Basilides


It is precisely the challenge involved

in using inadequate words

that drives the mind

beyond all words…

At the borders of speech

we open ourselves

to the positive value of silence….

Literary reading,

through its complexity, its music,

its suggestiveness, points to a fuller realm of being.

–Edward k Kaplan (citing Abraham Joshua Heschel)

> I think that the True Man can be more accurately described as the

> Jesus-Man through which the Christ can become manifest.

>

> As for the mirror/reflection analogy … I think of the Biblical

> phrase that we were created in the “image” of God. The word “mirror”

> can be found in the definition of “image” … not that we are/were

> “The” God, but were created in the likeness of God … a reflection of

> the divine.

>

> Regards,

>

>

 

these are important questions

 

“I think that the True Man can be more accurately described as the

> Jesus-Man through which the Christ can become manifest.”

 

The power of God is with you at all times; through the activities of mind,

 

 

senses, breathing, and emotions; and is constantly doing all the work

 

using you as a mere instrument.”

 

 –The Gita

 

 

So is Jesus the vessel and christ wine that is poured into the vessel?

 

Or is Jesus the vessel and the wine as is the Christ?

 

One day as Manjusri stood outside the gate,

 

the Buddha called to him,

 

“Manjusri, Manjusri, why do you not enter?”

 

Manjusri replied,

 

“I do not see myself as outside. Why enter?”

 

 

 

> As for the mirror/reflection analogy … I think of the Biblical

> phrase that we were created in the “image” of God. The word “mirror”

> can be found in the definition of “image” … not that we are/were

> “The” God, but were created in the likeness of God … a reflection of

> the divine.

 

Where does God end and man begin?

 

 

“When my Beloved appears,With what eye do I see Him?

 

With His eye, not with mine,

 

For none sees Him except Himself.”

 

–Ibn Arabi

 

 

 

Two points as opposites when stretched for infinity will bend in upon themselves and meet. Thus mnaking the end in the begining, or perhaps that there is no end or beginning; see college level math and chapter one of the Sefer yetzirah in theory and practice, A. Kaplan translation.

 

if we are alike God, but not God… is this not duality?

 

If I am not God, does this mean that there exists God and not God?

.

 

 

“He who sees himself only on the outside,

 

not within, becomes small himself and makes others small.”

 

–Mani (turfan fragment M 801)

 

…..

 

Ain Sof in the Kabbalah of Azriel of Gerona

 

 (from “Origins of the Kabbalah” by Gershom Scholem)

 

 

 

 ”If…..there was at first a great deal of uncertainty about the use of the term ‘en-sof, no such ambiguity exists any longer in the mystical vocabulary of the school of Gerona [13th century]. ‘En-sof there is a technical, indeed artificial, term detached from all adverbial associations and serving as a noun designating God in all his inconceivability. Here it is well to remember that the determination of God as the Infinite served for for the thinkers of antiquity and the Neoplatonists…..precisely as a symbol of his inconceivability, and not as an attribute that can be grasped by reason (such as it became with the Scholastics). Among the kabbalists, God is regarded as Infinitude no less than as the Infinite One. The inconceivability of the hidden God and the impossibility of determining him, which, occasionally seem to point to a neutral stratum of the divine nature, are nevertheless those of the infinite person on the whole, the latter being the theistic reinterpretation of the Neoplatonic ‘One.’ Azriel himself introduces him as such at the beginning of his questions and answers on the sefiroth, for he identifies ‘en-sof—a word he employs often and without hesitation—with the leader of the world and the master of creation…..

 

        Azriel’s…..spoke of ‘en-sof as the God whom the philosophers had in mind, and whose sefiroth were but aspects of his revelation and of his activity, the ‘categories of the order of all reality.’ Precisely the most hidden element in God, that which the mystics had in mind when they spoke of ‘en-sof, he transformed into the most public. In doing so he already prepared the personalization of the term ‘en-sof, wich from the designation of an abstract concept begins to appear here as a proper name. Whereas in general, and even in Azriel’s own writings, ‘en-sof still has much of the deus absconditus, which attains anapprehensible existence in the theosophic notion of God and in the doctrine of the sefiroth only, the commentary on the ten sefiroth already presents the ‘en-sof as the ruler of the world, which certainly suggests an image of the government of the world that is very different from that of the theosophy of the Infinite and its sefiroth. For Azriel the highest sefirah is evidently the unfathomable or unknowable and especially the divine will, which in this circle is elevated above the primordial idea. In the abstract the latter could be distinguished from ‘en-sof, but in the concrete it constitutes a real unity with it. The hidden God acts by means of this will, clothes himself in it, as it were, and is one with it. In order to express this, the kabbalists of Gerona readily speak of the ‘will up to the Infinite,’ the ‘height up to the Infinite,’ the ‘unknowable up to the Infinite,’ by which they evidently mean the unity in which the supreme sefirah, represented in each case by the corresponding symbol, extends up to the ‘en-sof and forms with it a unity of action…..

 

        Azriel is fond of referring Job 11:7 : ‘Can you find out the depth of God?’ to this primordial depth of God, which can signify both the fathomable as well as precisely that in the will that is unfathomable and beyond the grasp of all thought. From this primordial depth flwow all the paths of wisdom and it is this primordial depth that in the ‘Chapter on the kawwanah‘ is literally called ‘the perfection of the depth that is one with ‘en-sof,’ a phrase that can also be translated equally literally as ‘that unites itself with ‘en-sof,’ that is, that extends up to its infinity. Thus the terminology of cheqer, the primordial depth, at which all contemplation of the divine is aimed, changes at the same time into that of the ‘undepth’ (Hebrew: ‘en-cheqer), this primordial depth proving to be precisely the unfathomable, and thereby a perfect analogy, in its linguistic form as well, to the Infinite, ‘en-sof.

 

        The will as primordial depth thus becomes the source of all being, and the deity, insofar as it can be envisioned from the point of view of the creature, is conceived entirely as creative will…..The fact that this creative will is then understood by Azriel, in the context of the ideas analyzed in the foregoing, as the Nought, is by no means an isolated instance in the history of mistical terminology. Jacob Böhme, whose Ungrund is reminiscent of Azriel’s formulations, considers the will that eternally emerges from this Ungrund as the Nought. It is therefore no wonder that in these writings the will never appears as something emanated, but rather as that which emanates…..

 

        A state in which ‘en-sof would be without the will accompanying it is thus inconceivable. This again raises the problem of the necessity of the emanation versus the freedom of ‘en-sof in the primordial act of the creation…..

 

        It can be said of ‘en-sof as well as of the Will that nothing exists outside it.

 

 

 

‘All beings come from the incomprehensible primordial ether, and their existence [yeshuth] comes from the pure Nought. However, this primordial ether is not divisible in any direction, and it is One in a simplicity that does not admit of any composition. All acts of the will were in its unity, and it is the will that preceded everything…..And that is the meaning of (Job 23:13): “He is One”—He is the unity of the will, outside of which nothing exists’ [Perush Aggadot, 107)…..

 

 

 

Neither is ‘en-sof nor in the will is there any differentiation; both are designated as the indistinct root of the opposites. For this indistinctness…..the ‘Iyyun circle and Azriel use the Hebrew hashwa’ah; unseparated and indifferent is there called shaweh, literally ‘equal,’ a word that is never used in this snese elsewhere in the Hebrew literature. ‘En-sof as well as the will are ‘indifferent with regard to the opposites.’ They do not conjoin the opposites…..but no distinctions are admitted at all; since the opposites in these supreme principles are ‘equal,’ that is, indistinct, they coincide in them. It is in this sense that mention is often made of the ‘indistinct unity’ or of the ‘indifference of unity’ in which apparent opposites coincide…..The oppoistes are abolished in the infinite…..

 

 

 

‘En-sof is the absolute indistinctness in the perfect unity, in which there is no change. And since it is without limits, nothing exists outisde of it; since it is above everything it is the principle in which everything hidden and visible meet; and since it is hidden, it is the [common] root of faith and unbelief, and the investigating sages [the philosophers] agree with those who say that our comprehension of it can take place only through the path of negation’ [Sha’ar ha-Sho’el].”

 

 

“full participation in divinity which is humankind’s true beatitude and the destiny of human life”

–Thomas Aquinas

…………

At least one circumstance emerges from this statement that is widely overlooked in America. In Europe “Gnosis” and “Gnosticism” are almost always used interchangeably. The suggestion that term “gnosis” ought to be used to describe a state of consciousness, while “Gnosticism” should denote the Gnostic system, has never caught on. The use of such classical Gnosticism of Valentinus, Basilides, et al., persists in European literature, including the writings of such scholars as Gilles Quispel, Kurt Rudolph, and Giovanni Filoramo (to mention some of the most recent ones). It is true that the late Robert McLachlan put forth a proposal to use these terms otherwise, but current usage in Europe has not followed it.

It is evident that a word used in such contradictory ways has lost its meaning. No wonder GNOSIS writer Charles Coulombe despairs over the situation when writing recently in a Catholic publication:

In reality, “Gnosticism,” like “Protestantism,” is a word that has lost most of its meaning. Just as we would need to know whether a “Protestant” writer is Calvinist, Lutheran, Anabaptist, or whatever in order to evaluate him properly, so too the “Gnostic” must be identified.

        http://www.gnosis.org/whatisgnostic.htm

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Russian Orthodox icon of the Transfiguration (Theophanes the Greek, ca. 1408).

Russian Orthodox icon of the Transfiguration (Theophanes the Greek, ca. 1408).

Gnosis: While the literal translation for this word is “knowledge”, it’s meaning is closer to “insight” or, to use another concept, “enlightenment.” It may imply more in some cases than a purely intellectual understanding. It may imply complete comprehension that comes from both rational and intuited means. Gnosis is bonding the soul (nous) with wisdom, in both Sethian,Valentinian, and other Gnostic schema, which link this act through Jesus. The process of Gnosis may have different schema, or criteria as to secular practices. The process of Gnosis seems to be transitional or a transcendence in a learned process.

Gnostic: A person regarded as a student of Gnosis. Can refer to specific sects mentioned by historians, and heresiologists, The term can be used as a category for a number of sects and individuals that believed “Gnosis” had a salvational purpose. Gnostic sects are known to have existed in pre-Christian Jewish
communities and later in Christian movements, according to information in the “Nag Hammadi” text by Robinson. Gnostic views differ, as do secular characters of the Pleroma in the creation myths. The term or versions of it, are used very early in regard to Christian learning, this quote from Book 3 of Clement of
Alexandria’s “Stromata.” “Joannis autem vitae institutum gnosticum quis imitabitur?”

Gnosticism: The word was adapted by modern scholars to refer to the sects of the ‘Late Antiquities’ that shared a similar cosmology and soteriology. More recently the definition has been widened in some circles to mean any form of mysticism or esotericism. Gnostic scenarios both differ, and are alike in the
cosmic reasoning for the creation, making them ‘creation myths.’ Gnostic texts use different names for the characters of the creation stories for characters from the Palermo. Gnostics all believe that man, through learning the perspectives of his psyche, earthly, and pleromic self can attain life after death in a corporeal state by bonding with the higher entities. The ‘Light,’ ‘ Sophia,’ (Wisdom). (See also; ”The
Five Gospels,” by Funk, Hoover, Harpper-Collins, 1993, p. 544.)

Saunder’s Gnostic Glossary

………………..

Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, “These nursing babies are like those who enter the (Father’s) kingdom.”

They said to him, “Then shall we enter the (Father’s) kingdom as babies?”

Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].”

–Gospel of Thomas (22)

……………..

The slave seeks only to be free, but he does not hope to acquire the estate of his master. But the son is not only a son but lays claim to the inheritance of the father. Those who are heirs to the dead are themselves dead, and they inherit the dead. Those who are heirs to what is living are alive, and they are heirs to both what is living and the dead. The dead are heirs to nothing. For how can he who is dead inherit? If he who is dead inherits what is living he will not die, but he who is dead will live even more.

A Gentile does not die, for he has never lived in order that he may die. He who has believed in the truth has found life, and this one is in danger of dying, for he is alive. Since Christ came, the world has been created, the cities adorned, the dead carried out. When we were Hebrews, we were orphans and had only our mother, but when we became Christians, we had both father and mother.

God is a dyer. As the good dyes, which are called “true”, dissolve with the things dyed in them, so it is with those whom God has dyed. Since his dyes are immortal, they become immortal by means of his colors. Now God dips what he dips in water.

It is not possible for anyone to see anything of the things that actually exist unless he becomes like them. This is not the way with man in the world: he sees the sun without being a sun; and he sees the heaven and the earth and all other things, but he is not these things. This is quite in keeping with the truth. But you saw something of that place, and you became those things. You saw the Spirit, you became spirit. You saw Christ, you became Christ. You saw the Father, you shall become Father. So in this place you see everything and do not see yourself, but in that place you do see yourself – and what you see you shall become.

Faith receives, love gives. No one will be able to receive without faith. No one will be able to give without love. Because of this, in order that we may indeed receive, we believe, and in order that we may love, we give, since if one gives without love, he has no profit from what he has given. He who has received something other than the Lord is still a Hebrew.

–The Gospel of Philip

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Archimandrite George has been the Abbot of St. Gregorios Monastery since 1974. He is well known throughout the Orthodox world both as a theologian and spiritual father. He has written many books and articles on theology and the spiritual life. His works have been translated into many languages.

The idea of Theosis will be unfamiliar to the Western mind, although it is not a new concept to Christianity. When Christ said, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” [1] this is a call to a life of Theosis.

Theosis is personal communion with God “face to face.” [2] To the Western mind, this idea may seem incomprehensible, even sacrilegious, but it derives unquestionably from Christ’s teachings. Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the messianic dream of the Jewish race; [3] His mission to connect us with the Kingdom of God [4] a Kingdom not of this world. [5] When Jesus said, “You are gods,” [6] “be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect,” [7] or “the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father,” [8] this is to be taken literally. For those who are interested, further Biblical evidence for this can be found in Leviticus 11:44-45; 20:7-8; Deuteronomy 18:13; Psalms 82:1,6; Romans 6:22; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:2-4.

 

The whole sacrificial tradition of Israel beginning with the sacrificial offering of Isaac reaches fulfillment in Jesus Christ. St. John the Baptist echoing Isaiah says, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes upon Himself the sins of the world.” [9] St. Paul has this in mind when he says, “If you are Christ’s, then you are descendants of Abraham, and heirs according to the promise,” [10] because “those who believe are children of Abraham.” [11] The name Israel, was given to Jacob by God as an expression of his fidelity. Later this name was inherited by his faithful descendants. This train of thought is expounded in the writings of St. Paul, where he blesses the Church as “the Israel of God;” [12] whilst elsewhere he wrestles with and is pained by his fellow Jews denial of their own Messiah, labeling them “Israel according to the flesh.” [13]

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/general/theosis.aspx

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Theoria (Greek θεωρία) is Greek for contemplation or ‘the perception of beauty regarded as a moral faculty’ (OED). From within Eastern Orthodox theology it is the ‘vision’ and or the ‘seeing’ of God, as the experience of God, achieved by the pure of heart who are no longer subject to the afflictions of the passions. This affliction of the passions is caused by the knowledge of good and the knowledge the evil. Theoria is validated because God is in the Universe or material world, which is evidenced by the material world containing beauty. Theoria is obtained as a gift from the Holy Spirit to those who through partaking of the sacraments along with the observance of the commandments of God and ascetic practices (see also kenosis, Poustinia and schema) have achieved dispassion.[1]Theoria is closely tied to the ascetic form of contemplative prayer called hesychasm that in the Eastern Church can also encompass the Jesus Prayer or the Prayer of the Heart. Theoria is a faculty that develops along with and is intimately related to the process of theosis, considered (especially by the Eastern Orthodox church) to be the quintessential purpose and goal of Christianity. Theosis has three stages the first is called catharis or purification, the second theoria or illumination and finally theosis or deification.[2] The love of beauty (philokalia), transcending the love of wisdom (philosophy) manifests into the love of God (theophilos). Love of God as faith in God manifests as humility. Humility is above all else, the characteristic hallmark of the saints. Theoria and Theosis culminates into the Kingdom of God. Here humility as a saintly attribute is called sophia or Holy Wisdom. Humility not knowledge is the most critical component to mankind’s salvation.[3]

The word has its origin in the Greek language and is derived from the same root as the English word theory. Theoria is used to express the experience of life as “one who watches a play or activity”, the state of “being” is defined as spectator. Hence it means to focus one’s attention exclusively on one thing, Beauty and or God being the object of focus. The act of experiencing and or observing is through the nous or “eye of the soul” Matthew 6:22-6:34. Noesis as faith in God (action through faith and love for God), leads to truth through our contemplative faculties. This theory, or speculation, as action in faith and love for God, is then expressed famously as “Beauty shall Save the World”. This expression of the idea comes from a mystic or gnosiology perspective (rather than say, a scientific or cultural one),[

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theoria

………………

 

This is the second stage of Theosis, called

“theoria,” in the course of which man, having

already been cleansed from the passions, is illumined

by the Holy Spirit, is made luminous

on the way to becoming deified. Theoria means

vision. Theoria of God means a vision of God.

To see God, he must be a deified man. Thus,

theoria of God also means Theosis.

Of course, when he has been thoroughly

cleansed and has offered himself entirely to

God, then he also receives the greatest experience

of divine Grace available to men, which,

according to the holy Fathers, is the vision of

the uncreated light of God. Those who are very

advanced in Theosis see this light, very few in

each generation. God’s Saints see it and appear

within it, and, incidentally, this is what the halos

in the holy icons show us.

For example, in the life of St. Basil the Great,

it is said that when St. Basil was praying in his

cell, those who were able to see him saw that he

himself, and even his cell, were shining within

this uncreated light of God, the light of divine

Grace. In the lives of many of the New-Martyrs

of our Faith we read that, after horrible tortures,

when the Turks hung their bodies in the squares

of the town to intimidate other Christians, on

many nights a light appeared around them. It

shone so clearly and brightly that, because in

this way the truth of our Faith was so brilliantly

revealed, the occupiers ordered them taken

down so that they would not be ashamed before

the Christians, who saw how God glorified His

holy Martyrs.

The Grace of Theosis preserves the bodies

of the Saints incorruptible, and these are the

holy relics which exude myrrh and work miracles.

As St. Gregory Palamas says, the Grace of

God, having first united with the psyches of the

Saints, afterwards shrouds their holy bodies and

fills these too with Grace: not only their bodies,

but also their graves, their icons, and their

Churches. Here is the reason why we venerate

and kiss the icons, the holy relics, the graves,

and the Churches of the Saints. Through Theosis,

all these have something of the Grace of

God which the Saint had in his psyche because

of his union with God.

Therefore, in the Church, we enjoy the Grace

of Theosis not only with our psyche, but also

with our body, because as the temple of the Holy

Spirit Who dwells in it, and shares its struggles

with the psyche, the body is surely glorified.

The Grace springing from the holy Lord

–the God-Man Christ– is poured out into our

Panagia, into the Saints, and it also comes to

those of us who are humble.

It is certainly worth noting that the experiences

of the Christian are not always experiences

of Theosis and so spiritual. Many people

have been deluded by demonic or psychological

experiences. In order that there is no danger of

delusion and no demonic influence, all of this

must be humbly mentioned to the Spiritual

Father, who, illumined by God, will discern

whether these experiences are genuine or not,

and he will give appropriate direction to the

psyche who is confessing. Generally, our obedience

to the Spiritual Father is one of the most

basic points of our spiritual path. Through it we

acquire an ecclesiastical spirit of discipleship in

Christ by which the legitimacy of our exertion

is confirmed in order to guide us towards union

with God.

Within the Church, a special domain of Theosis

is monasticism, where the monks, having

been sanctified, receive high experiences of

union with God.

Many of the monks who experience Theosis

and sanctification also help the whole Church,

for, as we Christians believe following the agelong

holy Tradition of the Church, the struggle

of the monks has a positive effect on the life of

every struggling faithful in the world. In our

Orthodoxy, the people of God have great reverence

for Monasticism because of this.

After all, in the Church we partake in the

communion of the Saints, and experience the

joy of union with Christ. By this we mean that

within the Church we are not isolated members

but a unity, a brotherhood, a fraternal community

– not only among ourselves, but also with

the Saints of God, those who are living on earth

today and those who have passed away. Not

even at death are Christians divided. Death is

unable to separate Christians because they are

all united in the resurrected body of Christ.

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/general/theosis-english.pdf

……..

Man, according to the scriptures, is created in the “likeness” and “image” of God (Gen 1:26-27).

To be like God, through the gift of God, is the essence of man’s being and life. In the scriptures it says that God breathed into man, the “breath (or spirit) of life” (Gen 2:7). This teaching has given rise to the understanding in the Orthodox Church that man cannot be truly human, truly himself, without the Spirit of God.

The image of God signifies man’s free will, his reason, his sense of moral responsibility, everything, which marks man out from the animal creation and makes him a person. But the image means more than that. It means that we are God’s ‘offspring’ (Acts 27:28), his kin; it means that between us and him there is a point of contact, an essential similarity. The gulf between creature and Creator is not impassable, for because we are in God’s image we can know God and have communion with him.

Fall of man

The story of creation, and specifically of Adam and Eve, tells of the goodness of all things that exist, and the superiority of man over other beings. It shows how the origin of evil does not lie in God but in his most perfect creature whose free act of sin brought wickedness and death to the world, how man lost the “likeness” of God, his response to God’s love.

The Church teaches that when we do not respond to God’s love, we are diminished as human beings. The act of faith that he asks of us is not so very different from the faith and trust we place in those people who surround us. When we do not respond to the love given us by the people who love us, we become shallow and hardened individuals.

Prophets

Since man still was of God’s image, the search for meaning was as critical for human existence as are air and water. Creation itself, as the handiwork of God pointed to him. Yet, before the coming of Christ, the meaning of the world and our place in it remained difficult to understand. People created stories to help themselves explain the great mystery of their own existence, the world around them, and the one who was responsible for bringing them into being. Yet, knowledge of the true God eluded them. The Holy Scriptures speak of this lack of knowledge as darkness. So God sent messengers to speak for him, holy men and women through whom he worked wonders, prophets to announce the coming salvation. Finally, God sent his own Son, Jesus Christ. When he came, the very one who had created the world was now clearly made known to the world, giving light to those who had been sitting in darkness.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Soteriology

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Salvation is the goal of Christianity, and the purpose of the Church. The theology of salvation is called soteriology. Orthodox Christianity strongly believes that God became man, so that man may become like God. This concept of theosis, rejects that salvation is a positive result to a legalistic dilemma, but a healing process. Orthodoxy views our inclination to sin as a symptom of a malady that needs treatment, not just a transgression that requires retribution. One of the distinctive characteristics of Orthodox Christian thinking is that it sees the Gospel message not as law, but as relationship. It speaks of the mystery of the Holy Trinity in terms of the relationship of love that exists among them. To join in that love is the work that will lead to salvation.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Soteriology

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Theosis (“deification,” “divinization”) is the process of a worshiper becoming free of hamártía (“missing the mark”), being united with God, beginning in this life and later consummated in bodily resurrection. For Orthodox Christians, Théōsis (see 2 Pet. 1:4) is salvation. Théōsis assumes that humans from the beginning are made to share in the Life or Nature of the all-holy Trinity. Therefore, an infant or an adult worshiper is saved from the state of unholiness (hamartía — which is not to be confused with hamártēma “sin”) for participation in the Life (zōé, not simply bíos) of the Trinity — which is everlasting.

This is not to be confused with the heretical (apothéōsis) – “Deification in God’s Essence“, which is imparticipable.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Theosis

 

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All religions, all Yogas, may be paths to lead us closer to Him who is the only One through whom all was created, the Christ. Jesus was the manifestation in human form of the limitless Christ of God.

There is no separation in God. The forces which promote separation, selfishness and egotism should not be feared, for nothing can hinder the plan of God, nor prevent its fulfillment. Love alone shall be our protection. Where there is love there is unity, there is the Christ.

When Christ returns, He will be as the fulfillment of each individual soul potential, and the unified consciousness and loving brotherhood of all mankind. No differences of language, race or even religion can separate us then, as we are all One in? Him, and we will realize this in all fullness. Meanwhile we should realize that no man is our enemy! The only enemy is the sense of limitation which divides us from Him and each other.

All this shall pass away as the Consciousness of the whole race is lifted into a larger awareness of God. We grow toward this by letting go of our limited conceptions, and opening up to the universal Christ-Love, by allowing His Love to flow through us to all mankind.

This I believe.

And on each of its circles there was seated a Siren on the upper side,

Carried round, and uttering a single sound on one pitch.

But the whole of them, being eight, composed a single harmony.

–Plato

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How can God be said to be in a place, since he is present everywhere and in all things?

And where is his special abode in the world ?

Before we treat of the seat, or proper residence of Creative Nature, it must be asked whether it can reside in any place, since it is infinite in its essence. To which doubt the whole school of Theologians replies by pointing out that it has no one defined location, like intelligences or spiritual creatures, nor is it hemmed in, like things that have bodies, but it is all pervading; although, according to Gregory, God may be said to be trebly present in all things, either as an actual presence, showing his goodness in them, or in potential, through his influence, or in his essence, for he is their inmost substance. Moreover, God is said to be everywhere, for divine power permeates all beings, and by it he defines the resemblance of the potentiality of the entire universe to himself. He is said to fill all things, not because he is contained in them, but because they are contained in him. For, says Ambrosius, it is the property of GOD to be everywhere and in everything. It is therefore plain that God is not, as you may imagine, present in everything so that anything can take him as a model for its size and shape, as the less takes the greater, but he is present in everything created. We understand, therefore, that God is inside everything, but not shut in, for he is infinite and immeasurable, and outside everything too, but not shut out, for he includes all things created in his own unbounded hugeness. Hence it is said that all things made by God partake of his goodness through his presence in them, or the presence of a degree of his essence, as angels are displayed in souls and souls in animals ; and yet, just as any creature whatsoever is of lower or higher rank according to the beauty of the shape it acquired from its primal substance or Being, so also (as lamblichus states) it will occupy a higher or lower station according to the share of merit it has acquired. Now where we perceive a good that is absolute and elemental, and for so I understand lamblichus’ words one that goes beyond nature, we assume that it is the cause of good, that is, the first principle of the essence of good; Mercurius Trismegistus speaks of this when he warns us not to say anything is better than the One God. Therefore, all operations proceeding from the Creator’s goodness are found to be participants in his essence, nor do they exceed the essential nature of God, because they naturally receive their essence, shape, and their materialised light from the ardent gener­osity of the Creator, by whose gifts they are illumined, endowed with form, turned from possibilities into realities, and are therefore said to be good by participation. And the world and worldly creatures have received this bounty that makes them real from a Creator that was not compelled by necessity, as the philosophical tradition has it, but who wished to perfect his entire creation of his own free and abundant will, according to the royal Psalmist’s Utterance :- “Whatsoever God wished, he did in heaven and earth”. Finally the ancient Philosophers have placed the abode of this creative nature in the heavens because of their beauty and bright­ness. For this reason Plato used to assert that God dwelt in a fiery substance, i.e., in the Ether. Later Philosophers (among whom I name those true worshippers of this Nature, Isidore, Bede and Basilius) seem to agree with him, calling the Empyrean heaven the abode of God. For although God is said to be everywhere, nevertheless, he is said to be present in this (Empyrean) heaven, properly, principally, and for the most part : here the works of his power shine out more, as in a worthier setting and situation, more fitting for the operation of his divine power – as Damascenus says.

God is not said to be above and outside all things because he is a distant spot, but because of the excellence of his nature, as In. Resolut, Theolog. tract 1, p.l, quaest. 4, has it. And this is called the Intellectual Heaven, because God, whose residence it is, is called the Intellectual Spirit. Others have attributed this super-celestial region to angels and the souls of the blessed, and have stated that there is another abode besides this one, which they have called the Heaven of the Trinity, corresponding to the one Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They say that this is God himself in its matter, but that it is very different in its mind. For, according to Albertus, this heaven is the strength of divine power, containing and surrounding all created things. Therefore, to be in this heaven is to be equal in strength to God the creator, container and saviour of everything. All these things are clearly explained by Ezekiel’s vision, where, although these two regions of the Intelligences and the Trinity may appear to differ, if only in the purity and exaltedness of their essence, nevertheless, the Prophet declares that they are contained in one in the Empyrean Heaven, so called because of its perfect brightness, as air and fire are contained in one in the Ethereal Heaven. For he compared the single, convex, surrounding Heaven of the Firmament to the likeness of a man, whose upper part, from the outline of the loins upward, was shining with a very fine and spiritual fire, like that of carab resin; while the lower part, from the loins downward, was spark­ling with a somewhat denser and grosser fire. The partition of this region into two regions of different worth seems to indicate the precelestial heaven, peculiar to spiritual creatures, and the super-celestial one.

–Robert Fludd (Utriusque Cosmi Historia, or The Origin and Structure of the Cosmos)

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When the intelligence is brought to bear on the tone-world, it finds therein a singular image of the primordial Unity that rules in the universe and orders all things from first to last. Not only that: there opens to it a whole immeasurable canvas, reflecting like countless mirrors the uncreated harmony, reposing eternally in itself, of God the Three-in-One. It sees also the harmony created in time, destroyed by the sin of our first fathers, and restored through the incarnation of the eternal Word—the truly realized harmony of the moral and physical creation, concentrating itself in the most manifold ways to glorify the Trinity. The intelligence is moved thereby to admiration, while in the heart there awakens a foretaste of the Beyond, arousing a tender longing for its true homeland, the land of eternal harmony

–Peter Alkantara Singer


But creatures remain untouchable, inviolable. If God wants you to suffer a little, He allows you to learn just how inviolable they are. As soon as you try to possess their goodness for its own sake, all that is sweet in them becomes bitter to you, all that is beautiful, ugly. Everything you love sickens you. And at the same time your need to love something, somebody, increases a hundred times over. And God, Who is the only one who can be loved for His own sake alone, remains invisible and imaginable and untouchable, beyond everything else that exists.”

 

Thomas Merton

 

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The Kingdom of Heaven is within you –the immortal words of Christ do not pertain exclusively to the patristic formulae of salvation through sacrament, nor do they point only to the mystical body itself as unitive and unifying salvation. Rather, the observation is most profound or religious truths, akin to the shahadatyn themselves, the depth of micrcosmic reality, the height of human possibility. Above the kataphatic lies the apophatic, and This is unapproachable, impenetrable. But the kataphatic is a Reality humanity mirrors, when cleansed of unnecessary and delimiting contingency.

 

–Ahson Azmat (Extract from: Between Kaf and Nun: Rings, Gardens, Cosmos and Imago Terrae: Towards an explanation of Sacred Tome and Space, found in Sophia vol 12, no1)

http://www.sophiajournal.com/

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It is for this reason that the highest form of Gnostic spiritual writing, the highest and most challenging and most frustrating in many ways for the reader, is the apophatic/kataphatic contestation, of which the finest and purest example is found in Thunder Perfect Mind.

For I am knowledge and ignorance.
I am shame and boldness.
I am shameless; I am ashamed.
I am strength and I am fear.
I am war and peace.
Give heed to me.
I am the one who is disgraced and the great one.


It is only slightly, I would say, trailed behind by the Gospel of Philip itself. It holds the famous statement of Gnostic apophatic declaration:

Light and Darkness, life and death, right and left, are brothers and sisters of one another. They are inseparable. Because of this neither are the good good, nor evil evil, nor is life life, nor death death. For this reason each one will dissolve into its earliest origin. But those who are exalted above the world are indissoluble, eternal.


Names given to the worldly are very deceptive, for they divert our thoughts from what is correct to what is incorrect. Thus one who hears the word “God” does not perceive what is correct, but perceives what is incorrect. So also with “the Father” and “the Son” and “the Holy Spirit” and “life” and “light” and “resurrection” and “the Church (Ekklesia)” and all the rest – people do not perceive what is correct but they perceive what is incorrect, unless they have come to know what is correct. The names which are heard are in the world […] deceive. If they were in the spiritual realm, they would at no time be used as names in the world. Nor were they set among worldly things. They have an end in the spiritual realm.


What could be a better description of this philosophy than to say it is a prefiguring, written in the mythological and spiritualizing language of the first centuries of the Gnostic era, of the postmodern philosophy of Baudrillard’s simulacrum? I think it is also relevant for us to consider the warning of Max Horkheimer, the
Frankfurt School philosopher of the mid-twentieth century, that we as a society are advancing far faster technologically than we are in terms of our actual substantive enlightenment as human beings. There is a difference between the substance of reason in the sense of “reasonableness”, and the process of “rationalization” — but unfortunately we collapse the two into the concept of the “ratio.” Of course, Gnosticism has never allowed for such a collapse, because of its healthy skepticism about the ability of the ratio per se to provide the salvation of either the human person or of humanity as a whole. It is important for us to hold onto that skepticism. It is a skepticism that is not anti-scientific and anti-rationalistic per se. We are not talking about the kind of anti-scientistic frenzy that has taken hold of conservative Protestantism with its bizarre hatred of genuine scientific endeavor and progress. But we are talking about a recognition that our science and our technology is sometimes advancing well beyond our moral capacity to deal with that advancing process. This is why we face issues like cloning and stem-cell research on which human society seems to be incapable of engaging in real dialogue beyond shouting and screaming matches that actually jettison any kind of reasonable debate in favor of competing fundamentalisms. We can see that is a typical problem in many parts of human life today. We actually have competing fundamentalisms. One fundamentalism of the left, one of the right; one of the Christians, one of the anti-Christians; one of the sexually repressed, one of those who seem to have no sense of the need for any kind of sexual morality based on human diversity and respect for the individual’s sexual identity.

–Brother Matthew Oroborous (From Basilides to Baudrillard… )

 

 

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“The four elements stem from a single source element. This is alluded to in the verse, ‘and a river flows from Eden to water the Garden; from there it divides and becomes four major rivers.’ That is, there is a single source which divides into four — the four elements….. This source element is called the yesod hapashut, the ‘simple element,’ in that, at the source, everything is united as one, without differentiation.

 

Everything in the world is composed of four basic elements. Each element contains traces of all the others, even if only in microscopic proportion. Thus, domem (mineral) has ‘earth’ as its main component, but one can find traces of ‘water,’ ‘air’ and ‘fire’ within. The continued existence of the world is based upon the proper combination and interaction of these elements.

 

Each element is radically different in makeup from the others, yet God in His infinite wisdom created them in such a way that they could coexist and sustain life in an almost endless array of combinations — as long as that which they are sustaining is alive. When its ‘life’ ends, the elements disperse — creating a situation, conceptually, of the ‘World of Separation.’ Thus it is the life force that binds the disparate elements together so that man can exist…..

 

Although every person is made up of all four elements, there are four main roots, corresponding to the four letters of the Tetragrammaton (YHVH). Each individual is rooted in his particular letter more than all the others. Correspondingly, he is also rooted in the specific element and character trait that derives from that letter. This is what accounts for the tremendous differences we find in people’s temparents. Some temperaments are rooted in fire, some in air, some in earth, some in water. The main thing is to harmonize their differences, for when difference, rather than harmony, is stressed, strife becomes the norm and people resist and oppose each other. This strife reverberates into their root elements, causing disharmony Above. As a result, the world is visited with destruction and sickness.

The main controlling force which can harmonize these differences is found in the single source element, the Tzaddik, The Tzaddik knows how to establish a proper balance between the various elements in his domain. This brings harmony and peace to each individual and to humanity as a whole.”

— Nosson of Bratslav (Likutei Halachot)

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Whoever is able to fulfill the first phase of the path, the phase of self-dissolution in the grace of the rose, and is able to break up the magnetic system of ordinary nature to which he is bound is immediately liberated. And although existentially still completely a nature being and so still in the world and within the system of the twelve aeons, such a person will no longer find any hindrance on account of this second sidereal birth. He has become a child of God. He has been freed of all ties forever.

The Gnostic Mysteries of Pistis Sophia (Lectorium Rosicrucianum) 

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“O God, If I worship You for fear of Hell,

burn me in Hell without end.

And if I worship You in hope of Paradise,

Forbid it forever to me.


But if I worship You for You,
do not hold back from me Your everlasting Beauty.”

 

–Rabi a al-Basri (8th Cent Sufi Saint http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabi’a )

 

رابعة العدوية القيسية) or simply Rabiʿa al-Basri (717–801 C.E.) was a female muslim Sufi saint.

Rābiʻa al-ʻAdawiyya al-Qaysiyya (Arabic: رابعة العدوية القيسية) or simply Rabiʿa al-Basri (717–801 C.E.) was a female muslim Sufi saint.

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SHAHADATAIN: Bearing witness. In order to become a Muslim one must utter and believe in two Shahadas (Shahadatain): First Shahada: Ashhadu an la illa ill’allah. ( I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.) Second Shahada: Ashhadu anna Muhammadar rasoolullah. (I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.) The Shahadatain is the gateway to Islam and the gateway to the Garden. It is easy to say, but to act on it is a vast undertaking which has far-reaching consequenccs, in both inward awareness and outward action, in this world and in the next world.

http://www.islambasics.com/view.php?bkID=999999&chapter=19

 

 

 

Cataphatic theology describes God positively according to what He has revealed of Himself in Scripture and nature. It is usually discussed as the opposite of Apophatic (or negative) theology, which attempts to describe God only in terms of what He is not.

Negative theology, also known as Apophatic theology, is a theological approach that describes God by negation, speaking of God only in terms of what He is not (apophasis) rather than presuming to describe what God is.

In negative theology, it is maintained that we can never truly define God in words. In the end, the student must transcend words to understand the nature of the Divine. In this sense, negative theology is not a denial. Rather, it is an assertion that whatever the Divine may be, when we attempt to capture it in human words, we will inevitably fall short.

In contrast, making positive statements about the nature of God, which occurs in most other forms of Christian theology, is sometimes called cataphatic theology.

Negative theology played an important role early in the history of Christianity. Three theologians who emphasized the importance of negative theology to an orthodox understanding of God, were Gregory the Theologian, John Chrysostom, and Basil the Great. It was employed by John of Damascus when he wrote that positive statements about God reveal “not the nature, but the things around the nature.” It continues to be prominent in Eastern Orthodoxy (see Gregory Palamas) where apophatic statements are crucial to much of their theology, and is used to balance cataphatic theology.