Gnostic Doctrine

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

A Study of Divine Bodies

A Study of Divine Bodies


Cover of Hobbes' Leviathan shows a body formed of multitudinous citizens, surmounted by a king's head.


A Study of Divine Bodies 

Summer Harvest: A Psalm By Valentinus

In the spirit I see all suspended,
In the spirit I know everything held:
The flesh (Matter) hanging from the soul (Demiurge)
The soul held aloft by the air
The air (Logos) suspended from the ether (Pleroma)
Fruits manifest themselves out of the Depth
A child emerges from the womb

There are different levels to the universe Matter, Demiurge, Logos and Pleroma these Valentinus calls flesh, soul, air, and ether  


The Gospel of Truth 


When he had appeared, instructing them about the Father, the incomprehensible one, when he had breathed into them what is in the thought, doing his will, when many had received the light, they turned to him. For the material ones were strangers, and did not see his likeness, and had not known him. For he came by means of fleshly form, while nothing blocked his course, because incorruptibility is irresistible, since he, again, spoke new things, still speaking about what is in the heart of the Father, having brought forth the flawless Word.
When light had spoken through his mouth, as well as his voice, which gave birth to life, he gave them thought and understanding, and mercy and salvation, and the powerful spirit from the infiniteness and the sweetness of the Father. 


Therefore, all the emanations of the Father are pleromas, and the root of all his emanations is in the one who made them all grow up in himself. He assigned them their destinies. Each one, then, is manifest, in order that through their own thought <...>. For the place to which they send their thought, that place, their root, is what takes them up in all the heights, to the Father. They possess his head, which is rest for them, and they are supported, approaching him, as though to say that they have participated in his face by means of kisses. But they do not become manifest in this way, for they are not themselves exalted; (yet) neither did they lack the glory of the Father, nor did they think of him as small, nor that he is harsh, nor that he is wrathful, but (rather that) he is a being without evil, imperturbable, sweet, knowing all spaces before they have come into existence, and he had no need to be instructed. 

The Father

The Tripartite Tractate

This is the nature of the unbegotten one, which does not touch anything else; nor is it joined (to anything) in the manner of something which is limited. Rather, he possesses this constitution, without having a face or a form, things which are understood through perception, whence also comes (the epithet) "the incomprehensible. If he is incomprehensible, then it follows that he is unknowable, that he is the one who is inconceivable by any thought, invisible by any thing, ineffable by any word, untouchable by any hand. He alone is the one who knows himself as he is, along with his form and his greatness and his magnitude. And since he has the ability to conceive of himself, to see himself, to name himself, to comprehend himself, he alone is the one who is his own mind, his own eye, his own mouth, his own form, and he is what he thinks, what he sees, what he speaks, what he grasps, himself, the one who is inconceivable, ineffable, incomprehensible, immutable, while sustaining, joyous, true, delightful, and restful is that which he conceives, that which he sees, that about which he speaks, that which he has as thought. He transcends all wisdom, and is above all intellect, and is above all glory, and is above all beauty, and all sweetness, and all greatness, and any depth and any height.

The Son

the sole first one, the man of the Father, that is, the one whom I call
the form of the formless,
the body of the bodiless,
the face of the invisible,
the word of the unutterable,
the mind of the inconceivable,
the fountain which flowed from him,
the root of those who are planted,
and the god of those who exist,
the light of those whom he illumines,
the love of those whom he loved,
the providence of those for whom he providentially cares,
the wisdom of those whom he made wise,
the power of those to whom he gives power,
the assembly of those whom he assembles to him,
the revelation of the things which are sought after,
the eye of those who see,
the breath of those who breathe,
the life of those who live,
the unity of those who are mixed with the Totalities.
Bodies are not exclusively connected to the material world at the lowest level. The Father and the Son at the uppermost level of depth above the Pleroma can have bodies  

The Tripartite Tractate

Logos and the Demiurge 

Over all the archons he appointed an Archon with no one commanding him. He is the lord of all of them, that is, the countenance which the Logos brought forth in his thought as a representation of the Father of the Totalities. Therefore, he is adorned with every <name> which <is> a representation of him, since he is characterized by every property and glorious quality. For he too is called "father" and god" and "demiurge" and "king" and "judge" and "place" and "dwelling" and "law."
The Logos uses him as a hand, to beautify and work on the things below, and he uses him as a mouth, to say the things which will be prophesied.
The things which he has spoken he does

The invisible spirit moved him in this way, so that he would wish to administer through his own servant, whom he too used, as a hand and as a mouth and as if he were his face, (and his servant is) the things which he brings, order and threat and fear, in order that those with whom he has done what is ignorant might despise the order which was given for them to keep, since they are fettered in the bonds of the archons, which are on them securely.


body-
-The outward expression of consciousness; the manifestation of the thinking part of man.
God creates the body thought, or divine reasoning, and man, by his thinking, makes it manifest depending upon the spiritual understanding of the individual whose mind it is. 


As God created man in His image and likeness by the power of His word, so man, as God's image and likeness, projects his body by the same power.


The Logos needs to use the Demiurge as body to interact with the world

Bodies are the way in which a being is perceived from, and interacts with a lower level

One (more actualised) being can be (function as) the body of another (less actualised)

The interaction downwards from the Father, Son, Logos, Demiurge and finally to the archons should be interpreted as a Body politic a divine corporation

The author of TT 100:31-33 wrote, “the Logos uses him [the Demiurge] as a hand, to beautify and work on the things below.” Also, see Exc 47:2, 49:1-2; Haer 1:5,1-4; 1:17,1; 2:6,3.

The Body of Jesus


The visible body of Christ is sometimes understood in these texts as the “body of God.”
The Tripartite Tractate characterizes the Savior as “the Totality in bodily form” (quoted below)
In the Tripartite Tractate, the Son is called the “body of the bodiless” (quoted above) 

The Nag Hammadi Library Melchizedek

Furthermore, they will say of him that he is unbegotten, though he has been begotten, (that) he does not eat, even though he eats, (that) he does not drink, even though he drinks, (that) he is uncircumcised, though he has been circumcised, (that) he is unfleshly, though he has come in the flesh, (that) he did not come to suffering, <though> he came to suffering, (that) he did not rise from the dead, <though> he arose from the dead.

The Tripartite Tractate

For not only did he accept for them the death 5 of those ~hom he had in minB to save, but he even accepted the smallness to which they had descended when they had (inclined) downwards into body and soul, for he let himself be conceived 10 and he let himself be begotten as a child with body and soul. For into all those conditions which they shared with those who had fallen. although they possessed the light.

Here the The Tripartite Tractate is contemplating on the significance of the Savior’s incarnation, his birth as an infant, and his assumption of body and soul

The Tripartite Tractate

The Savior was an image of the unitary one, he who is the Totality in bodily form.  Therefore, he preserved the form of indivisibility, from which comes impassability.


Col 1:19  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;

Col 2:3  In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Col 2:9  Because in him dwells all the fulness of the deity bodily,

The Tripartite Tractate

Concerning that which he previously was and that which he is eternally - an unbegotten, impassible one from the Logos, who came into being in flesh - he did not come into their thought. And this is the account which they received an impulse to give concerning his flesh which was to appear. They say that it is a production from all of them, but that before all things it is from the spiritual Logos, who is the cause of the things which have come into being, from whom the Savior received his flesh. He had conceived <it> at the revelation of the light, according to the word of the promise, at his revelation from the seminal state. For the one who exists is not a seed of the things which exist, since he was begotten at the end. But to the one by whom the Father ordained the manifestation of salvation, who is the fulfillment of the promise, to him belonged all these instruments for entry into life, through which he descended. His Father is one, and alone is truly a father to him, the invisible, unknowable, the incomprehensible in his nature, who alone is God in his will and his form, who has granted that he might be seen, known, and comprehended.

In The Tripartite Tractate 114,1–11, the flesh of Christ is from the Logos, not from the archons.

The Gospel of Philip


The lord rose from the dead. He became as he was, but now his body was perfect. He possessed flesh, but this was true flesh. Our flesh isn’t true. Ours is only an image of the true.


Jesus revealed himself [at the] Jordan River as the fullness of heaven’s kingdom. The one [conceived] before all [71] was conceived again; the one anointed before was anointed again; the one redeemed redeemed others.

It is necessary to utter a mystery. The father of all united with the virgin who came down, and fire shone on him.
On that day that one revealed the great bridal chamber, and in this way his body came into being.



Lu 3:22  And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

The Dialogue of the Savior

Even if it comes forth in the body of the Father among men, and is not received, still it [...] return to its place. Whoever does not know the work of perfection, knows nothing.

Heb 10:5  Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, But a body didst thou prepare for me;


Extracts from the Works of Theodotus:

59 First, then, he put on a seed from the Mother, not being separated but containing it by power, and it is given form little by little through knowledge. And when he came into Space Jesus found Christ, whom it was foretold that he would put on, whom the Prophets and the Law announced as an image of the Saviour. But even this psychic Christ whom he put on, was invisible, and it was necessary for him when he came into the world to be seen here, to be held, to be a citizen, and to hold on to a sensible body. A body, therefore, was spun for him out of invisible psychic substance, and arrived in the world of sense with power from a divine preparation. (
Extracts from the Works of Theodotus)


60 Therefore, “Holy Spirit shall come upon thee” refers to the formation of the Lord's body, “and a Power of the Most High shall overshadow thee” indicates the formation of God with which he imprinted the body in the Virgin. (
Extracts from the Works of Theodotus)

61 And he died at the departure of the Spirit which had descended upon him in the Jordan, not that it became separate but was withdrawn in order that death might also operate on him, since how did the body die when life was present in him? For in that way death would have prevailed over the Saviour himself, which is absurd. But death was out-generalled by guile. For when the body died and death seized it, the Saviour sent forth the ray of power which had come upon him and destroyed death and raised up the mortal body which had put off passion. In this way, therefore, the psychic elements are raised and are saved, but the spiritual natures which believe receive a salvation superior to theirs, having received their souls as “wedding garments.” (Extracts from the Works of Theodotus)


The Son is a “character of the Father brought down from above and placed into a body in this cosmos”

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