Monday, August 11, 2008

These Stones

Jesus said, "Congratulations to the one who came into being before coming into being. If you become my disciples and pay attention to my sayings, these stones will serve you. For there are five trees in Paradise for you; they do not change, summer or winter, and their leaves do not fall. Whoever knows them will not taste death."
Now what the heck does that mean?

It's often a gnostic assumption that the material world is not important. But, if it isn't important, why does Jesus talk about it so much?

He speaks of cleaving the piece of wood, and that he is there. He talks about wherever 2 or more are gathered. He speaks of meeting the material needs of others, and as you do unto the least of these, you do unto me. He speaks of rendering unto Caesar.

If Jesus, the exemplar, the Logos, is concerned with the material world, and even gives advice so that the stones (a common symbol of the material in general) will serve you, what are we to make of that?

We know that the material is not emphasized by Jesus. "Who, when his child asks for a loaf of bread, gives him a stone?" Who, when asked for spiritual guidance, will be satisfied with the material? If you ask me how to seek God, and I give you stock tips, that's simply not going to work.

However, when people begin to rail against the material, I simply want to ask "Then what is it for? Have you found the beginning, that you seek to know the end?" We need to come to a certain amount of accommodation to the material, to render undo Caesar. We must know the rules, so we can break them with deliberation and rational thought, which this world so greatly values.

4 comments:

Rufus Opus said...

Very well said.

ed said...

this is 1 of the most important gnostic ideas for me: the relevance of the material to the spiritual. But how and to what degree do we go with the material in order to obtain the spiritual (if i understand you correctly)? It's all a little vague. That's probably for the best though. Allowes for maximum individuality i suppose. Still, i'd like to see more discussion of this sort of thing in the gnostic community.
Interesting slip by the way-"render undo caesar"!
ed

Susanne Iles said...

wonderful blog...I'm subscribing today....

Tomasis said...

I'm not convinced that one, the GThomas is gnostic per se, espeicially in regards to classical organized gnositicism. This saying, while not considered one of the kernals (who really cares) isn't gnostic to me tho anyways, nor idoes it seem necessarily christian. If anything it seems to be more Judaic, and my education in this area doesn't allow me to share anything more insightful. Well except, It has been suggested that the five trees are the five books of the torah, but I'm not convinced of that and of course stones could be the ten commandments. Which I am equally uncomfortable with.

It certainly has an enigmatic draw to it tho.

Tomasis