The Gospel of Thomas: Salvation Through Gnosis

thomasThe Gospel of Thomas is an apocryphal (non canonical) gospel containing sayings of Jesus. Being a sayings gospel, like the theoretical gospel of Q, the source of the sayings in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, the gospel of Thomas is very primitive in nature. Nonetheless, it appears to have been worked over by Gnostics, giving it a distinctly non-Christian character.

Here are the first five sayings:

(1) And he said, “Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death.”

This is a Gnostic prologue to the remainder of the sayings, evinced by the fact that understanding (gnosis) leads not salvation, rather than faith.

(2) Jesus said, “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.”

Again, seeking knowledge, which will trouble and astonish the one that finds it, is what leads to salvation.

(3) Jesus said, “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. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”

This is an amazing statement. The kingdom of heaven is not an otherworldly place. Rather, it is each of us, and is all around us. Once more, gnosis allows you to realize that you are sons of god. Lack of gnosis is equated with poverty.

(4) Jesus said, “The man old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child seven days old about the place of life, and he will live. For many who are first will become last, and they will become one and the same.”

The old can hear the wisdom of innocent children, who can see the way to eternal life. I’m not sure whether the first who become last do so because in the kingdom, all are equal, or that they will die, death being the great equalizer.

(5) Jesus said, “Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you . For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest.”

If you see the objective world clearly, the hidden spiritual realm will be revealed to you.

Next Post: How to Live

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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1 Response to The Gospel of Thomas: Salvation Through Gnosis

  1. Pingback: The Gospel of Thomas: How to Live | Jim's Jumbler

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