Saturday 27 January 2024

The Shaddai are Angels

Shaddai: Agents of the Divine as Angels

Title: "Shaddai: Agents of the Divine as Angels

“When Abram was ninety years old and nine, Yahweh appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am El Shaddai; walk before me and be thou perfect.” 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. “Abram fell on his face, and Elohim talked with him” (Gen. 17:1 and 3


The term "God Almighty," translated from the Hebrew El Shaddai, holds profound significance within Biblical discourse. Shaddai, a plural word often coupled with El, depicts God as "The Strength of the Nourishers" or "Destroyers." This exploration delves into the nature of El Shaddai, unraveling its pluralistic origins and its role in both divine destruction and Nourishment.

The Plural Essence of Shaddai:

Shaddai, rooted in the Hebrew word "shadad," meaning strong or powerful, is a plural term indicating mighty or powerful beings. When united with El, it emphasizes the strength of the powerful ones, often referred to as ministers of Deity. These entities, while formidable in their power, act as ministering spirits generous and good towards the "Heirs of Salvation," as stated in Hebrews 1:14 and 13:1.

The plural form "ai" in words like Shaddai presents an intriguing grammatical aspect. Some scholars have proposed the concept of a pluralis excellentioe, wherein a plural noun is applied to a singular entity to denote its excellence. This theory suggests that terms like Elohim and Shaddai using a plural form emphasizes the greatness or majesty of the Deity. However, this interpretation has been criticized as a weak invention stemming from a misunderstanding of original Hebrew meanings. The pluralis excellentioe fails to provide a rational or scriptural explanation, revealing the ignorance of scholars regarding the true nature of the divine names.

Genesis 32:30 presents an intriguing perspective when Jacob named the place Peniel, stating, "For I have seen the Elohim faces to faces, and my soul is preserved." By comparing this verse with Hosea 12:3-4, it becomes evident that Elohim was an angel, as Hosea recounts Jacob's wrestling with an angel and prevailing through supplication.

Genesis 35:1-3 further adds depth to the understanding, where God instructs Jacob to go to Bethel and make an altar to the one true El. Here, two different words are used for God: Elohim (<Strong's 0430>) and El (<Strong's 0410), emphasizing that Elohim refers to the mighty ones, the angels, while El signifies the one true deity.

Gen 35:1 Then the Elohim said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to the one true El, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother." 
2 And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. 
3 Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to the one true El, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone."

In Amos 4:11, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is attributed to Elohim, aligning with Genesis 18-19, where three men, referred to as Elohim, appeared to Abraham, and two of them went on to destroy the cities.

Shaddai, derived from the root "shahdad," meaning "to be strong or powerful," is indeed a plural masculine term indicating mighty or powerful beings. Notably, three such beings appeared to Abraham in Genesis 18:1-8. While Moses recounts Yahweh's appearance to Abraham, describing how he saw three men standing nearby, it suggests that Yahweh manifested through these three individuals. This emphasizes the concept that Yahweh, or Jehovah, was apparent in the presence of these mighty beings, highlighting the complex nature of divine manifestations. This mirrors other titles for the Hebrew deity, such as Elohim ("gods") and Adonai ("my lords").

Shaddai and Elohim: Similarities in Divine Attributes

The term "Shaddai" is often regarded as synonymous with "Elohim," indicating a shared aspect of divine power and authority. Just as there is "El," the great First and the Infinite One, from whose energy the Shaddai derive their strength, Shaddai can be understood as another name for the Elohim. This connection is evident in the initial mention of Shaddai when the Lord appeared to Abram, stating, "I am El Shaddai; walk before me and be thou perfect" (Gen. 17:1). Following this encounter, Abram fell on his face, and Elohim conversed with him (Gen. 17:3).

Similarly, in Amos 4:11, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is attributed to Elohim, aligning with the account in Genesis 18-19. In these passages, three men, referred to as Elohim, appeared to Abraham, with two of them proceeding to destroy the cities.

These parallels underscore the interconnectedness between Shaddai and Elohim, highlighting their shared divine attributes and roles in biblical accounts.

The Power of the Shaddai EL:

The Shaddai's authority does not originate within itself but is derived from a higher source. The great First, the Infinite One known as El, is the ultimate wellspring of power from which the Shaddai draw their strength. In this context, Shaddai can be understood as another designation for the Elohim, highlighting their interconnected nature. This correlation becomes evident in the initial mention of Shaddai when Yahweh identifies Himself to Abram, saying, "I am El Shaddai; walk before me and be thou perfect" (Gen. 17:1). In response to this divine communication, Abram humbly fell on his face, and Elohim engaged in conversation with him (Gen. 17:3).

The Duality of the Shaddai:

The Shaddai embodies both a nourishing and destructive force. Abraham experienced El Shaddai's nurturing aspect when God tested him by commanding the sacrifice of his son Isaac. The Angel of Yahweh intervened, affirming Abraham's fear of God. This duality is echoed in Psalm 18:24-27 and 2 Corinthians 2:16, illustrating Yahweh as a "savour of life unto life or death unto death" based on human response to Him and His Word.

The Shaddai: The Angel of Yahweh:

The Revelation of El Shaddai as the Angel of Yahweh

Genesis 48 unveils a series of revelations as Jacob recounts his experiences with El Shaddai. In verse 3, Jacob tells Joseph about the appearance of El Shaddai at Luz. This revelation marks a significant moment, as it links El Shaddai to a specific location and underscores the tangible nature of divine encounters. However, the narrative does not stop there. In verses 15 and 16, while still addressing Joseph, Jacob refers to the Elohim who has sustained him throughout his life as the Angel who has redeemed him. This signifies that El Shaddai, the Angel of redemption, and Elohim are synonymous, equivalent expressions—they are representatives and manifestations of El.

In conclusion, Genesis 48 unravels a tapestry of divine revelations as Jacob recounts his encounters with El Shaddai. The narrative highlights a pivotal moment in verse 3, where Jacob connects El Shaddai to the specific location of Luz, emphasizing the palpable reality of divine experiences. Moving beyond, verses 15 and 16 further enrich the narrative as Jacob identifies Elohim, the sustainer of his life, with the Angel who has redeemed him. This revelation suggests a profound unity, depicting El Shaddai, the Angel of redemption, and Elohim as interchangeable synonyms, representing diverse yet interconnected manifestations of the divine. The intricate interplay of these terms invites contemplation on the multifaceted nature of the divine presence in Jacob's life and the broader theological implications within the biblical context.

Unveiling Symbolism: Exploring Political Interpretations and Figurative Language in The Exegesis on the Soul

**The Exegesis on the Soul: Unveiling a Valentinian Gnostic Text**

The Nag Hammadi Library presents us with a treasure trove of ancient texts, each offering unique insights into early Christian thought and spirituality. Among these, The Exegesis on the Soul stands out as a profound yet enigmatic work whose authorship and precise historical context remain shrouded in mystery. Dating back to a period likely spanning the 2nd to 4th centuries AD, this text offers a captivating narrative that delves into the nature of the soul, its fall from grace, and its ultimate redemption.

Contrary to typical Gnostic cosmological themes prevalent in other texts of the Nag Hammadi Library, The Exegesis on the Soul chooses a different path. It remains notably silent on concepts such as the pleroma, aeons, Yaldabaoth, and the Demiurge. Instead, it unfolds as an allegorical exposition, inviting readers to explore its depths through comparisons within its own scripture-like narrative. Rather than delving into myths surrounding the fall of Sophia, the text encourages an allegorical interpretation rooted in scripture itself.

The narrative within The Exegesis on the Soul is not presented in a linear or straightforward manner. Instead, it weaves a tapestry of allegorical storytelling, interspersed with commentary, quotations from Old and New Testament scriptures, and even references to Homer's Odyssey. This eclectic mix underscores the author's syncretistic background and suggests a Valentinian Gnostic context, likely originating in Alexandria at the dawn of the third century.

Central to the text is the allegorical portrayal of the soul as a fallen woman, symbolizing humanity's descent from a state of perfection into spiritual degradation. Drawing parallels with biblical motifs, particularly from Lamentations 2:1, the text paints a vivid picture of the soul's journey through metaphorical prostitution and eventual redemption. The overarching theme revolves around the soul's reunion with the divine, symbolized by an androgynous union between the soul and the Spirit within the nuptial chamber.

Through copious quotations from both Old Testament prophets, New Testament gospels, and the epistles of Paul, the author establishes a rich tapestry of scripture. Interestingly, the inclusion of Homer's Odyssey alongside biblical texts suggests a broader understanding of scripture encompassing Greek legend and mythology. This inclusive approach underscores the author's view of diverse sources as potential sources of spiritual wisdom.

Understanding The Exegesis on the Soul as a Valentinian Gnostic text sheds light on its theological framework and thematic underpinnings. While the text touches upon sacramental themes, it does so with a subtlety distinct from other Valentinian writings in the Nag Hammadi Library. This nuanced exploration of sacramental themes further enriches our understanding of the text's theological milieu.

In conclusion, The Exegesis on the Soul emerges as a captivating Valentinian Gnostic text that challenges readers to delve into its allegorical depths. Through its intricate narrative, rich symbolism, and eclectic scriptural references, it offers a unique perspective on the nature of the soul, its fall from grace, and its journey towards redemption. As we unravel its mysteries, we embark on a spiritual journey that transcends conventional boundaries, inviting us to explore the depths of the human soul and its quest for divine reunion.

**Exploring the Nature of the Soul: Perspectives from Gnosticism and Biblical Teachings**

The concept of the soul has been a subject of profound philosophical and theological inquiry throughout history, with diverse perspectives emerging from different religious and philosophical traditions. In the context of Gnosticism, particularly among the Valentinian school, and within the framework of biblical teachings, the nature of the soul takes on varied interpretations that shape fundamental beliefs about human existence and spirituality.

April D. DeConick, in her seminal work *The Gnostic New Age*, elucidates the prevailing view among most Gnostics regarding the mortality of the soul. Contrary to Plato's notion of the immortal soul, Gnostics, particularly those within the Jewish-Christian tradition like the Valentinians, believed that the soul shares the same mortality as the physical body. According to DeConick, the soul is not endowed with eternal existence but is subject to the same fate of impermanence and eventual demise as the physical form it inhabits.

April D. DeConick in her book The Gnostic New Age "most Gnostics thought that the psyche, or soul, was mortal." page 21

According to most Gnostics, the soul is not immortal, as Plato thought. Rather, it is mortal, just like the physical body, and will not endure. (The Gnostic New Age P. 212 April D. DeConick)

This perspective finds resonance in the teachings of Heracleon, a prominent figure within the Valentinian Gnostic tradition who flourished around AD 175. Described by Clement of Alexandria as the most esteemed of the school of Valentinus, Heracleon's insights shed light on the Valentinian rejection of the doctrine of the immortal soul. Fragment 40 from Heracleon's commentary on the Gospel of John provides a nuanced interpretation of biblical passages, particularly John 4:46-53, emphasizing the mortal nature of the soul. By dissecting the symbolism within the biblical narrative, Heracleon argues against the notion of the immortal soul, asserting instead that the soul possesses only a disposition towards salvation and is susceptible to destruction in death.

Fragment 40, on John 4:46-53 (In John 4:46, “So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum, there was an official whose child was ill.) The official was the Craftsman, for he himself ruled like a king over those under him. Because his domain is small and transitory, he was called an “official,” like a petty princeling who is set over a small kingdom by the universal king. The “child” “in Capernaun” is one who is in the lower part of the Middle (i.e. of animate substance), which lies near the sea, that is, which is linked with matter. The child’s proper person was sick, that is, in a condition not in accordance with the child’s proper nature, in ignorance and sins. (In John 4:47, “When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his child , for it was at the point of death.”) The words “from Judea to Galilee” mean ‘from the Judea above.’. . . By the words “it was at the point of death,” the teaching of those who claim that the soul is immortal is refuted. In agreement with this is the statement that “the body and soul are destoyed in Hell.” (Matthew 10:28) The soul is not immortal, but is possessed only of a disposition towards salvation, for it is the perishable which puts on imperishability and the mortal which puts on immortality when “its death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54) (Heracleon: Fragments from his Commentary on the Gospel of John.)

This perspective aligns with biblical teachings found in both the Old and New Testaments, which consistently portray the soul as mortal and subject to death. Throughout biblical literature, the soul is depicted in various contexts, but it is never attributed with inherent immortality. Rather, it is portrayed as inseparable from mortal life, capable of perishing and facing destruction. For instance, Matthew 10:28 highlights the mortality of both body and soul, refuting the notion of inherent immortality. Similarly, 1 Corinthians 15:54 speaks of mortality being transformed into immortality, suggesting that the soul's imperishability is contingent upon divine intervention rather than an innate quality.

In essence, the exploration of the nature of the soul from both Gnostic and biblical perspectives offers intriguing insights into fundamental questions about human existence and spirituality. While Gnosticism, particularly within the Valentinian tradition, emphasizes the mortal nature of the soul as part of its broader cosmological framework, biblical teachings consistently underscore the mortal condition of the soul, devoid of inherent immortality. These perspectives invite further contemplation and dialogue on the nature of the soul and its significance within the larger tapestry of human spirituality and theological inquiry.

**The Collective Nature of the Soul: Insights from Biblical Usage**

In the rich tapestry of religious and philosophical thought, the concept of the soul holds a central place, often provoking profound reflections on the nature of human existence. Delving into the Scriptures, we find intriguing examples of a singular noun used to denote a collective group, shedding light on the collective nature of the soul in certain biblical contexts.

A notable instance is the collective use of the term "Israel" in the Scriptures. It refers not just to an individual, but to all the descendants of Jacob collectively at any given time. This collective usage is evident in various biblical passages, including Exodus 9:4, Joshua 3:7, Ezra 2:2b, and Matthew 8:10. Similarly, the term "The Amorite" appears singular in the Hebrew text but is used collectively to denote the Canaanite tribe descended from the original Amorite. This collective understanding extends to other groups, such as the Hamitic race mentioned in Genesis 10:6, 15, 16 and 1 Chronicles 1:13, 14.

Genesis 14:21 After that the king of Sodom said to Abram: “Give me the souls, but take the goods for yourself.”

The souls,” (Hebrew., han·ne´phesh, singular. but used collectively)

23:7 Thereupon Abraham got up and bowed down to the natives, to the sons of Heth,
8 and spoke with them, saying: “If YOUR souls agree to bury my dead out of my sight, listen to me and urge Ephron the son of Zohar for me,
9 that he may give me the cave of Mach·pe´lah, which is his, which is at the extremity of his field. For the full amount of silver let him give it to me in the midst of YOU for the possession of a burial place.” (Genesis 23:7-9 NWT) 

NWT Footnote: Lit., "with your soul," used collectively. Heb., 'eth-naph·shekhem´; Gr., psy·khei´.

The concept of the soul also takes on a collective dimension in certain biblical verses, such as Genesis 14:21, Genesis 23:8, and Jeremiah 48:6. Genesis 14:21 presents an interesting use of the term "souls," emphasizing its collective nature. The king of Sodom requests Abram, saying, "Give me the souls, but take the goods for yourself." Here, the Hebrew term "han·ne´phesh" is singular but used collectively, suggesting a group of individuals.

Genesis 23:8 further exemplifies the collective use of the term "soul." In Abraham's conversation with the sons of Heth, the phrase "If your souls agree" is used collectively. The New World Translation (NWT) emphasizes the collective nature by providing a footnote stating that "lit., 'with your soul,' used collectively."

The nuances of the collective noun "soul" in these biblical passages provide a foundation for understanding its role in Gnostic teachings. The Gnostic text, *The Concept of Our Great Power*, introduces the notion of the soul-endowed aeon as the human race post-flood. This aeon, designated as the psychic one, is described as collective, suggesting a group of individuals with shared attributes and characteristics.

Then, in this aeon, which is the psychic one, the man will come into being who knows the great Power. He will receive (me) and he will know me. He will drink from the milk of the mother, in fact. He will speak in parables; he will proclaim the aeon that is to come, just as he spoke in the first aeon of the flesh, as Noah. Now concerning his words, which he uttered, he spoke in all of them, in seventy-two tongues. And he opened the gates of the heavens with his words. And he put to shame the ruler of Hades; he raised the dead, and he destroyed his dominion. (The Concept of Our Great Power)

Here, the soul-endowed aeon (the psychic aeon) is depicted as encompassing the human race after the flood, representing a collective entity endowed with spiritual potential and eligibility for eternal life. The Gnostic text emphasizes the collective nature of this soul-endowed aeon, highlighting its distinctiveness from the fleshly aeon.

The reference to seventy-two tongues in *The Concept of Our Great Power* underscores the universality and diversity within this collective aeon. The individual within this aeon is portrayed as capable of opening the gates of the heavens with their words, challenging the dominion of Hades, and even raising the dead. This collective empowerment aligns with the biblical understanding of the soul as a collective noun, emphasizing the interconnectedness of individuals within a shared spiritual journey.

In conclusion, the exploration of the collective nature of the soul, as depicted in biblical passages and Gnostic teachings, unveils a nuanced understanding of the soul's role in the human experience. The collective noun "soul" not only reflects a shared identity within specific groups but also contributes to the broader discourse on spirituality, collective empowerment, and the transformative potential inherent in the human soul. As we delve into these diverse perspectives, we embark on a journey that transcends individual boundaries, inviting contemplation on the interconnectedness of souls in the unfolding narrative of human existence.

**The Soul as an Allegorical Representation: Unveiling the Symbolism in the Exegesis on the Soul**

In exploring the Exegesis on the Soul, it becomes apparent that a nuanced understanding of the text requires delving into its allegorical nature, rooted in Judeo-Christian traditions rather than Greek philosophy or mythology. The text employs symbolic language, personifying the soul as a woman, to convey deeper truths about the collective spiritual condition of a group of people. This allegorical approach refrains from literal interpretations and instead invites readers to discern spiritual truths within its symbolic narrative.

Central to this allegorical interpretation is the identification of the soul as representing the nation of Israel, utilized collectively to symbolize a group of people. Drawing parallels with biblical passages where the term "soul" is used collectively for groups of individuals, such as Genesis 14:21, Genesis 23:8, and Jeremiah 48:6, the Exegesis on the Soul employs similar symbolism to convey its message. The personification of the soul as a woman embodies the collective spiritual state of the nation of Israel, depicted allegorically as a wife fallen into prostitution, mirroring the biblical narrative where Israel is metaphorically portrayed as the wife of God who has strayed from righteousness.

The allegorical interpretation extends further to encompass the concept of repentance within the narrative. The call to repentance within the text is addressed to a collective group, identified as the spiritual Israel or the church. By utilizing the term "Israel" as a collective representation of the soul, the text emphasizes the collective responsibility for repentance and spiritual renewal. The symbolic language employed throughout the text underscores the interconnectedness of individuals within the spiritual community, highlighting the shared journey towards redemption and restoration.

At the conclusion of the Exegesis on the Soul, the allegorical interpretation becomes clearer as the text shifts from speaking about the soul to addressing the nation of Israel directly. This transition underscores the allegorical nature of the narrative, where the soul serves as a symbolic representation of the collective spiritual condition of the nation. The call to repentance, articulated within the allegorical framework, resonates with Jewish-Christian readers familiar with the concept of repentance as a fundamental aspect of spiritual renewal.

In essence, the Exegesis on the Soul offers a compelling allegorical narrative that delves into profound spiritual truths through symbolic language and imagery. By personifying the soul as a woman and utilizing the term "Israel" collectively, the text invites readers to contemplate the collective spiritual journey of a community and the imperative of repentance as a pathway to restoration. This allegorical interpretation, rooted in Judeo-Christian traditions, provides a deeper understanding of the text's symbolism and its relevance for spiritual reflection and renewal within the community of believers.

**The Symbolism of the Soul's Feminine Nature: Insights from The Exegesis on the Soul**

The Exegesis on the Soul, a profound Gnostic text, introduces the soul with a distinctive feminine persona, highlighting the symbolic and allegorical dimensions embedded in its narrative. Across languages such as Hebrew, Coptic, and Greek, the term "soul" inherently carries a feminine grammatical form. However, in this text, the soul is not merely a linguistic entity; rather, it emerges as a symbolic woman, serving as an allegory for both the natural seed of Israel and the spiritual Israel, represented by the Church.

The author of The Exegesis on the Soul notes that wise men of old ascribed a feminine name to the soul, emphasizing its feminine nature. The text transcends linguistic nuances, delving into a profound metaphorical representation. This feminine portrayal aligns with biblical usage, where the term "woman" is occasionally employed to depict a weak or vulnerable man, underscoring the nuanced gendered language present in both the text and broader biblical traditions (Isaiah 3:12; 19:16).

The assertion that the soul is "female in her nature" reaches beyond mere grammatical considerations. It invites readers to explore the metaphorical aspects of femininity, particularly through the reference to the soul having a womb. In this context, the womb symbolizes sin, drawing parallels with biblical passages that metaphorically associate sin with conception, birth, and the bearing of iniquity.

James 3:15 highlights the earthly origin of wisdom, describing it as "born of the soul" or "demoniacal" in Rotherham's Emphasized Bible. This imagery of earthly wisdom being born from the soul further reinforces the reproductive symbolism associated with the soul, indicating its role in the genesis of earthly desires and temptations.

The concept of the soul's womb is intricately linked to the notion of sin as a female principle. Psalm 7:14 portrays sinners as pregnant with what is hurtful, conceiving trouble, and giving birth to falsehood. Similarly, James 1:13-15 depicts the process of temptation and sin as akin to childbirth, where desire conceives and gives birth to sin, ultimately leading to death. This language of childbearing in connection with lust and sin underscores the reproductive aspect of the soul, illustrating its role in the genesis of sinful desires and actions.

Philo, a Jewish philosopher, further elaborates on the feminine nature of the soul's offspring, identifying wickedness and passion as female offspring of the soul. According to Philo, these female offspring lead to effeminacy in pursuits, contrasting with the masculine characters of good dispositions, which invigorate and strengthen individuals in their spiritual journey.

In essence, the feminine symbolism of the soul in The Exegesis on the Soul serves as a powerful allegory, highlighting the nurturing and reproductive aspects of the soul in its spiritual journey. The imagery of the soul as a woman with a womb underscores its role in the genesis of earthly desires and temptations, while also emphasizing the importance of cultivating virtuous dispositions to transcend the influence of sinful tendencies. Through this allegorical framework, the text invites readers to reflect on the transformative power of spiritual renewal and the journey towards overcoming the frailties of the soul in pursuit of divine wisdom and virtue.

**The Virgin Soul: Symbolism, Androgyny, and the Descent into Mortality**

In the labyrinth of allegorical prose within *The Exegesis on the Soul*, a striking revelation unfolds—“As long as she was alone with the father, she was virgin and in form androgynous.” This profound statement not only encapsulates the virginity of the soul but also introduces the concept of androgyny, a state of being both male and female. To unravel this enigma, we delve into the figurative use of the term “virgin” in biblical and literary contexts, uncovering its symbolic significance in the narrative.

The metaphorical use of "virgin" in connection with cities, places, or peoples is a recurring theme in biblical literature. Various references, such as the “virgin daughter” of Israel, Judah, and Zion, convey a sense of being unsubdued, untarnished by foreign conquerors. The symbolic virginity of a people or place implies an undisturbed and pristine state, unspoiled by external forces. In this context, the virginity of the soul in *The Exegesis on the Soul* takes on a symbolic dimension, signifying a state of purity and untarnished existence while in communion with the Father.

The narrative introduces the concept of androgyny, describing the soul as being both male and female in its form. This androgynous nature finds resonance in the symbolic understanding of Israel as the wife of God and, simultaneously, the sons of Israel. The spiritual unity and interconnectedness within this symbolism allow for the conception of trouble within the soul without the involvement of an external agent. The androgynous state of the soul reflects its dual nature—the feminine aspect as the wife of God and the masculine aspect as the sons of Israel, capturing the complexity of its spiritual identity.

However, the narrative takes a poignant turn as it describes the soul's descent into mortality. The transition from being alone with the Father to descending into a body signifies a profound shift—from a state of purity and androgyny to a state of bondage or servitude to sin. The choice of the term "body" in this context holds significant weight. In Greek, the word translated as "body" (Strong’s 4983) can also be rendered as "slave." This nuanced interpretation introduces a layer of depth, suggesting that the soul, once in union with the Father, becomes a servant to sin upon its descent into mortality.

The descent into life, characterized by alienation from the life of God and the blindness of the heart, aligns with biblical concepts of spiritual estrangement due to ignorance. The narrative draws parallels with the idea that friendship with the world is enmity with God, emphasizing the transformative impact of worldly influences on the soul's spiritual state. The symbolism within this descent echoes the biblical notion of falling away from divine communion into a state of spiritual separation.

In essence, the allegorical narrative in *The Exegesis on the Soul* unveils a profound journey—from the virgin and androgynous state of the soul, in harmonious communion with the Father, to its descent into mortality and bondage to sin. The use of symbolism, androgyny, and the metaphorical understanding of virginity enriches the narrative, offering readers a contemplative exploration of the soul's complex spiritual identity and its profound relationship with divinity. As the soul navigates the realms of purity, duality, and mortality, the narrative invites reflection on the intricate interplay between the spiritual and the earthly, urging readers to delve into the profound mysteries concealed within the allegorical depths of the text.

**The Symbolic Descent: Figurative Language in the Exegesis on the Soul**

In the labyrinth of *The Exegesis on the Soul*, a profound revelation echoes - "When she fell down into a body and entered this life, then she fell into the hands of thieves." This statement, laden with symbolism and figurative language, unfolds a narrative of spiritual descent and apostasy. To decipher its depths, we embark on a journey through biblical allegory, exploring the nuanced meanings of falling, bodies, and the hands of thieves.

The notion of falling from heaven is not foreign to biblical literature. Figuratively understood, it represents a loss of authority or a descent from a position of prominence. In Isaiah 14, the demise of the king of Babylon is expressed as a fall from heaven, a metaphorical expression signifying a loss of dominion. This figurative descent is also applied to the nation of Israel in Lamentations 2:1, where the daughter of Zion is beclouded and thrown down from heaven to earth. Luke 11:23 further emphasizes the concept, illustrating how Capernaum, despite its previous exalted state, will descend to Hades. This figurative language is not about celestial realms but political and spiritual authority.

Theologian Matthew Henry, in his commentary, interprets such figurative language as political speeches. For example, in his analysis of Revelation 6, he sees the earthquake, darkened sun, and falling stars as symbols of political upheaval and the collapse of the Jewish church and state. This perspective aligns with a figurative understanding of the Exegesis on the Soul, urging readers to interpret its symbolic language as reflections of spiritual and political realities.

In interpreting passages that describe descent or falling, such as those encountered in the Exegesis on the Soul, Matthew Henry adopts a figurative approach. Instead of interpreting these depictions as literal falls from physical heights, he discerns them as symbolic representations of political or spiritual declines. This interpretative strategy reflects a broader trend in biblical scholarship that endeavors to unveil layers of meaning beyond the literal sense of the text.

Matthew Henry, an English Presbyterian minister whose Complete Commentary on the Bible remains influential, demonstrates a keen awareness of the figurative language employed in biblical narratives. In his commentary on Revelation 6, where cataclysmic events are described, Henry sees these occurrences not as literal cosmic disturbances but as political upheavals. The great earthquake, the darkened sun, and the falling stars are, for him, symbols of significant political changes, reflecting the collapse of the Jewish church and state. This approach showcases an inclination to view dramatic and cosmic language in the Bible as conveying deeper, symbolic truths about political and spiritual realities.

This interpretive stance aligns with a broader trend in biblical scholarship that seeks to move beyond a rigidly literal understanding of scripture. Scholars often recognize the rich tapestry of symbolic language woven throughout the Bible to convey profound truths. The use of metaphor, allegory, and symbolism is acknowledged as a common and intentional feature in ancient texts, allowing for layers of meaning beyond the surface narrative.

In the case of passages discussing falling or descent, the figurative interpretation is rooted in the recognition that these expressions carry more than just physical or geographical implications. Instead, they often signify shifts in political authority, spiritual states, or moral conditions. This nuanced approach respects the literary conventions of the time and the cultural context in which these texts were written.

For example, when the Exegesis on the Soul speaks of the soul falling into a body, the figurative understanding embraces the idea that this descent is not a literal fall from a celestial realm but a symbolic representation of a spiritual and political decline. The body, in this context, takes on a dual meaning—it can be understood both as a collective entity or a societal organization and as a state of servitude or slavery to sin. This figurative interpretation allows for a more nuanced and layered comprehension of the text.

In conclusion, Matthew Henry's figurative approach to passages describing descent or falling in the Bible is part of a broader trend in biblical scholarship that seeks to uncover deeper layers of meaning. Embracing the symbolic and metaphorical aspects of biblical language allows scholars and readers alike to appreciate the intricate tapestry of truths woven into these ancient texts, transcending literal constraints to reveal profound insights into spiritual and political realities.

So, when the Exegesis speaks of the soul falling into a body, we enter the realm of metaphorical richness. The Greek word for body, Strong’s 4983, carries a dual meaning—it can be translated as both "body" and "slave." This opens a nuanced interpretation, suggesting that the soul, once in unity with the Father, becomes a "slave" or "servant" to sin upon its descent. Moreover, the term "body" is used in various contexts in the Bible, ranging from the temple of the Holy Spirit to the spiritual unity of believers. In this context, it symbolizes a collective whole or a totality, hinting at a political body or an organized society.

The Exegesis draws parallels with Ezekiel 37, where a valley full of bones symbolizes Israel in a state of political death and captivity. The restoration of the bones signifies the revival of the nation from its dispersed and captive state. Likewise, when the soul falls into a body, it implies a political descent for Israel, losing its place of preeminence and falling into a state of spiritual death—the body of sin.

However, delving deeper, the word "body" is also a versatile term, portraying a social, ethical, or mystical unity, such as the church. It casts a shadow, a reflection of truth. Thus, the soul's descent into a body is not a mere physical journey but a profound transformation—a transition from a higher state to a lower one, signifying servitude to sin or dwelling in a house of sin. 

The narrative unfolds further, proclaiming that the soul, in its descent, enters this life—an existence marked by alienation from the life of God. Drawing on biblical wisdom, the text invokes Ephesians 4:18, portraying the ignorance and blindness that shroud the hearts of those separated from divine understanding. The stark dichotomy is emphasized by the declaration that friendship with the world is enmity with God, solidifying the soul's predicament as an enemy of God when entangled in the pursuits of worldly allure.

The hands of thieves, in the narrative, represent the agents of spiritual decay and apostasy. This figurative language finds resonance in biblical passages where thieves are associated with destruction and plundering. The soul's descent into the hands of thieves encapsulates the spiritual fall and corruption of the nation of Israel.

In essence, the Exegesis on the Soul weaves a tapestry of figurative language, drawing from biblical allegory to convey the spiritual descent and apostasy of Israel. The fall from heaven, the descent into a body/slave, and the hands of thieves collectively depict a narrative of political and spiritual decline. As readers navigate the symbolic terrain of this text, they are beckoned to unravel the layers of meaning, recognizing the rich tapestry of metaphorical language employed to articulate profound truths about the spiritual journey of the soul and the fate of nations.

Wednesday 24 January 2024

The Exegesis on the Soul an allegory of the Church

The Exegesis on the Soul 
an allegory of the history of Israel

 In this text, the female personification of the soul resembles the passion of Sophia, which is a theme pervasively found in Gnostic cosmology. 

The text quotes copiously from the Old Testament prophets, from the New Testament gospels, and from the epistles of Paul. Curiously, the text also quotes from Homer's Odyssey. These quotes indicate that the author viewed Greek legend and mythology as a type of scripture, just as the author also viewed large portions of the Old and New Testaments as scripture.

 Its purpose is to teach that the soul is a woman which fell from perfection into prostitution, and that the Father will elevate her again to her original perfect state.  

This personification of the soul is an allegorical interpretation of the falling away of Israel into sin and is compare to the fall of Sophia or Solomon who is wisdom personified 

The story of the fall of the soul begins at the start of the text but at the end of the book the meaning is given 

Our repentance
Certainly Israel would not have been visited in the first place to be brought out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, if it had not groaned to God and wept for the oppression of its labours. 
Again it is written in the Psalms (6:6-9),  

6 I have grown weary with my sighing; All night long I make my bed swim; With my tears I make my own bed overflow.
 7 From vexation my eye has become weak, It has grown old because of all those showing hostility to me.
 8 Get away from me, all YOU practicers of what is hurtful, For Jehovah will certainly hear the sound of my weeping.  
9 Jehovah will indeed hear my request for favor; Jehovah himself will accept my own prayer.
If we repent, truly God will listen us, he who is long suffering and abundantly merciful, to whom is the glory for ever and ever. Amen! 

Our repentance
Certainly Israel would not have been visited in the first place [here at the end of the text instead of speaking about the soul the writer speaks about the nation of Israel instead this is show that the soul is used has an allegory for the sons of Israel], to be brought out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, if it had not groaned to God and wept for the oppression of its labours. 
Again it is written in the Psalms (6:6-9),  

6 I have grown weary with my sighing; All night long I make my bed swim; With my tears I make my own bed overflow.
 7 From vexation my eye has become weak, It has grown old because of all those showing hostility to me.
 8 Get away from me, all YOU practicers of what is hurtful, For Jehovah will certainly hear the sound of my weeping.  
9 Jehovah will indeed hear my request for favor; Jehovah himself will accept my own prayer.
If we reform, [we like Israel need to ask for forgieness] truly God will listen us, he who is long suffering and abundantly merciful, to whom is the glory for ever and ever. Amen! 

Thus these words here at the end confirm my understanding that the soul here is allegorical of the fall of Israel and are own repentance 

Wise men of old gave the soul a feminine name. [the soul in Hebrew, Coptic, and Greek is a feminine noun, here it is used as an allegory for Israel both the natural seed of Israel and the Israel of God the spiritual Israel. The word woman is sometimes used in the Bible to refer to a weak and helpless man (Is.:3:12; 19:16). ] Indeed she is female in her nature as well. She even has her womb. [ Even men can give birth Psalm 7:14 Look! There is one that is pregnant with what is hurtful, And he has conceived trouble and is bound to give birth to falsehood. the natural Israel gave brith to the Saviour and thus the spiritual Israel being the Jerusalem above the mother of us all]
As long as she was alone with the father, she was virgin and in form androgynous. [androgynous being both male and female in that she is the wife of God and she is always called the sons of Israel] But when she fell down [If a fall from heaven to earth is understood figuratively rather than literally, as representing a fall from authority (as Is. 14:12; Jer. 51:53; Lam. 2:1; Matt. 11:23), much more sense can be made of all this] into a body [that is a body of sin, now the Greek word for body Strong’s 4983 can be translated slave and in the AVKJ bible it is translated slave some 146 times and the word body is used of a (large or small) number of men closely united into one society, or family as it were; a social, ethical, mystical body i.e. the church, and also that which casts a shadow as distinguished from the shadow itself and thus a shadow of the truth. so we could translate this however when shell descend from her higher place to a lower she became a "slave" or "servant" to sin or a house of sin] and came to this life [being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Ephesians 4:18 know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God James 4:4],   then she fell into the hands of many robbers [Isa 42:22  But this is a people robbed and plundered; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison-houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.]. And these shameless men [Reabome, Ahab, Jezebel] passed her from one to another and they violated her. [in setting up the revival baal-worship] Some raped her, [in killing the true prophetess of god and the exiles] while seduced her with gifts. In short, they defiled her, and she lost her virginity. Israel “kept building for themselves high places and sacred pillars and sacred poles upon every high hill and under every luxuriant tree. And even the male temple prostitute [New World Translation Reference Bible, footnote, “effeminate men”] proved to be in the land. They acted according to all the detestable things of the nations whom Jehovah had driven out from before the sons of Israel. 

And in her body [as a slave to the house of sin ] she prostituted herself [here the soul or body of Israel is likened to an adulterous wife who prostituted herself ] and gave herself to one and all, considering each one she was about to embrace to be her husband. [Here the soul is guilty of spiritual adultery which is  unfaithfulness to Jehovah on the part of those who are joined to him in a covenant. Natural Israel in the Law covenant was, therefore, guilty of spiritual adultery because of false religious practices, some of which included sex-worship rites and disregard for the seventh commandment. (Jer 3:8, 9; 5:7, 8; 9:2; 13:27; 23:10; Ho 7:4) For similar reasons Jesus denounced as adulterous the generation of Jews in his day. (Mt 12:39; Mr 8:38) Likewise today, if Christians who are dedicated to Jehovah and who are in the new covenant defile themselves with the present age (aeon), they commit spiritual adultery.—Jas 4:4.] When she had given herself to shameless, unfaithful adulterers, [The Assyrians, the Egyptians and the Babylon . Frequent condemnation was made of the reliance placed upon such pagan nations by apostate Israel and Judah, like “a simpleminded dove without heart.” (Jer 2:18, 36; La 5:6; Eze 16:26, 28; 23:5-12; Ho 7:11) The disastrous results of such a course were vividly described. (Eze 23:22-27 ] 

Jer 23:10  For the land is full of adulterers forsakes of God, Israel‘s true Husband; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right.] so that they might make use of her, then she sighed deeply and repented. But even when she turns her face from those adulterers, she runs to others and they compel her to live with them and render service to them upon their bed, as if they were her masters. [The Assyrians, the Egyptians and the Babylon . Frequent condemnation was made of the reliance placed upon such pagan nations by apostate Israel and Judah, often vacillating between Egypt and Assyria, like “a simpleminded dove without heart.” (Jer 2:18, 36; La 5:6; Eze 16:26, 28; 23:5-12; Ho 7:11) The disastrous results of such a course were vividly described. (Eze 23:22-27 ] Out of shame she no longer dares to leave them, whereas they deceive her for a long time, pretending to be faithful, true husbands, as if they greatly respected her. And after all this they abandon her and go. 
She then becomes a poor desolate widow, without help; not even a measure of food was left her from the time of her affliction. For from them she gained nothing except the defilements they gave her while they had sexual intercourse with her. And her offspring by the adulterers are dumb, blind and sickly. They are feebleminded. 
But when the father who is above visits her and looks down upon her and sees her sighing - with her sufferings and disgrace - and repenting of the prostitution in which she engaged, and when she begins to call upon his name so that he might help her, and she sighed with all her heart, saying "Save me, my father, for behold I will render an account to thee, for I abandoned my house and fled from my maiden`s quarters. Restore me to thyself again." When he sees her in such a state, then he will count her worthy of his mercy upon her, for many are the afflictions that have come upon her because she abandoned her house. 
On the prostitution of the soul
Now concerning the prostitution on the soul, the Holy Spirit prophesies in many places. For he said in the prophet Jeremiah (3:1-4), 
If the husband divorces his wife and she goes and takes another man, can she return to him after that? Has not that woman utterly defiled herself? "And you prostituted yourself to many shepherds and you returned to me!" said the lord. "Take an honest look and see where you prostituted yourself. Were you not sitting in the streets defiling the land with your acts of prostitution and your vices? And you took many shepherds for a stumbling block for yourself. You became shameless with everyone. You did not call on me as kinsman or as father or author of your virginity". Judah had had many lovers, yet the Lord still invites her to return.

Again it is written in the prophet Hosea (2:2-7), 
Come, go to law with your mother, for she is not to be a wife to me nor I a husband to her. I shall remove her prostitution from my presence, and I shall remove her adultery from between her breasts. I shall make her naked The punishment of an adulterer: to be stripped naked, and stoned (Eze 16:37-40). as on the day she was born, and I shall make her desolate like a land without water, She attributes her prosperity to her own efforts, and to her lovers among the aliens (cp Jer 44:17,18). and I shall make her longingly childless. I shall show her children no pity, for they are children of prostitution, since their mother prostituted herself and put her children to shame. For she said, "I shall prostitute myself to my lovers. It was they who gave me my bread and my water and my garments and my clothes and my wine and my oil and everything I needed." Therefore behold I shall shut them up so that she shall not be able to run after her adulterers. And when she seeks them and does not find them, she will say, 'I shall return to my former husband, in those days I was better off than now." 

Again he said in Ezekiel (16:23-26), 
It came to pass after much depravity, said the lord, you built yourself a brothel and you made yourself a beautiful place in the streets. And you built yourself brothels on every lane, and you wasted your beauty, and you spread your legs in every alley, and you multiplied your acts of prostitution. You prostituted yourself to the sons of Egypt, those who are your neighbors, men great of flesh. 
But what does "the sons of Egypt, men great of flesh" mean, if not the domain of the flesh and the perceptible realm and the affairs of the earth, [the presnt age of the flesh and its lust thereof and the things in the world which defile the soul in this order of things] by which the soul has become defiled here, receiving bread from them, as well as wine, oil, clothing, and the other external nonsense surrounding the body - the things she thinks she needs. 

But as to this prostitution, the apostles of the savior commanded (Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25; 1Th 4:3; 1 Co 6:18; 2 Co 7:1): "Guard yourselves against it, purify yourselves from it," speaking not just of the prostitution of the body but especially that of the soul. For this reason the apostles write to the churches of God, that such prostitution might not occur among us. 
Yet the greatest struggle has to do with the prostitution of the soul. From it arises the prostitution of the body as well. Therefore Paul, writing to the Corinthians (1Co 5:9-10), said, "I wrote you in the letter, 'Do not associate with prostitutes,' not at all (meaning) the prostitutes of this world or the greedy or the thieves or the idolaters, since then you would have to go out from the world." - here it is speaking spiritually - "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood - as he said (Ep 6:12) - but against the world rulers of this darkness and the spirits of wickedness." 
Restoration of the soul
As long as the soul keeps running about everywhere copulating with whomever she meets and defiling herself, she exists suffering her just deserts. But when she perceives the straits she is in and weeps before the father and repents, then the father will have mercy on her and he will make her womb turn from the outside back to the inside, so that the soul will regain her proper character. For it is not so with a woman. For the womb of the body is inside the body like the other internal organs, but the womb of the soul is turned to the outside like the male genitalia which is external. 

Philo: Now the female offspring of the soul are wickedness and passion, by which we are made effeminate in every one of our pursuits; but a healthy state of the passions and virtue is male, by which we are excited and invigorated.

Philo: But the passions are female by nature, and we must study to quit them, showing our preference for the masculine characters of the good dispositions.  

James 3:15 Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible: this wisdom is not one from above coming down, but is earthly born of the soul demoniacal” 

therefore it is within our souls that we give birth to desire, sin, and death.

James: 1 : 13-15 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 

SIN... GIVES BIRTH TO DEATH: 1Co 5:54-56; Rom 5:12; 1Jo 2:16,17.

Psalms: 7:14 Look! There is one that is pregnant with what is hurtful, And he has conceived trouble and is bound to give birth to falsehood.. 

The psalmist metaphorically pictures the typical sinner as a pregnant woman, who is ready to give birth to wicked, destructive schemes and actions.

Job 15:35 They conceive mischief and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit. 

The wicked's iniquity is as his children: he nourishes them, and at last they turn on him.

The language of child-bearing in connection with lust and sin is echoed by James (Jam 1:13-15). So wicked men bring forth "children" (that is sin) after their own "likeness" (Gal 5:19-21; Rom 1:29-31; 1Co 6:9,10), and are thus known by their "fruits" (Mat 7:16,20). The melancholy litany of birth, procreation, and death in Gen 5 ("and then he died") is the result of Adam's "likeness" being distorted, in his descendants, into the likeness of the serpent.

So when the womb of the soul, by the will of the father, turns itself inward, it is baptized and is immediately cleansed of the external pollution which was pressed upon it, just as garments, when dirty, are put into the water and turned about until their dirt is removed and they become clean. And so the cleansing of the soul is to regain the newness of her former nature and to turn herself back again. That is her baptism. 
Then she will begin to rage at herself like a woman in labor, who writhes and rages in the hour of delivery. But since she is female, by herself she is powerless to beget a child. [After the Exile the retruning Jews were like a woman trying to give brith ] From heaven the father sent her her man, who is her brother, the firstborn. Then the bridegroom came down to the bride. She gave up her former prostitution and cleansed herself of the pollutions of the adulterers, and she was renewed so as to be a bride. She cleansed herself in the bridal chamber; she filled it with perfume; she sat in it waiting for the true bridegroom. No longer does she run about the market place, copulating with whomever she desires, but she continued to wait for him - (saying) "When will he come?" - and to fear him, for she did not know what he looked like: she no longer remembers since the time she fell from her father's house. But by the will of the father <...> And she dreamed of him like a woman in love with a man. 
Marriage of the soul to her beloved
But then the bridegroom, according to the father's will, came down to her into the bridal chamber, which was prepared. And he decorated the bridal chamber. 
For since that marriage is not like the carnal marriage, those who are to have intercourse with one another will be satisfied with that intercourse. And as if it were a burden, they leave behind them the annoyance of physical desire and they turn their faces from each other. But this marriage [...]. But once they unite with one another, they become a single life. Wherefore the prophet said (Gn 2:24) concerning the first man and the first woman, "They will become a single flesh." For they were originally joined one to another when they were with the father before the woman led astray the man, who is her brother. This marriage has brought them back together again and the soul has been joined to her true love, her real master, as it is written (cf. Gn 3:16; 1 Co 11;1; Ep 5:23), "For the master of the woman is her husband." [After God told the serpent, He would provide a Redeemer who would bruise its head and release man from its power (sin). sentence was than pronounced upon the woman: Gen 3:16 And to the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy pains and thy groanings; in pain thou shall bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Your desire... to Your husband: Woman's desire to man, Christ: Song 2:16; 6:3. Man's pre-eminence over his wife: Eph 5:22-24. "Desire" is "teshuwqah", found in the OT only here and in Gen 3:16; 4:7; Song 7:10. Eve’s desire was for what she had lost, but hoped to regain it through him. This expresses a desire to return, a desire for oneness, a desire that the individual will (even HIS will!) should be subordinated to the needs of the unit which is the couple: "And the two will become one flesh" (Eph 5:31; cp Jn 17:21; Act 4:32; 27:23; 1Co 6:19,20). Instead "teshuwqah" some read "teshuwbah" return. Thus the Concordant translation renders: “By your husband is your restoration and he shall rule over you”. the LXX and the Syriac also render it as “return.” all these meanings are most significant. Eve was reminded that her restoration, return, was subject to her husband, and that he must exercise the rule over her. Eve, however, was typical of the bride of Christ, and these words spoken to her have an added significance when related to the bride. The restoration of the bride is subject to her husband (Christ), and he must bear rule over her, if she would attain unto it. 
What is the restoration? 
That unity for which Christ prayed the Father when he declared: John: 17:20,21 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 
This expresses the complete union of marriage; that oneness that shall only be experienced when the marriage of the lamb hath come. For the moment, the bride is espoused as a “chaste virgin” to Christ, and in this relationship, there is partial restoration. Thus, Paul wrote: Galatians: 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Paul taught that in Christ there is a restoration of oneness. We experience that initially at baptism, for no matter of which sex we might be, we are than made personally responsible to Christ. But the “oneness” there indicated, is but a token of the complete restoration in the future, when Christ’s prayer will be fulfilled, and when, taking her to himself in the bridal chamber, he will acknowledge that they are “one flesh” (Eph 5:31). Meanwhile, the second Eve remains in subjection to her husband (1Tim 2:11-12 Eph 5:22 Col 3:18) ]
Then gradually she recognized him, and she rejoiced once more, weeping before him as she remembered the disgrace of her former widowhood. And she adorned herself still more so that he might be pleased to stay with her. 
And the prophet said in the Psalms (Ps 45:10-11): "Hear, my daughter, and see and incline your ear and forget your people and your father's house, for the king has desired your beauty, for he is your lord." 
For he requires her to turn her face from her people and the multitude of her adulterers, in whose midst she once was, to devote herself only to her king, her real lord, and to forget the house of the earthly father, with whom things went badly for her, but to remember her father who is in heaven. Thus also it was said (Gn 12:1) to Abraham: "Come out from your country and your kinsfolk and from your father`s house" 
Rebirth of the soul
Thus when the soul had adorned herself again in her beauty [...] enjoyed her beloved, and he also loved her. And when she had intercourse with him, she got from him the seed that is the life-giving spirit, so that by him she bears good children and rears them. For this is the great, perfect marvel of birth. And so this marriage is made perfect by the will of the father. 
Now it is fitting that the soul regenerates herself and become again as she formerly was. The soul then moves of her own accord. And she received the divine nature from the father for her rejuvenation, so that she might be restored to the place where originally she had been. This is the resurrection that is from the dead. This is the ransom from captivity. This is the upward journey of ascent to heaven. This is the way of ascent to the father. Therefore the prophet said (Ps 103:1-5): 
"Praise the lord, O my soul, and, all that is within me, (praise) his holy name. My soul, praise God, who forgave all your sins, who healed all your sicknesses, who ransomed your life from death, who crowned you with mercy, who satisfies your longing with good things. Your youth will be renewed like an eagle's." 
Then when she becomes young again, she will ascend, praising the father and her brother, by whom she was rescued. Thus it is by being born again that the soul will be saved. And this is due not to rote phrases or to professional skills or to book learning. Rather it is the grace of the [...], it is the gift of the [...]. For such is this heavenly thing. Therefore the savior cries out (Jn 6:44), "No one can come to me unless my Father draws him and brings him to me; and I myself will raise him up on the last day." 
It is therefore fitting to pray to the father and to call on him with all our soul - not externally with the lips, but with the spirit, which is inward, which came forth from the depth - sighing; repenting for the life we lived; confessing our sins; perceiving the empty deception we were in, and the empty zeal; weeping over how we were in darkness and in the wave; mourning for ourselves, that he might have pity on us; hating ourselves for how we are now. 
Again the savior said (cf Mt 5:4, Lk 6:12): "Blessed are those who mourn, for it is they who will be pitied; blessed, those who are hungry, for it is they who will be filled." 
Again he said (cf. Lk 14:26), "If one does not hate his soul he cannot follow me." For the beginning of salvation is repentance. Therefore (cf. Acts 13:24), "Before Christ`s appearance came John, preaching the baptism of repentance." 
And repentance takes place in distress and grief. But the father is good and loves humanity, and he hears the soul that calls upon him and sends it the light of salvation. Therefore he said through the spirit to the prophet (cf. 1 Cl 8:3), "Say to the children of my people, 'If your sins extend from earth to heaven, and if they become red like scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, and if you return to me with all your soul and say to me 'my Father!', I will heed you as a holy people.'" 
Again another place (Is 30:15), "Thus says the lord, the holy one of Israel: "If you return and sigh, then you will be saved and will know where you were when you trusted in what is empty." 
Again he said in another place (Is 30:19-20), "Jerusalem wept much, saying, 'Have pity on me.' He will have pity on the sound of your weeping. And when he saw, he heeded you. And the lord will give you bread of affliction and water of oppression. From now on, those who deceive will not approach you again. Your eyes will see those who are deceiving you." 
praying with all our 
Therefore it is fitting to pray to God night and day, spreading out our hands towards him as do people sailing in the middle of the sea: they pray to God with all their heart without hypocrisy. For those who pray hypocritically deceive only themselves. Indeed, it is in order that he might know who is worthy of salvation that God examines the inward parts and searches the bottom of the heart. For no one is worthy of salvation who still loves the place of deception. 
Therefore it is written in the poet (Homer, Odyssey 1.48-1.59), "Odysseus sat on the island weeping and grieving and turning his face from the words of Calypso and from her tricks, longing to see his village and smoke coming forth from it. And had he not received help from heaven, he would not have been able to return to his village." 
Again Helen <...> saying (Odyssey 4.260-261), "My heart turned itself from me. It is to my house that I want to return." 
For she sighed, saying (Odyssey 4.261-4.264), "It is Aphrodite who deceived me and brought me out of my village. My only daughter I left behind me, and my good, understanding, handsome husband." 
For when the soul leaves her perfect husband because of the treachery of Aphrodite, who exists here in the act of begetting, then she will suffer harm. But if she sighs and repents, she will be restored to her house. 
Our repentance
Certainly Israel would not have been visited in the first place [here at the end of the text instead of speaking about the soul the writer speaks about the nation of Israel instead this is show that the soul is used has an allegory for the sons of Israel], to be brought out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, if it had not groaned to God and wept for the oppression of its labours. 
Again it is written in the Psalms (6:6-9),  

6 I have grown weary with my sighing; All night long I make my bed swim; With my tears I make my own bed overflow.
 7 From vexation my eye has become weak, It has grown old because of all those showing hostility to me.
 8 Get away from me, all YOU practicers of what is hurtful, For Jehovah will certainly hear the sound of my weeping.  
9 Jehovah will indeed hear my request for favor; Jehovah himself will accept my own prayer.
If we repent, truly God will listen us, he who is long suffering and abundantly merciful, to whom is the glory for ever and ever. Amen! 

Thus these words here at the end confirm my understanding that the soul here is allegorical of the fall of Isreal and are own repentance 

Saturday 20 January 2024

The Gospel of Thomas does not teach reincarnation

Title: Understanding the Absence of Reincarnation in the Gospel of Thomas

51]. His disciples said to him: "On what day shall rest come to those who are dead, and on what day shall the new world come?" He said to them: "This <rest> that you wait for has (already) come, and you have not recognised it.


After conducting a comprehensive study that explores the nature of the soul in the Gospel of Thomas, it is important to address the assertions made by some individuals on social media suggesting that this text endorses the concept of reincarnation.

In response to comments on Facebook, it is essential to emphasize that the focus of the Gospel of Thomas is not explicitly on reincarnation. Instead, the sayings predominantly revolve around spiritual wisdom, self-discovery, and the nature of the divine. Any references that may be interpreted as alluding to reincarnation can be reevaluated within the broader context of the Gospel, taking into account alternative explanations that align with the overall themes of the text.

This analysis seeks to clarify that the primary teachings of the Gospel focus on spiritual enlightenment and self-realization rather than endorsing the concept of reincarnation

Saying 51:

Saying 51 challenges the disciples' anticipation of a future event related to the dead and the new world. Jesus responds by asserting that what they are looking forward to has already come, but they are unaware of it. This saying does not align with the continuous nature of reincarnation, where an individual's soul is believed to undergo multiple births and deaths. Instead, it implies a transformative event that has occurred, emphasizing a singular occurrence rather than a continuous cycle.

Saying 2 (Greek Fragment):

The additional verse in the Greek fragment of Saying 2, 'and having reigned, one will rest,' does not inherently support the idea of reincarnation. The concept of reigning followed by rest could be understood metaphorically as achieving a state of fulfillment or completion, rather than undergoing repeated cycles of birth and death. This interpretation is in harmony with the transformative nature emphasized in Saying 51.

Saying 3:

Saying 3 challenges conventional notions of the kingdom by asserting that it exists both within and outside individuals rather than being confined to a specific external location like Heaven. While this saying emphasizes an internalized understanding of the kingdom, it does not advocate for reincarnation. The primary focus is on recognizing the divine presence within oneself, aligning with a spiritual interpretation rather than one centered on reincarnation.

Saying 82:

Saying 82 emphasizes that those who are near to Jesus are close to the Father, suggesting a spiritual proximity rather than a continuation through successive lives. This saying highlights a relational aspect rather than a cycle of rebirth, reinforcing the absence of reincarnation in the teachings of the Gospel of Thomas.

Saying 113:

In Saying 113, the disciples inquire about the timing of the kingdom's arrival. Jesus responds by stating that it will not come by watching for it, and it is already spread out upon the earth. This saying emphasizes the present reality of the kingdom, challenging the idea of a future existence through multiple lives. The absence of reincarnation is evident in the emphasis on the current, unrecognized presence of the kingdom.


In examining the relevant sayings from the Gospel of Thomas, we find a consistent theme that diverges from the concept of reincarnation. Saying 51 challenges the disciples' expectations of a future event by highlighting a transformative occurrence that has already taken place. The additional verse in the Greek fragment of Saying 2 does not explicitly endorse reincarnation but rather suggests a state of rest after reigning. Sayings 3, 82, and 113 emphasize the present reality of the kingdom and the indwelling of the Son of Man, further refuting the idea of reincarnation.

The Gospel of Thomas, through its unique sayings, encourages a reevaluation of eschatological expectations and emphasizes a transformative understanding of spiritual truths rather than supporting the concept of reincarnation. The teachings in these sayings invite contemplation on the nature of existence, spiritual awareness, and the recognition of divine realities in the present moment.

Tuesday 16 January 2024

Does the Gospel of Thomas teach an afterlife

Challenging the Immortality of the Soul in the Gospel of Thomas


The Gospel of Thomas, a non-canonical text attributed to Jesus, presents intriguing perspectives on various theological aspects. In this exploration, we'll delve into the teachings of the Gospel of Thomas and compare them to select passages from the Bible. The focus will be on the equivalence of body and soul, the nature of death, the afterlife, and the concept of light within individuals.

Equivalence of Body and Soul:

The Gospel of Thomas, in sayings 28, 29, 87, and 112, suggests an equivalence between the body and soul. This concept challenges traditional dualistic views and aligns with biblical teachings that emphasize the interconnectedness of body and soul (Matthew 10:28, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Nature of Death:

Contrary to the idea of an immortal soul, the Gospel of Thomas, through sayings 11, 51, 52, 59, 60, and 85, emphasizes that the dead are unconscious and know nothing. This perspective resonates with Ecclesiastes 9:5, Psalm 146:3-4, and Psalm 6:4-5, which portray the dead as devoid of consciousness.

The Afterlife:

In sayings 3, 82, and 113, the Gospel of Thomas does not assert a belief in going to heaven. This aligns with the biblical notion that judgment occurs at the Second Coming of Jesus, as depicted in 2 Timothy 4:8 and Hebrews 11:39,40. The idea that no one has received their reward yet echoes the anticipation of divine judgment and rewards in the biblical narrative.

The Light Within the Man of Light:

In the Gospel of Thomas, saying 24 introduces the concept of the "man of light" who possesses the light of knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. This light is not portrayed as universally present within all individuals but is specific to those who have attained a particular level of understanding and enlightenment. This concept deviates from the notion of an inherent divine spark or light present in every individual, which is often associated with the immortality of the soul.

Saying 24 in The Gospel of Thomas introduces the concept of light within a "man of light," which resonates with the biblical idea of the light of knowledge about God and Jesus Christ received through preaching, as indicated in saying 33. This contrasts with the widespread notion of an inherent divine light within every individual, suggesting a more selective illumination through understanding.

Preaching and Enlightenment:

Saying 33 in the Gospel of Thomas emphasizes the act of preaching and proclaiming the teachings of Jesus. This saying suggests that the light within, mentioned in saying 24, is acquired through the process of sharing the teachings and spreading knowledge. It does not imply the existence of an immortal soul but rather emphasizes the importance of actively engaging with and disseminating spiritual wisdom.

Discovering the Interpretation:

The important saying 1 declares, "Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death." This statement redefines salvation as a journey of understanding and interpretation rather than a passive reception of divine grace. It implies that salvation is attainable through the discovery and comprehension of the hidden truths embedded in the sayings of Jesus.

This emphasis on interpretation challenges the notion that salvation relies solely on an inherent divine light within everyone. Instead, it suggests an active engagement with the teachings of Jesus, encouraging individuals to delve into the depths of spiritual wisdom to unlock the keys to eternal life.

The Kingdom Within:

To comprehend salvation according to The Gospel of Thomas, one must consider saying 3, which states, "If those who lead you say to you, 'See, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you."(Note this is the doctrine) This saying challenges the conventional understanding of the kingdom of God as a place in the heavens. Instead, it suggests that the kingdom is a present reality, accessible through understanding rather than a physical location. Salvation, in this context, involves recognizing the Son of Man within oneself. This challenges the traditional Christian concept of heaven as the home of the true believers.

Saying 113 reinforces the idea that the kingdom is not in the sky but is rather accessible through a profound spiritual understanding: "His disciples said to him, 'When will the kingdom come?' Jesus said, 'It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying "here it is" or "there it is." Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it.'" This saying reinforces the idea that salvation is not a future event but a current, hidden reality that requires a perceptive understanding.

Salvation as Inner Transformation:

The Gospel of Thomas paints a picture of salvation as an inner, transformative process. Understanding the profound truths within Jesus' sayings, realizing the kingdom within, and acknowledging its current existence lead to salvation. Unlike conventional views that focus on external deliverance or an afterlife reward, this perspective emphasizes a present and ongoing experience of salvation through inner enlightenment.

Challenging Popular Notions:

This interpretation challenges popular Christian doctrines that emphasize external manifestations of the kingdom and a future salvation event. The Gospel of Thomas suggests that salvation is not solely contingent on external factors but is intricately tied to an individual's internal understanding and realization of divine truths.


In the Gospel of Thomas, salvation is a journey within, a process of discovering hidden meanings, recognizing the kingdom within oneself, and understanding the present reality of divine presence. Sayings 1, 3, and 113 collectively paint a picture of salvation that challenges conventional views and encourages a deeper exploration of personal spirituality. This inward-focused perspective invites individuals to seek salvation through inner transformation, aligning their lives with the divine truths embedded in the teachings of Jesus.


The Gospel of Thomas provides a unique perspective on theological concepts, challenging traditional views on body and soul, death, the afterlife, and inner light. While some teachings align with biblical narratives, others present distinctive viewpoints. This comparative analysis sheds light on the complexities of early Christian thought and encourages a nuanced understanding of theological diversity within the historical context.