Daily Wisdomisms: The Holy Bible (Ephesians and Gnostic Allusions)

The Pauline Christians tried to obliterate and discredit those they saw as Gnostic pretenders. They really did. But even the canonical books of the bible are full of Gnostic references. The entire Gospel of John, for instance, is seen by some to be a quasi-Gnostic tract that was written to combat Gnostic teachings. A Gnostic-Pauline text, if you will. Despite the battle between factions, the living truth can never be hidden. The Apostle Paul alludes to Gnostic teachings in his letter to the Ephesians. Enjoy!!

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age and against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

 

Now understand that Gnostics talked quite frequently of the “principalities”, “powers”, “rulers of darkness” (i.e. human agents of evil) and “spiritual hosts of wickedness”. The difference was, they talked about them in different ways. Ways that other early Christian sects didn’t like. For instance, Gnostics thought that these principalities created our universe. They believed the real God existed in a realm apart from the gross material world and the principalities were warped reflections of His Glory. Being a reflection of God (warped or no) these entities tried to create. But they could only shape matter, not infuse it with life. It only gets more interesting from there.

Easy to see why the early Pauline sects didn’t like the Gnostics. They told the same story in a different way. They accused the Paulines of worshiping the false creator gods (or the principalities) and not the true God. This infuriated Paul (who reportedly had an already short fuse) and he and his followers lashed out. So like they did with so much of the world’s spiritual knowledge and practices, the Pauline Christians claimed what bits and pieces of Gnostic teaching they liked and then after demonizing the rest, threw it out.

When Emperor Constantine had his “conversion” on the battlefield and called early Christian leaders together to forge a new state religion, Gnosticism’s fate as heresy was sealed. Nobody said the struggle against the rulers of darkness of this age would be easy…

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About Universal Shift

I am the Sonata Unusual. I coat myself with some obtuse angle too far below zero to become any warmer. I create motivation, activate schemas, moisten gardens with scents of natural honeydew. Construct this meaning, you sleepy flock. Silence your singing—despairing contortions out of tune. Shatter the brittle butterfly glass with your hideous wailing. I am born of my god’s imagination. When I die I shall meet him. For there are many things to discuss over tea…or scotch.

Posted on May 7, 2013, in Author, Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality, Spirituality, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. “Nobody said the struggle against the rulers of darkness of this age would be easy…”

    I like that inversion!

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