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Predestination / Election

Are God's children planned?  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Gnosticism notes

Gnosticism was a heresy far more subtle and dangerous than any that had appeared during the early years of the church.
The Gnostics took over only the idea of a redemption through Christ, not the full Christian doctrine, for they made it rather a redemption of the philosophers from matter, than a redemption of mankind from sin” (II, 20).
James Orr viewed Gnosticism as “the fantastic product of the blending of certain Christian ideas … with speculations and imaginings derived from a medley of sources (Greek, Jewish, Parsic; philosophies, religions, theosophies, mysteries) in a period when the human mind was in a kind of ferment.…
Neander, a Greek philosopher of the 2nd cent., described Gnosticism as “the first notable attempt to introduce into Christianity the existing elements of mental culture, and to render it more complete on the hitherto rather neglected side of theoretical knowledge; it was an attempt of the mind of the ancient world in its yearning after knowledge, and in its dissatisfaction with the present, to bring within its grasp and to appropriate the treasures of this kind which Christianity presented” (Antignostikus, intro, 199).
Gnosticism accordingly comprehended in itself many previously existing tendencies; it is an amalgam into which quite a number of different elements have been infused. A heretical system of thought, at once subtle, speculative, and elaborate, it endeavored to introduce into Christianity a so-called higher knowledge, which was grounded partly on the philosophical creed in which Greeks and Romans had taken refuge
The root of the motivation behind this seems to come from Alexandrian Philosophy which endeavored to unite Greek philosophy and Hebrew religion. PHILO JUDAEUS, the great Jewish commentator of Alexandria (1st cent. A.D.), had tried to interpret the Jewish Scriptures by the aid of Greek philosophy, to expound the OT in terms of Platonic thought, and to discover allegorical meanings where they were not intended.

PHILO JUDAEUS, the great Jewish commentator of Alexandria (1st cent. A.D.), had tried to interpret the Jewish Scriptures by the aid of Greek philosophy, to expound the OT in terms of Platonic thought, and to discover allegorical meanings where they were not intended.

While Philo, like the gospel, said much about the Logos, his conception was very different. For him the Logos was merely an impersonal power of God,
The two essential elements of Gnosticism are (a) cosmological dualism consisting of matter and spirit, the one evil and therefore not created directly by a good spirit, and the other good; and (b) esoteric knowledge, limited to those who are initiated into the gnosis, by which they are able to be “saved,” i.e., freed from evil material existence to enter into pure spiritual life. Both elements have seeming relationships with the Judeo-Christian Scriptures. Both, however, come into basic conflict with biblical doctrine. Matter is not evil in the Bible, but is God’s creation, and the “new earth” exists in the age to come alongside the “new heaven.” The body, likewise, is not evil, and salvation is not an escape from it. There is a resurrection body, as eternal as the soul. Jewish eschatology, like its Christian counterpart, knows nothing of salvation from the body, but rather of redemption of the body (cf. 1QM 12:9–15).
“Gnosticism,” stated Gwatkin, “is Christianity perverted by learning and speculation”
The intellectual pride of the Gnostics changed the gospel into a philosophy.

Chief points in the Gnostic systems:

Regards “special knowledge” of truth as superior to faith
The essential separation of matter and spirit (matter being evil and its source).
To imagine the creator of the World as being distinctly different from the deity (God); for the Supreme Being could have nothing to do with anything material.
The denial of the true humanity of Christ (Docetic Christology; who considered His sufferings on the cross to be unreal).
Denial of the personality of the supreme God AND the denial of the FREE WILL of mankind.
The embracing of both ASCETICISM on the one hand; and ANTINOMIANISM (indifference as to sins of the flesh) leading to licentiousness (sexually unconstrained).
Syncretism (the attempt to reconcile opposing principles or practices as in philosophy or religion) www.dictionary.com. It was an attempt to merge Christian doctrines (or, also Judaism) with various other elements or mysticism's and sources.
Ascribing the Creator in Genesis to a DEMIURGE ((in the Gnostic and certain other systems) a supernatural being imagined as creating or fashioning the world in subordination to the Supreme Being, and sometimes regarded as the originator of evil. )
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