YT description: On the Origin of the World, Translated by Hans-Gebhard Bethge and Bentley Layton
The Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of thirteen ancient books (called “codices”) containing over fifty texts, was discovered in upper Egypt in 1945. This immensely important discovery includes a large number of primary “Gnostic Gospels” – texts once thought to have been entirely destroyed during the early Christian struggle to define “orthodoxy” – scriptures such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and the Gospel of Truth. The discovery and translation of the Nag Hammadi library, initially completed in the 1970’s, has provided impetus to a major re-evaluation of early Christian history and the nature of Gnosticism.
Title: On the Origin of the World, Female Voice, Audio Book (YT link) Uploaded by Spoken Scriptures.
On The Origin Of The World by Hans Bethge – (2016) 4 stars
Run time: 47 minutes. This audio book delves into the Sophia Creation myth, as taught by the Gnostics. For me, it was a great disappointment, not from the material itself but more from what it means as a whole. Gnosticism did not originate from a vacuum, of course not, no religion did. Every religion comes from whatever other religions were around at the time of its invention. Previously, I saw Gnosticism as a form of evolved Buddhism. In its spiritual principles, it still is that.
However, let’s consider this mythological point of view. The Gnostics took their material primarily from the Greeks and the Canaanite Hebrews, and much less from the Buddhists. This is a huge deal because it means that Gnosticism is derived more from the Babylonian account of Genesis than it is from the teachings of the Far East. Look at how hard the Gnostics tried to conform to the fable of Adam and Eve, when they didn’t really have to. They could have simply started up their own separate cosmology, but they didn’t want to do that. Why not?
Recently, I listened to an interview on Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio, where the guest made a connection between comic books, fan fiction and how the Gnostics took existing Judaic material and later Bible heroes, and invented new tales for them. I understand why this was done. It is a way to keep the heroes and fables relevant and fresh. Seen in this light, Islam, Mormonism, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other later Judaic based religions are all a form of fan fiction. That is exactly what is happening here with this Sophia Creation myth. The biggest different is that the Greeks / Gnostics were able to expound on this concept in a very profound and abstract way. That was done for the intellectuals. For the common people, a hierarchy had to be created. People who can’t handle the tougher abstract ideas need something to visualize, and so all of these personalities and events had to be fictionalized into the typical battle between good and evil. This makes the Creation myth the equivalent of Star Wars for 500 – 100 BCE.
I’m not saying the fundamental concepts are wrong. There is duality all over the universe. This is why the Biblical Yahweh has to have his antithesis in Satan. At the same time, Gnosticism is a cop-out because it allows people to blame something outside of themselves for everything they do wrong. If Christians do something wrong, they blame Satan. Satan made them do it! Satan tempted them and they fell into temptation. In that same vein the Gnostics created the image of the Archons. It is the Archons who are behind the scenes and setting stumbling blocks into the path of people. Again, I’m not saying that the underlying concepts are wrong. I know there are good forces and evil forces working behind the scenes, because I have dealt with both sides plenty of times during my life experience. What I am saying is that the Greeks and Gnostics interpreted these beings as best they could, and they did so a lot better than the other materialistic Abrahamic religions who largely avoid talking about such deities. (At least in public. There is a lot of vile spiritual stuff going on behind closed doors.)
The bottom line here is that all the Gnostics did was to have a contrary viewpoint to what was popular at the time. You have your people that are going to follow the cult of Jesus, and then you’ve got your other people who want to stick with John the Baptist, or Simon Magus, or Apollonius of Tyre or whoever else was around back then. I’m sure each one of those guys had their followers, and I’m sure they all had their own ideas of how the universe may have been created, within the Judaic established norms. I hear that Plato had it in for Homer, for example, because Plato was a scientific philosopher and Homer was out there stealing his thunder by awing the crowd with his fantasy stories. (Yeah, yeah, Plato was alive in 430 – 350 BCE, approximately, while Homer might go back to 800 BCE. I’m talking about the Greek tragedies like those written by Sophocles in 400 BCE, which were written based on Homer’s works.)
The point being that different factions were always trying to one-up other factions, just like the priests of El were always throwing down with the priests of Baal in the Old Testament. They were always trying to outdo each other’s temples and relics. It was all about rivalry and popularity. Similarly, the early Gnostics had to draw up something that was comparable to what was popular, but also to put their own spin on it to differentiate themselves from the rest of the factions. Like the Sadducees, the Pharisees and the Essenes; they’re all different twigs coming out of the same branch. This means that the Gnostics probably didn’t create their ideas from hands-on experience, but more from sitting around and thinking about it, just like in Plato’s case. I mean, so far I haven’t seen any Gnostic writings or interviews describing positive angel-type beings, but I know they exist because I’ve personally sensed or witnessed what they do. It is possible that the Gnostic used hallucinogenic drugs to gain some of their knowledge, or divination or some form of spiriticism, like Old Testament prophets and Hindus did, but so far that hasn’t been fully proven. We also know that as soon as Rome took over, they made it a point to forbid magic among the Christians and among the Christianized pagans, when all sorts of occult rituals and magic were going on with the cults of Isis and Mithras and others.
I don’t like my spirituality coming with all sorts of baggage. I get the idea of a Demiurge, because that guy is right there in the Old Testament disguised as Yahweh. The proof is in the pudding, and all three religions based on Yahweh have never been true religions of peace. I also get the idea of Archons, after having had some close encounters with them before, as well as thought forms from curses and such. However, when an hierarchy / pantheon is established, we see that no two religions have the same one. That is the biggest problem I have with this Creation myth. The Gnostics were compelled to create it, and they have all these new names and ranks and details to add that they cannot prove, just like no other religion can prove theirs. As a person who has spent my entire life looking for the Truth, I cannot say that Gnosticism has all or even most of the answers, when I clearly see that some of their cosmology is biased and contrived to counter what was popular at the time of its invention. Gnosticism has several pieces of the puzzle, just like Hinduism and Buddhism do, and for me personally, I have to create a hybrid spiritual understanding from all of these, combined with what I have seen and felt in my own personal life experience.
Seriously, think about this. 1,000 years into the future some anthropologist or archeologist comes across some old Superman comic books. What are they going to believe, that a god in a red cape came to planet Earth at times of crisis? Is it possible that a new religion might be created based on that, where people start praying for their deity in the red cape to come back and save them? We know those are comic books today, but what are people in the future going to think? The people that were contemporary to when Judaism was in its infancy knew that many of the Old Testament stories were fables, according to research done by Jordan Maxwell. Yet here we have most of the world falsely believing those stories are true in the three major world religions!
I hope that archeologist doesn’t come across Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, or else the future is really screwed.