5 See the human!


Jesus said:
See who is before you
and who was previously hidden from you,
will emerge.
Because nothing is hidden
that won’t show itself
and everything that has disappeared will return.

There is a remarkable passage in the Gospel of Matthew. Two blind men come to Jesus. They ask him if he wants to make them see. Jesus does that, seeing the men again, healed from their blindness. But then Jesus says something strange: “Make sure nobody knows.”

That is very strange.

Suppose these men were physically blind. And suddenly they could see again. Could you hide that? That is not likely.

It is therefore questionable whether this is a physical miracle. In the secret words of gnostics, blindness and the healing of blindness means something completely different.

In the previous logion you were asked to look for the child in yourself. That is the start of the spiritual search that the Thomas Gospel recommends. If you succeed, if you can connect with your inner child, then you can look at the world and your fellow people in a different way.

How is that?

Here you are asked, like a child, to look through all the social labels that we usually put on our fellow human beings, and instead see the human being, the child in the other. See the human! As a human being with people, as a child with children, the kingdom will really be “among you” (Luke 17:21).

The core of that is seeing. If you look judiciously at your fellow man, with judgment as a beam in your eye, you only see your own judgment. But when you have returned to the uncircumcised child within you, you can look without judgment, and only then can you love your fellow man as yourself.

Only then do you see your fellow man.

Then what was previously hidden will return: the original person in the other. See, the kingdom is in the face of the other.

A telling example from life practice is the next true event.

It is the meeting of the Jewish mother and the Palestinian mother who each lost a 12-year-old daughter on the same day. As Jewess and Palestinian, these two women were each other’s enemies first. In each other they only saw the image of the other as an enemy. That judgment was the blinding beam in their eyes. But because of this sad event they recognized something of themselves in the other: the sorrow for the loss of a child. They visited each other and fell into each other’s arms. As human beings with other people, they could comfort one another, even love one another. What had disappeared under the image of the enemy had returned: the human being within himself and the other. They could love their enemy by seeing behind the mask of the enemy the original human, the original face of fellow human beings.

In the Gospels from the New Testament there are various stories about Jesus raising children from the dead. This is not about real children, but about the child in ourselves. The child who appears to be dead appears only to be asleep, it is said. And that is also the way in which Jesus makes people see again. First awaken the child in you again, return to the beginning in you, as told in the previous logion. Then learn to look like a child at everything around you, heal from your blindness. Then everything that was previously hidden will show itself to you again.

Yet the question remains: how do you find that child in yourself? How can I learn to look lovingly at other people?

That starts with being true to yourself, says the following logion.


19 The creative power in humans


Jesus said:
Blessed was he who was before he was there.
If you become my students and
listen to my words,
the stones will serve you.
Because there are five trees for you in paradise
that remain unchanged, summer and winter,
and whose leaves do not fall off.
Whoever gets to know them will not taste like death.

In the Old Testament, God is called “the eternal.” And only God is ‘the eternal’ there. Isaiah even lets him say:

No one is equal to me.

In Gnostics, “the eternal” is also in a human. That is meant by “it was before it arrived.”

In the traditional Jewish and Christian representation there is an unbridgeable distance between man and God. Man and God are essentially unequal. God is ‘completely different’.

In Gnostics we are directly connected to the source as humans. We come out of it. Just as a ray of light is related to the sun, so too is man related to the Source. We have “the features of the Father.” We are “the heirs of the Father.” These are expressions in Gnostic texts to indicate that we as human beings are related to the Source like a child with its biological parents.
We are one with the Eternal. You can experience that unity in mystical moments. Then it seems as if you exist outside of time. In gnostics, that state of consciousness is called the Christ consciousness, or the Christ nature.
As stated in the explanation of the prologue, according to the gnostic tradition, man has two natures. Man carries within him the nature of Christ that participates in timeless eternity. The Christ nature is the presence of the Source in every person.
The Christ consciousness is timeless. It was there before you were there, that’s how you experience it.
Jesus tells us here that there is a way to reunite the time-bound personal consciousness with the timeless Christ nature if that connection is broken. Then you are a whole person.

“Then these stones will serve you,” says this logion.

The Source is the creative force of reality. Man himself is also creative, because man inherits the creative power of Source. Pharaoh Echnaton said so:
God is the creative force in the heart of man.
And that is why we ourselves can infuse the material creation around us, as a continuation of the eternal creation process. By sanctifying ‘the stones’, the matter, from your connection with the Christ nature within you, even the stones will serve you to create the kingdom on earth. Just as clay is available to the potter, material reality, including your own body, will be of service to you in your personal meaning to your life and thereby to all of creation. If you live and act from your connection with the Christ nature within you, you yourself become an active participant in the never-ending process of creation of the entire reality.

In ancient Egypt, too, there was a belief that visible reality is an emanation from Source. In all visible forms, the Source, God, expresses an aspect of one’s own being. In this way De Bron in de roos expresses the aspect of one’s own beauty. The rose is a face of God. God reveals himself in the beauty of the rose. Anyone who is moved by the beauty of the rose experiences an intimate encounter with the Source of being, with God. The Aramean Our Father says it this way:

Source of Being that I meet in what moves me.

Not only the rose, also a crocodile, a cat, a hippopotamus, and all other animals are a face of God, was found in ancient Egypt. That is why a crocodile is holy, all animals are holy. That is why every fellow person is holy, you are holy yourself. Because every person is a face of God in her or his own way. Precisely in everyone’s unique capacity as individual human beings, each of us is a spark, a ray of light, of the divine, an emanation of the Source.

Charity in this view is not only a moral commandment, it is also the experience of the essential unity that we form together in all diversity.

Five trees

Five was the symbol of fullness at that time. In classical antiquity one speaks of the quintessence, the fifth essence. Earth, water, air, and fire were then considered to be the four elements that made up material creation. The quintessence is the all-pervading essence of these four primal elements. Earth, water, air and fire are expressions, forms, of the one quintessence.

The experience and the insight that all diversity is supported by a comprehensive unity, has many names. Here, that bearing unity is expressed in the image of the everlasting five trees in paradise. Because these trees do not change and the leaves do not fall off. They therefore symbolize the eternal that is also in man.


27 “The world” as a frozen meaning


Jesus said:
If you are not stuck towards the world,
you will not find the kingdom.
If you do not observe the Sabbath as a Sabbath,
you will never see the father.

As a child we are included in the world of appointments of our parents, teachers, priests and rulers. We get to know the agreements that our educators have made with each other around the world. “That is how the world works,” we think as good children. And with that in mind, we step into the world of agreements around us. In this way we become part of the world of our educators with dedication.

Is it wrong that we insert ourselves into the world of our educators? In some spiritual traditions it is claimed that we must renounce all these agreements about reality, that is to say, to completely distance ourselves from it, because they, as agreements, do not actually exist, they are only an illusion, in the negative sense of that word.

But in gnostics it is different. It is not about leaving the world of agreements and leaving us behind. The goal of gnostics as a spiritual path is to make people free participants in “the world” and with that freedom to co-create the agreements we make with each other about the world. As free people, we can make love a part of life.

To be able to achieve that freedom, we must, however, dare to let go of our belief in the absolute truth of the agreements that have been learned. So we do not let go of the agreements, but the belief in the absolute truth thereof. That is “fasting” compared to “the world.”

By fasting with regard to the world, and thus protecting our inner freedom, we enter an infinite space of meaning. Then we can freely give our meaning to life on earth. It is precisely the fact that we can hold meaningful meaning on earth, nature, our fellow man, ourselves, that is the creative divine power in our heart that Gnostics refers to. Releasing that creative power offers the opportunity to establish the kingdom on earth, if at least our significance is associated with the compassion of our hearts.

But what is unfortunately often the case? If we believe that the learned description of reality is the same as reality itself, if the former meaning is frozen to absolute truth, then we are trapped in our own faith, and therefore we are not connected to the heart. Then we heartily test everything against the agreements. Then the judgments about our fellow human beings are ice cold and unloving.

But when we free ourselves from our belief in the absolute truth of the descriptions in which we grew up, space is created to become co-creators of life on earth, from the connection with love within ourselves. Then our heart will thaw and become sensitive to the relationship between all people at the soul level.

Only then can we make the two one, “the world” and the heart. Then we can even experience that “the Father” – whatever you mean by that at the level of description – is present as a source in our own heart and can also be known there. Then we can become co-creators of the kingdom on earth, where peace and justice are figures of the inexhaustible love that dwells in us.


50 A movement and a rest


Jesus said:
If they ask you: Where are you from?
say then: We have come from the light,
from where the light originated from itself.
It has risen and revealed itself in their image.
If they say: Who are you?
then say: We are his children
and the elect of the living father.
If they ask:
What is the sign of the father who is in you?
then say: It is a movement and a rest.

In the Old Testament tradition, God created the entire cosmos at a single time, namely “in the beginning”. That cosmos has existed entirely by itself since then.

But in classical antiquity, especially in Egypt, there is also another myth of creation. In that other creation story, the world is created new at every moment. Just as the light shines from the sun every day, so in a never-ending process of creation, reality flows from the Source of being. People call that permanent process of becoming reality: an emanation.

Many texts from the Thomas gospel, and especially this logion, can only be well understood against the background of this Egyptian creation story.

In the Old Testament creation story, God first models man out of clay and then blows his breath into that image of clay. This image fits into the Greek dualism of body and soul that has had so much influence on ecclesiastical Christianity. The body is the molded matter, the breath of God is spirit.

A Greek myth also tells how the god Prometheus from clay formed a human in the image of the gods. The goddess Pallas-Athene, the heavenly friend of Prometheus, who watched his work with admiration, blew her breath into the lump of earth and she also gave the human being the ghost.

Both in the Old Testament creation story and in the myth of Prometheus, body and mind belong to two different and completely separate areas of being: matter and spirit.

In the Egyptian creation story, everything comes from that one Source. Everything is a form of Source, including the human body. Body and soul are together, in their unity, a face of the Source.

That is why you could see divinity in everything. A crocodile also comes from the Source, with all the trimmings, so a crocodile is sacred. And a cat, a cow, a tree or whatever. Because in each of these manifestations, the Source expresses an aspect of itself. Man too is a manifestation of Source and therefore sacred in its entirety, including the body.

All nature, the entire cosmos is sacred. Everything in it, every creature with its unique individuality is a face of the Source. Mind you, because that is essential for Gnostics, so it says here that it is the unique individuality of every creature with which it is a face or part of the Source. That partnership is lost when that unique individuality is denied or replaced by an image that does not coincide with that unique individuality. By replacing the unique individuality with an image, a creature becomes profane, alienated, separated from the Source.

Creation as a whole can also be profaned. That desecration can also be restored. The cosmos can be healed again. The gnostic also sees the role of Jesus as the healer of the cosmos with everything in it. Jesus cleanses the All and brings it back to the Father and Mother, as expressed in the Hymn to Jesus from the Gospel of Truth:

This is how the Word of the Father goes out in the All.
as the fruit of his heart and the expression of his will.
It carries the All, it prefers it
and it also receives the traits of the All.
It cleanses it and brings it back to the Father
and to the Mother:
Jesus, of infinite sweetness!

Whoever wants to become part of this once again sanctified cosmos must also cleanse himself, ‘sanctify’. Or even more correct: who sanctifies himself, sanctifies the entire cosmos. And remember that the word “holy” is related to the word “whole.” So “sanctifying oneself” means: to make oneself whole, to make one, and therefore also: to unite body and soul, and to become creatively a partaker of the Source again.

The Gnostic Philip (108) puts it this way:

The holy man is completely holy, including his body. After all, when he has received the bread, he makes it holy. Likewise, he cleanses the chalice and everything else that he has received. Why then should he not cleanse the body?

So man has appeared from the light, says this logion. And that light revealed itself in their image. Exactly, the whole person, the whole person, and every person, is an image of the Source. Whoever restores the unity within himself is for himself the revelation of the Source, therefore one with the One, and therefore also knows the One. Whoever knows himself, in his original unique individuality, knows the All.

And in himself the person will be able to experience that he is a movement and a rest. He is a rest with his timeless Christ nature, the Source in himself. He is a movement with his personal time-placed human nature. (See also the explanation of the prologue about the twins.)

And just like Source, man himself is the permanent creator of his own world, the movement. But there is also “a place of rest” in people. The gospel of Truth says about this:

Everyone will talk about where he came from and he will hurry to return there. He received his true nature from that. From that place you can derive your true nature again, by tasting from that place and receiving food and growth from it.

And his own place of rest is his Fullness.

All emanations of the Father are therefore a Fullness and all his emanations have their root in him that made them all grow in themselves. He has given them their destiny. That is why they have each been revealed individually, so that they may know Him through their own being.


75 The loners and the bridal room


Jesus said:
Many are at the door,
but it’s the loners
who will enter the bridal room.

This logion is an addition to the previous one, about “the many” who, although standing around the Source, keep their distance. This logion emphasizes ‘the loners’.

We have already seen that the word singling is an almost literal translation of the Latin word individuum, of in = not, and dividere = divide. An individual is therefore not shared, a whole person, a loner.

Not “the many” will enter the bridal room and connect with the Source there, only the whole people, the heals, the loners, the person as an individual. A whole person is originally the meaning of a holy person, a saint. In English we see that in the relationship between “whole” and “holy”. A “saint” is a whole person. Your individuality is your holiness.

Very special and characteristic of the Thomas Gospel is that you must first be a loner before you can enter the bridal room. You must first become an individual, a whole person, before you can coincide with the Source.

Here an important distinction is made with some other spiritual traditions that are strongly focused on selflessness. Egoism plays no role in gnostics. It is not even there as a concept.

For two reasons, Gnostics emphasizes the realization of your personal individuality.

With your true self you are part of the Source, you are a participant in what is, you exist.

Moreover, the realization of this in the practice of life is everyone’s personal destiny, which you fulfill by growing with your individual talents.

There is a beautiful Jewish anecdote about this. He is about Moos who dies and comes to God to be admitted to heaven.

God asks him curiously: “What have you done during your life on earth?”

Moos replies: “Lord, I have studied all sacred texts and done exactly what it says that one must do.”

“Really?” Says God, and his face is somewhat clouded. ‘That was all?’

“Oh no,” says Moos, “I’ve been at the feet of the most important rabbis, and if I couldn’t find what I needed to do in the scriptures, I asked them. I have always done exactly what they ordered me to do. “

Moos looks up proudly at God, expecting to get a prominent place in heaven, very close to God.

But God doesn’t look happy at all.

“You know,” he says thoughtfully to Moos, “I have thought for centuries about the person you were supposed to become and who would be needed at the place and time where you would be born. I have given you an inner knowing of your personal destiny. I have provided you with rich talents to realize that destination. I have filled your heart with a desire to do what you were meant to do. And you have not listened to your heart? You didn’t become Moos? What a shame that you missed your destination. “

And God adds, after being silent for a while: “You know, I am Love, and I cannot help but allow you to enter heaven, for I too must follow my destiny as God. Everyone is always welcome here. That you are welcome is heaven. So there is the gate of heaven. But sometimes, when we look at each other, you will see the regret in my eyes that you have not become the way I intended. And the pain in your heart that you will feel is perhaps what you people call hell. “


40 The error has no root in reality


Jesus said:
A vine was planted outside the father
but because he does not stand strong,
he will be pulled out and destroyed with root.

The previous logion showed compassion for the scribes as human beings, because the scribes alienate themselves from the Source within themselves in their great zeal. Yes, that’s a shame for them.

This logion is about the sciences themselves, and about the evil that they can do. It is about thoughts, dogmas, etc. that start to lead a life of their own independently of reality, and therefore have no roots in reality. They are planted “outside the Father.”

Thoughts about “the Father” who have started to live their own life, so that they have become detached from the original emotion, are the hallmark of fundamentalism. They have the foundation in themselves, and not in “the Father.” That kind of fundamentalism kills the heart, kills love, and therefore needs to be radically uprooted in order to reconnect life, action in the world, with the source of love, “the Father,” which is present in ourselves.

Who is ‘the Father’ here? In Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke, the word that is usually translated as “Father” actually means something else. It literally means “Birth giver.” That word is neuter, not masculine or feminine.

You can also translate it as ‘Source of being’. There is a source and all that exists flows from it. Reality flows like a river from a source. That is the image of creation that fits within Gnostics.

We are right here in the middle of the problem of appointment. That Source of Being, so is the Gnostic view, falls outside of every description. The Source is still unformed, the possibility of being that has not yet taken shape, which precedes all forms. So: if we describe reality as a river, flowing from a source, then that is also just a ‘way of speaking’. It is no more than an image. And that image is not reality itself.

The Gospel of Philip (10) says about this:

The names that are used to describe cosmic affairs are often very misleading, because while they derive their meaning from what exists, they focus on what does not exist. Whoever hears “God” does not think of what really exists, but thinks of something that does not exist. So it is with ‘the father’ and ‘the son’ and ‘the holy spirit’ and with ‘life’ and ‘light’ and ‘resurrection’ and ‘church’ and everything else: one does not think about what exists but about what does not exist, unless one has come to know the existing.

So that’s the problem: we try to name the indescribable, and then we start to believe in the words. The story replaces the real thing.

Buddhism has a beautiful expression for this: “The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.” But the problem is that people are so easily inclined to think that it is really about the finger, and not about the moon. Then church, faith, and spiritual traditions become more important than what they refer to, and thus “the Father,” the source of all life, becomes invisible.

The scribes mentioned in the previous logion did not enter. They stayed outside.

Going inside is here for: looking for the experience within you. Only in experience can one get to know the really existing.

But, in order to be able to go inside, to know the source of being in your experience, all those images must first be released. The absolute truth of all those images must shatter. The images must become images again and not the truth itself. And you will indeed be shocked, as Logion 2 said, if you see how much those beautiful images can actually keep you from Source. And how fundamentalist scribes, who know the images and stories, but exclude the experience, can keep you from that Source by demanding that you believe in their images and stories, as if those images and stories are reality themselves.

Many stories are told about the Source. And that is not at all wrong. Philip says:

The truth was given many names in the world because it is impossible to know without names. However, the truth itself is one. It manifests itself in many forms for the sake of us being taught in love about this one under many names.

The stories that people tell about ‘the fixed’ are just stories, no matter how beautiful. The literal belief in such a story is called “error” in Gnostics. The vine that was planted outside the Source, that is, the belief in the images and stories that replaces the experience, yes, it must be released. Only in the void of not knowing, yes, even of unbelief, can the Source be experienced. And that could sometimes cause a considerable inner storm of images.


45 Keeping up appearances hurt


Jesus said:
They do not harvest grapes from thorns
and figs not from thistles,
for they bear no fruit.
A good person brings out of his treasure room
the good.
A bad man brings out of his bad treasure room,
who is his thinking,
the evil forth,
and he says evil things.
Because what his thinking is full of
from it he produces evil.

With logion 39 a new chapter started, as it were. It was said there that the Pharisees had received the keys of knowledge, but they had hidden them, both for themselves and for others. And they no longer knew where. The subsequent logions are about how those keys can be found again.

Logion 40 is about naming. That what matters is beyond all images. Nevertheless you need images to come to the unnameable. The mistake that one can make in this is, however, that one starts to believe in the images, instead of looking for what the images refer to. The finger pointing to the moon is not the moon. The map is not the landscape. The cookbook is not the meal.

Logion 41 shows what happens to you if you look beyond the images, or if you get stuck in the images: beyond the images, life itself is, the belief in the images kills.

What attitude should you take in order not to get stuck in the images? “Become passers-by,” says Logion 42. In your memory you make the past an image. Do not look back, otherwise you will become a pillar of salt, like Lot’s wife.

The almost ineradicable tendency to chain everything into images, and to hold that true, even applies to the students when they listen to Jesus. They want to understand him, to grasp him intellectually, by catching him in an unchanging image, Logion 43 tells us, and they even want Jesus to provide them with that image. Of course Jesus refuses.

Logion 44 goes straight to the core of gnostics. What you are looking for beyond the images, you must first find that in yourself and then you will also be able to experience it around you. That requires an almost radical allegiance to the compassion of your heart. Infidelity of the compassion of your heart, yes, that is the source of all loss.

This logion, 45, summarizes all of that.

It points to the deceptiveness of images. They seem so true, but they just aren’t.

The fruits of the thistle resembles the fruits of a a fig. Whoever wants to pick these sham figs will be hurt by the thorns. Moreover, these sham grapes will not produce wine, wine as a symbol of the spirit.

The fruits of a thistle have some resemblance to a fig. And this sham also has spines that hurt.

You just have to look around to see what is meant here. Fundamentalism, the belief in unchanging images, always leads to a struggle, for example against alleged apostates, or against so-called heretics who are supposed to be burned at the stake. These are the thorns and thistles of the fundamentalist belief in images that really matter.

Whoever seeks the fruits of a doctrine, the real meaning of the images, will harvest real grapes, pick real figs, the fruits of love.


84 Joy: the profit of losing the images


Jesus said:
When you see your reflection,
do you take delight in that.
But if you see your original face
that existed before you were there,
and that neither dies nor arises,
how much joy will you experience!

This is a further elaboration of logion 83. There it was about the loss of images. Here it is about the profit that that can yield.

Anyone who believes in images, as described in the previous logion, places the core of his own existence outside himself, namely in those apparently independent images.

Whoever realizes what those images refer to as a sign, will discover that “the light of the father” from the previous logion is present in himself, that all those images are an image of your own core of beings, here called your original face.

Yes, there is something in the person that is independent of time. In the prologue to the Thomas gospel, we called it the Christ nature.

The benefit of losing the images is the joy of discovering the timeless Christ nature as truly existing in yourself.

The Gospel of Philippis says it this way:

The Lord said: “Fortunately the one who already existed before he became. Because he who exists has become and will be. “(57)

No one can see anything of the fixed things without becoming the same as those things. It is not like the man in the world who sees the sun without being the sun and who sees the sky and the earth and everything else without being those things. The truth is different: you saw something of that place and you became like them; you saw the Spirit and you became the Spirit; you saw Christ and you became Christ; you saw the Father and you will become a father. That is why you see everything here and not yourself, but there you see yourself. And what you see, you will become. (44)

Just like the Gnostics from Paul, he is extremely scrupulous about the externalities of religions – ceremonies, holy days, rules and regulations. Like the Gnostics, he says that true Christians become like Christ; “It is given to them to behold the glory of the Lord with an unconcealed face and to be recreated into ever more glorious likeness to him.” (Freke & Gandy p. 206)


91 See what is, instead of a belief


They said to him:
Tell us who you are,
so we can believe in you.
He told them:
You interpret the signs in the heavens and those of the earth,
but you have not recognized him who is before you
And this moment
you don’t know how to interpret that?

Ah, ah, the students want a faith. They want Jesus to tell them what they should believe about him. They may want to make Jesus a god, unlike themselves, far above themselves, so that they might worship him appropriately.

But then they would place that which is present in themselves outside of themselves, namely in the image that they so much want to make of Jesus.

Jesus is not about faith. Faith makes blind all too easily. Jesus wants to correct that blindness; wants to make the students see, and especially of themselves in their true nature.

Jesus does not want them to make an image of him and to believe in that image and thereby blind themselves to themselves. He wants them to recognize something in him that is also present in themselves, so that they can also say to Jesus: “You are me in a different form.”

If the students don’t want to do that? See the following logion.


97 The empty jar


Jesus said:
The kingdom of the father is like a certain woman,
who carried a jug on her back, full of flour.
And so, going her way, still far from home, an ear broke from the jar,
and the flour flowed behind her on the road.
She did not notice it and was not aware of any harm.
When she got home, she put the jug down and found it empty.

This logion is of great beauty again. It is a beautiful image of a woman who is on her way, spiritually understood. In Gnostics, women are often the symbol of the human soul, of inner knowing.

This woman carries on her back a jug full of images, dogmas, teachings and everything else. It is a heavy burden, and not exactly the light yoke of Thomas 90.

She was still far from home, says this logion, so she was still separate from herself and from the Source.

Along the way on her spiritual path something happens. The ear of the jar breaks off. The hold that the images, the dogmas and the teachings had on her weakened, and without her realizing it she let go.

And then there comes a moment when she suddenly experiences that she coincides with herself. She has come home, one with the Source. And her jar is empty. So she no longer needs to carry it with her. She is free.

no©2021 or ant other year

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