The Gospel of Thomas was buried in the desert at Nag Hammadi along with other sacred texts by gnostic monks fleeing persecution. They were hidden for safekeeping, in the hope that someone of their number would survive the wrath of powers already Orthodox and Deadly by the fifth century; not averse to giving any-one they didn’t like the chop.
None returned, though the books themselves…
”lay unmolested until such a time as the established Churches lost the power to be able to subdue them.” H. MacGregor Ross.
They were discovered ‘accidentally’ by someone who thought to himself, in all the vastness of the unforgiving desert, that this particularly parched and arid spot looked like a perfect place to do a bit of a recreational digging…
in 45* of desert heat.
Curiously the book itself is about persecution, the persecution of ourselves and how this leads to our treatment of one another. It also tells us quite explicitly how to resolve this….
and it doesn’t involve being good.
which is why the church wanted to get their hands on it.
These undisturbed ‘logia’, straight from the mouth of the Master, are undoctored by millenia of fiddling kings. And they record, in typical Gnostic style, just how entirely dismissive he was of the Establishment.
”Grapes are not harvested from thorn trees, nor are figs gathered from thistles.” logia 45
sometimes he’s a bit less polite..
”for they are like dogs in the manger for neither does he eat nor does he allow the oxen to eat.” logia 102
and sometimes, plain insurrectionist..
”I will overturn this house… logia 71.
But what really made the Church at the time want to kill him and the Church that then bore his name to twist the story into such a butchered parody, is what he has to say about sin and redemption, the mere thought of which would quickly have had him roasting over an Inquisitional fire had they been around at the time.
He doesn’t even want us to be sorry..
”Do not lie and do not do what you hate.” logia 6.
His philosophy (philo-Sophia) is not about imposed morality, or sanctioning behaviour, or codified law. Be square with yourself and with the Image, the Other, within.
At-one-ment, right now.
and so buying your way into a future heaven on the basis of good behaviour becomes laughably like prisoners applying for parole..
‘If those who guide your Being say to you, ‘behold, the Kingdom is in the heavens, then the birds of the sky will precede you.’ logia 3
no-where to go, nothing to do…
”The Kingdom is in your centre, and it is about you.’ logia 3
It turns out that redemption is not only available without having to weigh your sins in the balance or having to go to church on Sunday. It is actually more a matter of fulfilling your own destiny, of living out your undivided potential, whatever it is..
”If you bring out what is inside you, what is inside you will save you. If you do not bring out what is inside you, what is inside you will kill you.’ logia 70
Sin is then the failure to become oneself,
They said to him ‘let us pray today and let us fast!’ Jesus said, ‘what is the sin that I have committed or in what have I been overcome? When the bridegroom comes forth from the bridegrooms chamber, then let them fast and let them pray’. logia 104
According to the uncensored Jesus, the Kingdom of Heaven is attained by resolving inner dividedness…
”If two make peace with each other in this single house they will say to the mountain ‘move’ and it shall move. logia 48
There is no gaining of favour, no propitiation, no sacrifice, no prayer, no offering, no special diet, since this in itself already creates a world of divisions between one thing and another and therefor misses the point. Rather we have to turn to the Image within, unmediated by any prejudice or external opinion and try to digest its import without being swallowed up in turn.
”Happy is the lion which the man will eat… and abominated is the man whom the lion will eat.” logia 7
This means that we must take everything as it comes and experience our circumstances as independant of salvation. To favour one set of circumstances over another is just to go back into division. So when someone from the crowd shouts out to him..
”fortunate is the womb that bore you and the breasts that suckled you…”
”There will be days when you say fortunate is the womb that did not conceive.’ logia 79
Jesus is pointing to what alchemists centuries later would call Unus Mundus, One World, a coniunctio oppositorium, the collapse of Division in on itself from contradiction into paradox, atonement but with a hint of death since the experience of the Image within is always deflating, crucifying.
”A death blow is a life blow to some, who till they died did not alive become. Who , had they lived did most surely die, but when they died – vitality began.” Emily Dickinson.
The death blow is the bloodied nose of ego realising it isn’t king of its own castle but it is also the end of division, of alienation from Self and others.
Its as if we are three and bickering when suddenly a competent adult steps into the room and calmly takes charge. And that person is you.
Division on a collective scale is at its most evident in our war-mongering but there is an aspect of modern atrocity that deserves special mention. The body counts and broken buildings are all too evident and its that which catches our attention. Less obvious but at the core of Western alienation is that we just don’t care.
Descendants of the survivors of the the Armenian holocaust, a genocide of 1.5 million people just a century ago, all say that preventing this terrible catastrophe from slipping into historical obscurity is a full time job. No-one wants to know. There are only 22 nations that acknowledge it even happened. The US is not among them.
So why all the denial?
You would think that given that the Armenians were Christians savagely killed by Muslim extremists that Western allies were at war with at the time, would be all the excuse needed to impliment, forever, the overt foreign policy of unashamed war profiteering our civilisation covertly enjoys.
But the true horror of this genocide was in the silence that accompanied it.
No-one went to help them. We didn’t care enough to intervene. And that’s why no-one talks about it. Because its a massive blot on our collective conscience. To think that one and a half million lives came second to diplomatic manouvering that resulted in European powers actively voting against intervention on behalf of the Armenians, out of the concern that it would increase Russia’s influence in the region is just appalling. It’s inhuman.
‘…abominated is the man whom the lion will eat.” logia 7
Psychologically, when we split ourselves in order to identify with one polished corner of the p;syche we are bound to see our demons out in the world that then gives us riteous leave to regress, to do as we please, or to do nothing.
Consumers become the consumed..
And so we can suck our teeth and say isn’t it terrible what we failed to do a hundred years ago. Weren’t our forebears awful? Feeling all pimped for our piety forgetting that right now exactly the same thing is going on in Yemen. An entire people are being starved to death by Western backed blockades and arms deals.
Because folk are too divided to care..
‘On the day you were One you created the two, but then being two, what will you do?’ logia 11.
The divisions are endless, race, creed, dogma. But they’re inner divisions too, from our own shadows, from the inner image, from the mediation of the Divine Feminine.
‘for my mother has begotten me, but my true Mother gave me life.’ logia 101
and so whilst its true that we have to stomach for just how much inner division and lethargy actually exists, so too does it seem to be the inevitable consequence of a culture that is not simply plagued with the unbridgeable tif between Yahweh and Lucifer, nor even the ugly divorce scene between Him and..
DON’T MENTION HER NAME..
..but that the split within his own psyche between Old and New Testament is diagnostically scary because Gods, like people, tend to regress when they are under pressure. And Yahweh is not a pretty sight when he’s in his terrible twos.
What can we do?
Name what is going on.
‘happy is the man who knows when and where robbers will creep in, so that he will arise and gather strength and prepare for action before they come.’ logia 103
M. L. von Franz gives the example of telling herself that the book she was writing was a load of rubbish and should be abandoned. After some while she realised that she didn’t think that at all, but that something very persuasive, yet hidden inside her, really did.
When your robber arrives sit him down and ask him what he wants. Remember to be polite.