By Dr. Nicolas Laos
Author of the book “The Meaning of Being Illuminati” (Cambridge Scholars Publishing)
Initially, the Biblical Israelites (meaning those who struggle with God, according to Genesis 32) conceived Jehovah as a just, divine law-giver and supreme judge, Whose sense of justice reflected and was appropriate to the spiritual stage of humanity in that era. For instance, within that historical context, the rule “an eye for an eye,” and “a tooth for a tooth,” meaning that the punishment should fit the crime, instead of being arbitrary, was a significant expression of humanism, and it contributed substantially to the cultivation of many people’s moral consciousness. As long as people were not esoterically ready to receive a higher spiritual revelation, the Sinaitic Law was, indeed, one of the most humanistic and, spiritually, most noble institutional systems that were available to humanity. Nevertheless, things changed with Christ’s New Law, which is love. In John 13:34, Jesus Christ says: “A new command I give you: Love one another.” Moreover: in John 1:3–5, we realize that God’s love is bigger than any problem; in John 3:16, we realize that God sets the pattern for love; in Luke 12:7, we realize that God’s love is the basis for self-worth; and in 1 Corinthians 13:1ff, we realize that love is the most important spiritual gift.
According to the New Testament and according to the Greek Church Fathers, God loves us neither because He expects or needs us to do something good for/to Him (since He is perfectly self-sufficient) nor because He is obliged to do so (since He is perfectly free), but because He exists as a communion of love (between the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity: Nous, Logos, and Holy Spirit) and calls all humans to live in the same way, namely, according to the divine mode of being. Similarly, those who are truly initiated into the Christ Mystery love God neither because they want to receive something from God, nor because they want to do something good for God (after all, God is the absolute good, the good-in-itself), nor because they are obliged to do so, but because they want to become gods, actualize their divine potential, and participate in the divine blissfulness. According to the Greek Patristic tradition, love is neither a sentiment nor a categorical imperative, but it is a mode of being, specifically, God’s mode of being, and, therefore, it is a post-moral attitude. Thus, Orthodox Christian mystics do not separate truth and love. In his “Twentieth Hymn on Faith,” Ephraim the Syrian, one of the most influential fourth-century A.D. hymnographers and Christian theologians, writes: “Truth and Love are wings that cannot be separated,/ for Truth cannot fly without Love,/ nor can Love soar aloft without Truth.”
In Matthew 7:1, we read Jesus Christ’s teaching about judging others: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” In order to understand the moral, and, in fact, the post-moral, content of the previous statement, we must keep in mind that the purpose of Christ’s Gospel is not to moralize people but to teach them what is the divine mode of being and how to achieve it. In essence, Christianity is not a system of morality (as opposed to the Sinaitic Law), but it is the disclosure of humanity’s path to deification. From the perspective of hesychasm (Byzantine Christian mysticism), in particular, morality does not consist merely in adherence to rules, but in acting freely (according to humanity’s free will) thus manifesting and giving witness to God’s freedom (genuine freedom includes freedom from selfish passions).
Furthermore, in the context of esoteric Christianity, God is neither the supreme cosmic judge nor humanity’s collective superego, but He is the ultimate and most trustworthy existential mirror in which humans can look at themselves and evaluate themselves, as I explain in my book “The Meaning of Being Illuminati.” Therefore, the New Testament teaches that Christ is not the grand master of a moral system, but he is the revealed channel of God’s love in history. However, after the revelation of Christ’s New Law and of humanity’s divine ontological potential, the adherence to a legalistic and moralistic conception of God and, particularly, the decision to give primacy to the text of the Sinaitic Law (as a propositional approach to religion) over its spirit and ultimate purpose, which was to prepare humans in order to accept the post-moral and post-legal existential proposal of Christ, gave rise to a distorted conception of Jehovah, which is equivalent to the Gnostics’ conception of Demiurge.
In other words, the Gnostics’ Demiurge―namely, an authoritarian, judgmental, and oppressive artisan-like spiritual figure/power responsible for fashioning and maintaining the physical universe―is a lower, distorted form of Jehovah, which emerges when―contra Christ―humanity’s consciousness insists on conceiving Jehovah in a pre-Christian way, namely, as a divine archetype that was suited to a previous, pre-Christian, stage of humanity’s spiritual development. From the perspective of the Christ Mystery, Jehovah, in His higher form, should be understood as the archetype of humanity’s existential completion and perfection, whose material-historical revelation is Christ, the archetype of the deified humanity, or, in other words, the Incarnate Jehovah who “Jehovahizes” (deifies) humanity. The “high” Jehovah, namely, the Jehovah of the Christ Mystery is the Jehovah who offers His spirit to humanity, thus making humans partakers of the Jehovahite energy itself in the ontological sense, whereas the “low” Jehovah, namely, the Jehovah of those who prefer the authoritarian logic of Law to the liberating mystery of Grace (divine illumination) and, therefore, reject the Christ Mystery, is a Jehovah who keeps His “Jehovahness” to Himself and regulates human affairs from outside and from above (John 1:17).
The Christ Mystery discloses the higher form of Jehovah, specifically, a way of understanding the deity as that which humanity can and is called to become, and it differentiates that higher form of Jehovah from the lower one, which corresponds to a belief system that insists on maintaining particular institutions and traditions even after they have ceased to be relevant to humanity’s initiation into the Christ Mystery (see, for instance: Mark 2:27–28, 7:6–9; Acts 10:1–48; Galatians 2:19–21; and Revelation 19:10). The aforementioned lower and, indeed, atavistic conception of Jehovah, namely, the survival and worship of a pre-Christian Jehovahite archetype after the revelation of the higher form of Jehovah through the Christ Mystery, is essentially equivalent to what the Gnostics mean when they refer to the “Demiurge” and his “Angelic Mafia.” Hence, trying to inspire the sacred quest for the true Gnosis, Miguel Conner has pointedly argued that “the real Gnostic revealer comes from beyond the Matrix,” which is the realm of the low Jehovah, or the Gnostics’ Demiurge, and “we need to wake up.”
As we read in John 4:3–24, one day that Jesus Christ was passing through Samaria, “being tired from his journey,” he sat down by Jacob’s well, and he revealed the mystery of true worship to a Samaritan woman who came to draw water, as follows: “the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father . . . the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the father seeks such to be his worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” In other words, the true temple for the true worship of God is the human soul.
In addition, as we read in John 4:17–18, Jesus Christ said to the Samaritan woman to whom he revealed the true worship: “You said well, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband.” Euthymius Zigavenos, a prominent Byzantine theologian and author, has interpreted the previous Biblical passage as follows (Patrologia Graeca, vol. 129, 1193): the Samaritan woman symbolizes the human nature, which, symbolically speaking, has had “five husbands,” that is, five laws, and, during the time of Jesus Christ, it had a sixth law; the first law that the human nature has had was the law of Paradise, the second was the law after the Fall of Adam (post-Paradisiacal law), the third was the law of the Flood of Noah (Noahic Covenant, found in Genesis 9:8–17), the fourth was the law of Abraham’s circumcision (found in Genesis 17:23–27), the fifth was the law of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac (found in Genesis 22:7–8; God did not want Isaac to die, but He wanted Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in his heart, so it would be clear that Abraham loved God more than he loved his son), and the sixth law was the Law of Moses, known also as the Sinaitic Law (found in Exodus, chapters 20–31). The Law of Moses was only the shadow of good things to come (Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 10:1), it could not bring about justification (Acts 13:39), it could not bring about perfection (Hebrews 7:19), it could not liberate humanity’s moral consciousness from the consequences of the knowledge of sin (Hebrews 10:1–4), and, therefore, when Christ was born, humanity was in need of a new law. Hence, Christ offered the Law of Love.
Hesychasm, as I interpret it in my book “The Meaning of Being Illuminati,” implies and teaches that the true purpose of the Church-qua-Mystery and of the genuine and worthy spiritual guides is not to discipline people according to a set of moral rules, but to change people’s minds in order to harmonize them with God’s mode of being, which consists in love and freedom. Thus, the Christ Mystery consists in a peculiar system of esoteric psychotherapy and perfection, which I elucidate in my aforementioned book in the context of my research program of “Ur-Illuminism.” The ontological theses of my research program of “Ur-Illuminism” are inextricably linked to a post-moral theory, which ensures that, in the light of the Christ Mystery, the deity is not degraded into what the Gnostics call “Demiurge,” but the deity continuously signifies humanity’s divine ontological potential and existential completion and perfection, thus keeping humanity’s gateway to the ultimate and primary “Sige” (Silence, Charis, Ennoea, etc.) open.
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The Aeon Byte Interview with Nicolas
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