The Nag Hammadi Library

For this reason, error grew angry at him, persecuted him, was distressed at him, (and) was brought to naught. He was nailed to a tree (and) he became fruit of the knowledge of the Father. It did not, however, cause destruction because it was eaten, but to those who ate it, it gave (cause) to become glad in the discovery, and he discovered them in himself, and they discovered him in themselves.

As for the incomprehensible, inconceivable one, the Father, the perfect one, the one who made the totality, within him is the totality, and of him the totality has need. Although he retained their perfection within himself, which he did not give to the totality, the Father was not jealous. What jealousy indeed (could there be) between himself and his members? For if this aeon had thus received their perfection, they could not have come […] the Father. He retains within himself their perfection, granting it to them as a return to him, and a perfectly unitary knowledge. It is he who fashioned the totality, and within him is the totality, and the totality was in need of him.

As in the case of a person of whom some are ignorant, he wishes to have them know him and love him, so – for what did the totality have need of if not knowledge regarding the Father? – he became a guide, restful and leisurely. In schools he appeared, (and) he spoke the word as a teacher. There came the men wise in their own estimation, putting him to the test. But he confounded them, because they were foolish. They hated him, because they were not really wise.

After all these, there came the little children also, those to whom the knowledge of the Father belongs. Having been strengthened, they learned about the impressions of the Father. They knew, they were known; they were glorified, they glorified. There was manifested in their heart the living book of the living – the one written in the thought and the mind of the Father, which from before the foundation of the totality was within his incomprehensibility – that (book) which no one was able to take, since it remains for the one who will take it to be slain. No one could have become manifest from among those who have believed in salvation unless that book had appeared. For this reason, the merciful one, the faithful one, Jesus, was patient in accepting sufferings until he took that book, since he knows that his death is life for many.

Just as there lies hidden in a will, before it is opened, the fortune of the deceased master of the house, so (it is) with the totality, which lay hidden while the Father of the totality was invisible, being something which is from him, from whom every space comes forth. For this reason Jesus appeared; he put on that book; he was nailed to a tree; he published the edict of the Father on the cross. O such great teaching! He draws himself down to death, though life eternal clothes him. Having stripped himself of the perishable rags, he put on imperishability, which no one can possibly take away from him. Having entered the empty spaces of terrors, he passed through those who were stripped naked by oblivion, being knowledge and perfection, proclaiming the things that are in the heart, […] teach those who will receive teaching.

But those who are to receive teaching are the living, who are inscribed in the book of the living. It is about themselves that they receive instruction, receiving it from the Father,

turning again to him. Since the perfection of the totality is in the Father, it is necessary for the totality to ascend to him. Then, if one has knowledge, he receives what are his own, and draws them to himself. For he who is ignorant is in need, and what he lacks is great, since he lacks that which will make him perfect. Since the perfection of the totality is in the Father, and it is necessary for the totality to ascend to him, and for each one to receive what are his own, he enrolled them in advance, having prepared them to give to those who came forth from him.

Those whose name he knew in advance were called at the end, so that one who has knowledge is the one whose name the Father has uttered. For he whose name has not been spoken is ignorant. Indeed, how is one to hear, if his name has not been called? For he who is ignorant until the end is a creature of oblivion, and he will vanish along with it. If not, how is it that these miserable ones have no name, (that) they do not have the call? Therefore, if one has knowledge, his is from above. If he is called, he hears, he answers, and he turns to him who is calling him, and ascends to him. And he knows in what manner he is called. Having knowledge, he does the will of the one who called him, he wishes to be pleasing to him, he receives rest. Each one’s name comes to him. He who is to have knowledge in this manner knows where he comes from and where he is going. He knows as one who, having become drunk, has turned away from his drunkenness, (and) having returned to himself, has set right what are his own.

He has brought many back from error. He has gone before them to their places, from which they had moved away, since it was on account of the depth that they received error, the depth of the one who encircles all spaces, while there is none that encircles him. It was a great wonder that they were in the Father, not knowing him, and (that) they were able to come forth by themselves, since they were unable to comprehend or to know the one in whom they were. For if his will had not thus emerged from him – for he revealed it in view of a knowledge in which all its emanations concur.

This is the knowledge of the living book, which he revealed to the aeons at the end as his letters, revealing how they are not vowels nor are they consonants, so that one might read them and think of something foolish, but (rather that) they are letters of the truth, which they alone speak who know them. Each letter is a complete <thought>, like a complete book, since they are letters written by the Unity, the Father having written them for the aeons, in order that by means of his letters they should know the Father.

While his wisdom contemplates the Word, and his teaching utters it, his knowledge has revealed <it>. While forebearance is a crown upon it, and his gladness is in harmony with it, his glory has exalted it, his image has revealed it, his repose has received it into itself, his love has made a body over it, his fidelity has embraced it. In this way, the Word of the Father goes forth in the totality, as the fruit of his heart and an impression of his will. But it supports the totality, purifying them, bringing them back into the Father, into the Mother, Jesus of the infinite sweetness.

The Father reveals his bosom. – Now his bosom is the Holy Spirit. – He reveals what is hidden of him – what is hidden of him is his Son – so that through the mercies of the

Father, the aeons may know him and cease laboring in search of the Father, resting there in him, knowing that this is the (final) rest. Having filled the deficiency, he abolished the form – the form of it is the world, that in which he served. – For the place where there is envy and strife is deficient, but the place where (there is) Unity is perfect. Since the deficiency came into being because the Father was not known, therefore, when the Father is known, from that moment on, the deficiency will no longer exist. As in the case of the ignorance of a person, when he comes to have knowledge, his ignorance vanishes of itself, as the darkness vanishes when the light appears, so also the deficiency vanishes in the perfection. So from that moment on, the form is not apparent, but it will vanish in the fusion of Unity, for now their works lie scattered. In time, Unity will perfect the spaces. It is within Unity that each one will attain himself; within knowledge, he will purify himself from multiplicity into Unity, consuming matter within himself like fire, and darkness by light, death by life.

If indeed these things have happened to each one of us, then we must see to it above all that the house will be holy and silent for the Unity – as in the case of some people who moved out of dwellings having jars that in spots were not good. They would break them, and the master of the house would not suffer loss. Rather, <he> is glad, because in place of the bad jars (there are) full ones which are made perfect. For such is the judgment which has come from above. It has passed judgment on everyone; it is a drawn sword, with two edges, cutting on either side. When the Word appeared, the one that is within the heart of those who utter it – it is not a sound alone, but it became a body – a great disturbance took place among the jars, because some had been emptied, others filled; that is, some had been supplied, others poured out, some had been purified, still others broken up. All the spaces were shaken and disturbed, because they had no order nor stability. Error was upset, not knowing what to do; it was grieved, in mourning, afflicting itself because it knew nothing. When knowledge drew near it – this is the downfall of (error) and all its emanations – error is empty, having nothing inside.

Truth appeared; all its emanations knew it. They greeted the Father in truth with a perfect power that joins them with the Father. For, as for everyone who loves the truth – because the truth is the mouth of the Father; his tongue is the Holy Spirit – he who is joined to the truth is joined to the Father’s mouth by his tongue, whenever he is to receive the Holy Spirit, since this is the manifestation of the Father, and his revelation to his aeons.

He manifested what was hidden of him; he explained it. For who contains, if not the Father alone? All the spaces are his emanations. They have known that they came forth from him, like children who are from a grown man. They knew that they had not yet received form, nor yet received a name, each one of which the Father begets. Then, when they receive form by his knowledge, though truly within him, they do not know him. But the Father is perfect, knowing every space within him. If he wishes, he manifests whomever he wishes, by giving him form and giving him a name, and he gives a name to him, and brings it about that those come into existence who, before they come into existence, are ignorant of him who fashioned them.

I do not say, then, that they are nothing (at all) who have not yet come into existence, but they are in him who will wish that they come into existence when he wishes, like the time that is to come. Before all things appear, he knows what he will produce. But the fruit which is not yet manifest does not know anything, nor does it do anything. Thus also, every space which is itself in the Father is from the one who exists, who established it from what does not exist. For he who has no root has no fruit either, but though he thinks to himself, “I have come into being,” yet he will perish by himself. For this reason, he who did not exist at all will never come into existence. What, then, did he wish him to think of himself? This: “I have come into being like the shadows and phantoms of the night.” When the light shines on the terror which that person had experienced, he knows that it is nothing.

Thus, they were ignorant of the Father, he being the one whom they did not see. Since it was terror and disturbance and instability and doubt and division, there were many illusions at work by means of these, and (many) empty fictions, as if they were sunk in sleep, and found themselves in disturbing dreams. Either (there is) a place to which they are fleeing, or without strength they come (from) having chased after others, or they are involved in striking blows, or they are receiving blows themselves, or they have fallen from high places, or they take off into the air, though they do not even have wings. Again, sometimes (it is as) if people were murdering them, though there is no one even pursuing them, or they themselves are killing their neighbors, for they have been stained with their blood. When those who are going through all these things wake up, they see nothing, they who were in the midst of all these disturbances, for they are nothing. Such is the way of those who have cast ignorance aside from them like sleep, not esteeming it as anything, nor do they esteem its works as solid things either, but (rather,) they leave them behind like a dream in the night. The knowledge of the Father, they value as the dawn. This is the way each one has acted, as though asleep at the time when he was ignorant. And this is the way he has <come to knowledge>, as if he had awakened. {and} Good for the man who will return and awaken. And blessed is he who has opened the eyes of the blind.

And the Spirit ran after him, hastening from waking him up. Having extended his hand to him who lay upon the ground, he set him up on his feet, for he had not yet risen. He gave them the means of knowing the knowledge of the Father and the revelation of his Son. For when they had seen him and had heard him, he granted them to taste him, and to smell him, and to touch the beloved Son.

When he had appeared, instructing them about the Father, the incomprehensible one, when he had breathed into them what is in the thought, doing his will, when many had received the light, they turned to him. For the material ones were strangers, and did not see his likeness, and had not known him. For he came by means of fleshly form, while nothing blocked his course, because incorruptibility is irresistible, since he, again, spoke new things, still speaking about what is in the heart of the Father, having brought forth the flawless Word.

When light had spoken through his mouth, as well as his voice, which gave birth to life, he gave them thought and understanding, and mercy and salvation, and the powerful spirit from the infiniteness and the sweetness of the Father. Having made punishments and tortures cease – for it was they which were leading astray from his face some who were in need of mercy, in error and in bonds – he both destroyed them with power and confounded them with knowledge. He became a way for those who were gone astray, and knowledge for those who were ignorant, a discovery for those who were searching, and a support for those who were wavering, immaculateness for those who were defiled.

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Methinks I am a conspiracy theorist. Art thou? Thou block, thou stone, thou worse than senseless thing, for whilst thou slept didst this become a badge of honor. Informed dissent shall always prevail, wherefore art thou worthy, or art thou this unwholesome fool in the group conformity experiment herein?