In its first three centuries, the Church was threatened not only by division within and by persecution from without, but also by rival systems of salvation, some of which claimed to be truer and more enlightened forms of Christianity. During the second and third centuries a.d. there arose a number of sects that are traditionally called the 'Gnostic' cults - a term deriving from their claim to offer a gnosis or privileged knowledge that would bring salvation to the enlightened. Many forms of Gnosticism claimed to have access to Apostolic traditions that had been kept secret from most Christians.
This manuscript [not here given - Keith Hunt] illustration depicts the emperor Nero seated on his throne, talking to Saints Peter and Paul, while Simon Magus stands in the background. Nero and the proto-Gnostic Simon Magus were figures widely detested by the early Church, and both were identified with the Antichrist.
Some contemporary scholars would prefer to dispense with the category of 'Gnosticism' altogether, and to speak instead of 'alternative Christianities' - in other words, variants of the faith which, through sheer historical misfortune, ultimately lost out to mainstream 'orthodoxy', but which in their time were equally viable forms of early Christianity. This, though, is a difficult position to defend. Gnosticism (even Christian Gnosticism) was clearly not an organic outgrowth of the Apostolic Church, but rather a kind of syncretistic, trans-religious theosophy that drew from Christian, Jewish, Greek, Syrian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Persian sources, often simultaneously. As such, it may be likened to modern 'New Age' spirituality.The Naassene sect, for instance, worshipped 'Christ', but conflated his worship with that of Dionysus and Attis. And the scriptures used by those sects that claimed to be Christian — alternate Gospels, various acts of the Apostles, mystical discourses — were, like the traditions attached to them, late inventions with no credible claim to any historical links to the Apostolic Church. Even pagan observers were apparently able to tell the difference. The great Neoplatonist philosopher Plotinus (205-70) attacked Gnosticism vigorously, but never treated it as a species of Christianity.
(AND IT NEVER WAS; IS WAS A CULTIC MIND-SET, OUT IN LEFT FIELD; IDEAS AND THEOLOGY FROM PLANET PLUTO - Keith Hunt)
A Fall Within the Divine World
The earliest Gnostic or proto-Gnostic teacher of whom we know was Simon Magus (or Simon the Magician) who makes a brief appearance in the Book of Acts, where he attempts to purchase supernatural powers from the Apostles Peter and John. According to the system that Simon taught, God the Father, in the beginning, conceived Ennoia (Thought), a sort of feminine manifestation of the divine intellect; she then created the orders of angels, and they in their turn created the cosmos. The angels rebelled, however, and took Ennoia prisoner, incarcerating her in the material world, where she was doomed to pass through successive incarnations (among them, Helen of Troy), forgetful of her divine home. At last, God himself descended to earth in the form of Simon to save her, eventually finding her - so the story goes - working in a brothel in Tyre. Once Simon had reminded her of her true estate, the two of them set off together to bring salvation to whomever they could persuade to accompany them on their return to the godhead.
(PURE PAGAN FICTION, OF SCIENCE FICTION WRITINGS - Keith Hunt)
Simon's story contains a number of elements common to later, more developed schools of Gnostic speculation: the idea of a primordial fall within the divine realm itself; the claim that this world is the creation not of God but of inferior beings; an understanding of salvation as spiritual recollection followed by escape from the powers who rule this world. The great second-century systems devised by Valentinus, Basilides and other Gnostic sages all taught that the true God has no connection to this world, and that the material cosmos is the evil or defective creation of the 'archons' or 'rulers' who reign in the planetary spheres above, or of a chief archon, the 'demiurge' or 'world-maker' (often identified with the God of the Old Testament). Many spoke of a divine Pleroma or 'Plenitude' of light, a sort of pre-cosmic community of divine beings called the 'aeons,' generated in eternity by the divine Father, who himself remained eternally inaccessible, even to his own offspring. According to some Gnostic systems, the lowest of the aeons Sophia or Wisdom, conceived an unlawful longing to know the hidden Father, and in this way fell from the fullness of the godhead; then she, in one way or another, generated the demiurge and the lower powers; and then, either by accident or through divine cunning, sparks of divine spirit became enmeshed within the machinery of the demiurge's cosmos.
(SHOULD CLEARLY SEE THE CRAZY IDEAS OF DEMENTED MINDS, FULLY OUTSIDE THE INSPIRED BIBLE - Keith Hunt)
A Destroying Deity, a sketch by the English Romantic artist and poet William Blake (1757-1827). Gnosticism taught that the world was created by a cruel deity who dispenses pitiless rough justice, and is identified with the God of the Old Testament. True salvation lay beyond this realm, for a select few.
(MORE SILLY IDEAS A THE BLINDED MINDS OF HUMANS - Keith Hunt)
The Deliverance op the Chosen
The Gnostic systems were not egalitarian creeds. The salvation they proclaimed was reserved for a very select few, since Gnostic doctrine regarded very few people as human in the fullest sense. The Gnostic Gospel ofThomas even states that women are inherently unworthy of the Kingdom. According to most systems, human nature may comprise as many as three distinct elements: body (soma), soul (psyche) and spirit (pneuma). The first and second of these are part of the demiurge's creation and so fall under the sway of the archons; the third, however, is a pure emanation of the divine world beyond, and has no natural relation to this world. Most human beings are composed from only one or two of these elements: there are the somatikoi, soulless brutes who simply dissolve back into the material world at death; or the psychikoi, who possess certain higher faculties of will and intellect, but who are nonetheless subjects of the demiurge. Salvation is possible only for the pneumatikoi, those who are 'spiritual' by nature, in whom dwells a spark of the eternal (though, according to some schools, a few of the psychikoi might also be rescued).
(AGAIN MINDS THAT KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE TRUTHS IN GOD'S WORD THE BIBLE - MAN MADE THEOLOGY - Keith Hunt)
Both the self and the cosmos are labyrinths in which the pneuma, the spirit, is imprisoned until it is awakened from its oblivion. Salvation consists principally in an inner awakening of the fallen pneuma; until then, it sleeps in the deepest depths of the self, trapped not only in flesh, but in the soul — or souls — created for it by the archons.
According to some systems, the spirit is wrapped in a separate 'soul-garment' for each of the cosmic heavens through which it fell in the beginning; and, to be saved from rebirth here below, it must reascend through the spheres, not only abandoning its body to the earth, but shedding a 'soul' at each of the heavens it passes through. In some systems, this means seven souls must be stripped away, one for each of the seven planetary spheres; others, however, were less sanguine: according to Basilides, the number of heavens and of the souls corresponding to them is 365.
(MORE DEMENTED MADE UP THEOLOGY, THAT IS THE INVENTION OF THE BLINDED DARKENED MINDS - Keith Hunt)
This ascent, moreover, will be fraught with perils, as the archons are jealous of their treasures and so will strive to prevent the pneumatikos from returning to the Pleroma. Accordingly, the mission of the saviour is, in large measure, to instruct his charges in the secret knowledge that will guide them safely home — a knowledge that includes a mastery of the magical incantations or special forms of address that the spirit will need to know after death, at each planetary sphere, in order to be able to elude the archon who resides there.
(COMPARED TO THE TRUTHS OF GOD IN THE BIBLE, THIS IS ALL LAUGHABLE, IF IT WAS NOT SUCH A SERIOUS MATTER; PEOPLE ACTUALLY BELIEVING ALL THIS - Keith Hunt)
THE GOSPEL OF THE GOOD GOD FROM BEYOND
An extremely influential theologian of the second century, sometimes described as 'semi-Gnostic', was Marcion of Sinope (c. 110--160). In truth, though, his faith - at least in its moral tenets - was closer to the Christianity of the New Testament than to the bizarre and misanthropic systems of the pneumatikoi.
Like the Gnostics, Marcion taught that there are two Gods. One is the God of the Old Testament, who created this world: a God of wrath who values only obedience. The other is the God of the New Covenant: a higher God of love and mercy.
(TRUTH IS THE GOD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT WAS THE ONE WHO BECAME THE CHRIST OF THE NEW TESTAMENT; PROVED IN MANY STUDIES ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt)
Unlike the Gnostics, however, Marcion believed that salvation had been made available to all through Christ. He did not teach that some men are divine by nature, but that all humans are creatures of the demiurge, with no 'right' to salvation.The Good God's decision to send his Son into this world was an act of unmerited grace.
(THAT WAS TRUE, HE GOT A FEW THINGS RIGHT - Keith Hunt)
We are saved not by acquiring arcane knowledge, but solely by faith in Christ, whose self-sacrifice redeemed ('purchased') us from the power of the demiurge.
(TRUE THAT WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE NOT BY WORKS. I HAVE A FULL IN-DEPTH STUDY ON THAT, WHICH 99 PERCENT OF CHRISTIANS DO NOT UNDERSTAND IN ALL OF ITS TRUTH - Keith Hunt)
It was Marcion, perhaps, who first attempted to establish the correct canon of Christian scripture.The Old Testament he rejected as applying only to those who remain under the demiurge's authority. Of the theologians of the apostolic age, he revered only Paul, and the Marcionite Bible contained those epistles by Paul that Marcion thought authentic, the Gospel of Luke, and nothing else. Even so, he believed that these texts had been corrupted, and so edited them, removing all material suggesting that God the Father of Christ and the God of the Jews were one and the same.
(MARCION WAS AS MIXED UP AS THE REST ON THE CANON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE ORIGINAL APOSTLES. A STUDY ON THIS WEBSITE PROVES IT - Keith Hunt)
Some scholars speculate that it was the challenge posed by Marcion's 'canon' that prompted the Church to attempt to establish a canon of its own.
(AND SO THEY WERE ALL WRONG. THE CANON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT HAD ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED BY THE ORIGINAL APOSTLES - Keith Hunt)
A Bitter Creed
The fabulous elements within Gnosticism did not produce a distinguished literature. Most Gnostic texts are characterized by their drearily elaborate mythologies, which abound in invention, but not in imagination. And much of that literature is marred by a streak of adolescent cruelty. In the Second Treatise of the Great Seth, for instance, Christ tells how he deceived the powers of this world by causing Simon of Cyrene to take on his appearance, and thus to be crucified in his place, while he watched from above, laughing at the stupidity of the archons.
(AGAIN A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF THE CRAZY IDEAS OF THE GNOSTICS - Keith Hunt)
Gnosticism spoke to a particular sort of spiritual discontent among persons of a certain type of temperament. It was not, however, a message of hope for a suffering humanity.
THE GNOSTICS WERE SCREWED UP, WEIRD, OFF-BEAT TYPES, LIKE THE MODERN "NEW-AGERS" AND ACULT MINDED PEOPLE WHO MAKE UP THEIR OWN THEOLOGY FROM ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT DEMONIC INFLUENCES.