Thursday, September 07, 2006

what will you do?

"Happy is the lion that a man will eat; the lion will become a man. Cursed is the man whom the lion eats for that lion will become a man."

I've read the gospel of thomas a couple times before, and up until this point everything seems somewhat coherent. Each time however, I get stuck on this one, because it strikes me as being very illogical.

If a man eats a lion, the lion will become a man. This makes sense. But then it goes on to say that if a man eats a lion, the lion will become a man. It seems like the logical conclusion to that verse would be "cursed is the man whom the lion eats, for that man will become a lion."

I think the reason I like thomas, in fact it's the only of the gnostic gospels (that I've read thus far) from which I can remember specific passages, is because of all the talk about knowing oneself and living honestly. These ideas reflect what I had to learn the hard way, since this wasn't a significant focal point in my christian upbringing. Oh sure, we were told to tell the truth, but it was an external type of truth. An "I was the one that colored on the wall" type of truth.

There are a number of parables here that bear a resemblence to parables in the new testament, and even though I know I shouldn't, I tend to skim them over in favor of less familiar territory. You know what they say, familiarity breeds contempt. I got stuck again, here:

"When you're in the Light what will you do? At birth you were One, then you made two. What will you do?"

It's left without an answer, and at first glance it seems like nonsense. It even rhymes, like a whimsical elvish poem from a tolkien footnote. I marked it with a question mark and continued reading, until I reached this:

"They answered, 'shall we, being as children, come into His kingdom?' Jesus replied, 'Make the two into One, and the inner as the outer, and the outer as the inner, the above as below, the male and female into a single one.'"

This make me think that maybe at birth we are only one person, and then as life goes on we become divided. The things we think and the things we say are two different stories, the heart becomes concealed and the exterior becomes a performance. Jesus says in these passages and in the new testament that you must be childlike to enter the kingdom of God, but here he expands on that. To be childlike you must be united, so that your outside and your inside are both the same person. It's a state of utter honesty, and no pretention. At least that's how I read this tonight.

This reminds me of a post I read today at a personal tao.

2 Comments:

Blogger Don said...

I find the Gospel of Thomas very intrigung. I believe it has lots of basic teachings of Christ without the trappings added by Gospel writers. I'm not a Gnostic, but as an educator in the field of history, early Christianity is fascinating and provides us with a picture of how we got to where we are today, bad or good.......

September 21, 2006 7:46 AM  
Anonymous ursa smaller said...

I just realized that I misquoted the lion eating the man passage. oh well. forgive me.

September 24, 2006 5:49 PM  

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