As someone who’s come to spirituality through Christianity, I continue to consider how to incorporate the concept of God in my beliefs. From a wide perspective, the idea of a great creator God is common to many beliefs. That God may be called by many names but regardless of the name the idea is similar.
In Gnostic beliefs there are many gods. There is still an ultimate creator God but there are also lesser gods. According to the Gnostic creation story, the god of this world isn’t actually the true creator god. To the Gnostic’s, the creator God, was much bigger than just the creator of this world.
A great resource I use to research the Gnostic beliefs is the Gnosis Archive, here. Through that site, I discovered Dr. Marvin Meyer who is one of the premiere scholars on the Gnostic’s. He has written an edited many books including translating many of the Gnostic texts. One of my favorite books is the comprehensive, Nag Hamadi Scriptures. It’s available on Amazon by clicking the link.
A good introductory book, also by Dr. Meyer, is The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus. The Gnostic version of Jesus is different from the modern version. This book gives another view of Jesus and how he related to his disciples. It’s also on Amazon by clicking the link.
There are many other books but these are 2 that I think are great resources for anyone interested in learning more about the Gnostic version of Christianity. This is an important perspective on God that has helped me put God in context with my own spiritual beliefs. I think of the creator God as the fabric of reality. This is a much larger God than the one who simply (comparatively) created this world.
The Gnostic system allows for lesser gods. From an animistic perspective, that allows for a universe of powerful forces. But, it also raises the question; what determines status as a god? That’s a question for another time, but it’s important to ask. In the Gnostic creation there are 4 “luminaries” that exist between God and angels and even the “god” that created our heaven and earth. So, if the force that created the Earth is a “god” and he was created by a “god” and there are powerful forces between them that aren’t “gods;” what criteria constitutes a “god?” Again, that’s a question that deserves its own article, but I think it opens the door to the possibility of many “gods.”
I think the concept of a creator god fits within animistic spirituality. From a Christian perspective, I think the Gnostic traditions provide a way to incorporate both, a belief in a creator god and belief in lesser gods. At some point I’ll have to write another article exploring the question; what criteria constitutes a god? I think we may be misusing that word, or we have restricted our thinking by denying the possibility of multiple gods. This question also leads to many other questions such as; is it possible for us to become gods? At any rate, those are all concerns for another article. I hope you’ve found some value in this article, and if you want to know more about Gnostic beliefs, check out the books I recommended. Until next time.