quote:Originally posted by xxGAMBITxx:
Good info there. If more christians actually studied the historical aspects of thier religion, I believe alot of changes would be made...and for the better.
No prob! Imagine how vastly different Christianity would be if this sect had become the dominant form of Christianity rather than what has become the dominant forms today.
Here is the rest of the story in Valentinian Christianity about where Jesus and Humanity come from:
quote:The Suffering of the Lower Wisdom
As a result of the fall, the lower Wisdom (i.e. the aborted Thinking) was trapped in a lower realm along with the deficiency and suffering. This lower realm or "deficiency" is the physical universe. Just as the Fullness is a product of the Son and lies within him, so also the realm of deficiency is a product of the Fullness and lies within it "as the center within a circle or a stain in a garment" (Against Heresies 2:4:2) The deficiency lies "outside" the Fullness only with regard to knowledge (Against Heresies 2:4:2). Just as the deficiency arose as result of ignorance, it will be dissolved through knowledge.
The fallen Wisdom is sometimes called "Achamoth" from the Hebrew word for wisdom and "Holy Spirit" after the one with Christ. She is the heavenly Jerusalem (cf. Revelation 21:9-10) and the lost sheep of the parable (Matthew 18:11-14). Trapped in a lower realm and ignorant of her true origin, she is the archetype of the individual person.
She continued her futile quest to know God without knowing Christ but she was prevented from ascending to the Fullness by the Limit. As a result of her ignorance, she continued to experience emotional sufferings of grief, fear and confusion. She experienced the world as a place of illusion and she was unable to distinguish reality from her own fantasy. This state of illusion and suffering (i.e. the deficiency) is the essence of the world experienced by all those who are ignorant of God (cf. Gospel of Truth 29:1-7, Against Heresies 2:14:3, Treatise on the Resurrection 48:21-29).
Then Wisdom (Sophia) underwent a conversion and thought about the ones who had given her life. As a result she became cheerful and laughed (Against Heresies 1:4:2). She began to plead with them for assistance (Against Heresies 1:4:5, Refutation of Heresies 32:3). Her conversion and pleading are a state of being intermediate between ignorance and spiritual knowledge. Since they represent the longing for the divine, the pleading and conversion became personified as a figure called the "Craftsman". He represents the defective image that those who are ignorant (but repentant) mistakenly worship as "God".
The Son Descends to Lower Wisdom
In response to Wisdom's pleading, the Savior "emptied himself" (Philippians 2:7) and descended outside the Fullness into the deficiency with his retinue of angels (Excerpts of Theodotus 35:1, Against Heresies 1:4:5). He and Wisdom (Sophia) were joined together as a pair of Aeons. Through knowledge of the eternal realm she was freed of illusion and suffering.
Wisdom (Sophia) rejoiced at the sight of the Savior and his retinue of angels, and brought forth spiritual seeds in their image. These seeds are the spiritual element present in every Christian. For this reason the seeds are referred to as the Church. They are considered to be an image of the pre-existent Church in the Fullness (Against Heresies 1:5:6, Excerpts of Theodotus 40).
The female seeds and the male angels are what is referred to by the statement, "In the image of God he created them, male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27 cf. Excepts of Theodotus 21:1). Just as the Savior is the bridegroom of Wisdom (Sophia), so also the angels will be the bridegrooms of the seeds at the end of time.
Thus three states of being or "substances" came into being from Wisdom (Sophia) as a result of her quest to know God. First the illusion which characterizes mundane existence came from ignorance and suffering. Second came conversion and pleading which represent an intermediate stage between ignorance and knowledge. Last the spiritual seed came from her knowledge.
The myth of Wisdom's suffering and ultimate redemption can be understood as an allegory of the individual person's spiritual development. The search for God through Thinking alone, without knowing Christ leads to suffering and a defective concept of God as an anthropomorphic creator and lawgiver. It is only through the intervention of the Savior, that these false concepts can be left behind and true knowledge can be attained.
The Material Creation
The creation of the material world was necessary in order that the spiritual seeds might go forth in immaturity and be trained here (cf. Against Heresies 1:7:5). Since she could not create this world directly, Wisdom (Sophia) influenced the Craftsman to give material things form. Through him she made "the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:13 cf. Excerpts of Theodotus 47:1-2, Against Heresies 1:5:1). The Craftsman is ignorant of his mother and thinks that he acts alone, but he unconsciously acts as her agent (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:8).
The Craftsman created seven angelic beings or "heavens" and dwells above them. For this reason he is called Seventh. The Craftsman's seven angels represent the seven days of creation in the book of Genesis. The Craftsman's mother Wisdom (Sophia) and the Savior dwell above him in the eighth heaven. These eight heavens are in the image of the Eight Aeons in the Fullness (Against Heresies 1:5:2). Wisdom (Sophia) and the Savior secretly influenced the Craftsman to make the material universe in the image of the things in the Fullness. This is so that Truth might be manifest to those who know to seek it, even in the midst of illusion and deficiency.
Human beings were formed by the Craftsman in the image of the pre-existent Humanity. They consist of a material body, a demonic element, a rational soul and the spiritual seed. The spiritual seed is capable of attaining to knowledge (gnosis) of God through the mediation of Jesus. Each person who receives knowledge destroys a portion of the deficiency and brings the Godhead one step closer to reintegration. The consummation or end of the world will occur when "all that is spiritual has been shaped by knowledge" (Against Heresies 1:6:1).
The spirits then put aside animate souls and with their mother Wisdom (Sophia), they enter the Fullness. Wisdom (Sophia), who is the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9-10) is joined to her bridegroom, the Savior. Likewise, the spirits are joined to the angels (Against Heresies 1:7:1, Excerpts of Theodotus 64:1, Valentinian Exposition 39:28-33, Gospel of Philip 81:34-82:25). They all "attain to the vision of the Father and become intellectual Aeons, entering into the intelligible and eternal union in marriage" (Excerpts of Theodotus 64:1). The entire Fullness is the "bridal chamber" for their union (Against Heresies 1:7:1, Excerpts of Theodotus 64:1).
Then the "fire which is hidden in the world will blaze up and ignite and destroy all matter and consume itself at the same time and pass into nothingness" (Against Heresies 1:7:1). The physical world will cease to exist. The deficiency will then have been eliminated and the process of restoration will be complete.
Valentinaian Christians believed that the physical universe was a reflection of spiritual realms that existed in different dimensions of the universe. Our physical realm is literally inside the center of God (can you imagine?) In this panentheistic sect, God did not "create" the universe in the way commonly perceived, the Godhead emmanated through several spiritual, psychic and astral forms until It emmanated into a force (the Demiurge) that created our universe. Mankind ("Anthropos" in the Greek language of these tracts) was originally a spiritual Aeon (pantheistic spiritual realm) that split into the many souls and spirits of invididual humans and took on physical bodies.
In this Christian sect, there is no "End Times". Eventually, when Humanity has attained a level of maximum enligthenment, the material world is reabsorbed into the higher realms and the higher realms themselves are absorbed back into Fullness of the Godhead. We are still inside of the Godhead, we just don't realize it and thus the world is filled with suffering. Jesus came as a manifestation of Man's original nature to remind of us our true identity.