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A Shared Vision

[from ]


Subject: A Shared Vision


                                        D. M. DeBacker
                               June 23, 1988  11:36 PM

                    Gnosticism is a religious/philosophical tradition that

               sometime in the last  century before  the present  era1. Th
e word

               "tradition"  should  be  stressed  because  one  of the ten
ets of

               Gnosticism is that of a general disdain for authority or

               orthodoxy. The  Gnostics adhered  to a  belief in strict eq

               among the members of the sect; going so far as to chose  th
e role

               of  priest  by  drawing  lots  among  the participates at g

               gatherings2. They also stressed direct revelation  through

               and visions  and an  individual interpretation of the revel

               of fellow Gnostics and sacred scriptures.

                    The Greek word gnosis (from which we have  "Gnosticism
") and

               the Sanskrit  bodhi (from  which we have "Buddhism") have e

                    1 see  J.M.  Robinson,  Introduction,  in  The  Nag  H
               Library (New  York, 1977);  hereafter cited as NHL, for a g
               discussion of the origins of Gnosticism.

                    2 Pagels, Elaine; The Gnostic Gospels;(New York, 1979)
; p 49



               the same  meaning. Both  gnosis and  bodhi refers  to a kno

               that transcends  the knowledge  that is acquired through me
ans of

               empirical  reasoning  or  rational   thought;  it   is  int

               knowledge  derived  from  internal  sources.  To the Gnosti
c this

               knowledge is necessary for salvation3.

                                    "I say, You are gods!"


                    The Gnostic sects were essentially eschatological; con

               with salvation,  with transcendence  from the  world of err
or (as

               opposed to sin) towards  a knowledge  of the  Living God,
who is

               knowable  only  through  revelationary  experience. The obj
ect of

               gnosis is God- into  which the  soul is  transformed monist

               This notion  of assimilation  into a  divine essence  is kn
own in

               Gnostic Circles as "immanentizing the Eschaton"4.

                        "Christ redeemed us from the Curse of the Law."


                    3 Barnstone, Willis, ed.; The  Other Bible;  (San Fran
               1984); p 42

                    4 Wilson, Robert A.; The Illuminati Papers; (Berkely,
               p 46



                    The Gnostic defiance towards authority took  on many l

               They developed  an elaborate  cosmogony, in defiant opposit
ion to

               traditional  Jewish  and  Christian  beliefs.  For  the  Je
w  and

               Christian, it  was a good, though authoritarian, god that c

               Adam and Eve. It was through  their own  sin that  they fel
l into

               corruption. Yet for the Gnostic, the creator was not good a
t all,

               rather he became  known  to  the  Gnostics  as  the  Demiur
ge1, a

               secondary god  below Sophia,  Mother Wisdom, and the unknow
n God-

               who-is-above-all-else.2  To the  Gnostics,  the  Demiurge-
 who is

               also  known  as  Ialdabaoth,  Sabaoth, and Saclas- acted in

               when he created the material universe  and mistakenly  thou
ght of

               himself as the only god.

                    In  Gnostic  literature,  Adam  and  Eve  are seen as

               figures in their disobedience; aided  by  the  serpent,  wh
o gave

               them knowledge  and who will later return in some sects as

               to redeem humanity by teaching disobedience  to the  curse
of the

               laws of Yahweh the Creator3.

                    1 Greek for "craftsman", much like the Masonic "Archit
ect of
               the Universe". From Plato's Timaeus.

                    2 I  have  come  up  with  Greek  term  "Theoseulogete
s"  to
               describe  "God-who-is-above-all-else"  which  I  found  in
               Epistle to the Romans  (9:5), but  I hesitate  to make  use
 of it
               because I am not sure how it should be pronounced.

                    3 Hypostasis of the Archons 89:32-91:3 (NHL p. 155)



                    Many writers when discussing Gnosticism approach the s

               with a scholarly morbidity. They tend  to look  upon the Gn

               as a cult of dreadful ascetics who shunned the world of err
or and

               delusion. Yet as a neo-gnostic, I can not help but  see a g

               world-view  as  that  of  looking  upon  the universe not a
s some

               sinister mistake, but more  as a  complex and  complicated


                    When  one   first  begins  reading  the  Gnostic  lite

               contained in the pages of the  Nag Hammadi  Library (cf.  n
ote p.

               1),  one  is  tempted  to  filter the language and the symb
ols of

               Gnosticism through a mindset  of  `hellfire'  fright  conju
red by

               images brought from the Book of Revelations or Daniel. The
key to

               reading the NHL is not to be frightened or distressed  by s
ome of

               the images,  but to  realize that  the tractates  of the NH
L were

               collected as consciousness raising  tools.  To  the  Gnosti
c, the

               pages  of   NHL  are   not  to  be  meant  to  be  taken  a
s  the

               authoritative, apostolic writings of  the Christian  bible
or the

               prophetic and  patristic writings of the Jewish bible, but

               as visions shared with  fellow Gnostics.  The following dis

               is meant to be just that- a Gnostic sharing his vision.



                              "When the Elohim began to create..."
                                                                       - G
en 1:1

                    As all religious thought has as its ultimate aim the t

               of God, it is best that  I  begin  my  "vision"  by  impart
ing my

               perception of God.

                     To me, God is indescribable, inscrutable, and ultimat

               "nonexistent". Any attempt  at  describing  God  invokes,
what a

               friend termed,  the "great  syntax catastrophe"2.  It is wr
ong, I

               believe, even to use the pronouns he or she when speaking o
f God;

               and it  seems better to speak of what God is "not" rather t
han to

                    speak of what God"is". To paraphrase the Chinese philo

               Lao Tse "The god that can be named is not the God"3.

                    It is  best not to even attempt a description of God,
but to

               think of God as inscrutable by  definition: that  which can
not be

                    1 For a discussion on this translation of the opening
               of Genesis cf. Asimov, Issac; Asimov's  Guide to  the Bible
; Vol.
               II; (NY, 1968); pp 16-17

                    2 A  friend  tells  me  that  he picked up this term f
rom an
               evangelical Christian in Georgia.

                    3 "The Tao that can  be  trodden  is  not  the  enduri
ng and
               unchanging Tao.  The name  that can  be named is not the en
               and unchanging name." Lao-Tse; Tao  teh  Ching  (I,1)-  tra
ns. by
               James Legge



               easily understood,  completely obscure, mysterious, unfatho

               and enigmatic; the "Mystery of the Ages"1.

                    Many Gnostics speak of God as  being "non-existent";
not in

               the atheistic  sense, but in the sense that God does not ex
ist in

               the same sense as you or  I  or  anything  else  in  the Un

                         exists. In some Gnostic  writings  God is referre
dto as

               the "unbegotten one"2.

                    As  a  Gnostic  Christian,  one  who  emphasizes  the

               influence  of  gnosis  (knowledge)  over  the influence of

               (faith), it is not enough  for  me  merely  to  believe  th
at God

               exists; I must know that God exists.

                    In  his  epistle  to  the  Galatians,  Paul  tells  us

               ignorance of God is a form of bondage3; and in his epistle
to the

               Colossians, he  tell us  that man's purpose is to "be fille
d with

               the  knowledge  of  [God's]  will  in  all  spiritual  wisd
om and

               understanding,.. and increasing in (gnosis) knowledge of Go

                    Many Christian  sects teach that "faith" is an unquest

               belief that does not require  proof  or  evidence.  To unde

                    1 Col 1:26

                    2 Tripartite Tractate; 51.24-52.6; (NHL p. 55)

                    3 Gal. 4:8-9

                    4 Col. 1:9-10



               "faith" properly  it requires knowing that belief and opini
on are

               not one and  the  same.  A  mere  opinion  is  something  t
hat is

               asserted  or  accepted  without  any  basis at all in evide
nce or

               reason1. Whereas, to believe  in something  is to  exercise

               faith  or  trust  in  something.  Faith  then could be said
 to be

               "trust"; and `faith in God' is, therefore, the same as  `tr
ust in


                    The basis of any degree of trust must be a certain deg
ree of

               knowledge  concerning  a  given  object  or  situation.  Th
e more

               knowledge  one  has  concerning,  say,  a  person, determin
es the

               amount of trust allowed that person. For example,  if you
know a

                      person to  be completely unreliable,  you then have

               little faith in that person. Conversely, You have a  great
deal of

               faith that  person is not to be trusted. If you know that a

               is highly reliable, you then have built up  a degree  of tr
ust in

               that person based on your knowledge of him.

                    Therefore, knowledge  of God must parallel faith in Go
d. Yet

               how can God be known when we are not even sure that he exis
ts? If

               we  say  that  God  is  essentially  `unknowable and can on
ly be

               spoken of in terms of what God is  not, then  how can  we c
ome to

               have any knowledge of God?

                    1 See Adler,  Mortimer J.; Ten Philosophical Mistakes;
               4; (New York, 1985); for a  detailed discussion  of knowled
ge and



                    There are  basically two  ways to  know God. The first
 is by

               way of reason or logic and second, by way of  intuitive kno

               or gnosis.  We shall  see in  following paragraphs how the

               method may  help us  in understanding  the problems  we are

               with in  our attempts  to know  God, and many will see, als
o, how

               severely lacking the path of logic can be compared to that
of the

               gnostic path.

                    In  studying  the  problem  of  `logical  proofs'  of

               existence I have  come  across  several  historical  argume
nts of

               which I  have grouped  into what  I call "The Seven Argumen
ts and

               the General Argument for the Existence of the  Almighty." I

               labeled these  arguments the  Ideological (ideo  as in idea
), the

               Etiological ( `aetio' meaning cause), the  Teleological (`t

               meaning  final   outcome),  the   Cosmological  (`cosmo'  m

               universal),  the   Ontological   (`onto'   meaning   being)
,  the

               Pantheological   (`pantheo'   as   in   `pantheism'),   and

               Psychological (`psyche' meaning soul) Arguments. I  will pr

               a brief discussion of each.

                    1] The Psychological Argument

                        Before anything  can be  said concerning  the real
ity of

               God or  of  anything  else  for  that  matter.  One  must
take a

               skeptical stance.  A skeptical  stance would  be that of do

               the reality of absolute or universal  truths. In  other wor
ds one



               could say  that the certainty of knowledge is impossible an
d that

               onecan  achieve only `probable' knowledge,  i.e., ideas who

               validity is  highly probable.  An example of this would be
to say

               that it is only highly probable that you  are reading  this

               but that neither you nor I can be absolutely certain of thi

                        Yet probable knowledge implies the existence of ab

               knowledge.  For instance a skeptic could deny that the obje
cts of

               his perceptions exist, but he could not deny that his perce

               exist. St. Augustine stated that the person who doubts all

               is caught  in a  logical dilemma, for he must exist in orde
r that

               he may doubt. As Descartes, put it "I think, therefore I am
.". In

               the act of doubting one establishes the absolute reality of

               own consciousness or "psykhei".

                      For  Augustine   the   "psykhei"   comprises   the

               personality  of  the  living  being,  who  becomes  aware t

               self-consciousness not only that  he or  she is a real inte

               existing person  but also  that he  knows with absolute cer

               his own activities and powers  of  memory,  intellect,  and

               Thus  the  being  `remembers'  what  it  is  doing  in the
act of

               self-doubt; it understands or knows the immediate experienc
e; and

               it can  will to act or not to act as it does. Hence three a

               of the individual "psykhei" may be described as powers of m

               intellect,  and  will,  or  as  activities of being, knowin
g, and




               2] The Ideological Argument

                    Prior to the history of any object the ideal had to ex
ist as

               the source  imparting reality  to the particular object. Hu

               must exist as a universal ideal before any individual human

               can possibly exist. An object's essence (ideal) must be a r

               before the particular object can come into existence.

                    Many people, when first confronted by this argument  f
ail to

               understand it.  One fellow thought the argument was prepost

               because  he  thought  it  somehow  denied  that  things  co
uld be

               discovered by  accident. He gave a convoluted example invol
ving a

               chemist seeking to  invent  a  glue  and  in  the  course
of his

               research  accidently  discovering  a  cure  for cancer. Wha

t this

               fellow failed to realize is that  the notion  of a  death d

               disease such  as cancer  and the idea of a needed cure for

               existed long before this bumbling  chemist  started  on  hi
s glue

               project.  Both  the  psychological  and ideological argumen
ts are

               really not arguments for the existence  of God,  but are in

               as an introduction to the following arguments.

               3] The Etiological Argument

                    God,  by  definition,  must  have  existed  as a first

               because every  effect requires  a cause  and this  must hav
e been

               true of entire universe. The material world is contingent,



               to create itself, hence  requires  something  else,  a nece

               spiritually uncreated  Being to bring it into existence and

               it to continue its progress.

                    The same  fellow who  debated the  ideological argumen
t said

               that  the  etiological  argument  "hurt  his  head"  and th
at it

               reminded him of "the old chicken and the  egg argument".  T
he key

               words in this argument are "contingent" (meaning, "dependen
t on

               chance"; "conditional"), "necessary",  and  "uncreated"  (s
ee the

               General  Argument  below).  The  cosmological  argument is

               identical to the etiological argument, yet the wording  is


               4] The Cosmological Argument

                    There must have been a time when the universe did not

               for all things in the universe  are mere  possibilities dep

               on some  other objects  for their being and development; th
e fact

               that  the  universe  does  exist  implies  that  a  necessa
ry  or

               noncontigent  Being  exists  who  was  capable  of  creatin
g  the


               5] The Ontological Argument

                    Since we possess an idea of  a  perfect  Being  (and
we can

               think  of  nothing  greater  or  more perfect), such a Bein
g must

               necessarily exist because perfection implies existence.  An
y idea



               that is  lacking in  reality (any  concept which has no obj

               reality of its  own)  would  be  imperfect,  whereas  one
of the

               attributes of a perfect Being is actual existence (not mere
ly  an

               idea in  any person's  mind, but  real existence  external
to any

               mind which happens to conceive of it).

                    The ontological argument is possibly the oldest argume
nt and

               dates back to the 4th C.  of the  present era.  This argume
nt has

               caused a  great debate  that rages  to this  day in  the pa
ges of

               modern textbooks on philosophy  and  theology.  The  key  t
o this

               argument is  "perfection" and  the statement:  "any concept

               has no objective reality of  its  own  would  be  imperfect
" (and

               therefore not  exist) is  the thin thread upon which the va

               of argument hangs.

               6] The Teleological Argument

                    The presence of design in the  world, the  fact that o

               are designed with a purpose, to function for a given end, i

               the existence of an intelligent, competent  designer, who p

               the purpose of each thing that exists.

                    The teleological  argument posses  problems of  its ow
n. The

               same fellow who debated the previous  arguments insisted  t
hat he

               needed proof  of a  design to the world and that everything
 has a

               purpose. The problem in replying to  his argument  is that
 I can

               not think  of one useless thing existing in the universe. M
y mind



               draws a blank in this respect and I  would invite  anyone t
o show

               me one thing that exists in this universe which is without

               or purpose.

               7] The Pantheological Argument

                    God, the supreme unity, the original Being, and the Id
eal of

               all  ideals, has caused all things to become manifest by me
ans of

               a logical unfolding of particulars from their ideals. To sp
eak of

               creation  is  to  speak  of    particularization,  a  proce
ss  of

               unfolding that makes individual objects out of ideals. Conv

               immortality is an opposite process whereby the particulars

               to their universal essence  or archetypes.  Immortality mea
ns the

               return  of   things  to   God  (apocatastasis),   that  is

               deification, so  that there  is complete  unity of  all thi
ngs in

               God; pantheism.

                    The Pantheological  vision of  God is  negative in the

               that God can be characterized only in terms of comparison
on the

               ground that  the infinite  is beyond human comprehension; h

               not beyond human contemplation.  When speaking  of the  nat
ure of

               God and  using the terms of argument #1 in speaking of the

               of the psyche as that which possess memory,  intellect, and

               one may  say that  God is  Omniscient, possessing absolute

               and intellect; Omnipotent, possessing  absolute will;  and
in the

               terms  of  the  pantheological  argument, Omnipresent, poss



               pure randomness and non-localized in time and space.

                    The General Argument for the Existence of the Almighty
 is as

               follows and derived in part from the argument as put forth
in How

               to Think About God by Mortimer J. Adler:

               1. The existence of an effect requiring the  concurrent exi

               and action of an efficient cause implies the existence and

               of that cause.

               2. The cosmos as a whole exists.

               3. If the  existence  of  the  cosmos  as  a  whole  is rad

               contingent, which  is to say that, while not needing an eff

               cause of its coming to  be,  since  it  is  everlasting,  t
hen it

               nevertheless  does  need  a  efficient  cause  of  its cont

               existence, to preserve it in  being  and  prevent  it  from

               replaced by nothingness.


               3a. If  the cosmos  which now exists is only one of many po

               universes that might have existed in the infinite  past, an
d that

               might still  exist in the infinite future, and if  a cosmos

               can be otherwise is one that also can  not be;  and convers
ely, a



               cosmos that  is capable of not existing at all is one that
can be

               otherwise than it now is, then  the cosmos,  radically cont

               in  existence,  would  not  exist  at  all were its existen
ce not


               4. If the cosmos needs an efficient cause of its  existence
 or of

               its continuing  existence to  prevent its annihilation, the
n that

               cause must be one  the existence  of which  is uncaused,  a
nd one

               which has  reason for  being in  and of itself; i.e. The ul

               cause  and being of the cosmos.

               5. If the  ultimate cause and being of the  cosmos is  that

               which nothing  greater can be thought, that being must be t

               of  as   omnipotent,   possessing   absolute   will;  omnis

               possessing absolute  knowledge; and omnipresent; non-locali
zed in

               time and space.

                                           PART TWO

                    Intuition differs  from reason  in that  as man  is a

               being ossessing limited ensualcontact with the universe; it

               impossible for man to fully understand God through  his sen
ses or

               by empirical  means. This,  therefore, involves the underst



               of abstract concepts. We  must understand  the universe  as

               "conceptusensual"; that  parallel to the objective universe

               is a  universe made  up of  abstracts. This  abstract unive
rse is

               viewable to  us through means of  symbols; objects not poss

               objectivity. These symbols cannot be known by means  of emp

               reasoning, but  by means of gnosis; without the conscience
use of

               reasoning, immediate apprehension or understanding.

                    It should be realized  that  while  this  abstract uni

               that  sits  parallel  to  the material universe, and is som

               referred to as the spiritual world or heaven,is beyond logi
c  and

               reasoning;  it  is  supported  by  logic  and reasoning. Yo
u will

               recall that imperfection or  "degrees of  perfection" impli
es the

               existence of perfection (cf. Arg #3 and Arg #5). Perfection
 is an

               abstract ideal having no analog in our material world, yet
 it is

               intuitively known to exist.

                    Just as  there are  degrees of  knowledge concerning m

               truths  in  the  material  world,  there  are  degrees  of

               concerning revealed truths in the spiritual world. Because
man in

               his human form is by nature limited there  is a  certain li
mit to

               his  understanding  and  knowledge.  Yet  as  all things ar
e in a

               constant state of flux and change, man's knowledge  is cons

               growing. For everything that is known objectively there is

               abstract idea that precedes the object.

                    The Scriptures speaks about angels and  devils, the cr



               of  the  world  in  seven  days,  etc.,  and many Christian

               require of their followers acceptance of  these "revealed t

               by  way  of  faith  or  trust.  Many  speak of the Bible as

               infallible and without error even when portions are contrad

               or counter  to logic.  I, however, assert that the Bible is

               and foremost an  anthology  of  religious/philosophical tra

               compiled over the centuries from about 750 BCE to around 15
0 BCE.

               It should,  in no  way, be  advertised as  a "closed  canon
" or a

               compilation of  the sum  of man's knowledge of truth, revea
led or

               otherwise. The Bible was written by men and  is therefore s

               to human  error. This does not, however, discount the prese
nce of

               revealed  truths  within  the  Bible  or   within  any  scr

               (religious writings).

                    If any  of the  above arguments  fall short of convinc
ing an

               individual of God's existence,  the one  argument that  can
not be

               denied is  the argument which provides for the proof of one
's own

               existence (cf. Arg #1). Here  we  spoke  of  "taking  a ske

               stance";  one  of  doubting  one's  own  existence.   Throu
gh the

               process of  self-doubt we  become faced  with the  reality
of our

               existence;  we   cannot  deny  the  object  of  our  percep


                    The question, then, is  raised concerning  "life and d

               One may wonder: "If I exist now, was there ever a time when
 I did

               not exist and will there be a time when I will not exist?"
We can



               limit this  by asking: "Did I exist before this lifetime an
d will

               I exist after this life?" Perhaps  before these  questions
can be

               broached more should said concerning the subject of gnosis.

                    As stated  above, the Apostle Paul spoke of ignorance
of God

               as being a form of slavery; and told us that  it was  our p

               to know  (gnosis) and obey God1. This is reiterated in his

               epistle to the Corinthians, when Paul gave "thanks to God..
. that

               in every way [they] were enriched in [Christ] with all spee
ch and

               all knowledge"2.

                    In John's first epistle,  we are  told that  we may  c
ome to

               know (gnosis) God, if we keep God's Law and "walk in the sa
me way

               in which [Christ] walked3. This echoed  in John's  Gospel c

               14, verses  20-21; and  at verse  26 he adds that the Holy

               will be sent  to  "teach  [us]  all  things,  and  bring  t
o [us]

               remembrance  all  that  [Christ  had]  said  to  [us]."  I

               emphasized the word "remembrance"  as an  important part  o
f the

               process of gnosis. This will be discussed in detail below.

                    In  another  epistle  Paul  spoke  of the "riches of a

               understanding and knowledge  (epi-gnosis)  of  God's  myste
ry, of

                    1 See above p. 4

                    2 1 Cor. 1:4-5

                    3 1 Jn 2:3-4



               Christ,  in  whom  are  hid  all  the  treasures  of  wisdo
m  and

               knowledge"1. In the seventeenth chapter of  John's Gospel,

               tells  us  that  gnosis,  knowing  God,  is equivalent to e

               life2; and in his epistle to the Philippians, Paul tells  u
s that

               gnosis supersedes all3.

                    In  Matthew's  Gospel  we  are told that spiritual kno

               comes to us through Christ:

                             "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and  ea

                    that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and p

                    and revealed them unto the  little  ones;  yes,  Fathe
r, for

                    such was  thy great pleasure. All things have been del

                    to me  by my  Father; and  no one  knows the  Son exce
pt the

                    Father, and  no one  knows the Father except the Son a
nd any

                    one whom the Son chooses to reveal him.4"

                    When we read the thirteenth chapter of Paul's  first e

                    1 Col 2:2-3

                    2 Jn 17:3

                    3 Phil 3:8-10

                    4 Matt 11:25-27 & Lk 10:21-22



               to  the   Corinthians,  we  learn  that  "love"  is  the  k
ey  to

               maintaining spiritual knowledge (gnosis) and faith (pistis)
1; and

               in John's  first letter  we are  told that "he who does not

               does not know God; for God is love"2.

                    Besides the  necessity  of  loving  God,  we  are  tol
d that

               knowledge of  truth equals  knowledge of God. In Paul's let
ter to

               Titus, Paul greets his  "child  in  common  faith"  by desc

               that, as  an apostle  of Christ,  his main purpose is to "f

               the faith of God's elect and their knowledge  of the  truth

               accords with  godliness"3. In  John's Gospel we are told th
at the

               Holy Spirit is the  "Spirit of  truth, whom  the (material)

               cannot receive,  because it  neither sees  him nor knows hi
m; you

               know him, for he  dwells with  you, and  will be  in you"4.

               tells  us:  "If  you  continue  in  my  word,  you  are  tr
uly my

               disciples, and you will know the truth, and  the truth  wil
l make

               you free"5.

                    1 1 Cor 13

                    2 1 Jn 4:7-8

                    3 Titus 1:1

                    4 Jn 14:17

                    5 Jn 8:31-32



                        At some points this saving knowledge is referred t
o as a

               secret  knowledge.  In  his  closing  remarks  to  his  dis

               Timothy, Paul  tells him  to guard closely the knowledge th
at has

               been entrusted to him and  to  avoid  those  who  "chatter"

               false knowledge1;  and in  first Corinthians,  he speaks of

               who imagine  that they  know, yet  do not  know as  they ou
ght to

               know2. In  second Corinthians,  Paul tells us that the myst
ery of

               the Gospel is "veiled" to those who have been blinded  by t
he god

               of this  world3. This  concept of  the "hardening the heart
s" and

               "shutting the eyes"of the people can be found in Isaiah 4,

               Luke6,  and  Acts7.  Paul  speaks  of  the  process  of gno
sis as

               spiritual maturity when he tells the  Corinthians that  the
y were

               "fed with  milk, not  solid food;  for [they]  were not rea
dy for

                    1 1 Tim 6:20-21

                    2 1 Cor 8:2

                    3 2 Cor 4:3-6

                    4 Isaiah 6:9-10

                    5 Mark 8:17-18

                    6 Lk 10:23

                    7 Acts 28:26-27




                    We are told that Jesus  spoke  in  parables  because "

               they do  not see,  and hearing  they do not hear"1; and tha
t "not

               all men can receive this [knowledge] but only those to whom
 it is

               given (revealed)"2.  He said  that in  order that those who

               not understand, be allowed to understand that they  would h
ave to

               "turn  again"  and  be  forgiven3.  This "turning again" or

               "reborn" will be discussed in greater detail below.

                    In Colossians, Paul speaks  of this  mystery as  havin
g been

               hidden  from  angels  and  men (aeons and generations)4. Th
ere is

               evidence in many of the books of the  Bible that  books whi
ch are

               known to authors have either been lost or intentional kept
out of

               the Bible for a variety reasons. In his epistles, Paul  spe
aks of

               epistles  that  do  not  appear  in Bible. There is evidenc
e of a

               third epistle to the Corinthians; perhaps  one that  went b

               the first and second epistles5; and in his closing remarks
to the

                    1 Matt 10:13-17

                    2 Matt 19:11

                    3 Mk 4:11-12

                    4 Col 1:26

                    5 1 Cor 5:9 & 2 Cor 2:3-9; 7:10



               Colossians, Paul speaks of an Epistle  to the  Laodiceans1.

               Chronicles speaks  of the  Book of  Nathan and  the Book of

               while Second Chronicles, also, speaks of a Book  of Nathan
 and a

               Book of Shemaiah the Prophet3. In Jude's Epistle there is a

               from the Book  of  Enoch!4    Could  these  books  have con

               "secret knowledge" that could not be understand by all?

                    Turning  to  the  "apocrypha",  those  books  which  a
re not

               considered by some Christian sects to  be a  part of  the "

               canon" of the Bible, we are able to discover a possible ans
wer to

               our question. The Apocrypha, or "hidden" books, were never

               hidden, but  were kept  apart from the Bible. Each Christia
n sect

               has a different "list" of books  that belong  in their indi

               "canon"  and  because  those  "lists"  overlap  each  other

               Christians today are quite familiar with a majority  of the

               contained in the Apocrypha.

                    One book  contained in  the Apocrypha, 2 Esdras, a boo
k that

               is  found  in  many  Roman  Catholic  Bibles,  has  the fol

               information to impart to us concerning "hidden books":

                    1 Col 4:16

                    2 1 Chr 29:29

                    3 2 Chr 9:29; 12:15

                    4 Jude 9 quotes Enoch 1:9



                    "Therefore write  all these  things that  you have see
n in

                    book, and put it in a hidden place; and you shall teac
h them

                    to the  wise among  your people,  whose hearts  you kn
ow are

                    able to comprehend and keep these secrets.1"

                    (It is curious to  note that  this portion  of 2  Esdr
as was

                    added to  original sometime in the third century AD; w
hen at

                    the same time  Gnostic  Christians  were  compiling  t
he Nag

                    Hammadi in Egypt!)2

                    Yet  it  seems  that  nothing  can remain hidden forev
er. In

               Luke's Gospel Jesus prophesies  that "nothing  is hid  that

               not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be

               and come  to  light"3.  Perhaps  this  prophecy  came  true

               following  the  dreadful  destruction  of  WW II, two aston

               discoveries of hidden works were made; the first  at Nag Ha

               Egypt in  December of  1945, and the second at Q'umran, Pal

                    1 2 Esdras 12:37-38, cf. 2 Esdras 14:37-48

                    2 see introduction to "The Second Book of Esdras" in t
               New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha; Apoc  p 23

                    3 Lk 8:17



               in 1947.

                                          PART THREE

                    Even in  the Bible  itself there is found "secret know

               that is never spoken of amongst the christian sects that co

               themselves to  be "orthodox".  The best example of this is
in the

               creation account of the Book of Genesis. The opening line
of the

               first book of the Bible has been translated throughout hist
ory to

               read: "In the beginning God created the heavens  and the ea

               Yet if we translate the first verse literally we find it to

               "When the Elohim began to create the heavens and the earth2

                    The term "Elohim" should not be translated directly  t
o read

               "God" or  "god", because it is the feminine plural of god (

               and should  probably be  translated "goddesses"  or "offspr
ing of

               the Goddess" . Now, to many "orthodox" christians the notio
n that

               there exists "gods", in the polytheistic sense, most  likel
y is a

               bizarre notion.  Yet the  early Hebrews  were not "monothei

               that is, a person who believes in the existence of one God,
 as is

               usually thought; but, rather, they were "henotheistic", and

               believing in a multitude of gods, they focused  all their w

                    1 Gen 1:1

                    2 Cf. p 3 note 1



               on  their  "national  god".  Examples of Hebrew henotheism
can be

               found in  throughout the  Old Testament.  In 1  Kings, chap
ter 18

               there  is  an  account  of  the  prophet Elijah, a prophet
of the

               Israelite god Yahweh, engaged in a  contest with  the proph
ets of

               the  god  Ba'al  and  the  goddess Asherah (Ishtar)1. In 2

               chapter 3 we are told that  when  Mesha,  king  of  the Moa

               sacrificed his son to the Moabite god Chemosh "there came a

               wrath upon " the army of the Israelites2.  Further on  in 2

               there is  the story  of Naaman, a Syrian general who is aff

               with leprosy. Following a raid in Israel, Naaman  is told
by one

               of his captives that there is a prophet living in Samaria w
ho has

               the power to cure leprosy. Naaman then visits Elisha, where
 he is

               told to  go and  bathe in  the Jordan  river. After bathing

               times in the Jordan, Naaman is cured of leprosy, and  as a

               he  converts  and  becomes  a  worshiper  of  Yahweh,  god
of the

               Israelites. He is now faced with a dilemma; as he  must ret
urn to

               Syria, he  must take  "two mule's  burden" of Israelite soi
l back

               with him. This is done so  that he  may have  a plot  of Ya

               land upon  which to  offer sacrifice to the Israelite god.

               does not argue this matter with Naaman, but only tells him
to "go

               in peace"3.

                    1 1 Kngs 18:19

                    2 2 Kngs 3:27

                    3 2 Kngs 5:1-19


                    Perhaps  the  strongest  suggestion  of Hebrew henothe
ism is

               contained in line from  Ezekiel that  tells of  the women w

               for  the  Sumerian  harvest  god,  Tammuz1.  The  Jewish ca

               contains the month of Tammuz (usually in the  summer) and
one of

               the titles  for Tammuz, "Adonai", was adopted by the Hebrew
s as a

               title for their god. The phrase "Adonai Elohim"  is transla
ted in

               the  english  Bible  to  read  "Lord of Hosts". The Greeks,

               adopted "Adonai" and called  him "Adonis";  a term  used to
day in

               the english language to describe a good looking young man.

                    In the  New Testament,  we are told by Saint Paul that

               are "many gods and many lords"2. In Colossians, he refers t
o them

               as the  "elemental spirits of the universe" or Archons3. Co
uld it

               be that the  Archons  and  the  Elohim  were  one  and  the

               "elemental spirits  of the  universe"? In Ephesians, he ref
ers to

               them as the "world  rulers of  the present  darkness"4. In

               Gospel,  Jesus  puts  us  on  equal  footing  with the Arch
ons by

               quoting Psalms5; and in Acts we are called "God's offspring

                    1 Ezekiel 8:14

                    2 1 Cor 8:5

                    3 Col 2:8

                    4 Eph 6:12

                    5 Jn 10:34 & Ps 82:6

                    6 Acts 17:27-29



                    The scriptures  in  places  speak  of  the  concept  o
f pre-

               existence. God tells Jeremiah, "before I formed you in the
womb I

               knew you"1. In Ephesians, we are told that  God "chose  us
in him

               before the foundation of the world"2.

                    Could it  be that  the "secret  message" that the Scri

               have to impart to us is that we  and the  Elohim are  one a
nd the

               same? That  we were  present at the creation? That we creat
ed our

               own universe  under God's  guidance, but  because we  were
not in

               harmony with  each other,  because a  few us tried to "lord
" over

               the others, because we were not in agreement  on how  to go

               making the universe, and instead of making the universe acc

               to God's design, we made it  according  to  our  design,  i
n "our

               image";  could  this  be  why  the  universe is such an imp


                     Between chapters 16 and 19 of the Book of Genesis  th
ere is

               a curious exchange that deserves to be followed. In chapter
 16 we

               are told the story of Hagar, the mother of Ishmael. Hagar,
one of

               Abraham's concubines, is sent out into desert by Sarai, the

               wife of Abraham. At verse seven Hagar is met by an "angel
of the

                    1 Jeremiah 1:4-5

                    2 Eph 1:4



               Lord". Later, after conversing with this "angel of the Lord
", she

               refers to the angel as a "god of vision". She is shocked to

               that  she  has  actually  seen  "God" and has lived1. In th
e next

               chapter, Abraham is visited by a  being who  describes hims
elf as

               "El  Shaddai"2.  Most  english  language Bibles translate t
his to

               read "God Almighty", but  a literal  translation would  ren
der it

               "El, one  of the  gods". In  chapter 18  Abraham, we are to
ld, is

               visited again by the "Lord", and upon looking up he  sees

               men".  The  persons  that  appear  to  Abraham in this chap
ter of

               Genesis are usually described as being God and two of his a

               yet  strangely  enough  the  one  who  is  thought to be Go
d, the

               Almighty (omniscient and omnipresent) does not  know what's

               in a city on the planet Earth and remarks: "I will go down
to see

               whether they have done altogether according  to the  outcry

               has come  to me; and if not, I will know"3. After wrangling

               Abraham over whether or not he would destroy the cities  of

               and Gomorrah,  we are told that "the Lord rained... fire fr
om the

               Lord out of heaven"4.

                    1 Gen 16:7-14

                    2 Gen 17:1

                    3 Gen 18:21

                    4 Gen 19:24



                    The "main of event" occurs in the first chapters of Ge

               Here is  where the  Elohim see  light for the first time1,
and go

               about the process of  the first  creation2, that  of "calli
ng and

               creating" the  material world3.  The Elohim cause a separat
ion to

               be made between the spiritual world, "the waters which were

               the  firmament,  and  the  material world, "the waters whic
h were

               under the firmament"4. Genesis 1:9-31 details  this "orderi
ng" of

               the material world.

                    In Genesis  1:27, we  are told  that the  Elohim creat
ed, or

               developed the  idea  of  mankind  in  an  image  that  the

               perceived.  According  to  Rabbinic  tradition this image w
as the

               image of the Higher God that  the  Elohim  saw  reflected
in the

               firmament which  they took to be that of their own. In the

               creation, that of "making and forming" the material  world
in the

               "day that  the Lord made the earth and the heavens"5, we ar
e told

               that the Elohim actually  "formed" man  out of  dust, but
it was

                    1 Gen 1:4

                    2 Gen 1:1 - 2:3

                    3 Isaiah 43:7

                    4 Gen 1:7

                    5 Gen 2:4



               only after the Elohim breathed into man's nostrils the "bre
ath of

               life", did man become a living being1.

                    Yet it seems that the Elohim had made a mistake.  In G

               1:28,  we  are  told  that  the  Elohim  had  created  man
 as an

               androgynous being,  "male and  female [they]  created them.
" Most

               Gnostic  Christians  take  this  to  mean that we were orig

               intended to posses both soul and spirit combined.  It appea
rs the

               Elohim had made a mistake and formed a "sleeping" soul whic
h they

               attempted to manipulate2, and when they  realized that  the
y were

               mistaken they  found it  necessary to pull the "spirit" (Ev
e) out

               of the soul (Adam) in order to bring it to life; hence Adam

               Eve "the Mother of the living"3.

                    The  events  that  follow  in  the  third chapter of G

               deserve to be looked at in detail. In chapter 2, verse 9  w
e have

               been told that there are two trees in the center of the Gar
den of

               Eden; the tree of life and the tree of knowledge. In verse
 17 of

               that same  chapter we were told that the Creator had ordere
d Adam

               not to eat of the tree of knowledge, for if Adam were to ea
t from

               that tree he would die. In chapter three a serpent appears
to Eve

                    1  Gen 2:7

                    2 Gen 2:16-17

                    3 Gen 2:21



               and the following exchange takes place:

                    Serpent: "Did [the Creator] say, `You shall not eat of

                            tree in the garden'?"

                    Eve: "We  may eat of the fruit of the trees of the gar

                          but [the Creator] said, `You shall not eat of th

                          fruit of  the tree which is in the midst of the

                          garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die
.' "

                    Serpent: "You will not die.  For  [the  Creator]  know
s that

                              when you  eat of  it your eyes will be opene
d, and

                              you be like [the gods] knowing good and evil

                    Later, after eating from the  tree,  and,  by  the  wa
y, not

               dying, Adam  and Eve  "heard the sound of the Lord God walk
ing in

               the garden"1. It is curious to note that  from the  exchang
e that

               follows that  the Creator  does not  seem to  know what has

               place in their "absence", just as they did not seem  to kno
w what

               was happening  in Sodom  and Gomorrah  or what occurred to

               brother, Able2. Upon learning  what  has  transpired  the C

                    1 Gen 3:8

                    2 Gen 4:9



               then put  a curse upon the serpent, Eve, and Adam.  We then

               that the Creator had  lied to  Adam and  Eve when  they tol
d them

               that they  would die  and in  remarking  reveal: "Behold, t
he man

               has become like one of us, knowing good  and evil;  and now
, lest

               he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, an
d eat,

               and live forever..."1. This speaking in  the plural  is ech
oed in

               the  Tower  of  Babel  incident:  "Come, let us go down and

               confuse their language"2.

                    Throughout  time  the  serpent   has  stood   as  symb
ol  of

               immortality. Many  ancient cultures  upon seeing the shed s

               of a snake believed that the snake never died; only  sheddi
ng one

               body  for  a  new  one.  In Greek mythology the god Prometh
eus is

               often depicted as a winged serpent bringing the  gift of  f
ire to

               man.  Later  Prometheus  was  replaced  by the image of the

               footed Hermes holding aloft  the  caduceus  or  "serpent en

               staff" as he brought the secret knowledge of the gods to ma

                    These images  of winged  and fiery  serpents can be fo
und in

               the Old Testament. In Numbers "the Lord sent fiery serpents

               the  people,  and  they  bit  the  people, so that many peo
ple of

               Israel died"3. To counteract this attack, Moses is  told to

                    1 Gen 3:22

                    2 Gen 11:7

                    3 Num 21:6


               a fiery serpent and set it on a pole" so that when the peop
le see

               the "brazen serpent" they would not  die1. This  symbolic g

               of the  serpent lifted  up in  the wilderness  is reminisce
nt not

               only of the serpent in the  garden,  but  that  of  Jesus
on the

               cross2.   In Isaiah's  vision of  God, he describes the thr
one of

               God as being surrounded by "seraphim". Seraphim may be defi
ned as

               "fiery winged  serpents". In 2 Kings we are told that the "

               serpent" survived  down into  reign of  Ahaz, king  of Isra
el. It

               seems Ahaz did some house cleaning and broke the "brazen se

               into pieces and threw  it  out.  Is  this  some  how  a pro

               gesture of Israel's rejection of the Messiah3?


                    It should be remembered that when approaching the subj
ect of

               "hidden works" or "secret knowledge" that "there is  nothin
g hid,

                    1 Num 21:8-9

                    2 Jn 3:14-15

                    3 2 Kngs 18:4



               except to  be made  manifest; nor  is anything  secret, exc
ept to

               come to  light"1. In  other words,  there is  nothing hidde
n that

               cannot,  or  will  not,  be  found. Christ extols us to see
k and

               find, and that when we knock at the  door of  mystery it  w
ill be

               opened to  us2. It  can be  found that God has a "divine pl
an" in

               which God "desires all  men  to  be  saved  and  to  come
to the

               knowledge of  the truth"3.  In Acts  we are  told that the
end of

               time will not come until all  things have  been restored  t
o God.

               This  "restoration  of  all  things"  became  known  to the

               christians as the Doctrine of Apocatastasis4. Ephesians spe
aks of

               the "plan for the fullness of  time, to unite all things in

               things in heaven and things on earth"5.

                    Yet what happens to us when  we die  in a  pre-gnostic

               before the  Apocatastasis?  In Mark's Gospel, we are told t
o take

               heed of what we hear in  the message,  for "the  measure yo
u give

               will  be   the  measure  you  get"6.  This  is  the  Doctri
ne  of

                    1 Mark 4:22

                    2 Matt 7:7-8

                    3 1 Tim 2:4

                    4 Acts 3:21

                    5 Eph 1:10

                    6 Mk 4:24



               Metrethesis; the "measure for measure" spoken  of in  Matth
ew 7:2

               and the  "sowing" and  "reaping" in  Galatians 6:71.  This
is the

               plan by which God allows all souls in the universe  to even

               redeem themselves in the prison of Metempsychosis.

                    Metrethesis  and  Metempsychosis  are doctrines that a
re not

               unique  to  Christian  Gnosticism.  In  Buddhism  and  the

               religions   these    doctrines   are    known   as

                               [The text is lost at this point.]

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