The “uncreated” is a concept that I only recently encountered when exploring Gnosticism at The Gnostic Society Library. Gnosticism is a Christian faith technically, but it was declared heretical during the early development of Christianity. For this reason, many of the writings that delineated this belief system were destroyed or hidden. The Nag Hammadi scriptures were hidden texts discovered in 1945 that are revealing (as in “revelation”). The “uncreated” is a simple concept, but as Gnosticism was declared heretical, this simple concept was probably considered blasphemous.
Modern Christianity, at least in the United States, appears very focused on the “created,” as in their creation mythology depicted in Genesis. This creation myth has even been re-labeled as a pseudo-scientific theory called “intelligent design” in an attempt to advance Christian religious beliefs in the American public school system. With Gnostic principles spurned and hidden for over a millennium and focus on the “created,” it is not surprising that most appear to have missed evidence of the “uncreated” in Genesis, as they appear to have missed evidence of the Gnostic and Kabbalist concepts of the Divine Feminine in Proverbs 8.
The Gnostic Society Library offers two introductions to Gnosticism on their opening web page. While both introductions are excellent, it was in An Introduction to Gnosticism and the Nag Hammadi Library that I found the “uncreated” first mentioned under the sub-heading “Overview of Gnostic Teachings.” Four essential characteristics of Gnosticism are discussed here. As I read these four characteristics, it seemed that many Pagans (myself included) may qualify as Gnostics without realizing it, but that discussion would be a digression. It is in the discussion of the second characteristic that the “uncreated” appears.
In his study,The American Religion, noted literary critic Harold Bloom suggests a second characteristic of Gnosticism that might help us conceptually circumscribe its mysterious heart. Gnosticism, says Bloom, “is a knowing, by and of an uncreated self, or self-within-the self, and [this] knowledge leads to freedom….” (Introduction to Gnosticism and the Nag Hammadi Library)
The text goes on to define the uncreated self as “the divine seed, the pearl, the spark of knowing: consciousness, intelligence, light.” The only uncreated thing in Gnostic and Christian cosmology is the eternal Creator. The text continues, “And this seed of intellect was the self-same substance of God.” The Gnostics believed that we could come to a knowledge of God through the part of ourselves that is also uncreated, our self within ourselves. Imagine how blasphemous this must have sounded to the temple (religion) builders who have portrayed humankind as fallen sinners who are separated from God and need forgiveness. However, if we accept this Gnostic view, the Christianized cover-up is faulty because Genesis reveals that God imbued man with part of His uncreated self:
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7 NIV)
If we read on in An Introduction to Gnosticism and the Nag Hammadi Library, it is revealed that the Judeo-Christian creation myth that many have become so familiar with is contested as a twisted deception according to Gnostics. The other introduction by Elaine Pagels entitled The Gnostic Gospels provides more information concerning the wide chasm between Gnostics and what became mainstream Christianity. Ms. Pagels closes her introduction by suggesting that Christians obtaining the backing of Emperor Constantine’s military sealed the fate of the Gnostics. Personally, I find it hard to believe that the Constantine backed Council of Nicaea was anything more or less than politically motivated for the purpose of population control. While history is written by the victor, it is rare that all pertinent evidence is realized and destroyed.
I am fascinated with the flow or movement of Spirit. That which is repressed and oppressed, persecuted and prosecuted, or even crucified does not always go away. It may disappear from public view by going “underground” or confining its rituals to the deep forest in the middle of the night, illuminated only by the light of a full moon. I wonder how things mix and influence each other behind the public stage of recorded history, though.
The twentieth century saw a resurgence of Pagan spirituality after hundreds of years of repression. In the deep woods or subterranean realms these belief systems were forced to hide in, is it possible that the influence of Gnosticism was encountered? With this possibility and one more quotation, I will leave you.
And thou who thinkest to seek Her, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not unless thou knowest the mystery; that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, then thou wilt never find it without thee. (The Charge of the Goddess)