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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Our Sense of Sinfulness Works for Good

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Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936


I asked PW : "Would you please show evidence for this teaching being a gnostic teaching."

p1118 Niv Student Bible 1 John commentary Zondervan 1992

//Gnostics balked at the Christian concept of Gods becoming human.because they believed a physical body was intrinsically evil,they denied a pure God could take on a body. Some dealt with the problem by claiming that Jesus was never a human being,but a phantom,a temporary appearance of God who looked human....
The apostle John debated in person with gnostics of his day,and had Gnostic thinking in mind when he wrote this letter.....
throughout the letter especially in 4:2-3,the author lambastes those who deny that Jesus came in the flesh.//

p1118 Niv Student Bible 1 John commentary Zondervan 1992

//Live as you please
To Gnostics all matter was evil . Only the Spirit was pure,and Gnostics sought to rise to a higher more spirtual plane.This teaching produced side effect:people who strove to rise above matter didn't care about personal ethics.Their pure spirits could not be tainted by "earthly" sin Thus,they could act any way they wanted.//

So from this it would appear that gnostics taught personal ethics did not matter, and that earthly sinning did not matter, because the physical body was intrinsically evil and that it would be impossible for some one in a intrinsically evil body to stop sinning.

Edit add: Paul W, I would still ask that you show clear evidence for this teaching being a gnostic teaching.

 2013/7/20 7:45Profile


Here is some nice light reading for you brother. If you do go through it I would suggest that you do it with a mind to separate the term esoteric from the notion of moral approbation. In short don't assume that gnosticism was a proven moral state of degeneracy or that those who held to it were not aesthetically determined to live moral lives.This is because gnosticism whilst it has mostly been understood historically through the ante-nicene fathers, especially Irenaeus, it has changed it's meaning so profoundly since 1945 since the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library in Egypt 1945. This is the most comprehensive and virtually the only gnostic writings extant (Apart from the Bruce Codex) and has done a great deal to shape recent perceptions of what gnosticism itself means. This has led some intellectuals to question whether scriptures even alludes to gnosticism at all. Intellectual theologians have lost sight of the fact that theosophy existed in its fullness in British and US Society 80 years before the Nag Hammadi discovery and if they made a through study of theosophy they would realise that at its root are the very same precepts and ideas. This could be said for all occult knowledge regardless of the period of time one looks into. It all has the very same centrality of meaning, although it was in ancient times more fully concerned with the physical world. Where the more harmful occult knowledge came from, beyond this physical enquiry has to do with necromancy with fallen familiar spirits. These two things, man's enquiry into the cosmos and fallen spirits together give rise to occult thinking and practise. The predominant culture which gave these two activities continuity is Hellenistic philosophy which was the dominant cultural framework into which Christ Himself was born and lived.

Gnosticism. (J. D. Barry & L. Wentz, Eds.)The Lexham Bible Dictionary.

A variety of second-century AD religions whose participants believed that people could only be saved through revealed knowledge, or gnosis (γνῶσις, gnōsis). Gnostics held a negative view of the physical or material world.

Gnosticism shared many characteristics with Judaism and Christianity but remained markedly distinct from either. Traditionally, Gnosticism was thought to have emerged from within Christianity (Smith, No Longer Jews, 18–25). Recent scholarship, however, has acknowledged Gnosticism as an existing belief that only later came into contact with Christianity (Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism, 11; Smalley, 1, 2, 3 John, 44). The New Testament identifies many similarities between Christian and gnostic belief, particularly in Acts, 1 Timothy, 1–3 John, and Revelation (Perkins, Gnosticism, 29–38).

Origins and Definitions
Origins of the Term. The earliest example of a group being described as “gnostic” comes from the work of Irenaeus, a second-century Greek church father (Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism, 9), who described certain groups of heretics as the “gnostic heresy.” At that time, the term “heresy” (αἵρεσις, hairesis) did not have the contemporary connotation of opposition to orthodoxy, but merely meant “opinion,” “sect,” or “school of thought.” Henry More coined the modern term “Gnosticism” in the 17th century to describe the heresy of the church in Thyatira (Rev 2:18–29; Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism, 9).

Definition of the Term.
The term “Gnosticism” may be an inadequate description of “the great variety of phenomena attributed to it” (Logan, The Gnostics, 1) because it elicits “misleading generalizations and unwarranted stereotypes” (Smith, No Longer Jews, 8). Williams has argued that the term reflects a “dubious category” which should be dismantled and abandoned (Williams, Rethinking “Gnosticism”). Pearson has likewise acknowledged that there is a “bewildering degree of variety” in the historical expressions of Gnosticism (Pearson, “Gnosticism as a Religion,” 89).

Pearson argues that Gnosticism is purely a historical term used to classify religious features that are “clearly distinguishable from anything that is found in Christianity, Judaism, or other religions of antiquity” (Pearson, “Gnosticism as a Religion,” 95–96). However, many strands of gnostic thought share common characteristics with both Christianity and Judaism. Therefore, Gnosticism should be defined as a descriptive category arising from historical observations rather than a prescriptive system of unilateral belief.

Common Gnostic Beliefs
The second-century church fathers identified a set of common characteristics of gnostics. These characteristics differ by region or school of thought but provide a general picture of gnostic belief (Smith, No Longer Jews, 8–10). Our understanding of Gnosticism has grown exponentially through a close study of the Nag Hammadi Library of gnostic texts, discovered in 1945 (see Robinson, The Nag Hammadi Library in English). Acknowledging the multiplicity of gnostic beliefs represented in the Nag Hammadi Library, the following examples are merely representative of a prominent strand of gnostic belief.

Gnostic texts often describe God as incomprehensible, unknowable, and transcendent. For example, one text describes God as: “God and father of the all, the holy, the invisible … existing as pure light into which it is not possible for any light of the eye to gaze” (Apocryphon, 22:17–19 [King, 4:2]). The Apocryphon of John demonstrates the gnostic view the nature of God, stating it is not “fitting to think of [God] as divine or as something of the sort, for [God] is superior to deity” (Apocryphon, 33–36 [Layton, 1:29]). Thus, Gnosticism holds that God cannot be observed with our senses nor easily grasped with our understanding. Gnostic texts commonly speak of God only in negative terms, such as “the unknown God,” “the unknown Father,” “ineffable,” “unspeakable”; God is even described as “nonexistent” because He does not exist in the usual manner of being (Foerster, Gnosis, 4). Additionally, gnostic texts commonly address God as the “Ultimate Ground of Being” (Foerster, Gnosis, 4).

Dualism and Dichotomy.
For gnostics, the world was divided into the physical and spiritual realms. Gnostics held that the world was not created by the “Ultimate Ground of Being” (God), but by a lesser deity resulting from the fall of the divine personification of Wisdom (Perkins, Gnosticism, 15). This lesser deity or demiurge created the material world, which is entirely isolated from the divine realm in which the Ultimate Ground of Being exists (Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism, 16).

Likewise, gnostics believed that humans are split between the physical and spiritual world: “the true human self is as alien to the world as is the transcendent God” (Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism, 13). They asserted that the true human self or soul is naturally divine, belonging to the same realm as the Ultimate Ground of Being, but is trapped and imprisoned by the material world. They viewed the physical body as a prison which malevolently trapped the “divine spark” within humanity (Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism, 12–14). Because of this imprisonment, Gnosticism incorporates an active hatred of the physical body, similar to Docetism. This dualistic split between the body and the soul means that the divine spark of the human soul must be freed from the material constraints of the world in order to attain salvation and unity with the Ultimate Ground of Being.

Gnosis and Salvation.
Gnostics advocated gnosis, or “revealed knowledge,” as the basis for salvation (Pearson, Gnosticism, Judaism, 7). Rather than being a philosophy, gnosis is a single revelation of the true nature of human and divine selves (Foerster, Gnosis, 1). The gnostics’ goal is to attain salvation from the fallen physical world in which they are trapped through obtaining the secret knowledge, or gnosis (Logan, The Gnostics, 63). Gnostics believed that gnosis frees the divine spark within humans, allowing it to return to the divine realm of light (Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism, 13). When all elect gnostics have been restored through gnosis, the physical world will be destroyed, and the chosen humans will return to their divine state (Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism, 13–14). Salvation is thus initially brought about by gnosis, but ultimately constitutes a return of the human soul to the divine realm in which it belongs.

The gnosis which brings about salvation varies greatly within the different gnostic schools, as each group of gnostics claimed to exclusively possess the necessary knowledge (Foerster, Gnosis, 8). However, the gnosis generally took the form of a special revelation of the divine, transcendent realm to a mediatory figure who was required to spread the true knowledge of God among humanity (Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism, 12). Thus, gnosis was both a revealed knowledge of the transcendent God as the Ultimate Ground of Being and a revealed knowledge that the human soul ultimately belongs to the divine transcendent realm. This revealed knowledge frequently took the highly complex and spiritualized form of mythopoeic revelation in which gnosis involves understanding the true nature of God and the human soul as immanently divine.

The elaborate gnostic myths function to reveal gnosis through a complex series of cosmological, anthropological, and soteriological developments. While features of gnostic mythology vary among sects, the Apocryphon of John is typical of the elaborate mythopoeic formulation. It indicates that the divine mother, Pronoia-Barbelo (“Thought” or “Foreknowledge”), was the first of the transcendent God’s created beings (Apocryphon 4:26–5:6 [Layton]). From the divine mother, the self-generated Christ appeared and produced four great Lights with three pairs of Aeons who embody abstract esoteric principles—Life, Grace, and Wisdom (Sophia) (King, The Secret Revelation of John, 3; Apocryphon, 5:10–10:4 [Layton]). Sophia wished to create a being with her own likeness, but instead produced an evil being known as the “Chief Ruler.” According to gnostic belief, the evil “Chief Ruler” was the creator God of Genesis, whose true name was Yaldabaoth (King, The Secret Revelation of John, 3–4). Yaldabaoth then stole some of the Spirit from Sophia, which he used to create Adam. The mythological system in the Apocryphon develops further in what Pearson describes as “extended commentary” on several texts in the book of Geneis to account for sin, sexual lust, and human ignorance of their divine spirit (Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism, 66). Finally, the “Spirit of Life” descends to earth to teach humans of the power of gnosis to save humanity through recognition of the divine spirit humans unknowingly possess (King, Secret Revelation of John, 4–6; Apocryphon, 27:31–28:29 [Layton]).

The New Testament and Gnosticism
Simon Magus. According to Irenaeus, Simon Magus was the one “from whom all the heresies take their origin” (Irenaeus, Haer, 1.23.2 [Foerster]). Simon Magus, a sorcerer found in Samaria by Phillip, worked wonders among the people before Phillip converted him to Christianity (Acts 8:13). Following his conversion, Simon attempted to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit from Peter before being rebuked (Acts 8:9–24). Perhaps because the New Testament claims that Simon assumed the divine title of “the Great Power of God” (Acts 8:10, NAS), Irenaeus records that Simon actually believed himself to be God (Irenaeus, Haer., 1.23.2 [Foerster]). In Irenaeus’ account, Simon preached himself as the god who first created “Thought, the mother of all”—his female companion (Irenaeus, Haer., 1.23.2 [Foerster]). From thought, the angels and human beings were created. But because “the angels were governing the world badly,” Simon descended into human form “to bring things to order” (Irenaeus, Haer., 1.23.3 [Foerster]).

Simon promised that when “order” came, his followers would be saved, and “the world will be dissolved” (Irenaeus, Haer., 1.23.3 [Foerster]). Although the account of Simon’s religious beliefs includes no reference to a saving gnosis, Irenaeus concludes that Simon gave the “falsely so-called gnosis” its beginnings (Irenaeus, Haer., 1.23.4 [Foerster]).

Hymenaeus and Philetus (1 Tim 1:20; 6:20).
Hymenaeus and Philetus provide the framework for the beginning and conclusion of 1 Timothy and have traditionally been identified as gnostic teachers. The author of 1 Timothy begins with an admonition to keep “certain men” from teaching “strange doctrines” centering on “fruitless discussion” (1 Tim 4). The author then warns that teachers of the strange doctrines, including “Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered over to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme” (1 Tim 1:20). 1 Timothy concludes with an exhortation to avoid “worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘ (‘)knowledge’ ” (τῆς ψευδωνύμου γνώσις, tēs pseudōnymou gnōsis; 1 Tim 6:20). Irenaeus picked up the concept of “falsely called knowledge” when he undertook his heresiology, which, though generally known as Against Heresies, is formally titled, On the Detection and Overthrow of the Falsely Called Knowledge.

However, Johnson argues that the use of gnosis in 1 Timothy should be interpreted broadly, asserting, “there is no need to take [gnosis] as referring to a second century Christian elitist movement” (Johnson, First and Second Letters, 312). By contrast, Wisse argues that the author of 1 Timothy deliberately placed Hymenaeus and Philetus “in the context of the despised gnostics” (Wisse, “Prolegomena”, 143).

The Nicolatians (Acts 6:5; Revelation 2:6, 15, 18–29).
The Nicolatians of Rev 2 were identified as an early gnostic heresy. According to Irenaeus, the Nicolatians originated from Nicolaus, the proselyte of Antioch who was given church leadership in Act 6:5 (Irenaeus, Haer., 1.26.3). Although Irenaeus did not initially identify Nicolaus as gnostic, he later referred to the Nicolations as an offset of the “falsely called knowledge” (Irenaeus, Haer., 3.11.1). However, Pearson argues that there is no explicit reason other than the testimony of Irenaeus to relate either Nicolaus or the Nicolatians to Gnosticism (Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism, 36–37). Likewise, Fitzmyer points out that no substantial evidence has been found associating the Nicolatians with Gnosticism since the second century AD (Fitzmyer, Acts of the Apostles, 350).

1–3 John. Individuals such as Smalley have examined potential gnostic influence in the Gospel and letters of John (Smalley, 1, 2, 3 John, 44). Although the noun gnosis is entirely absent from the Johannine literature, the verb “to know” (γινώσκειν, ginōskein) appears over 80 times. Additionally, the idea of the knowledge of God is an important motif throughout John’s works (e.g., John 17:3; 1 John 2:13; Smalley, 1, 2, 3 John, 44). Smalley contends, however, that this knowledge of God is markedly different than the gnosis of the gnostic sects, for it is, “not intellectual and speculative, but experimental and dynamic” (Smalley, 1, 2, 3 John, 45).

Bultmann and Marshall have traditionally acknowledged the gnostic themes in the Johannine letters by concluding that the secessionist opponents of 1 John were themselves gnostics (Bultmann, The Johannine Epistles, 11; Marshall, The Epistles of John, 14–18). In this reading, 1 John may be seen as a deliberate polemic against Gnosticism that appropriates gnostic elements into the Christian faith. Bultmann contended that the author of 1 John used specific verbs of knowing and sense perception in order to counter the “Gnosticizing Christians against whom the letter is directed” (Bultmann, The Johannine Epistles, 11). Marshall believed that the Johannine opponents were “forerunners” of the later gnostic sects (Marshall, The Epistles of John, 15).

In recent years, however, the idea that the Johannine letters were written against any strand of Gnosticism has been largely abandoned. Thompson notes that, “While the secessionists may have held beliefs that lent themselves to Gnostic interpretation, it is doubtful that they ought to be called Gnostic” (Thompson, 1–3 John, 17; see also Perkins, “Gnostic Revelation”). This approach has largely coincided with the rise in understanding of Gnosticism in its own right during the latter half of the 20th century.

Contemporary scholarship still affirms the existence of gnostic themes and influence in the Johannine letters. For example, Brown has identified substantial parallels between the author of 1–3 John and early gnostic belief (Brown, The Epistles of John, 59–65), including the nature of knowledge of God and the dualism between light and darkness (e.g., 1 John 1:6–7; Brown, The Epistles of John, 60–62). However, Brown cautioned that “at most, similarity is suggested,” (Brown, The Epistles of John, 60). Likewise, commentator Yarbrough addressed 1–3 John without restricting the Johannine letters to a monolithic gnostic or protognostic belief, and he relegated discussion of any gnostic parallels primarily to footnotes (Yarbrough, 1–3 John). In commentaries such as Yarbrough’s, the parallels between gnostic belief and the Johannine letters are left to be examined with their unique differences triumphing over any thematic similarities.

Problems for Further Study of the New Testament and Gnosticism
A major problem with connecting the New Testament and Gnosticism is the prominent use of the word “gnosis” throughout the Gospels and the Pauline letters. Johnson maintained that the use of the word was “non-technical” and referred only to a generalized knowledge throughout the New Testament (Johnson, First and Second Letters, 311–12). Perkins, though, demonstrates that a closer correlation between the New Testament and Gnosticism is plausible—particularly in light of the absence of an early fixed canon (Perkins, Gnosticism, 29–38). Smith advocated extreme caution: “Although it must be admitted that Paul addressed issues similar to those of Gnosticism, it also must be emphasized that he came to radically different conclusions regarding them” (Smith, No Longer Jews, 157). Further study of Gnosticism must be careful to recognize both the similarities and the differences between gnostic writings and the New Testament.

Barnstone, Willis, and Marvin Meyer, eds. The Gnostic Bible. Boston: New Seeds Books, 2003.
Brown, Raymond E. The Epistles of John. The Anchor Bible. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1982.
Burkitt, Francis C. Church and Gnosis: A Study of Christian Thought and Speculation in the Second Century. Cambridge: The University Press, 1932.
Bultmann, Rudolf. The Johannine Epistles: A Commentary on the Johannine Epistles. Translated by O’Hara, Mcgaughy, and Funk. Hermeneia. Edited by Robert W. Funk. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1973.
Bauer, W. Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity. Edited by Robert A. Kraft and Gerhard Krodel. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971.
De Conick, April D. Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas: A History of the Gospel and Its Growth. New York: T&T Clark, 2005.
Ferreiro, Alberto. Simon Magus in Patristic, Medieval, and Early Modern Traditions. Studies in the History of Christian Traditions 125. Edited by Robert J. Bast. Leiden: Brill, 2005.
Fitzmyer, Joseph A. “The Acts of the Apostles”. The Anchor Bible. New York: Doubleday, 1998.
Foerster, Werner, ed. Gnosis. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1972–1974.
Grant, Robert M. Gnosticism and Early Christianity. New York: Columbia University Press, 1959.
Johnson, Luke Timothy. The First and Second Letters to Timothy. The Anchor Bible. New York: Doubleday, 2001.
Jonas, Hans. The Gnostic Religion: The Message of the Alien God and the Beginnings of Christianity. Boston: Beacon, 1958.
King, Karen L. What is Gnosticism? Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003.
———. The Secret Revelation of John. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006.
Klauck, Hans-Josef. Apocryphal Gospels: An Introduction. Translated by Brian McNeil. New York: T&T Clark International, 2003.
Layton, Bentley. The Rediscovery of Gnosticism. 2 vols. Leiden: Brill, 1978–81.
———. The Gnostic Scriptures. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1987.
Logan, Alastair H.B. The Gnostics: Identifying and Early Christian Cult. New York: T&T Clark, 2006.
Marjanen, A., and P. Luomanen, eds. A Companion to Second-Century Christian “Heretics.” Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae. Edited by J. den Boeft, et. al. Leiden: Brill, 2005
Marshall, I. Howard. The Epistles of John. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Edited by F.F. Bruce. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978
Pagels, Elaine. The Gnostic Gospels. New York: Random House, 1979.
Pearson, Birger A. Gnosticism, Judaism, and Egyptian Christianity. Studies in Antiquity and Christianity. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990.
———. “Gnosticism as a Religion.” Pages 81–101 in Was There a Gnostic Religion?. Edited by Antti Marjanen. Publications of the Finnish Exegetical Society 87. Helsinki: Finnish Exegetical Society, 2005.
———. Ancient Gnosticism: Traditions and Literature. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007.
Perkins, Pheme. The Gnostic Dialogue: The Early Church and the Crisis of Gnosticism. New York: Paulist, 1980.
———. Gnosticism and the New Testament. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993.
———. “Gnostic Revelation and Johannine Sectarianism: Reading 1 John from the Perspective of Nag Hammadi.” Pages 245–76 in Theology and Christology in the Fourth Gospel: Essays by the Members of the SNTS Johannine Writings Seminar. Edited by G. Van Belle, J.G. Van Der Watt, and P. Maritz. Leuven: University Press, 2005.
Robinson, James M., ed. The Nag Hammadi Library in English. Leiden: Brill, 1996.
Rudolph, Kurt. Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism. Edited and translated by Robert McLachlan Wilson. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1983.
Segal, A.F. Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic reports about Christianity and Gnosticism. Leiden: Brill, 1977.
Smalley, Stephen S. 1, 2, 3 John. Word Biblical Commentary 51. Edited by David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker. Waco, Tex.: Word Books, 1984.
Smith, Carl B., II. No Longer Jews: The Search for Gnostic Origins. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2004.
Thompson, Marianne Meye. 1–3 John. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Edited by Grant R. Osborne. Downers Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity Press, 1992.
Williams, M.A. Rethinking “Gnosticism”: An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Category. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.
Wilson, Robert McLachlan. Gnosis and the New Testament. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1968.
Wisse, Frederick. “Prolegomena to the Study of the New Testament and Gnosis.” Pages 138–45 in The New Testament and Gnosis: Essays in Honour of Robert McLachlan Wilson. Edited by A.H.B. Logan and J. M. Wedderburn. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1983.
Yamauchi, Edwin M. Pre-Christian Gnosticism: A Survey of the Proposed Evidences. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973.
Yarbrough, Robert W., and Robert H. Stein, eds. 1–3 John. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008.


Smith, Z. G. (2012). Gnosticism. (J. D. Barry & L. Wentz, Eds.)The Lexham Bible Dictionary.

 2013/7/20 9:09

Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3708


Christianity vs Gnosticism


God's Word

God's unchanging Word. Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'" John 14:6

NT manuscripts: over 5,000 2nd century manuscripts affirm the New Testament. Recognized and used by Christians since the birth of the church.

Constantine had nothing to do with it.

God' Word is false. Truth is based on mythical, secret knowledge (gnosis).


“The Bible is a product of man... not of God. ... Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. ... The Bible, as we know it today, was collected by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the Great.” 231


of Jesus

The omnipotent and all-knowing Creator and Lord, who came to earth to die as our Redeemer and Savior. After resurrection, returned to His throne where He reigns as King.

"Who do you say I am?" Peter: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Matt 16:15-16

"...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow... and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:10-11

Gnostic Revealer (kabbalah)

An ordinary man -- adept in gnosis -- who marries Mary Magdalene.

"Compare me to someone and tell Me whom I am like." Peter: "You are like a righteous angel." Matthew: "You are like a wise philosopher." (Thomas)

God our Father

Omnipotent, sovereign Ruler of all.

“I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless." Genesis 17:1

"My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9


Aeon: "In early Gnosticism, the Absolute Being, or, in later Gnosticism, successive emanations from the Supreme Deity, which form the Pleroma, the world of light or higher reality...

"Plotinus taught that there is a supreme, totally transcendent "One", containing no division, multiplicity or distinction...

"Plotinus offers an alternative to the orthodox Christian notion of creation ex nihilo ('out of nothing')... Emanation ex deo ('out of God')...

The existence of both a transcendent God and a lower God (the Creator–Demiurge), whom Gnostics equated with Yahweh of the Old Testament...

Two gods, a father god and a mother goddess (wisdom/Sophia, shekinah). Some see the Holy Spirit as the mother goddess.

Human condition


Man's physical body is neutral, but his soul (especially will and emotions) is fallen (wicked) until regeneration.

"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…" Romans 3:23


Two parts: spirit (good) and matter or body (evil)

Two options: asceticism or reckless licentiousness

The problem is ignorance, not sin.


In Christ, the Living Word

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil." Proverbs 3:5-7

Our faith is based on God's revelation of Himself in His Word. Historical evidence, not irrational imagination. 1 Peter 3:13-15.


In "The Teachings of Silvanus" Jesus teaches salvation by enlightenment: "Bring in your guide and your teacher. The mind is the guide, but reason is the teacher. They will bring you out of destruction and dangers .... Enlighten your mind.... Light the lamp within you."

Brown: “...the acceptance of that which we imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove.” P341


"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies." John 11:25

"Whoever believes in Him [God's Son] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." John 3:18

"Everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life...." John 6:40


Man's spirit is imprisoned in the material body but will escape this imprisonment at death; and

* SALVATION -- redemption through gnosis, by secret knowledge

The Teachings of Silvanus, another Gnostic document, portrays Jesus as teaching salvation by enlightenment:

"Bring in your guide and your teacher. The mind is the guide, but reason is the teacher. They will bring you out of destruction and dangers .... Enlighten your mind.... Light the lamp within you."24



Physical resurrection, not just immortality of the soul.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” John 11:25-26


No physical resurrection of the body. Instead, reincarnation.


contain an orderly account of the birth, life, deeds, death, and resurrection of Christ.

Ignorance is said to be the primary culprit of man's condition, not sin.28 Therefore, in no sense of the word can these documents be properly referred to as gospels.

Who do you say

I Am? Christian:

Jesus asked Peter, "Who do you say I am?" Peter rightly responded, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven."Matt. 16:15-17


Jesus: "Compare me to someone and tell Me whom I am like." Peter: "You are like a righteous angel." Matthew: "You are like a wise philosopher." Thomas: "Master, my mouth is wholly incapable of saying whom You are like."

Jesus: "I am not your master."... When Thomas returned to his companions, they asked him, "What did Jesus say to you?" Thomas: "If I tell you one of the things which he told me, you will pick up stones and throw them at me; a fire will come out of the stones and burn you up." (Thomas)

See also America's Spiritual Slide

* Mikhail Gorbachev, “New World Order: Consensus,” The Cape Cod Times, January 28, 1993.

In Christ: Phillip



 2013/7/20 15:07Profile


Gnosis linguistically may well mean knowledge. Or if your prefer gnosis may well mean "to know". However it is not the knowing which carries the precise danger, if that knowing is according to obedience to God, it is the belief that in knowing one is changed. It is a devilish trap into which anyone can easily step....... inoculation against the desire to sin by a one time experience but it is also a moment by moment thing to stay in that one moment experience by trusting in the Blood.............After the crisis sin is rare, and there is no desire for it as that was burnt out by the 'fire', and never comes from temptation to sin but through failing to depend on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.............Some men go on to never sin again but it is common for others to fall into a sin once but get restored after that. Brenda Jackson 2013/7/20 10:05

 2013/7/20 15:29

Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37923
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11



We encourage the further discussion and considerations on Gnosticism be done in a new thread. The original post itself and initial thoughts is mostly on a different subject and this new discussion has come up from questions from the latter. So I feel it would be better to start a new thread discussing specifics of Gnosticism. Thank you brethren.

This thread is being locked.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2013/7/20 15:46Profile

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