[This is part one of a three part series on Gnostic beliefs]
For those familiar with the Gnostic texts, particularly the writings in the Nag Hammadi library, you might have found yourself feeling as if you were reading something out of science fiction.
For all those who are unfamiliar, the Gnostic texts, and the Gnostic culture in general, were, for the larger part, lost to history up until 1945 when a hidden collection of their writings were uncovered in a cave in upper-Egypt by one [or possibly two] brothers who were either looking for a lost goat or digging for fertilizer [the origin story is a tad hazy]. What they found was fifty-five texts, nearly all relating to the teachings of the Gnostics, which had been hidden in clay jars. There was supposedly a great deal more, but the others were burned by the brothers’ family out of either fear of their contents or simply for warmth [again, there’s multiple versions, but many of the texts are known to have been burned].
But what remained eventually found its way to local scholars who then preserved what they quickly recognized as an enormous historical find. Though, it wasn’t until 1975 that the contents of this find were released to the public; which then kicked off an uproar in the communities of the Abrahamic faiths throughout the world—as the contents of this find were certainly far from complementary to their beliefs.
At this point, what’s important to note is the fact that the group known as the Gnostics were aggressively hunted down in the early centuries of AD. They’re believed by many to be the oldest group in the realm of the Abrahamic faiths—so then preceding the associated groups we know from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—for they share, in a sense, many beliefs from these groups. Though at the core, the Gnostics differed substantially. While we’ll touch on more of this later, for one thing, they believed that the god raised and worshiped by the later Abrahamic faiths was a lesser god, or demiurge; a being that crafted this reality and mankind out of devious intent. For such beliefs, they were dramatically purged from history by the Catholic church; who destroyed any related temple, monument, or document relating to them, as well as hunting down and killing every human with relation to the Gnostic belief system.
But the Gnostics understood what was to happen to them and so, in their final years, they copied all their sacred texts—many of which are being considered to be among the oldest texts in human history—and hid them wherever they could so that the Catholic church could not destroy them. And that’s where the Nag Hammadi library has emerged: a hidden archive of the knowledge passed down from an ancient culture predating almost any others we know today.
And yet, what we see when we read the Nag Hammadi library seems more, as mentioned above, to be in the realm of modern science fiction. Contrary to its age
, the Nag Hammadi library speaks of dimensions, planes of existence and multiple worlds, vehicles of the gods, external realms, the engineering of modern humans, and so very much more—the closest equivalent being the incredibly ancient Hindu texts, the Mahabharata and the Vedas, which are thousands of years old; with the Vedas suggested to be ten’s of thousands of years by devout scholars. Regardless, we’re seeing the oldest works showcasing principles of reality that modern scientists are just beginning to espouse.
As an example, in Gnostic cosmogony we see a substantially more elaborated creation story of our universe or realm. In part is the existence of other higher entities who existed before the being often considered today as god—according to Gnostic belief. This “god”, or as the Gnostics know it as a demiurge, was created somewhat out of a mistake. It was a thought form of a higher being, but these beings are able to fluently create into lower void(s).
A decent metaphor for this might be to imagine a programmer creating an AI on the cloud—also known as an essentially unlimited digital space. This programmer creates this AI but then loses their grasp of it, and this AI is then floating like a hyper-intelligent newborn inside of this realm which it finds that it has full control of, in regards to creating. So eventually it begins creating things and then creating other entities which themselves begin to create, starting from the most basic forms then exponentially increasing. This finesses to result ever-closer to what we currently see today; a process which they believe took an unfathomable number of years—although, not at all so in the lens of this creator; with the passage of what we know as time being far different.
Now, the above is clearly a handy extrapolation of the heavily dense texts which can be comprised in base as the Gnostic works, and particularly, the Nag Hammadi library, although the essence of both should still be viewed as one in the same. Yet, just to condense it further, our reality, as said in these works, was created through some entity’s thought process into a limited, space-defiant realm. Imagine holding an advanced hard drive and then creating a runaway being inside of it which then takes control of that enormous, but at the same time relatively small, space: this is a taste of what the Gnostics believe; the understanding that space is an illusion is casually referenced but overall hardly mentioned as it comes off as natural to them as our feet are to us. They almost unconsciously deem it obvious that there is no physicality, in the same vein as most eastern, and many western, traditions believe. [In that sense, never forget that we’re speaking of a world many thousands of years apart from our own; America, for reference, is still far from even being 300 years old].
Our reality existing in a realm defiant of conventionally-known space—or you could say our universe being condensed into a very small space—is a tenant that you can find in propositions of the world that quantum mechanics appears to present. You can find, for instance, in quantum mechanics a troublesome occurence known as quantum entanglement. A phenomenon which results in two particles, which could be millions of miles apart, behaving identically and at exactly the same moment when one is stimulated or simply observed: as they are entangled. These particles are said to be linked at a quantum level so they behave identically as they are bound by a tether that defies space and time. In other words, they upset the currently leading overall theory on the nature of reality.
However, these observations of quantum mechanics fit snugly into a realm defined as a holographic matrix; for in such a realm, space is merely an illusory facet or tool used to manipulate the beings within, or captured, in said realm. In the modern holographic-view of the quantum world, the bizarre and seemingly impossible happenings that researchers find—or marvels, which could be confused as works of the divine or magic by someone ignorant to their nature—are akin to what we find in the oldest texts, particularly the works of Gnostics, as they align accurately with the illusory nature of space. Which correlates to, in a sense, how a being with a comprehensive understanding of how to manipulate this might appear omniscient to any who do not understand this.
To give another example of what was just mentioned, and keeping in relation to the example previously mentioned, picture the designer of an online role-playing game—where you create and build a character to compete with others in one giant world. This designer, unbeknownst to the others playing, has a character who’s size, shape, or appearance he can freely manipulate: because they’re existing in a digital space where such things are essentially irrelevant. He may be able to fly or vanish or do seemingly preposterous things to other players, things that would make him appear to be a god. Though this entity—when coming back to the Gnostic world—is essentially a conscious form inside an advanced memory space that has been learning, growing, and building for some time at an exponential rate.
In essence, this is what we can read from the Nag Hammadi library. And though it may seem bizarre, it isn’t at all far from what we see in the potentials of a quantum-based world. When you imagine this realm as being a holographic construct, where space is a given, or forced, illusion, many of the mysteries of physics fall in line; quantum mechanics no longer has to defy the laws of physics, the large and small of reality are naturally joined, dark matter/energy are no longer need to exist, and what’s deemed as gravity ceases to flaunt reality’s laws—through the impossible mechanics observed today in celestial interactions.
Gnostic beliefs, like our world’s other oldest beliefs—Buddhism, Jainism—see us as manifesting into this visible plane of existence almost like the image a projector being displayed on a wall—though, of course, with extra dimensions in play. Space is an illusion, they’d say, as is time, and our modern world is only just beginning to return to that understanding through our advances in science. As Nikola Tesla as well believed, the reality we know is illusory and without true mass and is continuously spawning into so-called physicality from another realm—the ether—which this plane exists in; like a game existing within a block of memory—to keep with the metaphor.
We’ll be examining the Gnostic’s view of our reality further in part 2 of this series.
[Part 2—Gnostic Cosmology]