Further Excerpts from ApJohn

In the text of ApJohn, Christ himself brought about Adam to eat of the Tree; however, the serpent taught them wickedness, begetting, lust, and destruction. On p. 119 of Robinson’s The Nag Hammadi LibraryApJohn-LR: “Now up to the present day, sexual intercourse continued due to the Chief Archon. And he planted sexual desire in her who belongs to Eve [though other versions have it planted in Adam.] And he produced through intercourse the copies of the bodies, and he inspired them with his counterfeit spirit.”

Seth was, of course, the son of Adam and Eve; he represents the first “good” seed. Cain and Abel were from Saklas and Eve according to the text. Therefore, Seth exists according to the way of the race in the Aeons, and “the Mother [Barbelo] also sent down her Spirit, which is in her likeness and a copy of those who are in the Pleroma, for she will prepare a dwelling place.” 

The Mother is equated with the Holy Spirit earlier in the treatise: “This is the first thought, his image, she became the womb of everything for it is she who is prior to them all, the Mother-Father, the first man, the Holy Spirit, the thrice male, the three powerful, the thrice-named androgynous one, and the eternal Aeon among the invisible ones, and the the first to come forth.”

Incidentally, perhaps this is where the Sethites (the other half of the Sethians) derived their belief that Seth was supremely important (going as far as to make him on par with Christ.) However, if you look closely, he represents the first member of the Immovable Race. Christ has his own Hypostasis according the the text, an extremely important point. Hence I would classify the Apocryphon as Barbeloite, not Sethite. As a reminder, I’d like to stress the following important point: when I mention the Sethians, it is the Barbeloites I’m referencing.

Later in the Apocryphon, in response to John, Christ states that we (the Immovable Race) should go about our matters such that we’re not involved in wickedness and evil. Care about incorruption alone (not debased or perverted; morally upright) without anger or envy or jealousy or desire (bitter passion might be the key here!) and greed of anything, as found in Verses 25-28:

  1. And I said to the savior, “Lord, will all the souls then be brought safely into the pure light?” He answered and said to me, “Great things have arisen in your mind, for it is difficult to explain them to others except to those who are from the Immovable Race. Those on whom the Spirit of life will descend and (with whom) he will be with the power, they will be saved and become perfect and be worthy of the greatness and be purified in that place from all wickedness and the involvements in evil. Then they have no other care than the incorruption alone, to which they direct their attention from here on, without anger or envy or jealousy or desire and greed of anything. They are not affected by anything except the state of being in the flesh alone, which they bear while looking expectantly for the time when they will be met by the receivers (of the body). Such then are worthy of the imperishable, eternal life and the calling. For they endure everything and bear up under everything, that they may finish the good fight and inherit eternal life.”
  2. I said to him, “Lord, the souls of those who did not do these works (but) on whom the power and Spirit descended, (will they be rejected?” He answered and said to me, “If) the Spirit (descended upon them), they will in any case be saved, and they will change (for the better). For the power will descend on every man, for without it no one can stand. And after they are born, then, when the Spirit of life increases and the power comes and strengthens that soul, no one can lead it astray with works of evil. But those on whom the counterfeit spirit descends are drawn by him and they go astray.”
  3. And I said, “Lord, where will the souls of these go when they have come out of their flesh?” And he smiled and said to me, “The soul in which the power will become stronger than the counterfeit spirit, is strong and it flees from evil and, through the intervention of the incorruptible one, it is saved, and it is taken up to the rest of the Aeons.”
  4. And I said, “Lord, those, however, who have not known to whom they belong, where will their souls be?” And he said to me, “In those, the despicable spirit has gained strength when they went astray. And he burdens the soul and draws it to the works of evil, and he casts it down into forgetfulness. And after it comes out of (the body), it is handed over to the authorities, who came into being through the archon, and they bind it with chains and cast it into prison, and consort with it until it is liberated from the forgetfulness and acquires knowledge. And if thus it becomes perfect, it is saved.”
  5. And I said, “Lord, how can the soul become smaller and return into the nature of its mother or into man?” Then he rejoiced when I asked him this, and he said to me, “Truly, you are blessed, for you have understood! That soul is made to follow another one (fem.), since the Spirit of life is in it. It is saved through him. It is not again cast into another flesh.” [Note the direct allusion to reincarnation; however, those on the right track will continue by following another Spirit that’s more advanced in the next incarnation(s.)]
  6. And I said, “Lord, these also who did know, but have turned away, where will their souls go?” Then he said to me, “To that place where the angels of poverty go they will be taken, the place where there is no repentance. And they will be kept for the day on which those who have blasphemed the spirit will be tortured, and they will be punished with eternal punishment.”

If it weren’t for the formation of the Orthodox Church, then the overall works of Christianity might have never had made it to the present day; thus we can actually be thankful in some respects for Irenaeus’ Four Pillar Canon. With the findings in 1945 of the Nag Hammadi Corpus, the real conceptualization has resumed in full force.