Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Apocryphote of the Day: 7-16-08

Jesus said, "The Spirit draws all souls together and takes them to the place of light. Because of this, I have said to you, 'I have come to cast fire upon the earth.' That is, I have come to purify the sins of the whole world with fire."

Pistis Sophia 4.141 (fourth century Gnostic handbook, a relic of a new religious movement that we can call 'Gnosticism')

Commentary: Here we see the Gnostic reliance on the Platonic doctrine of the immortality of the soul. In order for the souls to be able to return to the origin, according to Platonic teaching, they must be freed from the passions, lust, greed, evil. So Jesus functions by removing the sins from the souls through some kind of communal cleansing which was done when he came to earth and cast fire upon it.

Sculpture is from Orvieto Cathedral, fourth pillar, Last Judgment. This scene depicts the resurrection from the dead. Lorenzo Maitani 1310-1330 CE.

9 comments:

JMS Providence said...

Might someone say something concerning the "fire" Christ brings?

I have my convictions concerning "fire" but I'm curious what others are thinking/saying about this topic.

Pastor Bob said...

I find it interesting that the quote includes part of a sentence from Luke 17.

Jim Deardorff said...

I would suppose that the fire theme relates to Mt 3:11-12.

Try This at Home said...

My understanding would be that the fire in this context does indeed refer to purification of the disciple’s misidentifications and that of all people with the light generated by the fire of the Holy Spirit.

JMS Providence said...

Thank you Jim and Try, but what do these references....

"by the fire of the Holy Spirit"

...mean in practical terms (esp. as it relates to all this "misunderstanding"?

..if you would...

Jim Deardorff said...

jms,

My understanding is that "he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" had been, before redaction by the writer of Matthew, "He will baptize you with the knowledge of the spirit and with the fire of truth."

Geoff Hudson said...

The prophet didn't baptise anyone with fire. The Spirit of God that he proclaimed cleansed the spirits of those who obeyed the Spirit they heard. The prophet was simply an intermediary for the Spirit.

In Mark, there is no mention of a baptism with fire by Jesus. In his Pauline expansion of Mark, Matthew has Jesus baptising with the Holy Spirit and with fire in contrast to the fictitous John's baptism.

I suggest the question asked by the prophet in Mark 11:30 was: "Zechariah's spirit (not John's baptism) - was it from heaven or from men? (I see Zechariah as the father of the prophet).

JMS Providence said...

Thank you, Gentlemen. Yes, it's certainly not meant to be taken literally!

JMS Providence said...

Oh yeah, though where I've come from, many people still believe Christ's 2nd Coming will accompany literal fire.