Gnostic Doctrine

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Fog and Error in the Gospel of Truth

Fog and Error in the Gospel of Truth

The Fog and Origin of "Error"

A Reading from the Gospel of Truth:

The gospel of truth is joy to those who have received from the Father of truth the gift of knowing him by the power of the Logos, who has come from the Pleroma and who is in the thought and the mind of the Father; he it is who is called "the Savior," since that is the name of the work which he must do for the redemption of those who have not known the Father. For the name of the gospel is the manifestation of hope, since that is the discovery of those who seek him, because the All sought him from whom it had come forth. You see, the All had been inside of him, that illimitable, inconceivable one, who is better than every thought.

This ignorance of the Father brought about terror and fear. And terror became dense like a fog, that no one was able to see. Because of this, error became strong. But it worked on its hylic substance vainly, because it did not know the truth. It was in a fashioned form while it was preparing, in power and in beauty, the equivalent of truth. This then, was not a humiliation for him, that illimitable, inconceivable one. For they were as nothing, this terror and this forgetfulness and this figure of falsehood, whereas this established truth is unchanging, unperturbed and completely beautiful.

For this reason, do not take error too seriously. Thus, since it had no root, it was in a fog as regards the Father, engaged in preparing works and forgetfulnesses and fears in order, by these means, to beguile those of the middle and to make them captive. The forgetfulness of error was not revealed. It did not become light beside the Father. Forgetfulness did not exist with the Father, although it existed because of him. What exists in him is knowledge, which was revealed so that forgetfulness might be destroyed and that they might know the Father, Since forgetfulness existed because they did not know the Father, if they then come to know the Father, from that moment on forgetfulness will cease to exist. (the Gospel of Truth)

First we must not read preconceived ideas into the Gospel of Truth we must read it with a open bible and a open mind 

Many scholars have cast doubt on claims that any mythological figures can be read into the text

Bentley Layton agrees that the Gospel of Truth "makes no specific reference to the Gnostic myth" (Layton 1987, p 250).

The first paragraph of the Gospel of Truth introduces the Father, the Savior, and the All, and then from there talks about the concept of fear terror and error being introduced into the world

The All
"because the All sought him (the Father) from whom it had come forth. You see, the All had been inside of him, that illimitable, inconceivable one, who is better than every thought." (the Gospel of Truth)

For more information on the Gnostic term the All see Panta En Pasin The All in All

The "All" comes from the Geek word pasin 3956. πᾶς pas pas; is an Adjective 

Definitionall, every 
Usageall, the whole, every kind of.

AV-all 748,

1) individually

1a) each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything
2) collectively
2a) some of all types

The "all" is used collectively of the body of Christ the church, here in the Gospel of Truth I think the term is first used for the nation of Israel and secondly for the believers 

The all is in a state of ignorance this is also a description of the nation of Israel at the time of Christ's first coming 

As a result Error gained dominion and in futility produced a substitute for the Truth.

this would be describing the Pharisees hiding the keys to the kingdom of Heaven

the All errs in a fog of fear and anguish and cannot see the Father.

 This is the one who is called the savior, since that is the name of the work that he must do for the redemption of those who have not known the father.

They call him “Savior.” That’s the name of the work he’ll do to redeem those who had become
ignorant of the Father.

The word Ignorance (Greek G52 ἄγνοια agnoia [ag-no-eh’-o which comes from the root 50 ἀγνοέω agnoeo [ag-no-eh’-o) means not to know, lack of knowledge, moral blindness [{Ac 3:17 } 3) to err or sin through mistake, to be wrong, spoken mildly of those who are not high handed or wilful transgressors [{Heb 5:2 }

Acts 17:30  True, God has overlooked the times of such ignorance, yet now he is telling mankind that they should all everywhere repent

Ignorance alienates from eternal life, and makes death the certain and irretrievable lot of the subject to it. Ephesians 4:18; Psalm 49:19-20 (Robert Roberts Christendom Astray)

"And terror became dense like a fog, that no one was able to see. Because of this, error became strong." (the Gospel of Truth)

Here there is no trace of a fall of an individual aeon but the process of the fall is set in motion by introducing a personification Plane or Error

Romans 1:21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God nor did they thank him, but they became empty-headed in their reasonings and their unintelligent heart became darkened. 

Those who were wise among the Greeks and the barbarians have advanced to the powers which have come into being by way of imagination and vain thought. Those who have come from these, in accord with the mutual conflict and rebellious manner active in them, also spoke in a likely, arrogant and imaginary way concerning the things which they thought of as wisdom, although the likeness deceived them, since they thought that they had attained the truth, when they had (only) attained error. (The Tripartite Tractate)

2cor 3:14  But their mental powers were dulled. For to this present day the same veil remains unlifted at the reading of the old covenant, because it is done away with by means of Christ. 

Ignorance produces negative emotional states such as "forgetfulness", "fear" and " terror these emotional states became solidified into matter when "the terror grew dense like a fog, so that no one could see"

but what is fog?

Particles of water floating in the air; they resemble very light rain. When warm humid air rises from the earth and cools to what is called the dew point, moisture condenses because cool air cannot hold as much water as warm air. If this occurs near the ground, it is called fog; if it takes place higher in the sky, it forms what is called a cloud. (Ps 135:7; Pr 25:14; Jer 10:13; 51:16) Moisture that condenses on cool objects, such as the ground or vegetation (usually at night), is described as dew. (Ex 16:13, 14; Jg 6:36-40; ) Mist, on the other hand, is composed of airborne particles of moisture that are somewhat larger in size than fog particles, but smaller than raindrops. 

Note: Fog is denser than mist and tends to last longer.

From the start the Gospel of Truth is using figurative language it is therefore clear to see that the Gospel of Truth is not speaking about natural "fog" but is using the word "fog" as a analogy from the natural world.

The fog was that which beclouded the minds of the All which arose from the vain imaginations and traditions of their evil hearts

Fog--Lack of clear understanding between the carnal mind and the true spiritual understanding of the Father that is spiritual blindness. (Act 13:11 2Peter 1:9 2Peter 2:17)

Fog is therefore a symbol of the "fog" of false teaching and false religion.

A description of fog from the Gospel of Truth: 

It’s something in a soul-endowed delusion (psychical form), like cold water sunk into loose earth. Those who see it think that it’s just earth. Afterwards, it dissolves again. If a breath draws it, it becomes warm.  Afterward, it evaporates if a breath of wind draws it, and it becomes warm. The cold aromas, then, are from division. For this reason, faith came and destroyed division and brought the warm fullness of love, so that the cold may not return, but the unity of perfect thought may prevail.

the term psychical form comes from the word psuchè (“soul, breath”), when it is related to psychros (“cold”), reminds us of a well-known etymological pun: the verb psuchô means “to blow” as much as “to breathe,” “to cool down” or “to get cold.”

In the Odes of Solomon fog is connected to thinking ability:

Ode 5:6. And they shall have no light to see that they may not take me.

7. May their thought become a thick-fog, and whatever they have planned-wisely [as they suppose] let it return upon their own heads

In Ode 5:7 "May their thought become a thick-fog" the Coptic has "power/ess"

The poet may mean "an earthborn mist" of pride, "swelling up" to obscure the sight of the oppressor. The Coptic perhaps substituted commonplace prose " [ulcerated and therefore] powerless." (Light on the Gospel: From an Ancient Poet by Edwin An. Abbott)

The role of the fog in the Gospel of Truth (Fog Coptic , Greek  ὅμιλος 3658) is used collectively as a collective noun (Note collective noun is a noun that is singular in form but refers to a group of people or things) and this is how the Greek word is used in Revelation 18:17

Rev 18:17  For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company <3658> in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

Thayer's Greek Lexicon

ὅμιλος, ὁμιλου, ὁ (ὁμός, ὁμοῦ, and ἴλη a crowd, band (Curtius, § 660; Vanicek, p. 897; but Fick iii. 723 from root mil 'to be associated,' 'to love')), from Homer down, a multitude of men gathered together, a crowd, throng: Revelation 18:17 Rec.
STRONGS NT 3658a: ὁμίχλη ὁμίχλη, ὁμίχλης, ἡ (in Homer ὀιχλη), from ὀμιχέω to make water), a mist, fog: 2 Peter 2:17 G L T Tr WH. (Amos 4:13; Joel 2:2; Sir. 24:3; Wis. 2:4.)
Waters, Clouds peoples, and multitudes, and nations
Paul speaks about a great a cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12:1 In Revelation John hears a voice as the sound of many waters Rev 1:15 we are told in Rev 17:15 that the waters are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And in Rev 19:6, we are told the voice which had the sound of many waters is a great multitude of the Redeemed 

Re 17:15  And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

Re 19:6  And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Here we have two groups of waters the Redeemed cloud of witnesses Heb 12:1 Rev 1:15 19:6 and the Nations Rev 17:15 this will help us to understand the use of Fog in the Gospel of Truth

cloud of witnesses  3509. νέφος nephos [nef’-os]; apparently a primary word; a cloud: —  cloud. 1) a cloud, a large dense multitude, a throng

There are some scriptural uses of mist/fog, blindness and forgetfulnesses:   

Rom 11:25  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

2Peter 1:9  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

(Note the things lacking are faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godly devotion, brotherly affection, and love see vss 5-8)

"He that lacketh these things is blind" — Greek. tuphlos 5185, literally "smoky, misty, darkened." (Cp. Rev. 3:17, where same word occurs.) His vision is clouded, he is shortsighted and cannot see the grand objective before him, nor the purpose of the knowledge of God. Thus he cannot see afar off. and "where there is no vision, the people perish" (Prov. 29:18).

5185. τυφλός tuphlos [toof-los’]; from, 5187; opaque (as if smoky), i.e. (by analogy) blind (physically or mentally): —  blind

5187. τυφόω tuphoo [toof-o’-o]; from a derivative of 5188; to envelop with smoke, i.e. (figuratively) to inflate with self-conceit: —  high-minded, be lifted up with pride, be proud.

"Hath forgotten" — [Greek,] "contracted forgetfulness," wilful and culpable obliviousness. Where there is no conscious striving to develop "the new man,"  a person soon forgets the privileged status that he has enjoyed in Christ. 

Forgetfulness is linked to ignorance 3024. λήθη lethe [lay’-thay]; from 2990; forgetfulness: —  + forget.

2990 λανθάνω lanthano [lan-than’-o]   — be hid, to be hidden, to be hidden from one, be ignorant of, unawares.  without knowing

2Pe 2:17  These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

2 Peter 2:17

These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved.
The false teachers are like the damp mists that blot out visibility (Mai. 4:2) without providing rain (cp. Deut. 32:2), and which are swept along by the tempest into the "blackness of darkness" (R.V.) for ever.

the mist of darkness or black darkness is 
the spiritual darkness of the mind (Psa. 69:23). Psa. 69:23

2217. ζόφος zophos [dzof’-os]; akin to the base of 3509; gloom (as shrouding like a cloud): —  blackness, darkness, mist.

3509. νέφος nephos [nef’-os]; apparently a primary word; a cloud: —  cloud. 
1) a cloud, a large dense multitude, a throng
Fog a Summary
Fog is an image for ignorance, forgetfulness and oblivion.- It is similar to sleep, blindness and darkness.
Fog a mental state of delusion resulting in spiritual blindness
the "fog" of false teaching and false religion.
Fog use as a collective of a group or community 

And the ignorance of the Father brought anguish and terror, and the anguish grew dense like a fog so that no one could see. (the Gospel of Truth)

This "fog" results in the appearance of error or perhaps is error.
"Where did it (the error) come from?" or "Where did the words of deception, which all the powers have failed to discover, come from?" (the apocalypse of adam)

the word Error is used in the Bible 2The 2:11  1John

1John 4:6 We are of God. He that knows God hears us. He who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error

Those who were out of step with the teaching of spirit-filled teachers like John were thereby discernible as of "the spirit of error". "Error" is more 'deceit' in the Greek, the same word used of the spirit of deceit which the Lord would send upon the Jewish world 

2The 2:11 So that is why God lets an operation of error go to them, that they may get to believing the lie

 just as God can work within the minds of believers according to His energeia by His Spirit (Eph. 1:19; 3:16-20), so those who refuse to believe have another spirit sent to work within them, deluding them into believing the lie. "The lie" refers to the "delusion"; and in the first century context, that delusion was the words of the Judaizers, framed as they are as the serpent in Eden and Cain who told the first lies (the same Greek word for "delusion" is used about the Judaizers who sought to delude the believers in Eph. 4:14; 2 Pet. 3:17; Jude 11 cp. Jn. 8:44). 

John contrasts a love of the truth (cp. :10) with "the spirit of error [s.w. "delusion"]", which operated through the false Judaist prophets / teachers infiltrating the churches (1 Jn. 4:1,6). 

Psychological confirmation of disbelievers is a feature of God's working with men (Is. 6:9,10; Rom. 1:24-28), and God even sends false prophets or teachers as part of this process (1 Kings 22:22,23; Ez. 14:9; Job 12:16). This is what will particularly happen in the last days (1 Tim. 4:1), just as it did in the collapse of Christian faith which was seen in the run up to the events of AD70

The word Error is also used in the Old Testament pseudepigrapha text of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs 

Reuben 1:1 The Testament of Reuben Concerning Thoughts (Roberts-Donaldson Translation)

2:1. And now hear me, my children, what things I saw concerning the seven spirits of deceit (Error), when 2 I repented. Seven spirits therefore are appointed against man, and they are the leaders in the works 3 of youth. [And seven other spirits are given to him at his creation, that through them should be 4 done every work of man. The first is the spirit of life, with which the constitution (of man) is 5 created. The second is the sense of sight, with which ariseth desire. The third is the sense of hearing, with which cometh teaching. The fourth is the sense of smell, with which tastes are given 6, 7 to draw air and breath. The fifth is the power of speech, with which cometh knowledge. The sixth is the sense of taste, with which cometh the eating of meats and drinks; and by it strength is 8 produced, for in food is the foundation of strength. The seventh is the power of procreation and 9 sexual intercourse, with which through love of pleasure sins enter in. Wherefore it is the last in order of creation, and the first in that of youth, because it is filled with ignorance, and leadeth the youth as a blind man to a pit, and as a beast to a precipice. (R. H. Charles Translation)

3. Besides all these, there is an eighth (8) spirit of sleep, with which is created entrancement of man's nature, and the image of death. With these spirits are mingled the spirits of error. The first (1), the spirit of fornication, dwelleth in the nature and in the senses; the second (2) spirit of insatiateness in the belly; the third (3) spirit of fighting in the liver and the gall. The fourth (4) is the spirit of fawning and trickery, that through over-officiousness a man may be fair in seeming. The fifth (5) is the spirit of arrogance, that a man may be stirred up and become high-minded. The sixth (6) is the spirit of lying, in perdition and in jealousy to feign words, and to conceal words from kindred and friends. The seventh (7) is the spirit of injustice, with which are theft and pilferings, that a man may work the desire of his heart; for injustice worketh together with the other spirits by means of craft. Besides all these, the spirit of sleep, the eighth (8) spirit, is conjoined with error and fantasy. And so perisheth every young man, darkening his mind from the truth, and not understanding the law of God, nor obeying the admonitions of his fathers, as befell me also in my youth.

The theme of the Testament of Reuben is about human thoughts (1:1) these thoughts and the mind in which they reside generate the decisions that result in sin and righteous conduct (See Reuben 3:12 4:6,8,11; 5:3,6,7; 6:1,2)

2:1 And seven other spirits are given to him at his creation, that through them should be done every work of man.

the seven other spirits given to human beings these spirits listed in Ruben 2:3-9 are said to be other spirits than the the seven spirits of error/deceit. except for the seventh one the power of procreation and sexual intercourse these other spirits are evaluated as beneficent powers working for human beings
the seven other spirits seem to refer to the human senses

Because of this, error  became strong. But she worked on her material substance vainly, because she did not know the truth. She assumed a fashioned figure while she was preparing, in power and in beauty, the substitute for truth.

The words "material substance" "hylic substance" or "its own matter" should be understood as a reference to Error equivalent of truth or substitute for truth which has a fashioned figure

The substance of Error is fog, fog or mist which is physically insubstantial has no real corporeal substance the fashioned figure it produces is an illusion a substitute for truth

1peter 1:14 As obedient children, quit being fashioned according to the desires YOU formerly had in YOUR ignorance, 

the word "fashioned figure" or "fashioned form" refers to our mental atitiute to conform one’s self (i.e. one’s mind and character) to another’s pattern, (fashion one’s self according to) 

12:2 And quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making YOUR mind over, that YOU may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

For this reason, do not take error too seriously. Thus, since it had no root, it was in a fog as regards the Father, engaged in preparing works and forgetfulnesses and fears in order, by these means, to beguile those of the middle and to make them captive. (the Gospel of Truth)

Error happens, or exists, by terrifying and beguiling a group of people that is called ‘those of the middle

Error exists as long as it can beguile those of the middle. Error was, and still is, the cause and result of a false knowledge of the Father

‘those of the middle’ is a term that refers to people who have not yet come to knowledge, but who have the capacity for it.

This darkness of ignorance and error what is often called sin in the Orthodox Christianity 

Error came into being in a fog, and that basically is a product of ignorance

Error and Fog exist together they may form a syzygy 

Acquaintance is gnosis Un-acquaintance is a lack of gnosis or "deficiency" lack is destroyed by the advent of gnosis.

the terms "error" and "lack" are used interchangeably in the Gospel of Truth

error seems to be used in the Gospel of Truth as a synonym for the familiar Valentinian concept of "lack" or "deficiency" ( Greek: hysterema).

ignorance (Un-acquaintance) of the Father brought about Error through anxiety and fear

Error is not Sophia For example, later in the text error is linked to the crucifixion of Jesus (18:21-31). The text also speaks of error's destruction (26:15-32). This is at odds with any known Gnostic myth of Sophia, particularly a Valentinian one.

Error in the Gospel of Truth is not set in the primordial past, as for instance in the Apocryphon of John, but in the time of Jesus’ earthly mission and in the present time of the community

The personification of error represents the "state of consciousness of the Jewish Sanhedrin and the Roman authorities " For this reason error was angry with him, so she persecuted him. She was distressed by him, and she was made powerless. He was nailed to a tree."(Gospel of Truth 18:16-18).

Error is simultaneously a symbolic designation for the group of people that persecuted Jesus and a description of their mental state.

Error has a mental condition That which is untrue. Error thoughts represent belief in thoughts and beliefs not of God. Error thoughts have no foundation in Truth. They originate in the intellect. They are eliminated by one's denying their reality and power, and affirming the Truth of Being.

Error was, and still is, the cause and result of a false knowledge of the Father.

Speak of the truth with those who search for it, and (of) knowledge to those who have committed sin in their error.

You may want to see our study on The Figure of Error in the Odes of Solomon

For more information on the Gospel of Truth see  Rethinking the Gospel of Truth Book by Jörgen Magnusson

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