Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Midnight at the Nag Hammadi

After the evening meal, most of the brothers were still at the dining table, for Bro. Cecil, who is currently researching the findings of the Nag Hammadi Library, as most of you may know, this 'library' of leather-bound papyri manuscripts was found in 1945 in Egypt by six Bedouin tribesmen. Actually they were gathering 'fertilizer' and one hit upon a large clay vessel, sealed at the top. Being both superstitious and illiterate, they wondered what was inside the vessel, yet feared it may harbor some evil spirits, but after some debate on the matter, another possibility came to mind, it may contain gold! That was enough for one to smash the clay vessel upon a rock, revealing not gold, but leather-bound manuscripts. Unable to read any language, these Coptic manuscripts were somewhat of a disappointment to them, and five of the gents declined their share, leaving the manuscripts in the hands of a Mohammed Ali, who then lugged them to his humble dwelling, when he simply dropped them in a corner of the room, whereupon, later, his mother preparing a fire for cooking a meal, used some of the papyri sheets as kindling for her fire. Lucky for us, Mohammed, after thinking that perhaps he could sell his findings, safeguarded them from further destruction. And the story goes on, but what is important is the writings themselves, penned in the first centuries by early Christians, the Gnostics, who later were more of less swept off the table when the New Testament canon was cobbled together. But that is all another story, and a debatable one at that. So, back to the dining table, tonight Bro. Cecil read the Sophia of Jesus Christ, and here is a bit of it that I find most interesting. I hope you do too.

The Sophia (Wisdom) of Jesus Christ.

After he rose from the dead, his twelve disciples and seven women continued to be his followers, and went to Galilee onto the mountain called "Divination and Joy". When they gathered together and were perplexed about the underlying reality of the universe and the plan, and the holy providence, and the power of the authorities, and about everything the Savior is doing with them in the secret of the holy plan, the Savior appeared - not in his previous form, but in the invisible spirit. And his likeness resembles a great angel of light. But his resemblance I must not describe. No mortal flesh could endure it, but only pure, perfect flesh, like that which he taught us about on the mountain called "Of the Olives" in Galilee.

And he said: "Peace be to you, My peace I give you!" And they all marveled and were afraid. The Savior laughed and said to them: "What are you thinking about? Are you perplexed? What are you searching for?"

Philip said: "For the underlying reality of the universe and the plan."

The Savior said to them: "I want you to know that all men are born on earth from the foundation of the world until now, being dust, while they have inquired about God, who he is and what he is like, have not found him. Now the wisest among them have speculated from the ordering of the world and (its) movement. But their speculation has not reached the truth. For it is said that the ordering is directed in three ways, by all the philosophers, (and) hence they do not agree. For some of them say about the world that it is directed by itself. Others, that it is providence (that directs it). Others, that it is fate. But it is none of these. Again, of the three voices I have just mentioned, none is close to the truth, and (they are) from man. But I, who came from Infinite Light, I am here - for I know him (Light) - that I might speak to you about the precise nature of the truth. For whatever is from itself is a polluted life; it is self-made. Providence has no wisdom in it. And fate does not discern. But to you it is given to know; and whoever is worthy of knowledge will receive (it), whoever has not been begotten by the sowing of unclean rubbing but by First Who Was Sent, for he is an immortal in the midst of mortal men."

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