Gnosticism and the Gospel of Judas Dr. Michael L. Ford 26 April 2006 At the outset, let me make it clear that certain spurious ancient works such as the Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Thomas, you may have been hearing much about of late, are the works of Gnostics. They were not written by the persons who the unknown authors in the works claim to be. They were written long after the people in question died. This is a practice that has not passed away either. There is good reason to believe certain books that today exist defending modern translations also come not the way attributed, but that is a subject for another day. Gnosticism is a term for “various mystical initiatory religions” and hidden and special “knowledge schools” with gnosis “ãíþóéò” enlightenment being the main goal in life. They depict creation as a mythic struggle between the forces of light and darkness. It might help understanding, for those who saw Star Wars, when they realize that “The Force” pictured in those movies was drawn from the Gnostic concept. For the Gnostic, the “Fall of Man” was a thing within divinity itself and less a matter of human failure. So you can see this alone would put them in conflict with the Jews who believed the Genesis account of Creation. Today this attack on the truthfulness of the first twelve chapters of Genesis continues, and its folly is founded in Gnostic belief and Greek philosophies. You probably have heard of the word “demiurge” referred to at some time and wondered what it was. The word comes from the Greek demiurgos, äçìéïõñãüò , and is in the Gnostic system their creator god, not the God of the Bible. When you follow the entemology of this word and give it due thought you find in it a strong resemblance between the pagan “light bringer” myths and Lucifer in the Bible. My conclusion is that the Gnostic creation belief is directly inspired by Satan, just as the false gospels are. I must make one point though it will no doubt offend some of my readers. If you were to read the Nestle-Aland Greek text, which undergirds many modern bible versions, you would find this version is supportive of gnosticism. It implies in Romans 11:36, for instance, that all was made out of the very substance of God rather than being made from nothing which is taught by genuine texts, the belief of ancient Judaism and true Christianity. The inescapable conclusion, from this and other passages, is that this particular Greek text was heavily influenced by the gnostics of Alexandrian Egypt. My conclusion is that some of those “scholars” who spoke favorably of the Gospel of Judas on the National Geographic televison show need at the very least to learn which Greek text to read and believe. One of the interesting things about the study of gnosticism is a character we meet in Scripture called Simon Magus. (Acts 8) He is also known as Simon the Sorcerer and Simon of Gitta. (Gitta is an ancient Christian name used to identify someone who is a Samaritan.) Simon was a Gnostic and when we first encounter him in the Scripture he is busily engaged gathering his own following. The description by his followers is very interesting because of what we learn happens to him later from ancient records. They exclaimed “This man is the great power of God.” (Acts 8:10) Evidently he ultimately believed his own press and fell to his death trying to fly before the Emporer Claudius. He was doing what our Lord would not do for Satan, cast himself down from a high place. (Many years ago a movie was made loosely based on ancient records about this man.) The reason he is important to our study here is because Simon was a writer and several fragments of works that claim to be by him exist. Most of what he wrote is lost in the dustbin of time as I wish the Gospel of Judas had been. But my point is that by his character as a deceiver, a writer, and founder of a school of moral freedom, he could well have served to inspire some of those who wrote spurious gospels later on. (Some thought he was demonically possessed.) In any case Justin Martyr and Irenaeus both thought enough of his influence to write about him in their works denouncing heresies. Some even consider that he may well have been the first heretic. There never was a time when Gnosticism, and its many conflicting beliefs was acceptable to the true faith. But it seems that shortly from its beginnings it was seeking to intrude itself into first the Jewish faith and then Christianity. It is my belief that struggle continues to this day, which is why I have spent so much energy denouncing it.
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