The Nag Hammadi Library

To each one he gave a name, since the two orders are in a name. Those belonging to the thought and those of the representation are called “the Right Ones” and “Psychic” and “the Fiery Ones” and “the Middle Ones.” Those who belong to the arrogant thought and those of the likeness are called “the Left”, “Hylic”, “the Dark Ones,” and “the Last.”

After the Logos established each one in his order, both the images and the representations and the likenesses, he kept the aeon of the images pure from all those who fight against it, since it is a place of joy. However, to those of the thought he revealed the thought which he had stripped from himself, desiring to draw them into a material union, for the sake of their system and dwelling place, and in order that they might also bring forth an impulse for diminution from their attraction to evil, so that they might not any more rejoice in the glory of their environment and be dissolved, but might rather see their sickness in which

they suffer, so that they might beget love and continuous searching after the one who is

able to heal them of the inferiority. Also over those who belong to the likeness, he set the word of beauty, so that he might bring them into a form. He also set over them the law of judgment. Again, he set over them the powers which the roots had produced in their lust for power. He appointed them as rulers over them, so that, either by the support of the word which is beautiful, or by the threat of the law, or by the power of lust for power, the order might be preserved from those who have reduced it to evil, while the Logos is pleased with them, since they are useful for the organization.

The Logos knows the agreement in the lust for power of the two orders. To these and to all the others, he graciously granted their desire. He gave to each one the appropriate rank, and it was ordered that each one be a ruler over a place and an activity. He yields to the place of the one more exalted than himself, in order to command the other places in an activity which is in the allotted activity which falls to him to have control over because of his mode of being. As a result, there are commanders and subordinates in positions of domination and subjection among the angels and archangels, while the activities are of various types and are different. Each one of the archons with his race and his perquisites to which his lot has claim, just as they appeared, each was on guard, since they have been entrusted with the organization and none lacks a command and none is without kingship from the end of the heavens to the end of the earth, even to the foundations of the earth,

and to the places beneath the earth. There are kings, there are lords and those who give commands, some for administering punishment, others for administering justice, still others for giving rest and healing, others for teaching, others for guarding.

Over all the archons he appointed an Archon with no one commanding him. He is the lord of all of them, that is, the countenance which the Logos brought forth in his thought as a representation of the Father of the Totalities. Therefore, he is adorned with every

<name> which <is> a representation of him, since he is characterized by every property

and glorious quality. For he too is called “father” and god” and “demiurge” and “king” and “judge” and “place” and “dwelling” and “law.”

The Logos uses him as a hand, to beautify and work on the things below, and he uses him as a mouth, to say the things which will be prophesied.

The things which he has spoken he does. When he saw that they were great and good and wonderful, he was pleased and rejoiced, as if he himself in his own thought had been the one to say them and do them, not knowing that the movement within him is from the spirit who moves him in a determined way toward those things which he wants.

In regard to the things which came into being from him, he spoke of them, and they came into being as a representation of the spiritual places which we mentioned previously in

the discussion about the images.

Not only <did> he work, but also, as the one who is appointed as father of his organization, he engendered by himself and by the seeds, yet also by the spirit which is elect and which will descend through him to the places which are below. Not only does he speak spiritual words of his own, <but> in an invisible way, (he speaks) through the spirit which calls out and begets things greater than his own essence.

Since in his essence he is a “god” and “father” and all the rest of the honorific titles, he was thinking that they were elements of his own essence. He established a rest for those who obey him, but for those who disobey him, he also established punishments. With him, too, there is a paradise and a kingdom and everything else which exists in the aeon which exists before him. They are more valuable than the imprints, because of the thought which is connected with them, which is like a shadow and a garment, so to speak, because he does not see in what way the things which exist actually do exist.

He established workers and servants, assisting in what he will do and what he will say, for in every place where he worked he left his countenance in his beautiful name, effecting and speaking of the things which he thinks about.

He established in his place images of the light which appeared and of those things which are spiritual, though they were of his own essence. For, thus they were honored in every place by him, being pure, from the countenance of the one who appointed them, and they were established: paradises and kingdoms and rests and promises and multitudes of

servants of his will, and though they are lords of dominions, they are set beneath the one who is lord, the one who appointed them.

After he listened to him in this way, properly, about the lights, which are the source and the system, he set them over the beauty of the things below. The invisible spirit moved him in this way, so that he would wish to administer through his own servant, whom he too used, as a hand and as a mouth and as if he were his face, (and his servant is) the things which he brings, order and threat and fear, in order that those with whom he has done what is ignorant might despise the order which was given for them to keep, since they are fettered in the bonds of the archons, which are on them securely.

The whole establishment of matter is divided into three. The strong powers which the spiritual Logos brought forth from fantasy and arrogance, he established in the first spiritual rank. Then those (powers) which these produced by their lust for power, he set in the middle area, since they are powers of ambition, so that they might exercise dominion and give commands with compulsion and force to the establishment which is beneath them. Those which came into being through envy and jealousy, and all the other offspring from dispositions of this sort, he set in a servile order controlling the extremities, commanding all those which exist and all (the realm of) generation, from whom come rapidly destroying illnesses, who eagerly desire begetting, who are something in the place where they are from and to which they will return. And therefore, he appointed over them authoritative powers, acting continuously on matter, in order that the offspring of those which exist might also exist continuously. For this is their glory.

Part II

  • The Creation of Material Humanity

    The matter which flows through its form (is) a cause by which the invisibility which exists through the powers […] for them all, for […], as they beget before them and destroy.

    The thought which is set between those of the right and those of the left is a power of begetting. All those which the first ones will wish to make, so to speak, a projection of theirs, like a shadow cast from and following a body, those things which are the roots of the visible creations, namely, the entire preparation of the adornment of the images and representations and likenesses, have come into being because of those who need education and teaching and formation, so that the smallness might grow, little by little, as through a mirror image. For it was for this reason that he created mankind at the end, having first prepared and provided for him the things which he had created for his sake.

    Like that of all else is the creation of mankind as well. The spiritual Logos moved him invisibly, as he perfected him through the Demiurge and his angelic servants, who shared in the act of fashioning in multitudes, when he took counsel with his archons. Like a shadow is earthly man, so that he might be like those who are cut off from the Totalities.

    Also he is something prepared by all of them, those of the right and those of the left, since each one in the orders gives a form to the […] in which it exists.

    The […] which the Logos who was defective brought forth, who was in the sickness, did not resemble him, because he brought it forth forgetfully, ignorantly, and defectively, and in all the other weak ways, although the Logos gave the first form through the Demiurge out of ignorance, so that he would learn that the exalted one exists, and would know that he needs him. This is what the prophet called “Living Spirit” and “Breath of the exalted aeons” and “the Invisible,” and this is the living soul which has given life to the power which was dead at first. For that which is dead is ignorance.

    It is fitting that we explain about the soul of the first human being, that it is from the spiritual Logos, while the creator thinks that it is his, since it is from him, as from a mouth through which one breathes. The creator also sent down souls from his substance, since he, too, has a power of procreation, because he is something which has come into being from the representation of the Father. Also those of the left brought forth, as it were, men of their own, since they have the likeness of <being>.

    The spiritual substance is a single thing and a single representation, and its weakness is the determination in many forms. As for the substance of the psychics, its determination is double, since it has the knowledge and the confession of the exalted one, and it is not inclined to evil, because of the inclination of the thought. As for the material substance, its way is different and in many forms, and it was a weakness which existed in many types of inclination.

    The first human being is a mixed formation, and a mixed creation, and a deposit of those of the left and those of the right, and a spiritual word whose attention is divided between each of the two substances from which he takes his being. Therefore, it is said that a paradise was planted for him, so that he might eat of the food of three kinds of tree, since it is a garden of the threefold order, and since it is that which gives enjoyment.

    The noble elect substance which is in him was more exalted. It created and it did not wound them. Therefore they issued a command, making a threat and bringing upon him a great danger, which is death. Only the enjoyment of the things which are evil did he allow him to taste, and from the other tree with the double (fruit) he did not allow him to eat, much less from the tree of life, so that they would not acquire honor […] them, and so that they would not be […] by the evil power which is called “the serpent.” And he is more cunning than all the evil powers. He led man astray through the determination of

    those things which belong to the thought and the desires. <He> made him transgress the

    command, so that he would die. And he was expelled from every enjoyment of that place.

    This is the expulsion which was made for him, when he was expelled from the enjoyments of the things which belong to the likeness and those of the representation. It was a work of providence, so that it might be found that it is a short time until man will

    receive the enjoyment of the things which are eternally good, in which is the place of rest. This the spirit ordained when he first planned that man should experience the great evil,

    which is death, that is complete ignorance of the Totality, and that he should experience all the evils which come from this and, after the deprivations and cares which are in these, that he should receive of the greatest good, which is life eternal, that is, firm knowledge of the Totalities and the reception of all good things. Because of the transgression of the first man, death ruled. It was accustomed to slay every man in the manifestation of its domination, which had been given it as a kingdom because of the organization of the Father’s will, of which we spoke previously.

    Part III

  • The Variety of Theologies

    If both the orders, those on the right and those on the left, are brought together with one another by the thought which is set between them, which gives them their organization

    with each other, it happens that they both act with the same emulation of their deeds, with

    those of the right resembling those of the left, and those of the left resembling those of the right. And if at times the evil order begins to do evil in a foolish way, the <wise> order emulates, in the form of a man of violence, also doing what is evil, as if it were a power of a man of violence. At other times the foolish order attempts to do good, making itself like it, since the hidden order, too, is zealous to do it. Just as it is in the things which are established, so (it is) in the things which have come to be. Since they bring things unlike one another, those who were not instructed were unable to know the cause of the things which exist. Therefore, they have introduced other types (of explanation), some saying that it is according to providence that the things which exist have their being. These are the people who observe the stability and the conformity of the movement of creation. Others say that it is something alien. These are people who observe the diversity and the lawlessness and the evil of the powers. Others say that the things which exist are what is destined to happen. These are the people who were occupied with this matter. Others say that it is something in accordance with nature. Others say that it is a self- existent. The majority, however, all who have reached as far as the visible elements, do not know anything more than them.

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