Speaking of Gnosticism (since yesterday we were speaking about C.G. Jung) , I want to share with you yet another table, this one comparing two diametrically opposed “Jesuses” and what they say and think, the biblical Jesus held by Catholics and other Christians as “the Only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages,” and the one proposed by the Gnostics, today’s dabblers in the Occult, hermeticism, religious syncretism, and the New Age on the other. The table is inspired by the one printed in the book Stolen Identity: The Conspiracy to Reinvent Jesus, by Dr. Peter Jones, a professor of New Testament at Westminster Seminary in Escondido, California. I added some details where I thought needed it, since I don’t have the same limitations Dr. Peters faced on the printed page, and changed one or two details to bring a couple of statements in line with Catholic teaching.
Universal, impersonal spirit God in everything who hates the blind creator God – the God of the Bible
God of creation, good Father; Redeemer who reveals himself and requires obedience from His creatures
Message and Ministry
Speaks of no kingdom because there is no king; states that the Kingdom is completely within, that created reality is evil and that anyone claiming to be “king” must be defeated.
God rules over his creation; He is the rightful King over his people; His Kingdom is not univocally within; transforms the earthly into the heavenly.
Jesus not born physically, no family lineage, not born of a woman.
Jesus of Jewish lineage, really born as a human baby from a real woman; born under the law, in time and space.
No interest in history; no chronology; no context for Jesus’ life.
Jesus really embodied; suffered temptation; knows physical weakness.
Everyone is divine, nothing special about Jesus’ divinity; not His disciples’ Master; everyone’s a Messiah.
Jesus is the only begotten (monogeneis) God; the disciples fear Jesus; He’s Master over his creation; with God before creation.
Quiet the mind; knowledge, not worship; meditation, not prayer; spirituality of “joining opposites.”
Faith, not gnosis; rational reflection; prays to the Father in heaven.
Sex a spiritual experience; androgyny; ecstatic unity with all things; extreme libertinism or extreme asceticism.
God-created heterosexuality; meant for producing physical offspring; unity, communion, and communication between one man and one woman.
No law, therefore no sin (“Sin is ignorance”); the Creator regarded as evil; we make our own law; we have no king, no master.
Sin is judged; sin demands punishment; God’s law defines sin; we are made righteous by the Spirit of God.
Physical life is to be despised; death cannot touch divine soul; someone else died in place of Jesus; the death of Jesus illusory.
Death is an enemy; Jesus’ death is redemptive; it was a real, physical death; death was defeated by His resurrrection.
Resurrection is symbolic; it’s a escape from the body’s prison; it’s spiritual, not physical.
Resurrection is physical; a transformation; a New Creation.
I believe we can recognize the Gnostic “Jesus” in many major religions, movements, and “spiritualities” throughout the world past and present. The Gnostic Jesus is the Jesus of Islam, who didn’t die on the Cross but who was replaced by Judas; he's the Jesus of Theosophy, one “ascended master” among many others and not necessarily the highest or most important one; it’s the Jesus who blesses homosexual activity, same-sex marriage and gender identity-ism for whom objective masculinity and femininity do not exist. He’s Nietzsche’s Übermensch who transcends every value and moral category by forging his own; a Jesus who would’ve approved of something like the Heaven’s Gate cult, whose members thought their bodies hindrances and suicide a liberation.
One item that is not recorded in this table but that I think should be in it is that the Gnostic Jesus is both Anti-Semitic and Anti-Judaic, that is, he hates Jews as a people and Judaism as a religion. That’s why Gnostics hate the Old Testament or Hebrew Scripture, because they were inspired by the evil creator or demiurge of this world, and also hates the Jewish people as the standard-bearers of these Scriptures. Throughout history we have seen where this has led and what has happened whenever and wherever we have allowed this Gnostic illness to infect the attitude of too many Catholics against the Jews.
Ironically, it is the Gnostic Jesus the one that gets all the good press nowadays, while the real one is reduced to the status of fable, legend, and “big misunderstanding.” Place the template of Gnosticism against many of the things that are happening today in the world and you will understand the meta-history of our times better.
- See also What is a Gnostic? - Read it in their own words .