Gnostic Doctrine

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Valentinian Cosmology in the Tripartite Tractate

Valentinian Cosmology in the Tripartite Tractate

A Simple Explanation of Absolutely Everything: February 2019


the Tripartite Tractate Cosmology is very different to other Valentinian documents to have come down to us first there is no doctrine of an emanation of 30 aeons 

there no doctrine of the fall of Sophia instead it is the logos who falls 

The Aeons are emanations of the Divine Mind as well as Divine Beings
(For each of the aeons is a name corresponding to each of the Father's qualities and powers the Tripartite Tractate)

The Tripartite Tractate takes its cosmology from the gospel of John

The Head of Days

He existed before anything other than himself came into being. The Father is a single one, like a number, for he is the first one and the one who is only himself. Yet he is not like a solitary individual. Otherwise, how could he be a father? For whenever there is a "father," the name "son" follows. But the single one, who alone is the Father, is like a root, with tree, branches and fruit. It is said of him that he is a father in the proper sense, since he is inimitable and immutable. Because of this, he is single in the proper sense, and is a god, because no one is a god for him nor is anyone a father to him.

the Father is the Head of Days the head of the body 

Just as the Father exists in the proper sense, the one before whom there was no one else, and the one apart from whom there is no other unbegotten one, so too the Son exists in the proper sense, the one before whom there was no other, and after whom no other son exists. Therefore, he is a firstborn and an only Son, "firstborn" because no one exists before him and "only Son" because no one is after him. Furthermore, he has his fruit, that which is unknowable because of its surpassing greatness. Yet he wanted it to be known, because of the riches of his sweetness. And he revealed the unexplainable power, and he combined with it the great abundance of his generosity.

The son is the mind of the Father 

"Theos was the Logos."

In this text, then, there is ONE DEITY, and he is styled THE LOGOS. This word signifies, "the outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known; also, the inward thought or reason itself

No Logos, then there would be no Theos; and without Theos, the Logos could have no existence. This may be illustrated by the relation of reason, or intelligence and speech, to brain, as affirmed in the proposition, No brain, -- no thought, reason, nor intelligence. Call the brain Theos; and thought, reason, and understanding intelligently expressed, Logos; and the relation and dependence of Theos and Logos, in John's use of the terms, may readily be conceived. Brain-flesh is substance, or the hypostasis, that underlies thought; so Theos is substance which constitutes the substratum of Logos. Theos is the substance called Spirit; as it is written, "Theos is Spirit;" and he who uttered these words is declared to be himself both substance and spirit. Dr. John Thomas Eureka Volume 1 Of Deity Before Manifestation in Flesh.

Theos is the Brain, Logos is the Mind or thought

God came forth: the Son, Mind of the All, that is, it is from the Root of the All that even his Thought stems, since he had this one (the Son) in Mind. The Nag Hammadi Library A Valentinian Exposition

The son here is a personification of the mind of God or the Father's first thought. We will look more at personifications later. 

The Cosmology of creation begins and unfolds within the mind of the Father 

But furthermore (he says), "That which came into being in it was Life."[Jn 1:4] Here he discloses a pair. For he says that the entirety came into being through it, but Life is in it. Now, that which came into being in it more intimately belongs to it than what came into being through it: it is joined with it and through it it bears fruit. Indeed, inasmuch as he adds, "and Life was the light of human beings", [Jn 1:4] in speaking of human beings he has now disclosed also the Church by means of a synonym, so that with a single word he might disclose the partnership of the pair. For from the Word and Life, the Human Being and the Church came into being. And he called Life the light of human beings because they are enlightened by her, i.e. formed and made visible. Paul, too, says this: "For anything that becomes visible is light." [Eph 5:13] So since Life made the Human Being and the Church visible and engendered them, she is said to be their light.

the body

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 church

Those which exist have come forth from the Son and the Father like kisses, because of the multitude of some who kiss one another with a good, insatiable thought, the kiss being a unity, although it involves many kisses. This is to say, it is the Church consisting of many men that existed before the aeons, which is called, in the proper sense, "the aeons of the aeons." This is the nature of the holy imperishable spirits, upon which the Son rests, since it is his essence, just as the Father rests upon the Son.

They were forever in thought, for the Father was like a thought and a place for them. When their generations had been established, the one who is completely in control wished to lay hold of and to bring forth that which was deficient in the [...] and he brought forth those [...] him. But since he is as he is, he is a spring, which is not diminished by the water which abundantly flows from it. While they were in the Father's thought, that is, in the hidden depth, the depth knew them, but they were unable to know the depth in which they were; nor was it possible for them to know themselves, nor for them to know anything else. That is, they were with the Father; they did not exist for themselves. Rather, they only had existence in the manner of a seed, so that it has been discovered that they existed like a fetus. Like the word he begot them, subsisting spermatically, and the ones whom he was to beget had not yet come into being from him. The one who first thought of them, the Father, - not only so that they might exist for him, but also that they might exist for themselves as well, that they might then exist in his thought as mental substance and that they might exist for themselves too, - sowed a thought like a spermatic seed. Now, in order that they might know what exists for them, he graciously granted the initial form, while in order that they might recognize who is the Father who exists for them, he gave them the name "Father" by means of a voice proclaiming to them that what exists, exists through that name, which they have by virtue of the fact that they came into being, because the exaltation, which has escaped their notice, is in the name.

The fall

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 this one who is the Logos, 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 the knowledge or consent of his female counterpart Sophia (wisdom) he projected from his own being a flawed emanation.

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

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  


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 cosmology of the Tripartite Tractate is one of a Corporeal conceptualisation: Body like that from Leviathan: Or the Matter, Forme and Power of a Commonwealth, Ecclesiasticall and Civil
Book by Thomas Hobbes








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