Gnosticism

The Gnostic cross

There are always holes in religions. None of them has all the answers.  And the biggest issue for many seems to be the theodice problem, i.e. how can God be omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent and still allow evil and suffering in the world.
All major world religions have seriously TRIED to explain this, but none have so far come up with a satisfactory answer.
Gnosticism however, has a somewhat more credible view on the subject, even though I am I no way an advocate for any organized religion. All I’m saying is that at the moment, this is the view I find most to be most in line with my own.
To learn everything about Gnosticism must take at least a lifetime, so all I’m going to do is offer a generalized view of this massively complex religion. For those who wish to learn more I will refer to the many links.

Gnosticism has to do with the Greek word gnosis, which means knowledge. The only way to salvation, according to the Gnostics, is through knowledge and personal experience with God, as opposed to through a priest and rituals. And salvation means freedom from the material world.
Of course, just like in all other religions there are different interpretations and views which has led to there being more than one teaching. Among those are the Basilideans, the  Marcosians and the Valentinians.
In general, the Gnostics believe that there is one supreme God which emanates other divine being called Aeons. These aeons are in some ways individual entities and in some ways different parts of the one God, sometimes called the Monad.

After a catastrophe at the edge of the divine realm, the youngest aeon, Sophia, is cast out and her bastard son is born,  the Demiurge, a.k.a. Yaldabaoth, a.k.a. Samael, a.k.a. Yahve etc.
The word demiurge does not mean half-God as some think, but comes from the Greek word demos, meaning the people. Literally, the word means public worker. This demiurge is the one who, which the help of his archons, meaning rulers, lords, created the material world, with us humans in it.
We humans live in a state of spiritual sleep or ignorance, but against the demiurge’s wishes, a spark from the divine realm was placed in us and saviors were sent from the pleroma, meaning fullness, and referring to the divine realm, to guide us and teach us about gnosis.
The salvation of mankind has to do with the redemption of Sophia.

Interesting to me is that the names of the demiurge seem to be demon names within Christianity. Except for Yahve, which according to Christianity is the name of God.
Is the demiurge really what Christians call Satan? And if so, then who is Yahve that appears in the Bible? According to Gnosticism, the God of the Old Testament IS the demiurge, and there are different view on whether he is completely malign or just an ignorant and limited but redeemable being.

The main cults of Gnosticism existed during pre-Christian and early Christian centuries. They were deemed heretics by TPTB of the time and were driven underground and eventually brought into the Orthodox Catholic fold in the fourth and fifth centuries. Many of their texts have been destroyed and lost forever, but after the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library in 1945, the discussion on Gnosticism has changed radically.
Today Gnosticism is enjoying a rebirth and many of its old preserved text has been taken up for revision.

At the very least, Gnosticism offers an answer to the theodice problem, and I find it vastly interesting.

More links:
http://www.forteantimes.com/features/interviews/3139/g_is_for_gnostic.html
http://www.bardic-press.com/philip/philipblog.htm

Advertisements

Say something about this

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s