Gnosticism (from Ancient Greek: γνωστικός gnostikos, “having knowledge”, from γνῶσις gnōsis, knowledge) is a modern name for a variety of ancient religious beliefs and systems and still has followers today. These systems hold that the material world is created by an emanation of the highest God/Energy, and divine spark of that God/Energy is held within each human body.
Some of the core beliefs are:
- The divine spark in humans can be liberated by gnosis, a knowledge or insight into humanity’s divine spiritual nature.
- All matter is impermanent, and the non-material, spirit-realm is that of permanent love.
- There is an unknowable God, who gave rise to many lesser spirit beings called Aeons.
- One lower spirit is the creator who made the universe.
- Ignorance is what keeps humans from love and meaning.
- To achieve enlightenment, one needs to get in touch with spiritual knowledge.
- Suffering/hell will end when man surrenders to the creator and accepts being like him.
Gnostic philosophy is present in the Vedas of India and in the prophecies of the Hebrew people, in the Tao Te Ching and the Platonic Dialogues, in the theology of the Gospel of St. John and in the Mahayana, in Plotinus and in the Areopagite, among the Persian Sufis and Christian mystics of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Gnosticism says that humans are divine souls trapped in the ordinary physical (or material) world. They say that the world was made by an imperfect spirit. The imperfect spirit is thought to be the same as the God of Abraham.Full Glossary Index