I have posted the article below to my podcast at The Son – Gnostic Insights . You may listen to the audio version there. This article will appear in my upcoming book. It is the second in this series ...
The Son and the ALL
imagine that this consciousness that we call Father gives birth to an emanation
of itself. In the Simple Explanation philosophy, we call this emanation
a fractal. We’ll look at fractals later in the book because they play a big
part in creation.
the religious texts they call this emanation a Son. So now we have the Father
and Son. In the silence of the absolute, the Father brings forth the first and
only Son from its realization of itself. The Son is the Father having a thought.
The Son is the Father knowing itself as the Father and having a realization of
its own eternal Self.
Son reflects the Father's boundless greatness and love. The Son possesses every
trait of the Father, for the Son is a complete encapsulation of the Father in
which it dwells. Every trait of the Father is expressed now as a singularity,
and that singularity is called the Son. We will also be looking at singularities,
monads, and points of view in more depth later in the book.
yet although it was a singular manifestation of the Father, the moment the Son
was formed, it was no longer alone, for not only the Son, but what is called
the ALL, or the Totalities, arose at once.
The ALL immediately appeared as the offspring of the Son, because the
Son could not help itself from bringing others into existence, even as it was
brought into existence by the Father. Because the Son is an emanation of the
Father, it mirrors the Father's creativity.
so the Father knows itself and creates the Son, and the Son knows itself and
creates the ALL. In the Tripartite Tractate the ALL is known as the
pre-existent Church. This is not the same as your church down on the street
corner with the people in it singing hymns on Sunday, but rather this is called
”the true preexistent Church.”
Tripartite Tractate says, "for not only the Son but also the Church exists
from the beginning." The Tripartite goes on to say: "Before they all
arose from the Father's thought, he knew them, but they did not know the depth
in which they found themselves, nor could they know themselves or anything
else, for they were within the Father as an embryo or an unsprouted seed."
is to say, they exist as potential. They were there, they live in the Father,
they live in the Son, but they don't know anything, they don't know themselves.
The Totalities of the pre-existent Church are not yet self-aware. The way the
Tripartite Tractate describes this, “because they were newly formed the Father
concealed their perfection from them until they could grow into the knowledge.”
is why the Father revealed the Son to them, so that the ALL would be able to
relate to the Son and see the Father's glory according to the ability of each
one to receive him. Nobody sees the Father. The Father is unknowable; the
Father is too immense. When people say, "Oh, you can't conceive of God.
God's too big and unknowable," that's true. But God formed itself into a
singularity and that singularity is called the Son. And one of the reasons the
Son is there is because we can know the Son; we can't know the Father,
but we can know the Son.
Tripartite Tractate describes this this way: “The Son is no more and no less
than the sum of the ALL. And they understood who he is and he is covered by the
ALL. And with the birth of the ALL, the Son also became a Father.”
can be a little confusing because you have the originating consciousness, the
God Above All Gods, which is the originating consciousness we call the Father.
The Father had a sense of itself and this was called the Son. The Son
immediately produced itself as the form of the ALL. With the birth of the ALL,
the Son also became a Father. The originating Father--that consciousness so
lonely and still for eternity, now had a child who had also borne fruit from
his glory, and in this way the One begat the ALL, and the Father loved them all
as he loved his Son.
I said, the ALL is referred to as the pre-existent Church and it's also called
the Second Glory. The First Glory was the Son. The Second Glory is the ALL. The
originating Father's consciousness is incomprehensible. Its scope and greatness
is so immense and so unfathomable that the Tripartite Tractate says anyone
trying to take hold of it would be annihilated, and so the Father created the Son,
giving form to what had been his formless and solitary Self, for the Father's
desire was to be known. His desire was to love and to be loved. The Son that
arose is perfect, even as his Father is perfect and he carries within his
perfect form every quality of the Father, being the perfect image of the
Father. The Son's inherent creativity spread itself out into the ALL, like rays
beaming forth from a central star.
In my book, the Gnostic Gospel
Illuminated, I illustrate these concepts. The way I think of it is this way: when
I picture the originating consciousness of the original Father, I see just
total blackness, an entirety of dark, dark blackness. Then when I picture the
Son emerging and being held by that blackness, I see the Son as a foggy light
that begins very diffuse, very foggy, emerging out of the inky blackness. That
is what I see as the Son.
The Son emerges from the ground state of consciousness we call the Father.
The ALL emerges immediately from the Son
In the previous episode I talked about
the characteristics of the Father, as recounted by the Tripartite Tractate in
the Nag Hammadi Library. Now the funny thing about that whole last episode and
discussing the characteristics of the Father is that the Father is unknowable.
The Father is ineffable and illimitable and all of those gigantic words which
mean that we can't really comprehend the Father at all. So our attempts at
description are somewhat ironic. So how is it that we can claim to know these
characteristics of the Father--his sweetness, his greatness, and so forth?
Well, that is because the Father reveals his own characteristics through the
Son. And the Son is actually the God that we are able to relate to. Because of
the Son’s form, it becomes the relatable Father to us and to the Aeons, the Son
of that originating Father who is otherwise inexpressible and ungraspable.
The Son reflects and incorporates the
characteristics of the Father. So it seems to me that we can infer the
characteristics of the Father from the Son, and that's what I think the author
of the Tripartite Tractate did--inferred what the characteristics of the Father
must be by examining the characteristics of the Son. And so now in this chapter,
I would like to share more about the characteristics of the Son. What is the
Son? What does it mean to be the only begotten Son of God? And what was this first
expression of the Father?
The Tripartite Tractate sometimes
refers to the Son as Father because the Son is the Father of the Totalities. Sometimes
these names get interchanged and, again, this is a bit confusing, because the
first Father is the originating source, the ground state of consciousness from
which all else emanates. But the Father of us and of the Totalities before us,
that is the Son--the only begotten Son of the Father.
The Tripartite Tractate puts it this
way: "In the proper sense, he alone, the good, the unbegotten Father and
the complete, perfect One, is the one filled with all his offspring and with
every virtue and with everything of value."
So here, near the beginning of the
Tripartite Tractate, the writer is saying, and I quote, "Concerning the
Father, rather, one should speak of him as good, perfect, complete, being
himself the Totality. Not one of the names which are conceived or spoken, seen
or grasped, not one of them applies to him, even though they are exceedingly
glorious, magnifying, and honored. However, it is possible to utter these names
for his glory and honor, in accordance with the capacity of each one of those
who give him glory."
Which is saying that it is a
reflection of the speaker, like me saying these things, or the writer of the
Tripartite Tractate claiming these things about the Father that are good and
glorious. It is more a reflection of our capacity to understand and
grasp the Father rather than the Father itself, because the Father is
unknowable and ungraspable, and so the glory that we give is a reflection of
our capacity to give glory. The Tripartite says of the Father that, “He is the
one who is inconceivable by any thought, invisible by anything, ineffable by
any word, untouchable by any hand. He alone is the one who knows himself as he
And, after describing our inability to
conceive of the Father, the Father therefore brings forth the Son, which is
someone that we can begin to praise and grasp with any sort of true reflection
of its Self.
So it is saying we really don't know
any of this stuff that we're saying about the Father. But what we can infer is
that now, as it says again, quote, "He is the one who projects himself
thus as generation, having glory and honor, marvelous and lovely; the One who
glorifies himself, who marvels, who also loves; this is the One who has a Son
who subsists in him, who is silent concerning him, who is the ineffable One in
the ineffable One, the invisible One, the incomprehensible One, the
inconceivable One in the inconceivable One. Thus, the Son exists in the Father
forever. The Father is the One in whom he knows himself, who begot him having a
thought, which is the thought of him. That is the perception of him.”
The book says, "Just as the
Father exists in the proper sense, the One before whom there was no one else
and the One apart from whom there is no other unbegotten One, so too the Son
exists in the proper sense, the One before whom there was no other and after
whom no other Son exists. Therefore he is a first-born and an only Son. ‘First-born’
because no one exists before him and ‘only Son’ because no one is after
So now we have the Son sitting inside
of the Father, generated by the Father because the Father wished to be known. And
there is no other generation of the Father other than this first One--the Son.
The Tripartite Tractate goes on to say
something interesting here: that "Not only did the Son exist from the
beginning, but the Church too existed from the beginning. Now he who thinks
that the discovery that the Son is an only son opposes the statement about the
Church because of the mysterious quality of the matter, it is not so. For, just
as the Father is a unity and has revealed himself as Father for himself alone,
so too, the Son was found to be a brother to himself alone, in virtue of the
fact that he is unbegotten and without beginning. The Son wonders at himself
along with the Father, and he gives himself glory and honor and love. Being
innumerable and illimitable, his offspring are indivisible: those which, that
is the Church of which we were speaking, those which exist have come forth from
the Son and the Father.
And then this is an interesting
analogy that the book uses. It says that the Church comes forth like kisses, a “multitude
of kisses” exchanged between the Son and the Father, like "the multitude
of some who kiss one another with a good, insatiable thought, the kiss being a
unity, although it involves many kisses.”
So, in this analogy, the Church, the Totalities
which are the constituents of the Church, are kisses that the Father and Son
exchange between one another. It says, "This is the nature of the holy,
imperishable spirits upon which the Son rests, since it is his essence, just as
the Father rests upon the Son."
So, the Son is a singular unity, what
I would say is the first fractal emanation of the consciousness of the Father.
It is like the bucket dipped into the sea. It has the same characteristics of
the Father, and this is how we infer what are the characteristics of the
Father--by looking at the Son. And the Son is comprised of innumerable
imperishable spirits that have been exchanged between the Father and Son-- like
kisses. So the Son is a singular entity, however, the Son consists of
The Son is One and many at the same
time, just as we humans, let's say, have a singular spirit that governs
ourselves--our governing unit of consciousness is what I call it. This is what
many people refer to as “the soul.” You have your one governing unit of
consciousness that you think of as yourself, yet you are comprised of
countless, billions and trillions of subunits, in the sense of cells, and these
are your smaller units of consciousness that make up your great Self.
The Son is the same way. The Son's
countless, illimitable--meaning an infinite number of--spirits make up
the Son. And at this point in the Tripartite Tractate, these spirits are called
the Totalities of the Church. And the Church remains within the Son. The Son “wears
them like a garment” and they “wear the Son like a garment,” is how the
Tripartite Tractate puts it. This is akin to our bodies and the cells inside of
our bodies. Our cells don't go walking around on their own without us. We go
everywhere they go and they go everywhere we go.
The Son has that same exact type of
relationship with the Church or the first emanations of spirit. In fact, this is
another example of the precept: “As above, so below.” The Totalities of the
ALL, or the pre-existent Church, are to the Son as our cells are to us. As
above, so below.
Here's how it's put in the Tripartite
Tractate: "The Church exists in the dispositions and properties in which the
Father and the Son exist. Therefore, it subsists in the procreation of
innumerable Aeons. Also, in an uncountable way, they too beget by the
properties and dispositions in which the Church exists, for these comprise its
association, which they form toward one another and toward those who have come
forth from them, toward the Son, for whose glory they exist."
We will revisit this idea of the
generation of the Aeons later, but for now we will focus on the purpose of the
Church, which is to give glory to the Son. That's their main job and that's why
we have the same word "church" down here on earth. Our human church's
job is to give glory to the Father and to the Son, as it was in the beginning.
The celestial Church’s job is to point toward the glory of the Father and the
My definition of glory and giving
glory is to be in perfect alignment with the will of the Father and the Son. When
you are in perfect alignment with the Father, you are "giving glory"
to the Father. It has to do with where you put your focus, and the focus of the
celestial Church is the Father and the Son.
I think we all
have an intuitive sense of what glory means. Glory is, "Oh my gosh! This
is the best thing ever!" And what does it mean to give glory? Giving
glory means that you are focused on an object in adoration and love; that
is giving glory. Glory is recognizing the wondrousness of the object, and
giving glory is reflecting that glory back to your object of devotion. The Father
and the Son are glorious. And when I give glory to God, I am loving God by
seeing that glory and acknowledging it and reflecting that glory back to God.
Glory is not
something that you can offer to another person. When we glorify another person
or thing, that is what I would call “vain glory.” When you give glory to
someone else, it is in vain. We may love each other and be devoted to each
other’s welfare, but it’s not a good idea to worship each other.
Glory is not
worship for the sake of worship, as if God needed our adoration. This would
imply that the Father of the universe is hungry and insecure and wheedling for
our affection, as if we mere mortals could offer up anything of value not
already owned by the Lord of ALL. That just doesn't make any sense. Giving
glory is not for God's benefit, it's for our benefit. The reason we give
glory to God is because that is the method by which we tune in to God's
frequency. You could say that giving glory to God is how we synchronize
ourselves with the One consciousness of which we are a part. And why would we
want to synchronize with the Father?
gospel tells us that we were designed with a homing device that gives us “indescribable
pleasure” when we are in communion with the Father and when we are operating
according to plan. The closer we are to dialing into the Father's frequency,
the happier we feel. It is through this process of giving glory that we realign
ourselves with the Universal Unit of Consciousness, or what we gnostics are
calling the Father or the God Above All Gods. This is how we align ourselves
for instruction and for renewal.
center ourselves, our big S Selves, with the Father, we feel peace, happiness,
joy, and love. When we acknowledge the Origin and focus in that direction, we are
giving glory and we are united in glory, and when we give glory alongside others
who are themselves giving glory, we share with them a worship experience of the
One that transcends what any of us can experience alone. So, you see, this is
not for the benefit of a needy God, but for the edification of the Saints.
Edification means strengthening. It is through giving glory that the choir of
which we are a part is able to sing along with one perfect voice.
It is very important to choose your objects of
glory carefully. In this distracting world in which we find ourselves, we are
giving glory away right and left to things that do not deserve glory. We
glorify movie stars and television stars, we glorify sports figures and pop stars.
We glorify models and social influencers and products that we love. This is a
distraction away from true glory, and it doesn't make us happy. Giving glory to
an unworthy object is like a sugary snack that is momentarily tasty but does
not satisfy true hunger. Only glorifying the Father with love can make us
happy. The other objects that we may find ourselves glorifying, these are
imitations. These are part of the deficiency, and so they cannot ever fulfil us
the way that we hope they will.
More on the Son next week--7/16/22