The Sophia of Jesus Christ
The Sophia of Jesus Christ is a Gnostic text from the Nag Hammadi codices, found in Egypt in 1945. It has been dated to the 4th century, although parts originated much earlier in the 3rd century. The text is composed of 13 questions in the Greek style. The questions concern the nature of reality and man’s place in it. I present my own loose translation of the first seven. This gospel demonstrates the importance of the female element in Christian theology. Sophia was the name of the primordial female energy that manifested through the mind of the One. In fact, Sophia was the first thought of the One, and she contains the Father and Son within her. But after Christianity fell under Roman control, Sophia disappeared from Christianity. According to Jesus, love is another name for Sophia.
After he rose from the dead, his twelve disciples and seven women went to Galilee to the mountain called “Divination and Joy.” When they gathered, they discussed the underlying nature of the universe, as well as the power of the authorities, and everything the Savior was doing against the authorities in his secret holy plan. The Savior appeared, not in his previous form, but in invisible spirit. And his likeness resembled a great angel of light. But I must not describe his appearance, because no mortal could endure it, but only pure, perfect flesh, like that which he taught us about on the Mount of Olives.
And he said: “Peace be unto you; my peace I give you!” And they marveled and were suddenly afraid. The Savior laughed and said: “What interests you?”
Philip said: “To comprehend the underlying nature of the universe.”
The Savior said: “All men have inquired after God: who is he and what he is like? But few have found him. They say the wise men study astrology, but astrology does not provide truth. The philosophers, do not agree. Some say about the world is ruled by fate or providence, but neither is true. Again, of those three voices, none is close to the truth, yet all are from man. But I, who came from Infinite Light, I am here that I might speak to you about the nature of truth. For whatever is from itself is polluted; it is self-made. Providence has no wisdom. Fate does not discern. But to you is given knowledge; and whoever is worthy of knowledge can receive it. Whoever has not been begotten by the sowing of unclean rubbing but by First Who Was Sent, he is an immortal in the midst of mortal men.”
Matthew said to him: “Lord, no one can find the truth except through you. Therefore teach us the truth.”
The Savior said: “Who knows the Unknowable? No principle knows him, no authority, no subjection, no creature from the foundation of the world until now, except he alone, and anyone to whom he wants to make revelation through him who is from First Light. From now on, I am the Great Savior. For he is immortal and eternal. Now he is eternal, having no birth, for everyone who has birth will perish. He is unbegotten, having no beginning, for everyone who has a beginning has an end. Since no one rules over him, he has no name, for whoever has a name is the creation of another. And he has a semblance of his own, not like what you have seen and received, but a strange semblance that surpasses all things and is more splendid than the universe. It sees everything from every side, and sees itself from itself. It is infinite, incomprehensible. It is imperishable and has no likeness to anything. Unchanging good, faultless, eternal, blessed, immeasurable, untraceable, perfect, having no defect. Imperishability and blessed. This is the ‘Father of the Universe.'”
Philip said: “Lord, how, then, did he appear to the perfect ones?”
The Savior said: “He is invisible, and the majesty and authority are in him, since he embraces the whole of the totalities, while nothing embraces him. For he is all mind. And he is thought and considering and always reflecting with rationality and power. They are the sources of the totalities. And their whole race from first to last was in his foreknowledge, that of the infinite, unbegotten Father.”
Thomas said to him: “Lord, Savior, why did these come to be, and why were these revealed?”
The Savior said: “I came from the Infinite that I might tell you things. Spirit-Who-Is was the begetter, who had the power of a begetter and a form-giver`s nature, that the great wealth that was hidden in him might be revealed. Because of his mercy and his love, he wished to bring forth fruit by himself, that he might not enjoy his goodness alone, but other spirits of the Unwavering Generation might bring forth body and fruit, glory and honor, in imperishableness and his infinite grace, that his treasure might be revealed by Self-begotten God, the father of every imperishableness and those that came to be afterward. But they had not yet come to visibility. Now a great difference exists among the imperishables.”
He called out, saying: “Whoever has two ears to hear, better listen!” and “I have addressed those who are awake.” Still he continued and said: “Everything that came from the perishable will perish, since it came from the perishable. But whatever came from imperishableness will not perish but become imperishable. So, many men went astray because they had not known this difference and they got sick and died.”
Mary said to him: “Lord, then how will we know?”
The Savior said: “Come you from invisible things to the end of those that are visible, and the very emanation of Thought will reveal to you how faith in those things that are not visible was found in those that are visible, those that belong to Unbegotten Father. Whoever has two ears to hear, better listen!
“The Lord of the Universe is not called ‘Father’, but ‘Forefather’, the beginning of those that will appear, but he is the beginningless Forefather. Seeing himself within himself in a mirror, he appeared resembling himself, but his likeness appeared as Divine Self-Father, and Confronter over the Confronted ones, First Existent Unbegotten Father. He is indeed of equal age with the Light that is before him, but he is not equal in power.
“And afterward it was revealed a whole multitude of self-begotten ones, equal in age and power, being in glory and without number, whose race is called ‘The Generation over Whom There Is No Kingdom’ from the one in whom you yourselves have appeared from these men. And that whole multitude over which there is no kingdom is called ‘Sons of Unbegotten Father, God, Savior, Son of God,’ whose likeness is with you. Now he is the unknowable, who is full of ever-imperishable glory and ineffable joy. They all are at rest within him, ever rejoicing in ineffable joy in his unchanging glory and measureless jubilation. This was never heard or known among all the realms until now.”
Matthew said to him: “Lord, Savior, how was man revealed?”
The Savior said: “I want you to know that he who appeared before the universe in infinity, self-grown, self-constructed Father, being full of shining light and ineffable, in the beginning, when he decided to have his likeness become a great power, immediately the principle or beginning of that Light appeared as Immortal Androgynous Man, that through that Immortal Androgynous Man they might attain their salvation and awake from forgetfulness through the interpreter who was sent, who is with you until the end of the poverty of the robbers.
“And his consort is the Great Sophia, who from the first was destined in him for union by Self-begotten Father, from Immortal Man, who appeared as First and divinity and kingdom, for the Father, who is called ‘Man, Self-Father’, revealed this. And he created a great realm, whose name is ‘Ogdoad’, for his own majesty.
“He was given great authority, and he ruled over the creation. He created gods and angels, and archangels, myriads without number for retinue, from that Light and the tri-male Spirit, which is that of Sophia, his consort. For from this, God originated divinity and kingdom. Therefore he was called ‘God of gods’ and ‘King of kings.’
“First Man has his unique mind, within, and thought, just as he is it thought and considering, reflecting, rationality, power. All the attributes that exist are perfect and immortal. In respect to imperishableness, they are indeed equal. But in respect to power, they are different, like the difference between father and son and thought, and the thought and the remainder. As I said earlier, among the things that were created, the Great Spirit was first.
“And after everything, all that was revealed appeared from his power. And from what was created, all that was fashioned appeared; from what was fashioned appeared what was formed; from what was formed, what was named. Thus came the difference among the unbegotten ones from beginning to end.”
Then Bartholomew said to him: “How is it he was designated in the Gospel ‘Man’ and ‘Son of Man’? To which of them, then, is this Son related?”
The Holy One said: “I want you to know that First Man is called ‘Begetter, Self-perfected Mind.’ He reflected with Great Sophia, his consort, and revealed his first-begotten, androgynous son. His male name is designated ‘First Begetter, Son of God’, his female name, ‘First Begettress Sophia, Mother of the Universe’. Some call her ‘Love.’