Light Vis-à-Vis the counterfeit spirit

Another concept that’s well expounded upon in ApJohn is the counterfeit spirit. An initial thought regarding this entity, for lack of a better word, is that sin generally begins to work itself out of one’s system as knowledge is acquired in a step-by-step fashion to weed out the elements this counterfeit spirit is constantly throwing at you. In this Realm, unfortunately, the counterfeit spirit is alive and well, and it’s woven into this aeon’s (small case!) fabric such that people are conflicted.

In The Gospel of Thomas (GosThom) Saying 77, Jesus says “Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.” Unfortunately, the same hold’s true in this aeon with the counterfeit spirit! Perhaps it’s “The Universe’s” grand Yin/Yang as it were, or said another way akin to the Manichaean belief system of Good vs. Evil.

Regarding Saying 77, where Jesus said, “It is I who am the light (that presides) over all. It is I who am the entirety: it is from me that the entirety has come, and to me that the entirety goes. Split a piece of wood: I am there. Lift a stone, and you (plur.) will find me there,” there’s much scholarly attention, though one must read the commentary in the Collection of Inspiring Sayings in GosThom Section as well as the following:

  1. Funk and Hoover write: “In this complex, Jesus speaks of himself in highly exalted terms, as he often does in The Gospel of John (for example, John 8:12; 10:7). But such self-reference is not characteristic of the Jesus of the synoptic parables and aphorisms. The term ‘light’ has special significance in The Gospel of Thomas (11:3b; 24:3; 50:1; 61:5; 83:1-2), and the ‘All’ is a technical gnostic term for the whole of cosmic reality (note Thomas 67). Such ideas, of course, had currency elsewhere in early Christian circles as well (note John 8:12; Rom 11:36; 1 Cor 8:6). But they are not characteristic of Jesus.” (The Five Gospels, p. 515)
  2. Gerd Ludemann writes: “Jesus identifies himself with light (cf. John 8.12; 9.5), which is tremendously important in Thomas: 11.3b; 24.3; 50.1; 61.5; 83.1-2. Jesus claims to be mediator at creation (cf. Romans 11.36; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16). All this recalls the role of wisdom. The presence of Jesus as it is described in vv. 2-3 echoes Matt 18.20; 28.20 – but in that passage, too, there is a wisdom background.” (Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 629)

Given that the character in ApJohn named Saklas (Yaltabaoth or Ialdabaoth, Samael) is the Demiurge, not in the platonic vein, the difference (whether real or metaphorical) with Orthodox Christianity’s Satan becomes irrelevant. Is the Demiurge Satan or is Satan the Demiurge? Wikipedia provides the following basic summary of this figure: “[It’s the] distinction between the highest, unknowable God and the demiurgic “creator” of the material. Several systems of [Sethian] thought present the Demiurge as antagonistic to the will of the Supreme Being: his act of creation occurs in an unconscious semblance of the divine model, and thus is fundamentally flawed, or else is formed with the malevolent intention of entrapping aspects of the divine in materiality. Thus, in such systems, the Demiurge acts as a solution to (or, at least possibly, the problem or cause that gives rise to) the problem of evil.”

However, Wikipedia very well could be incorrect as the Demiurge did not create matter as in the Platonic school, Sophia’s (Wisdom’s) rupture did according to the Johannine secessionists, along with creating Yaltabaoth. That’s why she’s stuck in this Realm’s Ninth Heaven. Saklas might have shaped the matter, but I believe the initial rupture created it (and if it’s not clear at this point, I am a Johannine secessionist.)

Per ApJohn 13:

  • “Then the mother [Sophia] began to move to and fro. She became aware of the deficiency when the brightness of her Light diminished. And she became dark because her consort had not agreed with her.”
  • “And I said, ‘Lord, what does it mean that she moved to and fro?’ But he smiled and said, ‘Do not think it is, as Moses said, ‘above the waters.’ No, but when she had seen the wickedness which had happened, and the theft which her son had committed, she repented. And she was overcome by forgetfulness in the darkness of ignorance and she began to be ashamed. (IV 21, 13-15: And she did not dare to return, but she was moving) about. And the moving is the going to and fro.'”

What exactly was her deficiency? Regarding Yaltabaoth’s creation and domain, ApJohn 9-12:

  • “And the Sophia of the Epinoia, being an aeon, conceived a thought from herself and the conception of the invisible Spirit and foreknowledge. She wanted to bring forth a likeness out of herself without the consent of the Spirit – he had not approved – and without her consort, and without his consideration. And though the person of her maleness had not approved, and she had not found her agreement, and she had thought without the consent of the Spirit and the knowledge of her agreement, (yet) she brought forth. And because of the invincible power which is in her, her thought did not remain idle, and something came out of her which was imperfect and different from her appearance, because she had created it without her consort. And it was dissimilar to the likeness of its mother, for it has another form.”
  •  “And when she saw (the consequences of) her desire, it changed into a form of a lion-faced serpent. And its eyes were like lightning fires which flash. She cast it away from her, outside that place [thus in the matter that she herself created,] that no one of the immortal ones might see it, for she had created it in ignorance. And she surrounded it with a luminous cloud, and she placed a throne in the middle of the cloud that no one might see it except the holy Spirit who is called the mother of the living. And she called his name Yaltabaoth.”
  • “This is the first archon who took a great power from his mother. And he removed himself from her and moved away from the places in which he was born. He became strong and created for himself other aeons with a flame of luminous fire which (still) exists now. And he joined with his arrogance which is in him and begot authorities for himself. The name of the first one is Athoth, whom the generations call the reaper. The second one is Harmas, who is the eye of envy. The third one is Kalila-Oumbri. The fourth one is Yabel. The fifth one is Adonaiou, who is called Sabaoth. The sixth one is Cain, whom the generations of men call the sun. The seventh is Abel. The eighth is Abrisene. The ninth is Yobel. The tenth is Armoupieel. The eleventh is Melceir-Adonein. The twelfth is Belias, it is he who is over the depth of Hades. And he placed seven kings – each corresponding to the firmaments of heaven – over the seven heavens, and five over the depth of the abyss, that they may reign. And he shared his fire with them, but he did not send forth from the power of the light which he had taken from his mother, for he is ignorant darkness.”
  • “And the archons created seven powers for themselves, and the powers created for themselves six angels for each one until they became 365 angels. And these are the bodies belonging with the names: the first is Athoth, a he has a sheep’s face; the second is Eloaiou, he has a donkey’s face; the third is Astaphaios, he has a hyena’s face; the fourth is Yao, he has a serpent’s face with seven heads; the fifth is Sabaoth, he has a dragon’s face; the sixth is Adonin, he had a monkey’s face; the seventh is Sabbede, he has a shining fire-face. This is the sevenness of the week.”
  • “But Yaltabaoth had a multitude of faces, more than all of them, so that he could put a face before all of them, according to his desire, when he is in the midst of seraphs. He shared his fire with them; therefore he became lord over them. Because of the power of the glory he possessed of his mother’s light, he called himself God. And he did not obey the place from which he came. And he united the seven powers in his thought with the authorities which were with him. And when he spoke it happened. And he named each power beginning with the highest: the first is goodness with the first (authority), Athoth; the second is foreknowledge with the second one, Eloaio; and the third is divinity with the third one, Astraphaio; the fourth is lordship with the fourth one, Yao; the fifth is kingdom with the fifth one, Sabaoth; the sixth is envy with the sixth one, Adonein; the seventh is understanding with the seventh one, Sabbateon. And these have a firmament corresponding to each aeon-heaven. They were given names according to the glory which belongs to heaven for the destruction of the powers. And in the names which were given to them by their Originator there was power. But the names which were given them according to the glory which belongs to heaven mean for them destruction and powerlessness. Thus they have two names.”

Continuing, ApJohn 11-12 extensively discusses the Demiurge; again I will stress that much of this description could represent an extended metaphor or allegory, if not parody:

  • “And when the light had mixed with the darkness, it caused the darkness to shine. And when the darkness had mixed with the light, it darkened the light and it became neither light nor dark, but it became dim.”
  • “Now the archon who is weak has three names. The first name is Yaltabaoth, the second is Saklas, and the third is Samael. And he is impious in his arrogance which is in him. For he said, ‘I am God and there is no other God beside me,’ for he is ignorant of his strength, the place from which he had come.”
  • “They [Yaltabaoth & his Archons] created a counterfeit spirit, who resembles the Spirit who had descended, so as to pollute the souls through it. And the angels changed themselves in their likeness into the likeness of their mates (the daughters of men), filling them with the spirit of darkness, which they had mixed for them, and with evil. They brought gold and silver and a gift and copper and iron and metal and all kinds of things. And they steered the people who had followed them into great troubles, by leading them astray with many deceptions. They (the people) became old without having enjoyment. They died, not having found truth and without knowing the God of truth. And thus the whole creation became enslaved forever, from the foundation of the world until now. And they took women and begot children out of the darkness according to the likeness of their spirit. And they closed their hearts, and they hardened themselves through the hardness of the counterfeit spirit until now.”
  • ApJohn 28 And I said, “Lord, from where did the counterfeit spirit come?” Then he said to me, “The Mother-Father who is rich in mercy, the Holy Spirit in every way, the One who is merciful and who sympathizes with you, i.e. the Epinoia of the foreknowledge of Light, he raised up the offspring of the perfect race and its thinking and the eternal Light of man. When the chief Archon realized that they were exalted above him in the height–and they surpass him in thinking–then he wanted to seize their thought, not knowing that they [the Immovable Race] surpassed him in thinking and that he will not be able to seize them.”
  • “He [Yaltabaoth] made a plan with his authorities, which are his Powers, and they committed together adultery with Sophia, and bitter fate was begotten through them, which is the last of the changeable bonds. And it is of a sort that is interchangeable. And it is harder and stronger than she with whom the gods united and the angels and the demons and all the generations until this day. For from that fate came forth every sin and injustice and blasphemy and the chain of forgetfulness and ignorance and every severe command and serious sins and great fears. And thus the whole creation was made blind, in order that they may not know God who is above all of them. And because of the chain of forgetfulness, their sins were hidden. For they are bound with measures and times and moments, since it (fate) is lord over everything.”