Gospel of Thomas: Thomas 83
Is It Gnostic or Not?
Thomas 83: Jesus said, “Images are visible to people, but the light within them is hidden in the image of the Father’s light. He will be disclosed, but his image is hidden by his light.”
In Thomas 83, we see a profound description of the soul, which is not unlike God, the Source and its nature. Yeshua uses the word light as a comparison between these two realms, because light sustains life and allows us to see. This Light is not light as we experience it in this world. This thing flows through all of us; It is in everything (Thomas 77). Humans cannot experience this energy, because they are limited by their senses and the familiar phenomena of the natural world. This is evident when Yeshua says the Light within people is hidden in the image of the Father’s Light. This indicates the Source is something most people cannot experience. The nature of the Father’s Light hides It from us, because this Light is not something tangible.
Yeshua goes on to say God, the Source ‘will be disclosed, but his image is hidden by his Light’. This tells us the Source is revealed to people as they become awakened to the truth or after death (Thomas 11). The most significant words in this saying are the last seven: ‘his image is hidden by his Light’. This dispels the idea of a God that is in one place and is one entity. It also ratifies our understanding regarding the Holy Trinity. In Matthew 28:19, we see a reference to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In the orthodox doctrine, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate persons, but not three separate gods—they are all God. This definition shows how people have tried to fit a square into a circle, without much success. It is another example of how Old Testament proclamations, together with misunderstood teachings attributed to Jesus, have led religious leaders to strange conclusions. It is not disputed that Yeshua spoke of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as we have seen in Thomas 44. What is disputed is how Yeshua defined these three. In the Gospel of Thomas, the ‘Trinity’ are seen as characteristics, or facets, of the one thing—not three separate persons and one God. In Thomas 44 Yeshua emphasises the importance of the Holy Spirit above the concept of Father and Son. This tells us two things: as one is considered more important than the other two, they are not three separate persons, one God. That would be denigrating God, since the orthodox view would argue all three are equal. It also confirms, just as blood nourishes and sustains the body, the Holy Spirit sustains the link between Father and Son. It is the collective consciousness because to be conscious is to be aware, alive. This is the link between God, the Source and all beings in this universe (and other dimensions).
We have seen throughout the Gospel of Thomas that the Father is the Source of all things—It is in everything. The Son is Jesus. He is symbolic of humanity and the people who recognise the soul within the flesh. We are as He is (Thomas 99). The Holy Spirit is the thing awakening, connecting, and intertwining us in an intimate relationship with God, the Source. It is a profound connection because it is the collective consciousness. The Holy Spirit is the active energy linking the Source with Its Light in us, which humans call the soul. In Thomas 83 there is an emphasis on the image we expect to see. There is in fact no image of God, the Father/Source, since Its Light—the thing that constitutes what It is made of, is everywhere at the same time. It is hidden by the nature of what It is—It is ubiquitous. It has no physical comparison. It is between the fibres inside wood and under a rock at the same time (Thomas 77).
Why does Yeshua refer to God the Source as the Father? It is clear the heritage He was born into made it necessary for Yeshua to speak in metaphors His contemporaries could associate with. The place in time Yeshua entered into this realm was ordained by sequential celestial events, which enabled His Spirit to be thrust into this dimension. It was a time in human history the collective consciousness foresaw as the best opportunity for this Spirit to be recognised. Had these events not occurred in this way, His name would not have survived the ravages of time (Thomas 98). Jesus often used the term ‘Father’ when referring to god. This kind of language caused the Pharisees’ insecurities to grow. The Pharisees knew their God as Yahweh. While this god is seen as the patriarch of the Jewish nation, individuals would have been cautious in claiming a direct personal relationship. However, the use of the word Father was necessary for Yeshua’s ministry. This description ensured His contemporaries knew He was referencing the prophets. Unfortunately, their idea of a saviour was akin to a warrior king, not a teacher and guide for the Soul. The use of the title Father is layered; it goes beyond the practical link to the Old Testament prophecies. This title holds some surprises when we analyse what it actually means. The meaning, in the context of Yeshua’s teaching, is a symbol relating to spiritual inspiration. If we consider what Thomas 83 discloses, it follows that the Father is not a single entity. Nor does It behave as a father in the way we might experience a biological father. Jesus has told us, in Thomas 22, that humans should not consider themselves male or female if they are to successfully enter the Father’s Kingdom. Therefore, the Spirit is above the parameters of male or female. This clearly negates the idea of the Father as the patriarchal alpha male. This is the god most Christian churches revere. It is also the one they believe Jesus called His Father. The key to unlocking why Jesus chose ‘Father’, as the reference to the Source, is in the symbolic action of this Light. The Father’s Light enters a body so that this Light, or soul, may aggregate the substance of the Source, becoming an awakened Spirit. This is similar to the actions of a human father, one who traditionally offers genetic material and lineage. This was particularly true in Jesus’ time, hence this metaphor. The sperm cell determines the sex of the child and only forms a body once it is inside the egg cell. The sperm cell is like the soul, which reflects the action of the Father’s Light. The egg is like the body and this planet. In this way, these mechanisms mirror the actions of the spirit realm. The two become one, but upon death, humans become two (Thomas 11). They are joined with their true Father and Mother (Thomas 101). It is not unusual then, that some belief systems see the physical world, our planet Earth, as a mother goddess. The Earth creates the environment and provides a place for souls to inhabit, not unlike a womb. The important thing to consider, in the symbol of the Father, is that just as our physical father does not own us, nor does the Source. People are individual entities, which need to grow and make conscious decisions, awakening them from the sleep symptomatic of this realm. While we are individual entities, we are also a collective and a crucial part of God, the Father/Source. Through the action of the collective consciousness (Holy Spirit), the sustaining link is made—without this, the human soul tastes death. Our inheritance from the Source has enabled us to make intuitive decisions about what is right and wrong. As long as we do not harm others, our experiences in this life amount to lessons along the path to resurrection (the Soul coming to life as a Spirit).
For some faiths, the reason humans have been separated from God, the Father/Source is a matter of conjecture. The Gnostic Christians created complex mythologies to explain this separation. However, it is evident that these ideas are reflections of observable behaviours, common in humans. These stories vary, depending on the reference, but they generally have a common theme. The myth starts with a self-generated, invisible presence, which created emanations—‘Aeons’ (lesser consecutive derivatives of the first, each one less perfect than its predecessor)—to accompany it. One of these Aeons was Sophia (representing wisdom). She created Yaldabaoth, without the consent or union of the self-generated one. Gnostics believe that because of Sophia’s decision to create without the self-generated one, Yaldabaoth is an imperfect demiurge, evident in his pride, vengeance, and jealousy. To the Gnostic, he is also known as Yahweh, from the Old Testament. For Sophia to correct her errors, she imparts wisdom to human beings. She also played on Yaldabaoth’s pride, convincing him to give humanity the breath of life, so that they could worship him—in his own image. As humans become re-joined to the self-generated one, Yaldabaoth diminishes and is eventually absorbed back into the Light. This skims the surface of the Gnostic thesis, which explains people’s dilemma in this realm. It illustrates how the early Christians, who tried to follow the secret teachings of Yeshua, were limited by their understanding of the world and human nature. They were reliant on what they could observe and experience in the natural world. This is not dissimilar to the way the Ancient Greeks and Romans attributed Gods to all manner of daily life, such as drinking, fighting, and hunting. In some portrayals of Yaldabaoth, he is depicted with the head of a lion, which references Thomas 7. This demonstrates how the early Christians did not have a vocabulary that could unpack the metaphors.
In the Gospel of Thomas, the teachings regarding our situation in this realm are clear. The words in Thomas are intimate, describing a close connection with God, the Father/Source. We are not pawns in a malevolent god’s self-indulgent game, like the Gnostics concluded. In reality, the truth is simple. When we consider the infinite potential within this universe and the other dimensions, there is no end to the possibilities. Therefore, since the Source is everywhere, It is also here in the material universe, as It is in the realm of the Spirit. This dimension, realm, or kingdom, where the Father exists, is not up in the sky (Thomas 3). It is what we are, a soul. It is through this realm—in the spaces between the fibres of wood and under a stone (Thomas 77). The Holy Spirit constitutes the spaces between thought and feeling – It is the collective consciousness. When these two are complete within us, our soul becomes a Spirit—awakened from the sleep, resurrected. The Source will be revealed to humans, but for now, Its image, like our soul, is hidden by the nature of Its Light.
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