The World as Corpse, Part II
‘Gnostic’ and ‘scientist’ mean precisely the same thing: knower. (Greek and Latin words, respectively, for ‘knowledge’). So don’t tell me I’m being unscientific. We’re talking about two kinds of knowledge.
But the World as Corpse, really now… How could one ‘know’ such a thing? The second century Gnostics knew this about their world. They just couldn’t trust it. They thought of themselves as aliens, thrown into an environment that seemed strange, even hostile. There was Time, and Death, and Sex, not to mention tornados, spiders--disease and madness everywhere. Surely the God (the True God, the Stranger God, the Alien God) they knew from looking deep inside themselves would never have created such a mess. Characteristically, they contrived a mythology to express this inner certainty of theirs: the Demiurge did it. He was the source of all the darkness, and, most of all the ignorance—that pervaded the ‘world.’ He was assigned the Creation and he botched it. The True God then took a hike and hasn't been heard from since, wanting nothing to do with this 'world.' They just knew they belonged to Him/Her, had their origin elsewhere; they existed before the 'world' began. After the Demiurge had done his thing, they (the first ‘existentialists?’) fell somehow into this darkness. Their job? To struggle upward to the Light.
These were the first Christians. There were no Literalists (the sort of Christianity we know about today) around then to argue with them, though about the middle of the second century these did indeed emerge from among them to proclaim that all God’s Creation was ‘good,’ even ‘sex’ (within certain bounds), that Time and Death and yes, even war—all of it was somehow God’s Plan, not to be questioned. The believer was now being admonished to be obedient to all government (a piece of advice today’s Evangelicals on Fox News appear to have rescinded). Just believe and make your peace with the darkness, wait for heaven in the next world. Over the years, we’ve learned to embrace the darkness, even to call it light. Fair and Balanced, you know.
The Gospel of Thomas surely reflects the ‘knowledge’ of those first Gnostic Christians when it calls the world a corpse. It was the craziness they meant, all the bad stuff. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
But that was the world, not the Earth. Just wanted to clear that up.
In the legend above, just below the globe, we’re hearing a voice from the Earth... And it's a feminine voice. Yes, there’s a spirit who dwells within it: the spiritual origin of all matter. Now this is science, in the second sense. You want to talk about matter? Our bodies are composed of material from our ‘mother,’ the Earth. But she’s our Mother in another, more important sense. Sophianic Christians (modern Gnostics of a certain stripe, harking back to the very first Christians in Alexandria and Antioch) know that she has a history, a mythology, a claim on our future. Few of us realize that right now--today--she’s making a comeback, under our very noses, that this Return of the Sacred Feminine is what’s causing all the current confusion—not the Republicans after all, though she just has to be a Democrat. A real Democrat, not the current diluted and deluded ersatz variety.
Most of the Gnostics then were wrong, it seems—for they couldn’t see anything at all good about the Earth or the world… In fact they blamed it all on Matter, called it evil as such. And yet they were right on in exposing the corruption of the present world order, an attitude that passed subsequently into orthodoxy. While we’re at it we may as well mention that the Christians got their infamous fear of sex originally from the Gnostics… The body was after all composed of matter, was it not?
But that’s for another day.