Originally Posted 1/30/16; Updated 12/17/18; Updated 3/31/19
Gnosticism is a personal religious experience, based on Gnosis, the knowledge of transcendence (a state of being or existence above and beyond the limits of material experience) arrived at by way of interior, intuitive means. Its world view is stated in myth rather than in theology. These myths may be interpreted in diverse ways, as this is a belief system based on the “knowledge of the heart.
Gnostics view the world as being created in a flawed manner.
Like Buddhism, Gnosticism recognizes that earthly life is filled with suffering, catastrophes, and death. They see themselves as strangers living in a world that is flawed and absurd. They reject the idea that humans are to blame for the world’s failings. They lay that charge at the feet of the creator.
They do believe in a Godhead but see that Godhead in its original essence as the True God and in its debased manifestation as the false or creator God.
The Rise Of Gnosticism
Published on Aug 6, 2011
Thankfully, the early church fathers were nearly unanimous in recognizing the Gnostic gospels as promoting false teachings about virtually every key Christian doctrine. There are countless contradictions between the Gnostic gospels and the true Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The Gnostic gospels can be a good source for the study of early Christian heresies, but they should be rejected outright as not belonging in the Bible and not representing the genuine Christian faith.
And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 1 John 4:3
Gnosticism by Dr. Norman Geisler
The Gnostics followed a variety of religious movements that stressed gnosis or knowledge, especially of one’s origins. Cosmological dualism was also a feature of the system—opposed spiritual worlds of good and evil. The material world was aligned with the dark world of evil.
No one is certain of the origins of Gnosticism. Some believe it was rooted in a heretical group within Judaism. Supporters of this theory cite The Apocalypse of Adam and The Paraphrase of Shem as early Gnostic documents revealing Jewish origins. Others give it a Christian context. An incipient form may have infiltrated the church in Colosse. Or it may have had a totally pagan root. During the second through the fourth centuries, it was addressed as a major threat by such church fathers as Augustine, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origen.
Early Sources for Gnostics
Irenaeus’s book Against Heresies provides extensive treatment of what Gnostics believed. Three Coptic Gnostic codices were published. Two were discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945. Codex Askewianus contains Pistis Sophia and Codex Brucianus contains The Book of Jeu. Best known as the Nag Hammadi documents is the Gospel of Thomas. The third work from this period, Codex Berolinensis, was found elsewhere and published in 1955. It contains a Gospel of Mary [Magdalene], a Sophia of Jesus, Acts of Peter, and an Apocryphon of John. The first translation of a tractate, The Gospel of Truth, appeared in 1956, and a translation of fifty-one treatises, including Gospel of Thomas, appeared in 1977.
The early fathers of the church held that Gnosticism had first-century roots and that Simon the Sorcerer of Samaria (Acts 8) was the first Gnostic. According to church fathers, Simon practiced magic, claimed to be divine, and taught that his companion, a former prostitute, was reincarnated Helen of Troy. Hippolytus (d. 236) attributed the Apophasis Megale to Simon. Simon’s disciple, a former Samaritan named Menander, who taught in Syrian Antioch near the end of the first century, taught that those who believed in him would not die. That claim was nullified when he died.
At the beginning of the second century, Saturninus (Satornilos) asserted that the incorporeal Christ was the redeemer denying that Christ was really incarnated in human flesh. This belief is shared with docetism. In this period Cerinthus of Asia Minor was teaching adoptionism, the heresy that Jesus was merely a man upon whom Christ descended at his baptism. Since Christ could not die, he departed from Jesus before his crucifixion. Basilides of Egypt was called both a dualist by Irenaeus and a Monist by Hippolytus.
Gnostic Inversion of The Truth
One of the more controversial, though atypical, Gnostics was Marcion of Pontus. He believed that the God of the Old Testament was different from the God of the New Testament and that the canon of Scripture included only a truncated version of Luke and ten of Paul’s Epistles (all but the pastoral Epistles). His views were severely attacked by Tertullian (ca. 160s—ca. 215). Marcion became a stimulus for the early church to officially define the limits of the canon.
Valentinus of Alexandria was another prominent Gnostic. He came to Rome in 140 and taught that there were a series of divine emanations. He divided humanity into three classes: (1) Hylics or unbelievers, who were immersed in material and fleshly nature; (2) psychics or common Christians, who lived by faith and pneumatics; and (3) spiritual Gnostics. His followers included Ptolemaeus, Heracleon, Theodotus, and Marcus. Heracleon’s interpretation of John is the first known New Testament commentary.
Gnostic-like beliefs persisted into the fourth century. Among the late manifestations was Manichaeism, a dualistic cult that trapped Augustine in his pre-Christian life. Against it he wrote many treatises, which are collected in The Anti-Manichaean Writings in the Ante-Nicene Fathers.
Since Gnosticism lacked a common authority, it encompassed a variety of beliefs. Central to many, if not most, were:
1. a cosmic dualism between spirit and matter, good and evil;
2. a distinction between a finite Old Testament God, Yahweh, who was equated with Plato’s Demiurge or Craftsman, and the transcendent God of the New Testament;
3. view of creation as resulting from the fall of Sophia (Wisdom);
4. identification of matter as evil;
5. belief that most people are ignorant of their origins and condition;
6. identification of sparks of divinity that are encapsulated in certain spiritual individuals;
7. faith in a docetic Redeemer, who was not truly human and did not die on the cross. This Redeemer brought salvation in the form of a secret gnosis or knowledge that was communicated by Christ after his resurrection.
8. a goal of escaping the prison of the body, traversing the planetary spheres of hostile demons, and being reunited with God;
9. a salvation based not on faith or works, but upon special knowledge or gnosis of one’s true condition;
10. a mixed view of morality Carpocrates urged his followers to engage in deliberate promiscuity. Epiphanes, his son, taught that licentiousness was God’s law. Most Gnostics, however, took a strongly ascetic view of sexual intercourse and marriage, contending that the creation of woman was the source of evil and procreation of children simply multiplied the number of persons in bondage to the evil material world. Salvation of women depended on their one day becoming men and returning to the conditions of Eden before Eve was created. Oddly enough, women were prominent in many Gnostic sects.
11. interpretation of baptism and the Lord’s supper as spiritual symbols of the gnosis;
12. view of the resurrection as spiritual, not physical. In the Nag Hammadi codices, De Resurrectione affirms that:
Gnostic View on Death and Resurrection
The Saviour swallowed up death…. For he laid aside the world that perishes. He changed himself into an incorruptible aeon and raised himself up, after he had swallowed up the visible by the invisible, and he gave us the way to immortality…. But if we are made manifest in this world wearing him, we are his beams and we are encompassed by him until our setting, which is our death in this life. We are drawn upward by him like beams by the sun, without being held back by anything. This is the spiritual resurrection which swallows up the psychic together with the fleshly.1
Gnosticism as an organized movement acknowledging its source all but died. The sole surviving remnant is in southwestern Iran. However many Gnostic teachings live on among new agers, existentialists, and Bible critics. The revival of interest in the Gospel of Thomas by the Jesus Seminar is a case in point. There is also a tendency, even among some evangelical scholars, to deny the physical nature of the resurrection. However, Gnosticism lives today in the New Age Movement in an extensive way.
Gnosticism was thoroughly critiqued by the early church fathers, especially Irenaeus, Tertullian, Augustine, and Origen, though Origen bought into some of their views.
1 M. Malinine, ed and trans., De Resurrection epistula ad Rheginum (Zurich: Rascher, 1963), p. 45
Recommended Resource: The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth Behind Alternative Christianities by Darrell Bock.
The Gnostic God concept unites and reconciles Monotheism and Polytheism, as well as of Theism, Deism, and Pantheism. To the Gnostic, there is a true, ultimate and transcendent God, who is beyond all created universes and who never created anything. While this True God did not fashion or create anything, He (or, It) “emanated” or brought forth from within Himself/Itself the substance of all there is in all the worlds, visible and invisible. In a certain sense, it may, therefore, be true to say that all is God because everything contains the substance of God. But the Gnostic recognizes that many portions of the original divine essence have been projected so far from their source that they are no longer wholesome. To worship the cosmos or nature, or embodied creatures would be tantamount to worshipping alienated and corrupt portions of the emanated divine essence.
History of Hagia Sophia – the Church of Holy Wisdom
The basic Gnostic myth has many variations, but in all of these exist Aeons, intermediate deities who exist between the ultimate, True God and ourselves. They, together with the True God, comprise the realm of Fullness (Pleroma) where the True Godhead operates with full potency. By comparison, our existential state stands as emptiness.
One of their Aeonial beings, named Sophia (“Wisdom”) is of great importance to the Gnostic worldview. Sophia is the deity who became the actual creator of the material and psychic cosmos, all of which she created in her own image. She is responsible for the Archons/Rulers.
SOPHIA: Sophia, Antichrist Spirit, Divine Feminine & Gnosticism
The Human Being
Humans are generally kept ignorant of the divine spark within them. This ignorance is due to the influence Sophia and the Archons, who are intent upon keeping men and women ignorant of their true nature and destiny. They do everything they can to cause mankind to remain attached to earthly things and enslaved to their cosmic rule.
The Gnostic recognizes that man is not able to merely evolve to spiritual freedom. They need the assistance of the Messengers of the Light which periodically come from the True God in order to assist humans in their quest for Gnosis. There are only a few of these figures mentioned in Gnostic scripture; the most important are Seth (the third Son of Adam), Jesus, and the Prophet Mani. The majority of Gnostics always looked to Jesus as the principal savior figure (the Soter).
Gnostics aren’t seeking salvation from sin (original or any other), but from ignorance. Ignorance — meaning ignorance of spiritual realities – which can be dispelled only by Gnosis/knowledge. The decisive revelation of Gnosis is brought by the Messengers of Light, especially by Christ, the Logos of the True God. However, it is not by His suffering and death but rather by His life of teaching and His establishing of mysteries that Christ has performed His work of salvation.
Gnostics believe that the potential for Gnosis and salvation is present in every man and woman. And it is individual, not provided by another. They do acknowledge that Gnosis and salvation must be stimulated and facilitated in order arise within consciousness. This stimulation is supplied by Messengers of Light who, in addition to their teachings, establish salvation mysteries (sacraments) which can be administered by apostles of the Messengers and their successors.
Remember that the Gnostics believe that knowledge of our true nature — as well as other associated realizations — are withheld from us. The True Transcendent God of the Gnostic is unknown in this world. Gnostics refer to him as “The Unknown Father”. Therefore, they must receive revelation from on High be awakened from their earthly slumber and saved by the knowledge that comes “from without”.
Gnostics are opposed to any and all “ethics” or “morality” that comes from a system of rules.
Their morality consists of an inner integrity, based on their own illumination of the indwelling spark. To the Gnostic rules of conduct may serve numerous ends, including the structuring of an ordered and peaceful society, and the maintenance of harmonious relations within social groups. However, rules are not relevant to salvation; which is brought about only by Gnosis. Morality then is constantly subject to changes and modifications in accordance with the spiritual development of the individual.
Gnosticism encourages non-attachment and non-conformity to the world; a lack of egotism; and a respect for the freedom and dignity of other beings. However the intuition and wisdom of every individual “Gnostic” is free take what he chooses from these principles for their personal application. Source: The Gnostic World View: A Brief Summary of Gnosticism
Watch the above video in its entirety. I realize it is long but well worth the time spent.
In this video, you will find a very interesting section on Magic and Concordia – Presented as if by Pico DE MIRANDOLA, COUNT GIO-VANNI FREDERICO (Prince of Concordia): himself.
It also contains some very interesting information about Lorenzo the Magnificent Lorenzo de Medici of Florence He was a student of Plato & Hermes.
Fetchino translatero of Hermes Corpus Hermetica – Medical Practice according to the stars and astrology – symbolism. This was apparently practiced by most doctors of the Renaissance and involved using “images and lights in certain patterns”, along with magic hymns.
Natural Magic used to attain Hermetic Gnosis based on Astrology – MAGIC
Pico – Composed a Proposition to unite all faiths, pagan and biblical, with man as divinity. Man in control of his own destiny. This was the Shift of Medieval age to the Modern Era.
PICO DE MIRANDOLA, COUNT GIO-VANNI FREDERICO (Prince of Concordia):
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, count di Concordia, (born Feb. 24, 1463, Mirandola, duchy of Ferrara [Italy]—died Nov. 17, 1494, Florence), Italian scholar and Platonist philosopher whose De hominis dignitate oratio (“Oration on the Dignity of Man”), a characteristic Renaissance work composed in 1486, reflected his syncretistic method of taking the best elements from other philosophies and combining them in his own work. http://www.britannica.com/biography/Giovanni-Pico-della-Mirandola-conte-di-Concordia
PICO DE MIRANDOLA, COUNT GIO-VANNI FREDERICO (Prince of Concordia): By: Gotthard Deutsch, Schulim Ochser
Italian philosopher, theologian, and cabalist; born Feb. 24, 1463, at Mirandola; died at Florence Nov. 17, 1494. Gifted with high intellectual powers, he commenced the study of theology at an early age, graduated from the University of Bologna, and at the age of twenty-three published 900 theses against the views of the philosophers and theologians of his time (“Conclusiones Philosophicæ Cabalisticæ et Theologicæ,” Rome, 1486). These theses included one which postulated that the Cabala best proves the divinity of Jesus. Pico received his cabalistic training from Johanan Aleman, from whom he also obtained three cabalistic works which he translated into Latin: the commentary of Menahem Recanati on the Pentateuch, the “Hoḳmat ha-Nefesh” (= “Scientia Animḳ”) of Eleazar of Worms (printed at Lemberg. 1875), and the “Sefer ha-Ma’alot” of Shem-Ṭob Falaquera. He tried to harmonize the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle with the Cabala and Neo-Platonism, but his excessive devotion to the Cabala resulted in an ascetic and mystical tendency, which brought him into conflict with the Church. He was accused of heresy, but was acquitted, and retired to Florence, where he spent the rest of his life with a friend.
Pico was one of the first to collect Hebrew manuscripts. Of his books, which were widely read, two may here be mentioned: (1) “Cabalistarum Selectiones,” Venice, 1569; (2) “Opera,” Bologna, 1496; Venice, 1498; Basel, 1557.
According to the video, it was not until after this man that astronomy was separated from Astrology. Up until then Magic/Astronomy/Medicine were all one.
The above video also contains some very good information on John Dee very famous for his interest/practice in Spirits, Demonology and Hermetic Philosophy.
Here is what I found very interesting. Back in 2012, when the European Union was all the fuss. They had declared that they were rebuilding the Tower of Babel, and were using all the symbolism related. There was a luxury Cruise ship that set sail, called the “Concordia”. It was meant to represent this new union. The design of the ship had elements related to all the different countries involved. The ship hit a ROCK, and sank. I believe this was a message from GOD. That the ROCK represented JESUS CHRIST and GOD was saying the rebuilding of BABEL will never succeed! Take a look the the video below.
Coasta Concordia – Symbol of the DIETY of MAN through Wisdom
Friday 13th of January, 2012
I found it very revealing at the time, that the Concordia was named for continued harmony and peace between the nations of the EU. The European Union which openly declares they are continuing the building of the TOWER OF BABEL. Their Union being man’s way of bringing peace and safety, without GOD. Each of the floors was designed for a member nation of the 13 Nations of the Union. I find it very interesting that it struck a ROCK! lol So the EU was symbolically destroyed by the ROCK! The Rock, of course, representing JESUS CHRIST the SOLID ROCK! I did not know that it was owned by the same company that owned the Titanic, or that it was almost exactly 100 years after the sinking of the Titanic. Interesting. I also was not aware that there was some kind of explosion that took out the electricity in the area (possible EMP). I did suspect the Captain was a patsy.
Captain held as cruise ship hits rock and sinks
Claims that commanding officer saved lives – but then left hours before last of passengers and crew
- David Randall, James Hanning, John Phillips
- Saturday 14 January 2012
“It is not yet known if the accident was caused by human error, or by a power failure that disabled the ship’s navigation systems. Captain Schettino reportedly blamed faulty charts for the accident. “We were navigating off the coast, along a tourist route, when the ship on a flank hit a rock not marked on the nautical chart,” he told Tgcom 24 television. “In theory, that rock shouldn’t have been there.” Gianni Onorato, an executive with Costa, the ship’s operator, said that Captain Schettino had the liner on its regular, weekly route when it struck a reef. “The ship was doing what it does 52 times a year, going along the route between Civitavecchia and Savona,” he said.
This was an article I saved from the week of the accident. I felt it was significant and worth sharing because it states that this was a route that ship and that Captain took on a regular basis. It also states they struck a ROCK that apparently had not been there before.
THE CONCORDIA SUMMIT
The Concordia Annual Summit in New York convenes the world’s most prominent business, government, and nonprofit leaders to foster dialogue and enable effective partnerships for positive social impact. This annual global affairs forum takes place in New York City and examines the world’s most pressing challenges to identify avenues for collaboration.
2018 ANNUAL SUMMIT
The 2018 Concordia Annual Summit will be held on September 24th-25th, 2018 in New York City, where we hope to build on the success of the 2017 Summit and elevate critical discussions as the largest and most inclusive nonpartisan forum on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
At Concordia, inclusivity remains at the core of what we do, and our 2018 Annual Summit will strive to elevate unique voices that wouldn’t ordinarily have access to such a large and diverse forum in which to be heard. We are also continuing our efforts to facilitate effective and lasting partnerships.
This next article will give you an idea of how modern searchers view Gnosticism. I don’t agree or condone, but it gives you an idea of where they are spiritually and what attracts them to this religious view.
How I Stopped Being Agnostic… and Became a Gnostic
Gnosticism Exposed Gnostic Gospels
GNOSTIC SECRETS, THE PRIORY OF SION AND THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR WITH GARY WAYNE
Do You Believe In Magick? Continued Part 13 – Pantheism