Gnosticism, Patristic Mythological Christianity and the Biblical Jesus
Gnosticism, Patristic Mythological Christianity and the Biblical Jesus
Writer: Evangelos D. Kepenes
This is part of the work "Mythological and Utopian religious ideals from the completion of the Apostolic Ministry until today," which was published in Greek on www.aionios-diathiki.gr (February 19, 2020, 23:59)
The term "Gnosticism" is a later term that denotes a part-Christian religious attitude with many branches, which combined occult, pagan, mythological, astrological and philosophical elements with elements from the Old Testament and the New Testament. Its followers, the "Gnostics," called themselves "consubstantial with God," a term found in the Orphics, in Hermeticism and in the "Orthodox," ecclesiastical, mystical system. They regarded themselves as genuine Christians ("we alone of all men are Christians") and were opposed to the mysterious, spiritual monopoly of the "Catholic Church," though they had much in common at a theological and ritual level. What is known about their teaching and practices comes mainly from opposing philosophers and writers, such as Hippolytus of Rome, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus of Lyon, Origen, Epiphanius and from the texts of the Nag Hammadi library that were discovered in the region of Chenoboskion, in Egypt, in the late 1940s. The time of the appearance of the different Gnostic schools is unclear. The sure thing is that their pseudonymous knowledge expressed either in complete moderation or in unrestrained promiscuity was widespread among the ranks of the first Judeo-Christians with whom they feasted, a fact that testifies to the existence of the Jewish proto-Gnosticism, with concepts similar to those in the ancient Egyptian Hermetic texts and Greek Mythology. The view that there are traces of Gnosticism in the ascetic, messianic movement of the Essenes who called themselves "the Sons of the Righteous One" and denounced the authoritarian, religiopolitical Jewish power is controversial.
The Gnostics' acts of worship were accompanied by invocations of spirits, songs with music, prayers, doxologies and ecstatic sayings (prophecies, tongues, spells). Clearly influenced by the Orphic motif "I am a child of the Earth and the starry sky, and my kin is celestial," they were looking for ways to return to heaven, which they believed was their origin. They were indifferent to the worldly things, and not wanting to trap others in this flawed world, they practiced celibacy, believing that “marriage and procreation come from Satan”. They condemned meat-eating and wine-drinking, and they engaged in asceticism (elements found in the Orphics as well), thus punishing the natural flesh, which they considered a prison of the spirit, and they associated it with evil.
According to Plato, the restriction of the immortal soul to a body is the same as the imprisonment in a tomb.
In contrast, apart from the moderate ones, some classes of the Gnostics, the "Opponents," supported Antinomianism (= theory that rejects moral law and proposes free will) and participated in worship orgies, considering the extreme promiscuity to be the way of fighting the bad physical flesh, from which the divine nature had to be liberated (orgiastic Gnosticism), while others resorted to self-castration.
The concept of Docetism (the body and crucifixion of Jesus were only apparent) was also developed in the circles of Gnosticism, for which the Judeo-Christian Cerinthus, who received Egyptian education, acted as a rapporteur, who was also the rapporteur of the Millennialism. Apart from the Cerinthians, most gnostic groups embraced Docetism with variations. It is presumed that the concept of the alteration of Christ's body sometimes from a spiritual one to a material one and sometimes from a material one to a spiritual one was born among the Messalians; and the Ophites said that the resurrected body of Jesus was both psychic and spiritual. A proportion of Gnostics believed that man was created from three substances, matter, soul and spirit, and depending on which one was dominant, they evolved into material, psychic and spiritual beings.
The divine dyarchy of the Gnostics
Theogony, cosmogony and anthropogony were varied among the Gnostics on the basis of pluralism and dyarchy (philosophical theory that interprets the world on the basis of two competing creating principles (gods), a Bad one and a Good one, from which two separate, dissimilar, opposite worlds emerge, the bad or sensible one and the spiritual or imaginary one, positions which are contrary to the biblical narrative of the One Authority / One God through whom both the visible and the invisible things were created.
“And to shine forth what is the economy of the mystery which has been hidden from the ages in God who created all things; (the visible and the invisible)” (Eph. 3:9 Godbey, Col. 1:16)
Forms of dyarchic views
Forms of dyarchic views are found in Zoroastrianism, Orphism, Pythagoreanism, etc., as well as in Stoicism, to which we will refer for the purpose of the present study. "To live in accordance with the nature" was the motto of the Stoics (philosophers of the "Painted Porch," 300 BC - 250 AD), who were represented by three tendencies. Influenced by Heraclitus, who considered "the Word -who permeates the substance of the universe- to be the substance of fate," and by Hermeticism, where "Thoth is the Word who permeates and pervades everything," they believed that there are two principles in the universe, the active one, the God or the Word [Greek: to poioun], and the passive one, the Matter [Greek: to paschon]. The Word that was present within the matter (intra-universal god) created all beings through it, maintaining their unity and the eternal order. For the Stoics, God is at the same time everything in the nature (pantheism) and everything is god (material monism). They believed in fate and divine providence, and they said that man is connected with the "world-soul" through an inner, personal deity, the "Demon-self," and consequently there was an interaction of the heavenly and earthly beings, "the principle of sympathy." This view is related to the Chaldean astrology and theurgy, and served as the base for the astrological predictions and divination. Likewise, the Epicureans, philosophers of "let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die," did not accept the immortality of the soul, but believed that the soul dissolves immediately after the necrosis of the body or that it lives until it is consumed by the future burning and then by the re-creation of the same world (Palingenesis). The Stoic Chrysippus defines the soul as "the innate and inseparable breath within us, which runs through all parts of the body, as long as the smooth breath is present in the body." The Stoics classified this "psychic breath" into eight levels, the hegemonic one (the intellect, the mind), which was the center of all, the five senses, the spermatic one and the vocal one.
Anthropological dyarchy is a derivative of the divine dyarchy of the Gnostics and other philosophical systems, which divides man into two elements, the sensible, mortal body and the mental, immortal soul (the pre-existing one according to the Chaldeans, Plato, Philo, the Gnostics, etc.). Consequently, man is a partaker of both principles (the Good one and the Bad one), and if he escapes from the body that partakes in the bad principle, he is saved. This idea contradicts the biblical narrative, where the "soul" is the origin of life from the one life-giving God, which exists in every living creature, without the Platonized distinction of the Gnostics. According to the Hebrew Bible, "soul" does not refer to a single part of human existence, but it refers to the whole human being as an undivided, living hypostasis “and the (earthly) man became a living creature,” who in the process was subjugated by man's enemy, death “death reigned” (Gen. 2:7, Rom. 5:14-17) and was deprived of the right to eat from the tree of life which was a type of promising immortality. In contrast, in the Platonic knowledge of man, the death of the body is man's friend, because it allows the immortal soul to be liberated and finally return to its celestial state.
"For at the beginning Adam was brought to life (biologically) on the sixth day, after being formed from earth and infused with God's breath." (Epiphanius, Panarion, ch. 4)
“Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.” (Eze. 18:4)
“He shall not go in to any dead bodies (Grk txt: ψυχῇ = soul) nor make himself unclean, even for his father or for his mother.” (Lev. 21:11)
“Kαὶ ἐπὶ πάσῃ ψυχῇ τετελευτηκυίᾳ οὐκ εἰσελεύσεται ἐπὶ πατρὶ αὐτοῦ οὐδὲ ἐπὶ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ οὐ μιανθήσετα.ι” (Lev. 21:11, LXXA)
“Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Rom. 13:1, ERV)
“And Joseph sent, and called to him Jacob his father, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.” (Acts 7:14, ERV)
“Saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead that sought the young child's life (Grk txt: ψυχήν= soul).” (Mat. 2:20)
“…λέγων ἐγερθεὶς παραλάβε τὸ παιδίον καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ πορεύου εἰς γῆν Ἰσραήλ· τεθνήκασιν γὰρ οἱ ζητοῦντες τὴν ψυχὴν τοῦ παιδίου.” (Mat. 2:20, WH)
“And Samson sayde: My soule shall dye with the Philistines …” (Jdg 16:30, Bishops)
So, we see that the Hebrew biblical references and the anti-heretical Epiphanius contradict the Platonized Eastern belief about the immortality of the soul as it is expressed in a funeral procession [Greek: Exodiastikon] of sixteenth-century monks.
"Our God, the creator and benefactor of all creation, the one who made man from a sensible and earthly body and from a mental (immaterial) and immortal soul..." (DMITRIEVSKIJ, Opisanie 2, 547)
Similarly, Aristotle contradicts Plato, saying in his writing about the soul that: "It is not unclear that neither the soul nor certain parts of it, if it has parts, can be separated from the body." (657: 413a 4-6)
The doctrine of the "immortality of the soul" is directly connected with the doctrine of reincarnation, where the soul after the death of the body leaves and enters the body of another person, animal or plant, until it is purified and returns to the state it was in before its fall. This view, along with the Platonized "Christian" view that the "mortal" man has in him a mental (immaterial), immortal existence that will either enjoy bliss or be tormented unceasingly by the executioner "triune God" after the death of the body, is in stark contrast with the term "mortal" and with the apostolic saying that God is "the only one who has immortality" and with "this mortal must put on immortality." So, according to the religious views, God created man in order to torment him forever, if he does not submit to his three hypostases.
The fullness of God according to the Gnostics
According to the Egyptian Valentinus, one of the so-called "fathers" of Gnosticism, in the archetypal world, thirty male and female spiritual entities, "Aeons," proceeded from the True, Ineffable, Good and Transcendent God, with hierarchical order. Aeons formed erotic pairs, "androgynous pairs," from which other hierarchically lower Aeons originated. All Aeons comprised the fullness of God.
Valentinus' version of the fullness of God is related to a) the emanations, "Sefirot," which are mentioned in the occult texts of Kabbalah and the Kabbalistic tree of life, b) the Lambdoma or Tetractys of the Pythagoreans and the ancient Greek tree of life, and c) the theogony of Hesiod, according to Epiphanius.
The "Aeon Jesus" of the Gnostics
The last Aeon of the fullness, Wisdom, unhappy with her ranking, wants to unite with the Ineffable One. He pushes her to unite with his projection, the "Mind," and so two new Aeons are born, Christ and the Holy Spirit. The disorder is remedied by the birth of the Aeon Jesus, who divides the Aeon Wisdom into two, the Heavenly One and the Chthonic One or Achamoth. Achamoth is cast out from the fullness of God and gives birth to the evil god, the hermaphrodite Yaldabaoth or Sakla, which means "the Son of Chaos," who was depicted as a lion-like Snake. Unaware that there is another god above him, he creates the present material, inferior and defective world. For the Gnostics, this was the god of the OT, a predominantly anti-Jewish position that led them to honor the disobedient characters of the biblical narrative. For the modern theosophists, Yaldabaoth is the true, perfect Snake, the seven-headed god (the beast of revelation with the seven heads).
It is noteworthy that the pre-worldly birth of the "Aeon Jesus," which has a spiritual affinity with the philosophical, "patristic thought" of the pre-worldly and pre-eternal existence of the Son, the second person / God, the Mystery of the "Triune Unit," as defined in the symbol of faith, "begotten of the Father before all ages,” is found in all variations of the Gnostic myths. According to the "patristic thought," the Son, although he "was born" before all ages, is at the same time "co-eternal" with the Father, although he is "consubstantial with the Father," he is at the same time super-substantial!!!
Super-substantial (Υπερούσιος = A above being)
God (Christianity) was characterized by the theologians of the first years after Christ as a super-substantial. "His being is beyond substance." (Justin, Athanasius the Great, John Damascene, etc.)
Christ, the second person of the Triune Deity, is also praised by the hymn writers of the Christian Church as a super-substantial. "Today the Virgin gives birth to the hyperoysios (a above being) etc."
Iamblichus' work "On the Egyptian Mysteries", which mentions that a second god -who was "pre-substantial and the beginning of the substance (of beings)" and the god of the inferior, intermediate gods- emerged from the One transcendent god, also belongs to the Neoplatonists, who had accepted the doctrine of Zoroastrian dualism.
Pre-substantial = the one who existed before all substance (matter) (Lexigram)
Professors of Philosophy Vasilis Kalfas and George Zografidis state that:
The belief that Plato developed an "unwritten" philosophy of mathematical inspiration for the insiders of the Academy only, whose component part is the ontological fronting of the Good (which is identified with the One), and the production of Ideas and mathematical entities from this, was based on the cryptic expression beyond substance. Be that as it may, the placement of the Good beyond substance does not cease to mean something simpler: that, for Plato, all knowledge has a moral foundation, that morality precedes epistemology.
Cryptic = someone who is skillful at hiding something or himself / herself, secretive, hypocrite (Dictionary by Skarlatos D. Vyzantios)
The philosophical, cryptic term "super-substantial" (beyond substance) or "pre-substantial" referring to the second creator god of Egyptian Mythology and to the second person/god of the imposed "Triune Unit" is non-existent in the "apostolic thought" and represents the opposing "patristic thought," which crystallized and interpreted the advanced "Platonic thought," which places a second "pre-substantial" god as the creator of beings that was projected by the First One.
The anthropogony of the Gnostics
His own creations, the “Archons” (Lords) or the “360 Angels" according to the Sethians, were the helpers of the evil god and the ones who created the biblical, earthly Adam (= man) in the image of the perfect, magnificent, archetypal, hermaphroditic and spiritual man, who was called Pigeradamas or Geradamas, who was the reflection of the also androgynous supreme god, whom they called Mitropatoras (= Mother and Father of all). For the Naassenes, the archetypal man was threefold (body, soul, spirit) and they called him Primal Man or Man from Above or Adamas. The Manichaeans called him "First Man." Kabbalists and the modern, theosophical Neognostics call him Adam Kadmon. And in Greek Mythology, where the "primeval Greek mysteries" are described, they call him Pratolaos.
With the permission of his mother, Yaldabaoth was emptied of his power by infusing the earthly Adam with the breath of life, which, however, contained the divine elements of his mother “Wisdom Achamoth.” Thus, man acquired divine spark and consciousness of divine origin from the fullness of the deity, which, however, Yaldabaoth imprisoned with the shackles of oblivion. The awakening of the inner divine spark through occult, visionary knowledge and the recovery of its memory was man's only hope of "self-salvation," a position similar to the one of the modern Theosophists and Plato who taught that "knowledge is memory."
The divine spark of the Gnostics is also similar to the myth of the Titan Prometheus, the creator of man from clay and fire, which described that magical moment when the mental spark in man was spiritually ignited with the help of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, differentiating him from the rest of the irrational animal kingdom.
The incarnation of the "Aeon Jesus" according to the Gnostics
Then, the Gnostic "father" Valentinus gives us the following false knowledge: The Aeon Jesus is incarnated (he is clothed in a material body) and becomes the (perfect) man Jesus.
Valentinus' "thought" is similar to the "thought" of the Apologists who said that "the first power after the Father of all and God the Ruler, is the Son, the Word; who, having in a manner incarnated and became man," as well as to the revelatory, "patristic" thought of the incarnation of the pre-existing Son in a perfect man.
Then, Aeon Christ, appears to people in the form of the man Jesus (who was the incarnation of the Aeon Jesus), in whom he (Aeon Christ) had dwelt during his baptism in the Jordan River, in order to bring them back to the spiritual light, and then he abandons the man Jesus before his crucifixion. For the Gnostics, Jesus' crucifixion does not save, but was the liberation of the Aeon Jesus from his material body.
The purpose of the incarnate Aeon Jesus was:
*The awakening and salvation of the fallen soul, the divine element of man, through the enlightenment of the Aeon Christ. The "spiritual ones" achieved this by regaining the memory of the previous ones. Thus, the "spiritual ones" are self-saved through knowledge, that is, they become Gnostics and enter into the fullness of God.
*The restoration of one-genderism or non-genderism according to the eternal archetype of the hermaphroditic, spiritual man.
*The abolition of the power of the evil god of the OT.
*The destruction of the faulty, material world and the "fleshly / material" people through burning or through dissolution.
*The expulsion of the "psychic ones" from the divine fullness.
*The restoration of the divine order within the fullness of God.
So, the "Aeon Christ" through the "incarnate Aeon Jesus" provides the knowledge for the self-salvation of the "spiritual" people, and saves the "divine fullness" as well.
It is noteworthy that the doctrine of the "Palingenesis" of Heraclitus and the Stoics, who supported the "circular course of the universe towards eternity" through repeated, identical regenerations of the visible ones that took place after each burning, had an effect on most religious and philosophical systems. It also influenced the "patristic thought," with the difference that the latter supports the "rectilinear course of the universe" and expects events that will deterministically bring about through fire the end of the history of the sensible world.
The Gnostics were involved in ancient Philosophy and Mythology, which they used as a think tank. Thus, they had adopted the antibiblical view of incarnation and reincarnation, which was a constant teaching of the Orphics, the Pythagoreans, the Platonists, the worshipers of Dionysus, etc., who believed that the immortal souls of men were spirits that fell from heaven to earth (descent of the soul into matter) due to an undefined sin, and as a punishment they incarnated, that is, they were clothed with a material body, and since then, the purification through many reincarnations and the restoration to their initial origin has been the desideratum. According to the Jewish philosopher Philo, the fall of the soul from the heavenly bliss into the earthly body is symbolized by the leather garments that God gave to Adam and Eve to wear before he cast them out of the Garden of Eden. According to the same philosopher, the fallen soul and its imprisonment in the earthly body is like the enslavement of the Jews in Egypt and must seek its exit.
Also, the "Chaldean Oracles" say:
"As regards the hypostasis of the soul, it has a mediating and ascending role. By descending to the bodies, it becomes a captive of matter, but without ceasing to be a fluid reality, maintaining a non-fallen part of it in the intelligible world. Ultimately, it is destined to reach the place of its origin, the heavenly vault, escaping from the oblivion of the sensible world."
The Gnostic idea of the incarnation of the archetypal Aeon Jesus in the earthly man Jesus is testified by anti-heretical sources and the newly discovered Gnostic, occult gospel of Judas. In this gospel, it seems that the "traitor" Judas had a special knowledge and his betrayal was a redemptive act, so that the incarnate Spirit of Jesus could be freed from the material element and return to the fullness of the God. According to the occult text, Jesus said to Judas, "For you will sacrifice the man who clothes me."
Both the "patristic thought" and its related doctrines that profess faith in the "incarnate Son" by distorting the meaning of the word "became" of the apostolic saying "the word became flesh (= body)" and changing it to "incarnated", drew the theory of the incarnation of the "Philosophical Jesus" from the same think tank of Philosophy and Mythology.
Become = begin to be || be. (Stamatakos' Dictionary)
Incarnate = materialize || embody || reincarnate. (Stamatakos' Dictionary)
Deeply influenced by the Gnostic doctrine of the incarnation of the "Aeon Jesus," the "fathers" of the "Roman Catholic Church" and the related denominations deny that Jesus Christ was the "appointed one" (= predetermined, destined), the true Son of God who was born in time, 100% of the Holy Spirit.
“Now the birth (not the incarnation) of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” (Mat. 1:18)
Instead, by copying the myths of Gnosticism, they preach that the pre-eternal Son descended from heaven and incarnated (clothed in an earthly body), "came down from the heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man", as stated in the patristic symbol of faith (The Nicene Greed). This statement is mythological and, according to the "patristic thought", involves three parts, a) the pre-existing Son, b) the Holy Spirit and c) the mortal Mary. However, it refers to the union of heaven and earth, thus relating to the mythical union of the god Uranus, who was the residence of the gods and the first mythical male element, with the goddess Gaia, the "mother of the blessed ones and the mortal men," who, in mythical cosmogony, symbolizes the material side of the world.
The late theologian and professor of patrology Panagiotis Christou in his article "One-genderism, the ideal of the Gnostics" states:
"In general, in the systems of the Gnostics, two deities preside over the divine ones and the earthly ones, one male deity and one female deity. The first one includes the celestial element and the second one includes the earthly element. They are the heaven and earth of the old Greek religion."
The two natures of Jesus
This combined view of the synodal fathers that the pre-existing second god (the Son) incarnated "of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary" [so, Jesus was not the Son of God, but the incarnation of the pre-existing second god-son] inevitably led to the non-novel idea of the two natures of Jesus, which is the spiritual heritage of Mythology, which is naively embraced by the Pentecostal spiritual movements that are the offspring of American Christian Zionist centers, as well as by the rest Protestant movements.
In the mystical Hermeticism ("a metaphysical system and a body of systematized, magical, astrological and alchemical practices"), we already find the idea of the two natures of the archetypal man who fell into the physical world.
"And the same (archetypal) man, admiring his image, falls in love with himself and wants to live on earth. So, we have the fall of man, and nature surrounds him from everywhere. And because of his fall, man has a dual nature: mortal through the body, immortal through the essence, subject to Heimarmene and at the same time sovereign over Heimarmene." (Hermetic texts: preface, page 15)
In addition, according to the decipherment of the Phaistos Disk, the Greek, as a true son of God, is born of an earthly womb and heavenly sperm.
In Aeschylus' work "Prometheus Bound," Prometheus foretells that his Redeemer, "the one who will release", will be born of God and a mortal virgin named Io.
Moreover, Dionysus, whom the ancient Greeks called "Savior," "suffering god" and "divine infant," also had a dual nature, since he was born from the union of the god Zeus (the primordial fire of heaven) and the mortal nymph Semele (earthly substance). He was also known as "Trigonos" (thrice-born), Phanes-Dionysus, Zagreus-Dionysus and the resurrected Dionysus who was called by Zeus to reign.
The greatest Greek mythical hero Hercules, whose parents were Zeus, the father of gods and men, and the mortal Alcmene, also had two natures, and many others.
A brief history of the "union of the two natures of Jesus." The hypostatic union
The Ecumenical Councils aimed to find soothing and compromising solutions to their internal ecclesiastical conflicts by the bishops of the Imperial religion, as many Gnostics and other "heretics" had been members of the "official Church" for some time. Many times, the resolution of dogmatic disputes took place in an "atmosphere of terrorism," with bribes and fanatical armed monks looting rival churches and killing their bishops. Thus, the Christological doctrine of the complex nature of Jesus in one hypostasis was formulated in 451 AD from the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, convened by the Roman imperial couple, Pulcheria and Marcian, in order to deal with the divisive teaching of the archimandrite Eftychius, a collaborator of Cyril, who was of the Alexandria School and claimed that the human nature of Christ was absorbed into the divine one, and, therefore, Jesus had only one nature, the divine one. Thus, instead of the "absorption" of the one nature into the other, the "union" of the two natures in one hypostasis prevailed, supported by the school of Antioch. The new, synodal formula for the identity of the nature of Jesus caused a schism, and the churches that split off were called Anti-Chalcedonian churches.
One of the canons of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in translation
"The union of the two natures in Christ was made so that the two natures are unconfused, unchanged, indivisible and inseparable, but without the distinction of the two natures being taken away by this union, which was made in such a way so that the peculiar property of each nature is preserved and the two natures are united in one person and in one hypostasis.”
The biblical Jesus
The apostles taught that Miriam, the Jewish servant of God, gave birth to Jesus, whom she had miraculously conceived without her biological involvement. What was conceived in her was of the Holy Spirit.
“But while he was thinking of these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take home Mary your wife; for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Mat. 1:20, Anderson)
“And the angel answered and said to her: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for which reason, also, that which is begotten, being holy, shall be called the Son of God.” ( Luk. 1:35, Anderson)
Natures are special and distinct and they are not composed, except in Mythology. Jesus did not have two parents, a father and a mother, like the biological man and the mythical god-men, nor did he have two natures united in one hypostasis, a biological, earthly one and a heavenly one, but he was whole, "Born" by the will of the heavenly Father, who was in His Son, and the Son was in His Father.
“But if I do them, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:38)
Jesus was "the living bread which came down from heaven," "the image of the invisible God," "the Master of life," "the Son (the Offspring) of God's love," "the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person" (Character of His Hypostasis), "the true, Living Temple of God." Jesus was the tangible, visible, living image of the Father, the brightness of the glory of the invisible God, "who only hath immortality."
Jesus was not the manifestation of the tangible, visible hypostasis of the mortal, earthly man, whom God created in the image of God, “for in the image of God I made man” (Gen. 9:6, LXXE) and who was "the type of the one who was to come," (Rom. 5:14) which means that the earthly man will receive the image of the "heavenly Jesus."
Jesus was the manifestation of the invisible and immortal Hypostasis of the Eternal God and functioned (spoke, listened, acted, gave life) just like His Father, because He was the True God Himself and the Eternal Life, and not a second god who became a god-man, “my glory I give to no other”. (Isa. 42:8)
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you, I speak not of myself. The Father who dwells in me, he does the works.” (John 14:10, Anderson)
The "Word" did not take on flesh, but the Word became flesh, "the Word became flesh," and so the One God of the Old Testament appeared, became visible, "God was manifest in the flesh," "For the Life was manifested,"
He who descended from heaven was not the intermediate god of Plato and the Gnostics, nor the second god of the Apologists, the Hermitists and the "fathers of the Catholic Church," but was the Father God with a heavenly body that He himself gave birth to. Anyone who saw the body of Jesus saw the Eternal God.
“He that has seen me, has seen the Father» (John 14:9)
“But I said to you, that you have seen me, and yet you do not believe.” (John 6:36)
And God said to Moses, "I am come down to deliver them" (out of Egypt), but back then, he came down bodiless, having no body, because he had not yet given birth to His only-begotten Son. (John 2:21, 6:51, Acts 7:34)
Jesus the Christ was not clothed in an earthly body
"Heavenly bodies and earthly bodies." Jesus the Christ, the Master of salvation, the Word of life, had a separate / unique, heavenly body, "not of men blood", which was identified as "the Resurrection" and "the Life", "I am the resurrection, and the life."
When Jesus asked, "But whom say ye that I am?" Peter did not say, "You are the Son of Mary," nor did he say, "You are the incarnate pre-existing Son of God," but he said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah; for flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (Mat. 16:16-17)
“Also, the apostle John did not declare "dualism" but emphatically declared that: “Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5)
Jesus was "the Son of the Spirit, the Son of God," because he was born of the Eternal God / the Eternal Spirit. He did not have, nor did he put on the body of an earthly man. On the contrary, the earthly man, who is " "the type of the one who was to come," by receiving Jesus, "he shall bear the image of the heavenly man."
“The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man, the Lord from heaven. As the earthy man was, such also are the earthy; and as the heavenly man is, such also shall the heavenly be. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Cor. 15:49)
Jesus' body was not illusory, as the Docetists believed, but it was visible and tangible, -just like the manna from heaven, which was visible and tangible- containing his own precious blood.
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life.” (1 John 1:1)
If, in the light of the New Testament, we compare the "heavenly" body of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 15:47), the second man (Adam = man), with the tangible, earthly body of the first man, we observe that the body of Jesus was a likeness / portrait of the tangible, sinful (fleshly) body of the earthly man, and not the brightness of his glory or the express image of his hypostasis.
After all, Isaiah shouts, “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field” (40:6). And Job says, “a mortal born of woman [is] like an ass in the desert.” (11:12, LXXE)
What likeness is
Likeness = something which is similar to something else // resemblance // similitude.
Likeness = Any construction that resembles outwardly (the form of / the shape of, etc.) something else, which was used as a prototype (a wooden / plaster likeness of the Parthenon), a copy. (Lexigram)
Likeness = An object made to be similar in appearance to a human, animal or thing, but without having the functions of its prototype, e.g. museum of wax likenesses. (Wiktionary)
What the Apostles said about the flesh / body of Jesus
“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” (Rom. 8:3)
“ …. but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.” (Phi. 2:7)
“Since then the children partake of flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner (Grk txt: παραπλησίως) took part of the same ..,” (Heb. 2:14)
Παραπλησίως (Strong's # 3898) = in a manner near by, (figuratively) similarly
Jesus willingly suffered and was tempted in every way, just like the earthly man suffers and is tempted, so that he could become a merciful and faithful High Priest. And he willingly tasted death, so that he could overcome death for the benefit of all mankind. And he was resurrected to give us Life. (John 3:13, 6:51, Rom. 8:3, Acts 20:28, Phil. 2:8, Heb. 2:16-17, 2:9, 4:15, 10:5, GR / Orthodox)
Incarnation and reincarnation were the predominant beliefs of the pagans, the Gnostics and the Eastern religions
Just like the terms "consubstantial" and "super-substantial," the term "incarnation" is non-existent in the Bible, found only in ancient religions and philosophical schools.
In Egyptian mythology, water and the sun were considered symbols of life due to geographical location (the Nile River, sunshine). The rulers of Egypt (Pharaohs) were the incarnation of God on earth and the center of religious worship.
In Hinduism, avatar is the descent and incarnation of higher beings on earth, such as the unborn and immortal god Vishnu, who has numerous incarnations in the form of animals, birds, plants and people, in order to save humanity from evil and the demonic forces. Vishnu's main incarnations are in the form of Ramayana or Rama and Krishna. Kalkin's avatar, the incarnation of the white horse, which will restore the golden age on earth and bring about the final liberation of man and the discovery of his divine nature, is awaiting. Hinduism has six (6) Orthodox systems; Vedanta, the oldest philosophical system of self-knowledge, believes that the sensible world is an illusion and the universe is occasionally destroyed and recreated (Heraclitus-Stoics).
Also, the religious trend of Alawites, which is a mixture of Zoroastrian, Christian, Muslim and Gnostic beliefs, believes that the Jewish Jesus of Navi, who conquered the land of Israel, as well as the fourth caliph Ali, who was assassinated by his enemies, the Sunnites, were incarnations of God.
The adherents of the late Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba praise him as the incarnation of the Holy Trinity and Truth, as Lord of creation and savior of mankind. However, when he was young, he said that he was the incarnation of the spiritual teacher Sai Baba of Shirdi.
Most teachers and leaders of Gnosticism, such as Simon and his student Menander, regarded themselves as genuine incarnations of supreme powers.
The Gnostic Sethians took their name from the worship of Seth, the son of Adam, who was believed to be the incarnation of God and held the position of Christ.
Even the Persian Mani, who founded his own religion, Manichaeism, believed that he was the last incarnation of Christ and the Buddha.
Similarly, the emerging, new Chinese religion "The Church of Almighty God," which claims that Christ of the last days appeared in China, adopts theories of incarnations and other Gnostic ideas.
The Melchizedekites of Phrygia and Lycaonia, a mixture of Judaism and Christianity, believed that Melchizedek was the incarnation of the Word. They were violently converted to Islam during the Ottoman period.
Imams (Twelvers), who are part of Shiism, consider the twelve great spiritual leaders (= Imams) to be the incarnation of the divine light. They expect the twelfth Messianic Imam (Mahdi = the rightly guided one) to come in the last days of the world as the savior of Islam, having Christ as his helper, who will come down from heaven for this purpose (Second Coming) and will make all Christians Muslims. And then, the end of the world, the annihilation of matter, the Judgement and eternity will come.
According to Homer and the Homeric school of thought, the gods incarnated and actively participated in human events and human history, as the "Homeric Epics," the Iliad and the Odyssey teach us.
The occult books of the Kabbalists, which prove the historicity of Jesus to the skeptics, state that the spirit of Esau entered into Christ, and that's why Esau, too, was evil.
Also, speaking about the Hellenized Pharisees, Josephus says, "They say that all souls are incorruptible, but that the souls of good men only are removed into other bodies, but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment."
The mythological, dualistic ideas of the fall of the immortal soul and its incarnation in an earthly body that resembled a tomb from which it had to be liberated and return purified to the heavenly homeland through reincarnations (doctrine of the recurring reincarnation) had permeated all ancient beliefs. If we accept as valid the testimony of Epiphanius "Against Stoics", where he denounces these ideas as "deceit and impiety", it seems that these Stoics, too, had crossed over to the ideological camp of Platonism.
"The Stoics, in their great deceit, create this impiety, which is called "reincarnation," that is, the transition of souls from body to body in each incarnation, because they claim that the body is perishable, but the soul is immortal and a part of God. (Epiphanius, Panarion, Against Stoics)"
The ideological "Holy Trinity" of the Gnostics and its kinships
According to the Sethians, who were a mainstream of Gnosticism, the One, Transcendent, Good God of Light, gives birth to Barbelo (like "mother-father Zeus" who gave birth to Athena), the supreme Mother-Father of all, who is feminine and androgynous, "the first thought," "his image," "the holy Spirit," "the thrice-male," "the first glory of the invisible Father," "the Eternal Aeon among the invisible ones" and "the first to come forth."
Barbelo, gazing at the supreme Unit, gave birth to the Autogenous Son of light, who is identified with Christ. The Sethians attributed to her three sacred hypostases, "Father - Mother - Son," the hypostasis of Kalyptos (the hidden one), the hypostasis of Photophanes (the unprecedented one) and the hypostasis of Autogenous (the self-generated one). From these three hypostases, the archetypal man, Pigeradamas or Geradamas, emerged.
The idea of the three sacred hypostases, "Father - Mother - Son," is related to the factors of the sacred trinity of the Pythagorean worldview, that is, "of the Unending Motion (Father), of the Perpetual Life (Mother) and of the Perpetual Energy (Son)."
The Pythagoreans believed that numbers were the primary ideas. The odd numbers were divine, male entities and the even numbers were female. The product of 2 × 3 is 6, which was considered to be both male and female and symbolized marriage. They believed that everything is defined by the most sacred number three (3), "Entirety and everything is defined by the number three" (Birth - Life - Death, Past - Present - Future, Length - Width - Height). They taught the occult Dissolution of the Unit into a triad or triads, thus introducing the theory of the triune Units.
"As the Pythagoreans say, entirety and everything is defined by the number three, because the end, the middle and the beginning are represented by the number of everything, which is the number three (3). That's why, having taken these concepts from nature and having accepted them as its laws, we use this number (3) during theurgic ceremonies (theurgies)."
The views of the Pythagoreans were the strongest arguments of the "fathers" and of the evangelists of the "Christian Holy Trinity" against the "unbelieving" and "disrespectful" Gentiles, who respected nothing but female or male "Holy Trinities." However, with the predominance of the "Christian Holy Trinity" and the male-dominated priesthood, the female or male "Holy Trinities" lost their popularity.
The trinitarian idea of the Gnostics is also related to the "Paradise Trinity," which consists of "the Universal Father, the Eternal Son and the Infinite Spirit," according to the Urantia Book, which spreads ancient Gnostic ideas that they receive, as they claim, from extraterrestrial, higher beings.
It is also related to the theory of the three hypostases founded by the Neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus in the "Enneads", where he develops the ontological, hierarchical unity of the Living Being (of the Holy Trinity), "One (Uranus) - Mind (Cronus) - Soul (Zeus)."
By embracing the philosophical view of the holy Trinity that dominates the perceptible universe, our ancestors believed in all three brothers, Zeus - Poseidon - Hades.
The earliest reference to Zeus declaring the first manifestation or Word exists in the Orphics. The poet Virgil calls him a "Great snake." As the Neoplatonic thought evolved, it developed the "Trinity of Zeus," Father (forcefulness), Son (power in action) and Spirit (mind).
The ancient, trinitarian, female or male deities have a strong ideological affinity with the trinity of the Gnostics and a very strong ideological affinity with the "patristic revelation" of the Triune God (Father - Son - Holy Spirit).
The triple hypostasis shows three ontological deities, three Gods, and refers to Polytheism. In this sense, "Christianity", which was formed by the "patristic thought," is a new, polytheistic religion, a variant of the ancient religion and not a monotheistic religion, as it wrongly alleges. Mixing polytheism with monotheism, "the fathers" perpetuated Plotinus' ancient, religious thought that "he who worships the Gods, worships God."
In his article "The Trinitarian Hypostasis of the Divine - The Eternal Fight between Female and Male (Part 2)," the historian Michalis Batis claims that:
"In his work "Phaidon," Plato was the first to speak of a Triune deity, as Christianity tries to describe it. The Good represents the Father, the Word is his Son and the Soul is the Holy Spirit."
In his article "Hellenistic Age and Christianity", the same historian states:
"Another theological element that Christianity received from the ancient tradition and especially from that of later years is the trinitarian conception of the Devine. The formulation of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity refers to the beginning of the Orphic Triadity, according to which, the law of the triangle governs everything from the Creation (Night - Uranus - Gaia) to the triune hypostasis of man (Spirit, Soul, Body), to the Three-sun Deity of Julian and the trisection of the soul (sensible, affect, desirable). According to the Neoplatonic philosopher Iamblichus, the One is the beginning of everything, from which the triune mind derives. This triune mind, in the hierarchical order of the Dodekatheon, is expressed through the relation Zeus - Father, Athena - Spirit and Apollo - Word. The corresponding triune conception of the divine in Christianity also derived from these beliefs, while Judaism is mono-worshiping, focusing on Yahweh."
Male and female according to the Gnostics
“And God formed the rib which he took from Adam into a woman, and brought her to Adam.” (Gen. 2:22)
The Gnostics misinterpreted the biblical creation of woman from one side (= the bones that form the thoracic cavity) of the earthly Adam, as an irregular and temporary separation of the female from the male and as the cause of death. They imagined an archetypal, spiritual, androgynous god, (intersexual, male and female), creator of humanity, who split in two and lost his original image of one-genderism. The physical coupling of man and woman reflects the need for the reunification of the genders and the restoration of the archetypal, spiritual one-genderism or non-genderism through erotic pleasure, which was also the utopian ideal of the Gnostics for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. This idea is also found in texts identified as Orthodox, such as the "Second Epistle of Clement" and the "Perpetua's Passion."
Similarly, the homosexual, religious ceremonies of the Naassenes, Carpocratians, Ophites, Borborites and other Gnostic groups in honor of the hermaphroditic, archetypal, mother-father, primal man, aimed at the revival of the primary state of androgyny and, consequently, at the removal of childbearing. With similar myths, the unnatural, homosexual acts, known from the beginning of the creation of the world, acquired a religious character. (Gen. 19:4-5)
"For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error." (Rom. 1:26-27)
This is the background of today's acceptance and promotion of the unnatural, sexual act and the androgynous model (unisex) by Liberal Christianity and Neognosticism, a model which attempts to stop the ontological distinction of the two biological sexes by launching the social gender in opposition to "be fruitful and multiply".
The myth of the androgynous god or man is also found outside the Gnostic systems, like in the Orphic theogony, where an androgynous deity is born out of an egg, Phanes (= god of light, who is related to the Persian Mithras), "Father - Mother." He has four eyes and four heads (that of a bull, a lion, a serpent and a ram), golden wings and the voice of a lion and a ram. Phanes was also called Phaethon, Metis, Protogonos, Eros, Erikepaios. The communication with Phanes was done through magic ceremonies and spells.
It is also found in Hermes Trismegistus' work "Poimandres," where the first Mind and Father of all is androgynous, as well as in the Platonic myth of the intersexual beings, which is mentioned by Aristophanes in his speech in Plato's "Symposium," where it is said that man was made in three double sexes, double males born from the sun, double females born from the earth and hermaphrodites born from the moon with elements from the sun and the earth. These whole beings defied the heavenly authority, and the gods punished them by bisecting them. Thus, two half-males came from the male, two half-females came from the female, and one half-male and one half-female came from the hermaphrodite. Through love, people have been searching for "their other half" ever since.
Also, during the early Jewish period (1,600 - 1,550 BC), as Philo tells us, the Jews worshiped the goddess Asherah. Her three main aspects were Yarih (the Moon), the daughter, Shekhinah (Gaia), the great mother of life, and Astarte (androgynous) or Anat, the goddess of Wisdom and a warrior as well.
In addition to their influence on all religions, the various forms of Gnosticism also played a catalytic role in the formation of anarchist and communist political theories. They also influenced the religious revolution of multi-schismatic Protestantism within the institutionalized, authoritarian, Aristotelian Christianity of the West.
Although the Gnostics were persecuted for their beliefs and for their contempt for the corrupted political and religious authority, the seeds of their beliefs remained alive to this day, recorded in the religious "symbols of faith." The idea that free will is not an obstacle to the salvation of man has also been developed in the circles of Progressive / Liberal Christianity, which believes there are seeds of truth in the Gnostic texts.
The theosophical, guruistic, Neognostic, Scientological and other Eastern organizations of the New, Golden Age of Aquarius, the Masons who regard Pythagoras as their protector, and the Gnostic institutions, such as Urantia, embrace some of the Gnostics' views. These are also the inspirers of the movies "Star Wars," "Matrix," etc., and the instigators of the propaganda about extraterrestrial, higher beings and stellar, dominant superpowers that have good or deceptive interest in human beings. The same centers spread the Kabbalistic, female deity "Shekhinah," aiming to reconnect the female deities in the dead body of religions.
The ideas of modern esotericists / occultists have a great impact on people who have been pushed by the scandalous and bloody "Christian" tradition and by the religionized, "multi-headed Christianity" to turn their back on the useless, "Christian" formalisms and the spiritual dead ends of the institutionally imposed philosophical, "patristic thought," and who seek answers to their existential and metaphysical quests in other religious movements. The mystical, philosophical "Triune deity," the flagship of the "Roman Catholic Church," which evolved into a spiritual legacy to the Greek civilization, is the cause of, and not the solution to, the crisis of the civilization of Modernity.