Alexandrian Hermetism Found in Christian Theology

docphin5

Member
(Hope the Table survives, otherwise disregard the OP)

Dungen asserts that,
Parts of the teachings of Alexandrian Hermetism got incorporated in the Christian theologies of Paul, John and the monastics (cf. the Nag Hammadi cache). (Wilm van Dungen, @< http://www.sofiatopia.org/maat/hermes2.htm>)

In an attempt to help visualize Dungen’s analysis, I created this table and filled in some examples from literature in support his assertion. For the record, I added the dichotomy between Ruach Elohim and YHWH Elohim as correlating with the “Nous” and “Logos” in the table. It just makes sense after realizing that the “Jesus” of the Gospels is scriptural fiction written about the inner “Jesus” of Paul (Dykstra, “Mark, Canonizer of Paul”). Dungen knows nothing of Dykstra’s thesis as far as I can tell.

Goal of the OP
To the atheist, this should represent a coherent theology based on reality as we know it. (You are always asking for evidence and a reason to believe in God). Please note that although I use the terms “God”, “Jesus Christ” and “spirit”, which may be rejected out-of-hand by atheists, it is the substance of these things that matters most. For example, good is real in our universe, for good is a value we place on things that are beneficial to us; and scripture asserts that “God is good”, therefore, one may argue as the first century, philosophers, sages, and apostles did, that “God” (in the Greek model of the Divine) is real.

To the theists, this offers a snapshot of Paul’s actual theology (per his authentic letters) as rational and evidence-based, versus the scriptural fiction written in the Gospels and made historical as orthodoxy teaches. Presuming the Gospels are scriptural fiction (please suspend your disbelief for a minute), you should be able to pinpoint Paul’s actual meaning in his letters based on beliefs that Hermeticism held as Dungen asserted. At the least, you should come away with a better understanding of the inner Christ which Paul preached: “Test yourselves: do you not realize this about yourselves, that “Jesus Christ” is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 2:5)


Edit image violation
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Legend: Scriptural References by Cell (incomplete for the sake of brevity):
1-G: “God of gods”: Deuteronomy 10:17, Joshua 22:22, Psalm 136:2, Daniel 2:47
2-G: “Ruach elohim was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:1); “Elohim said, “Let there be light” (ver 1:3)
2-H: ‘“God who said, “Let there be light” has shown in our hearts…in the face of “Jesus Christ.”’ (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Some preliminary conclusions that can be drawn about God, and Christ in Us
2-C: The Spirit or Ruach in creation is the self-begotten Son. Stated another way, the Spirit or Ruach in creation is God in the mode of his own Son, namely, “Jesus Christ” which means “salvation” and “anointing”. Therefore, the self-begotten Son is the reflection of God in creation being the image of his Father in attributes: good, true, and just. He is not only knowledge about God or “light” but also knowledge of God (experience of God). “No one knows the Father except the self-begotten Son.” (Matthew 11:27).

3-C: The substance of being, the divine body of the Son, the “body of Christ”

2-C & 3-C: The “marriage”, or “union” of the Spirit with the divine body (“church”) and soul(s) produces wholeness. Absent the union results in ignorance (for the soul), and death (for the body).

1-C & 2-C & 3-C: Three ontological levels of being, one emanating from the other: 1) non-existence (as we know it), 2) values: good, true, and just, personified as the self-begotten Son, and 3) substance or body, personified as the begotten Son. The ultimate level of existence is non-existence (as we know it) which means that non-existence, is, itself, unknowable, secret, and hidden from our world. We can only know about it or experience it in finite amounts as it manifests itself through the Son(s) held together by God’s “Mind” and “Logos” in creation.

Final remark
With that, I leave you with Paul’s exclamation when pondering the majesty of “all things”. Apparently, Paul’s soul “ascended” the heights to see a perspective of the cosmos that few could. IMO, he was just trying to share the view with others by what he wrote.

O, the depth of the riches of the Sophia (English: wisdom) and Gnosis (English: knowledge) of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways! Who has known the Nous (English: Mind) of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from Him and through him and for him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:34-36)
 
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docphin5

Member
(Not sure why the image was removed. Here is the table using the forums feature. The table is a snapshot I created to show the association of Hermetism and Christianity. It should be noted that Hermetism came earlier suggesting Paul and John incorporated Hermitic theology into their own.)

Table1: Hermetism and Christianity

TriadABCDEFGH
1Pre-existence,
pre-space-time, primordial, invisible, unknown, infinite
Spirit outside creation"God", the unbegotten One, the Father/Creator
of All -- "Decad"; the noetic root of existence
Agennetos; the Unbegotten OneDecad; Tenth SphereEgyptian: One God alone, pre-existing before creation as the primordial ocean of NunHebrew: God of godsOther: "Amun", "El", "true god and father"
2Existence, Creation, limited; space/time; contains past (fall from perfection), present (pluralism: good and evil), and future (return to perfection)Spirit in creation; "divine spark""Nous", the First Intellect, the Mind of God--the Ennead; the attributes (e.g., good, love, true, just) or "names" of the nameless God; Universal "soul"Autogennnetos;
the Self-Begotten One
Ennead; Ninth sphere; Paul: "Third heaven"Egyptian: self-creative creator (in the form of Atum-Re producing light) emerging out of the primordial ocean of Nun as the origin of everything and the "father of the gods"; descends to the "underworld", feeds the "spirits" and rises as the "morning star"Hebrew: "Ruach" Elohim (English: spirit) hovering above the primordial waters, produces light, produces the heavenly host, "god" of heavenly hostOther: "Hermes", "Atum-Re", "Jesus the Christ", "last Adam/Eve", celestial "Sophia", incorporeal Man, Perfect Man, descends into "Hades", preaches the gospel, and rises from the "grave"; "morning star"
3Existence, creation, space/time, ...(same as above)Body and/or soul(s) in creation, matter (m) and/or energy (E)"logos", the "son" from "nous"Gennetos; Begotten OneOgdoad; Eighth sphere; Paul: "Second heaven"Egyptian: Unique "son of god" or Pharaoh, who mediates between the realm of the deities (sky) and the realm of humans (earth)Hebrew: "YHWH" Elohim, forms Adam's body from earth; "spreads out the heavens", "creates evil and good"; condemns Man; "God of this world"Other: "Osiris" -- First Pharaoh who became god of the underworld; "First Adam" who was "formed of earth" and died; fallen, foolish, earthly "Sophia"; corporal man, imperfect Man
 
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Gus Bovona

Member
Goal of the OP
To the atheist, this should represent a coherent theology based on reality as we know it. (You are always asking for evidence and a reason to believe in God). Please note that although I use the terms “God”, “Jesus Christ” and “spirit”, which may be rejected out-of-hand by atheists, it is the substance of these things that matters most. For example, good is real in our universe, for good is a value we place on things that are beneficial to us; and scripture asserts that “God is good”, therefore, one may argue as the first century, philosophers, sages, and apostles did, that “God” (in the Greek model of the Divine) is real.
You can't claim logically that God is real because God is good, even if the good is real. For instance, here's another example: Hermoine (as presented in the Harry Potter books) is smart, and being smart is real, but that doesn't mean that Hermoine is real. Now, Einstein was smart, and being smart is real, and Einstein was real, but still not because being smart is real.

A real attribute that is attached to a character does not indicate whether the character is real or not.
 

docphin5

Member
You can't claim logically that God is real because God is good, even if the good is real. For instance, here's another example: Hermoine (as presented in the Harry Potter books) is smart, and being smart is real, but that doesn't mean that Hermoine is real. Now, Einstein was smart, and being smart is real, and Einstein was real, but still not because being smart is real.

A real attribute that is attached to a character does not indicate whether the character is real or not.
I am saying God in the mode of Son is real. The Son of God is real manifesting good, love, and truth in our universe. Those values reflect the image of God within our universe. You cannot deny the Son as real as defined as “all things”. God outside creation cannot be known by us. We only know about him and of him through creation summed up as the Christ. We can infer what God is outside creation from what we know of good, love, and truth within creation.
 
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docphin5

Member
I want to add this hypothesis which I would love to see as a scientific study. I speculate that people who value good, love, justice, and truth will also believe God in direct proportion to the degree that they value the virtues. Consequently, I would guess that people who do not value the virtues will be less likely to believe in God. Here is why IMO.

A soul that values truth, or love, or good recognizes it as something real and more valuable than life itself, therefore, this soul infers a source for the virtues which must be derived from something other than the universe because the material universe in its current state is indifferent to the cause of good, justice, and truth. To a soul who honors and values the virtues there is something worth dying for because that something exceeds the value of life itself. We as human souls being self aware, and with sufficient cognitive capacity are unique in the universe because we can value good, love, and truth. It is what makes the divine potential in us versus a rock or tree. It is what makes the Son/Christ (in "all things") alive versus lifeless.

I don't want to debate this hypothesis but I wanted to provide it as context for why IMO some souls "see" or believe in "Jesus" or "God" versus others who see nothing beyond their immediate cares or concerns.
 
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Gus Bovona

Member
I am saying God in the mode of Son is real.
That's fine, you have stated a claim. However, you gave a reason for that claim earlier, and that's what I'm critiquing.
The Son of God is real manifesting good, love, and truth in our universe.
This is a re-statement - with more detail - of the claim.
Those values reflect the image of God within our universe.
This is a re-statement of the re-statement of the claim.
You cannot deny the Son as real as defined as “all things”.
I'm not sure if you mean that we can't deny the Son as real, or the Son being all things, or both. In any event, this is equivalent to making the same claim as you have directly above.
God outside creation cannot be known by us.
This is an expansion of your original claim, adding another characteristic of God.
We only know about him and of him through creation summed up as the Christ.
This is another expansion to your basic claim.
We can infer what God is outside creation from what we know of good, love, and truth within creation.
This is another claim.

Rather than providing evidence or even logic to support your original claim, you've only added more claims that are going to need their own evidence and support. You're digging the hole deeper. I'm not saying you can't get out of it, but there's further to go now.

Lastly, you have done nothing to rebut my critique of your original logic in the OP showing God was real.
 

docphin5

Member
You can't claim logically that God is real <snip>
The other point that you reminded me of is that the words we use to describe God are inadequate. For example, by saying God is "real" that implies that God, himself, is in "real-ty". And that is inaccurate. How can we describe God, himself, who is outside existence, since we have no words to describe it? If I say he "exists", then it implies that he exists in a way like the existence we know. Which makes me want to emphasize the table because if I say something that is unclear then please refer back to the Table. The table is like a thousand words of clarification.
 
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docphin5

Member
Lastly, you have done nothing to rebut my critique of your original logic in the OP showing God was real.
How about this? We can infer God outside creation from the good, love, and truth within creation. And I tried to explain how we can infer that in post # 5 which I will repeat here.
A soul that values truth, or love, or good recognizes it as something real and more valuable than life itself, therefore, this soul infers a source for the virtues which must be derived from something other than the universe because the material universe in its current state is indifferent to the cause of good, justice, and truth. To a soul who honors and values the virtues there is something worth dying for because that something exceeds the value of life itself. We as human souls being self aware, and with sufficient cognitive capacity are unique in the universe because we can value good, love, and truth. It is what makes the divine potential in us versus a rock or tree. It is what makes the Son/Christ (in "all things") alive versus lifeless.

Post #7 explains why the terms we use to describe God Himself outside creation are inadequate. For example, the word "real" in association with God could be misunderstood. But if I use negative theology to describe God then some will misunderstand that. So maybe we just focus on the Son/Christ because that is reality as we know it. The Son/Christ manifests God in our reality.
 
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Gus Bovona

Member
The other point that you reminded me of is that the words we use to describe God are inadequate. For example, by saying God is "real" that implies that God, himself, is in "real-ty". And that is inaccurate. How can we describe God, himself, who is outside existence, since we have no words to describe it? If I say he "exists", then it implies that he exists in a way like the existence we know. Which makes we want to emphasize the table because if I say something that is unclear then please refer back to the Table. The table is like a thousand words of clarification.
Don't look at me if you don't like using the word "real" in relation to God, *you* were the one who made "real" part of the claim. Not me. I'm just critiquing *your* claim.
 

Gus Bovona

Member
How about this? We can infer God outside creation from the good, love, and truth within creation. And I tried to explain how we can infer that in post # 5 which I will repeat here.


Post #7 explains why the terms we use to describe God Himself outside creation are inadequate. For example, the word "real" in association with God could be misunderstood. But if I use negative theology to describe God then some will misunderstand that. So maybe we just focus on the Son/Christ because that is reality as we know it. The Son/Christ manifests God in our reality.
Your post 5 only says what people do/think. It doesn't say anything about whether the thing that is outside of the material universe is real. People could still be doing and thinking what you say in post 5 without the thing that is outside of the material universe being real. People can do and think **all sorts** of interesting things, you know; some true, some not.

However, you said you didn't want to debate that hypothesis, so if you don't want to continue, that's fine.
 

docphin5

Member
Don't look at me if you don't like using the word "real" in relation to God, *you* were the one who made "real" part of the claim. Not me. I'm just critiquing *your* claim.
I know I used the word "real" and I wish I had words to describe things we know nothing about. And the fact that we know nothing about God himself outside creation is not reason for rejecting him. Right? For example, we don't know anything about dark matter at the moment other than observing its effects in our universe (Kind of like God, IMO) but physicists infer that dark matter is there. Not only there but is the larger proportion of matter in our universe.
 

docphin5

Member
Your post 5 only says what people do/think. It doesn't say anything about whether the thing that is outside of the material universe is real.
If you are looking for proof of an infinite entity outside our universe, other than his manifest presence in our world, then I don't have it. I concede that. I am only inferring this entity outside our universe from his effects in ours.
People could still be doing and thinking what you say in post 5 without the thing that is outside of the material universe being real.
I agree totally. Some people can value good or truth without inferring an entity outside our universe. And some people value good or truth so much that they CAN infer an entity outside our universe. I speculate that it is to the degree that one values good and truth, etc., correlates with ones belief in God.

People can do and think **all sorts** of interesting things, you know; some true, some not.
Of course.
However, you said you didn't want to debate that hypothesis, so if you don't want to continue, that's fine.
I don't want to necessarily go into too much detail about why some people believe in God because it is my opinion only. I try to spend more time talking about things we can agree on. Discussions are more productive that way.
 

Gus Bovona

Member
I know I used the word "real" and I wish I had words to describe things we know nothing about. And the fact that we know nothing about God himself outside creation is not reason for rejecting him. Right? For example, we don't know anything about dark matter at the moment other than observing its effects in our universe (Kind of like God, IMO) but physicists infer that dark matter is there. Not only there but is the larger proportion of matter in our universe.
I understand what you mean about the word "real." However, if that's not really the best word, then let's not use it. However, doesn't this mean that you're saying that God isn't real? I don't know how you can get to some other state of existence that isn't part of reality without it being not real.

And, if we don't know anything about something, then we shouldn't be making claims like we do know something about it.
 

docphin5

Member
I understand what you mean about the word "real." However, if that's not really the best word, then let's not use it. However, doesn't this mean that you're saying that God isn't real? I don't know how you can get to some other state of existence that isn't part of reality without it being not real.
Technically, you are right. By our definitions of existence and reality the entity outside existence would not be "real" which is why some scholars resort to negative theology to talk about God. And that can be confusing too. I had to spend some time processing negative theology before I understood what they were trying to say. I like one example I heard that God is in {set 0} and our reality/existence (aka the Christ/Son) is in {set 1}.

And, if we don't know anything about something, then we shouldn't be making claims like we do know something about it.
Ok, which is why I suggested we focus on the Son/Christ because that is testable, observable, touchable, seeable, hearable, etc. But please keep the theoretical entity (i.e., "God" himself) outside creation on the shelf for now. Stay tuned or keep it in the back of your mind, because just like my example of dark matter there are things which we know next to nothing about, yet we infer they exist anyway based on things seen.
 

Nouveau

Active member
The other point that you reminded me of is that the words we use to describe God are inadequate. For example, by saying God is "real" that implies that God, himself, is in "real-ty". And that is inaccurate. How can we describe God, himself, who is outside existence, since we have no words to describe it?
God is outside of existence and reality?

We do have a word to describe that: Atheism.
 

docphin5

Member
I understand what you mean about the word "real." However, if that's not really the best word, then let's not use it. However, doesn't this mean that you're saying that God isn't real? I don't know how you can get to some other state of existence that isn't part of reality without it being not real.

(Docphin responds) Technically, you are right. By our definitions of existence and reality the entity outside existence would not be "real" which is why some scholars resort to negative theology to talk about God. And that can be confusing too. I had to spend some time processing negative theology before I understood what they were trying to say. I like one example I heard that God is in {set 0} and our reality/existence (aka the Christ/Son) is in {set 1}.
There is something else we can know about this divine entity outside existence by inferring from reason —which honestly I am still processing.

It could not be self aware or conscious of itself without creation.

I was reading CG Jungs book and he made a passing comment that self awareness presumes a subject and an object. Without the Son or creation then God would not be conscious of himself. The nonconscious God becomes conscious as he comes as his own Son. If you read some of the gnostic texts they seem to be describing God becoming aware of himself through producing a Son. Anyways, kind of an interesting digression.

From Tripartate Tractate

Being inconceivable for any thought, invisible for any thing,4 unutterable for any word, and untouchable for any hand, only he himself knows himself the way he [55] is, with his form and his greatness and his magnitude, and only he is able to conceive himself, name himself, and grasp himself. For he, the inconceivable, ineffable, incomprehensible, and unchangeable one, is mind for himself, eye for himself, mouth for himself, and form for himself, and it is also himself that he conceives, sees, speaks, and grasps.

For it is truly his ineffable self that he engenders. It is self-generation, where he conceives of himself and knows himself as he is.

It is he himself whom he puts forth in this manner of generation, and who receives glory and praise, admiration and love, and it is also he who gives himself glory, admiration, praise, and love. This he has as a Son dwelling in him, keeping silent about him, and this is the ineffable within the ineffable,
 
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docphin5

Member
It's a serious point. You can either address it or choose to be offended by the tone.
I did address it before you even asked it. Thats how good I am. (Ha ha!)

I touched on it in another OP: Atheism and the Greek (Gnostic/Egptian/Hermetic) Model of God!

There is a fuzzy line between a-theists and theists who ascribe to the Greek model of the divine. For both groups assert that God, himself, is unknowable. Other ways of stating it: He is hidden, He is secret, He is private.
 
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Nouveau

Active member
I did address it before you even asked it. Thats how good I am. (Ha ha!)

I touched on it in another OP: Atheism and the Greek (Gnostic/Egptian/Hermetic) Model of God!

There is a fuzzy line between a-theists and theists who ascribe to the Greek model of the divine. For both groups assert that God, himself, is unknowable. Other ways of stating it: He is hidden, He is secret, He is private.
Sure, unknowable and hidden is one thing. But outside of reality and existence is another.
 
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