The basic doctrine of Gnosticism was that matter is essentially evil and spirit is essentially good. The Gnostics went on to argue that on that basis God himself cannot touch matter and therefore did not create the world. What he did was to put out a series of emanations. Each of these emanations was further from him, until at last there was one so distant from him that it could touch matter. That emanation was the creator of the world.
By itself that idea is bad enough, but it was made worse by an addition. The Gnostics held that each emanation knew less and less about God, until there was a stage when the emanations were not only ignorant of God but actually hostile to him. So they finally came to the conclusion that the creator god was not only different from the real God, but was also quite ignorant of and actively hostile to him. Cerinthus, one of the leaders of the Gnostics, said that “the world was created, not by God, but by a certain power far separate from him, and far distant from that Power who is over the universe, and ignorant of the God who is over all.”
IMAGE CREDIT: communio.stblogs.org
A “cut-and-paste” spirituality emerges from the Gnostic writings. As Philip Lee observes, “Gnostic syncretism…believes everything in general for the purpose of avoiding a belief in something in particular. In the case of Christian Gnosticism, what is being avoided is the particularity of the Gospel, that which is a ‘stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.'” It is generally agreed that Gnosticism emerged as a form of mystical Christian spirituality blended together with Greek paganism. We recall Paul in Athens, in the Areopagus, where “people did nothing but discuss the latest ideas” (Acts 17:21), telling the Greeks that they were “very religious.” Gnosticism was an attempt to incorporate the seeker spirituality of the Greeks into Christianity.
from: The New Gnosticism by Michael Horton, Modern Reformation
Scholars who define “Gnosticism” generally agree that Gnostic philosophies had their source in the Zoroastrianism and Hinduism of Persia and India, and that these ideas were brought into the West via Alexander the Great’s conquest of Persia. These Eastern thoughts blended with Greek culture, producing a heady mixture that profoundly influenced the Jews of the time and Christians centuries later.
“BE HERE NOW “
TAT TVAM ASI
Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be the Whole of the LAW
All is ONE & One is ALL
OM MANI PADME HUM
“AS ABOVE, SO BELOW”
Blessed Be all the-
oh forget it…
(To HELL with GNOSIS)
Gnosticism contained only a few core beliefs, but as long as they were adhered to, they could be infused into any number of religions, including Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, and even Islam (the Gnostic form of which is known as Sufism). The Gnostic concepts are typically traced back to the religions of Persia and India (Zoroastrianism and Hinduism), but they have been added to and modified over time, especially as they became entrenched in Greek culture. As Plato’s writings are full of Gnostic concepts, he furthered the cause of the Gnostics tremendously.
Gnosis, God knows, is always hip—
be it ganja or a Hermann Hesse trip
(Demian deifying metamorphosis…)
appearing harmless until too late:
a terminal necrosis.
What for some was illumination—
for others dark neurosis,
is known experimentally
(or through osmosis).
The breath of divine enlightenment,
no mere halitosis,
may blow so hard the house implodes
Thank God the Christ has come in flesh;
let this our mutual faith refresh
to break the cursed hypnosis.