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GNOSTIC
UNDERSTANDING OF

ORIGINAL SIN AND SALVATION


Gnostics come in trillion colors covering the entire range of religious spectrum in existence. So I will consider only the Christian Gnostics. Here also there are many variations. We will therefore restrict it to the major group.

Legend holds that there was an entire body of knowledge, which came to be called gnwoij (gnosis), which the Jesus imparted to His disciples after His resurrection during this forty day period before His assumption. Lord taught these secret mysteries only to a few.

"To James the Just and to John and Peter after the resurrection the Lord conveyed the gnosis, these handed it on to the rest of the Apostles and in turn to the Seventy."

It is this secret knowledge that has been passed on from secret teachers to their disciples the Gnostic Churches beleive to convey.

All religious traditions acknowledge that the world is imperfect. This imperfection is seen everywhere in the common suffering of man and the beasts alike. They live, struggle and finally die. Every living being live by consuming another. Life kills life. Added to this are the eternal cycle of natural calamities - earthquakes, floods, fires, drought, volcanic eruptions. Pain and sufferrings are the norms of life. How did this happen? Evidently the creation is defective. Thus we will be forced to admit that the Creator God is the creator of the defect of the creation - the first cause of the sin. The Hindu law of Karma expalins only the effect and the chain of sufferrings and not the root cause of it false or creator God.

Thus the Gnostic God is not the creator God. God did not create the Cosmos with its defects. Since God is the only reality as existed from the begininning there never had been anything other than God. God therefore broughtforth from himself the all that we see as cosmos - both visible and invisible. It is this Gnostic thesis that was countered by the first paragraph of the Nicean Creed. As everything is an emanation from God just as the Advaita Hinduism assumes everything is of God and nothing beside it. These emanated beings are called aenonians. However at each emanation the divine extension lost sight of the reality of itself and and further emanations (or creation if one would like to call) became defective in concept. Creation is done by Wisdom - called in Gnostic terms as Sphia. In the course of her development the wisdom got distorted and became the creator of the material and the psychic cosmos. This being began to think that He is God. Gnostics call him Deminurgos or half truth. The demiurgos created Principalities and Powers and Archons and Rulers etc.

It was this God who created man in his own image. Hence man contains an essence of the divine. Thus man is bound by his ignorance to unceasing cycles of birth and rebirth. Left to themselves therefore man cannot find salvation. However the True God has been sending his messeners to brign about the salvation. A few of these messengers only are known to us. These include Seth (the third Son of Adam), Jesus, and the Prophet Mani. Jesus is looked upon as the principal savior (the Soter).

Salvation in Gnostic sense is not from sin, but from the sin of ignorance. Christ Jesus, the Logos of True God brought this message. Salvation is not through his death, which was an accident of history, but though his teachings and mysteries that he handed over to the elect few. These mysteries are transferred and administered through the sacraments.

The major text of Christian Gnostics is the Gospel of Thomas.. All Gnostic teachers, taught that Christ and Sophia await the spiritual man -- the pneumatic Gnostic -- at the entrance of the Pleroma, and help him to enter the bridechamber of final reunion. In the fullness of time, every spiritual being will receive Gnosis and will be united with its higher Self -- the angelic Twin -- thus becoming qualified to enter the Pleroma.

The eating of the fruit of the knowledge of the good and evil was indeed a necessary step initiated by Eve so than man may enter into the second age of growth from mere body life as a child to an intelligent mind based level of adulthood. Eve is therefore characterised as Sophia the Wisdom of God. In the treatise The Apocalypse of Adam, we find this: "The disclosure given by Adam to his son Seth in his seven hundredth year. And he said: "Listen to my words, my son Seth. When God created me out of the earth, along with Eve your mother, I went along with her in a glory which she had seen in the aeon from which she came forth. She taught me the word of Gnosis of the eternal God. And we resembled the great eternal angels, for we were higher than the God who created us." " The change obviously brings a lot of new experiences which matures man so that mankind can enter into the third age based on the spirit. The saviour in this case is Jesus who send the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is again Sophia in person. Unless mankind go through the sufferring and experience of the present age it could never enter into the final spiritual age.Heb 2:10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Suffering is the means of making one perfect.

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