The Evangelization Station

Best Catholic Links


Search this Site


Home


Contact


Feedback


Mailing List


Pray for Pope Francis


Scroll down for topics


100+ Important Documents in United States History


Anti-Catholicism


Apostolic Fathers of the Church


Articles Worth Your Time


 Biographies & Writings of Notable Catholics


Catholic Apologetics


Catholic Calendar


Catholic News Commentary by Michael Voris, S.T.B.


Catholic Perspectives


Catholic Social Teaching


Christology


Church Around the World


Small animated flag of The Holy See (State of the Vatican City) graphic for a white background

Church Contacts


  Church Documents


Church History


Church Law


Church Teaching


Demonology


Doctors of the Church


Ecumenism


Eschatology

(Death, Heaven, Purgatory, Hell)


Essays on Science


Evangelization


Fathers of the Church


Free Catholic Pamphlets


 Heresies and Falsehoods


How to Vote Catholic


Let There Be Light

Q & A on the Catholic Faith


Links to Churches and Religions


Links to Newspapers, Radio and Television


Links to Recommended Sites


Links to Specialized Agencies


Links to specialized Catholic News services


Liturgy

General Instruction of the Roman Missal


Mariology


Marriage & the Family


Modern Martyrs

Mexican Martyrdom


Moral Theology

****

Pope John Paul II's

Theology of the Body


Movie Reviews (USCCB)


New Age


Occult


Parish Bulletin Inserts


Political Issues


Prayer and Devotions


Pro-Life

****

Hope after Abortion

Project Rachel

****

Help & Information for Men

****


Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults


Sacraments


Scripture


Spirituality


The Golden Legend


Vatican


Vocation Links & Articles

 


What the Cardinals believe...


World Religions


Pope John Paul II

In Memoriam


John Paul II

Beatification


Pope Benedict XVI

In Celebration



Visits to this site

What is gnosticism?

Gnosticism, which gets its name from the Greek word gnosis ("knowledge") was a religious movement beginning, possibly, before the time of Christ and extending into the first few centuries of the Christian era. Gnostics viewed themselves as "those who know." Their heretical teachings varied from group to group and can't be pinned down with specificity, but common gnostic beliefs included these:

Although Christ appeared to be human, his humanity was merely an illusion.

Christ appeared to die, but did not really die. The Crucifixion was really a crucifiction.

Christ was not truly God, the second Person of the Trinity. He was merely a created being who was the lowest of the aeons, a group of semi-divine beings between God and man. Each lower aeon was given power by a higher aeon. Christ, the aeon furthest removed from God, created the world because God was too pure to dirty himself with matter.

Matter is evil, so one can do anything one wants with one's body, including killing it to release the soul from its imprisonment.

The God of the Old Testament is evil, as evidenced by the fact that he created the material universe. He is not the same as the God of the New Testament, who is the God of Love, as Jesus and his apostles taught (1 John 4:8, 16).

People are saved by acquiring secret knowledge (gnosis), which is imparted only to the initiated. Gnosticism was similar in some ways to the modern New Age movement. Like New Agers, gnostics used Christian terminology and symbols, but placed them in an alien religious context that gutted the essential teachings of Christ. It's unclear when gnosticism began. Many Church Fathers thought gnosticism was founded my Simon Magus, the Samaritan sorcerer who converted to Christianity (Acts 8:9-24). Some contemporary scholars think gnosticism started a few centuries before Christianity and then invaded it from the outside through the conversion to Christianity of Jewish and Gentile gnostics. Other scholars believe gnosticism started as a Christian heresy.

It seems clear, though, that the apostles themselves had to contend with a form of gnosticism (Col. 2:8, 18, 1 John 4:1-3, Rev. 2:6, 15). Paul said, "Avoid profane babbling and the absurdities of so-called knowledge [gnosis]. By professing it some people have deviated from the faith" (1 Tim. 6:20-21).


Copyright (c) 1993 Catholic Answers. Reprinted with permission from the June 1993 issue of This Rock magazine.

 

webmaster  www.evangelizationstation.com

Copyright 2004 Victor Claveau. All Rights Reserved