Gnostic Doctrine

Saturday, 23 May 2020

The Concept of the Divine Autogenes John 1:18

The Concept of the Divine Autogenes

Sethian Gnosticism consists of the following elements: “a focus on Seth as a Savior figure and spiritual ancestor of the Gnostic elect; a primal divine triad of an ineffable Father, a Mother called Barbelo, and Son referred to as Autogenes; four emanated luminaries named Harmozel, Oroaiel, Daveithe, and Eleleth and other superterrestial beings related to them; a salvation history thought of as three descents of the Savior, or three critical periods marked by flood, fire, and final judgement; and rituals of baptism and ascent.”

1 In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god
2 This one was in [the] beginning with God. 
3 All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.

God’s firstborn Son called “a god,” “the only-begotten god” as the most manuscripts of John 1:18 call him.

John 1:18 No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom [position] with the Father is the one that has explained him.

The phrase monogenes´ theos´ rendered in a few translations as “God only begotten" could be understood as a reference to the Autogenes the self-begotten Christ or self-originate Son, an Only Begotten God, The One existing within the bosom of the Father.

And Thought willed to create a work through the Word of the invisible Spirit, and his Will became a work. And he was revealed with Mind and Light, glorifying It. And the Word followed the Will. For because of the Word, Christ the divine Autogenes created the All. Eternal Life with Will, and Mind with Foreknowledge stood. They glorified the invisible Spirit and Barbelo for they had come into being because of her. (The Apocryphon of John)

7 And It gazed into Barbelo in the pure light which surrounds the in­visible Spirit and Its luminescence, and she conceived from It. It begot a spark of light in a light resembling blessedness, but it was [not] equal to Its greatness. This one was only-begotten of the Mother‑Father who had appeared. He is his only offspring, the only-begotten of the Father, the pure light. (The Apocryphon of John)

And the holy Spirit perfected the divine Autogenes, the son of Itself and Barbelo, so he might stand before the great and invisible virginal Spirit. The divine Autogenes, the Christ, (is) that one who honored It with a mighty voice. He appeared through the Pronoia. And the invisible virginal Spirit placed Autogenes as true god over the All Nand It subjected to him all authority and the truth which dwells in It so that he might know the All. (He is) that one whose name they call by a name which is more exalted than any name. For they will say that name to those who are worthy of it. (The Apocryphon of John)

Autogenes. One word.

Autogenes, begotten, Divine Child, Pure Light, Light of the World, Logos (John 1:3)

The "Only begotten" Greek Monogenes; The Monogenes or the "Only begotten" is the Autogenes and Logos

Greek: 'Self-begotten,' 'Self-made' ... Also called ‘self-originate’ so 'autogenes' is Greek for "self-generated"

The Coptic Gnostic Library. Autogenes II/1: 7, 11, 16, 20, 24, 33; 8, 21, 23, 26, 28, 31; 9, 1, 10;
III/2:41, 5; 49, 17; 50, 19, 22; 52, 8, 16; 53, 13; 55, 5; 57, 26; 62, 26; 65, 13; 68, 16;
IX/2: 28,6;
XI/3 :46, 11; 51, 26; 58,12
 - (see also Self-begotten One

Autogenes is the third aeon in the tretractys or tetrad (a group of 10 aeons). Again according to the Barbeloite theology. Autogenes is the father-mother-son. (Tomas Kindahl)

The One as ‘unbegotten’ and ‘self-begotten’: “Great is the good Self-begotten who stood, the God who had already stood. (...) Thou art unbegotten. Thou hast appeared in order that thou mightest reveal the eternal ones. Thou art he who is. Therefore thou hast revealed those who really are.” (Three Steles of Seth)

- The One as self-begotten: “This great name of yours is upon me, O self-begotten Perfect one, who is not outside me.” (Gospel of the Egyptians)

- The expression ‘self-begotten’ (or ‘self-originate’) is often left in the ancient Greek form, as ‘Autogenes’.

- The One as self-begotten Autogenes: “...unproclaimable Father, the aeon of the aeons, Autogenes, self-begotten, self-producing...” (Gospel of the Egyptians)

From the Ennoia/Barbelo/Five-Aeon/Ten-Aeon there emanates a further Divinity, referred to as Autogenes, meaning "Self-Begotten" or "Self-Born". 

In Gospel to the Egyptians it is equated with the Logos. In Allogenes we see this as one of the three aspects of the Barbelo

It is described as the "only-begotten one of the Mother-Father" and "of the Father, the pure Light" [Nag Hammadi Library, Apocryphon of John, p.102].

On the one hand this emanation is called "Autogenes", "Self-begotten", yet on the other it is described as being "begotten" by, or the "only-begotten" of, the Mother-Father.

Autogenes also contains the Son of Man and sometimes also Man.


Ode 32

  1. To the blessed ones the joy is from their heart, and light from Him who dwells in them;
  2. And the Word of truth who is self-originate,
  3. Because He has been strengthened by the Holy Power of the Most High; and He is unshaken for ever and ever.
Ode 32:2 lit. "existed (or, was) from His soul" Comp. Jn 5:26 "For as the Father hath life in himself, even so gave he to the Son to have life in himself." The Ode, by immediately adding "for He is strengthened by the holy power of the Most High," appears to imply that the "self-existence" of the Son of Truth is from the Father.

- Although the One is referred to above as ‘self-begotten’, usually the term Autogenes describes the Son (who is either the Word, the saviour Seth or the Christ). The Autogenes often appears in Sethian Gnostic texts.

- In the Apocryphon of John and the Gospel of the Egyptians, the Autogenes begets or is begotten together with the Four Lights.

- Christ the Son as Autogenes: “Because of the word, Christ the divine Autogenes created everything...” “...the twelve aeons which attend the son of the mighty one, the Autogenes, the Christ, through the will and the gift of the invisible Spirit.” (Apocryphon of John)

- The saviour Seth results from the combination of the Logos, Autogenes and Adamas: “Then the great Logos, the divine Autogenes, and the incorruptible man Adamas mingled with each other. (...) And thus there came forth (...) the great incorruptible Seth, the son of the incorruptible man Adamas.” (Gospel of the Egyptians)

I suspect the Barbeloites directly imported this from Christianity around 150 AD. Autogenes is said to hover over the ground in the heaven Domedon Doxomedon. (My source here is as usual April D DeConick). When comparing Autogenes with other Gnosticism it appears that Autogenes counterparts the Second Man in the Ophite theology. I have made no extensive comparison work regarding Autogenes, so that's about what I know here. (Tomas Kindahl)

Daveithai, He is the Father of The Elect, this is Sethian, Sophia-Wisdom is within Eleleth, so that would make The Elect completely outside of the powers of the Sophia-Wisdom. Though Sophia-Wisdom would be engage in initiating and conducting The Elect awakening in the domain of the Eleleth. 
(Tomas Kindahl)

Thanks to Tomas Kindahl

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