Question One: What is God?

Ah starting with the lightweight stuff!  Sheesh!

I will remind my readers that I will be giving most credence to The Gospel of Thomas and the Odes of Solomon, but also some to The Acts of Thomas, The Book of Thomas the Contender, and The Hymn of the Pearl.  I am convinced that the Thomasine Christian faith thrived and developed within Syria, and that this Syrian Christianity can provide some clues on the theology and practices of the Thomasines.

God is defined in the Gospel of Thomas as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit our Mother, in a type of Trinity.
The Father also called the living Father is mentioned numerous times in the Gospel of Thomas.
Some would argue that Jesus is not considered divine in the Gospel of Thomas, but after what I would say years of wrestling with the text, and even wishing it were not in there, I am convinced that the Gospel of Thomas does portray Jesus as Divine.

Some of the reasons I believe this is how Jesus is approached and questioned and even how he is referred to the living Jesus just as the Father is referred to as the living Father.  His disciples ask him to define how to live, to give them a definitive answer to Torah so to speak.  They ask him about the end times.  Jesus tells them of the beginning, and what heaven is like, giving them what no one else could ever give them.  He scolds his disciples that they don't know WHO he is from what he says to them.  (Saying 43) Jesus puts himself between the Father and the Holy Spirit in his discourse on blasphemy (Saying 44) In saying 50, he tells his disciples to say they are from the light...they are not the light but rather its children.  But then Jesus declares that he, himself, is the light and even declares a panentheistic vision of himself. (Saying 77)    Jesus also declares that it is he who has come from what is whole. (Saying 61)  My conclusion is that Jesus like in the other gospels is presented as somehow divine.  That he comes from God and speaks as God.  That in some way to see Jesus is to see the face of God...to hear his words is to hear the words of God.  He is not just a prophet, but rather that of God who came down to us.  In Saying 28, he even proclaims this:  "I took my place in the midst of the world, and I appeared to them in flesh. I found all of them intoxicated; I found none of them thirsty. And my soul became afflicted for the sons of men, because they are blind in their hearts and do not have sight; for empty they came into the world, and empty too they seek to leave the world. But for the moment they are intoxicated. When they shake off their wine, then they will repent."  I am convinced that the Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas is divine and that he invites all humanity, any who would wake up to be as he is.. to achieve union with divinity..a twin of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit is referenced in only a few sayings.  The saying I mentioned above concerning blasphemy is one.  The other two of note imply the Holy Spirit as feminine, which makes sense.  In the Hebrew scriptures you come across Ruah, the Spirit which is feminine, as well as the Shekinah and Sabbath Bride both feminine terms for the Spirit of God.  In Saying 101 Jesus says his mother gave birth but his true mother gave him life.  In that same saying he also speaks of hating father and mother as he does and loving father and mother as he does...implying a second set of parents..his heavenly father and mother.

In the Odes of Solomon, you find the same message of The Gospel of Thomas, a divine Son being praised with the Father, and the calling to know him.  In one of the Odes, one worships the Son so as to become the son.  It is also in the Odes of Solomon where you hear of God's love, and even God spoken of as a mother, who offers wisdom, knowledge and understanding.  Within the Odes you find a type of mystical relationship with God exalted.  We see a God who is not utterly aloof from humanity but is involved with those who will open to God.

In the later texts, you find a more fully developed theology of the divine Jesus.

In the Book of Thomas the Contender you find references to Jesus preparing to ascend.  He is referenced as Lord and having all knowledge of the afterlife and where folks will go after death.

In the Hymn of the Pearl, you have the Mother, the Father, and Son (the protagonist's brother) reaching out to the one who forgot his divine heritage.

In Acts of Thomas, the text portrays Christ as the redeemer who is independent and beyond creation.  He is able to liberate souls from the world's darkness.

In conclusion, I believe that God is triune, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit/Mother.  I believe God loves humanity, who share the spark of divinity.  He longs for all to awaken to their calling to be sons and daughters of God.  God came as the Son to invite humanity back to God.  Jesus is not presented as a sacrifice, though his crucifixion and some form of resurrection is seen to have happened (could be a spiritual resurrection and not flesh) Jesus is seen as the savior and teacher.  He is presented as Lord and presenter of the way to God.  We are called to be the Son and be incorporated within the very life of the Trinity.  It seems the Incarnation is valued much more than his death or resurrection.  The Holy Spirit is the feminine face of God.  She feeds us from her breasts, offering life.  She is portrayed as Holy Wisdom, though without any myth of the fall.  The Triune God is loving and bemoans humanity's loss.  In these scriptures, it would be safe to say that Jesus is not seen as the only way.  If anyone opens to God, God will meet that person where they are.  For Thomasines, Jesus is seen as our way, not the way for all.





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