The Nag Hammadi Library

John replied, "He has gone back to the place from which he came."

The Pharisee said, "That Nazarene misled you (plural), told you lies, closed your hearts and turned you away from your ancestral traditions.”

When I heard these things, I, John, turned away from the temple and went off to a deserted mountainous place. I was very unhappy, saying to myself:

"How was the Savior designated?

Why did his Father send him into the world? Who is his Father?

What kind of realm will we go to?

For, although he told us, ‘This realm is modeled on the imperishable realm,’ He didn't teach us about the latter.”

All of a sudden, while I was contemplating these things, Behold!

The heavens opened and the whole of creation shone with a light from above, And the world quaked!

I was afraid, yet


A little child appeared before me in the light.

I continued looking at him as he became an old man

And then he changed again, becoming like a young man. I didn't understand what I was seeing,

But the one likeness had several forms in the light, And these likenesses appeared each through the other And the vision had three forms.

He said to me,

“John, why doubt? Why be afraid?

Don’t you know this image? Be not afraid.

I am with you (plural) always. I am the Father

The Mother

The Son

I am the incorruptible Purity.

I have come to teach you

About what is And what was And what will be

In order for you to understand The invisible world

And the world that is visible

And the immovable race of perfect humanity.

Raise your head; Understand my lessons;

Share them with any others who have received the spirit,

Who are from the immovable race of perfect humanity.”

The Inexpressible One

The One rules all. Nothing has authority over it.

It is the God.

It is Father of everything, Holy One

The invisible one over everything. It is uncontaminated

Pure light no eye can bear to look within.

The One is the Invisible Spirit.

It is not right to think of it as a God or as like God. It is more than just God.

Nothing is above it. Nothing rules it.

Since everything exists within it

It does not exist within anything. Since it is not dependent on anything

It is eternal.

It is absolutely complete and so needs nothing. It is utterly perfect


The One is without boundaries

Nothing exists outside of it to border it The One cannot be investigated

Nothing exists apart from it to investigate it The One cannot be measured

Nothing exists external to it to measure it

The One cannot be seen

For no one can envision it The One is eternal

For it exists forever The One is inconceivable

For no one can comprehend it The One is indescribable

For no one can put any words to it.

The One is infinite light

Purity Holiness Stainless,

The One is incomprehensible Perfectly free from corruption.

Not “perfect” Not “blessed” Not “divine”

But superior to such concepts.

Neither physical nor unphysical Neither immense nor infinitesimal

It is impossible to specify in quantity or quality For it is beyond knowledge.

The One is not a being among other beings It is vastly superior

But it is not “superior.”

It is outside of realms of being and time

For whatever is within realms of being was created And whatever is within time had time allotted to it

The One receives nothing from anything.

It simply apprehends itself in its own perfect light

The One is majestic.

The One is measureless majesty

Chief of all Realms

Producing all realms


Producing light


Producing life


Producing blessedness


Producing knowledge


Producing goodness


Producing mercy


Producing generosity

[It does not “possess” these things.]

It gives forth light beyond measure, beyond comprehension.

[What can I say?]

His realm is eternal, peaceful, silent, resting, before everything.

He is the head of every realm sustaining each of them through goodness.

The Origin of Reality

[We would know nothing of the ineffable And nothing of the immeasurable

Without the help of the one who comes forth from the One who is the Father.

He alone has informed us.]

The Father is surrounded by light.

He apprehends himself in that light

[which is the pure spring of the water of life that sustains all realms].

He is conscious of his image everywhere around him, Perceiving his image in this spring of Spirit

Pouring forth from himself.

He is enamored of the image he sees in the light-water, The spring of pure light-water enveloping him.

His self-aware thought (ennoia) came into being. Appearing to him in the effulgence of his light. She stood before him.

This, then, is the first of the powers, prior to everything. Arising out of the mind of the Father

The Providence (pronoia) of everything. Her light reflects His light.

She is from His image in His light Perfect in power

Image of the invisible perfect Virgin Spirit.

She is the initial power glory of Barbelo

glorious among the realms glory of revelation

She gave glory to the Virgin Spirit She praised Him

For she arose from Him.

[This, the first Thought, is the Spirit’s image] She is the universal womb

She is before everything She is:

Mother-Father First Man Holy Spirit

Thrice Male Thrice Powerful Thrice Named

Androgynous eternal realm

First to arise among the invisible realms.

She, Barbelo, asked the virgin Spirit for foreknowledge (prognosis).

The Spirit agreed.

Foreknowledge came forth and stood by Providence

[This one came through the Invisible Virgin Spirit’s Thought.] Foreknowledge gave glory to the Spirit

And to Barbelo, the Spirit’s perfect power,

For She was the reason that it had come into being.

Primary Structures of the Divine Mind

She, Barbelo, asked the virgin Spirit for Incorruptibility The Spirit agreed.

Incorruptibility came forth and stood by Thought and Foreknowledge.

Incorruptibility gave glory to the Invisible Virgin Spirit And to Barbelo,

For She was the reason that it had come into being.

She asked for everlasting Life.

The Spirit agreed

Everlasting life came forth and they all stood together. They gave glory to the invisible Spirit

And to Barbelo,

For She was the reason that it had come into being.

She asked for Truth.

The Spirit agreed

Truth came forth and they all stood together. They gave glory to the invisible Spirit

And to Barbelo,

For She was the reason that it had come into being. This is the fivefold realm of the Father:

The First Man who is

The Image of the Invisible Spirit who is Providence who is

Barbelo who is

Thought. And

Foreknowledge - Incorruptibility - Life Everlasting - Truth

[These are an androgynous fivefold realm - therefore it is a realm of ten - of the Father.]

Secondary Structures of the Divine Mind

The Father looked into Barbelo

[into the pure light surrounding the Invisible Spirit]

Barbelo conceived and bore a spark of light

Who had blessedness similar to, but not equal to, her blessedness,

Who was the only child of that mother–father The only offspring,

The only begotten child of the pure light, the Father.

The Invisible Virgin Spirit celebrated the light that had been produced Coming forth from the first power who is

The Providence Barbelo

The Spirit anointed him with Goodness, making him perfect [he lacked no goodness whatsoever,

for he was anointed with the Invisible Spirit’s Goodness] He stood in the Spirit’s presence and it was poured upon him.

Having received this anointing from the Spirit he immediately glorified Him And he glorified the perfect Providence.

Because of Her he had come into being.

He asked for Mind (nous) to be a companion to him.

The Spirit consented

When the Invisible Spirit consented Mind came into being.

It stood by the Anointed

and glorified the Spirit and Barbelo

[These beings came into existence through silence and thought.] He wished to act through the Word of the Invisible Spirit.

Whose Will became an action and appeared with Mind Glorifying the Light.

And then Word followed Will into being.

[The Christ, the divine autogenes, created everything through the Word.]

Everlasting Life and Will, Mind, and Foreknowledge

Stood together.

They glorified the Invisible Spirit and Barbelo. Because of Her they had come into being.

Tertiary Structures of the Divine Mind

The Holy Spirit

Brought his and Barbelo’s divine autogenes Son to completion

In order that he could stand before the great Invisible Virgin Spirit As the divine autogenes Christ

And honor Him with a mighty voice. [The Son came through Providence].

The Invisible Spirit

Placed the divine autogenes over everything. All authorities were subordinated to him. The truth within him let him learn everything

[He is called by the highest name of all.

That name will be told only to those who are worthy to hear it From the light, [which is the Christ,]

From the incorruptibility, Through a gift of the spirit

The Four Lights arising from the divine autogenes stood before him.

[The four fundamental powers are Understanding, Grace, Perception, and Consideration.] Grace exists within the realm of the Light called Harmozel, the first angel.

Along with Harmozel are Grace

Truth Form

The second Light is called Oriel and it stands over the second realm. With Oriel are:

Conceptualization (Epinoia) Perception


The third Light is called Daveithai and it stands over the third realm. With Daveithai are:


Love Idea

The fourth Light is called Eleleth and it stands over the fourth realm. With Eleleth are:

Perfection Peace

Wisdom (Sophia).

These are the four lights standing before the divine autogenes. Twelve realms stand before the Son of the Powerful

The autogenes

The Christ Through the intention

And the grace Of the Invisible Spirit

Twelve realms belong to the Son of the autogenes.

[All of this came into being through the intention of the Holy Spirit Through the autogenes.]

From the perfect mind’s foreknowledge Through the intention of the Invisible Spirit And the autogenes’s will.

The perfect human appeared,

Its first true manifestation

The Virgin Spirit named the human Adamas

And placed him over the first realm with the mighty autogenes Christ With the first Light Harmozel and its powers.

The Invisible One gave Adamas invincible power of mind. Adamas spoke, glorifying and praising the Invisible Spirit:

“Everything has come into being from you

Everything will return to you.

I will praise you and glorify you And the Autogenes

And the triple realm:

Father – Mother – Son, the perfect power.”

Over the second realm was appointed Adamas’s son Seth With the second Light Oriel.

In the third realm were placed the children of Seth With the third Light Daveithai.

[The souls of the saints are placed there.]

In the fourth realm were placed the souls of those ignorant of the fullness Those who did not repent at once

But who, after some time, eventually repented, They are with the fourth Light Eleleth.

All of these created beings glorify the Invisible Spirit

A Crisis that Became the World

It happened that the realm (aeon) Wisdom (Sophia) Of conceptual thought (Epinoia),

Began to think for herself,

She used the thinking (enthymesis) And the foreknowledge (prognosis) Of the Invisible Spirit.

She intended to reveal an image from herself

To do so without the consent of the Spirit, Who did not approve,

Without the thoughtful assistance of her masculine counterpart, Who did not approve.

Without the Invisible Spirit’s consent Without the knowledge of her partner

She brought it into being.

Because she had unconquerable Power Her thought was not unproductive.

Something imperfect came out of her Different in appearance from her.

Because she had created it without her masculine counterpart She gave rise to a misshapen being unlike herself.

Sophia saw what her desire produced.

It changed into the form of a dragon with a lion’s head And eyes flashing lightning bolts.

She cast him far from her,

Outside of the realm of the immortal beings So that they could not see him.

[She had created him in ignorance.]

Sophia surrounded him with a brilliant cloud,

Put a throne in the center part of the cloud So that no one would see it.

[Except for the Holy Spirit called the Mother of the Living] She named him Yaldabaoth.

Yaldabaoth is the chief ruler.

He took great Power (dynamis) from his mother,

Left her, and moved away from his birthplace. He assumed command,

Created realms for himself

With a brilliant flame that continues to exist even now.

The Fashioning of This World

Yadabaoth united with the thoughtlessness (aponoia) within him. He begot ruling authorities (exousia)

Modeling them on the incorruptible realms above.

The first is Athoth

The second is Harmas [called the eye of flame] The third is Kalilaumbri

The fourth is Yabel

The fifth is Adonaiu [called Sabaoth] The sixth is Cain [called the sun] The seventh is Abel

The eighth is Abrisene The ninth is Yobel The tenth is Armupiel

The eleventh is Melcheir-adonein The twelfth is Belias

Who rules over the very depth of Hades.

He made the first seven rulers to reign in the seven spheres of heaven. He made the next five rulers to reign in the five depths of the abyss.

He shared a portion of his fire with them,

But shared none of the power of Light he had received from his mother.

[He is ignorant darkness.

When the Light mingled into the darkness the darkness shone.

When darkness mixed with the Light, the Light diminished,

No longer Light nor darkness but dim.]

This dim ruler has three names: Yaldabaoth is the first.

Saklas is the second. Samael is the third.

He is blasphemous through his thoughtlessness. He said “I am God, and there is no God but me!”

Since he didn’t know where his own Power originated.

His rulers created seven Authorities for themselves.

Each of these Authorities created six demons apiece, There came to be 365 demons altogether.

Here are the seven Authorities’ names and physical forms: First, Athoth with a sheep’s face

Second, Eloaios with a donkey’s face Third, Astaphaios with a hyena’s face

Fourth, Yao with the face of a seven headed snake Fifth, Sabaoth who has the face of a dragon

Sixth, Adonin whose face is that of a monkey Seventh, Sabbataios with a face of flame and fire.

These are the seven of the week. These Authorities rule the world.

Yaldabaoth has many faces.

More than all that have been listed

So he can convey any face he wants to the seraphim around him.

Yaldabaoth shared his fire with his seraphim But gave them none of his pure Light

Although he ruled them by virtue of the power and glory Of the Light had received from his Mother.

[Therefore he called himself “God” and defied his place of origin.]

He united his thought’s sevenfold Powers with the Authorities who accompanied him.

He spoke and it happened.

He named those sevenfold Powers starting with the highest one: Goodness paired with the first: Athoth

Providence paired with the second: Eloaios

Divinity paired with the third: Astaphaios

Lordship paired with the fourth: Yao Kingdom paired with the fifth: Sabaoth Zeal paired with the sixth: Adonin

Understanding paired with the seventh: Sabbataios

Each has its own realm modeled on one of the higher realms.

And each new name refers to a glory in the heavens So that Yaldabaoth’s demons might be destroyed.

The demons’ own names, given by Yaldabaoth, are mighty names But the Powers’ names reflecting the glory above

Will bring about the demons’ destruction and remove their Power.

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