quote:Originally posted by xxGAMBITxx:
I always find it ironic that a people can and will embrace the faith of thier oppressors so wholeheartedly. Jesus was'nt a christian, would'nt know a christian if you hit him with neon sign. He was a hebrew rabbi telling his people to get back on the path of thier ancestors (ie...the old testement). Africans brought over to this country, had to learn the bible to learn the english language, not to mention being forcfully converted as time went on during slavery. I get asked all the time, do I follow the laws of the old or new testement? I go with the old. Lets say that Jesus (and did'nt the angel tell Mary and Joseph to name him EMMANUEL??? Where did "Jesus" come from?) was the "son" of the almighty. There is no way I'm going to follow the son over THE FATHER. The Almighty said his words will never change and he meant it. The christian faith has a good racket going I'll give them that much.
You already know how "orthodox" Christians will answer this (the whole "Trinity" apologetics), but I can give you an interesting answer about "God the Son" from Valentinian Gnostic Christianity:
Valentinus and his followers believed that God, the supreme Father is "uncontained, incomprehensible and cannot be seen or heard" (Against Heresies 1:2:5). Therefore he defies accurate description. He is infinite, without beginning or end and is the ultimate origin of all things. He encompasses all things without being encompassed (Ep5:3, Gospel of Truth 18:34, Valentinian Exposition 22:27-28, Against Heresies 2:2:2). Everything including the world lies within the Father and continues to be part of him. God manifests himself through a process of self-unfolding in the subsequent multiplicity of being while maintaining his unity.
All Valentinians agree that God incorporates both masculine and feminine characteristics. This is in opposition to traditional Jewish and orthodox Christian descriptions of God in exclusively masculine terms. According to most sources, the Father (or Parent)can be understood as a male-female dyad. This is related to the notion that God provides the universe with both form and substance.
The aspect through which the Father provides the universe with substance can be understood as feminine. In this aspect he is called Silence, Grace and Thought. Silence is God's primordial state of tranquillity (Valentinian Exposition 22:24) and self-awareness (Excerpts of Theodotus 7:1). She is the active creative Thought that makes all subsequent states of being (or "Aeons") substantial.
The masculine aspect of God which gives the universe form is called by the names Ineffable, Depth and First Father. Depth is the profoundly incomprehensible, all-encompassing aspect of the deity. According to some sources, he is essentially passive. Only when moved to action by his feminine Thought, does he gives the universe form. (cf. Epiphanius Panarion 5:3)
The anonymous author summarized by Hippolytus and the author of the Tripartite Tractate emphasize the unity of the Father. They point out that these two aspects of the deity are not truly separate entities. They exist as simultaneous states of being within the Godhead (cf. Refutation of Heresies 30:8). They are like two sides of a coin or like water and wetness. They are inseparable and one cannot be understood without the other. For this reason these two authors describe God in more strongly unitary terms.
The origin of the universe is described as a process of emanation of subsequent states of being from the Godhead. According to the sources, in the beginning, there was nothing at all created and the Father rested in himself as an inert unitary being (Refutation of Heresies 29:5, Against Heresies 1:1:1, Authoritative Teaching 25:27-34). The universe existed only as a potential, not in actuality. As one source puts it, "the self-begotten contained in himself everything, which was in him in unawareness" (Panarion 5:3 cf. also Valentinian Exposition 22:27-28, Tripartite Tractate 60:1-34).
The creative process entails self-limitation on the part of the Godhead. In order that subsequent states of being (Aeons) remain separate from him, the Father created a boundary or Limit (Against Heresies 1:2:1, Valentinian Exposition 27:36-37). It is the power of Limit which "consolidates the All and keeps it outside of the Ineffable Greatness" (Against Heresies 1:2:2). The Limit, also called the Cross, has two functions. It separates the spiritual world (or "Fullness") from the Father and provides these things with strength (Against Heresies 1:2:1).
This accomplished, the Father then was able to manifest himself in a comprehensible form through a process of emanation. Theodotus describes this process in the following words, "Through his own Thought as the one who knew himself, he (the Father) brought forth the spirit of knowledge, which is in knowledge, the Only-Begotten (Son)" (Excerpts of Theodotus 7:1).
This offspring is the "Only Begotten Son". Like God, the Son is also androgynous and generally understood as a male-female dyad. The masculine aspect or Aeon of the Son is referred to as Only-Begotten, Mind and Father of All. His feminine aspect is called Truth and Mother of All. They represent how truth can only be comprehended by the truly conscious mind. The Son is the Beginning of all things that follow (cf. John 1:1). The Father and the Son, are sometimes referred to as the original Four since they both can be understood as dyads (i.e. Depth, Silence, Mind and Truth).
The Son (i.e. Mind and Truth) is the comprehensible image of the incomprehensible aspects of God (Against Heresies 1:12:1, Tripartite Tractate 66:13-15). It is only through his mediation that we can know the supreme deity, since "He who came forth from knowledge, that is, from the Father's thought became himself knowledge, that is, the Son, because 'through the Son the Father is known'" (Excerpts of Theodotus 7:1 cf. Matt 11:27)
The relationship between the Father and the Son can be compared to the relationship between the human mind and the unconscious. It must be noted that the Son is encompassed or lies within the Father.
That's a panentheistic/monistic explanation of the Godhead as told by 2nd century Christian monist Valentinus. Interesting and it sounds very Eastern-philosophy oriented. It's influenced by Neoplatonism.