concise Analysis of Christs Resurrection Symbol or Historical Event Book Review

Pages: 4 (1407 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Theology

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] They thus, posited another God, a second God. The configured such a false God of Creation that they believed that the Orthodox wrongly followed in place of the true God. The Gnostics questioned why the Orthodox God would feel threatened and proclaim that he was the only God and banned any other gods before Him. However, by making the proclamation, he was acknowledging to the angels the existence of another God. There would be no point of jealousy if there was no other (Pagels 29). The Gnostics argued that there would be no need for God to make such declaration if there did not exist another one; and perhaps, an even higher god (Geddes). The Gnostics of Valentinus the master and creator God was less divine. They claimed that people who worshiped that god were misled in their devotion. They believed that they served a God who was only an instrument of higher authority and power (37), says Pagels. Special sacrament and initiations, the Gnostics believed would help one to receive insight that would liberate them from the demiurge that they believed the God of the Orthodox was and his power. They would then be able to worship the higher God. The orthodox congregation had every reason to fear, says Pagels. The Gnosis provide a theological justification for refusing to obey the priests and the bishops (38).

The Nature of Early Christianity

It is evident from the historical accounts of Christianity that varying beliefs with regard to the nature of God have given rise to a range of political implications. Martin Luther challenged the interpretations of Christianity and practices in the Catholic Church. He rejected the entire priestly and papal system (Pagels 46-47). The doctrine of the bodily resurrection reinforces the earlier structure of clerical authority. Therefore, the one God doctrine confirms to orthodox followers' one bishop as the sole ruler of the church. Thus, it may not be surprising to discover how the orthodox description provides a basis to define those included and those that are excluded from participating in the power yielded by bishops and priests (Pagels 47).

What the author suggests with regard to the conflicts between the proponents of orthodox ideas and beliefs versus the proponents of the perceived heretical beliefs and ideas.

The orthodox pushed the one God line alongside the one bishop line. It became a slogan of the Orthodox Church (Pagels 35). They used it to unite the varying factions among Christians. On the other hand, the Gnostics believed that those who had not attained gnosis were mere pawns of a false God who they believed should be the creator of the Fallen World. As opposed to the clear hierarchy as shown by the Orthodox, the gnosis appointed the leaders in each meeting through drawing lots. Gnostics also allowed women to serve in equal capacity in gatherings (Geddes).

Gnostic teacher and poet, Valentinus wrote about a God of oneness, in the Nag Hammadi books. However, in private space, the followers of Valentinus claimed that God went beyond the image of a creator, ruler and master. According to Pagels, God was seen as the ultimate source of all being (32). This stand challenged the arrangement in which one bishop governed a church. It was, thus, a heretical perspective. Clement, who was the bishop of Rome from AD 90 to about AD 100 sought to solve a crisis by stating that God passes down His authority only to leaders of the church: priests, bishops and deacons. A generation later, Ignatius wrote that the three leadership titles mentioned represented heaven's holy hierarchy too (The Gnostic Gospels).

The particular audience of the author

Pagels focuses on the critics of the hierarchy of the church. She explores how the Orthodox Christian influence led to the establishment and adoption of the hierarchy of the church as it is; with the laity lies low while the sole leader reigns supreme and makes final decisions (Pagels 40).

Why select the chapter

To examine how the Orthodox looked for ways to exclude Gnostics by using a creed that reemphasized that only one true God existed.

Works Cited

Geddes, Dan. The Gnostic Gospels. 6 June 1999. Web.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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