Gnostic Doctrine

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

The Gnostic Creation Story in the Tripartite Tractate

The Gnostic Creation Story in the Tripartite Tractate

Some Remarks on the Tripartite Tractate The Tripartite Tractate is one text from the Nag Hammadi Scriptures as a different form of the Gnostic Creation myth which alters the myth ascribing the fall to a masculine Aeon the Logos 

From the transcendent Deity there was emanated a male principle called Mind and a female principle called Thought. In these principles emanated others, in male and female pairs to the total of thirty knows as Aeons who collectively constitute the fullness or the divine realm which others would call the spirit world which is beyond the physical heavens it is also called the 3rd Heaven.

Of all the Aeons only the first pair Mind and Thought knew and comprehended the greatness of the self-existent Uncreated Eternal Spirit and could behold him but the last and youngest Aeon Logos or (Reason).

The intent, then, of the Logos, who is this one, was good. When he had come forth, he gave glory to the Father, even if it led to something beyond possibility, since he had wanted to bring forth one who is perfect, from an agreement in which he had not been, and without having the command. 

(and without having the command. and without the knowledge or consent of his female counterpart Sophia (wisdom) he projected from his own being a flawed emanation.)

This aeon was last to have <been> brought forth by mutual assistance, and he was small in magnitude. And before he begot anything else for the glory of the will and in agreement with the Totalities, he acted, magnanimously, from an abundant love, and set out toward that which surrounds the perfect glory, for it was not without the will of the Father that the Logos was produced, which is to say, not without it will he go forth. But he, the Father, had brought him forth for those about whom he knew that it was fitting that they should come into being.

The Tripartite Tractate

Thus the Logos motivated by abundant love and seeking only to give glory to the self-existent Uncreated Eternal Spirit creates other beings which are the seven archangels their leader is Michael who is the Demiurge the creator of the material cosmos or the physical heavens

The Book of Jubilees Chapter 2

1) And the angel of the presence spoke to Moses according to the word of Yahweh, saying: Write the complete generations of the creation, how in six days Yahweh Elohim finished all his works and all that he created.....
2) For on the first day he created the heavens which are above and the earth and the waters and all the spirits which minister before him; the angels of the presence, and the angels of sanctification,

and the angels of the spirit of fire and the angels of the spirit of the winds, and the angels of the spirit of the clouds, and of darkness, and of snow and of hail and of frost,

and the angels of the voices and of the thunder and of the lightning, and the angels of the spirits of cold and of heat, and of winter and of spring and of autumn and of summer and of all the spirits of his creatures which are in the heavens and on the earth, he created the abysses and the darkness, both evening and night, and light, which he prepared in the knowledge of his heart.

But when the logos perceives that these are inferior to the emanations of the self-existent Uncreated Eternal Spirit indeed mere shadows and phantoms of them, lacking reason and light, dwelling in ignorance, bringing forth more and more defective creatures little weakling, hindered by the illnesses by which he too was hindered

This logos is the cause of the creation of the world and the lower beings including mankind but the logos is not the agent of creation the Demiurge is the agent of creation being used by the logos as a hand

This defective Logos is interceded for by his counterpart the Divine Logos or First Thought the Son in the Pleroma  

Heracleon interpreted this in the same way he identifies the logos not with the agent of creation but with the casue making the creator lower than the logos 

Fragment 1, on John 1:3 (In John 1:3, “All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made.”) The sentence: "All things were made through him" means the world and what is in it. It excludes what is better than the world. The Aeon (i.e. the Fullness), and the things in it, were not made by the Word; they came into existence before the Word. . . “Without him, nothing was made” of what is in the world and the creation. . . "All things were made through Him," means that it was the Word who caused the Craftsman (Demiurge) to make the world, that is it was not the Word “from whom” or “by whom,” but the one “through whom (all things were made).”. . . It was not the Word who made all things, as if he were energized by another, for "through whom" means that another made them and the Word provided the energy.

The archon is the agent of creation being used by the logos as a hand 

For more information see The Fall of the logos in the Tripartite Tractate

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