More Gnosticism

From Delbert Burkett’s An Introduction to the New Testament and the Origins of Christianity, another nice description of Gnosticism…

Gnostic Christians generally thought of salvation as immortality of the soul rather than resurrection of the body. The soul originally existed in a divine realm of light and was itself part of that light. Below this realm of light was the material world, a place of darkness, ignorance, and evil. When the soul descended to the material world, it became trapped in a physical body. The physical body had a negative impact on the soul, enslaving it to various passions and making it forget its true origin and divine nature. Salvation for the soul consisted of recalling its true origin and nature, a knowledge that would allow the soul at death to return to the divine realm. The progress of the soul was impeded by various evil powers that ruled the material world. In some branches of Gnosticism, it was aided by a divine being who descended from the realm of light to reveal the saving knowledge to the soul. Gnostic Christians identified this figure as Jesus or Christ. Some regard him as a purely spiritual being with no physical body.


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