crept
                                                    silently nor quietly into the minds of the jealously
                                                    and monotheistic Jewish apostolic community. A new
                                                    concept about the Deity of Jehovah God would have
                                                    certainly and of necessity provoked furious controversy.

                                                    __________________________________
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                                                    Yahoo! Calendar - Free online calendar with sync to Outlook(TM).
                                                    http://calendar.yahoo.com
                                                  • Ryck
                                                    ... Sorry Ryck but God is not a triperson , nor do any trinitarians define God beginning with you and I being one person! Sure you accept it easily, but it
                                                    Message 25 of 27 , Jun 11, 2003
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                                                      --- In jehovahswitnessesgathering@yahoogroups.com, Punkish301@a...
                                                      wrote:

                                                      >>
                                                      Sorry Ryck but God is not a "triperson", nor do any trinitarians
                                                      define God beginning with you and I being one person! Sure you
                                                      accept it easily, but it involves ignoring Jewish wisdom theology,
                                                      which is less easy to ignore once you know about it. Do you?
                                                      >>

                                                      You never sang the song "Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!" in
                                                      your church? I remember the song quite well in my youth. It is a
                                                      very catchy tune. The punchline verses of the song would end each
                                                      stanza with "God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity."

                                                      The Athanasian Creed says that the Father is one person, the Son is
                                                      another, and the Spirit is still another. But the deity of the
                                                      Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory, coeternal in
                                                      majesty. So having three persons but redefining them as one person
                                                      in a feat of mental gymnastics is suppose to make the difference and
                                                      make it alright? That's like me saying that I have three women in my
                                                      household. They are Mary, Sue, and Janet. They are each one person
                                                      but together they make one wife, one flesh, with me. And because of
                                                      that I'm not a polygamist. I'm not a practicer of a relationship
                                                      where I'm married to three women but I'm a monogamist because I
                                                      consider myself married to one wife in three women. Why do I say
                                                      I'm a monogamist? Because I said so and defined it as so, that's
                                                      why! (grin)

                                                      One other thing, please define "Jewish wisdom theology". What is
                                                      this you say I'm ignoring? And I'm curious how this "Jewish wisdom
                                                      theology" equates with the Trinity. As I understand Jewish history
                                                      and tradition, the Jews considered themselves strictly monotheistic
                                                      down to this day. To them YHWH is one God and there is no way to
                                                      slice Him in any number of ways.

                                                      Peace

                                                      .r.
                                                    • Serena
                                                      Where does the teachings of the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit being separate come from? Where does this teaching that the Father and Jesus are 2 separate
                                                      Message 26 of 27 , Jun 12, 2003
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                                                        Where does the teachings of the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit
                                                        being separate come from? Where does this teaching that the Father
                                                        and Jesus are 2 separate Gods come from?
                                                        I'm not talking about today's religions, but historically speaking.
                                                        Someone had to come up with this idea and then it spreads and things
                                                        get added on and removed throughout history.
                                                        ~Serena


                                                        Here's what I found: Arianism and Gnosticism
                                                        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/
                                                        Let me know if this is what your church's history explains it gets
                                                        it's beliefs from or is affiliated with or not.

                                                        Arianism
                                                        A heresy which arose in the fourth century, and denied the Divinity
                                                        of Jesus Christ.

                                                        DOCTRINE

                                                        First among the doctrinal disputes which troubled Christians after
                                                        Constantine had recognized the Church in A.D. 313, and the parent of
                                                        many more during some three centuries, Arianism occupies a large
                                                        place in ecclesiastical history. It is not a modern form of unbelief,
                                                        and therefore will appear strange in modern eyes. But we shall better
                                                        grasp its meaning if we term it an Eastern attempt to rationalize the
                                                        creed by stripping it of mystery so far as the relation of Christ to
                                                        God was concerned. In the New Testament and in Church teaching Jesus
                                                        of Nazareth appears as the Son of God. This name He took to Himself
                                                        (Matthew 11:27; John 10:36), while the Fourth Gospel declares Him to
                                                        be the Word (Logos), Who in the beginning was with God and was God,
                                                        by Whom all things were made. A similar doctrine is laid down by St.
                                                        Paul, in his undoubtedly genuine Epistles to the Ephesians,
                                                        Colossians, and Philippians. It is reiterated in the Letters of
                                                        Ignatius, and accounts for Pliny's observation that Christians in
                                                        their assemblies chanted a hymn to Christ as God. But the question
                                                        how the Son was related to the Father (Himself acknowledged on all
                                                        hands to be the one Supreme Deity), gave rise, between the years A.D.
                                                        60 and 200, to a number of Theosophic systems, called generally
                                                        Gnosticism, and having for their authors Basilides, Valentinus,
                                                        Tatian, and other Greek speculators. Though all of these visited
                                                        Rome, they had no following in the West, which remained free from
                                                        controversies of an abstract nature, and was faithful to the creed of
                                                        its baptism. Intellectual centres were chiefly Alexandria and
                                                        Antioch, Egyptian or Syrian, and speculation was carried on in Greek.
                                                        The Roman Church held steadfastly by tradition. Under these
                                                        circumstances, when Gnostic schools had passed away with
                                                        their "conjugations" of Divine powers, and "emanations" from the
                                                        Supreme unknowable God (the "Deep" and the "Silence") all speculation
                                                        was thrown into the form of an inquiry touching the "likeness" of the
                                                        Son to His Father and "sameness" of His Essence. Catholics had always
                                                        maintained that Christ was truly the Son, and truly God. They
                                                        worshipped Him with divine honours; they would never consent to
                                                        separate Him, in idea or reality, from the Father, Whose Word,
                                                        Reason, Mind, He was, and in Whose Heart He abode from eternity. But
                                                        the technical terms of doctrine were not fully defined; and even in
                                                        Greek words like essence (ousia), substance (hypostasis), nature
                                                        (physis), person (hyposopon) bore a variety of meanings drawn from
                                                        the pre-Christian sects of philosophers, which could not but entail
                                                        misunderstandings until they were cleared up. The adaptation of a
                                                        vocabulary employed by Plato and Aristotle to Christian truth was a
                                                        matter of time; it could not be done in a day; and when accomplished
                                                        for the Greek it had to be undertaken for the Latin, which did not
                                                        lend itself readily to necessary yet subtle distinctions. That
                                                        disputes should spring up even among the orthodox who all held one
                                                        faith, was inevitable. And of these wranglings the rationalist would
                                                        take advantage in order to substitute for the ancient creed his own
                                                        inventions. The drift of all he advanced was this: to deny that in
                                                        any true sense God could have a Son; as Mohammed tersely said
                                                        afterwards, "God neither begets, nor is He begotten" (Koran, 112). We
                                                        have learned to call that denial Unitarianism. It was the ultimate
                                                        scope of Arian opposition to what Christians had always believed. But
                                                        the Arian, though he did not come straight down from the Gnostic,
                                                        pursued a line of argument and taught a view which the speculations
                                                        of the Gnostic had made familiar. He described the Son as a second,
                                                        or inferior God, standing midway between the First Cause and
                                                        creatures; as Himself made out of nothing, yet as making all things
                                                        else; as existing before the worlds of the ages; and as arrayed in
                                                        all divine perfections except the one which was their stay and
                                                        foundation. God alone was without beginning, unoriginate; the Son was
                                                        originated, and once had not existed. For all that has origin must
                                                        begin to be.

                                                        Such is the genuine doctrine of Arius. Using Greek terms, it denies
                                                        that the Son is of one essence, nature, or substance with God; He is
                                                        not consubstantial (homoousios) with the Father, and therefore not
                                                        like Him, or equal in dignity, or co-eternal, or within the real
                                                        sphere of Deity. The Logos which St. John exalts is an attribute,
                                                        Reason, belonging to the Divine nature, not a person distinct from
                                                        another, and therefore is a Son merely in figure of speech. These
                                                        consequences follow upon the principle which Arius maintains in his
                                                        letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia, that the Son "is no part of the
                                                        Ingenerate." Hence the Arian sectaries who reasoned logically were
                                                        styled Anomoeans: they said that the Son was "unlike" the Father. And
                                                        they defined God as simply the Unoriginate. They are also termed the
                                                        Exucontians (ex ouk onton), because they held the creation of the Son
                                                        to be out of nothing.

                                                        But a view so unlike tradition found little favour; it required
                                                        softening or palliation, even at the cost of logic; and the school
                                                        which supplanted Arianism form an early date affirmed the likeness,
                                                        either without adjunct, or in all things, or in substance, of the Son
                                                        to the Father, while denying His co-equal dignity and co-eternal
                                                        existence. These men of the Via Media were named Semi-Arians. They
                                                        approached, in strict argument, to the heretical extreme; but many of
                                                        them held the orthodox faith, however inconsistently; their
                                                        difficulties turned upon language or local prejudice, and no small
                                                        number submitted at length to Catholic teaching. The Semi-Arians
                                                        attempted for years to invent a compromise between irreconcilable
                                                        views, and their shifting creeds, tumultuous councils, and worldly
                                                        devices tell us how mixed and motley a crowd was collected under
                                                        their banner. The point to be kept in remembrance is that, while they
                                                        affirmed the Word of God to be everlasting, they imagined Him as
                                                        having become the Son to create the worlds and redeem mankind. Among
                                                        the ante-Nicene writers, a certain ambiguity of expression may be
                                                        detected, outside the school of Alexandria, touching this last head
                                                        of doctrine. While Catholic teachers held the Monarchia, viz. that
                                                        there was only one God; and the Trinity, that this Absolute One
                                                        existed in three distinct subsistences; and the Circuminession, that
                                                        Father, Word, and Spirit could not be separated, in fact or in
                                                        thought, from one another; yet an opening was left for discussion as
                                                        regarded the term "Son," and the period of His "generation"
                                                        (gennesis). Five ante-Nicene Fathers are especially quoted:
                                                        Athenagoras, Tatian, Theophilus of Antioch, Hippolytus, and Novatian,
                                                        whose language appears to involve a peculiar notion of Sonship, as
                                                        though It did not come into being or were not perfect until the dawn
                                                        of creation. To these may be added Tertullian and Methodius. Cardinal
                                                        Newman held that their view, which is found clearly in Tertullian, of
                                                        the Son existing after the Word, is connected as an antecedent with
                                                        Arianism. Petavius construed the same expressions in a reprehensible
                                                        sense; but the Anglican Bishop Bull defended them as orthodox, not
                                                        without difficulty. Even if metaphorical, such language might give
                                                        shelter to unfair disputants; but we are not answerable for the slips
                                                        of teachers who failed to perceive all the consequences of doctrinal
                                                        truths really held by them. >From these doubtful theorizings Rome and
                                                        Alexandria kept aloof. Origen himself, whose unadvised speculations
                                                        were charged with the guilt of Arianism, and who employed terms
                                                        like "the second God," concerning the Logos, which were never adopted
                                                        by the Church -- this very Origen taught the eternal Sonship of the
                                                        Word, and was not a Semi-Arian. To him the Logos, the Son, and Jesus
                                                        of Nazareth were one ever-subsisting Divine Person, begotten of the
                                                        Father, and, in this way, "subordinate" to the source of His being.
                                                        He comes forth from God as the creative Word, and so is a ministering
                                                        Agent, or, from a different point of view, is the First-born of
                                                        creation. Dionysius of Alexandria (260) was even denounced at Rome
                                                        for calling the Son a work or creature of God; but he explained
                                                        himself to the pope on orthodox principles, and confessed the
                                                        Homoousian Creed.

                                                        HISTORY

                                                        Paul of Samosata, who was contemporary with Dionysius, and Bishop of
                                                        Antioch, may be judged the true ancestor of those heresies which
                                                        relegated Christ beyond the Divine sphere, whatever epithets of deity
                                                        they allowed Him. The man Jesus, said Paul, was distinct from the
                                                        Logos, and, in Milton's later language, by merit was made the Son of
                                                        God. The Supreme is one in Person as in Essence. Three councils held
                                                        at Antioch (264-268, or 269) condemned and excommunicated the
                                                        Samosatene. But these Fathers would not accept the Homoousian
                                                        formula, dreading lest it be taken to signify one material or
                                                        abstract substance, according to the usage of the heathen
                                                        philosophies. Associated with Paul, and for years cut off from the
                                                        Catholic communion, we find the well-known Lucian, who edited the
                                                        Septuagint and became at last a martyr. From this learned man the
                                                        school of Antioch drew its inspiration. Eusebius the historian,
                                                        Eusebius of Nicomedia, and Arius himself, all came under Lucian's
                                                        influence. Not, therefore, to Egypt and its mystical teaching, but to
                                                        Syria, where Aristotle flourished with his logic and its tendency to
                                                        Rationalism, should we look for the home of an aberration which had
                                                        it finally triumphed, would have anticipated Islam, reducing the
                                                        Eternal Son to the rank of a prophet, and thus undoing the Christian
                                                        revelation.

                                                        Arius, a Libyan by descent, brought up at Antioch and a school-fellow
                                                        of Eusebius, afterwards Bishop of Nicomedia, took part (306) in the
                                                        obscure Meletian schism, was made presbyter of the church
                                                        called "Baucalis," at Alexandria, and opposed the Sabellians,
                                                        themselves committed to a view of the Trinity which denied all real
                                                        distinctions in the Supreme. Epiphanius describes the heresiarch as
                                                        tall, grave, and winning; no aspersion on his moral character has
                                                        been sustained; but there is some possibility of personal differences
                                                        having led to his quarrel with the patriarch Alexander whom, in
                                                        public synod, he accused of teaching that the Son was identical with
                                                        the Father (319). The actual circumstances of this dispute are
                                                        obscure; but Alexander condemned Arius in a great assembly, and the
                                                        latter found a refuge with Eusebius, the Church historian, at
                                                        Caesarea. Political or party motives embittered the strife. Many
                                                        bishops of Asia Minor and Syria took up the defence of their "fellow-
                                                        Lucianist," as Arius did not hesitate to call himself. Synods in
                                                        Palestine and Bithynia were opposed to synods in Egypt. During
                                                        several years the argument raged; but when, by his defeat of Licinius
                                                        (324), Constantine became master of the Roman world, he determined on
                                                        restoring ecclesiastical order in the East, as already in the West he
                                                        had undertaken to put down the Donatists at the Council of Arles.
                                                        Arius, in a letter to the Nicomedian prelate, had boldly rejected the
                                                        Catholic faith. But Constantine, tutored by this worldly-minded man,
                                                        sent from Nicomedia to Alexander a famous letter, in which he treated
                                                        the controversy as an idle dispute about words and enlarged on the
                                                        blessings of peace. The emperor, we should call to mind, was only a
                                                        catechumen, imperfectly acquainted with Greek, much more incompetent
                                                        in theology, and yet ambitious to exercise over the Catholic Church a
                                                        dominion resembling that which, as Pontifex Maximus, he wielded over
                                                        the pagan worship. From this Byzantine conception (labelled in modern
                                                        terms Erastianism) we must derive the calamities which during many
                                                        hundreds of years set their mark on the development of Christian
                                                        dogma. Alexander could not give way in a matter so vitally important.
                                                        Arius and his supporters would not yield. A council was, therefore,
                                                        assembled in Nicaea, in Bithynia, which has ever been counted the
                                                        first ecumenical, and which held its sittings from the middle of
                                                        June, 325. (See FIRST COUNCIL OF NICAEA). It is commonly said that
                                                        Hosius of Cordova presided. The Pope, St. Silvester, was represented
                                                        by his legates, and 318 Fathers attended, almost all from the East.
                                                        Unfortunately, the acts of the Council are not preserved. The
                                                        emperor, who was present, paid religious deference to a gathering
                                                        which displayed the authority of Christian teaching in a manner so
                                                        remarkable. From the first it was evident that Arius could not reckon
                                                        upon a large number of patrons among the bishops. Alexander was
                                                        accompanied by his youthful deacon, the ever-memorable Athanasius who
                                                        engaged in discussion with the heresiarch himself, and from that
                                                        moment became the leader of the Catholics during well-nigh fifty
                                                        years. The Fathers appealed to tradition against the innovators, and
                                                        were passionately orthodox; while a letter was received from Eusebius
                                                        of Nicomedia, declaring openly that he would never allow Christ to be
                                                        of one substance with God. This avowal suggested a means of
                                                        discriminating between true believers and all those who, under that
                                                        pretext, did not hold the Faith handed down. A creed was drawn up on
                                                        behalf of the Arian party by Eusebius of Caesarea in which every term
                                                        of honour and dignity, except the oneness of substance, was
                                                        attributed to Our Lord. Clearly, then, no other test save the
                                                        Homoousion would prove a match for the subtle ambiguities of language
                                                        that, then as always, were eagerly adopted by dissidents from the
                                                        mind of the Church. A formula had been discovered which would serve
                                                        as a test, though not simply to be found in Scripture, yet summing up
                                                        the doctrine of St. John, St. Paul, and Christ Himself, "I and the
                                                        Father are one". Heresy, as St. Ambrose remarks, had furnished from
                                                        its own scabbard a weapon to cut off its head. The "consubstantial"
                                                        was accepted, only thirteen bishops dissenting, and these were
                                                        speedily reduced to seven. Hosius drew out the conciliar statements,
                                                        to which anathemas were subjoined against those who should affirm
                                                        that the Son once did not exist, or that before He was begotten He
                                                        was not, or that He was made out of nothing, or that He was of a
                                                        different substance or essence from the Father, or was created or
                                                        changeable. Every bishop made this declaration except six, of whom
                                                        four at length gave way. Eusebius of Nicomedia withdrew his
                                                        opposition to the Nicene term, but would not sign the condemnation of
                                                        Arius. By the emperor, who considered heresy as rebellion, the
                                                        alternative proposed was subscription or banishment; and, on
                                                        political grounds, the Bishop of Nicomedia was exiled not long after
                                                        the council, involving Arius in his ruin. The heresiarch and his
                                                        followers underwent their sentence in Illyria. But these incidents,
                                                        which might seem to close the chapter, proved a beginning of strife,
                                                        and led on to the most complicated proceedings of which we read in
                                                        the fourth century. While the plain Arian creed was defended by few,
                                                        those political prelates who sided with Eusebius carried on a double
                                                        warfare against the term "consubstantial", and its champion,
                                                        Athanasius. This greatest of the Eastern Fathers had succeeded
                                                        Alexander in the Egyptian patriarchate (326). He was not more than
                                                        thirty years of age; but his published writings, antecedent to the
                                                        Council, display, in thought and precision, a mastery of the issues
                                                        involved which no Catholic teacher could surpass. His unblemished
                                                        life, considerate temper, and loyalty to his friends made him by no
                                                        means easy to attack. But the wiles of Eusebius, who in 328 recovered
                                                        Constantine's favour, were seconded by Asiatic intrigues, and a
                                                        period of Arian reaction set in. Eustathius of Antioch was deposed on
                                                        a charge of Sabellianism (331), and the Emperor sent his command that
                                                        Athanasius should receive Arius back into communion. The saint firmly
                                                        declined. In 325 the heresiarch was absolved by two councils, at Tyre
                                                        and Jerusalem, the former of which deposed Athanasius on false and
                                                        shameful grounds of personal misconduct. He was banished to Trier,
                                                        and his sojourn of eighteen months in those parts cemented Alexandria
                                                        more closely to Rome and the Catholic West. Meanwhile, Constantia,
                                                        the Emperor's sister, had recommended Arius, whom she thought an
                                                        injured man, to Constantine's leniency. Her dying words affected him,
                                                        and he recalled the Lybian, extracted from him a solemn adhesion to
                                                        the Nicene faith, and ordered Alexander, Bishop of the Imperial City,
                                                        to give him Communion in his own church (336). Arius openly
                                                        triumphed; but as he went about in parade, the evening before this
                                                        event was to take place, he expired from a sudden disorder, which
                                                        Catholics could not help regarding as a judgment of heaven, due to
                                                        the bishop's prayers. His death, however, did not stay the plague.
                                                        Constantine now favoured none but Arians; he was baptized in his last
                                                        moments by the shifty prelate of Nicomedia; and he bequeathed to his
                                                        three sons (337) an empire torn by dissensions which his ignorance
                                                        and weakness had aggravated.

                                                        Constantius, who nominally governed the East, was himself the puppet
                                                        of his empress and the palace-ministers. He obeyed the Eusebian
                                                        faction; his spiritual director, Valens, Bishop of Mursa, did what in
                                                        him lay to infect Italy and the West with Arian dogmas. The
                                                        term "like in substance", Homoiousion, which had been employed merely
                                                        to get rid of the Nicene formula, became a watchword. But as many as
                                                        fourteen councils, held between 341 and 360, in which every shade of
                                                        heretical subterfuge found expression, bore decisive witness to the
                                                        need and efficacy of the Catholic touchstone which they all rejected.
                                                        About 340, an Alexandrian gathering had defended its archbishop in an
                                                        epistle to Pope Julius. On the death of Constantine, and by the
                                                        influence of that emperor's son and namesake, he had been restored to
                                                        his people. But the young prince passed away, and in 341 the
                                                        celebrated Antiochene Council of the Dedication a second time
                                                        degraded Athanasius, who now took refuge in Rome. There he spent
                                                        three years. Gibbon quotes and adopts "a judicious observation" of
                                                        Wetstein which deserves to be kept always in mind. From the fourth
                                                        century onwards, remarks the German scholar, when the Eastern
                                                        Churches were almost equally divided in eloquence and ability between
                                                        contending sections, that party which sought to overcome made its
                                                        appearance in the Vatican, cultivated the Papal majesty, conquered
                                                        and established the orthodox creed by the help of the Latin bishops.
                                                        Therefore it was that Athanasius repaired to Rome. A stranger,
                                                        Gregory, usurped his place. The Roman Council proclaimed his
                                                        innocence. In 343, Constans, who ruled over the West from Illyria to
                                                        Britain, summoned the bishops to meet at Sardica in Pannonia. Ninety-
                                                        four Latin, seventy Greek or Eastern, prelates began the debates; but
                                                        they could not come to terms, and the Asiatics withdrew, holding a
                                                        separate and hostile session at Philippopolis in Thrace. It has been
                                                        justly said that the Council of Sardica reveals the first symptoms of
                                                        discord which, later on, produced the unhappy schism of East and
                                                        West. But to the Latins this meeting, which allowed of appeals to
                                                        Pope Julius, or the Roman Church, seemed an epilogue which completed
                                                        the Nicene legislation, and to this effect it was quoted by Innocent
                                                        I in his correspondence with the bishops of Africa.

                                                        Having won over Constans, who warmly took up his cause, the
                                                        invincible Athanasius received from his Oriental and Semi-Arian
                                                        sovereign three letters commanding, and at length entreating his
                                                        return to Alexandria (349). The factious bishops, Ursacius and
                                                        Valens, retracted their charges against him in the hands of Pope
                                                        Julius; and as he travelled home, by way of Thrace, Asia Minor, and
                                                        Syria, the crowd of court-prelates did him abject homage. These men
                                                        veered with every wind. Some, like Eusebius of Caesarea, held a
                                                        Platonizing doctrine which they would not give up, though they
                                                        declined the Arian blasphemies. But many were time-servers,
                                                        indifferent to dogma. And a new party had arisen, the strict and
                                                        pious Homoiousians, not friends of Athanasius, nor willing to
                                                        subscribe to the Nicene terms, yet slowly drawing nearer to the true
                                                        creed and finally accepting it. In the councils which now follow
                                                        these good men play their part. However, when Constans died (350),
                                                        and his Semi-Arian brother was left supreme, the persecution of
                                                        Athanasius redoubled in violence. By a series of intrigues the
                                                        Western bishops were persuaded to cast him off at Arles, Milan,
                                                        Ariminum. It was concerning this last council (359) that St. Jerome
                                                        wrote, "the whole world groaned and marvelled to find itself Arian".
                                                        For the Latin bishops were driven by threats and chicanery to sign
                                                        concessions which at no time represented their genuine views.
                                                        Councils were so frequent that their dates are still matter of
                                                        controversy. Personal issues disguised the dogmatic importance of a
                                                        struggle which had gone on for thirty years. The Pope of the day,
                                                        Liberius, brave at first, undoubtedly orthodox, but torn from his see
                                                        and banished to the dreary solitude of Thrace, signed a creed, in
                                                        tone Semi-Arian (compiled chiefly from one of Sirmium), renounced
                                                        Athanasius, but made a stand against the so-called "Homoean" formulae
                                                        of Ariminum. This new party was led by Acacius of Caesarea, an
                                                        aspiring churchman who maintained that he, and not St. Cyril of
                                                        Jerusalem, was metropolitan over Palestine. The Homoeans, a sort of
                                                        Protestants, would have no terms employed which were not found in
                                                        Scripture, and thus evaded signing the "Consubstantial". A more
                                                        extreme set, the "Anomoeans", followed Aetius, were directed by
                                                        Eunomius, held meetings at Antioch and Sirmium, declared the Son to
                                                        be "unlike" the Father, and made themselves powerful in the last
                                                        years of Constantius within the palace. George of Cappadocia
                                                        persecuted the Alexandrian Catholics. Athanasius retired into the
                                                        desert among the solitaries. Hosius had been compelled by torture to
                                                        subscribe a fashionable creed. When the vacillating Emperor died
                                                        (361), Julian, known as the Apostate, suffered all alike to return
                                                        home who had been exiled on account of religion. A momentous
                                                        gathering, over which Athanasius presided, in 362, at Alexandria,
                                                        united the orthodox Semi-Arians with himself and the West. Four years
                                                        afterwards fifty-nine Macedonian, i.e., hitherto anti-Nicene,
                                                        prelates gave in their submission to Pope Liberius. But the Emperor
                                                        Valens, a fierce heretic, still laid the Church waste.

                                                        However, the long battle was now turning decidedly in favour of
                                                        Catholic tradition. Western bishops, like Hilary of Poitiers and
                                                        Eusebius of Vercellae banished to Asia for holding the Nicene faith,
                                                        were acting in unison with St. Basil, the two St. Gregories [of Nyssa
                                                        and Nazianzus --Ed.], and the reconciled Semi-Arians. As an
                                                        intellectual movement the heresy had spent its force. Theodosius, a
                                                        Spaniard and a Catholic, governed the whole Empire. Athanasius died
                                                        in 373; but his cause triumphed at Constantinople, long an Arian
                                                        city, first by the preaching of St. Gregory Nazianzen, then in the
                                                        Second General Council (381), at the opening of which Meletius of
                                                        Antioch presided. This saintly man had been estranged from the Nicene
                                                        champions during a long schism; but he made peace with Athanasius,
                                                        and now, in company of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, represented a moderate
                                                        influence which won the day. No deputies appeared from the West.
                                                        Meletius died almost immediately. St. Gregory Nazianzen, who took his
                                                        place, very soon resigned. A creed embodying the Nicene was drawn up
                                                        by St. Gregory of Nyssa, but it is not the one that is chanted at
                                                        Mass, the latter being due, it is said, to St. Epiphanius and the
                                                        Church of Jerusalem. The Council became ecumenical by acceptance of
                                                        the Pope and the ever-orthodox Westerns. From this moment Arianism in
                                                        all its forms lost its place within the Empire. Its developments
                                                        among the barbarians were political rather than doctrinal. Ulphilas
                                                        (311-388), who translated the Scriptures into Maeso-Gothic, taught
                                                        the Goths across the Danube an Homoean theology; Arian kingdoms arose
                                                        in Spain, Africa, Italy. The Gepidae, Heruli, Vandals, Alans, and
                                                        Lombards received a system which they were as little capable of
                                                        understanding as they were of defending, and the Catholic bishops,
                                                        the monks, the sword of Clovis, the action of the Papacy, made an end
                                                        of it before the eighth century. In the form which it took under
                                                        Arius, Eusebius of Caesarea, and Eunomius, it has never been revived.
                                                        Individuals, among them are Milton and Sir Isasc Newton, were perhaps
                                                        tainted with it. But the Socinian tendency out of which Unitarian
                                                        doctrines have grown owes nothing to the school of Antioch or the
                                                        councils which opposed Nicaea. Neither has any Arian leader stood
                                                        forth in history with a character of heroic proportions. In the whole
                                                        story there is but one single hero -- the undaunted Athanasius --
                                                        whose mind was equal to the problems, as his great spirit to the
                                                        vicissitudes, a question on which the future of Christianity
                                                        depended.

                                                        ______________________________________________________________________

                                                        Gnosticism
                                                        The doctrine of salvation by knowledge. This definition, based on the
                                                        etymology of the word (gnosis "knowledge", gnostikos, "good at
                                                        knowing"), is correct as far as it goes, but it gives only one,
                                                        though perhaps the predominant, characteristic of Gnostic systems of
                                                        thought. Whereas Judaism and Christianity, and almost all pagan
                                                        systems, hold that the soul attains its proper end by obedience of
                                                        mind and will to the Supreme Power, i.e. by faith and works, it is
                                                        markedly peculiar to Gnosticism that it places the salvation of the
                                                        soul merely in the possession of a quasi-intuitive knowledge of the
                                                        mysteries of the universe and of magic formulae indicative of that
                                                        knowledge. Gnostics were "people who knew", and their knowledge at
                                                        once constituted them a superior class of beings, whose present and
                                                        future status was essentially different from that of those who, for
                                                        whatever reason, did not know. A more complete and historical
                                                        definition of Gnosticism would be:


                                                        A collective name for a large number of greatly-varying and
                                                        pantheistic-idealistic sects, which flourished from some time before
                                                        the Christian Era down to the fifth century, and which, while
                                                        borrowing the phraseology and some of the tenets of the chief
                                                        religions of the day, and especially of Christianity, held matter to
                                                        be a deterioration of spirit, and the whole universe a depravation of
                                                        the Deity, and taught the ultimate end of all being to be the
                                                        overcoming of the grossness of matter and the return to the Parent-
                                                        Spirit, which return they held to be inaugurated and facilitated by
                                                        the appearance of some God-sent Saviour.
                                                        However unsatisfactory this definition may be, the obscurity,
                                                        multiplicity, and wild confusion of Gnostic systems will hardly allow
                                                        of another. Many scholars, moreover, would hold that every attempt to
                                                        give a generic description of Gnostic sects is labour lost.

                                                        ORIGIN

                                                        The beginnings of Gnosticism have long been a matter of controversy
                                                        and are still largely a subject of research. The more these origins
                                                        are studied, the farther they seem to recede in the past. Whereas
                                                        formerly Gnosticism was considered mostly a corruption of
                                                        Christianity, it now seems clear that the first traces of Gnostic
                                                        systems can be discerned some centuries before the Christian Era. Its
                                                        Eastern origin was already maintained by Gieseler and Neander; F. Ch.
                                                        Bauer (1831) and Lassen (1858) sought to prove its relation to the
                                                        religions of India; Lipsius (1860) pointed to Syria and Phoenicia as
                                                        its home, and Hilgenfeld (1884) thought it was connected with later
                                                        Mazdeism. Joel (1880), Weingarten (1881), Koffmane (1881), Anrich
                                                        (1894), and Wobbermin (1896) sought to account for the rise of
                                                        Gnosticism by the influence of Greek Platonic philosophy and the
                                                        Greek mysteries, while Harnack described it as "acute Hellenization
                                                        of Christianity". For the past twenty-five years, however, the trend
                                                        of scholarship has steadily moved towards proving the pre-Christian
                                                        Oriental origins of Gnosticism. At the Fifth Congress of Orientalists
                                                        (Berlin, 1882) Kessler brought out the connection between Gnosis and
                                                        the Babylonian religion. By this latter name, however, he meant not
                                                        the original religion of Babylonia, but the syncretistic relgion
                                                        which arose after the conquest of Cyrus. The same idea is brought out
                                                        in his "Mani" seven years later. In the same year F.W. Brandt
                                                        published his "Mandiäische Religion". This Mandaean religion is so
                                                        unmistakably a form of Gnosticism that it seems beyond doubt that
                                                        Gnosticism existed independent of, and anterior to, Christianity. In
                                                        more recent years (1897) Wilhelm Anz pointed out the close similarity
                                                        between Babylonian astrology and the Gnostic theories of the Hebdomad
                                                        and Ogdoad. Though in many instances speculations on the Babylonian
                                                        Astrallehre have gone beyond all sober scholarship, yet in this
                                                        particular instance the inferences made by Anz seem sound and
                                                        reliable. Researches in the same direction were continued and
                                                        instituted on a wider scale by W. Bousset, in 1907, and led to
                                                        carefully ascertained results. In 1898 the attempt was made by M.
                                                        Friedländer to trace Gnosticism in pre-Christian Judaism. His opinion
                                                        that the Rabbinic term Minnim designated not Christians, as was
                                                        commonly believed, but Antinomian Gostics, has not found universal
                                                        acceptance. In fact, E. Schürer brought sufficient proof to show that
                                                        Minnim is the exact Armaean dialectic equivalent for ethne.
                                                        Nevertheless Friedländer's essay retains its value in tracing strong
                                                        antinomian tendencies with Gnostic colouring on Jewish soil. Not a
                                                        few scholars have laboured to find the source of Gnostic theories on
                                                        Hellenistic and, specifically, Alexandrian soil. In 1880 Joel sought
                                                        to prove that the germ of all Gnostic theories was to be found in
                                                        Plato. Though this may be dismissed as an exaggeration, some Greek
                                                        influence on the birth, but especially on the growth, of Gnosticism
                                                        cannot be denied. In Trismegistic literature, as pointed out by
                                                        Reitzenstein (Poimandres, 1904), we find much that is strangely akin
                                                        to Gnosticism. Its Egyptian origin was defended by E. Amélineau, in
                                                        1887, and illustrated by A. Dietrich, in 1891 (Abraxas Studien) and
                                                        1903 (Mithrasliturgie). The relation of Plotinus's philosophy to
                                                        Gnosticsm was brought out by C. Schmidt in 1901. That Alexandrian
                                                        thought had some share at least in the development of Christian
                                                        Gnosticism is clear from the fact that the bulk of Gnostic literature
                                                        which we possess comes to us from Egyptian (Coptic) sources. That
                                                        this share was not a predominant one is, however, acknowledged by O.
                                                        Gruppe in his "Griechische Mythologie und Religionsgeschichte"
                                                        (1902). It is true that the Greek mysteries, as G. Anrich pointed out
                                                        in 1894, had much in common with esoteric Gnosticism; but there
                                                        remains the further question, in how far these Greek mysteries, as
                                                        they are known to us, were the genuine product of Greek thought, and
                                                        not much rather due to the overpowering influence of Orientalism.

                                                        Although the origins of Gnosticism are still largely enveloped in
                                                        obscurity, so much light has been shed on the problem by the combined
                                                        labours of many scholars that it is possible to give the following
                                                        tentative solution: Although Gnosticism may at first sight appear a
                                                        mere thoughtless syncretism of well nigh all religious systems in
                                                        antiquity, it has in reality one deep root-principle, which
                                                        assimilated in every soil what is needed for its life and growth;
                                                        this principle is philosophical and religious pessimism. The
                                                        Gnostics, it is true, borrowed their terminology almost entirely from
                                                        existing religions, but they only used it to illustrate their great
                                                        idea of the essential evil of this present existence and the duty to
                                                        escape it by the help of magic spells and a superhuman Saviour.
                                                        Whatever they borrowed, this pessimism they did not borrow -- not
                                                        from Greek thought, which was a joyous acknowledgment of and homage
                                                        to the beautiful and noble in this world, with a studied disregard of
                                                        the element of sorrow; not from Egyptian thought, which did not allow
                                                        its elaborate speculations on retribution and judgment in the
                                                        netherworld to cast a gloom on this present existence, but considered
                                                        the universe created or evolved under the presiding wisdom of Thoth;
                                                        not from Iranian thought, which held to the absolute supremacy of
                                                        Ahura Mazda and only allowed Ahriman a subordinate share in the
                                                        creation, or rather counter-creation, of the world; not from Indian
                                                        Brahminic thought, which was Pantheism pure and simple, or God
                                                        dwelling in, nay identified with, the universe, rather than the
                                                        Universe existing as the contradictory of God; not, lastly, from
                                                        Semitic thought, for Semitic religions were strangely reticent as to
                                                        the fate of the soul after death, and saw all practical wisdom in the
                                                        worship of Baal, or Marduk, or Assur, or Hadad, that they might live
                                                        long on this earth. This utter pessimism, bemoaning the existence of
                                                        the whole universe as a corruption and a calamity, with a feverish
                                                        craving to be freed from the body of this death and a mad hope that,
                                                        if we only knew, we could by some mystic words undo the cursed spell
                                                        of this existence -- this is the foundation of all Gnostic thought.
                                                        It has the same parent-soil as Buddhism; but Buddhism is ethical, it
                                                        endeavours to obtain its end by the extinction of all desire;
                                                        Gnosticism is pseudo-intellectual, and trusts exclusively to magical
                                                        knowledge. Moreover, Gnosticism, placed in other historical
                                                        surroundings, developed from the first on other lines than Buddhism.

                                                        When Cyrus entered Babylon in 539 B.C., two great worlds of thought
                                                        met, and syncretism in religion, as far as we know it, began. Iranian
                                                        thought began to mix with the ancient civilization of Babylon. The
                                                        idea of the great struggle between evil and good, ever continuing in
                                                        this universe, is the parent idea of Mazdeism, or Iranian dualism.
                                                        This, and the imagined existence of numberless intermediate spirits,
                                                        angels and devas, as the conviction which overcame the contentedness
                                                        of Semitism. On the other hand, the unshakable trust, in astrology,
                                                        the persuasion that the planetary system had a fatalistic influence
                                                        on this world's affairs, stood its ground on the soil of Chaldea. The
                                                        greatness of the Seven -- the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, the Sun,
                                                        Jupiter, and Saturn -- the sacred Hebdomad, symbolized for
                                                        millenniums by the staged towers of Babylonia, remained undiminished.
                                                        They ceased, indeed, to be worshipped as deities, but they remained
                                                        archontes and dynameis, rules and powers whose almost irresistible
                                                        force was dreaded by man. Practically, they were changed from gods to
                                                        devas, or evil spirits. The religions of the invaders and of the
                                                        invaded effected a compromise: the astral faith of Babylon was true,
                                                        but beyond the Hebodomad was the infinite light in the Ogdoad, and
                                                        every human soul had to pass the adverse influence of the god or gods
                                                        of the Hebdomad before it could ascend to the only good God beyond.
                                                        This ascent of the soul through the planetary spheres to the heaven
                                                        beyond (an idea not unknown even to ancient Babylonian speculations)
                                                        began to be conceived as a struggle with adverse powers, and became
                                                        the first and predominant idea in Gnosticism. The second great
                                                        component of Gnostic thought is magic, properly so called, i.e. the
                                                        power ex opere operato of weird names, sounds, gestures, and actions,
                                                        as also the mixture of elements to produce effects totally
                                                        disproportionate to the cause. These magic formulae, which caused
                                                        laughter and disgust to outsiders, are not a later and accidental
                                                        corruption, but an essential part of Gnosticism, for they are found
                                                        in all forms of Christian Gnosticism and likewise in Mandaeism. No
                                                        Gnosis was essentially complete without the knowledge of the
                                                        formulae, which, once pronounced, were the undoing of the higher
                                                        hostile powers. Magic is the original sin of Gnosticism, nor is it
                                                        difficult to guess whence it is inherited. To a certain extent it
                                                        formed part of every pagan religion, especially the ancient
                                                        mysteries, yet the thousands of magic tablets unearthed is Assyria
                                                        and Babylonia show us where the rankest growth of magic was to be
                                                        found. Moreover, the terms and names of earliest of Gnosticism bear
                                                        an unmistakable similarity to Semitic sounds and words. Gnosticism
                                                        came early into contact with Judaism, and it betrays a knowledge of
                                                        the Old Testament, if only to reject it or borrow a few names from
                                                        it. Considering the strong, well-organized, and highly-cultured
                                                        Jewish colonies in the Euphrates valley, this early contact with
                                                        Judaism is perfectly natural. Perhaps the Gnostic idea of a Redeemer
                                                        is not unconnected with Jewish Messianic hopes. But from the first
                                                        the Gnostic conception of a Saviour is more superhuman than that of
                                                        popular Judaism; their Manda d'Haye, or Soter, is some immediate
                                                        manifestation of the Deity, a Light-King, an Æon (Aion), and an
                                                        emanation of the good God. When Gnosticism came in touch with
                                                        Christianity, which must have happened almost immediately on its
                                                        appearance, Gnosticism threw herself with strange rapidity into
                                                        Christian forms of thought, borrowed its nomenclature, acknowledged
                                                        Jesus as Saviour of the world, simulated its sacraments, pretended to
                                                        be an esoteric revelation of Christ and His Apostles, flooded the
                                                        world with aprocryphal Gospels, and Acts, and Apocalypses, to
                                                        substantiate its claim. As Christianity grew within and without the
                                                        Roman Empire, Gnosticism spread as a fungus at its root, and claimed
                                                        to be the only true form of Christianity, unfit, indeed, for the
                                                        vulgar crowd, but set apart for the gifted and the elect. So rank was
                                                        its poisonous growth that there seemed danger of its stifling
                                                        Christianity altogether, and the earliest Fathers devoted their
                                                        energies to uprooting it. Though in reality the spirit of Gnosticism
                                                        is utterly alien to that of Christianity, it then seemed to the
                                                        unwary merely a modification or refinement thereof. When domiciled on
                                                        Greek soil, Gnosticism, slightly changing its barbarous and Seminitic
                                                        terminology and giving its "emanatons" and"syzygies" Greek names,
                                                        sounded somewhat like neo-Platonism, thought it was strongly
                                                        repudiated by Plotinus. In Egypt the national worship left its mark
                                                        more on Gnostic practice than on its theories.

                                                        In dealing with the origins of Gnosticism, one might be tempted to
                                                        mention Manichaeism, as a number of Gnostic ideas seem to be borrowed
                                                        from Manichaeism, where they are obviously at home. This, however,
                                                        would hardly be correct. Manichaeism, as historically connected with
                                                        Mani, its founder, could not have arisen much earlier than A.D. 250,
                                                        when Gnosticism was already in rapid decline. Manichaeism, however,
                                                        in many of its elements dates back far beyond its commonly accepted
                                                        founder; but then it is a parallel development with the Gnosis,
                                                        rather than one of its sources. Sometimes Manichaeism is even classed
                                                        as a form of Gnosticism and styled Parsee Gnosis, as distinguished
                                                        from Syrian and Egyptian Gnosis. This classification, however,
                                                        ignores the fact that the two systems, though they have the doctrine
                                                        of the evil of matter in common, start from different principles,
                                                        Manichaeism from dualism, while Gnosticism, as an idealistic
                                                        Pantheism, proceeds from the conception of matter as a gradual
                                                        deterioration of the Godhead.

                                                        DOCTRINES

                                                        Owing to the multiplicity and divergence of Gnostic theories, a
                                                        detailed exposition in this article would be unsatisfactory and
                                                        confusing and to acertain extent even misleading, since Gnosticism
                                                        never possessed a nucleus of stable doctrine, or any sort of
                                                        depositum fidei round which a number of varied developments and
                                                        heresies or sects might be grouped; at most it had some leading
                                                        ideas, which are more or less clearly traceable in different schools.
                                                        Moreover, a fair idea of Gnostic doctrines can be obtained from the
                                                        articles on leaders and phases of Gnostic thought (e.g. BASILIDES;
                                                        VALENTINUS; MARCION; DOCETAE; DEMIURGE). We shall here only indicate
                                                        some main phases of thought, which can be regarded as keys and which,
                                                        though not fitting all systems, will unlock most of the mysteries of
                                                        the Gnosis.

                                                        (a) Cosmogony

                                                        Gnosticism is thinly disguised Pantheism. In the beginning was the
                                                        Depth; the Fulness of Being; the Not-Being God; the First Father, the
                                                        Monad, the Man; the First Source, the unknown God (Bythos pleroma,
                                                        ouk on theos, propator, monas, anthropos, proarche, hagnostos theos),
                                                        or by whatever other name it might be called. This undefined infinite
                                                        Something, though it might be addressed by the title of the Good God,
                                                        was not a personal Being, but, like Tad of Brahma of the Hindus,
                                                        the "Great Unknown" of modern thought. The Unknown God, however, was
                                                        in the beginning pure spirituality; matter as yet was not. This
                                                        source of all being causes to emanate (proballei) from itself a
                                                        number of pure spirit forces. In the different systems these
                                                        emanations are differently named, classified, and described, but the
                                                        emanation theory itself is common too all forms of Gnosticism. In the
                                                        Basilidian Gnosis they are called sonships (uiotetes), in
                                                        Valentinianism they form antithetic pairs or "syzygies" (syzygoi);
                                                        Depth and Silence produce Mind and Truth; these produce Reason and
                                                        Life, these again Man and State (ekklesia). According to Marcus, they
                                                        are numbers and sounds. These are the primary roots of the Æons. With
                                                        bewildering fertility hierarchies of Æons are thus produced,
                                                        sometimes to the number of thirty. These Æons belong to the purely
                                                        ideal, noumenal, intelligible, or supersensible world; they are
                                                        immaterial, they are hypostatic ideas. Together with the source from
                                                        which they emanate they form the pleroma. The transition fromthe
                                                        immaterial to the material, from the noumenal to the sensible, is
                                                        brought about by a flaw, or a passion, or a sin, in one of the Æons.
                                                        According to Basilides, it is a flaw in the last sonship; according
                                                        to others it is the passion of the female Æon Sophia; according to
                                                        others the sin ofthe Great Archon, or Æon-Creator, of the Universe.
                                                        The ultimate end of all Gnosis is metanoia, or repentance, the
                                                        undoing of the sin of material existence and the return to the
                                                        Pleroma.

                                                        (b) Sophia-Myth

                                                        In the greater number of Gnostic systems an important role is played
                                                        by the Æon Wisdom -- Sophia or Achamoth. In some sense she seems to
                                                        represent the supreme female principle, as for instance in the
                                                        Ptolemaic system, in which the mother of the seven heavens is called
                                                        Achamoth, in the Valentinian system, in which he ano Sophia, the
                                                        Wisdom above, is distinguished from he kato Sophia, or Achamoth, the
                                                        former being the female principle of the noumenal world, and in the
                                                        Archotian system, where we find a "Lightsome Mother" (he meter he
                                                        photeine), and in which beyond the heavens of the Archons is he meter
                                                        ton panton and likewise in the Barbelognosis, where the female
                                                        Barbelos is but the counterpart of the Unknown Father, which also
                                                        occurs amongst the Ophites described by Irenaeus (Adv. Haeres., III,
                                                        vii, 4). Moreover, the Eucharistic prayer in the Acts of Thomas (ch.
                                                        1) seems addressed to this supreme female principle. W. Bousset's
                                                        suggestion, that the Gnostic Sophia is nothing else than a disguise
                                                        for the Dea Syra, the great goddess Istar, or Astarte, seems worthy
                                                        of consideration. On the other hand, the Æon Sophia usually plays
                                                        another role; she is he Prouneikos or "the Lustful One", once a
                                                        virginal goddess, who by her fall from original purity is the cause
                                                        of this sinful material world. One of the earliest forms of this myth
                                                        is found in Simonian Gnosis, in which Simon, the Great Power, finds
                                                        Helena, who during ten years had been a prostitute in Tyre, but who
                                                        is Simon's ennoia, or understanding, and whom his followers
                                                        worshipped under the form of Athena, the goddess of wisdom. According
                                                        to Valentinus's system, as described by Hippolytus (Book VI, xxv-
                                                        xxvi), Sophia is the youngest of the twenty-eight æons. Observing the
                                                        multitude of æons and the power of begetting them, she hurries back
                                                        into the depth of the Father, and seeks to emulate him by producing
                                                        offspring without conjugal intercourse, but only projects an
                                                        abortion, a formless substance. Upon this she is cast out of Pleroma.
                                                        According to the Valentinian system as described by Irenaeus (op.
                                                        cit., I) and Tertullian (Adv. Valent., ix), Sophia conceives a
                                                        passion for the First Father himself, or rather, under pretext of
                                                        love she seeks to know him, the Unknowable, and to comprehend his
                                                        greatness. She should have suffered the consequence of her audacity
                                                        by ultimate dissolution into the immensity of the Father, but for the
                                                        Boundary Spirit. According to the Pistis Sophia (ch. xxix) Sophia,
                                                        daughter of Barbelos, originally dwelt in the highest, or thirteenth
                                                        heaven, but she is seduced by the demon Authades by means of a ray of
                                                        light, which she mistook as an emanation from the First Father.
                                                        Authades thus enticed her into Chaos below the twelve Æons, where she
                                                        was imprisoned by evil powers. According to these ideas, matter is
                                                        the fruit of the sin of Sophia; this, however, was but a Valentinian
                                                        development; in the older speculations the existence of matter is
                                                        tacitly presupposed as eternal with the Pleroma, and through her sin
                                                        Sophia falls from the realm of light into Chaos or realm of darkness.
                                                        This original dualism, however, was overcome by the predominant
                                                        spirit of Gnosticism, pantheistic emanationism. The Sophia myth is
                                                        completely absent from the Basilidian and kindred systems. It is
                                                        suggested, with great verisimilitude, that the Egyptian myth of Isis
                                                        was the original source of the Gnostic "lower wisdom". In many
                                                        systems this Kato Sophia is sharply distinguished from the Higher
                                                        Wisdom mentioned above; as, for instance, in the magic formula for
                                                        the dead mentioned by Irenaeus (op. cit., I, xxi, 5), in which the
                                                        departed has to address the hostile archons thus: "I am a vessel more
                                                        precious than the female who made you. If your mother ignores the
                                                        source whence she is, I know myself, and I known whence I am and
                                                        invoke the incorruptible Sophia, whois in the Father, the mother of
                                                        your mother, who has neither father nor husband. A man-woman, born
                                                        from a woman, has made you, not knowing her mother, but thinking
                                                        herself alone. But I invoke her mother." This agrees with the system
                                                        minutely described by Irenaeus (op. cit., I, iv-v), where Sophia
                                                        Achamoth, or Lower Wisdom, the daughter of Higher Wisdom, becomes the
                                                        mother of the Demiurge; she being the Ogdoad, her son the Hebdomad,
                                                        they form a counterpart of the heavenly Ogdoad in the Pleromata. This
                                                        is evidently a clumsy attempt to fuse into one two systems radically
                                                        different, the Basilidian and the Valentinian; the ignorance of the
                                                        Great Archon, which is the central idea of Basilides, is here
                                                        transferred to Sophia, and the hybrid system ends in bewildering
                                                        confusion.

                                                        (c) Soteriology

                                                        Gnostic salvation is not merely individual redemption of each human
                                                        soul; it is a cosmic process. It is the return of all things to what
                                                        they were before the flaw in the sphere of the Æons brought matter
                                                        into existence and imprisoned some part of the Divine Light into the
                                                        evil Hyle (Hyle). This setting free of the light sparks is the
                                                        process of salvation; when all light shall have left Hyle, it will be
                                                        burnt up, destroyed, or be a sort of everlasting hell for the
                                                        Hylicoi. In Basilidianism it is the Third Filiation that is captive
                                                        in matter, and is gradually being saved, now that the knowledge of
                                                        its existence has been brought to the first Archon and then to the
                                                        Second Archon, to each by his respective Son; and the news has been
                                                        spread through the Hebdomad by Jesus the son of Mary, who died to
                                                        redeem the Third Filiation. In Valentinianism the process is
                                                        extraordinarily elaborate. When this world has been born from Sophia
                                                        in consequence of her sin, Nous and Aletheia, two Æons, by command of
                                                        the Father, produce two new Æons, Christ and the Holy Ghost; these
                                                        restore order in the Pleroma, and in consequence all Æons together
                                                        produce a new Æon, Jesus Logos, Soter, or Christ, whom they offer to
                                                        the Father. Christ, the Son of Nous and Aletheia, has pity on the
                                                        abortive substance born of Sophia and gives it essence and form.
                                                        Whereupon Sophia tries to rise again to the Father, but in vain. Now
                                                        the Æon Jesus-Soter is sent as second Saviour, he unites himself to
                                                        the man Jesus, the son of Mary, at his baptism, and becomes the
                                                        Saviour of men. Man is a creature of the Demiurge, a compound of
                                                        soul, body, and spirit. His salvation consists in the return of his
                                                        pneuma or spirit to the Pleroma; or if he be only a Psychicist, not a
                                                        full Gnostic, his soul (psyche) shall return to Achamoth. There is no
                                                        resurrection of the body. (For further details and differences see
                                                        VALENTINUS.)

                                                        In Marcionism, the most dualistic phase of Gnosticism, salvation
                                                        consisted in the possession of the knowledge of the Good God and the
                                                        rejection ofthe Demiurge. The Good God revealed himself in Jesus and
                                                        appeared as man in Judea; to know him, and to become entirely free
                                                        from the yoke of the World-Creator or God of the Old Testament, is
                                                        the end of all salvation. The Gnostic Saviour, therefore, is entirely
                                                        different from the Christian one. For

                                                        the Gnostic Saviour does not save. Gnosticism lacks the idea of
                                                        atonement. There is no sin to be atoned for, except ignorance be that
                                                        sin. Nor does the Saviour in any sense benefit the human race by
                                                        vicarious sufferings. Nor, finally, does he immediately and actively
                                                        affect any individual human soul by the power of grace or draw it to
                                                        God. He was a teacher, he once brought into the world the truth,
                                                        which alone can save. As a flame sets naphtha on fire, so the
                                                        Saviour's light ignites predisposed souls moving down the stream of
                                                        time. Of a real Saviour who with love human and Divine seeks out
                                                        sinners to save them, Gnosticism knows nothing.
                                                        The Gnostic Saviour has no human nature, he is an æon, not a man; he
                                                        only seemed a man, as the three Angels who visited Abraham seemed to
                                                        be men. (For a detailed exposition see DOCETAE.) The Æon Soter is
                                                        brought into the strangest relation to Sophia: in some systems he is
                                                        her brother, in others her son, in other again her spouse. He is
                                                        sometimes identified with Christ, sometimes with Jesus; sometimes
                                                        Christ and Jesus are the same æon, sometimes they are different;
                                                        sometimes Christ and the Holy Ghost are identified. Gnosticism did
                                                        its best to utilize the Christian concept of the Holy Ghost, but
                                                        never quite succeeded. She made him the Horos, or Methorion Pneuma
                                                        (Horos, Metherion Pneuma), the Boundary-Spirit, the Sweet Odour of
                                                        the Second Filiation, a companion æon with Christos, etc., etc. In
                                                        some systems he is entirely left out.
                                                        (d) Eschatology

                                                        It is the merit of recent scholarship to have proved that Gnostic
                                                        eschatology, consisting in the soul's struggle with hostile archons
                                                        in its attempt to reach the Pleroma, is simply the soul's ascent, in
                                                        Babylonian astrology, through the realms of the seven planets to Anu.
                                                        Origen (Contra Celsum, VI, xxxi), referring to the Ophitic system,
                                                        gives us the names of the seven archons as Jaldabaoth, Jao, Sabaoth,
                                                        Adonaios, Astaphaios, Ailoaios, and Oraios, and tells us that
                                                        Jaldabaoth is the planet Saturn. Astraphaios is beyond doubt the
                                                        planet Venus, as there are gnostic gems with a female figure and the
                                                        legend ASTAPHE, which name is also used in magic spells as the name
                                                        of a goddess. In the Mandaean system Adonaios represents the Sun.
                                                        Moreover, St. Irenaeus tells us: "Sanctam Hebdomadem VII stellas,
                                                        quas dictunt planetas, esse volunt." It is safe, therefore, to take
                                                        the above seven Gnostic names as designating the seven stars, then
                                                        considered planets,

                                                        Jaldabaoth (Child of Chaos? -- Saturn, called "the Lion-faced",
                                                        leontoeides) is the outermost, and therefore the chief ruler, and
                                                        later on the Demiurge par excellence.
                                                        Jao (Iao, perhaps from Jahu, Jahveh, but possibly also from the magic
                                                        cry iao in the mysteries) is Jupiter.
                                                        Sabaoth (the Old-Testament title -- God of Hosts) was
                                                        misunderstood; "of hosts" was thought a proper name, hence Jupiter
                                                        Sabbas (Jahve Sabaoth) was Mars.
                                                        Astaphaios (taken from magic tablets) was Venus.
                                                        Adonaios (from the Hebrew term for "the Lord", used of God; Adonis of
                                                        the Syrians representing the Winter sun in the cosmic tragedy of
                                                        Tammuz) was the Sun;
                                                        Ailoaios, or sometimes Ailoein (Elohim, God), Mercury;
                                                        Oraios (Jaroah? or light?), the Moon.
                                                        In the hellenized form of Gnosticism either all or some of these
                                                        names are replaced by personified vices. Authadia (Authades), or
                                                        Audacity, is the obvious description of Jaldabaoth, the presumptuous
                                                        Demiurge, who is lion-faced as the Archon Authadia. Of the Archons
                                                        Kakia, Zelos, Phthonos, Errinnys, Epithymia, the last obviously
                                                        represents Venus. The number seven is obtained by placing a proarchon
                                                        or chief archon at the head. That these names areonly a disguise for
                                                        the Sancta Hebdomas is clear, for Sophia, the mother of them, retains
                                                        the name of Ogdoas, Octonatio. Occasionally one meets with the Archon
                                                        Esaldaios, which is evidently the El Shaddai of the Bible, and he is
                                                        described as the Archon "number four" (harithmo tetartos) and must
                                                        represent the Sun. In the system of the Gnostics mentioned by
                                                        Epiphanius we find, as the Seven Archons, Iao, Saklas, Seth, David,
                                                        Eloiein, Elilaios, and Jaldabaoth (or no. 6 Jaldaboath, no. 7
                                                        Sabaoth). Of these, Saklas is the chief demon of Manichaeism;
                                                        Elilaios is probably connected with En-lil, the Bel of Nippur, the
                                                        ancient god of Babylonia. In this, as in several other systems, the
                                                        traces of the planetary seven have been obscured, but hardly in any
                                                        have they become totally effaced. What tended most to obliterate the
                                                        sevenfold distinction was the identification of the God of the Jews,
                                                        the Lawgiver, with Jaldabaoth and his designation as World-creator,
                                                        whereas formerly the seven planets together ruled the world. This
                                                        confusion, however, was suggested by the very fact that at least five
                                                        of the seven archons bore Old-Testament names for God -- El Shaddai,
                                                        Adonai, Elohim, Jehovah, Sabaoth.
                                                        (e) Doctrine of the Primeval Man

                                                        The speculations on Primeval Man (Protanthropos, Adam) occupy a
                                                        prominent place in several Gnostic systems. According to Irenaeus (I,
                                                        xxix, 3) the Æon Autogenes emits the true and perfect Anthrôpos, also
                                                        called Adamas; he has a helpmate, "Perfect Knowledge", and receives
                                                        an irresistible force, so that all things rest in him. Others say
                                                        (Irenaeus, I, xxx) there is a blessed and incorruptible and endless
                                                        light in the power of Bythos; this is the Father of all things who is
                                                        invoked as the First Man, who, with his Ennœa, emits "the Son of
                                                        Man", or Euteranthrôpos. According to Valentinus, Adam was created in
                                                        the name of Anthrôpos and overawes the demons by the fear of the pre-
                                                        existent man (tou proontos anthropou). In the Valentinian syzygies
                                                        and in the Marcosian system we meet in the fourth (originally the
                                                        third) place Anthrôpos and Ecclesia. In the Pistis Sophia the Æon Jeu
                                                        is called the First Man, he is the overseer of the Light, messenger
                                                        of the First Precept, and constitutes the forces of the Heimarmene.
                                                        In the Books of the Jeu this "great Man" is the King of the Light-
                                                        treasure, he is enthroned above all things and is the goal of all
                                                        souls. According to the Naassenes, the Protanthropos is the first
                                                        element; the fundamental being before its differentiation into
                                                        individuals. "The Son of Man" is the same being after it has been
                                                        individualized into existing things and thus sunk into matter. The
                                                        Gnostic Anthrôpos, therefore, or Adamas, as it is sometimes called,
                                                        is a cosmogonic element, pure mind as distinct from matter, mind
                                                        conceived hypostatically as emanating from God and not yet darkened
                                                        by contact with matter. This mind is considered as the reason of
                                                        humanity, or humanity itself, as a personified idea, a category
                                                        without corporeality, the human reason conceived as the World-Soul.
                                                        This speculation about the Anthrôpos is completely developed in
                                                        Manichaeism, where, in fact, it is the basis of the whole system.
                                                        God, in danger of the power of darkness, creates with the help of the
                                                        Spirit, the five worlds, the twelve elements, and the Eternal Man,
                                                        and makes him combat the darkness. But this Man is somehow overcome
                                                        by evil and swallowed up by darkness. The present universe is in
                                                        throes to deliver the captive Man from the powers of darkness. In the
                                                        Clementine Homilies the cosmogonic Anthrôpos is strangely mixed up
                                                        with the historical figure of the first man, Adam. Adam "was the true
                                                        prophet, running through all ages, and hastening to rest"; "the
                                                        Christ, who was from the beginning and is always, who was ever
                                                        present to every generation in a hidden manner indeed, yet ever
                                                        present". In fact Adam was, to use Modernist language, the Godhead
                                                        immanent in the world and ever manifesting itself to the inner
                                                        consciousness of the elect. The same idea, somewhat modified, occurs
                                                        in Hermetic literature, especially the "Poimandres". It is elaborated
                                                        by Philo, makes an ingenious distinction between the human being
                                                        created first "after God's image and likeness" and the historic
                                                        figures of Adam and Eve created afterwards. Adam kat eikona
                                                        is: "Idea, Genus, Character, belonging to the world, of
                                                        Understanding, without body, neither male nor female; he is the
                                                        Beginning, the Name of God, the Logos, immortal, incorruptible" (De
                                                        opif. mund., 134-148; De conf. ling.,146). These ideas in Talmudism,
                                                        Philonism, Gnosticism, and Trismegistic literature, all come from
                                                        once source, the late Mazdea development of the Gayomarthians, or
                                                        worshipper of the Super-Man.

                                                        (f) The Barbelo

                                                        This Gnostic figure, appearing in a number of systems, the
                                                        Nicolaites, the "Gnostics" of Epiphanius, the Sethians, the system of
                                                        the "Evangelium Mariae" and that in Iren., I, xxix, 2 sq., remains to
                                                        a certain extent an enigma. The name barbelo, barbeloth, barthenos
                                                        has not been explained with certainty. In any case she represents the
                                                        supreme female principle, is in fact the highest Godhead in its
                                                        female aspect. Barbelo has most of the functions of the ano Sophia as
                                                        described above. So prominent was her place amongst some Gnostics
                                                        that some schools were designated as Barbeliotae, Barbelo worshippers
                                                        of Barbelognostics. She is probably none other than the Light-Maiden
                                                        of the Pistis Sophia, the thygater tou photos or simply the Maiden,
                                                        parthenos. In Epiphanius (Haer., xxvi, 1) and Philastrius (Haer.,
                                                        xxxiii) Parthenos (Barbelos) seems identical with Noria, whoplays a
                                                        great role as wife either of Noe or of Seth. The suggestion, that
                                                        Noria is "Maiden", parthenos, Istar, Athena, Wisdom, Sophia, or
                                                        Archamoth, seems worthy of consideration.

                                                        RITES

                                                        We are not so well informed about the practical and ritual side of
                                                        Gnosticism as we are about its doctrinal and theoretical side.
                                                        However, St. Irenaeus's account of the Marcosians, Hippolytus's
                                                        account of the Elcesaites,the liturgical portions of the "Acta
                                                        Thomae", some passages in the Pseudo-Clementines, and above all
                                                        Coptic Gnostic and Mandaean literature gives us at least some insight
                                                        into their liturgical practices.
                                                        (a) Baptism

                                                        All Gnostic sects possessed this rite in some way; in Mandaeism daily
                                                        baptism is one of the great practices of the system. The formulae
                                                        used by Christian Gnostics seem to have varied widely from that
                                                        enjoyed by Christ. The Marcosians said: "In [eis] the name of the
                                                        unknown Father of all, in [eis] the Truth, the Mother of all, in him,
                                                        who came down on Jesus [eis ton katelthonta eis Iesoun]". The
                                                        Elcesaites said: "In [en] the name of the great and highest God and
                                                        in the name of his Son, the great King". In Iren. (I, xxi, 3) we find
                                                        the formula: "In the name that was hidden from every divinity and
                                                        lordship and truth, which [name] Jesus the Nazarene has put on in the
                                                        regions of light" and several other formulae, which were sometimes
                                                        pronounced in Hebrew or Aramaid. The Mandaeans said: "The name of the
                                                        Life and the name of the Manda d'Haye is named over thee". In
                                                        connection with Baptism the Sphragis was of great importance; in what
                                                        the seal or sign consisted wherewith they were marked is not easy to
                                                        say. There was also the tradition of a name either by utterance or by
                                                        handing a tablet with some mystic word on it.

                                                        (b) Confirmation

                                                        The anointing of the candidate with chrism, or odoriferous ointment,
                                                        is a Gnostic rite which overshadows the importance of baptism. In
                                                        the "Acta Thomae", so some scholars maintain, it had completely
                                                        replaced baptism, and was the sole sacrament of initiation. This
                                                        however is not yet proven. The Marcosians went so far as to reject
                                                        Christian baptism and to substitute a mixture of oil and water which
                                                        they poured over the head of the candidate. By confirmation the
                                                        Gnostics intended not so much to give the Holy Ghost as to seal the
                                                        candidates against the attacks of the archons, or to drive them away
                                                        by the sweet odour which is above all things (tes uter ta hola
                                                        euodias). The balsam was somehow supposed to have flowed from the
                                                        Tree of Life, and this tree was again mystically connected with the
                                                        Cross; for the chrism is in the "Acta Thomae" called "the hidden
                                                        mystery in which the Cross is shown to us".

                                                        (c) The Eucharist

                                                        It is remarkable that so little is known of the Gnostic substitute
                                                        for the Eucharist. In a number of passages we read of the breaking of
                                                        the bread, but in what this consisted is not easy to determine. The
                                                        use of salt in this rite seems to have been important (Clem., Hom.
                                                        xiv), for we read distinctly how St. Peter broke the bread of the
                                                        Eucharist and "putting salt thereon, he gave first to the mother and
                                                        then to us". There is furthermore a great likelihood, though no
                                                        certainty, that the Eucharist referred to in the "Acta "Thomae" was
                                                        merely a breaking of bread without the use of the cup. This point is
                                                        strongly controverted, but the contrary can hardly be proven. It is
                                                        beyond doubt that the Gnostics often substituted water for the wine
                                                        (Acta Thomae, Baptism of Mygdonia, ch. cxxi). What formula of
                                                        consecration was used we do not know, but the bread was certainly
                                                        signed with the Cross. It is to be noted that the Gnostics called the
                                                        Eucharist by Christian sacrificial terms -- prosphora, "oblation",
                                                        Thysia (II bk. of Jeû, 45). In the Coptic Books (Pistis Sophia, 142;
                                                        II Jeû, 45-47) we find a long description of some apparently
                                                        Eucharistic ceremonies carried out by Jesus Himself. In these fire
                                                        and incense, two flasks, and also two cups, one with water, the other
                                                        with wine, and branches of the vine are used. Christ crows the
                                                        Apostles with olive wreaths, begs Melchisedech to come and change
                                                        wine into water for baptism, puts herbs in the Apostles' mouths and
                                                        hands. Whether these actions in some sense reflect the ritual of
                                                        Gnosticism, or are only imaginations of the author, cannot be
                                                        decided. The Gnostics seem also to have used oil sacramentally for
                                                        the healing of the sick, and even the dead were anointed by them to
                                                        be rendered safe and invisible in their transit through the realms of
                                                        the archons.

                                                        (d) The Nymphôn

                                                        They possessed a special Gnostic sacrament of the bridechamber
                                                        (nymphon) in which, through some symbolical actions, their souls were
                                                        wedded to their angels in the Pleroma. Details of its rites are not
                                                        as yet known. Tertullian no doubt alluded to them in the
                                                        words "Eleusinia fecerunt lenocinia".

                                                        (e) The Magic Vowels

                                                        An extraordinary prominence is given to the utterance of the vowels:
                                                        alpha, epsilon, eta, iota, omicron, upsilon, omega. The Saviour and
                                                        His disciples are supposed in the midst of their sentences to have
                                                        broken out in an interminable gibberish of only vowels; magic spells
                                                        have come down to us consisting of vowels by the fourscore; on
                                                        amulets the seven vowels, repeated according to all sorts of
                                                        artifices, form a very common inscription. Within the last few years
                                                        these Gnostic vowels, so long a mystery, have been the object of
                                                        careful study by Ruelle, Poirée, and Leclercq,<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
                                                      • paul
                                                        ... Serena, I guess, from our standpoint, your first question Where does the teachings of the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit being separate come from? is
                                                        Message 27 of 27 , Jun 12, 2003
                                                        • 0 Attachment
                                                          --- Serena <serenaj92@...> wrote:
                                                          > Where does the teachings of the Father, Jesus, and
                                                          > the Holy Spirit
                                                          > being separate come from? Where does this teaching
                                                          > that the Father
                                                          > and Jesus are 2 separate Gods come from?
                                                          > I'm not talking about today's religions, but
                                                          > historically speaking.
                                                          > Someone had to come up with this idea and then it
                                                          > spreads and things
                                                          > get added on and removed throughout history.
                                                          > ~Serena
                                                          ----------------------------

                                                          Serena,
                                                          I guess, from our standpoint, your first question
                                                          "Where does the teachings of the Father, Jesus, and
                                                          the Holy Spirit being separate come from?" is the
                                                          intersting one. Truly, where does the teachings that
                                                          the father, son, and holy spirit being coequal,
                                                          copowerful, coknowledgeable, coeternal, etc, etc, come
                                                          from? Looking into the developements of the first few
                                                          centuries after christ and the apostles is a smart
                                                          approach into discerning the evolution of the trinity
                                                          doctrine and its incorporation and solidification into
                                                          the christian theology.
                                                          Robert has been, as regards his Matthew and Mark, and
                                                          possibly further books, started to show that, simply
                                                          put, Jehovah and Jesus never claim an attatchment
                                                          greater to one any father and son would claim. Jesus
                                                          never claims and equality to his father, in the
                                                          heavens nor on the earth. Jehovah never assigns to
                                                          his son, Jesus, a possition equal to His own. We see
                                                          time and time again Jesus' inferior postition in
                                                          relation to his father, and his submissiveness. NEVER
                                                          to we see this of Jehovah, the Almighty God. He is
                                                          NEVER inferior to Jesus or any active force, in any
                                                          place or at any time. There is NO scriptural support
                                                          whatsoever that the three that are dogmatically called
                                                          the coequal triune Godhead of the father-son-holy
                                                          spirit.
                                                          If one were to look into the scriptures without
                                                          preconceived dogma from the religions of Christendom,
                                                          one would never conceive of such a formulation. It is
                                                          interesting though, that during the time of the early
                                                          christian development, false religions surrounding
                                                          christianity had such triune dieties from which they
                                                          gave sacred service to. Could it possibly be, that
                                                          from these pagan dieties and false religious beliefs,
                                                          there came to be a 'fusion' of beliefs, true with
                                                          false? Could these religions have come together in a
                                                          compromise set of developments and counsels that lead
                                                          to the formulation we now know and are taught to
                                                          believe as the truth,,,a three-in-one Godhead? Could
                                                          the Nicene, Athenasious, and Constantinople
                                                          developments, lead by nonchristian believers, have
                                                          diverted many away from the simple truths of the Holy
                                                          Scriptures, and toward something no longer attested to
                                                          from Jehovah's inspired words?
                                                          Really, what warnings were given by Jesus and his
                                                          apostles, as to what would happen to the accurate
                                                          knowledge of the truth once they were no longer alive
                                                          to serve as a restraint?
                                                          Paul


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