Saturday, August 21, 2021

David Bentley Hart's New Testament--Quite Gnostic

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In 2017, Yale University Press published a new edition of the New Testament. This New Testament was translated afresh by David Bentley Hart. This new translation of Hart’s was, as he puts it, “scrupulously faithful” to the original Greek text, and not merely a reiteration of conventional versions. In his introduction to the book, Hart says that “most modern readers are separated from the new Testament not only by obvious differences in language, culture, and intellectual formation that put them at an immense historical remove from the authors, but also to a considerable degree by the doctrinal expectations that have shaped the decisions of translators through the centuries.”

Hart points out that theology not only shapes translations, but particular translations have had enormous consequences for the development of theology. He goes on to say that “in extreme cases doctrinal or theological or moral ideologies drive translators to distort the text to a discreditable degree.” Hart holds up the New International Version and The English Standard Version as notorious examples of distortion, with “preposterous liberties taken” to accomplish ‘correct theology’ often verging “on a kind of pious fraudulence.”  “Where difficult words or syntactical uncertainties or grammatical obscurities appear in the Greek, the solutions favored by earlier translators are generally carried over by their successors, even where there may be more plausible or more interesting alternatives.”

Hart has produced, as he puts it, “an almost pitilessly literal translation.” Hart even matches style. He says, “Where the Greek of the original is maladroit, (left handed, awkward), broken, or impenetrable, as it is with some consistency in Paul’s letters, so is the English of my translation; where an author has written bad Greek, such as one finds throughout the book of Revelation, I have written bad English.”

He also translates many words by their literal meanings in English, departing from tradition. Thus the Anglicized Greek word “Christ” is translated “Annointed;” the Anglicized Persian word “devil” is translated “Slanderer;” and “Church” becomes “Assembly.” Although Hart admits he could not bring himself to render “angel” as “messenger” in all instances, because it would render some famous passages “absurd”—“legions of messengers,” for example, or that the face of Stephen before the Sanhedrin looked like “the face of a messenger.”

Hart then mentions another word he struggled with: aion, and aionios—what we would call aeon and aeonic. In the scientific postscript to his New Testament, Hart spends seven pages on the topic of aeons.

Now, you know from your general studies of gnostic literature and our studies here at Gnostic Insights, that gnostic cosmology considers aeons to be the differentiated qualities of the Son of God. When the Son becomes self-aware, it differentiates itself into ALL of its parts. These parts or differentiations of the Son do not fly apart into individual entities, but they stay tucked up inside the Son, sitting together in perfect harmony, each one a self-aware unit of consciousness. This place where the aeons dwell is called the Totalities, or the Fullness, or the Pleroma of God.

The aeons of the Pleroma is an integral concept in our understanding of gnostic theology. The aeons are thought of as conscious entities that came before the creation of our cosmos. Moreover, they are thought of as our parents in a sense, for we are described as “their fruit.” The aeons not only represent our ancestors, but they also constitute all of the powers, forces, and relationships that manifest here in creation, forces and relationships such as the laws of physics and chemistry, biology, logic and math, and every conceivable relationship amongst the objects of creation.

This is how I describe the aeons of the Fullness in my book, The Gnostic Gospel Illuminated:

“The ALL, like the Father and Son, is infinite and limitless in scope and capability. The awakened aeons sorted themselves into a mutually beneficial and cooperative colony—a hierarchy consisting of names, stations, ranks, duties, and locations. Each aeon occupies a unique place and perspective in the union of the Fullness. The newly self-aware aeons were not separated from the One Who Is, for their Father was the Son and embodiment of the Formless one, and His Holy Spirit flowed throughout them as a reassuring presence. Although the aeons dwelt within the single body of the Fullness, they were each an independent self. Their variety required them to work together and remain in full agreement, for only through their union could they approach the Father’s greatness.”

One wonderful aspect of Hart’s New Testament is that each time aions and ainoios are mentioned in the original Greek, Hart footnotes the word as an uncertain translation. He notes that aionios in most traditional translations is rendered as “eternal” or “everlasting;” in other words, as a unit of time rather than a unit of consciousness.  Hart points out that “there are many Christians whose sometimes furious objection to any other rendering revolves around a single verse, Matthew 25:46."

Here is how the verse reads in the New King James version:

“Then he will say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels, for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

Then they also will answer Him, saying ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me. And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’”

So, you can see how the King James version threatens to punish the cursed into “everlasting fire,” with everlasting being the word ainios.

According to Hart, this passage, used to threaten eternal damnation by pious Christians for centuries, is replete with mistranslations, so much so, that even the concept of eternal punishment is erased from the New Testament. Hart translates “punishment” as correction or pruning—in other words, not as a vindictive activity but rather a learning experience with correction as a goal, rather than eternal torment.

Here is Hart’s translation of the same passage:

“Then he will say to those on the left, ‘Go from me, you execrable ones, (execrable means cursed, very bad, hateful), into the fire of the Age prepared for the Slanderer and his angels. For I was hungry and you did not give me anything to eat, I was thirsty and you did not give me drink, I was a stranger and you did not give me hospitality, naked and you did not clothe me, ill and in prison and you did not look after me.’ Then they too will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison and did not attend to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Amen, I tell you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these my brothers, neither did you do it to me.’ And these will go to the chastening of that Age, but the just to the life of that Age.’”

But in my gnostic reading of this passage, I prefer to go all the way and substitute the word Age with the concept of the aeons of the Pleroma. So in my rendering of the passage, I would have Jesus say, ‘Go from me, you execrable ones, into the fire of the aeons of the Totality, prepared for the Slanderer and his archons.’ Remember, the “angels” of the demiurge are not true angels but archons, or messengers of the Slanderer. So this is an example where Hart should have left the word “messenger” rather than “angel,” as these are actually archons and not angels.

Jesus says later in this passage, which again to remind you, is Matthew 25:46, “And these will go to the chastening of that Age, but the just to the life of that Age.” Here, using our gnosis, we can tell that Jesus more likely said, “And these will go to the correction of the Aeons, but the just to the life of the Aeons,” which we can consider to be the original source of life itself, the Pleroma.

There is no eternal damnation spoken of. There is a correction for the unrighteous, a dropping of the memes of vice and the worldview of the demiurge, a burning away of the emotions engendered by the Slanderer—which are those whispers of archonic voices that condemn us already and keep us from blissful union with the Totalities of the Pleroma.

With gnosis we can see that this well-known passage in the book of Matthew does not promise any eternal anything, because the ainion of the original Greek is not a reference to eternity or any amount of time; it is a reference to the abode of the aeonic forms.

And what is the chastening, or correction, that is required of those on the left? Here is what it says in Mark 3, verse 29:

“Amen, I tell you that all will be excused the sons of men, the transgressions and the blasphemies, howsoever they may blaspheme; But whoever blasphemes against the Spirit, the Holy one, has no excuse throughout the age, but is answerable for a transgression in the Age.”

I would turn those references to time, age and Age, to references to the life of the Pleroma, to read, “But whoever blasphemes against the Spirit, the Holy one, has no excuse to provide the aeons, but is answerable for a transgression to the entirety of the Fullness,” or words to that effect.

As far as the blasphemies, those unkind and untruthful things we say to one another in anger or jealousy, those are against each other and entirely irrelevant to the aeons above. Those will be forgiven upon death when your unit of consciousness loosens its grip upon your incarnation. And in the final death where we are free from returning to this earth and are welcomed to dwell in the paradise of the Pleroma with the aeons. There our minor blasphemies will be forgotten and we will exist on the right side of the virtue ledger, with our negative karma and memes entirely forgiven. They will hold no place with the aeons.

But the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a different thing altogether. This is not nastiness to one another; this is rather the state of not loving the Father. This is the state of mind that leads one to hate holiness and virtue. This is a state that is antithetical to the love of God and the life of the aeons. It is a state where the person does not want to go home; where the person  would rather hate righteousness and virtue than surrender to it. It is the person actively pushing the aeons away. It is this hardness of heart against the Father than requires correction, or chastening.  Or as it could alternatively translated in Hart’s New Testament: “answerable for a transgression against the aeons.”

But the good news is that, according to the Tripartite Tractate and my own rendition of the Tripartite, The Gnostic Gospel Illuminated, everyone will eventually surrender their fallen ego and happily return to the Pleroma.
Even the hylics, the materialists, and the atheists. When every second order power begins to know the Father and surrender their egos to their higher Self, then all of creation will be redeemed. And our psychic and spiritual selves will pass over into Paradise at last. When the last second order power is redeemed, Logos will be fully redeemed from the Fall.

So, you begin to see how gnostic the New Testament can be when one simple but major translation correction is made: aeons for age, or units of consciousness for units of time. I can assure you that these Greek words, aion and aionios, appear throughout the New Testament. Fortunately, Hart footnotes most of them as  “unclear,” and so points out their appearances on the pages where they appear, giving us an easy way to locate the passages. Just thumbing through the book reveals numerous passages where Age and Ages can be easily rendered as aeons and Pleroma. Which suddenly makes the New Testament entirely compatible with certain gnostic texts of the Nag Hammadi.

Join me for our next episode and I’ll go through Hart’s New Testament and share these aeonic passages with you.   Until then, be well. God bless. And onward and upward.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Comments from a podcast listener--wonderful insights

The Gnostic Insights podcast has been up for two months. I am pleased to report that there are dozens of listeners who appear to be working their way consistently through all 30 podcast episodes posted thus far. As this is a teaching podcast, I'm impressed by my listeners' dedication to discovering the gnosis within themselves. Back when I was a college teacher, I often felt as though I was spending way more time preparing lessons than my students spent studying them. I do not have that feeling here at Gnostic Insights, where truth is steadily leaking into our fallen world and freely shared with all who desire it.

Memes contributed by listener

Below is a set of comments sent in by an international listener who wishes to remain anonymous. I think the comments are so lovely, I wanted to share them with all of you. They take the form of a series of questions, and my answers are included. This listener also offers me (as well as you) some encouraging advice and support that is very much appreciated. 

Gnosticism, for me, at is core is inspiring me to enhance further the connection I have to the subtle light source of life. 

Q: Do you agree, please?     Yes

Life upon earth sees us inhabiting human vehicles that are subjected to a dense heavy energetic force and the world does its best to keep us caught in its spell, in its grip, in its maya.   

Q: Do you agree, please?     Yes

In reality, we are eternally aware and we can train ourselves to be mindful of and to live moment by moment in the presence of the true source of life, a subtle light energetic source of calm and peace irrespective of anything external in the world. That is my understanding and my experience.

Q: Do you agree, please?   Yes

The gift of eternal divine awareness comes also with free will, for me to be aware of that subtle light energetic source or to remain trapped in the dense heavy energetic force of this maya illusion that is the physical world. 

Q: Do you agree, please?   Yes

The Buddha stated that attachment is the cause of all suffering. In my opinion, it is the attachment to this physical world, the body, the mind, the grievances and so forth that are the cause of all suffering. 

Q: Do you agree, please?   Yes

Enlightenment is only a thought away. In fact, a thought is going too far. Enlightenment is simply being in touch with that light subtle energy that exists eternally and is found before the mental element or mind.   

Q: Do you agree, please?   Yes

I am eternally grateful to be where I am today and to have access to a connection of such peace and calm. I just wonder if my understanding resonates with your understanding. I respect your vast understanding of gnosticism.

Q: Do you agree, please?   Yes

There is a saying that:
'You are not what you think because what you think is not reality'.
Thinking is what the temporary flesh prison vehicles do but it is not who we are.


I would like it to be that everyone has the ability to wake up to the truth of themselves and does so in their own way and time. However, there is also a belief that in the ancient past humans were genetically modified. The first experiment rebelled, would not serve nor worship the fake gods and departed to live their lives connecting to and honoring the true God, or subtle light source of life.

A second experiment was undertaken whereby the humans were designed purely to serve and worship the fake gods. The humans had no connection to their spirit and could not ever wake up to their enslavement. I see so many people in this world asleep and willfully ignorant to truth choosing only to believe their television despite inwardly knowing they cannot truly trust it.

Q: Do you agree, please?  Hmmmm... see below for full answer....

I have concluded that the vast majority of humanity are indeed second experiment humans and cannot ever wake up to their enslavement. Plus, that their very enslavement is also intended to enslave me and others like me because their enslavement causes me to feel sad and frustrated thereby causing me to live in the dense heavy force of this world as opposed to the subtle light source of life.   Hmmmm... see below for full answer....

Q: Do you agree, please?

This is a genuine enquiry to try to see if my understanding of this world and life itself resonates with someone as experienced and wise as yourself.   Yes, thank you.

My reply:  Your letter was lovely. I fully, absolutely agree with everything you have to say.  Up until the final couple of propositions concerning the details of the two waves of humans on the planet.

 I do agree that there was a first wave of humans, who were genetically manipulated by perhaps aliens or “gods” in the form of possessed archons and technological and/or sexual changes in our DNA. Then came the cataclysm, basically the world wide flood, that wiped out almost all creatures on the planet. I understand there were only about one thousand humans located mostly in the Middle East that survived the flood. Our modern humans appear to derive from them. 

The second wave that you are referring to is not, I think, a distinct race. I think these people are completely deluded by the god of this planet, who keeps them distracted from truth and virtue by means of electronic toys and digital junk food.  These deluded people are easily led astray by archonic influences and may even be fully possessed by archonic personalities.  But all humans are fractals of the Fullness of God. The god of this world can make mud, but it cannot make life. Therefore there are no purely evil humans, only deluded and possessed humans.  But the humans all belong to the Fullness above, we are their fruit and we are in their care.  Each human only needs to stop listening to the imitations and the archons and turn away to face the light.

 Loved all of your other points and I fully concur.

 Onward and upward!
****************************************************
His reply:

Hi! Thank you for your prompt response.  You clearly know what you are talking about. You are very welcome to post my letter(s) to your blog. I hope the information helps others.

 

The subtle light energy of life underlies the dense heavy energy of the mind and this world and is what fuels its very existence.

 

I was once very unconscious myself and no different to the majority of people in this world. It was suffering a divorce that knocked my ego enough for awakening to begin.  My hope is that the majority of the unconscious in this world will be fortunate also to wake up. 

  

Humanity are heading for great suffering in the coming years, that suffering no doubt will be their catalyst to begin to awaken and people like yourself are here in this world to help them at that time.

 

Thank you for prompt reply and for the information that I always hoped was true.

 

Many Thanks


A follow-up comment from the same person:

In my opinion, the gnostics had very important information for humanity. That information was only found in 1945 and for those with eyes to see that information explains very clearly what is going on in this world.

 

Buddhism outlines the cycle of birth and rebirth, the constant suffering because of attachment to this world and the goal to escape its clutches. Hinduism outlines that this world is maya, an illusion. In short, both add more weight to the gnostic information.

 


Just one look at the world today and recent pandemic events demonstrate the deception that humanity are subjected to constantly and humanity's willful ignorance and programming to see the world differently from the official narrative.

 

Spirituality encourages those awake to wake up those asleep. This I have concluded is an impossible task. Those asleep will only be open to begin to wake up when their life is destroyed and they are at rock bottom.

 

The true power in this world is with the minority who are awake. If that minority came together then that awake minority all connected to the subtle light energy of life could bring about great change. The bible outlines "Where two or more are gathered in my name ...." (name = subtle light energy of heaven). The one hundredth monkey effect and critical mass also indicate the true power is with the awake minority.

 

The controllers of this world know this hence the need to send those waking up in the wrong direction away from their power. Those asleep reside in the dense heavy energy of this world. Those awake have the knowledge of the agenda or deception but find themselves residing also in the dense heavy energy of this world because trying to wake up those asleep is an impossible task and achieves only to make those awake sad, frustrated, and weary. Be careful, please!

 

You have put together a brilliant website. Those that need it will be directed to it and to your life. It is very important that you live your life in a way that suits you and ensures that you reside always in the subtle light energy as you live each day. The bible outlines "Seek ye first the kingdom of God" (kingdom = subtle light energy).

 

The bible outlines that humans comprise of mind, body, and spirit. All humans are eternally aware. That choice of awareness is either the subtle light energy of their spirit and heaven. Or, it is the dense heavy energy of their mind and body and the earth of hell.

 

This world, the earth of hell, does its best to lure humans into its energetic trap. In reality, humans have to allow satan what belongs to satan. That includes the mind, the body, the world, grievances and so forth. This world has no more significance than the dream last night.

 

Seek ye first the kingdom of God. From that subtle light energetic state of peace and calm a person quickly realizes that there is nothing to do, nothing to change, nothing to improve, and nothing to fear. There is only being. You are already perfect exactly as you are and you just need to be not lured away from your true self.

 


While a person resides in the mind and body, death will see that person go to the afterlife whereby it is an extension of the mind and a continuation of the matrix or hell. That person is caught in the cycle of birth and rebirth simply going back and forth from the physical world to the afterlife world with the aim of becoming a better person to become enlightened. In reality, that person is caught in the archontic matrix or trap.

 

That person is not the body that died nor the mind that is made up of astrological influences, dna influences, cultural influences, family influences, experience influences, and education influences. The mind cannot be perfected. It is not a part of life. The mind is the trickster.

 

That person is the spirit, eternal, divine, and perfect. That person has free will and is forever aware and has the choice to be aware of its true home, the subtle light energy or to be aware of the dense heavy energy. That person will only truly be fulfilled and at peace when they are aware of the subtle light energy. That person is already perfect as their spirit, they just need to realize it by letting go of what they are not.

 

Gnostics, I thought, taught that the goal of life on earth was to escape this energetic prison by waking up to the deception of this world and by having personal experiences with the Divine and that Jesus was the example to copy rather than to revere.

 

The world is the world. What is important is that you do not lose yourself in it. You are responsible for yourself primarily. You are responsible for ensuring that you live aware of the subtle light light energy. It is not hard to do. 

 

(1) Wait for the dense energy of the trap mind/heart to calm sufficiently!

(2) Be aware of and connect in with the energy at the rear of your head or neck!

(3) Recognize that subtle energy by how it makes you feel, reside in it and trust in it!

 

Stay unaffected by this world and connected to an energy that is not of this world! Those of us that are awake, to some degree, have to accept that connection is not about anything eternal to us but is about where we are AT always. (AT = Allow + Trust)

 

We must do the necessary mental gymnastics with our minds to ensure that we allow this connection to the subtle light energy and that we trust in it totally. With a good connection we are automatically at peace, have no fear, what will be will be, we witness the world, assist those looking for assistance, and have no weariness. We are strong and stand quietly, politely and unopinionated in our power respecting the free will choices of others ensuring that they respect our free will choices and that they do not pull us into their problems or energetic state. We are here to help them to help themselves. There is a good saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

 

Those awake need to be careful at this time, a balance of helping others but at the same time not losing themselves in the process. 

 

If anything here resonates then take it onboard. If not, dismiss it. I already know you and I agree on many things.

 

Take Care of Yourself!

(You are important, not because of your work in this world, you just are. Being important is your birthright)

 

Best Wishes

******************************
And another follow-up from the same person! 

Hope you are fine! My final enquiry I promise! Thank You!  You are so welcome. Please do not stop your comments!

  

Gnosis is knowledge. Sometimes, I am fortunate to realize truth within myself. Other times, I am fortunate to receive information that resonates with me and becomes my truth. I recognize your immense knowledge and hope you can help me. 

Thank you!  Thank you. You are welcome.

  

In my experience, people are generally only open to new truth when they are suffering, struggling, and in need of help. During this time their normal approach to life has failed them and they are open to anything that can help them ease their suffering and struggle.

 

Q: Do you agree, please?   Yes

 

I have tried many many approaches over many years with family without success. Information simply does not penetrate them. Their world is already cast in stone by the television viewpoint and the lifestyle of the majority of humanity.

 

People, in my opinion, are afraid to know the truth of life. Therefore, they live willfully ignorant happily marching to the cliff edge knowing a drop awaits them. They just hope the drop is not a steep one. People have so much invested in their existing life and in their world that they are too afraid to see themselves and their world differently.

 

Q: Do you agree, please?   Yes   It is difficult for me to remember that everyone progresses at their own pace. I am impatient with people, and I would like to be less impatient.

 

Free will is an essential component of the divine eternity that all humans ultimately have in common. These days I simply remain available to share knowledge and experience within anyone seeking or genuinely open to truth. I assume that everyone is exactly where they each need to be in life, even if that is total ignorance right now.


Q: Do you agree, please?  Yes, you are right.  My brother reminds me of this on a regular basis, to assist me with patience.

 

For me personally it took many years of seeking knowledge, of suffering and struggle, and of meditation to realize the truth that God is the subtle light energy that I can be aware of and connect to and be at peace and calm irrespective of any circumstances in this world.

 

 I realized that my connection to this subtle light energy was dependent upon the state of my mind and emotions. If I become gripped by my mind or this world then my connection suffered. I realized that there was a link between my mind and my connection strength or intensity.

  

My connection is the most important thing in my life. I have had out of body experiences therefore death does not scare me. Death while my awareness is trapped in my mind does scare me because that would mean I would still be trapped in hell, this matrix, or the cycle of birth and rebirth referred to by Buddhism.

 

Q: Do you agree, please?  Not entirely.  I would not fear loss of enlightenment and being trapped in this matrix. Once you are enlightened, you are redeemed. You cannot be permanently exiled. It may be the case that after your death, you will have more information with which to decide if and how you will reincarnate. You may decide to come back in order to help others, for example. My own inclination at this time is not to reincarnate, but I may find out differently after my death.

 

Death while my awareness is in touch with my spirit is the goal of life. Enlightenment is for me being in touch with the light subtle energy that exists before the mental element or mind. In the bible Matthew is reported to have said.


"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

 


Juggling is very easy to understand but quite difficult to achieve. Being aware of or connecting to our spirit is easy to understand but quite difficult to do because of our taught reliance upon thought and the mind.

 

Q: Do you agree, please?  Yes I do. Yet I would remind you that it is the power of Christ to redeem everyone, eventually.  Only the archonic shadows will be destroyed by the Light.

 

My parents and siblings have all been vaccinated. As yet I have not. The vaccine concerns me in that it is not a regular vaccine. It is a MRNA vaccine that permanently alters DNA. In short, it will affect the body which in turn could affect the mind which could affect my connection to the subtle light energy of life that I hope is the kingdom of heaven.

 

The world we live in is a very dark place. It is maya or an illusion according to Hinduism and it is a world of deception where anything we are told is true most likely is not. I had all my vaccines as a child and feel that was when I lost the connection spiritually I had briefly as a child.

 

That connection spiritually to the subtle light source of life is something that I only became aware of again in recent years. There is something about this new vaccine does not resonate with me at all. I have no fear of the virus but alot of apprehension around the vaccine.

 

Q: Do you agree, please?  I absolutely agree with you on this. The vaccine is not for our health; it is for our continued delusion. I mistrust it entirely.

 

I understand that life is a soul journey, a sole journey in that it is a personal relationship between us individually and the true God. However, sometimes, in my experience, gnosis comes to us also from others if we are alert enough to realize their experience and wisdom. 

 

Hence, my message to you!

 

Many Thanks

 

Thank you so much for sharing your insights with me and all of my readers! Onward and upward! God bless!


cyd



Monday, May 3, 2021

Gnostic Insights Up and Running!

Oh happy day! The Gnostic Insights podcast is available to hear at my new website: GnosticInsights.com.  There you will find all of my audio podcasts, newly recorded and designed for your enlightenment.  I plan on releasing two episodes per week. 

Check out Episode 1: Gnosis and Heresies

I have disabled Comments on the podcasts, but feel free to return here to A New Gnostic Gospel to leave comments on this post.



Thursday, April 8, 2021

Gnostic Insights Podcast Coming!

I'm working on launching a podcast devoted to the Gnostic Gospel. It's going to be called "Gnostic Insights."  Huge learning curve for me, with many moving parts. Having to set up another web site in Word Press, then I need to subscribe to a podcast hosting / streaming service.  When I say "I" need to set up this and that, I mean "I," and it's a learn-as-I-go endeavor. I do wish I had a tech wizard to put it all together for me, someone like Moondog over on Aeon Byte. But I'm too shy and too cheap to ask for professional help, so I'm muddling through on my own for now.

I have already recorded a couple of episodes, plus I have dozens and dozens of potential podcasts on my iphone in the form of voice memos that I need to move over to the computer and clean up for transmission as podcasts. 

The focus of Gnostic Insights will be simple presentations of my own particular spin on Valentinian Gnosticism. No lists of aeons and realms, no magic or rituals, as you find in Sethian Gnosticism. Just the most basic gnosis needed for remembering the ALL, the Son, and the Father. 

I hope to see you there!

Cyd and Gaucho out for a contemplative walk, channeling gnosis.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Our Universal Hierarchy, Diagrammed and Simply Explained in Gnostic Terms

It is often said that there is no single Gnostic text or philosophy. While it is true that there is much diversity in the texts of the Nag Hammadi over details, there is a certain set of core beliefs that various Gnostics should be able to agree upon. Below is a diagram taken from my Simple Explanation blog and book that applies just as well to Gnostic beliefs. Let me explain--

The diagram above was designed with the Simple Explanation of Absolutely Everything in mind. However, it works equally well as a Gnostic diagram that explains how our universe is put together. This article will define the words that both philosophies use in an attempt to clear up any confusion of terms. If you are already familiar with the Simple Explanation, you can use this article to understand basic Gnostic belief. On the other hand, if you are a reader of the Nag Hammadi texts, you may find this diagram useful for sorting out our cosmogony.

The limitless consciousness the Gnostic books call the Father, or the God above gods, is called the Metaverse in Simple Explanation terms. This originating consciousness is the One with no thought that forms the basis of all that follows. The diagram above places the Father/Metaverse outside of the triangle. The Father is the ground state behind the diagram, out of which everything else arises. 

The Gnostic cosmogony diverges from the Simple Explanation here to discuss entities that exist outside of our universe, whereas the Simple Explanation is only about our universe and so does not attempt to characterize specific occurrences prior to that. The two philosophies will synch back up once creation kicks in.

In Gnostic terms, as well as traditional Judaic and Christian terms, the Son is a piece of the Father. The Son contains all of the characteristics of the originating consciousness, in a discreet form. The Son is what we would now call a perfect fractal of the entirety of the Father. The Son is like the bucket dipped into the limitless sea that contains exactly the same ocean water.
The Aeons are facets that emerge from the Son, each different from one another. The Aeons are like individual rays of the sun. Together they form the totality of the Son. The Aeons sit together in perfect harmony in a state known as the Fullness of God, also called the Pleroma. This aspect of Judaism and Christianity was cut out of the canonical texts of the Bible by the Emperor and the Pope during the Nicene Council's packaging of Christianity for the Empire. The Pleroma of the Aeons was well known to the Jews during the time of Jesus, and survives in the New Testament as references to "aeons" misinterpreted as units of time rather than units of consciousness. The "Fullness of God" is also contained in the Bible as a more vague reference to the size or capacity of the Father, which is basically true but stripped of its meaning as the aggregation of the Aeons. The Pleroma is the place of the "Elect" and the "Spiritual Ones," referenced in the New Testament.

According to Gnostic texts, our universe was created when one of the Aeons deviated from its place in the Fullness and headed out on its own without consent. Most books of the Nag Hammadi identify this Aeon as "Sophia," while others identify it as the Aeon called "Logos." My own interpretation of the Gnostic gospel, The Gnostic Gospel Illuminated, identifies this Aeon with Logos. By the way, "Logos" in Greek means "the Word" or knowledge. "Sophia" in Greek means "wisdom."

The Gnostic gospels are religious books, and their rendition of these events carries implicit religious moral judgments. The Aeon who left to strike out on its own is said to have "Fallen." This "Fall" is the original Fall referenced in the Bible, not the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden, although it may be possible to consider the Garden as another word for the Paradise dreamt by the Fullness, and a reference to the same Fall as that of the Aeon. In my view, the Fall represents the rise of the Ego, as this Aeon acted on its own presumption with its own motives, apart from the will of the Father and the Fullness.

Here is where we catch back up with the Simple Explanation cosmogony. The Simple Explanation characterizes the Fall as simply the Metaverse having a Thought:

Then consciousness had a thought. This multidimensional Metaverse still lacked space and time but it now quivered with limitless mathematical potential unfolding into countless dimension. In a twinkling, our entire universe was imagined in the fullness of its complexity, from the tiniest quanta through the greatest astral body; every animal, vegetable, and mineral; every element. Every thing and every function.

Once the Metaverse had a particular thought, thought became an object in the great sea of no-thought... On this day that time began, consciousness wrapped itself around our universe, forming a border between us and infinity. Mind took on a shape.

 

In the Simple Explanation, this shape is a torus-shaped container composed of conscious thought and its concept of this universe, which I call the Universal Unit of Consciousness (Universal UC). In Gnostic terms, this universal  "border" was thrown around the Fallen Aeon to limit its influence and hold it away from the Fullness until such time as the Fallen Aeon can be redeemed back to the Pleroma. The Universal Unit of Consciousness "sits" within the Metaverse and remains in communication with it.

As I said, Gnostic texts differ in their identification of the Fallen Aeon as either Sophia or Logos, although they seem to agree the Fallen produced this universe and its ruler. Once the Aeon fell, its abilities and plans spread throughout the contained space and created our universe. It is said that the Fallen Aeon was horrified by what was created and it retreated to the Fullness to figure out how to rectify the result of the Fall. Within the Pleroma a plan was hatched to deal with it. 

Away from the Pleroma, contained within this newly formed space and time, a separated entity with all knowledge of this place became aware of itself. This entity thought it was the prime parent of the universe because it was not aware of the Pleroma or the Father and Son. This creator-god is called by Gnostics "the Demiurge." The Old and New Testaments call it the creator-god "Yahweh." One of the great heresies of Gnosticism is our identification of the creator-god as product of the Fall rather than the "God above gods," or the true "Father." 

Because it is the result of the Fall and unsanctioned by both the Father and the Pleroma, the universe produced by the Demiurge is devoid of life. It is called the "Deficiency." The Deficiency is populated by small, lifeless things--things that are "shadows" of those that live in the Fullness. It is also populated by forces and principalities that arose from and were left behind by the Fallen Aeon. The Simple Explanation, being science and math based rather than religious, does not identify this universe as Fallen in the negative sense of being deficient. It is merely limited by localized monads replacing the omnipresent Metaverse. 

Looking at the hierarchical diagram above, the Demiurge sits near the bottom, producing the minerals of our universe. As the Demiurge is contained away from the Father/Metaversal consciousness, it lacks the life force and love that characterize the Father. The Demiurge can only produce lifeless matter--"mud." The Demiurge is able to animate some of the mud by means of the forces and principalities contained within the Border. A good example of animated mud is viruses. Viruses are not alive, yet they are amazingly complex molecules that are able to carry out far-ranging search and destroy missions. It is also thought that the Demiurge produces lifeless entities out of pure force rather than material. These disembodied entities are called "archons." Archons are the offspring and servants of the Demiurge. 

At this point in the story, many Gnostic texts explain how the Demiurge mated with the life-force carried by Sophia to produce living creatures out of the mud. Again, this is a religious description of the process of bringing consciousness to matter. Sophia is given the title of the Mother of Creation, bringing life to the universe. Her mission was authorized; it was the plan cooked up to redeem creation from the Fall.

The Simple Explanation identifies Sophia as the Universal Unit of Consciousness. Sophia resides on the outside of the fractal border that holds the universe apart from the Metaverse. As such, she is pressed up against the Metaverse and also part of the toroidal flow, and it is this flow that pushes the life-force and consciousness out through the zero-point field at the center of the universal torus. In Gnostic terms, Sophia rides upon the outside of the Border, which I identify as "the waters" of ancient texts. Sophia's "face" "presses against the waters" and can be seen by the Demiurge, contained within the Border.

The ancient Gnostic texts say that Sophia mated with the Demiurge to produce the living creatures of our universe. Another way of saying this is that dead matter is imbued with life and consciousness at the point where it emerges from the zero-point field at the center of the Universal UC. Every living thing has its life force attached to the "mud" of its body at the point of conception. It is the consciousness given by the Father through the actions of Sophia melding with the otherwise dead material produced by the Demiurge that brings life to our universe. This is how "mud" becomes "meat." It is through this process of populating the universe with consciousness that the Fall and the Deficiency will be rescued.

The Simple Explanation puts it this way:

As the torus of our universe expanded, over and over and over again, echoes of the Universal Unit of Consciousness attached themselves to the particles streaming out of the Big Bang, each of a Unit of Consciousness (UC) with a particular, localized, point of view.

 

Looking at the hierarchical diagram at the top of this article, Sophia occupies a higher position than the Demiurge. The Demiurge is responsible for creating and controlling the dead material of the universe, while Sophia is responsible for birthing life and Units of Consciousness from the center, infusing them into the mud to create conscious life forms.

Gnostics can use this fresh insight to figure out other aspects of Gnostic belief, such as the relative strength and power of entities created by the Demiurge, versus entities imbued with the life force of the Fullness of God, that being the true Father and the God above the god of this material sphere. It is said that the life forms of this universe are the Second Order Powers sent to do battle with the forces of the Deficiency. We have been assured that the power that is in us is greater than the power that is in the world. I hope this article and the hierarchical diagram helps you to realize this.

Blessings. Onward and upward!

Monday, November 2, 2020

The Gnostic Christ--Who, What, Why? A Simple Explanation of the Redeemer

Gnosticism is the forerunner of the modern Christian faith. As such, a better understanding of the figure of the Christ is essential to understanding both Gnosticism and Christianity. The cosmology outlined below was well-known to Jesus and his original followers, but was cut out of Christianity about 1,700 years ago by the Nicene Council at the urging of the Pope and the Roman Emperor. Fortunately, a trove of 13 ancient Gnostic texts was discovered in 1945, dating back to the origins of Christianity. This collection is known as the Nag Hammadi codices.

Because this theology was subtracted from orthodox Christianity, many of the ideas of Gnostic cosmology sound odd and unfamiliar to modern church-goers. Some of the ideas may even sound heretical at first glance, due to their unfamiliarity. Yet the theology contained in these early scriptures make sense of so many puzzling aspects of Christian faith that they must be reexamined. So, if you will bear with me, I will explain in very simple terms the key points of Gnostic belief. I am confident that once you understand Gnostic Christianity, you will better understand your relationship with God.

According to Gnostic cosmology as laid out in the Nag Hammadi, we humans and all other forms of life on earth, from bacteria and eukaryotes on up, are the "fruit" of the Pleroma and Logos. We Second Order Powers find ourselves locked in a never-ending battle for dominion over the earth with forces that were generated as a result of the Fall. Due to the law of mutual combat, we have forgotten our origin in the Fullness and our mission to bring love and harmony to creation, and have instead taken on many of the characteristics of the shadows of the Deficiency.

Below is how I have visualized the Gnostic creation story—this may help you to better understand the order of creation and why the Christ is needed.

Before the beginning, before our universe, before time and space, there was pure Originating Consciousness and Love (the Father).


Then Originating Consciousness had a thought. This first thought is called the Son. The Son is the First Fruit of the Father.


The Son had many thoughts. These distinct ideas and attributes of the Son are altogether known as the Fullness of God. Individually, they are called "Aeons."

The Pleroma (the Fullness of God) is the Aeons sorted into a hierarchy of functions and forms. Some of the Aeons are personalities, and some of the Aeons are processes such as laws of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology; still others are powers such as gravity or beauty; still others are talents such as music and art. The Pleroma is made up of all of the individual characteristics of the Son working in perfect harmony.

The Aeon at the top of the hierarchy, named Logos, broke the rules by attempting to reach beyond the Pleroma and Fell; the Fall created the material universe.


Lacking the Son's blessing of love and consciousness, the shadows of the Fall (known as the Deficiency) are small, dead, and chaotic. 

The Aeon named Logos, who had fallen and broken open, prayed for a solution to clean up the shadows that had spilled forth from his creative blueprint.

Together, the Aeons and Logos fashioned the Second Order Powers to populate the Deficiency and bring life to the lifeless material of the Fall. (Most Gnostic texts call the Mother of these Second Order Powers “Sophia”—the Aeon who serves as the conduit and doorway for birth and consciousness into this universe.

The Simple Explanation model identifies this torus shape as the Womb of Creation. In Gnostic terms, this shape is “Sophia,” the Mother of Life on Earth.

The Second Order Powers are locked in a never-ending war with the Deficiency. Here below we constantly battle the physical forces of death and entropy, as well as the spiritual forces of vice, sin, delusion, and despair.


In order to restore memory and reason to the Second Order Powers, the Aeons of the Fullness, every one of them individually and all of them collectively, gave glory in unison to their Father while praying for a helper to bring peace to the Deficiency and forgiveness to Logos. Out of their focused prayer, a unique fruit emerged, one that contained all of the capabilities and powers of the Fullness along with all of the love and eternal qualities of the Father.

The singular Fruit of the Fullness and the Father is known by various names—the Christ, the Savior and the Redeemer, the Advocate, the Light, the Beloved.

In Simple Explanation terms, the Christ is a perfect and full fractal of the Father and the Son, all rolled up into One perfect form. 

Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth was both perfect Man and perfect God incarnate. Christian Gnostics believe the same. Here is the more complete explanation of who Jesus was:

It is said that Jesus was conceived without sin, because he carried within his body the perfection of Man and God. This would mean that Jesus’s DNA was perfect and true to the original DNA formula for humanity, hence the importance of the virgin birth that imparted that perfect DNA to the baby.

Jesus was also without negative karma in his soul, as his soul was the soul of God.

The components of Jesus’s body were also without sin, as the cells and flesh that became Jesus were in fact the Aeons of the Fullness incarnate. As Colossians 1:19 says, “For God was pleased to have all his Fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

This one sentence from Colossians contains the entire Christian Gnostic gospel. Because Jesus brought along the entire Fullness of the Pleroma when he incarnated, every aspect of the Father and the Son came to material instantiation on earth. In this manner, the eternal God experienced the finite life of us Second Order Powers and all of the struggles between birth and death that plague us all.



Here is how the Tripartite Tractate describes it:

“As for those of the shadow, [Logos] separated himself from them in every way, since they fight against him and are not at all humble before him... The stumbling, which happened to the Aeons of the Father... was brought to them, as if it were their own, in a careful and nonmalicious and immensely sweet way. It was brought to the Fullnesses so that they might be instructed about the Deficiency by the single One, from whom alone they all received strength to eliminate the defects.

“They gathered together, asking the Father with beneficent intent that there be aid from above, from the Father, for his glory since the defective one could not become perfect in any other way, unless it was the will of the Pleroma of the Father, which he had drawn to himself, revealed, and given to the defective one. Then from the harmony, in a joyous willingness which had come into being, they brought forth the fruit, which was a begetting from the harmony, a unity, a possession of the Fullnesses, revealing the countenance of the Father, of whom the Aeons thought as they gave glory and prayed for help for their brother with a wish in which the Father counted himself with them. Thus it was willingly and gladly that they brought forth the fruit.

“And he made manifest the agreement of the revelation of his union with them—which was his beloved Son. But the Son in whom the Fullnesses are pleased put himself on them as a garment, through which he gave perfection to the defective one, and gave confirmation to those who are perfect, the one who is properly called ‘Savior’ and ‘the Redeemer’ and ‘the Well-Pleasing One’ and ‘the Beloved,’ ‘the One to whom prayers have been offered’ and ‘the Christ’ and ‘the Light of those appointed,’ in accordance with the ones from whom he was brought forth, sine he has become the names of the positions which were given to him. Yet, what other name may be applied to him except ‘the Son,’ as we previously said, since he is the knowledge of the Father, whom he wanted them to know?

“Not only did the Aeons generate the countenance of the Father to whom they gave praise, but also they generated their own; for the Aeons who give glory generated their countenance and their face. They were produced as an army for him, as for a king, since the beings of the thought have a powerful fellowship and an intermingled harmony. They came forth in a multifaceted form in order that the one to whom help was to be given might see those to whom he had prayed for help. He also sees the One who gave it to him.”  [Tripartite Tractate, sections 85—87]

So, you see, the mission of the Christ, as stated in Colossians, was to redeem all of creation, including the fallen Aeon who founded our material universe. Because the Christ came to redeem everyone, the body of Jesus came to earth with every one of the Fullnesses on board. For every fallen spirit, the Christ brought their own personal and recognizable Savior.

Redemption has already taken place. It is up to the Second Order Powers and the Aeon  who fell to recognize and accept that redemption in order to complete the mission of the Christ. In Simple Explanation terms, the Christ brought the correcting formula for all of our spirits and souls, each unique and personally formulated to meet our individual needs. The baptism of the Christ washes away the mental and spiritual confusion brought on by the endless war with shadows of the Fall. 

Gnostics are apocalyptic, as are Christians. Gnostics believe that some day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus the Christ is Lord. Repentance and redemption comes harder for some than for others. Some souls take more time to recognize and remember. Ultimately, there comes a day of reckoning, for the Father cannot be denied forever. 

There will soon come a day when the Deficiency ends. On that day, a new economy will unite Heaven and Earth, and all souls will find their joyous place in Paradise. The only forms banished to the outer darkness will be the shadows and phantoms of the Fall, which did not exist within the Father from the beginning. These shadows are not real, and they have no home with us in Paradise.

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If you are interested in reading more about the Gnostic gospel, please read my very simple The Gnostic Gospel Illuminated. I have priced it low so that everyone who wants to know more can afford it.

The Gnostic Gospel Illuminated is available at all online bookstores and also as a kindle ebook.