COMPARING 3 MYTHIC ACCOUNTS OF CREATION:

PLATO, THE HEBREW BIBLE, AND THE REALITY OF THE RULERS

 

I. The Categories of Existence and the Work of the Creator

II. Creation of the First Humans

III. The Differentiation of Male and Female

I. THE CATEGORIES OF EXISTENCE AND

THE WORK OF THE CREATOR

 

PLATO (429-327 BCE), TIMAEUS

 

HEBREW BIBLE:

GENESIS (ca. 500 BCE), PROVERBS (ca. 300 BCE)

 

THE REALITY OF THE RULERS or HypArch (Nag Hammadi, ca. 180 CE).

29d) We must begin by distinguishing between:

that which always is

and never becomes (to on)

and that which is always becoming but never is (to gignomenon).

1:1 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth,

 

HypArch 94,5-9: Within limitless realms dwells incorruptibility. Sophia, who is called Pistis (Faith), wanted to create something, alone without her consort, and her product was a celestial thing.

29d) To On - That Which Is

- apprehensible only by intellect with the aid of reasoning

 

94,9- A veil exists between the world above and the realms that are below;

To Gignomenon - that which is always becoming but never is; object of opinion and irrational sensation. Never fully real.

 

and shadow came into being beneath the veil; and that shadow became matter; and that shadow was projected apart. And what she had created became a product in the matter, like an aborted fetus.

If a creator keeps his eye on the unchanging and uses it as his pattern, the result must be good. The cosmos - visible, tangible, corporeal.

 

 

29d) What pattern did he use?

Clearly he had his eye on the eternal. The cosmos is the fairest of all things that have come into being and he (the craftsman, demiurge) is the best of causes. It must have been constructed on the pattern of what is apprehensible by reason and understanding and eternally unchanging (i.e., to on).

Prov. 8:22 God created me (Wisdom) at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no spring abounding with water.

94,35-95,14. This ruler, being androgynous, made himself a vast realm, an extent without limit. And he contemplated creating offspring for himself, and created for himself seven offspring, androgynous just like their parent.......

96,11-15. But it was by the will of the Parent of the entirety that they all came into being after the pattern of all the things above - so that the sum of chaos might be attained.

29d) The Model - the highest and most completely perfect of intelligble things. ...he created a single visible living being containing within itself all living beings of the same natural order. Our world is a copy of the being which comprised all intelligible beings. Our universe is his only creation.

Prov. 8:27. When He established the heavens, I (Wisdom) was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, when He made firm the skies above...I was beside Him, like a master worker; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing before him always.

87,8-11. And she (Faith Wisdom) easblished each of his offspring in conformity with its power--after the pattern of the realms above, for by starting from the invisible world the visible world was invented.

30c) The world was made without jealousy (envy). The creator was good...and being free of jealousy, he wished all things to be as like himself as possible.

 

Now when Yaldabaoth saw him in this great splendor and at this height (Sabaoth in seventh heaven), he envied him; and the envy became an androgynous product; and this was the origin of envy.

The craftsman found the visible universe in a state of inharmonious and disorderly motion. He reduced it to order.

Gen. 1:2: The earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

And envy engendered death; and death engendered his offspring and gave each of them charge of its heaven; and all the heavens of chaos became full of their multitudes.

31a-b) In fashioning the universe he implanted reason (logismos) in the soul (psyche) and the soul in the body (soma), so this world came to be through god’s providence (pronoia) a living being with soul and intelligence.

Gen. 1:3- Then God said,

"Let there be light" and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness....And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

87,11-14

As Incorruptibility looked down into the regions of the waters, her image appeared in the waters; and the authorities of darkness became enamored of her. ....This is the reason why incorruptibility looked down into the region of waters, so that by the Parent’s will, she might bring the entirety into union with the light.

37c) He fashioned the whole corporeal world within the whole structure of soul. Soul provided a divine source of unending and rational life.

38b) Model - eternal living being; Copy - a moving image of eternity - time. The 7 moving spheres

 

87,15-20. They (the authorities) could not lay hold of that image which had appeared to them in the waters, because of their weakness--since being that merely possess a soul (psychikos) cannot lay hold of those that possess a spirit (pneumatikos) - for they were from below, while it was from above.

There exist first:

1) the unchanging Form, uncreated and indestrucible;

2) that which bears same name and resembles it, but is sensible; has come into existence, is in motion (Becoming);

3) Space - eternal and indestructible.

See ch. 18 in which these are compared to Father, Offspring, Mother.

Day 2) Sky. "Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."

Day 3) Earth. "Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear...Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.

 

70) ) Things were in disorder until god introduced measurable relations. ...The Demiurge reduced them to order...

Day 4) Stars, Sun, Moon.. "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth."

 

40d) Living creatures: gods, birds, water animals, land animals. [focus on two types of gods and human beings of land animals].

Day 5) Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky."

Day 6) "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind."

 

Two categories of gods: 1) heavenly bodies of fire - fixed stars; 2) gods of traditional mythology. [Threefold distinction: the Demiurge, the fixed stars; the traditional gods].

 

 

41d) When all the gods were born,...the Father of the universe addressed them: "Ye Gods, those gods whose maker I am and those works whose father I am,...turn your hands, as is natural to you, to the making of living things, taking as your model my own activity in creating you....weave mortal and immortal together and create living creatures. Bring them to birth, give them food and growth, and when they perish receive them again.

Gen. 1:26-27: And God said, "Let us make humankind (ha-adam; anthropos) in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea..." So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.

87,20-27

Because of this, Incorruptibility looked down into the regions so that by the will of the Father, she might conjoin the entirety with the light. The rulers conspired and said, "Come, let us create a human being of some soil from the earth." They modeled their creature as one wholly of the earth.

 

II. CREATION OF THE FIRST HUMANS

 

PLATO, TIMAEUS

 

GENESIS, PROVERBS

 

REALITY OF THE RULERS
(HypArch)

41d-42e) The Father of the universe addressed them (the gods) as follows: "Ye Gods...since you have been created, you are not entirely immortal and indissoluble; but you will never be dissolved nor taste death...There are three kinds of mortal creature yet uncreated...If these were created and given life by me, they would be equal to gods. In order therefore that there may be mortal creatures and that the whole may be truly a whole, turn your hands, as is natural to you, to the making of living things, taking as your model my own activity in creating you."

 

87,11-33. As incorruptibility looked down into the region of the waters, her image appeared in the waters; and the authorities of the darkness became enamored of her. But they could not lay hold of that image...... The rulers conspired and said, "Come, let us create a human being of some soil from the earth." They modeled their creature as one wholly of the earth. They had taken [some soil] from the earth and modeled their [human being], according to their body and [according to the image] of the god that had appeared [to them] in the waters.

42e)"And in so far as there ought to be something in them that can be named immortal, something called divine, I will begin by sowing the seed (speiras) of it and then hand it on to you;

Gen. 1:26-27: And God said, "Let us make humankind (Hebrew: adam; Greek: anthropos) in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea...".So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply..."

 

it remains for you to weave mortal and immortal together and create living creatures."

Gen. 2:7 Then the Lord God formed a human being (hebrew: adam; Greek: anthropos) from the dust of the ground,

87,23- The rulers laid plans and said, "Come, let us create a human that will be soil from the earth."

They modelled their creature as one wholly of the earth. Now the rulers...body..they have ...female..is...with the face of a beast. They had taken [some soil] from the earth and modelled their [human], after their body and [after the image] of God that had appeared [to them] in the waters.

Human soul (psyche) mixed with other elements and divided up among the stars. 1..Embodying soul in mortal body - confusion. disturbance. These motions "were transmitted through the body and impinged on the soul"

and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the human became a living being (Greek: a living soul - psyche zosan).

88,3-5. And he breathed into his face; and the human came to have a soul (psychikos) and remained upon the ground many days.

70) They took over from an immortal principle of soul; encased it in a mortal physical globe - the body as vehicle. Another part: Feelings - pleasure, pain, confidence, fear, passion, hope, irrational sensation, desire.

 

88,12-16. Afterwards, the spirit saw the soul-endowed (psychikos) human upon the ground. And the spirit came forth from the Adamantine Land; it descended and came to dwell within him, and that human became a living soul (psyche).

) They copied the shape of the universe and fastened the two divine orbits of the soul into a spherical bodfy, which we now call the head , the divinest part of us which controls all the rest; then they put together the body as a whole to serve the head...the seat of our divinest and holiest part."

 

 

70d) They didn’t want to pollute the divine element with mortal feelings, so they made the neck the isthmus or boundary between the head and the breast.

Higher part of the soul: courage, passion, ambition are nearer the head.

Lower - appetites, etc. - from midriff to navel.

 

 

90a-e) There are housed in us three forms of soul, each having its own motions...We should think of the most authoritative part as a guardian spirit (daemon) given by God, living in the summit of the body, which can properly be said to lift us from the earth towards our home in heaven.

 

96,19-25: Eleleth said: "You, together with your offspring, belong to the primeval parent; from above, out of the incorruptible light, their souls are come. Thus the authorities cannot approach them because of the spirit of truth present within them; and all who have come to have gnosis with this way exist immortal in the midst of dying humankind."

90e-91d) "Our divine part attaches us by the head to heaven, like a plant by its roots, and keeps our body upright....A man who has given his heart to learning and true wisdom and exercised that part of himself is surely bound, if he attains to truth, to have immortal and divine thoughts, and cannot fail to achieve immortality as fully as is permitted to human nature...and because he has always looked after the divine element in himself and kept his daemon in good order he must be happy above all humans.

 

88,11-23. Afterward, the spirit saw the psychikos human being upon the ground. And the spirit came forth from the Adamantine Realm; it descended and came to dwell with him, and that human became a living soul....A voice came forth from incorruptibility for the assistance of Adam; and the rulers gathered together all the animals of the earth and all the birds of heaven and brought them in to Adam to see what Adam would call them.

 

III. DIFFERENTIATION OF MALE AND FEMALE

 

PLATO, TIMAEUS

 

GENESIS, PROVERBS

 

REALITY OF THE RULERS
(HypArch)

43) Humankind being of two sexes; the better of the two was that which in the future would be called man (aner). ...Anyone who failed to live well, would be changed into a woman at his second birth....or worse, animal.

Gen. 1:27 So God created humankind (adam; anthropos) in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply..."

 

91) The men (andres) of the first generation who lived cowardly or immoral lives were reborn as women. So.. Gods produced sexual love, desire for sexual reproduction.

Gen. 2: 18 Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the human should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner....So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the human, and he slept, then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the human he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

89,3-11. The Rulers took counsel with one another and said, "Come, let us cause a deep sleep to fall upon Adam." And he slept. Now the deep sleep that they caused to fall upon and he slept is ignorance. They opened his side like a living woman. And they built up his side with some flesh in place of her, and Adam came to be endowed only with soul (psychikos).

 

 

 

 

Gen. 2:23. Then the man H & Gk: adam) said, "This at last is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called woman (Hebrew: ishshah; Greek: gyne), for out of man (Hebrew: ish; Gk: aner) this one was taken."

And the spirit-endowed (pneumatike) woman came to him and spoke with him, saying, "Arise, Adam." And when he saw her, he said, "It is you who have given me life; you will be called ‘mother of the living.’ For it is she who is my mother. It is who is the physician, and the woman, and she who has given birth.

91d): Male and Female

A man’s genitals are naturally disobedient and self-willed, like a creature that will not listen to reason, and will do anything in their mad lust for possession.

Gen. 2:24-25: Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

87,11-17: As incorruptibility gaxed down into the waters, its image was shown forth in the waters; and the authorities of darkness became enamored of it. But they could not lay hold of that image...because of their weakness.

 

 

89,17-30: When they saw his (Adam’s) female counterpart speaking him, they became agitated with great agitation: and they became enamored of her. They said to one another, "Come, let us sow our seed in her," and they pursued her...And they defiled the seal of her voice, so that by their modeled form, together with their own image, they made themselves liable to condemnation.

92,18-10: The rulers went to meet her (Norea) intending to lead her astray. Their supreme chief said to her, "Your mother Eve came to us."

91d-92) Much the same is true of the matrix or womb (hystera) in women which is a living creature within them that longs to bear children. And if it is left unfertilized long before the normal time, it causes extreme unrest; strays around the body , blocks the channels of the breath and causes acute distress and disorders of all kinds ["hysteria"].

 

 

92) This goes on until the woman’s longing and man’s desire meet and pick the fruit from the tree, sowing the ploughland of the womb with seeds as yet unformed and too small to be seen, which take shape and grow big - until they are born as a complete living creature. This is how women and the female sex generally came into being.

Gen. 3:16-19. On expulsion from the garden: To the woman God said, "I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." And to the man God said, "Because you have listened to your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you,...in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life...By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground: for out of it you were taken; you are dust and to dush you shall return."

From opening frame of text, 86,20-27: "Our struggle is not against flesh and [blood]; but against the authorities of the cosmos and the spiritual (forces) of evil." [I have] sent (you) this because you inquire about the reality [of the] authorities.

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