A GNOSTIC STORY OF CREATION
Click here for part 2 – By Ozodi Thomas Osuji – In the first part of this paper I presented science’s current story of creation; now let me present a Gnostic story of creation. Both stories are exactly that, stories, not true. Both are useful. We live in the scientific age and must study science and its various working hypotheses; we are also religious creatures and must have religious myths of creation that enable us adjust to the bewildering things of this world.
In the beginning (there was no beginning) there is God. God is one and at the same time infinite in numbers. One God extended his oneself into infinite parts of him. God is simultaneously himself and each of his parts (his sons).
There is no space and gap between God and his children for they are the same person. Where God ended and his son begins is nowhere and where one son of God ends and another begins is nowhere. God is in his children and they are in him and in each other. In this state of union they are eternal and immortal; they had no beginning and no end. They are characterized by perfect peace and joy.
At some point (that had not taken place for there is no space and time and matter in God) the children of God who are God decided that they did not like the fact that God created them. They wanted to create God and create themselves. Of course once created they could not create their creator or themselves. So how do they gratify their wish for self-creation? What cannot be gratified in spirit can be gratified in dreams. Thus, as it was, they went to sleep and in their sleep dream this world of ours.
Their sleeping and dreaming can be said to have begun with what astrophysicists call Big Bang and has lasted to the present. In their sleep- dream they invented space, time and matter. They then seem to live in the world of space, time and matter and gradually evolved to where we now see ourselves, to human status.
The purpose of the material universe is to offer the children of God opportunity to dream that they are living in a world that is the opposite of God. Our world is the opposite of God and his heaven. God is eternal and we are mortal; heaven is peaceful and joyous and our world is conflicted; heaven is joined and our world is separated; heaven is permanent and changeless and our world is temporary and ephemeral. In heaven all know themselves as one, the same and equal; in our world we are differentiated into different social statues and stratifications. In heaven we know it all but on earth our knowledge is limited.
When we separated from God we assigned tasks to each of us; each of us played roles in making the universe of separation; each of us also play roles in reunifying the universe. In constructing the universe each of us developed certain skills and now put those skills to use in reconstructing the universe. This is why there seems predestination in our lives. Each of us is here to do certain things for he had already done certain things when we were inventing the world and is now redirecting his specialization as we put together the pieces of God’s one shattered son. There is predestination; this means that what you can do I cannot do for each of us is here to do specific things.
The predestination is however by our individual and collective choices; it is not forced on us. This means that one is where one is supposed to be, doing what one has to do and there are no accidents in ones life; ones choices placed one where one is and made happen to one what happens to one.
If one is in a region where an earthquake or tsunami etc. occurred and one is killed that is what ones dream calls for. However, it should be remembered that the earth is a dream and that what takes place in a dream has not in fact taken place. No one in reality is killed in earthquakes.
God’s children remain as God created them, spirit and unified with him; while in spirit they merely dream and see themselves on earth where they seem born in body, age and die. On earth they are born, age and die but those take place in dreams; in spiritual reality no one is born or lives in body or dies.
The universe is of our design; we individually and collectively designed it and are learning about it; eventually our learning will take us to the realization of our oneness in spirit.
Our learning is guided by two agents, our wish to separate from each other and our wish to unify with each other.
The ego, the sense of I, me, housed in body is the wish that wants to separate from other persons and God; it is the wish that made this world possible. The ego is responsible for the invention and maintenance of this world. The ego makes us adapt to the reality of this world. It is the ego that studies science and tells us that the world of space, time and matter is real and that we shall eventually die and that is the end of it.
When we seemed to have separated from God and he could no longer communicate with us as he used to do he created another aspect of himself, the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit God entered the world his son made. God the father (transcendent God) remains in spirit but God the Holy Spirit (the immanent God) entered the world God the son (now the ego) made.
Our true identity is the Christ, the unified, holy son of God, a spirit self. But we are not currently aware of that unified, joined self. At present we are sleeping and have forgotten our true self. In the dream we identify with the wish for separation and its self, the ego
The ego or separated self is the self that wants to be apart from all other selves. This false self-houses itself in body and invents space and time around it to give it boundary from other selves. It feels over here and sees other persons as over there hence he is not them and what happens to him does not happen to them.
The ego is a substitute self, a replacement self; our real self is the Christ, the unified self.
In the egos world the ego constructs substitute relationships with other egos. In their substitute unions they appear to be unified but actually each retains his sense of separated self and is free to walk away from the pseudo union at any moment it no longer serves his need for specialness (as Helen Schucman called it). On earth we have the illusion that we are separated from each other and form associations that are temporary before we move on to our separated ways.
On earth we feel like we did something wrong by separating from our real self, unified self and feel guilty. We feel as if we disobeyed God and wronged each other by separating from them; we feel guilty and expect to be punished by God and by each other. We do to each other what we expect them to do to us. We see ourselves as guilty and punishable and see other persons as guilty and punishable and punish them for their earthly wrongs. We bear grievances and seek vengeance for the wrongs done to us.
God knows that his children are merely sleeping and dreaming separation and cannot separate from him; God knows that his children are innocent although they made mistake in believing that they are separated from him. No one can separate from God. Their mistake is to be corrected. God seeks to make their dreams happy via his Holy Spirit asking them to love and forgive each other what they do in their dreams.
God is not punitive and does not punish his children. God knows that his children are not separated from him for his children are ideas in his mind and ideas cannot leave their source. We remain in God and as he created us, ideas, eternal and one with him and with each other.
(The world is also ideas and remains in the minds of those who made it, in our minds. The world is an outward projection of the wish for separation; the world is a dream that dreamers see as real but when they wake up they know that it is not real. Philosophers call this approach to the world solipsism, as opposed to the view that the external world is real, called materialism.)
Please do remember that it is God that extended himself to God the son and subsequently to God the Holy Spirit. In effect, God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit is one person. This is called the Holy Trinity.
One self, God, remains as God but as the son of God invented this world and as God the Holy Spirit is trying to find his way back to himself. One self is engaged in this drama called our world.
Hinduism correctly recognized that God (Brahman) and each of us (Atman) is the same and that they take on a false identity while in sleep dream called the ego (Ahankara).
Mystics are those persons who listen to the Holy Spirit and relinquish the world and awaken to spirit and now teach their brothers to do what they did and let go of the world and return to unified spirit. Mystics are, as it were, at the gate of heaven trying to get their brothers far from it to come to them. They are not yet fully in haven, but occasionally they experience heaven (oneness) but cannot remain there for as long as any child of God is in dreams that he is not God.
Mystics allow the Holy Spirit to guide them. Since God and the Holy Spirit is love, mystics guide their thinking and actions with love. They recognize that they and all of us are one and love every person. In love they return to the state of union that is our original state in spirit. They teach all of us to permit the Holy Spirit to guides us.
You are guided by the Holy Spirit when you use love to judge all that you do towards other persons. If you consistently love you and love all people you feel peaceful and happy. Your brain would feel like there are no thoughts, worry, anxiety and fear in it. You are calm most of the time (until the ego enters and disturbs your peace). The Holy Spirit tells you what to do (love tells you what to do…the Holy Spirit telling you what to do does not literally mean hearing his voice talking to you for he is not apart from your; he is you; he is your loving self; his voice is your voice if it is loving towards you and all persons.)
Our earthly minds have three sides to them: the ego mind that wishes separation; the mind of Christ or the Holy Spirit that wishes union, and our unified one mind, the mind of God in us. The ego is the left mind, the Holy Spirit or Christ is the right mind, and God is the unified mind in us.
The world is a dream and we are the dreamers; we are supposed to awaken from the dream and return to a dreamless state of being, the world of spirit, the world of God.
In the meantime the world of dream we live in is not real. In the world of dream things happen to us as if by random acts but in fact the dream calls for those things to happen to us.
The world of dream is best understood by the scientific method hence all of us must study the physical sciences up to university levels. We need scientific knowledge to adapt to this world.
However, we are more than our bodies and have needs more than bodies’ needs; we are at root spirit hence having need for spiritual knowledge, knowledge that takes us back to God.
There are many routes back to God. I find the Gnostic path back to God amenable to my mind set. The religion explicated above is obviously Gnostic. Many Gnostics have presented it in different forms, from Valentine to Plotinus to Mani to Helen Schuman (A course in miracles); each presents it in a language that suites his or her generation. The basics of the story, however, are constant. It is that we are part of God and left him and now live in world of space, time and matter.
Some Gnostics see the world of matter as darkness and see the world of God as the world of light. Some say that the world of darkness, Pleroma, was created by a rebellious angel, Lucifer, Demiurge. They urge people to let go of darkness and return to light, to God. They see us as fallen from light and into darkness and are trying to extricate us and return us to light.
The Christian concept of original sin is tantamount to our decision to leave the state of union and live separated existence. Salvation means letting go of the wish for separation and embracing the wish for union, love and forgiveness.
In the Christian light, Jesus Christ was the first person to let go of his wish for separation and accepted the wish for union and returned to God. He has now joined forces with the Holy Spit and is working for the reunification of all his fragmented brothers into one whole, holy, son of God before they all reenter heaven, unified state.
In the Hindu and Buddhist traditions Gnosticism is presented with Asian metaphors but they are also teaching how to let go of the ego separated self and accept the unified self.
Gnosticism is the religion of those who want to negate this world and escape from it to a unified world. Not every person is yet ready to relinquish the world of separation and return to the world of union; each of us is at a different stage in his evolution through time and space; those still vested in separation are permitted to do so and different religions are given to them (in Hinduism there are many religions, many ways of returning to God, including Bhakti, Karma, Tantra, Raja and Jnana).
To be continued …..